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1. Novaya Gazeta: Mikhail Gorbachev, AMERICA NEEDS A PERESTROIKA, AND UN FUNERAL IS WAY TOO PREMATURE.
2. AP: Russia Defends Self on Iraq Allegations.
3. Dow Jones: Russia Denies Iraq Arms Sales; Analysts Suspect Leakage.
4. Moscow Times: Alexei Pankin, Saddam, Gusinsky and Berezovsky.
5. AP: Russian Tycoon Berezovsky Nabbed in U.K.
6. Izvestia: Yekaterina Grigorieva, SYNONYMS AND EUPHEMISMS. THE COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC POLICY DISCUSSES RUSSIA'S STRATEGY FOR 2004.
7. Luba Schwartzman: TV1 Review.
8. Chicago Tribune: Alex Rodriguez, Turnout in Chechen vote raises red flags.
9. Gazeta: Milana Davydova, PUTIN HAS TALKED A LOT WITHOUT SAYING VERY MUCH. Putin scares and attracts investors at the same time. A report from a Russian business conference held in London.
10. AP: Report: Russia's Nukes May Be Vulnerable.
11. San Francisco Chronicle: Christopher Pala, Hunting down tons of anthrax on a remote island. Last summer, a Pentagon team destroyed Soviet-era stockpile.
12. RIA Novosti: "SMOLENSK ARCHIVE" IN RUSSIA AGAIN.
13. The New Republic book review: Stephen Kotkin, Truth and Consequences. (re Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman and Beria--My Father: Inside Stalin's Kremlin by Sergo Beria)

*******

#1
Novaya Gazeta
No.21
March 2003
AMERICA NEEDS A PERESTROIKA, AND UN FUNERAL IS WAY TOO PREMATURE
Author: Mikhail Gorbachev
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
EX-PRESIDENT OF THE SOVIET UNION ABOUT THE IRAQI CRISIS.

Evaluations first. What is happening is lawlessness, an extremely
dangerous event. The United States and Great Britain resolved to
attack Iraq despite the UN Security Council. They scorn the
international law and disregard their own allies, not to mention the
international community. This is essentially a felonious war. If the
things were ahead in this manner, it will be possible to qualify all
of that as an attempt to enforce a new world order. this attempt may
have some serious consequences.
The United States patterns its behavior on strength alone. It
will not do because times have changed. This is an erroneous policy.
America is probably the only country not to have realized that this is
a new era and a new world we live in now.
The world has hardly begun after the Cold War to build a new
system of relations and adapt itself to the new realities... Even
these fragile mechanisms are jeopardized now. Actually, the threat is
in ruination of international relations and institutions that are
supposed to maintain security.
We are already hearing speculations that the UN Security Council
and the UN itself have exhausted their capabilities and lost their
clout. If you ask me, the funeral is way too premature. Actions of the
United States should be properly assessed, and the assessment should
be made, first and foremost, by the UN Security Council.
The split in Europe and in NATO is also in the focus of
attention. These assumptions are premature too. On the other hand, the
crisis of relations nobody can deny should compel the United States
and its statements to draw correct conclusions.
The Americans do have something to give serious thought to, and
not only in the matter of their foreign political doctrine. It may be
added that the Iraqi conflict may make serious trouble for the US
Administration. History teaches us that any war is a herald of changes
in the country that initiated it in the first place. I have already
said it and will repeat it again and again: American needs a
perestroika of its own.
There will be no changes before America itself starts thinking
about its model of economic and social development, before it starts
looking at the world around it realistically. It is hard for me to get
rid of the impression that the motives behind the war in Iraq should
be looked for in the critical situation in the United States itself.
Its economy is sick.
A few words about what ought to be done. Panic should be avoided
at all cost. UN Security Council members and all of the international
community should act because what is happening in Iraq is splitting
the world and that must be avoided.
A comprehensive analysis of the situation is needed, and the UN
Security Council should give an evaluation of behavior of every
country that deserves it. Priorities should be outlined and emergency
measures charted in order to minimize casualties and ruination in
Iraq.
As for Russia, I think that our country and its president have
pursued a correct policy throughout the conflict. We do not want
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq but neither do we want an armed
conflict. Russia's position is firm. At the same time, Russia has
remained in touch with the United States and its allies and
facilitated the dialogue. It is important because our choice in the
matter is related to our own domestic problems.
(Translated by A. Ignatkin)

********

#2
Russia Defends Self on Iraq Allegations
March 25, 2003
By JUDITH INGRAM

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia went on a media offensive Tuesday to repeat denials of
American allegations that it is selling anti-tank guided missiles, jamming
devices and night-vision goggles to Iraq. It hinted that Washington also
had sold sensitive equipment to other nations.

