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1. Keir Johnson: Gypsies In Russia.
2. Christian Science Monitor: Fred Weir, Chechnya to vote on constitution.
3. Moscow Times: Thomas De Waal, Chechen Referendum Is Road to Nowhere.
4. Dow Jones/AP: Russia Launches Broad Criticism Of Iraq War, Coalition.
5. Prime-TASS: State Duma condemns Iraq war, calls for UN peacekeeping.
6. Prime-TASS: Ivanov says US occupation of Iraq illegal without UN approval.
7. The Guardian (UK): Kevin O'Flynn, Pundits puzzle over Putin's anti-war stance.
8. Interfax: Russian Internet users discuss Iraq war online.
9. Moscow Times: Kevin O'Flynn, Russians Are Opposed but Few Protest.
10. Newsweek web exclusive: Christian Caryl, Balancing Act. Moscow is working hard to avoid diplomatic payback over its opposition to U.S. policy on Iraq.
11. Moscow Times editorial: Russia Must Not Stand By and Watch.
12. Vremya MN: Andrei Ryabov, THE FIRST RESULTS OF THE IRAQI WAR.
13. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Alexei Pushkov, PRINCIPLES AND INTERESTS ARE ONE AND THE SAME THING. Support for the war on Iraq: advantages and disadvantages.
14. Rossiiskaya Gazeta: Andrei Tretyakov, IT IS AMERICA'S FUNERAL.
15. Krasnaya Zvezda: POSSIBLE EFFECT OF MILITARY OPERATION IN IRAQ ON RUSSIA-U.S. RELATIONS. (Nikonov and Markov)
16. Dow Jones: Anna Raff, Russian Oil Industry Has Jump On Any Iraqi Competition.
17. Luba Schwartzman: TV1 Review.
18. Interfax: World Bank says Russian economy depends ever more on raw materials.
19. Vedomosti: Boris Grozovsky and Yelena Myazina, REFORM FAILS. World Bank criticizes the new pension system.
20. AP: Vatican, Russian Orthodox Work on Ties.
21. Forum 18 News Service: Geraldine Fagan, RUSSIA: RELIGION LOOMS AS ELECTORAL FACTOR.
22. Vremya MN: Rumored Plans To Dissolve Russian State Statistics Committee Denied.

*********

#1
From: Keir Johnson <Domini202@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 2003
Subject: Gypsies In Russia

I'm trying to find films, videos, and photographs that deal with or have a
segment with gypsies in Russia from any time period. I am doing a project
about gypsy migration and influence for a comparative literature class. Any
help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Keir Johnson
1647 Winding Waye Lane
Silver Spring MD 20902

********

#2
Christian Science Monitor
March 21, 2003
Chechnya to vote on constitution
By Fred Weir | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

MOSCOW - While the world's attention is fixed on Iraq this weekend, Moscow
will stage a referendum in Chechnya that it hopes will frame a political
solution to the three-and-a-half year civil war in the breakaway Russian
republic.

But the still-active separatist rebels have condemned the plan. And critics
and human rights activists say the vote is premature as long as 80,000
Russian occupation troops remain unable to keep the peace in the tiny
republic. On Thursday alone, two Russian helicopters went missing during
counterinsurgency operations in Chechnya's rugged south.

According to the Kremlin plan, Chechnya's 537,000 voters will be asked to
approve a road map to peace, which includes a new regional constitution,
followed by elections for a fresh local government and the signing of a
federal treaty to spell out the republic's division of powers with Moscow.
Though the proposed constitution offers Chechnya "wide autonomy," its first
clause states clearly that "the territory of the Chechen Republic is
indivisible and is an integral part of the territory of the Russian
Federation."

Rebels have warned they may stage attacks to disrupt the polling Sunday,
and some experts fear that vote results could be fabricated to fit the
Kremlin's expectations, much as happened during a similar Chechen election
under Russian occupation in June 1996. More than a dozen Rus-sian human
rights groups and liberal parties signed an appeal this week asking that
the referendum be postponed until Moscow arranges a cease-fire and opens
unconditional peace talks with the rebels.

"I fear the situation in Chechnya may even worsen after this referendum,"
says Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the liberal Yabloko party. "To achieve
normalization in Chechnya there must first be a peace process, led by the
Russian president, in which all warring sides are represented."

Exhausted by two wars that have killed an estimated 100,000 civilians and
left almost half a million homeless, many Chechens yearn for peace. The
tiny, mostly Muslim republic has seen nearly 12 years of chaos and
destruction since Chechnya declared independence during the waning days of
the USSR in 1991.

"For the Chechen people, this [referendum] is a last chance to find a
peaceful political settlement," says Malik Saidullayev, a leading Chechen
businessman who heads the State Council of Chechnya, an unofficial assembly
of influential Moscow-based Chechens. "We will finally get a constitution
and a political process to work within," he says. "This may not solve all
problems, but it is a lesser evil than war."

The foreign minister of Chechnya's independence-minded rebel government,
Ilyas Akhmadov, this week unveiled an alternative peace plan in Washington,
which would defer the republic's quest for statehood until genuine peace
was achieved. The proposal calls for international peacekeeping troops to
take over security functions from widely-distrusted Russian troops - on the
model of recent UN-backed operations in Kosovo and East Timor - to give
Chechens an opportunity to rebuild their own political institutions.

********

#3
Moscow Times
March 21, 2003
Chechen Referendum Is Road to Nowhere
By Thomas de Waal
Thomas de Waal, Caucasus editor with the Institute for War and Peace
Reporting (www.iwpr.net), contributed this comment to The Moscow Times.

Tracking Moscow's policy-making toward Chechnya since September 1991, I can
only conclude that someone in the Kremlin wants to set a world record for
inconsistency.

Since Sept. 6, 1991, when the last Communist administration was overthrown
in Grozny, Moscow has, successively, tried the following tactics: support
the new regime; threaten it; land troops; retreat; negotiate and blockade;
arm the opposition; bomb; declare victory; negotiate; bomb; declare
victory; negotiate; surrender; support the new regime; ignore it; threaten
it; bomb; proclaim victory.

Now, the Kremlin has a new plan: Impose a new constitution on Chechnya --
no one doubts that there will be a resounding "yes" vote in this Sunday's
plebiscite in the absence of proper monitoring -- and proclaim that peace
and security have been restored. The trouble is that since 1991 Chechnya
has already had two constitutions, four parliaments (none of which went to
full term) and half a dozen leaders -- two of whom still regard themselves
as legitimate rulers of the republic. And none of a series of mutually
contradictory documents defining its relationship with Moscow has ever been
properly observed. Perhaps it is time for a rethink?

The fundamental problem is that all Russian plans to date have been shaped
not by the political realities in Chechnya, but by a political agenda set
in Moscow. So it is again with the new draft constitution, which will
affirm that Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation and prepare the
ground for electing a new Chechen president. There are two problems here
already. The status of Chechnya is such a serious issue that it has been
the primary cause of two wars. Chechnya has twice declared itself
independent. Many will dispute the legality of this and others, myself
included, the practicability or wisdom of Chechnya being an independent
state. Chechnya's two periods of attempted independence from 1991 to 1994
and 1997 to 1999 were disastrous. In any real terms, the debate on
Chechnya's independence is an entirely pointless one.

I need hardly point out, however, the absurdity of Moscow's position, which
is simply to declare Chechnya is a full part of the Russian Federation and
that the problem is solved. Thousands of Chechens have died trying to
achieve secession from Russia, and hundreds more fighters are still
prepared to die for that cause. Calling them misguided or "bandits" or
"terrorists" will not make them go away. And even those Chechens -- a
majority I suspect -- who reject the armed struggle against Moscow do not
want to be fully integrated into a state that has sent bombers and heavy
artillery against their towns and villages. As prominent Chechen politician
Ruslan Khasbulatov -- an opponent of independence for Chechnya -- has said,
Moscow cannot ignore the abyss it has created between itself and Chechnya:
"A question should always be put to those who support the thesis 'Chechnya
stays inside Russia.' So why did Russia kill two hundred thousand of our
citizens?"

As for the appropriate form of government for Chechnya, a glance at Chechen
history, both old and recent, makes it clear that the republic is ill
served by a vertical power structure.

Traditionally, Chechnya has never been a unified or monolithic place. It is
a land of both plain and mountain shared by more than 150 teips or clans in
several hundred villages. Its supposed capital, Grozny, was always a
Russian city, and power was decentralized throughout the regions. Early
Russian ethnographers labeled the Chechens' traditions of collective
decision-making and lack of aristocracy a "mountain democracy."

Logically, therefore, Chechnya would do best from a parliamentary form of
government in which no single leader was in charge and different
politicians, regions and families could share power and make collective
decisions.

Arguably, Chechnya set off on the road to ruin in 1991 when Dzhokhar
Dudayev was elected president and flouted those collective traditions.
Dudayev had spent his entire adult life outside Chechnya and imported many
of his nationalist ideas from the Baltic States. His attempts at one-man
rule divided Chechnya and never gave him full control of the entire
territory he claimed to be his "state."

