| JRL HOME | SUPPORT | SUBSCRIBE | RESEARCH & ANALYTICAL SUPPLEMENT | |
Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

JRL #7098 Plain Text - Entire Issue

under construction

1. AP: Russia's Putin Announces Gov't Shakeup.
2. Moskovsky Komsomolets: THE YELTSINS UNDER ATTACK AGAIN.
3. Transitions Online: Vladimir Kovalev, Russia: Heroes and Lawyers. Secret awards given to FSB top brass in the wake of the Nord-Ost crisis cause
consternation, while former hostages pursue additional compensation
.
4. Moscow Times: Irina Titova, Conditions at the St. Pete Zoo Called Alarming.
5. Reuters: Iran to receive Russian uranium for reactor in May.
6. Izvestia: Georgy Ilyichev, TO IMPLEMENT. Legal reforms need to change public attitudes. Is bribery still the only constitution in Russia?
7. Kennan Institute event announcement: Veniamin Yakovlev, Chief Justice, on Judicial Reforms in Putin's Russia.
8. RIA Novosti: ESTONIAN RADAR WILL SCAN THE SKY OVER ST. PETERSBURG.
9. www.fednews.ru: EKHO MOSKVY RADIO, RADIO INTERVIEW WITH ROY MEDVEDEV, HISTORIAN AND WRITER, ON JOSEPH STALIN.
10. Washington Profile: Nikolai Zlobin: Russia's Foreign Policy: Choices in the Absence of Choice.
11. The San Francisco Chronicle: Anna Badkhen, Russia weighs allies amid weak economy. War against Iraq would mean losing right to invest in oil fields.
12. Wall Street Journal: Alan Cullison, Russia's Improving Economy Cuts Power of U.S. Handouts.

********

#1
Russia's Putin Announces Gov't Shakeup
March 11, 2003
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV

MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dramatically
bolstered the clout of the KGB's main successor agency by giving it control
over the country's border guards and government communications.

The move gives the Federal Security Service, known by its Russian acronym
FSB, most of the authority enjoyed by its predecessor. Putin said that from
now on, the FSB would oversee the border guards and, together with the
Defense Ministry, inherit the functions of the Federal Agency for
Government Communications and Information (FAPSI), which he disbanded.

The border guards chief, Gen. Konstantin Totsky, was appointed Russia's
envoy to NATO, and the head of FAPSI, Vladimir Matyukhin, was named a
deputy defense minister in charge of weapons industries, Putin said in
televised remarks to his Cabinet.

Putin said the changes were intended to more effectively stem the spread of
drugs and bolster the fight against terrorism.

``We can't say that the government structures are acting efficiently enough
and duly coordinating their efforts in this very important sphere,'' he said.

The KGB was split into several separate agencies in the turbulent months
that closely preceded and followed the December 1991 collapse of the Soviet
Union. The reform was then presented as a way to break with the KGB's
repressive traditions, limit its sweeping powers and make it more open for
public control.

As part of the reform, the KGB was split into the FSB, which was put in
charge of domestic security, and the Foreign Intelligence Service, intended
to oversee spying abroad. The KGB department in charge of border guards
also became a separate agency as did the KGB's branch overseeing sensitive
government communications, which became FAPSI.

Following Putin's announcement Tuesday, the Foreign Intelligence Service
will remain the only major branch of the former KGB outside FSB control.

Putin, a 16-year KGB veteran, headed the FSB before becoming Russia's prime
minister and then president.

In addition to bestowing new powers on the FSB, Putin also disbanded the
Federal Tax Police and split its functions between the Interior Ministry
and the newly-created anti-drug service.

He appointed tax police chief Mikhail Fradkov to be Russia's representative
at the European Union. Putin also made his envoy to northwestern Russia,
Viktor Cherkesov, the chief of the new government committee in charge of
combating drugs.

********

#2
Moskovsky Komsomolets
March 9, 2003
THE YELTSINS UNDER ATTACK AGAIN
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]

Bill Thomas, American financier and head of Urals oil company,
called a press conference yesterday. The press conference was a
sensation. It is common knowledge after all that controlling interest
in the company is owned by members of ex-president Boris Yeltsin's
family including his daughter Tatiana Diachenko and her former spouse
Leonid Diachenko. According to the rumors, this is a wallet from which
the Yeltsins got "small change" to pay for the grandchildren's
tutorship in Great Britain, Yeltsin's treatment in China, etc.
A major Russian oil company put its hand into the wallet in late
February. It encroached on Tebukneft, the head structure of Urals.
Buying some directors, the major oil company ended up with 42%
interest and succeeded in replacing all of the management and even
security. Urals went to the court and collected but the major oil
company would not be deprived of the loot.
According to Thomas, the major oil company intends to sell
Yeltsin's interest in the British oil corporation.
The Yeltsins would not give up. Thomas said that they would use
American lawyers and lobbyists to bring the major oil company to
answer in the United States and Western Europe. Owner of the company
may be summoned to court and eventually deprived of the right to visit
the United States and other civilized countries, while foreign assets
of the oil company may be arrested.
According to some reports, Roman Abramovich also intends to join
the battle and buy out Urals stock. If he means business, it may
become a prologue to another oligarchic war.

********

#3
Transitions Online
www.tol.cz
March 10, 2003
Russia: Heroes and Lawyers
Secret awards given to FSB top brass in the wake of the Nord-Ost crisis
cause consternation, while former hostages pursue additional compensation.
By Vladimir Kovalev

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia--A group of former Nord-Ost theater hostages are
continuing to seek multimillion-dollar compensation from Moscow, just as
commendations awarded to federal and local officials for their
participation in the tragic events have come to light. The medals--which
were given in secret--have outraged some special forces soldiers who were
involved in the military operation to release the hostages, as well as many
public officials.

General Vladimir Pronichev, deputy head of the Federal Security Services
(FSB), and General Alexander Tikhonov, head of the FSB special operations
center, received Hero of Russia stars in January, according to an open
letter written by soldiers from the special FSB unit Alfa, according to an
article in the 3 March issue of Novaya Gazeta.

"Both Pronichev and Tikhonov are responsible for the fight against
terrorism on Russian territory. Instead of being punished for allowing
terrorists to get into downtown Moscow, they have in fact received Hero of
Russia stars, taking them away from more honored men, who risked their
lives for real," the letter said.

According to the open letter, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a
secret decree shortly after New Year's Eve to award five people with Hero
of Russia stars, including three FSB officials and two soldiers from the
special units Alfa and Vympel.

"The fifth Hero is the chemist who gassed the theater center. This is the
person who became a savior and a killer for many hostages," the letter
continued.

The hostage crisis--which took place in October 2002, when approximately
800 people were taken hostage by Chechen terrorists in a Moscow
theater--ended in a predawn special forces siege in which 129 civilians died.

"Nobody who participated in this event can be commended, except perhaps
those troops from Alfa and Vympel who were directly engaged in work to
release [the hostages]--or maybe the doctors, Yuri Schekhochikhin, a State
Duma deputy from the liberal Yabloko party and a member of the Novaya
Gazeta editorial board, said in an interview with the MiK.ru information
agency on 4 March.

"And as usually happens [in Russia], there's a crowd of authorities
clustering around a single hero waiting to adhere themselves to someone
else's fame through pain, blood, and corpses. They just want to add another
piece of metal to their suits," he charged.

FSB officials have yet to comment on the letter.

In the same issue of Novaya Gazeta, Schekhochikhin said that the total
number of Heroes of Russia is considered a state secret. However, 90
percent of the medals are given posthumously, according to the Association
of Heroes of the Soviet Union and Russia.

So far this year, 35 lawmakers of the Moscow City Duma have received
honorary crosses for assisting the hostages by bringing water and food to
the theater. Those medals were awarded in February.

STAKING CLAIMS

Meanwhile, 61 former hostages are continuing to pursue their claims against
the Moscow government for compensation totaling approximately $59.7
million. The Tverskoi District Court of Moscow has so far dismissed three
lawsuits. Moscow City Hall has said it will not pay any compensation.

"The damage to the [hostages'] possessions has already been paid and, in
fact, the payments were much higher than the actual value [of the
possessions]," an anonymous source in the Moscow city government was quoted
as saying by the NEWS.ru website on 27 February.

The source said that none of the hostages had approached the government
with a request to increase the payment or offered any proof that that
should be done.

Igor Trunov, an attorney for the hostages, said the financial assistance
was paid according to Act. No. 18 of the federal law to fight terrorism.