The Kremlin, which usually issues its statements by fax or through the main
Russian news agencies, took the unusual step of calling news organizations
and dictating a statement publicizing its own version of a conversation
Monday between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House said Bush had called Putin to complain about the alleged
sales of military equipment, which could pose a danger to American troops.

Instead, Kremlin spokesman Alexei Gromov said Putin was the one who first
brought up the allegations, denied them and said that Russia respects the
U.N. sanctions against Iraq.

``The president of Russia also notes that the discussion concerns unproved,
public declarations that can damage the relations between the two
countries,'' Gromov said.

Gromov hinted that Putin also mentioned past situations where the U.S. had
sold military equipment to other countries. The official who dictated the
statement declined to name the instances or the countries involved.

Washington and Moscow have disagreed recently over issues ranging from
missile-defense plans to NATO expansion. Russia sided with France and
Germany to block a Bush-backed U.N. resolution sanctioning military
conflict to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

At a press conference Tuesday in the Russian nuclear weapons center of
Sarov, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and Atomic Energy Minister Alexander
Rumyantsev accused some of the United States' ``closest allies'' of
providing dangerous nuclear equipment to Iran - turning the tables on
Washington, which has frequently accused Moscow of leaking nuclear and
missile technologies to Tehran.

Rumyantsev said he was ``alarmed'' by press reports that an Anglo-Dutch
consortium, Urenco, had provided centrifuges that could be used to enrich
uranium for use in nuclear weapons, the Interfax-Military News Agency
reported.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Washington had ``credible
evidence'' of the Russian sales and that intelligence reports indicated
ongoing cooperation between a Russian company producing jamming equipment
and the Iraqi military. Russian officials denied the charge.

The Washington Post reported that three Russian companies were involved in
the sales. It identified two of them as KBP Tula and Aviaconversiya, a
Moscow-based company, saying that KBP had supplied anti-tank guided
missiles and Aviaconversiya provided the jamming devices.

U.S. officials allege that Russian technicians from a private company were
in Iraq during the last few weeks to provide technical support for the GPS
jammers.

********

#3
Russia Denies Iraq Arms Sales; Analysts Suspect Leakage
March 25, 2003
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
By Geoffrey T. Smith Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

MOSCOW -- A week after President Vladimir Putin described as "illegal" the
U.S. decision to go to war in Iraq without U.N. approval, his own
government faced accusations of having undermined U.N. sanctions by
allowing sales of military equipment to Saddam Hussein.

U.S. allegations that Russian equipment capable of jamming Global
Positioning Systems used in bombs and aircraft met with a full chorus of
denials Monday - from the government, from arms exports agency
Rosoboronexport and from Aviakonversiya, the company that makes the equipment.

"Russia strictly observes its international obligations," Foreign Minister
Igor Ivanov was quoted by local news agencies as saying. "It didn't sell
any equipment, including military equipment, in violations of the sanctions
regime."

Under sanctions approved by the U.N. Security Council, Iraq's foreign trade
is governed by the U.N.'s oil-for-food program limiting imports to food,
medicine and a restricted list of other nonmilitary goods.

Rosoboronexport was just as adamant, with a spokesman saying it "had
nothing to do with any such sales, and we have no information that such
sales took place."

Rosoboronexport is the sole state intermediary agency for Russia's military
exports and imports. Its lack of involvement would normally imply that the
exports bypassed official channels.

Such a scenario is possible, but would reflect a failure by Putin to bring
a chaotic military procurement system back under central control, analysts
said.

"One should acknowledge that they've done an awful lot to develop export
control in the last few years," said Ian Anthony, project leader for arms
transfers with the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

He noted that Putin two years ago gave the defense ministry direct
responsibility for licensing arms transfers in an attempt to stop
unauthorized shipments, something that "may have been a response" to
initial reports of Russian equipment finding illicit ways to Iraq.