Dudayev's successor, Aslan Maskhadov was far more in tune with the public
mood in Chechnya and more consensual. He was also -- although a vast number
of commentators on Chechnya, both Russian and foreign, prefer to forget
this -- the one and only legitimate and popularly elected leader Chechnya
has had in its history, when he was voted into office in 1997. But
Maskhadov's status as leader became, in the end, a trap for him: Both
Chechen warlords and Russian politicians were happy to ascribe personal
blame to him for what was actually beyond his control and shirk the
responsibility themselves.

And now in Akhmad Kadyrov Chechnya has another leader more in the Dudayev
mold (in fact, at one point the two men were quite close): bullying,
jealous of his power and not interested in consensus. Kadyrov, in his way,
is just as divisive as Dudayev and just as doomed to fail as Maskhadov. His
only virtue seems to be his loyalty in the eyes of the Kremlin. Alarm bells
about Moscow's dependence on Kadyrov should have rung last December, when
suicide bombers attacked his government headquarters in Grozny, killing
more than 72 people. The suicide attack proved how insecure -- both
physically and politically -- Moscow's chosen government was. It also
showed that the old anthropological deterrents that used to stop Chechens
from fighting one another -- a fear of blood vengeance from your victim's
family -- are being destroyed.

There are still threads of consensus under the surface in Chechen society.
Men, whom outside analysts place in different camps, like Akhmed Zakayev,
Khasbulatov and Salambek Khadzhiev, all command respect and agree on much
more than they disagree.

Many of those who died in the December bombing were apparatchiks who had
served in one government after another from Dudayev to Kadyrov. I remember
in 1995, men supposedly serving the "pro-Moscow" government in Grozny
swapping messages with friends in the "anti-Moscow" government in the
mountains. Family and village ties were stronger than public political
allegiances.

These old threads still help hold Chechen society together, despite the men
of violence and the ambitions of would-be leaders like Kadyrov. But this
constituency in the middle is weakening with every month that passes, as
the war goes on.

For Moscow to accommodate this mass of ordinary Chechens, however, would
require it to admit that it has failed them utterly over the past 12 years.
It would entail admitting that it has lost Chechnya and must make a case
for reclaiming it. Eventually President Vladimir Putin and his team will
have to come around to that view. But what kind of condition will Chechnya
be in when they finally throw up their hands and admit that they have failed?

********

#4
Russia Launches Broad Criticism Of Iraq War, Coalition
March 21, 2003
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

MOSCOW (AP)--President Vladimir Putin said Friday that the Iraqi crisis has
the potential to destabilize the former Soviet republics, and his foreign
minister cast doubt on the existence of the anti-Baghdad "coalition of the
willing" the U.S. claims to have formed.

The Russian Foreign Ministry also warned Friday that the U.S.-led military
attack on Iraq could complicate efforts to resolve the standoff over North
Korea's suspected nuclear weapons program.

"The crisis has spilled beyond a local conflict and today has become a
potential source of instability in other regions, including the
Commonwealth of Independent States," Putin said.

"The war against Iraq is a decision that might trigger unpredictable
consequences, including increased extremism," Putin told a gathering of top
security officials from the CIS, a loose grouping of former Soviet republics.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who has taken the lead in Russia's
opposition to the use of force against Baghdad, told the lower house of
parliament that a foreign occupation of Iraq without permission of the U.N.
Security Council would be illegitimate.

"The question arises as to how the norms of international law will be
observed in the course of this operation, in particular, the prohibition on
attacking civilians and civilian objects, using non-precision weapons and
harming the environment," Interfax quoted him as saying.

He also said that the U.S.-led coalition for the immediate disarmament of
Iraq was "more like an amorphous thing, which Washington and London are
trying to present as a coalition to show they're not alone."

"All the declarations about the existence of an anti-Iraqi coalition are
thought-up," Ivanov said.

Aside from Spain and Australia, which allegedly joined the coalition for
political reasons, Ivanov said the so-called members "were either silent or
signaled indirectly that they don't oppose such actions," Ivanov said.

In spite of his harsh words, Ivanov told lawmakers that the war must not be
allowed to derail the anti-terrorist coalition cobbled together after the
Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.

"While solving the issue of Iraq, we must not forget that we also face
global problems and we should not make the anti-terror coalition a victim
of this problem, over which we and the United States disagree," Ivanov said.

After Ivanov's address, the lower house, or State Duma, passed a resolution
calling on Putin to urge the Security Council to send U.N. forces to Iraq
and convene a special session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Ivanov waved away reports that the U.S. had asked foreign capitals to
deport Iraqi diplomats, and said Washington hadn't approached Moscow on the
matter.

"If we receive such a request, it would carry no legal force and we would
react accordingly," he told reporters at the Duma.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow confirmed that Washington had asked foreign
countries to temporarily suspend Iraqi diplomatic missions and to ensure
that high-ranking Iraqi representatives leave.

As for requests to freeze Iraqi assets, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said
Moscow had no evidence suggesting that Saddam was laundering funds through
Russian accounts.

********

#5
State Duma condemns Iraq war, calls for UN peacekeeping

MOSCOW, Mar 21 /Prime-TASS/ -- Russia's State Duma, the lower house of
parliament, gave its final approval Friday to a statement condemning the
outbreak of war in Iraq.

The statement was given preliminary endorsement Thursday.

The Duma called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to initiate a special
session of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss the issue of the aggression
against Iraq, "an independent state and a U.N. member."

The statement also called on Putin to initiate a U.N. Security Council
Resolution to commit U.N. peacekeeping forces to separate the two sides.

The statement said that the military actions of the U.S. and its allies
potentially threatens Russia's national interests and proposes amendments
to Russia's 2003 federal budget to increase defense spending.

The Duma said that the military operation by the U.S., U.K. and their
allies against Iraq "undermines the system of international relations and
threatens international stability."

A solution to the Iraqi crisis can only be achieved by peaceful means in
accordance with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, the Duma said.

The Duma called on the U.S. and its allies to stop the military operation
immediately and asked the parliaments of states all over the world to
support a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The Duma also called on U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Security
Council "to condemn the actions of the U.S., Britain and their allies
without delay and to take all possible steps to resolve the situation in
Iraq peacefully."

********

#6
Ivanov says US occupation of Iraq illegal without UN approval

MOSCOW, Mar 21 /Prime-TASS/ -- A U.S. military occupation of Iraq would be
illegal without the approval of the United Nations, Russian Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov told the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's
parliament, Friday.

He said he does not believe that the role of the U.N. Security Council has
dramatically diminished in the wake of the U.S.-led attack on Iraq.

Having sent inspectors to Iraq, the Security Council has fulfilled its task
as the main body responsible for maintaining international peace, he said.

The main task should now be to ensure that the crisis is resolved within
the framework of the Security Council, Ivanov said.

It is difficult to predict the consequences of the war in Iraq, he said,
but it is obvious that the attack will escalate the crisis, not stabilize
the region.

"Nobody invited the U.S. to liberate Iraq from anybody," so it is strange
that the military operation is being described as a liberation, he noted

********

#7
The Guardian (UK)
March 21, 2003
Pundits puzzle over Putin's anti-war stance
The view from Moscow
Kevin O'Flynn

President Vladimir Putin has picked his side in the war on Iraq, siding
with France and Germany, and possibly ruining years of improving relations
with the United States. The Russian newspapers spent the week wondering
why. "We can only guess at the battle raging within Mr Putin's inner
circle," wrote Andrei Piontkovsky in Novaya Gazeta. "One idea has taken
hold in the top echelons of the foreign policy bureaucracy - that in this
election year it is more important than ever to take a strong stand in our
dealings with the US. The image of a strong and decisive leader will play
well with voters." Parliamentary elections will take place in December,
with Mr Putin up for re-election in just over a year.

The problem, as Mr Piontkovsky pointed out, is that Putin's stand seems to
many illogical, coming after two years of cosying up to George Bush and the
US.

"If you accept the argument that Russia has made unjustified concessions to
the US you must answer these questions: Who is responsible for these
concessions? Who allowed US troops to set up bases in the former Soviet
republics of central Asia?"

Although few Russians support the American actions against Iraq, there is
not the kind of anger that brought out thousands to protest after Nato's
bombing of Belgrade. Indeed, most anti-war meetings have been poorly
attended.

Under the headline "Free meetings are only for communists, other Russians
come out for Iraq for commercial reasons," Kommersant compared two rallies
against the war that took place last Saturday. One attracted a few hundred
diehard communists, while the other, organised by an obscure nationalist
party, had to pay protesters between 300 (6) and 750 rubles (15) to take
part.

After the meeting, "party worker Volodya began to give out cash", said the
paper. Many protesters demanded more money because they had "waved the
flags well" or because "they brought their husbands with them".