"[This article] has nothing to do with Act. No. 17 of the same law, which
addresses the rights of victims of an act of terror who lose their children
or their ability to work, suffer health damages, or need payments for
medical treatment," Trunov said in a 17 February RIA Novosti article.

Moscow City Hall has agreed to pay an additional 25,000 rubles
(approximately $780) to 32 children injured in the hostage crisis, Lyudmila
Shvetsova, the first deputy mayor of Moscow, told Radio Ekho Moskvy on 4
March.

The State Duma on 5 March failed to approve an inquiry into the
compensation question. The bill had been sent by Sergei Yushenkov, a deputy
of the Liberal Russia faction, to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov.

The Liberal Russia party is allegedly financed by Boris Berezovsky, a
Russian oligarch now in exile.

Yushenkov's inquiry also questioned the Kremlin's role in the situation.

"How were the terrorists able to provide for such an operation in downtown
Moscow? Whose fault was it that this happened? Was the operation to release
hostages carried out in an effective way? If yes, why are there so many
dead and injured people?" the inquiry read.

*******

#4
Moscow Times
March 11, 2003
Conditions at the St. Pete Zoo Called Alarming
By Irina Titova
Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Leningrad Zoo is in the middle of a 250 million ruble
($8 million) renovation project that a visiting commission says has made
the zoo's already poor conditions much worse.

The commission, sent by the Eurasian Regional Zoo and Aquarium Association,
said in its report that at least 167 birds died in St. Petersburg's zoo
over the last year, as did all of the amphibians and nine of the 130 mammals.

The report described the situation at the zoo as "extremely alarming" and
"a discredit to zoos as organizations in charge of caring for animals."

It recommended that zoos that are members of ERZAA take back rare species
loaned to the Leningrad Zoo -- which kept its Soviet-era name -- under
special breeding programs, saying that conditions there are "not successful."

"The zoo has an unhealthy and nervous atmosphere, which is definitely
abusive to the animals," the report said. The commission described the
zoo's administration as "incompetent" and that it was "ignoring the advice
of experienced specialists."

In the last year, the zoo lost its chief veterinary doctor, who had
extensive experience in working with wild animals, and the heads of a
number of major departments, including ornithology, herpetology (amphibians
and reptiles), zoology, nutrition and educational science, the report said.

"We were worried that the zoo has lost the majority of its leading
specialists recently, and that the new director of the zoo doesn't have a
strong background in zoology," said Vladimir Ostapenko, a scientific
specialist at the Moscow Zoo and a member of the commission.

Ivan Korneyev, the zoo's former director, said that at least 80 of the
zoo's former 220 employees were either forced to leave or retired over the
last year.

The zoo's current director, Vladimir Gubanov, a former soldier who took
over the position last May, had not worked in zoos before and, therefore,
does not meet the international and Russian requirements to qualify to be a
zoo director, the report said.

The commission recommended that the city administration "consider the
question of bringing back the zoo's leading specialists, including its
former director Ivan Korneyev."

The zoo, founded in 1865, is one of Russia's oldest and looks its age. But
an ongoing renovation project, initiated last fall, also came under fire.
The commission said the rapid pace and broad range of construction has worn
on the nerves of eagles, horses, and other animals living in outside cages.

"The repairs and construction work at the zoo are being carried out without
taking into account the needs of the animals," the report said.

The zoo has 18 sites under simultaneous construction.

Gubanov said the zoo is building two separate new facilities to house the
zoo's camels and rodents. "The rodents definitely need a new building,
since the old one was built in 1925," Gubanov said.

Improvements to the heating, water and electricity networks are also in the
works, as is repaving the sidewalks and the resuming construction on new
living space for reptiles.

Gubanov said the effects of construction noise are not as serious as the
report maintains. "The cannon at the Peter and Paul Fortress is fired daily
at noon and that also makes lots of noise," Gubanov said.

Korneyev, the former director, said most of the birds that died, mainly
parrots and ducks, were either killed by the cold when their houses didn't
have sufficient heating in the winter or injured themselves severely as a
result of fright caused by the repair work.

He said a number of ducks died one night last fall when their artificial
swimming pool overflowed. Since the birds did not have any place to stand,
and were apparently weak, they drowned.

"Zoos always have a certain amount of 'dead wood,' for example, aging
animals," he said. "However, this time, over half the birds died of
unnatural causes."

Korneyev had been sparring with the city's culture committee and the Zoosad
charitable fund -- patronized by Governor Vladimir Yakovlev's wife, Irina
-- for the past couple of years.

Zoosad and the cultural committee called for Korneyev's resignation in
2001, claiming he was responsible for financial improprieties at the zoo.

Korneyev said the accusation was unfounded.

He also disputes the committee's position that the zoo's downtown location
is damaging to the animals' health. The city proposes moving the zoo to
Dolgoye Ozero on the city's northwestern outskirts.

Korneyev said the relocation plan is motivated by the city's desire to free
up valuable real estate.

"I've never been against constructing new zoo space, but I've always been
convinced that the old Leningrad Zoo is a part of the city center,"
Korneyev said.

Korneyev quit in December 2001 after 11 years as director. After two
interim directors, Gubanov took over in May 2002.

Gubanov said he focuses more "on the economic side of the zoo," which has
changed its legal status from a state enterprise to a state unitary
enterprise under his tenure. He said the change has allowed staff wages to
be raised by 30 to 40 percent, and that there is now enough money to hire
new employees.

He also said that while there are plans to build a new nursery at Dolgoye
Ozero, the zoo has no plans to move from its historical home.

"The 7 hectares that the zoo occupies are not enough to house its roughly
2,000 animals," he said. "When we have the nursery, we'll still leave some
of the animals here."

*******

#5
Iran to receive Russian uranium for reactor in May
By Parisa Hafezi

BUSHEHR, Iran, March 11 (Reuters) - Iran's first nuclear reactor, part of a
programme which Washington says is geared to making nuclear arms, will
receive its first shipment of enriched uranium from Russia in May, Iranian
officials said on Tuesday.

The Russian-built reactor near the southwestern Gulf port Bushehr is
scheduled to start up in the second half of 2004, officials from Iran's
Atomic Energy Organisation told reporters during an organised press trip to
the plant.

"The fuel for Bushehr has been packed and 90 tonnes of fuel is ready to be
shipped. The fuel will be shipped to the site in May 2003," said Asadollah
Sabouri, deputy head of the atomic energy organisation

Washington turned up the volume of its concern about Iran's nuclear
ambitions last month after the Islamic Republic announced advanced plans to
build a host of other nuclear facilities to process and enrich uranium from
its own mines.

"It's hard to get a view into exactly what their motivations are, but very
clearly they are pursuing nuclear weapons," U.S. National Security
spokesman Sean McCormack said on Monday.

Officials in Iran, which U.S. President George W. Bush has branded part of
an "axis of evil" with Iraq and North Korea, stressed that the enriched
uranium for Bushehr could not be used in nuclear weapons and all spent fuel
from the 1000 MW reactor would be returned to Russia.

"We get three percent enriched uranium from Russia as fuel, and we should
send back the waste fuel after keeping it for one year in Iran under
special conditions," said Abbas Sedqkerdar, head of nuclear security at
Bushehr.

"Enriched uranium of more than 90 percent is needed for nuclear weapons,
but enriched uranium of three percent is needed for fuel," he said during a
tour of the facility which is surrounded by at least 10 manned
anti-aircraft batteries and protected by armed guards.

RUSSIAN SUPPORT

Iran insists its efforts to control the uranium fuel cycle are aimed at
giving it independence from foreign suppliers as it strives to produce
6,000 MW of electricity from atomic reactors by 2022 to meet booming demand
from its 65 million population.

Tehran received support on Tuesday from visiting Russian Foreign Minister
Igor Ivanov, who has had to fend off stiff pressure from Washington to halt
Russian cooperation with Iran's nuclear programme.

"Iran has no plans to produce nuclear military projects, this is a
fundamental truth," Ivanov said through an interpreter at a news conference
in Tehran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi stressed Iran was cooperating fully
with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"We have nothing to hide, everything is transparent. The Americans are just
looking for pretexts," he said.

Russia and Iran are currently studying the feasibility of building a second
reactor. A second unit is half-built at Bushehr, but a decision may be
taken to build the next reactor at another site in Bushehr or somewhere else.

"We have started assessment of the three options. We will announce the
result in the next four or five months, but the best option is not
necessarily to finish the half-completed unit," Sabouri said.

Washington's concern has shifted in recent weeks to focus on a gas
centrifuge uranium enrichment plant being built in the central town of
Natanz which IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei described as "sophisticated"
during a visit to Iran last month.

Sabouri flatly denied a report in Time magazine that Iran had violated the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by introducing some uranium gas into the
centrifuges at Natanz.

He said a uranium conversion plant in the central city of Isfahan would be
inaugurated in two to three months but Natanz would not be operational
until an unspecified later date.

While reporters were given an extensive tour of the Bushehr plant,
officials stopped photographers and TV crews from filming inside the facility.

*******

#6
Izvestia
March 11, 2003
TO IMPLEMENT
Legal reforms need to change public attitudes
Is bribery still the only constitution in Russia?
Author: Georgy Ilyichev
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
TEN YEARS AGO YESTERDAY, AN EXTRAORDINARY CONGRESS OF THE SUPREME
SOVIET OF THE RSFSR ADOPTED A RESOLUTION ON THE NEED FOR SENIOR STATE
OFFICIALS TO ABIDE BY THE CONSTITUTION. HOWEVER, OBSERVANCE OF THE
CONSTITUTION AND THE LAW BY ALL RUSSIAN CITIZENS - NOT ONLY SENIOR
STATE OFFICIALS - STILL REMAINS A PROBLEM.

Ten years ago yesterday, an extraordinary congress of the Supreme
Soviet of the RSFSR adopted a resolution on the need for senior state
officials to abide by the Constitution. However, observance of the
Constitution and the law by all Russian citizens - not only senior
state officials - still remains a problem.
"It was just a slogan, something completely futile from the legal
point of view," says Pavel Krasheninnikov, chairman of the Duma
Legislation Committee, who was an analyst for the Supreme Soviet back
in 1993. "No resolutions will ever be heeded by corrupt officials..."
The legal reforms currently underway are vital for the process of
transforming Russia into a country of law-abiding citizens. In theory,
they are supposed to refute the words of Nikolai Berdyaev, who
lamented almost a century ago: "Bribery is the only constitution in
our life."
Lawyers say this is why it the most common forms of law-breaking
among state officials fall into the category of economic crime.
Krasheninnikov: When people distribute state orders for products
or services, the law should specify every single detail: how the
tender should be organized, who may apply for participation and who
may not, how real estate should be leased, how budget funds should be
distributed to prevent misuse...
The legal reforms are taking place in three areas at once:
amending existing legislation, raising the salaries of judges and law
enforcement agency officials, and changing public attitudes to the
law. It is the third area where the worst problems and difficulties
are being encountered.
"A nihilist attitude towards the Constitution - and towards human
rights and the law itself, in fact - has long been typical of our
country," says Judge Nikolai Bondar of the Constitutional Court.
Bondar considers that the Constitution should not be revised to
conform with the ever-changing political situation.
Bondar: Unlike the previous Soviet constitutions, the
Constitution we have now incorporates internal mechanisms of
development which do not require revision of the text itself. Along
with the function of evaluating laws (i.e. deciding whether laws are
constitutional), the Constitutional Court may evaluate specific
provisions as well. Its decisions in these cases are essentially at
the same level of legal force as the Constitution itself.
The other mechanism aimed at making the law serve the citizenry
was passed by the Duma. The matter concerns three procedural codes:
the Criminal, Civil, and Arbitration codes.
Krasheninnikov: Finally, it is very important that Russia is a
member of the Council of Europe at last. If anyone goes to court here
and remains dissatisfied, they can now appeal to the European Court.
On the one hand, this is a certain guarantee of human rights. On the
other, it is a stimulus for judges... Unfortunately, Russian citizens
rarely take legal action against specific officials. On the other
hand, such incidents are noticeably more frequent now than they were a
decade ago.

*******

#7
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003
From: "JOSEPH DRESEN" <DRESENJO@wwic.si.edu>
Subject: Kennan Institute event announcement

We are pleased to invite you to a special seminar at the Kennan Institute
on Thursday, March 13, 2003. Our speaker will be Veniamin Yakovlev, Chief
Justice, Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation, who will speak
on "Judicial Reforms in Putin's Russia." This seminar is cosponsored by
the Center for Democracy. This event will take place from 3:30 to 5:00 PM
in the Woodrow Wilson Center's 5th Floor Conference Room, 1300 Pennsylvania
Ave., NW. This event is open to the public, and seats are available on a
first-come, first-served basis. For directions, please visit the following
web page:

http://wwics.si.edu/index.php?fuseaction=about.directions

The visit of Chief Justice Yakovlev and his colleagues to the United States
comes at an important stage in Russia's democratic transition. Last year,
the Russian Federation began implementing President Vladimir Putin's
recently enacted judicial reform package--one of the main components of
which is the expansion of jury trials nationwide. The extensive reforms
also include provisions aimed at enhancing the status, accountability, and
independence of the Russian judiciary by improving judges' pay and ending
their lifetime tenure and immunity from prosecution.

The Supreme Commercial Court of the Russian Federation heads an independent
system of state commercial courts--created in 1991 at the start of Russia's
transition from a centralized to a market economy--to provide a specialized
judicial structure for the settlement of economic disputes between private
enterprises, and between private enterprises and the state. Russia's
arbitration system, consisting of 82 first instance courts, 10 district
appellate courts, and the Supreme Commercial Court, handles cases
concerning property and land, taxes, financial contracts, bankruptcy,
insurance, and all commercial disputes.

*******

#8
ESTONIAN RADAR WILL SCAN THE SKY OVER ST. PETERSBURG

TALLINN, March 10. /RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Veretennikov/. - A
radar for long-range monitoring of the skies over Estonia and its neighboring
states has been put into operation in the northeast of the country.

The first testing of its operation is to be conducted today to make sure
there are no faults in the functioning of the powerful radar, the Estonian
Defense Ministry said, and only after that the official ceremony of opening
the radar station, scheduled for April, will take place.

According to the information available to RIA Novosti, with the help of this
equipment made by Lockheed Martin, Tallinn will be capable of monitoring
airspace at the altitude of 30 km and at a distance of 450 km. It is
supposed, for instance, that its antenna the size of a three-storey building
will easily "reach out" as far as St. Petersburg.

It was stressed also at the Estonian Defense Ministry that the radar would
become a component of Baltnet, a joint system for monitoring the skies over
the Baltic States, which, for its part, will be linked to the NATO air
control system.

*******

#9
TITLE: RADIO INTERVIEW WITH ROI MEDVEDEV, HISTORIAN AND WRITER, ON
JOSEPH STALIN
[EKHO MOSKVY RADIO, 14:00, MARCH 5, 2003]
SOURCE: FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE (http://www.fednews.ru/)

Anchor: Hello and welcome to Ekho Moskvy. It's 14:08 Moscow
time. I am Alexander Klimov. And our guest is historian and
publicist Roi Medvedev. Good day, Roi Alexandrovich.

Medvedev: Good day.

Anchor: We are going to talk about -- guess what? It's the
50th anniversary since the death of Stalin. And I would begin by
asking you to comment on this topic. But first let me give you the
number of our studio pager to which you can page your questions:
961-2222. I will read out the most interesting ones and we will all
try to answer them together.
Just yesterday we heard the results of a poll among Russian
citizens. More than half of Russians -- 53 percent -- think that
Stalin played a positive role in the country's life. A third of
respondents -- 33 percent -- disagree. And 14 percent were
undecided. These are the data published by VTsIOM. What can you say
about it?

Medvedev: I have followed these polls for many years and I
must say that they change, but not too much.

Anchor: Changing in what direction?

Medvedev: They ebb and flow. Perhaps, the latest rise was due
to the showing of TV films, a lot of conversations, etc. But
throughout the last ten years a third of the population on average
has assessed Stalin's role with a plus sign; a little more than a
third have given him a minus and the rest are the don't knows. But
in any case it coincides even with the number of votes cast for the
Communist Party throughout ten years. A third of the country's
citizens give Stalin a plus sign.

Anchor: And this in spite of the millions who died in the
camps, in the GULAG, and as we now learn there were unjustified
casualties during the Great Patriotic War. How do you account for
this phenomenon?

Medvedev: Well there are many reasons. First, the consequences
of the cult of Stalin's personality over decades.

Anchor: That's our genetic memory?

Medvedev: Partly genetic passed on from parents to children
and from children to grandchildren. For decades a veritable cult of
Stalin, a near-religious cult of Stalin had been maintained. People
had faith. And democracy, the new era has not brought them new
values. A person's values have to be replaced with something. Or
else you become an atheist, which is also a kind of faith. Or you
become a Buddhist and are converted from Christianity to Buddhism,
or you adopt some other religion, but in general, human
consciousness abhors a vacuum.
So, the new democratic society in 1991 did not give people new
values, and they fall back on the past. And that is why the cult of
Stalin is so tenacious.