Nevertheless, resentment of the US is breaking out all over the press. The
traditional anti-American position was succinctly summarised by General
Andrei Nikolaev, the chairman of the duma defence committee, in Trud. "The
Americans will not stop there," he argued. "After Iraq, they will raise the
issue of Iran, then North Korea, then some other state. There will be a
permanent crisis, moving from one nation to another. And we will reap the
harvest of the experiments the Americans are conducting on the
international community."

An equally virulent expression of the same views came from Russia's supreme
mufti, Talgat Tadzhuddin, who spoke after an obviously unsuccessful mission
to Baghdad this week. "In Baghdad, everyone is calm," said Mr Tadzhuddin,
his words reported in Kommersant and other papers, "Ali Baba and the 40
Thieves are not there. They long ago moved to the US, but now they want to
return." Tadzhuddin had previously said the recent space shuttle disaster
was a punishment from God.

Baghdad featured in one of the oddest stories of the week, too. It was
there that the volatile leader of the nationalist Liberal Democrats,
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, seemingly let his mouth run away with him. He was
allegedly filmed last month in Baghdad launching a foul-mouthed tirade, in
the course of which he called George Bush a "Texan cowboy" and suggested he
bomb Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, instead of Baghdad.

Mr Zhirinovsky denied his presence in the video, even though the man
featured - possibly inebriated and speaking in language so blue that the
parliamentary ethics committee mounted an investigation - undoubtedly was
him. But the ethics committee never seemed too keen on punishing Zhirik, as
he is affectionately known, and suggested it may have been a lookalike. It
refused to take action and sent the tape to police experts, who this week
refused to confirm the identity of the speaker.

"You have to give Mr Zhirinovsky credit," said Kommersant, which noted that
in February he had offered three different responses to the tape: first, it
was a fake; second, it was genuine but was recorded illegally; third, he
was in the pictures, but the voice was not his and had been dubbed on. By
this week, however, he had settled on one paradoxical line of defence:
"It's a fake, because they didn't have my permission to film."

********

#8
Russian Internet users discuss Iraq war online

MOSCOW. March 21 (Interfax) - An animated discussion about the war in Iraq
is underway on Russian-language websites.
   Most participants in the discussion agree that the U.S. actions are
unacceptable. Many Internet users even use obscene words to express their
opinions about the war.
   U.S. President George W. Bush is often compared to Hitler and called
terrorist No 1. "Bush and Osama bin Laden are insane," "America will be
saved when Bush is out." "The discovery of America was a mistake," Internet
users wrote.
   However, some Russians back the U.S. operation against Iraq. "You ought
to back a a civilized country." "'Defeat Saddam' should be added to the
anthem's words 'God Save America'," an Internet user wrote. He got a reply
that read: "with opinions like these, my friend, you won't live long on
this sinful earth."
   The war will not be easy for those who started it, users noted.
"Americans will be awash in blood. The Iraqis will tear America apart," a
Russian wrote.
   There are frequent suggestions that Russia should give military
assistance to Iraq, i.e., provide data from spy satellites, deploy troops
and supply anti-aircraft facilities.
   "Good luck to our American friends during their walk on a mine field,"
Internet surfers wrote.
   "The United States has launched 15 aggressions since 1945. It is the
United States, not than Iraq, that needs to be disarmed," they said. "An
ultimatum should be given to the United States: either it stops the war
within 24 hours or its territory will be attacked."
   Some of the newer ideas include renaming Novinsky Boulevard, where the
U.S. Embassy is located, Saddam Hussein Boulevard. Someone suggested
boycotting U.S. and British goods. "Let's take our dollars from the Yankees
so that they starve and ask for ruble loans from Russia," an Internet user
wrote.
   Asked whether the United States had the right to attack Iraq, a website
visitor wrote that Washington has done as it pleases for a long time now.
"This is its reply to our weakness," he said. Russia is urged to "revive
Russia's might and not allow America act as if it were God."
   The operation is akin to "spitting in the face of three superpowers" and
Iraq should hit "the liberators" back, they noted. The phrase Saddam
Forever is popular on the sites.
   Other posters said the United States has failed to draw any conclusions
from the recent crash of the Columbia shuttle. "It was a sign from the
above, advice to abandon the criminal war," they said.
   More superstitious users drew attention to the numbers of the date on
which the operation was launched, 20.03.2003, and the fact that Saddam
Hussein has been in power for 23 years.

********

#9
Moscow Times
March 21, 2003
Russians Are Opposed but Few Protest
By Kevin O'Flynn
Staff Writer

While Russians in Moscow and across the regions on Thursday overwhelmingly
opposed the start of the U.S-led war in Iraq, few came out in public protests.

Across the nation, many said they were unwilling to go out and protest the
bombing, despite their opposition to the war. Protesting has become a
futile activity in Russia, some said.

The largest demonstration in Moscow was confined to 300 Communist and LDPR
members at the U.S. Embassy. Braving the wind and snow, they waved red
banners and held placards with slogans such as "U.S.A. -- International
Terrorist No. 1.''

Protesters like Viktor Anpilov, leader of the Working Russia party, spat
contempt at the United States and demanded a boycott of American goods.

Anpilov returned from a visit to Baghdad earlier this week.

The gathering was typical of a Communist-organized event, with pensioners
holding tattered banners that have seen a lifetime worth of protests. The
crowd listened to speakers who have railed in vain against the U.S. for
decades.

The small group starkly contrasted with the hundreds of thousands of
protesters in Athens, Greece, Slovenia, Cairo and several other cities,
which began rallying several hours after U.S. President George W. Bush
ordered U.S. and British troops to begin the first strikes against Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein.

A placard hanging around the neck of a 66-year-old woman read "Saddam
Hussein, Today's Stalin."

The sign was meant as a compliment, not an insult, said the
self-acknowledged Stalinist, who gave her name only as Raisa Alexandrovna.

"Saddam is acting right. He's not giving up,'' she said. "They will fight
to the last.''

Several young children from a nearby school joined the older crowd by
singing a song written for the occasion.

"America Parasha, Pobeda Budet Nasha," or "America is Trash, Victory will
be Ours," the seven 11-year-olds chanted while braving the blowing snow.

"This rally is useless," said Ivan Kolesov, 21-year-old student, "It's just
their own people in the party. They always come to these meetings."

With a laugh he recalled how at the start of the protest the young
Communist movement had tried and failed to burn a photo of Bush. The
picture had been too wet to light.

"Nobody even knew what time it was supposed to start," Kolesov said. "They
need to do something useful, announce a boycott of goods -- American,
British, Spanish," he said.

Thursday's protests were considerably smaller than the demonstrations by
thousands outside the embassy in 1999 after NATO began bombing Yugoslavia.
The side of the embassy was covered in eggs and paint for weeks afterward.

"In the past several years, we have understood that rallies are totally
useless. They never achieve anything," said Vladimir Pribylovsky of the
Panorama think tank. "If they don't go out protesting against the war in
Chechnya, Russia's sorest problem, why should they feel obliged to go and
protest against the war in Iraq?"

Polls showed the number of Russians with positive opinions of the United
States has fallen dramatically from 61 percent to 28 percent, Interfax
cited the Pugh Research center as saying Wednesday.

A recent poll by VTsIOm, a leading national pollster, said 71 percent of
the population viewed the United States' actions as a threat to peace,
while 45 percent saw Iraq as the threat.

"I don't consider it right to solve something by arms," said Yelena
Dlzhinsky in a telephone interview from Nizhny Novgord.

Nadezda Alexandrovna, in a telephone interview from Syktyvar, in the Komi
republic, said she was "absolutely against'' the war.

"I think that in this case the U.S. is just raping another sovereign
state," she said. "The U.S. is acting like an aggressor that wants to seize
the whole world."

Security was tightened at the Moscow embassies of countries supporting the
U.S.-led action, with police presence boosted by two thirds, Interfax
reported Thursday. Moscow police said special attention was being given to
the U.S., British, Spanish, Turkish and Kuwaiti embassies, Interfax
reported. Security was also boosted at U.S. Consulates in St. Petersburg
and Yekaterinburg, news agencies reported.

The U.S. Embassy said it was continuing business as usual even as anti-war
protesters demonstrated outside. "The U.S. Embassy and the consular section
will continue to work on their normal schedules," an embassy spokesman said.

A British Embassy spokesman stressed that officials were being vigilant in
ensuring security, and the Spanish Embassy said procedures had been
tightened for entering the embassy amid a heightened police presence.

Nabi Abdullaeva and Oksana Mironova contributed to this story.

********

#10
Newsweek web exclusive
March 20, 2003
Balancing Act
Moscow is working hard to avoid diplomatic payback over its opposition to
U.S. policy on Iraq
By Christian Caryl

George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin lately have been spending a lot
of time on the phone with each other.
IN ONE OF their most recent exchangessoon after the U.S.
presidents Tuesday announcement that he was ending diplomatic efforts to
solve the Iraq crisisthe Russian leader repeated his reasons for opposing
military action. But he sent another message too: it was time, he said, for
the two countries to resolve their differences and get back to business.
That ambivalence was underscored further today. Putin reacted
strongly to last nights attacks on Baghdad, saying that only Iraqis should
decide whether they wanted a regime change and that nothing can justify
this military action. Soon after that, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who
has been notable for the harshness of some of his recent statements,
adopted a more conciliatory note. We remain partners, not opponents, he
said. And we must continue dialogue with the United States so that the war
does not bring negative consequences for everyone, including the United
States itself.
Will it really be that easy? In the wake of the past weeks
diplomatic maneuverings, Russias threat to use its Security Council veto
against any resolution authorizing the use of force has raised the
possibility that Washington could resort to diplomatic payback. The U.S.
ambassador in Moscow, Alexander Vershbow, made headlines in the Russian
press last week when he suggested that Moscows stonewalling could set back
Russian-U.S. cooperation in areas ranging from space to trade. It will be
a great pity if progress in these areas is halted or actually reversed
because of serious disagreements over Iraq, he warned in an interview with
Izvestiya, a leading Russian daily paper.
There are plenty of Russians who would be happy to thumb their
noses at Washington in return. In addition to public activism like the
boycott of a Vladivostok burger restaurant, the lower house of the Russian
parliament this week indefinitely postponed ratification of the Treaty of
Moscow, the arms-control agreement approved by Putin and Bush at a summit
meeting last year. The deputies, who are up for re-election later this
year, are responding, in part, to public opinion against a war with Iraq.
Recent polls show that well over 80 percent of Russians oppose military
action. And when one survey asked whether the United States is a threat to
world peace and security, 71 percent said yes. Small wonder that several
parliamentary deputies have even vowed to take up arms for the Iraqis.
Still, theres a host of reasons why its unlikely that Moscow and
Washington will put their relations in a deep freeze once war has started.
Few Russians have any particular affection for Saddam Hussein; many who
oppose the war arent necessarily enemies of America. Lena Volodina, a
28-year-old Moscow office worker, seems fairly typical when she condemns
U.S. policy in the strongest of termsthen quickly adds: We dont hate the
whole country. And as important as public emotions might be, Russias
diplomatic opposition to American action against Iraq is entirely
unsentimentala stark contrast to the messy and usually inconsequential
bluster of Yeltsin-era foreign policy. Mikhail Margelov, a member of the
Russian senate and a foreign-policy adviser to President Putin, describes
his countrys approach to Iraq as very cold and pragmatic. Russia, he
says, knows that it needs good relations with the United Statesbut that
doesnt mean overriding Moscows own interests. We have agreed that we can
disagree and not be enemies, he insists.
Events will soon show whether Margelov is just being optimistic.
Putin now faces a difficult diplomatic balancing actone that may be even
trickier than the trials hes just faced. One of his priorities will be
preserving his long-term policy of strategic cooperation with Washington
in areas ranging from trade to global security. To that end, hell be eager
to demonstrate that his governments refusal to approve a second U.N.
resolution authorizing the use of force was a matter of high-minded
principle, not a spiteful attempt to defy American dominance purely for the
sake of defiance. (Look for some Russian officials to discreetly draw
unflattering contrasts with the opportunistic French). At the same time,
Putin will be doing his best to ensure that Russian economic interests in
Iraq arent left by the wayside. And hell be working hard to pick up the
pieces at the U.N.one of the few places where a militarily and
economically weakened Russia still retains a voice as a major player in
international affairs.
On the face of things, Russia has emerged from the diplomatic
brouhaha roughly where it wanted to be. Putins immediate goal over the
past two months was to prevent the Security Council from voting on a second
resolution that would authorize the use of force. A vote would have forced
Russia to choose sidesinevitably leading to an open confrontation either
with the United States (had Russia vetoed) or with Moscows new best
friends in Europe, the French and Germans (had Russia abstained or sided
with Washington). Still, Moscows sigh of relief at averting that mess is
already giving way to a new round of apprehension as Russians worry about
the future of the U.N. as war begins without explicit U.N. approval. Bush
is destroying the system of international order that exists in the world,
argues Mikhail Rostovsky, a journalist at the Moscow daily paper Moskovsky
Komsomolets. Now the world is returning to the 1930s, when the League of
Nations took decisions and everyone ignored them. The world is going back
to the law of the jungle instead of international law. That particular
fear may be overdrawn. But it points to the larger question of just what
Russia will be able to do to restore the U.N.s battered authority. One
option: Moscow could lobby actively to participate in the postwar
reconstruction effort in Iraqwhich might well involve a broad range of
U.N. institutions.
Whatever happens, Putin will face the challenge of squaring his
campaign for boosting the U.N. with the brute reality that the U.S. remains
Russias most important bilateral partner. Russia urgently needs U.S.
support on a variety of fronts. As one European diplomat in Moscow puts it,
The Russians need Europe mainly for economic reasons, since most of their
trade is with us. But they need the United States for a whole range of
global security issues where the Europeans cant really help. Those
overlapping interests range from the Korean peninsula to the Middle East.
Perhaps most importantly, theres the common war against terrorism
throughout the arc of crisis extending along Russias southern border and
through the oil-rich regions of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The list of
common concerns is so long, in fact, that its hard to imagine why the
White House would have any interests in scotching Kremlin efforts for joint
cooperation.
What about Russias much-ballyhooed business interests in Iraq?
That may be one front where the Russians are already throwing in the towel.
Much of Russias trade with Iraq in recent years took place within the
framework of the U.N. Oil-for-Food programsomething which will end now
that war has begun. Observers see little hope that Moscow will be able to
recover any of its roughly $8 billion in debt from Baghdad after the
conflict ends. As for the potentially lucrative contracts the Iraqis have
signed with some of Russias big oil companies, some Moscow politicians are
now talking about taking a post-Saddam Iraqi government to international
arbitration court if the deals arent honored. Certainly Russians do not
put much store in American promises of fair play once Saddam is gone. Ten
years have gone by since we supported the United States in the first gulf
war, says Yuri Shafranik, a leading lobbyist for the Russian oil industry.
Did we get anything out of it? Not really. So better to wash our hands of
the whole business. Now that Russia has done precisely that, the big
question is whether Putin will be able to salvage any benefits for Russia
from the ruins of war

********

#11
Moscow Times
March 21, 2003
Editorial
Russia Must Not Stand By and Watch

By launching the military campaign in Iraq, the United States has assumed
responsibility for waging war against a sovereign state without the
authorization of the United Nations. This war is illegal if measured by the
criteria of the UN Charter, and Russia should mobilize all of its
diplomatic and political resources to stop the hostilities and put the
Iraqi issue back on the table of the United Nations.

While rolling back the mighty American military machine is well-nigh
impossible, the UN should at least lead the humanitarian relief effort as
it has done many times before. Russia should also ensure that no coalition
of the willing gets its hands on some $40 billion reportedly sitting in
Iraq's UN accounts. No single nation or coalition but the UN should decide
how best to spend this money to ease the sufferings of Iraqi civilians.

The existing system of international security will be dealt a heavy blow if
Russia and other nations allow the United States to completely sidestep the
UN. A new world order may or may not dawn immediately after the defeat of
Iraq. But if nations continue to passively watch the degradation of the
existing system rather than try to modify it and spell out when and how the
need for intervention should prevail over a nation's sovereignty, this
world order will be in place sooner or later. This new order will leave
nations dependent on the sheer might and mood of a global leviathan rather
than protected by internationally accepted laws, which still help to
maintain at least some predictability, if not justice, in relations between
heavyweights and less powerful nations.

But while trying to bring the Iraqi issue back to the UN where it belongs,
Russia should not provide material or any other support for either of the
warring sides. Neither is fighting a just war and Russia would only
postpone the demise of Saddam Hussein and prolong the suffering of the
Iraqi people by assisting his regime.

Rather than assisting the combatants, Russia should use its experience in
tackling emergency humanitarian situations to provide as much relief and
aid as possible to Iraqi civilians, who will suffer most in this war.
Russia has an Emergency Situations Ministry with a personnel of 300,000,
and the Kremlin should arrange with Iraq's neighbors for the deployment of
its mobile hospitals and other services along the Iraqi frontier.

But while striving to help Iraqi civilians, Russia should also finally
provide adequate care to the tens of thousands of its own internal refugees
who remain stranded in tent camps and dilapidated buildings in and around
Chechnya.

President Vladimir Putin was right to condemn the U.S.-led attack, although
his words would carry more weight if he had not waited so long to speak
out. But now that the game is on, he can use not only Russia's diplomatic
resources but the court of world opinion to make his case, just as others
have rightfully done over Russia's reprehensible behavior laying waste to
one of its own republics.