Anchor: Including among young people.

Medvedev: To a lesser degree among young people. But on the
other hand, young people don't have knowledge of the negative
consequences of the Stalin cult, they had not lived through
Stalin's reprisals. I remember these repressions. My friends at the
University where I studied were arrested.

Anchor: Why is genetic memory associated with an idol; why
isn't it inherited with respect to repressions?

Medvedev: Well, the number of those who became victims of
reprisals was smaller than those who did not and most of those who
had suffered had died. Only 7 percent of those who were sent to
prison camps in 1937-1938 have returned. The remaining people
remained in graves on the Kolyma and they could not convey to their
relatives what they had experienced and what they had known.

Anchor: I think they were probably afraid to talk.

Medvedev: No, those who had returned were not afraid to talk
after the 20th party congress. There were no admirers of Stalin in
my circle. But I know a large number of people who still worship
Stalin. I have seen rallies and huge audiences in 1992 and 1993 and
in 1991 of people who were ready to kneel before Stalin.

Anchor: And today rallies are being held to commemorate Stalin
all over the country and not only in Georgia. Here in Russia
Gennady Zyuganov laid flowers.

Medvedev: Well, television is showing on all its channels the
funeral, Stalin's dacha and shows people who continued to speak
about Stalin with admiration. Last night I watched a program called
"Stalin: Pages of Life" and surviving bodyguards of Stalin who are
now in their eighties were giving their accounts of how Stalin
lived, what he did, how he walked in the woods, how polite he was
and was the first to greet any soldier.

Anchor: So, ordinary mundane observations.

Medvedev: Yes. And people like it. "Look what a modest man he
was". So, the Stalin anniversary today on all the channels -- I
don't know about Ekho Moskvy is full of materials which indirectly
or even directly tell you about Stalin and what a modest,
good-natured and kindly man he was, he had not amassed any wealth
and he walked in ordinary felt boots, the property that was handed
over to the people after his death. Exhibitions of Stalin's
personal effects are held.

Anchor: Actually, was it true? Was he really a modest and
polite man who was the first to greet his bodyguards when he met
them?

Medvedev: Of course, he was.

Anchor: Or, perhaps, people are embellishing his image?

Medvedev: No, he was like that, but it is also a fact that he
was a cruel and evil man who changed his bodyguards many times, and
the slightest suspicion or a minor breach of rules was enough for
a bodyguard or the chief of security -- Vlasiyev was the chief of
security for several decades -- to be arrested shortly before
Stalin's death. Stalin did not treat these people as humans: they
were servants who catered to his needs.
So, Stalin had utter disdain for these people, but at the same
time, he realized that one had to be polite to these people because
they would spread the word about his politeness and thus start a
legend. In that sense Stalin was a very caring dictator. He cared
for his image and he cared what people would think and say about
him. He did not neglect these things.

Anchor: A reminder that we are talking with historian and
publicist Roi Medvedev. And our talk is devoted to the 50th
anniversary of the death of Stalin.

Anchor: There is an official field of study you might call
Staliniana.

Medvedev: Well, this is not a recognized area of studies.
History is not literary scholarship. We have scholars of Pushkin,
Lermontov and Tolstoi. But in history there are no disciplines
devoted separately to Churchill, or Roosevelt or Mao Zedong. There
is the history of the Soviet Union, the history of the Communist
Party, the history of Russia and within it there is a section.
History is divided into periods. But of course we historians know
all those who work on the topic of Stalin.

Anchor: Are these studies developing now?

Medvedev: This is a developing area and several hundred new
books about Stalin and his times have appeared recently because a
lot of documents have been published for the first time. In the
last three months alone I bought ten new books next door, on Arbat
street, ten new books about Stalin, several Stalin biographies,
collections of documents, Stalin's correspondence with Kaganovich,
Stalin's correspondence with Molotov, with members of the
Politburo, documents connected with the Katyn case, the massacre of
Polish officers in 1940.
But these documents, books, collections and essays are
published in small editions and are not easy to come by.
My brother and I published two books during the past year: a
large book called "The Judgment of History" about the Stalin era
and a book called "The Unknown Stalin" which has already had two
editions. But one edition had a press run of two thousand copies
and the other five thousand copies. A very small number of people
can acquaint themselves with that era from documents.

Anchor: Can we say that today we know everything about Stalin,
or just about everything?

Medvedev: We historians can claim that we know a great deal,
but we cannot say we know everything because only 10-12 percent of
the Stalin archives have been made public.

Anchor: And the rest is still classified?

Medvedev: Yes, the rest has yet to be declassified, simply
there are no resources to study all this huge archive and make the
decision to declassify. But even the materials that have been
declassified provide us with a fairly complete picture of the
Stalin times.

Anchor: Well, our listener Vladimir asks: it is widely
believed that Stalin unleashed the war against Germany. And would
the war have happened if Stalin did not exist? It's a question of
two parts.

Medvedev: No, there would still undoubtedly have been a war.
But Stalin did not unleash it. This is the result of a garbling of
facts, mainly by the author named Suvorov and his book The
Ice-Breaker. A lot of such books have come out in large editions,
unlike more serious studies. They distort the picture of the start
of the war: Stalin started a war against Hitler, Hitler waged a
preemptive war and so on.

Anchor: And your sources and your facts do not bear this out?

Medvedev: Absolutely not. Not my sources, but historical
sources. And it's very hard to combat falsification of history.
There is a flood of falsifications in the newspapers and on
television.

Anchor: But can these documentary and publicistic films now
showing on Rossiya TV channel and on NTV -- can they be trusted or
should you take them with a pinch of salt?

Medvedev: By and large, the events are portrayed accurately,
but the dates are not always correct, for example, all the leaders
of the country gathered not on the third or March but on the fifth
of March. But it says "March 3". This is to say that there are
minor inaccuracies. It depends on who made the film or the one who
took part in making it.
Overall, however, I saw it and this is no falsification. This
means that the main channels of television gave us a rather
accurate picture of events, showing the documentaries of that time.
But I repeat that the thrust was rather to recreate the personality
of Stalin as a great man, not as a man who played a rather sinister
role in our history.

Anchor: And one more version. It is not new but today it
gained further continuation in connection with the appearance in
the United States of another version of a book about Stalin. It
says that Stalin was poisoned by his closest associates, and he did
not die a natural death.

Medvedev: No, Stalin was not poisoned and the food consumed by
Stalin was checked so thoroughly that nobody could poison Stalin.
He had a whole service at his disposal who checked all the products
supplied to the kitchen and all the products that Stalin was
expected to eat and drink. The service survived under Khrushchev
and under Brezhnev and under Gorbachev and it exists today under
Putin. That is why it is possible only to poison the cook or the
person who does the sampling and the checking. There is a special
laboratory where everything is checked.

Anchor: There is one more rumor alleging that Stalin is not in
his grave in the Red Square and his remains are not there either.

Medvedev: Well, this is also an absolutely false version. It
is impossible to get Stalin out of the grave because it is closed
with huge heavy concrete slabs. When he was taken out of the
Mausoleum and buried, this was done in a way to endure for long.

Anchor: Yulianna Gavrilovna writes: "How do you assess
Alexander Zinovyev's article on Stalin, published in one of the
recent issues of Sovetskaya Rossiya? If you say that you did not
read it, then you are not a professional.

Medvedev: Well, I did read the article and I know Zinovyev and
his views well. I am simply surprised that today Zinovyev says
something quite the opposite to what he used to say when we became
acquainted 30 years ago and what his first books said. That is why
I simply cannot understand it. It may be that Zinovyev feels
offended by someone and he is now building a perfectly different
concept of our Soviet history and the personalities who
participated in that history, compared to what was 30 years ago.
I feel quite well disposed to Zinovyev. The man is incredibly
gifted, he is indeed one of the best, and he may even be a genius,
judging by his abilities. But I cannot understand his "change of
heart".

Anchor: I don't know, here is a question which is not correct.
I am a simple person, I am not a historian, I read, of course,
something, starting with The Ten Letters to a Friend and all the
way to a more serious stuff, including Volkogonov and I also saw
those publicist films and then there was that kitch film The
Liberation, the Soldiers of Freedom, Defense of Moscow. They also
feature Stalin. So what is there about Stalin that we the ordinary
people do not know?