********

#12
Vremya MN
No. 43
March 21, 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
THE FIRST RESULTS OF THE IRAQI WAR
By Andrei RYABOV

The United States has already attacked Iraq, thus
thwarting pre-war efforts on the part of Russian and other
politicians and diplomats. One can already sum up the war's
preliminary results, which seem a bit contradictory.
On the one hand, Russia has managed not to aggravate its
relations with the United States, also considerably merging
foreign policy positions with leading European countries, i.e.
France and Germany. At the same time, Moscow has improved its
relations and mutual understanding with the Islamic world and
Arab countries alike. This factor is particularly important in
the context of the Chechen problem. For example, no one could
even imagine a year ago that President Pervez Musharraf of
Pakistan would refer to the Chechen conflict as an internal
Russian affair. Moreover, Russia didn't have to veto the
US-British-Spanish resolution in the UN Security Council, or
abstain from voting because this would have caused the Russian
leadership to lose face both on the international scene and at
home.
On the other hand, though, Russia won't necessarily
reinstate the pre-war level of its relations with the United
States quickly enough. Moreover, Russia's rapprochement with
the European Union's leaders has so far failed to produce any
tangible results whatsoever. Both sides didn't make any serious
headway on the economic cooperation issue, as well as visa
regime aspects; incidentally, the Russian public at large
perceives the latter issue as more painful than the rest.
Besides, there is no indication of the fact that leading
Islamic countries have stopped aiding Chechen bandits as a sign
of gratitude for Russia's position on the Iraqi crisis.
The rather contradictory present-day situation is making
subsequent developments even more uncertain, albeit only to
some extent. You see, no one knows how long the war against
Iraq will last; nor can one assess its military, political and
economic consequences for the entire world accurately enough.
The Russian leadership, as well as the entire political
establishment, will eventually have limited maneuvering room,
all the more so as we heed the post-war period's contradictory
results and future uncertainties with regard to the Iraqi
situation. Russia can call on the United States and its allies
to settle the conflict under UN auspices. However, Moscow
should not be too active because it would otherwise irritate
Washington.
Apart from that, Russia should not take any action, which might
eventually involve Russia in the conflict (in one form or
another).It seems that the President of Russia and the
pro-Kremlin State Duma majority have so far opted for this
position. Incidentally, Russian public opinion is apparently
reacting with understanding to this line. For the most part,
our society is reacting rather negatively to the US-British
military operation against Iraq; nonetheless, the people of
Russia understand perfectly well that our country is too weak
(in the economic and military-political sense of the word) to
interfere in this conflict.
Theoretically speaking, the incipient Russian line with
regard to the Iraqi war can prove successful, provided that the
United States and Great Britain bog down in Iraq. Consequently,
the UN and its institutions would have to step in and rectify
the situation. After that, Russia would be able to use its
status as a permanent UNSC member for advancing all kinds of
peace initiatives.
But what if the allies establish control over Iraq in no
time at all? In that case, Russia would have no alternative but
to feel satisfied with its consistent and moral stand. Moscow
would also have to assess its subsequent global role. Meanwhile
there is no doubting the fact that the world will change after
the Iraqi war.

********

#13
Nezavisimaya Gazeta
March 21, 2003
PRINCIPLES AND INTERESTS ARE ONE AND THE SAME THING
Being a jackal at the side of the American lion - how pragmatic is that?
Support for the war on Iraq: advantages and disadvantages
Author: Alexei Pushkov (Postskriptum program author and host, TVC
channel)
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
WHY ARE WE BEING ASKED TO SUPPORT THE AMERICAN WAR ON IRAQ? FIRSTLY,
BECAUSE THE AMERICANS MAY SHOW THEIR GRATITUDE BY LEAVING SOMETHING
FOR US AFTERWARDS. SECONDLY, BECAUSE IT WOULD BE THE HEIGHT OF
STUPIDITY TO QUARREL WITH THE UNITED STATES OVER IRAQ.

So the war is on - but debates over whether or not to support the
United States continue, no less heated then before. The arguments of
the countries supporting the United States are striking in their...
no, you can't even call it cynicism. It's something else. Yes, they
admit, this is the arrogance and self-conceit of total power, and a
denial of the UN Charter. Yes, the United States is en route to
establishing its own hegemony and the Pax Americana. All this is
admitted; because refusing to recognize it would amount to stupidity.
All the same, attempts continue to persuade President Vladimir Putin
(and all of us) to support America in the name of what is called
"pragmatism".
In fact, pragmatism has nothing to do with it. Pragmatism is
based on one's own interests. This is different - the matter concerns
an attempt to have us comply with someone else's interests. Why are we
being asked to support the American war on Iraq? Firstly, because the
Americans may show their gratitude by leaving something for us
afterwards. Secondly, because it would be the height of stupidity to
quarrel with the United States over Iraq.
A few words about American generosity. So far, Washington has not
offered Russia anything substantial in return for support. Yet another
promise to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment sounds like mockery.
When three Chechen gangs were placed on the "terrorist list" by the
US, the gesture may have pleased the Kremlin but it could not have
been anything but a token, a symbol. As for support in the matter of
joining the World Trade Organization, we do not exactly need it, since
Russia has not yet decided whether it wants to join that organization.
And where Iraqi oil is concerned, "Newsweek" was honest enough to
point out that the US Administration has never promised any of that to
Russia.
In its dealings with Russia, the United States skillfully deploys
what is called "luft-gescheft" in German-speaking countries, and
"selling air" elsewhere. We are constantly being sold air - apparently
expecting that Russia will buy this vacant space, paying for it with
its support. It happened after September 11, 2001. At the same time,
US Ambassador to Moscow Alexander Vershbow, speaking on behalf of the
United States, occasionally threatens us: behave yourselves, or
bilateral relations will be scaled back.
In my view, that is something we should not fear. As far as
bilateral relations are concerned, the United States makes only
symbolic agreements, or agreements that benefit itself. If the
Americans need Russia's oil, they will buy it. If not, they will never
buy anything, no matter how warmly or frequently our presidents might
hug each other. If they need cooperation in space exploration,
cooperation it will be. If not, we can forget it. We should learn to
respect and value ourselves, and the Bush Administration will respect
and value us too.
What would we achieve by giving Washington the support it wants?
Russia would be placed on the list of America's honored friends -
a slot somewhere between Spain and Eritrea. This is great, of course,
but this support would consolidate the American principle that
anything goes. It would have meant approving the policy of tyranny and
disregard of international law. It would have done away with the UN
Charter and devalued our seat on the UN Security Council. Besides, who
says that Russia would be better off in a world dominated by America?
On the contrary, Russia would find itself particularly weak in such a
world.
Who says that after Iraq, Washington will not demand support of
its military actions over and over again? Washington will demand it,
in no uncertain terms. Particularly since the plans of Bush and
Rumsfeld for the future include Iran, Syria, North Korea, and so on.
Had we bowed now, no one - America, Europe, or China - would have
taken Russia seriously afterwards.
It isn't hard to see that Iraq is but a testing ground where
America is evaluating its ability to force its decisions on the whole
world and overthrow foreign regimes. This war has nothing to do with
democracy or a wish to destroy weapons of mass destruction. Sure,
Saddam Hussein is a dictator and a scoundrel. But no one has proved
his involvement in the terrorist attacks on America in 2001. Neither
has anyone proved that he does possess weapons of mass destruction.
We are told again and again that Iraq is a special case. In fact,
the war on Iraq is but a continuation of the war on Yugoslavia. It was
the war on Yugoslavia that made the war on Iraq possible. There would
not have been air strikes on Baghdad without air strikes on Belgrade.
We should face it: by supporting this war, we would pave the way for
several more wars in Asia, incited by an America carried away by its
own power. One of these wars may well end in the use of nuclear
weapons. America's rapid victory in Iraq is dangerous in itself. The
excited hawks will immediately turn their attention to Iran, Syria,
and other countries of the region - regardless of the UN or Russia.
We are told that high-flown principles are one thing, and basic
interests are another. It is for the sake of these interests that
Russia is being offered the role of a jackal escorting the American
lion. Not that Russia will be entitled to a sizeable chunk of meat in
Iraq, but some pickings - perhaps, if and when the lion sates his
insatiable appetite. We are supposed to meekly hope that "the United
States will agree to minimize damage to Russia and its interests in
Iraq." In the name of pragmatism, again.
Actually, principles and interests are one and the same thing.
True pragmatism dictates something altogether different: we will not
benefit from this war, or from the world order which Bush and his
administration are creating. Because in that world order Russia will
end up playing the role of janitor. We may try to avoid a
confrontation with the United States over Iraq, but we will eventually
clash over something else - and soon. We may try to hide our heads in
the sand. However, if we do call ourselves pragmatists, we should
realize that we can be allies with an America which is ready for
reasonable leadership - but not with an America carried away by its
own capacity to do whatever it wants.