Medvedev: You see, there are many things related to Stalin
that you don't know.

Anchor: Is that so?

Medvedev: Even for a historian who has studied the epoch of
Stalin for 40 years, even I from time to time make a huge number of
discoveries. Even during this last year I made a host of new and
interesting observations. One example. For instance, during the
1930s Stalin received six times in his study in the Kremlin the
most outstanding Western writers Herbert Wells, Bernard Shaw,
Romain Rolland, Lion Feuchtwanger, Henri Barbusse, Alberti, the
Spanish writer. He had conversations with them lasting many hours
and they would leave him, captive to his personality. They would
say that he was the most educated, the most intelligent and the
most knowledgeable person.
In those conversations, for which he prepared very well and
seriously, he would outplay his opponents. The fact is that they
did not live in Russia and in the Soviet Union. The NKVD sword was
not suspended over them. They had a much broader picture of
preparation and in what way could Stalin pursue that conversation?

Anchor: Yes, in what way? You couldn't make a transcript and
that means...

Medvedev: Recently they were published and everything is
recorded there. And now these conversations have been published.
And we can see how confident Stalin felt and how helpless was the
conduct of Romain Rolland or Lion Feuchtwanger in those
conversations and even Herbert Wells. And then, getting back to
Britain or France, they would write their diaries which were also
published.
The first impressions were admiration by Stalin and admiration
felt for the Soviet Union in most cases. This has many
explanations. This means that Stalin cannot be imagined as a
primitive and uneducated person. He was highly educated and
well-read.

Anchor: Most likely he was self-taught.

Medvedev: And self-educated. He was an excellent actor. He
could make himself liked by those people. He would answer their
questions. Also he was incredibly informed. This was a closed
country but he knew everything. Those people coming here were like
blind. They did not know what was happening in the country, what
was happening in the prisons and camps. They did not know the
statistics and Stalin received all information. This is the effect
of a close society. The leader of the nation knows everything while
you know nothing.
We cannot even imagine today in what darkness we were living.
Instructors and students, we did not know was happening in our
university and in our city.
I was studying at Leningrad University and six of my friends
were arrested from my course and I did not know the charges against
them and I could not ask anyone and I could not read anywhere.

Anchor: People would simply disappear.

Medvedev: People would simply disappear. Instructor would
disappear, our rector disappeared and was shot to death and we did
not know why and for what. Today the atmosphere is quite different.
But at that time Stalin could pose indeed as a man who knows more
than the others, who understands more than others and who can do
more than others. And that would and that would impress many of his
interlocutors. And I would repeat and say that it was quite a
discovery for me that even the most outstanding writers -- Stalin's
contemporaries -- are taking price in their understanding of the
situation, authors of historical novels about the French revolution
-- they failed to understand what was happening in this country and
failed to understand that man.

Anchor: Why did Stalin spare Zhukov?

Medvedev: It was Zhukov's popularity. Stalin did not touch
many people. Among the writers, he did not touch Pasternak. He
understood Pasternak's significance. He spared Akhmatova herself.
Her son was arrested but Akhmatova herself was not.

Anchor: And he did not touch Erenburg.

Medvedev: And he did not touch Erenburg. He did not touch
Bulgakov and would say "he is not our man". He did not touch
Platonov, he wrote on a Platonov story: "A talented writer, but a
son of a bitch," and that resolution did not become the cause of
arrest. They simply ceased publishing him. So, Stalin did not touch
many people because he understood --

Anchor: I fail to see the logic. Somehow, I probably do not
have the gift of understanding this logic, but Bukharin was a no
less popular man in the party and among the people and Stalin got
rid of him.

Medvedev: Yes, he got rid of him, but first he humiliated him.
And he humiliated Trotsky and Bukharin. The story of Bukharin's
destruction is a story of ten years. In 1930 Stalin could not
destroy Trotsky and he was expelled out of the country with his
archive -- a whole steamer took out Trotsky and his archive and his
pet dog and his family. But in 1940 Stalin was already different
and his power was different and Trotsky was done in some place in
Mexico...

Anchor: And again our television says it was a planned
operation. The operation was planned on direct orders from Stalin.

Medvedev: Yes, according to direct instructions from Stalin.
This is to say that Bukharin's destruction took a lot of time, many
years, and Bukharin was already reduced to the plight of a
humiliated and despised person in the country. And then it is
politics, not writing or painting. Otherwise, the most outstanding
composers and artists and writers obeyed Stalin or were subjected
by Stalin but not destroyed. Although many gifted people did get
killed.

Anchor: Roi Medvedev, a historian, is live on the air in Ekho
Moskvy. He answers the questions from listeners. Vladimir
Davidovich asks: "Don't you think that Hitler was installed in
power in 1933 by Stalin, who proclaimed German Social-Democrats to
be enemy number one?"

Medvedev: No, this is not so. But Stalin did, of course, help
Hitler come to power because the collectivization and the
destruction of the kulaks (well-off peasants -- FNS) in this
country was publicized so much in the West, and condemned, that the
German burger was afraid of communism. And so the influence of
fascism mounted because they were afraid that communists would
seize power. Communists would come to power in Germany, they would
destroy all business, all small business and all the wealthy
farming and in Germany this provided livelihood for large masses of
the population. So, of course, the events of the 1920s and early
1930s in Russia and the West produced repercussions that helped
fascism. Fascism rode the crest of anti-communism and in that sense
Stalin had helped Hitler to come to power.

Anchor: Stalin and Kirov. Was it a conspiracy on Stalin's
part. Or, did it have something to do with Kirov's own amorous
intrigues.

Medvedev: Yes, yes. There is that version and also the version
of a mentally unbalanced hysterical man, Nikolayev. It is
considered to be the most plausible or the most accurate among
historians. But Stalin used that murder for his purposes. He
capitalized on that murder.

Anchor: Terror began.

Medvedev: Terror began precisely after the assassination of
Kirov. Stalin realized that this was an excellent pretext for
launching an attack on the followers of Zinovyev who were very
strong in Leningrad, on Zinovyev and Kamenev and Trotsky. And
Stalin channeled popular wrath against these people.
I lived in Leningrad at the time myself and I remember, I was
just 10 or 9 years old. My father, then a Red Army commissar took
us to a square in front of the Winter Palace on the night of
December 2. There was a huge night-time rally with torches when
hundreds of thousands of people had gathered to give welcome to
Stalin who had arrived in Leningrad.
All the citizens were furious. But it was no problem for
Stalin to direct this fury the way he wanted. So, when he said,
look for the murderers among Zinovyev followers, the investigation
and the popular anger turned against them.

Anchor: There was no need to repeat the order twice.

Medvedev: You are right.

Anchor: Our listener by the name of Ilya asks: "Does historian
Medvedev agree that if Germany had not been occupied after the war,
the Germans would be treating Hitler with the same reverence as the
Russians are treating Stalin?"

Medvedev: Not the occupation, but the defeat of Germany.

Anchor: Yes, the defeat of Germany.

Medvedev: The defeat of Germany, of course, led Germany to
catastrophe. But the Germans, of course, could not revere the
person who brought about the defeat of Germany. He promised a
thousand-year Reich, he promised vast new lands in the East, he
promised wealth to all the Germans.

Anchor: Initially everything was fine: there were jobs, good
roads, they are still there, yes? There were many good things.

Medvedev: No, they just brought goods from all over Europe and
there was an atmosphere of uplift, an atmosphere of worship. It was
a cult also.

Anchor: But why do Germans have a lingering guilt complex? Why
don't we have a guilt complex?

Medvedev: Because the whole world had risen up against
Germany. Germany pursued terror against all the countries of
Europe. It sought world domination. Stalin had unleashed terror
inside the country. So, that disease remained inside the country,
as it were. The disease of Hitlerism had spilled out beyond the
borders of Germany, Hitler, or rather Hitlerites and Hitler's party
were judged by an international tribunal. It sentenced Hitler's
elite to be hanged, those who had not committed suicide. And it
condemned Nazism as a criminal ideology. Nothing like it happened
with regard to Stalin and Stalinism. It remained an internal affair
of the Soviet Union, while Hitler spread Nazism to Europe and the
world.
So, these are two different ideologies, two different
phenomena. As tyrants and despots, all despots are alike and one
can compare, I don't know, the Roman Sulla or Ivan the Terrible and
Stalin. But the social situation, the historical situation and the
ideology were different.

Anchor: And there is another myth. Stalin as the greatest
military commander, the Generalissimo. And Vladimir asks whether
Stalin lives up to that title?