********

#14
Rossiiskaya Gazeta
No. 52.
March 21, 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
IT IS AMERICA'S FUNERAL
By Vitaly TRETYAKOV

Only Russians can objectively evaluate the situation
around Iraq. The people of small and medium countries, who have
never borne the burden of a global imperial policy cannot do
this. And neither can the Americans. They cannot do this above
all because they make their decisions independently and their
country is at the peak of its might. Secondly, the Americans
have not yet suffered the collapse of their might and hence
have not acquired the historical experience, which have the
citizens of the former Soviet Union.
The regime of Saddam Hussein may be destroyed. Iraq may be
defeated. We can only hope that the sophisticated US-made
weapons will attain the goal with minimum human losses in Iraq
and the war will not destabilise the region for decades ahead.
On the other hand, this does not depend on us. It is the USA
that has made the decision. And it opted for death, the death
of the USA.
This will not happen overnight, but it is a pity
nevertheless. After all, it was not a bad country - until it
became the world's only superpower.
After the USA defeats Iraq - even if we imagine that it
posed a threat to any of the US allies (it would be ridiculous
to assume that it threatened the USA) - global anti-Americanism
will double and triple, especially in the Islamic and Arab
countries.
After the defeat of Iraq, many countries will think that
they are the next target. There will be more fear in the world,
fear and faked solidarity with the winner, the strongest
country.
On the other hand, there will be more secret solidarity with
the loser, the more so that it will not be solidarity with
Saddam Hussein but with ourselves, the next target. When the
USA was the freest and most democratic country in the world,
people, including those who feared the communist non-freedom,
looked up at it.
But communism has been laid to rest. However, hardly
anyone will describe the USA as the most democratic country of
the world today. It has erected a barrier between itself and
the rest of the world, a barrier of weapons and the rules of
admission to its territory, which are growing increasingly
strict and creating a new curtain, not the Iron Curtain of the
Cold War age, but a modern computer curtain. Internal spying
and mobilisation ideology are not contributing to the
strengthening of the image of the world's most democratic
democracy either.
Aggression directed outside, neglect for the opinion of
its closest allies and constant wars outside the national
territory do not produce the impression of democracy.
America as the symbol of democracy "for itself" and "for
others" has died.
The outrage of those who feel the USA is threatening them
will not reach out to the USA immediately. The USA is stronger
and, most importantly, it is situated across the ocean. But it
has allies; those who still recognise its leadership. And so
revenge will be directed at them, countries that are more
vulnerable than the USA is.
The whole of Europe - including Russia - has turned into
the Forecourt of the American Fortress. Those who plan to storm
this Fortress will first attack the Forecourt. Trying to save
itself, America made its allies take the blame. It has exploded
Euro-Atlantic unity and integrity. America has died as the main
European country.
Its allies have not abandoned it yet. It is still too
strong. It can still "buy" allies with fear and money. And it
will repeat its Iraqi exploits elsewhere. But all the while it
will gradually slide into solitude.
A few words about one aspect of Russia's current
situation.
Those in Russia who deliberately worked to destroy the
Soviet Union resorted to the example of the USA. They said: We
are the Evil Empire but we must become the Good Empire like the
USA. We will create the market and democracy - and we will be
admitted to the club of civilised countries, our opinion will
be respected everywhere, including in Washington. And the
powerful democracy led by America will protect us from problems
and cares.
What can these people say to those who replied to them: By
destroying the power, withdrawing troops from everywhere,
saving on the army and special services and relying on outside
assistance, you will lose everything and will be defenceless
against any danger?
I am afraid that the USA has died as Russia's ally,
without actually becoming one. We can only hope that Russia
will not be called to account for its dissenting opinion on the
Iraqi problem - by the country we praised as our strategic ally
in the past few years.

********

#15
Krasnaya Zvezda
No. 49
March 21, 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
POSSIBLE EFFECT OF MILITARY OPERATION IN IRAQ ON RUSSIA-U.S. RELATIONS
Experts answer Krasnaya Zvezda questions:
1. As regards lawfulness of the use of force against Iraq
in terms of international law, do the U.S. actions in defiance
of an impressive part of the world community spell an end for
international institutions like, say, the UN?
2. What will be the effect of the situation around Iraq on
Russia in general and on U.S.-Russia relations in particular?

Vyacheslav NIKONOV, president of the Politika Foundation:
1. The consequences for international law will be bad, of
course. Though, perhaps, we should not exaggerate here -
international law has been a victim of all armed conflicts over
the past half a century. You must admit that very rarely
military operations are conducted in conformity with
international law and UN sanctions. Today, too, we are
witnessing yet another instance of its violation.
2. The war in Iraq is not our war. Therefore any
developments in Iraq would spell certain losses for Russia. At
present, in my view, Vladimir Putin has largely ensured support
for Russia's course, especially in the Muslim countries. At the
same time Russia's positions in Iraq have obviously suffered. I
do not think that in post-Saddam Iraq we will have any
possibility to influence the situation in that country. And, of
course, definite damage will be done to Russia-U.S. relations.
For the time being, I cannot say how bad that damage will be.

Sergei MARKOV, director of the Institute of Political
Studies:
1. Viewed in terms of international law, the military
operation against Iraq is unlawful and is to be qualified as
aggression. And it is one of the main problems for the UN,
which it is compelled to solve. I think it will do so according
to a Cicero model. Allow me to remind you that when in Ancient
Rome Brutus and Cassius killed Julius Caesar, the Senate was
compelled either to declare Caesar a tyrant, or to name Brutus
and Cassius the assassins of the emperor. Addressing the Roman
Senate, Cicero proposed considering that Caesar had died a
natural death. As a result, neither the Caesarians nor their
opponents were subjected to repression. So, in my view, in the
end the UN and its Security Council will apply precisely such a
formula - the Saddam regime has died a natural death.
2. I have never believed that George Bush would heed the
opinion of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin better than
he heeds the views of his friends in Texan oil companies.
Relations between Bush and Putin are pretty good, but relations
between Russia and the U.S. are rather cool. To this day
Washington has been pursuing an anti-Russian policy in a number
of directions.
For instance, it demands that we should kill our aircraft
manufacturing industry as a price of entering the WTO. It
constantly blocks Russia's arms export under a very strange
pretext: "You cannot trade with some regimes because they are
undemocratic, and you cannot trade with the democratic ones
because we trade with them and the profit gained should be
American." Take, for instance, the fact that the U.S. supports
all anti-Russian projects in the post-Soviet area, especially
in regard to oil and gas pipelines bypassing Russia; and it
supports politicians who attack Moscow's policy and destabilize
the situation in the countries that are Russia's neighbors in
the zone of our country's vital interests. And U.S. bargaining
over the outdated Jackson-Vanik amendment is simply dishonest.
Nevertheless, I think that Russian-American relations will
stand the trial by Iraq, because Moscow and Washington have far
more serious common strategic interests - preservation of
international institutions, non-proliferation of mass
destruction weapons, for which Russia and the U.S. have special
responsibility, and the struggle against international
terrorism.
(Interviewed by Alexei LYASHCHENKO.)

********

#16
Russian Oil Industry Has Jump On Any Iraqi Competition
March 21, 2003
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
By Anna Raff

MOSCOW -- Russia's oil industry will remain the favorite of the
international investment community despite the likely emergence of new
opportunities in Iraq, analysts and fund managers say.

Even if Iraq's oil wells survive the war unscathed, it will take years -
and billions of dollars - before the Middle Eastern country will provide
Western oil majors with the returns that Russia does.

"Russia is much further along the curve compared to Iraq," said Paul
Collison, a global emerging markets oil and gas strategist at UBS Warburg.

Russia's largest oil producers such as OAO Yukos (R.YUK) and OAO Lukoil
Holding (R.LKO) have posted double-digit production growth during the past
three years as they become more financially transparent and reveal
beneficial ownership. And as countries look to diversify away from Middle
East crude, Russian oil has become an attractive option.

Multinational oil companies have taken notice.

Russia's oil industry was given a de facto promotion to investment grade
when BP PLC (BP) last month said it would invest $6.75 billion as a partner
in what is to become Russia's third-largest oil producer.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) Chief Executive Lee Raymond said earlier this month
the company will consider strategic partnerships with local Russian
producers, along with Russian projects it could develop independently.

Russia has proved itself to be a stable political and economic regime,
which is what Iraq needs before money will start flowing there, Raymond said.

The relatively cheap reserves in Russia fueled the BP deal, but now that
Iraq's 120 billion barrels of proven reserves will be opened up to
development, does that mean that global oil majors will stop sniffing
around for other Russian acquisitions?

Probably not, Collison says.

"Even if you assume damage from the war will be minimal, then capital costs
in Iraq are still going to run into the billions of dollars," he said.
"It's not like turning on a faucet. And when more Iraq oil comes onto the
market, it'll displace expensive production in the North Sea, Alaska and
on-shore China."

Iraq produces 2 million barrels a day compared with Russia's 8 million b/d.
Iraq exports 1.7 million b/d while Russia exports 3.5 million to 4 million
b/d.

Any substantial output boost in Iraq will take four to seven years, taking
into account the time it would take for the new government to settle and
for project, contracting and subcontracting tenders to be conducted.

Meanwhile, major oil consumers such as U.S., China and Japan continue to
actively court Russian officials as they move to diversify their crude
imports.

Despite the disagreement between the U.S. and Russia over Iraq, the U.S.
still wants Russia to be strong oil producer, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer
Abraham said during last week's visit.