Medvedev: He does because he commanded a colossal military
machine. Over four years 15 million people took part in the war. It
was a war unlike any other in the history of mankind.
Of course, there were appalling casualties. The Soviet Army
lost 10,000 soldiers in combat every day. Nine million soldiers and
officers died in the battlefield. 10,000 a day. And I am not
speaking about prisoners of war, I am not speaking about the
wounded. No other wars had ever inflicted such casualties. But the
country had won that war.

Anchor: By the way, did it win because of the help of allies
or would we have won single-handed?

Medvedev: We would have won anyway. At the end of the day we
would have won by ourselves. That was obvious by the end of 1943.
But the Allies did help in some ways and diminished our casualties
and shortened the war. But otherwise we would have managed
ourselves.

Anchor: A question that does not require an answer and anyway
it is unsigned, but I will read it out all the same: "How many
people should have been killed so that we should not be carrying
Stalin's portraits and praising him?" This is an exception because
normally we don't read comments. But --

Medvedev: But you don't have to answer that question.

Anchor: You have mentioned several times that we were a closed
society and that there was terror inside the country, yes? How much
did the West know about what was actually happening here?

Medvedev: The West didn't know anything. Some important people
came, even after the war.

Anchor: And spies and saboteurs, they too didn't know
anything?

Medvedev: They didn't know anything. Eleonora Roosevelt, the
daughter of the President came and visited Butyrskaya prison, which
was described by Solzhenitsyn. She was taken to a cell in the
prison. There were 75 people but 25 were left and in her presence
lunch was served and bed sheets were changed and she thought all
this was genuine.
The presidential candidate Wallace came to Magadan and asked
to be shown a Soviet prison camp. He was shown a camp where people
were wearing solid fur coats, they were strong and healthy and were
doing relatively easy work. The guards were brought from all the
other camps to this one and they demonstrated to Wallace an
exemplary Soviet labor camp. So, they knew nothing and it was hard
to learn anything.
Still, however, we could guess that something was up. We
realized that our prison is not a spa. But the West did not guess
and did not know.

Anchor: There was a message with a signature. Could you recall
a couple of anecdotes from those time, anecdotes which were told
when Stalin was still around? Or was it absolutely impossible to
tell a joke? Or people would stay in the kitchen and whisper
something to each other?

Medvedev: Yes, there were anecdotes, people would whisper and
tell the jokes and about 200,000 people were behind bars for
anecdotes. And when rehabilitation began, the first telegram was
sent to the camps with the simple message of setting free all
jailed for anecdotes.

Anchor: But they were still understood to be deprived of
freedom under Article 58, weren't they?

Medvedev: Yes, under Article 58. But their term was quite
small, the tellers of anecdotes would be sentenced to five years --
it would be a "preferential" easy sentence. So, they would be the
first. Special agents would be on hand in libraries, smoking rooms
and toilets to hear who tells anecdotes and then they would be
taken, their personality would be established and they would be
arrested.
So, people would get prison terms for anecdotes. Nevertheless,
the anecdotes were quite many and I know them. But somehow I would
not like to tell them here.

Anchor: But were they funny at least?

Medvedev: Yes, they were.

Anchor: Would they hit the nail on the head?

Medvedev: Yes, they would, for Stalin himself liked to listen.
He requested Beria to supply him with the stories. So Beria would
tell him the anecdotes and he would laugh. It is true that he would
be irked by some anecdotes because he himself would emerge as an
overly negative figure. And many anecdotes about Stalin's ruthless
treatment of people would cause him to laugh. Many anecdotes were
based on Stalin's personality cult. If a monument to Lenin would be
erected, Stalin would not approve of the "project" until the
architect would install a monument to Stalin next to Lenin's
monument, holding a collection of Lenin's works in his hand. You
see, there were many anecdotes.

Anchor: Roi Alexandrovich, this is insanity. It is even
difficult to discuss this topic for some 20 minutes. I think that
even three nightly sessions on the air each lasting six hours would
not be enough to discuss this topic in detail. But our time is up.
I thank you all. It was a fascinating session.

I could not answer all the questions because it was an
avalanche of them and some got lost and I could not find them.
Nevertheless, thank you. Our guest live on the air was historian
Roi Medvedev and we talked about Stalin and his role in history.
Thank you.

********

#10
Nikolai Zlobin: Russia's Foreign Policy: Choices in the Absence of Choice
Washington Profile, 2003, March 10, 2003
Nikolai Zlobin, Director of Russian and Asian Programs of the Center
Defense Information, Washington DC.
nzlobin@cdi.org
www.washprofile.org

Nikolai Zlobin: Russia's Foreign Policy: Choices in the Absence of
Choice

Washington Profile March 12, 2003

www.washprofile.org

Q: Why has the Iraqi crisis united France, Germany, Russia and China?

A: We're not just talking about Iraq. We're talking about a new world
order - who will create it, and how it will look. The main contradiction
here is that France is trying to create a multi-polar world, where Europe
would serve as a counterweight to the US. But all the other countries who
are against the American position have their own reasons. That's why I
think that this coalition will not be even be able to bring together France
and Germany, who have never been able to unite in all their history.

Regarding Russia, this is not an issue of strategy. Russia, in my opinion,
would benefit much more from the unipolar world being constructed by
the US. As I understand, Russia's national interest is a long-term strategic
partnership with the US. That's strategic. Iraq is tactical. It is important
that the strategy remains the same, regardless of the tactics. Last year,
Putin played the situation with the ABM treaty very well. He did not put
temporary problems at the forefront. Putin said that Russia thinks the
American withdrawal from the treaty is a mistake, but since Russia is a
friend and an ally of the US, the two countries will remain friends and
allies despite these emergent differences. Russia should take the same
stance in regards to Iraq: "Yes, we admit that you are making a mistake.
But let's get past the mistakes, which everyone makes. Let's see the forest
behind the trees. We have more important priorities - the economy,
international security, the war on terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of
mass destruction. All these questions are far more serious than Iraq."

In this way the Russian position is very different from Germany or France,
who are searching for very different benefits from opposing the US.
Russia could only lose if it opposes the US. Of course, France and
Germany will lose as well, but their situation is different. Russia today is
in the same situation that Germany was fifty years ago. If post-war
Germany had begun protesting the shifting world order, it would probably
be in a very different situation today. But it became the largest country in
Europe precisely because it thought about strategy.

It is very important for Russia not to block US actions, to always
emphasize that Russia will remain a loyal friend of the US during all these
disagreements. But the Bush administration sees unity as a complete
agreement on all issues - this goes not just for Russia, but for other
countries as well. Americans don't always understand that partners can
remain partners without always agreeing with one another. Russia could
also make mistakes, and it would be a shame if America forever turns its
back to Russia because of one such mistake. Moreover, it is critical for
Russia to figure out if Bush will be re-elected president, and how America
will change as a result.

It is understood that Russia has a large Muslim population, that it's much
closer to the explosive Middle East, that Putin is experiencing lobbying
pressures from many different groups. But it seems the Kremlin has made
the political decision to create a strategic partnership with America. If we
think about it, without propaganda and hysteria, Russia simply has no
other choice. To lose this chance would be devastating for Russia,
especially from the point of view of national security. Europe will never
concern itself with Russia's security. The French and the Germans will not
think about how to protect Russia in Asia. Europe has neither the strength
nor the political will to do so. Unfortunately, there is another problem -
America is not yet ready to enter into a strategic partnership with Russia.
The US sometimes makes moves toward Russia that could hardly be
considered friendly. But again, Russia should stand firm on its position -
we are partners and we may not always agree.

When a person has problems, he consults his friends. He may accept or
reject their advice, but these people will still remain his friends. But no
one would ever ask advice or evaluate suggestions from someone who is
always rude, someone who never agrees with you. Why bother talking to
such a person? If Russia wants to maintain political influence in America
- and not just America, since many of the Western countries stand behind
the US as well - then butting horns would be a serious mistake.

We must look at things realistically. Western Europe and the US, despite
all their differences, have a long history of strategic partnerships. Russia
has just emerged from its role as the sworn foe of the US. If Russia
categorically opposes American choices, it will not be treated like the
Western Europeans. It will be treated in a way resembling the Cold War.
In the end, America, France and Germany will return to normal relations.
The situation with Russia would be wholly different.

Q: But why should Russia orient itself toward the US, and not Germany,
for instance, which is Russia's main trading partner and lender?

A: The improvement of Russian-European relations is the result of a
persistent and unceremonious push by Washington. The worse the
relations between Russia and the US, the worse the relations between
Russia and Europe. The less we cooperate with America, the more
difficult it is to solve Schengen's problems, the more difficulties with
Eastern Europe, the UK, SpainRussia has no future in Europe.
Undoubtedly, political and economic ties should be developed, but Russia
will never become a member of the EU. If the EU took Russia into it, it
would cease to exist. I hope the Kremlin understands this. It's a shame that
France and Germany may once again use Russian influence to their
advantage, and then discard Russia, as they have already done many times.

There are few things more absurd than the idea of a union between Russia,
France, Germany, and China. A strategic union with the US is more
realistic. But it must be developed. Unfortunately, the development is not
a two-way street. Strategy is eclipsed by the daily tactical questions. The
absence of a Kremlin strategy is very visible, and there's not much of it in
Washington either. This is very dangerous, because if you can't see where
you're going, you might go in the wrong direction. After that it is difficult
to get back onto the road, and not end up in the gutter.

One thing must be understood - there's currently an active breakdown of
the old machine of international relations, principles, doctrines and
institutions. After WWII the USSR made many advantageous deals for
itself - a permanent seat in the Security Council, influence in the UN, a
sphere of influence in Europe and Asia. Now this system is collapsing, and
in the next decade it will cease to exist.

The current situation is more profitable for Russia than for others, because
Russia has an economy half the size of Portugal's, and yet it has a
permanent seat and right of veto in the Security Council. Japan, the
world's second economy, or India, a nuclear power with a billion people,
has no such standing. In the new world order, Russia may not have the
same influence that it does now. And if it foolishly stands against the US,
which is currently building the new world order, it may not get any
influence all.

Q: So Russia either completely agrees with the US, but then it won't be
respected, or it shows initiative and independence, trying to correct
America's steps, but may end up empty-handed.

A: To correct the US steps, one must have a basis for correction. One has
to be heard in Washington. To agree with America is drawn-out idea.
Western Europe agreed with America for half a century, and no one lost
respect for it. The USSR lost precisely because we did not go for that kind
of alliance due to ideological differences.
A union with America is a predetermined path for Russia, whether you
like America or not. I wouldn't anthropomorphize America with Bush or
Clinton, to identify it with bombing Yugoslavia or Iraq. This is only
tactics. There are more serious issues - for instance, an understanding of
where Russia wants to be in 20-25 years. It isn't necessary to completely
agree with the US. Sometimes it's necessary to disagree. But, as I said, it
must be clearly understood that the two countries are partners, and that
they could have tactical differences which would not substantially alter the
foundation of their partnership.

Same with business. The dollar is both brave and cowardly. If the dollar
doesn't flow into Russia, this is a bad sign. The more Russia delays its
strategy for an international vision, the more scared the dollar will
become. Our economy is already lagging behind, from a technological
standpoint.

Q: But China doesn't agree with the US, and the dollar flows into the
Chinese economy.

A: The dollar flows to China for different reasons. First, there is an active
process of Westernizing the Chinese economy. The dollar can profit there.
There is a huge unemployment level there, allowing for exceptionally
cheap labor. Second, from a military, space-exploration, technological
viewpoint, China lags behind Russia by a whole generation. Americans
see no great danger in the fact that China is taking an actively un-
American stance. Third, the US believes that China will not take such a
stance because it has no choice - it needs investment, technology, access
to international markets. Fourth, the first victim of Chinese aggression will
not be the US, but, for instance, Russia. If six of America's main outlet
chain stores close, the Chinese economy would collapse. China is closely
bound to the American market, a bind that Russia does not have. And it
must be said, China opened to the West far before Russia did. Russia was
late with China, Russia was late with Latin America. It should not lose the
economic battle with the last Russian competitor - Africa.

Russia was unable to make Japan its friend. This is a huge political
mistake. We lost a lot because Japan did not invest and is not planning to
invest in Russia. This is another miscalculation, based on the assumption
that we are strong and rich by ourselves, that we have missiles and need
zones of influence instead of strategic allies. We must be careful not to
make America into another Japan, where everyone smiles but won't lift a
finger to help our economy, to help maintain spheres of influence or
defense. Europe will not help, neither will Japan. And if let America go,
then who will do it?

Q: What about Iran, India, Iraq?

A: Russia has a tendency to create alliances with small countries, who
only nip at the greater power for their own benefit. There is nothing more
stupid than that. Russia's main foreign policy should be to create an
economically competitive country. If a union with India, Iran or Iraq
makes Russia competitive - great! But that's not going to happen. These
countries need investment, technology and aid even more so than Russia.
The paradox is that America insisted on sanctions for Saddam Hussein,
which is in line with Russia's national interests. Russia was against the
sanctions this whole time. The US doesn't need the sanctions, because
they increased oil prices - they did it for political reasons. Russia,
therefore, fought against the US and against its own interests. There is no
greater idiocy.

Same with Iran. Why is Iran building a nuclear power plant? It has huge
reserves of coal and oil. It has no energy problems. Saudi Arabia is not
building these stations, because they are dangerous and expensive. It
would seem that Russia has great influence on North Korea, but as soon as
the crisis began, North Korea told Russia to mind its own business. No
influence, after all. We should be careful that the same doesn't happen in
Iran. Understandably, Russia needs money. That's why I support Western
compensation of Russia for her nuclear cooperation with Iran.

Q: What should the Kremlin do about the Iraq situation?

A: I understand Russia's position. There is no direct evidence that Iraq has
WMDs, no proof that Iraq supports international terrorism. In Russia's
place, I would present the question of disarming Pakistan. This country
definitely has nuclear weapons, it has an unpredictable political
atmosphere, and Pakistani rockets can reach Russian territories. If Russia
wants to become a partner of the US, it could come to it and say, "You
want to disarm Iraq - we want to disarm Pakistan." But for that they need
to go together with the Americans and cooperate with them.

********

#11
The San Francisco Chronicle
March 11, 2002
Russia weighs allies amid weak economy
War against Iraq would mean losing right to invest in oil fields
By Anna Badkhen, Chronicle Staff Writer

Moscow -- After weeks of speculation that Russia would ultimately choose to
abstain rather than vote against a second U.N. Security Council resolution,
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Monday that Russia would vote
against a resolution giving Iraqi President Saddam Hussein a March 17
deadline to disarm or face attack.

Russia's opposition to U.S. policies on Iraq has created the most serious
rift in relations since Moscow became a major Washington ally in the
American- led war against terror. In making the announcement, Russia had to
weigh the risk of damaging its newly minted alliance with the United States
against its powerful economic interests.

"Russia believes that no further U.N. Security Council resolutions are
necessary," Ivanov said in televised remarks during an appearance at the
Moscow State Linguistic University on Monday.

"Therefore, Russia openly declares that if the draft resolution that
currently has been introduced for consideration and which contains demands
in the form of an ultimatum that cannot be met is nonetheless put to a
vote, Russia will vote against this resolution." The United States is
pushing for a new resolution that would give Hussein until March 17 to
fully disarm.

It was the first time that Russia, a veto-wielding member of the Security
Council, said it would vote against a U.N. resolution granting
authorization of a war against Baghdad. However, by emphasizing that its
objections related to the resolution in its current form, the Kremlin
appears to have left itself some room to change course.

Russia has repeatedly called for the weapons inspections in Iraq to
continue, saying that Baghdad is cooperating with international inspectors
and moving toward disarmament. It has warned Washington that a unilateral
attack against Baghdad would be a mistake and a violation of the U.N.
charter and would establish America as a force outside international law.

Moscow also says the war, seen by many Muslims as a U.S. campaign against
Islamic culture, would contribute to radicalization of Islam and to
international terrorism.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin's top priority is making Russia, whose
every fourth resident lives below the poverty line, into an economically
viable state, and a possible war in Iraq triggers deep economic concerns
here. Putin is worried that Russia would lose lucrative rights to invest
billions of dollars in Iraqi oil fields under a new, postwar regime in
Baghdad, despite U. S. assurances that it will take Moscow's financial
interests in the region into consideration.

Russian oil companies have about 40 percent -- or about $2 billion worth --
of the oil export contracts allowed under the U.N. oil-for-food sanctions
program, which allows countries to purchase Iraqi oil in return for food,
medicine and other humanitarian aid.

They also have oil exploration deals with Iraq worth an estimated $600
million that are on hold until U.N. sanctions imposed after the 1991 Gulf
War are lifted. Analysts estimate that the long-term value of Russia's
economic relationship with Baghdad may be as high as $40 billion in
lucrative and as- yet-untapped oil wells -- an enormous amount for Russia,
a country with an annual national budget of less than $70 billion.