"Of course, we can't tell our companies where they should buy their oil"
but the U.S. is looking at ways to aid Russia's expansion of oil export
capacity, Abraham said.

He said he discussed a planned $5 billion pipeline from Siberia to Murmansk
- which will make direct exports to the U.S. feasible - during a meeting
with Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov.

Such projects will be feasible only if oil prices stay above a certain
threshold.

Most Russian oil companies plan their capital expenditures and rate of
return on equity based on an oil price of $16-18 a barrel and are safe bets
at or above that range, said William Browder, Chief Executive of the
Russia-dedicated Hermitage Fund.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said Wednesday it would
cut output if its basket price fell below $22 a barrel. It currently is at
$27.18.

********

#17
TV1 Review
www.1tv.ru
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (luba_sch@hotmail.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office

HEADLINES,
Thursday, March 20, 2003
- Russia will not take any anti-American steps, announced
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in response to the beginning of the
US military operation against Iraq. We aim only to bring about
peace.
- Foreign Minister Ivanov also declared that it is necessary to
convince the American administration that the war will have
negative consequences for everyone, including the US. At the
same time, Ivanov noted that Russia and the US will remain
partners, not adversaries.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin presses for a prompt
termination of the use of force against Iraq. He named the military
operation a major political mistake.
- Putin discussed the US military operation with the leaders of the
Russian power organs: Head of the Presidential Administration
Aleksandr Voloshin, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov, Security Council Chairman Vladimir
Rushailo, Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Nikolai
Patrushev, First Deputy FSB Director Vladimir Pronichev, Foreign
Intelligence Service Director Sergei Lebedev.
- Several deputies from the Communist Party and the Liberal-
Democratic Party, and about 200 supporters, gathered in front of
the US Embassy. They carried banners and posters condemning
the military operation against Iraq. 600 police officers have been
assigned to maintain security.
- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov declared that Russia
will provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Iraq.

*********

#18
World Bank says Russian economy depends ever more on raw materials
Interfax

Moscow, 20 March: The main driving force in Russia's economic growth last
year was still the raw materials sector, the country's dependence on which
grew rather [than] decreased, the World Bank said in a report on the Russian
economy unveiled on Wednesday [19 March].

Russian GDP grew 4.3 per cent in 2002, according to data from the State
Statistics Committee, putting aggregate growth in the post-crisis period at
over 25 per cent. Average weighted growth of export sectors in 2002 increased
to 5.5 per cent from 4.2 per cent in 2001, while growth among companies aimed
at the domestic market slowed to 2.5 per cent from 6.3 per cent, the report
states.

The World Bank thinks that Russian economic growth is based on structural
changes, with the raw materials sector growing faster than manufacturing, and
the service sector growing faster than production of goods.

The World Bank does not draw a clear conclusion as to whether this is a
positive trend because it facilitates the survival of the fittest companies,
or whether it is a negative phenomenon because it fosters unemployment and
increases economic instability due to greater independence on the raw
materials sector. This will depend on whether there is sufficient investment
to sustain economic growth and create jobs, the report states.

Russia, according to most indicators, also has good potential for further
economic growth, but official data show that this growth is slowing and this
trend could continue, the report states. Various experts forecast Russian
growth at 3 per cent to 7 per cent in 2003.

********

#19
Vedomosti
March 20, 2003
REFORM FAILS
World Bank criticizes the new pension system
Boris Grozovsky, Yelena Myazina

The Russian pension reform is faltering. This was the startling conclusion of
the World Bank. If reform remains half-hearted trust in the pension system may
be undermined and the Russian economy may suffer large-scale financial crises,
warns the official consultant to the Russian government.

The chief economist of WB's Moscow office Christof Ruhl has published the
findings of the vast report of the World Bank entitled "Pension Reform in
Russia: Project and Implementation" recently submitted to the government.

The Russian version of the pension reform has a lot of shortcomings, Mr.
Ruhl said. Transition to the funded system was started without raising the
retirement age. For example, in Russia men are entitled to a pension starting
from the age of 60 compared with 62 in Hungary, 63 in Poland and 65 in
Bulgaria.
This "is too generous, Mr. Ruhl notes. It is better to pay people a decent
pension even if the retirement age is raised."

Another danger is that Russia has not included in its version of the
notional system many elements that should stimulate pension contributions.
There
is no strong link between the size of the contribution and the size of the
pension (the distributed part of the pension) that stimulates deductions of
contributions and thus boosts the solvency of the whole system, the report
says.

The funded part of the pension is also exposed to serious risks and even
"the danger of rejection of the new system as a whole", the World Bank notes.
"Pension assets, at least at the initial stage, will be managed by the
state. WB
experts doubt that the Russian Pension Fund is capable of securing the pension
assets and transparently "manage all the individual accounts" because it is "a
challenge even for a government structure that is impeccable".

"Citizens find themselves in a schizophrenic situation", said Ruhl. On the
one hand, the authorities tell people that they are themselves responsible for
their pension savings, but actually the Russian Pension Fund is responsible
for
everything. "This system has a lower yield of pension assets than a system
that
offers workers a choice", says the report.

"If the rate of economic growth slows down, the WB concludes, the
financial stability of the system will be under threat". But even under the WB
basic macro forecast, while the basic pension shows a surplus the notional
part
will show a deficit and "assets of the basic pension" will have to be dipped
into to finance it. And this means steady impoverishment of pensioners: the
replacement coefficient (ratio of average pension to average wage) will drop
from 36 percent at present to 24 percent by 2012 and 19 percent by 2050 given
the aging of the population.

First Deputy Minister of Economic Development Mikhail Dmitriyev who is in
charge of the pension reform on behalf of the government has refused to
comment
on the WB report. And Vladimir Vyunitsky, adviser to the chairman of the PFR,
says that Russian reformers and WB experts have "different approaches": "They
recommended the Chilean model, but we rejected it". The Chilean model would
abolish the pay-as-you go system without fulfilling its obligations and
introduce the funded system only for the working generation, and then probably
only under a military dictatorship.

"WB warnings contain many obvious conclusions, a government official told
Vedomosti. But the reform is the result of a political compromise.
Unfortunately, this course of reform is prompted by the objective situation".

"Where was the WB when the reform was being planned?", asks Chairman of
the Federation Council Financial Committee Sergei Vasilyev. He thinks the way
out of the admittedly unpleasant situation is to make the funded system fully
voluntary and to cut the social tax. "The funded pension throughout the
world is
voluntary with benefits available to the employer, and it is only in Russia
that
it is paid on a mandatory basis," echoes director of NPF TNK Vladimir, Andrei
Mikhailov.

Until 2002 the pension system in Russia was totally pay-as-you go. The
state collected contributions from employees and distributed the money
received
among the pensioners. The system that started to be introduced since 2002
is of
a hybrid character: the Russians' contributions to pensions are divided into
three parts: the basic part (14 percent), the insurance part (8-12 percent
depending on age) and the funded part (2-6 percent).

FROM THE EDITORS: Reform of Confidence

The World Bank has criticized the Russian pension reform. It claims the
government is doing everything wrong.

The substance of the pension reform is to strike a balance between
providing for
today's pensioners (that is, preserving a slice of the pay-as-you-go
system) and
the introduction of a funded system for future pensioners. The pay-as-you-go
system whereby those working today help to pay pensions to the retirees is
workable for as long as the number of able-bodied citizens exceeds that of
pensioners. Russia will very soon approach the edge of the abyss.

WB experts initially proposed to Russia a reform that is identical or
similar to
the Chilean version (when current pensioners are practically dropped out of
the
system and future ones take their money to private pension funds).

For starters, the pension age was to be increased by five years.

The government has rejected the offer and came up with a step-by-step
system of
"permanent" reform. From now on, the pension in Russia will consist of three
parts: the fixed basic part, the insurance part (depending on length of
service)
and the funded part. The first two will, as of old, be distributed by the
Pension Fund. The last can be taken to a private fund or a managing company
beginning from next year. Failing that, the funded part will be serviced by
the
state managing company, Vnesheconombank.

The World Bank does not believe in such a system. To begin with, it does
not believe in the system as a whole. According to the WB calculations, the
ratio of pensions to wages will soon begin to diminish and the pay-as-you-go
part of the pension system will suffer because of population aging and the
shrinking of labor resources. The fact that the link between pensions and
contributions to the funded system is tenuous may encourage evasion of
payments.
Secondly, the World Bank does not particularly trust Vnesheconombank as a
managing company (in Russia, too, belief in Vnesheconombank is not universal).
Thirdly, the WB is not sure that the Russian financial system can digest the
accumulated assets.

These doubts will be confirmed or refuted in the distant future. But the
first test of the reform will come very soon in the shape of popular
confidence.
The system will not get off the ground without trust (even if it is built up
through skillful publicity). The $1.5 million the WB earmarked for PR never
translated themselves into a massive campaign in support of reform. Unless
such
a campaign starts now, the system will be revamped quietly without public
participation and the chances are that it will not be good for pensioners.