Putin has gone along with Washington when the United States established
military bases in former Soviet republics, expanded NATO to Russia's
western borders and withdrew from an anti-missile treaty with Moscow. But
he is still waiting for the concessions he expected for his acquiescence,
such as pronouncing Russia a market economy or removing the 1974
Jackson-Vanik amendment to the 1974 Trade Act, which was created to curb
trade with the Soviet Union -- both of which would help Russia open its
market for Western investment and trade.

Monday, in a move clearly linked to the tug-of-war in the Security Council,
the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar,
R.-Ind.,

introduced a bill to lift the Jackson-Vanik amendment and grant Russia
permanent normal trade relations. A spokesman for Lugar admitted that the
action was deliberately timed to coincide with the U.N. debate.

While Putin has nurtured the budding alliance with the United States, he is
also pinning his hopes for new investment and trade on an alliance with
Europe.

Russia's ties with European countries such as Germany, which strongly
opposes any military action against Iraq, generate substantial revenue. The
European Union is Russia's largest trading partner, Germany is its largest
creditor, and Russia's state-controlled monopoly Gazprom supplies up to 30
percent of Europe's natural gas.

The Kremlin also has a motive for prolonging tensions over Iraq. High oil
prices in recent years have been the main impetus for Russia's economic
recovery, and tensions over Iraq have driven the price of oil to about $32
per barrel. If war anxiety subsides, oil prices could drop by up to 30
percent.

The United States has been putting its political muscle into the campaign
to win Russia's backing for a war in Iraq. Last week, the Moscow Times
reported, a senior U.S. diplomat here warned the Kremlin that it risked
being locked out of a post-Hussein Iraq and threatened that Russia's
accession to the World Trade Organization, which sets and polices world
trade rules, depended on Moscow's U.N. vote.

Washington reacted swiftly to Ivanov's threat to veto a resolution calling
for war.

"I think the president would, indeed, be disappointed if Russia were to
veto," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. "The president would look
at this as a missed opportunity for Russia to take an important moral stand
to defend freedom and to prevent the risk of a massive catastrophe taking
place as a result of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction."

"It would be, from a moral point, more than a disappointment," he added.
"It would let down millions of people around the world, in this case Iraq,
who deserve to be free and have a better life."

But Ivanov criticized America's plans for Iraqi regime change.

"In the Soviet times, we tried to impose regimes that were loyal to us, but
everybody knows what that led to," Ivanov said.

*******

#12
Wall Street Journal
March 11, 2003
Russia's Improving Economy Cuts Power of U.S. Handouts
By ALAN CULLISON
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

MOSCOW -- Russia's resistance to a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq is a sign that
the diplomacy of dependency of the 1990s might have run its course here.
After recovering from a decade of post-Soviet shrinkage and collapse,
Moscow is awash in cash and not so easily plied by the West's economic
handouts.

With a United Nations vote nearing that could lead to war in Iraq, the
opposing camps led by the U.S. and France have focused their intense
lobbying on a handful of undecided Security Council members. U.S. diplomats
said they were concentrating on Angola, Guinea and Chile. U.S. National
Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, has openly suggested that the Bush
administration might offer financial aid to key nations in exchange for
support, saying: "We're talking to people about their interests."

Until recently, such talk would have fallen on receptive ears here. Western
purse strings were a factor Russia had to consider when forming its foreign
and even domestic agendas through most of the 1990s. With its economy in a
shambles, Moscow feared punitive rulings from the Paris and London Club
groups of creditors, who held billions of dollars in Soviet-era debt. It
also relied on the largess of the World Bank and International Monetary
Fund to plug budget gaps.

The West's economic leverage didn't always contain the rants of
unpredictable former President Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s, but it did play
a role at crucial junctures. Mr. Yeltsin was keenly interested in Russia
becoming part of the Group of Seven economic powers. When the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization bombed Yugoslavia in 1999, IMF aid was seen as
an important incentive that kept Russia's often-symbolic support of the
Yugoslavian government from turning into active defense.

The alchemy of Russia's financial relations has changed quite a bit since
then: President Vladimir Putin put a halt to IMF borrowing after becoming
president in early 2000, when a recovery in world oil prices gave Moscow
some financial relief. Mideast uncertainties, which have prompted a rise in
oil prices, have only buttressed the Kremlin's finances further. Russia ,
the second-largest oil producer in the world, is now cash-rich, and the
government had been using its huge budget surpluses to pay down the
national debt.

Last week, the day after Russia declared along with France and Germany its
firm opposition to a U.N. resolution authorizing force against Iraq, the
Russian government posted an announcement on its Web site that it intended
to repay IMF loans next year ahead of schedule. Last winter, the Kremlin
announced it was ending the work of the Peace Corps in Russia , a move
officials attributed to rising self-confidence -- and a feeling that Russia
didn't need aid from groups such as the Peace Corps, whose mission is to
assist developing countries.

"They haven't been on their knees for some time," said a senior U.S.
diplomat in Moscow. The U.S. has tried to steer clear of any outright
offers of economic incentives in exchange for Russian support of an
invasion of Iraq, the diplomat said, adding that the Russian government has
made it clear it isn't interested in such offers.

Russia does have some interests to protect in Iraq: Saddam Hussein has
promised Russian companies in recent years the chance to develop more than
25 billion barrels of oil in Iraqi fields. The Russian government,
meanwhile, would like Iraq to repay Soviet-era debts that totaled $8
billion (7.26 billion) when Iraq stopped paying them in the early 1990s.

To the extent that economic enticements by Western governments enter into
Mr. Putin's thinking on Iraq today, it isn't clear that Washington can
offer more than France or Germany. Germany is one of Russia's largest
trading partners, and Russia's biggest company, the state-controlled
natural-gas company Gazprom, funnels most of its gas exports to Europe.
Russia has long pestered the West for help in gaining entry to the World
Trade Organization so Russian goods could get easier access to Western
markets. But entry requires help from a number of countries besides the U.S.

Meanwhile, Russia has indicated it is more worried about the world price of
oil than oil contracts or the Soviet-era debt, the U.S. diplomat said.
Russia derives one-third of its federal revenue from oil and gas -- if the
U.S. does invade Iraq and increases oil production dramatically, it could
be a big shock to the federal budget.

"While $8 billion isn't peanuts, it is dwarfed when you think about a
possible fall in the oil price," the diplomat said.

The U.S. has told Russia it won't let oil prices crash if it gets control
of Iraqi oil fields. Industry analysts assume that when the turmoil in the
Middle East dies down prices will fall from their current levels, in the
high $30s, toward the longer-term average of around $20.

The Kremlin already has amassed a lofty financial cushion to contain the
effects of any fall in the oil price. The government calculated its 2003
budget based on an average oil price of $21.50 a barrel, and for every
dollar that the oil price has risen above the budget calculation, the
Russian federal budget has received about $1 billion in extra annual
revenue. Russia has been stashing away the excess, and in the past four
months central bank reserves have risen by $6.3 billion, to $53.1 billion
at the end of February.

"The Russian economy is, I would say, prepared for this situation,
including in the budget sphere," Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told
Russian state television.

Moscow's position contrasts sharply with that of Turkey, which has been
scrambling in recent days to reverse the rejection of a U.S. proposal to
place 60,000 troops there in return for as much as $15 billion in aid.
Turkey's financial markets plummeted last week after its parliament
rejected a plan to take the troops.

Russian equity and debt have all the while rallied powerfully during the
past several weeks, despite a world-wide downturn in financial markets that
investors blame on war jitters. While the high price of oil has helped lift
Russian assets higher, analysts say the rally is also a payoff for several
years of economic reforms that have made Russia an enticing investment
opportunity. In February, BP PLC announced it would make the largest
foreign-equity investment ever in Russia , paying about $6.75 billion in
cash and stock for a 50% stake in a new venture that would become the
country's third-largest oil producer.

Analysts hailed the BP deal as a sign that Russia is stable enough for
major Western companies to make significant direct investments. The deal
represents about 1-1/2 times the total foreign direct investment that
Russia attracted last year. Investors are betting the country's sovereign
debt, priced as junk after the 1998 financial blowout, will attain
investment grade next year.

"The most important thing for Russia now is private investment -- not aid
from any foreign government," said Roland Nash, head of research at
Renaissance Capital investment bank in Moscow. "Right now the private
investment is coming in, so they don't need handouts."