*******

#20
Vatican, Russian Orthodox Work on Ties
March 20, 2003

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church held
high-level talks aimed at ending a rift keeping Pope John Paul II from
visiting Russia.

The Vatican said Cardinal Walter Kasper, the official in charge of relations
with other Christian denominations, met Wednesday in Geneva with Metropolitan
Kyrill, chairman of the department for external relations of the Moscow
Patriarchate.

``In an open conversation, they agreed to hold further consultations aimed at
resolving the problems which exist between the two churches,'' a brief
Vatican statement said without giving details.

Ties between the churches are strained over Russian accusations that Roman
Catholics are trying to convert people who would have been Orthodox were it
not for decades of Soviet atheism.

The Roman Catholic Church contends it has a moral right to be active in
Russia, which had Catholic communities -- made up mostly of ethnic Germans
and Poles -- before the 1917 Revolution.

Orthodox leaders have said repeatedly they will not agree to a papal visit
unless relations improve and Catholics stop their alleged proselytizing.

*******

#21
From: "Felix Corley" <fcorley@ndirect.co.uk>
Subject: F18News: Russia - Religion looms as electoral factor
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003

FORUM 18 NEWS SERVICE, Oslo, Norway
http://www.forum18.org/

Thursday 20 March 2003
RUSSIA: RELIGION LOOMS AS ELECTORAL FACTOR

Nine months before Russia's parliamentary elections, there are already
signs that some political figures will seek to use religious leaders and
institutions to help boost their popularity. At a 28 February conference
devoted to the stance of Russia's so-called traditional religious
confessions (Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism) towards December's
parliamentary elections and the likely influence of voters' religious
convictions on the results, Eurasia party leader Aleksandr Dugin maintained
that the number of people responding positively to a clear confessional
adherence by political leaders has more than doubled over the past four
years. A Federation Council representative argued that if a political
candidate is convincingly seen to appear morally upright and in favour of
the spiritual values of one of Russia's so-called traditional confessions,
that candidate is more likely to receive support from the voting majority
who perceive themselves as adhering to that confession, regardless of
whether its leadership has given that politician explicit endorsement.

RUSSIA: RELIGION LOOMS AS ELECTORAL FACTOR
By Geraldine Fagan, Forum 18 News Service

Nine months before Russia's parliamentary elections, there are already
signs that some political figures will seek to use religious leaders and
institutions to help boost their popularity.

On 28 February, the Eurasia political party and the Kremlin's internal
policy department held a conference devoted to the stance of Russia's
so-called traditional religious confessions (Orthodoxy, Islam, Buddhism and
Judaism) towards December's parliamentary elections and the likely
influence of voters' religious convictions on the results.

The low level of true religiosity in Russia was acknowledged from the
outset. Eurasia leader Aleksandr Dugin commented that the number of
actively practising members of traditional confessions was "measly". Over
the past four years, however, the number of people responding positively to
a clear confessional adherence by political leaders has more than doubled,
he maintained. "This indicates a certain detachment of religion, as a world
view, from its own ritual practices."

Moscow Patriarchate spokesman Fr Vsevolod Chaplin reiterated the Russian
Orthodox Church's official position on participation in elections as stated
in its Social Doctrine, according to which it neither participates in
electoral campaigns nor supports political parties or individual
candidates. Not subject to such constraints, Muslim and Buddhist
representatives at the conference voiced their clear support for Eurasia
and President Vladimir Putin.

Maintaining that the Orthodox Church genuinely held its neutral position,
Dugin nevertheless suggested that it was of little political consequence
precisely because voters' confessional adherence was only loosely related
to particular religious institutions and practices. If they are active
followers of a particular confession, people are "subject to certain dogmas
and doctrines," he explained, whereas, "outside there is a certain
freedom".

Other conference speakers pointed out a similar discrepancy between the
declarations and genuine action of politicians. In Russia, politics is
"virtual", commented a Federation Council representative. "It is not about
being in or changing the actual situation, but how a politician is seen to
appear." Thus, the logic goes, if a political candidate is convincingly
seen to appear morally upright and in favour of the spiritual values of one
of Russia's so-called traditional confessions, that candidate is more
likely to receive support from the voting majority who perceive themselves
as adhering to that confession, regardless of whether its leadership has
given that politician explicit, official endorsement.

Could this religious-moral factor be successfully enlisted to revitalise
the current climate of political disillusionment within Russia? The
government representatives and political commentators at Moscow's President
Hotel on 28 February appeared to believe so. Effective Politics Foundation
president Gleb Pavlovsky, who is widely credited with masterminding Putin's
rise to power, maintained that no representative of the traditional
confessions "held anything against" the Russian president, and that the
Russian Orthodox Church would be "well-disposed to the party of the
majority which will form parliament and will not offend us as citizens or
believers by its actions". By contrast, he said, the Orthodox Church should
"criticise amoral policies" and "prevent actions by politicians which
offend religious sensitivities".

Political scientist Sergei Markov similarly sought to coax the Russian
Orthodox Church into fulfilling its "prophetic role" by adopting a clear
stance towards particular political positions. To this end, the Church
should draw up an electoral "code of ethics" for the political elite, he
suggested.

Dugin provided one example of how religious considerations might be used to
affect the fortunes of a particular political party. Russian society was
now mature enough to demand that the Communist Party clarify its position
on the Church, he declared, and Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov can no
longer skate around the issue with slippery statements such as "the USSR
put [Yuri] Gagarin into space in order to become closer to God." "If he
says a decisive Yes to Orthodoxy, he loses an army of voting pensioners,"
Dugin maintained. "If he says No, he loses a mass of patriots."

The director of the Moscow-based Sova (Owl) Centre, which monitors
religious and social relations as well as national and religious xenophobia
in Russia, does not believe a split in the Communist Party between
staunchly Marxist and patriotic Orthodox factions is a realistic
possibility, however. In an interview with Forum 18 News Service on 15
March, Aleksandr Verkhovsky suggested that, since Pavlovsky and the
assistant head of the presidential administration, Vladislav Surkov, would
be held responsible if the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia (Yedinaya Rossiya)
parliamentary party did not improve its currently poor ratings, they were
trying to persuade "anyone they could" to assist. Now that Aleksandr Chuyev
(the author of last year's draft law "On Traditional Religious
Organisations") was no longer in Unified Russia, thought Verkhovsky, there
was little reason for the Moscow Patriarchate to support the party. For
that, the Kremlin "would have to interest them with something serious,"
thought Verkhovsky, but more would become clear only once concrete
candidates and policies are proposed in the summer.

*******

#22
Rumored Plans To Dissolve Russian State Statistics Committee Denied

Vremya MN
18 March 2003
Interview with Sergey Kolesnikov, deputy chairman of State Statistics
Committee; place and date not given: "It Is a Little Too Early To Dig a
Grave for Statistics"

According to yesterday's report in the media, a
"high-ranking source in the government" announced the imminent
"dissolution of Goskomstat [State Statistics Committee]." He suggested
that the lion's share of the statisticians' work would be turned over to
the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and the technical work
would be performed by "one of the statistics enterprises." We asked
Sergey Kolesnikov, state secretary and deputy chairman of Goskomstat, to
comment on these predictions.

[Kolesnikov] First of all, the upcoming administrative reform has
to adhere to a certain logical pattern. The statistics agency performs
several functions that are absolutely essential to the existence of the
state. Information about the economy and the social sphere has to be on
the desks of the country's leaders. Furthermore, statistical
information also represents a public service today, performed for the
government and for the society, especially the business community, which
will be the main driving force of our domestic economy in the foreseeable
future. The statistical agency can be renamed (which has happened
several times in the last 200 years), therefore, but its functions and
the people performing them will remain the same. It would be stupid, of
course, to start singing that song by "Tattoo"--"They will not drive us
out...," but it is still a little too early to dig a grave for our
national statistics.

[Vremya MN] Statisticians have been blamed for "essentially making
a mess of the population census," securing the participation of only 70
percent of the population in this undertaking, "instead of the promised
90 percent"....

[Kolesnikov] I have to ask right away, 70 percent or 90 percent of
what? Of what total figure? It is a salient feature of censuses
throughout the world that their results serve as a basic point of
reference for demographic estimates and predictions. The results of the
2002 All-Russia Population Census indicate that the country has 145.2
million inhabitants--2 million more than the cumulative figures for
October last year had suggested. The census data still have not been
processed completely, and the detailed results will not be known until
the end of the year.

[Vremya MN] Where did the figure of 70 percent come from?

[Kolesnikov] As far as I can see, this is a sign of cloudy
thinking: About five days after the start of the census, we announced
that approximately 70 percent of the population, according to the
estimates of our territorial agencies, had been recorded by that time.
The census went on for a whole week after that, and many more people were
recorded, of course. The 70-percent figure stuck, however, like a
splinter. This could be a psychological quirk or a case of unscrupulous
PR....