U.S. and U.K. air forces were already complaining in summer 2000 of
interference with their GPS in enforcing the no-fly zones in southern and
northern Iraq. At that time, Kuwaiti newspapers asserted that
Aviakonversiya had sold its systems to Iraq through radical politician
Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Aviakonversiya Chief Executive Oleg Antonov had
countered that "nobody among the Iraqi leadership wants to buy such things."

Antonov was quoted by Interfax news agency Monday as saying the U.S. had
resumed protests about Aviakonversiya in September, adding that "tests of
American high-precision armaments revealed the total loss of their
efficiency against our jamming."

However, Antonov also claimed that the jamming equipment currently being
used by the Iraqi forces was probably made either in Iraq "or with the
assistance of the Yugoslavs."

Analysts at SIPRI noted that Russia has no record under Putin of
undermining U.N. sanction regimes. As such, they doubted he would risk his
relationship with the U.S. by making an exception for Aviakonversiya, a
small company run by a few ex-Soviet Union army commanders who grew rich on
a government monopoly for processing scrap metal from Soviet military
hardware.

Unlike any of the country's major shipyards, no local economy is dependent
on Aviakonversiya for employment, nor is it a valued beacon of Russian
technological pride, like aerospace groups Sukhoi or MiG. Ironically, the
spat threatens to overshadow a notable recovery in the past two years by
the likes of Sukhoi, which has led a resurgence of big ticket export items
such as tanks and fighter aircraft.

However, the Cold War-era friendship between the Soviet Union and Iraq has
left a legacy of issues that need official engagement, such as the $8.5
billion in Soviet-era debt owed to Russia , largely for arms.

More extensive ties survive on a commercial level, even under the
strictures of oil-for-food, and include contracts signed with Russian oil
companies such as OAO Lukoil Holdings (R.LKO) to develop Iraqi oil reserves.

A company like Lukoil, which is now courting the international capital
markets, can barely afford to fall foul of U.S. opinion. However, a number
of Russian trading companies have made good business out of the
oil-for-food program, buying nearly 40% of all the Iraqi oil exported under
it last year, according to economics ministry data.

Many of these purchases included a surcharge paid to a separate Iraqi
government account - a system that the U.N. said broke the rules of the
oil-for-food program. The U.N. subsequently adapted its pricing formula for
Iraqi oil to make the surcharge system unworkable.

Many of the Russian intermediaries active under the oil-for-food program
are alleged to be former Soviet Union commanders, like Aviakonversiya's
founders.

********

#4
Moscow Times
March 25, 2003
Saddam, Gusinsky and Berezovsky
By Alexei Pankin

Washington's relationship with Saddam Hussein strongly resembles the
relationship between Russia's leaders and the media empires of Vladimir
Gusinsky and Boris Berezovsky.

The United States backed the Iraqi dictator while he fought a bloody war with
neighboring Iran. The Gusinsky and Berezovsky empires were built largely with
government money for the purpose of providing democratic cover for Boris
Yeltsin's bid to hold on to power. The United States turned a blind eye to
Iraq's use of weapons of mass destruction (specifically, chemical weapons)
against Iran. Russian authorities encouraged, or at the very least did not
discourage, Gusinsky's and Berezovsky's use of a weapon of mass destruction
-- the power of television -- in the election campaigns of 1996, 1999 and
2000. At some point all three -- Hussein, Gusinsky and Berezovsky -- stopped
obeying their patrons and began scheming against them. From that moment on,
the United States and Russia declared war on their former clients.

The goals of these wars are clear and noble. In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001,
no U.S. president could countenance the continued existence of an
unpredictable, bloodthirsty dictator who had already demonstrated his
willingness to use weapons of mass destruction. Likewise, no Russian
president with the stated goal of creating a transparent, liberal economy
could accept the existence of powerful media empires that made their living
by attacking and shaking down the state and pretty much every major player in
the Russian economy. But the means employed to achieve these goals, as well
as their possible consequences, raise some important questions.

Did the United States really need to go to war with Iraq, falling out with
its European allies and Russia in the process, when the United Nations was
slowly but effectively forcing Iraq to disarm? Did the Russian authorities
really need to raise the ire of Europe and the United States by sending
masked men with machine guns into Gusinsky's office and throwing Gusinsky
himself into prison when Media-MOST's enormous debts made the takeover by
Gazprom inevitable in any case? The U.S. attack on Iraq has dealt a huge blow
to the entire system of international law. Will the world after Hussein be
any safer as a result? Will the Russian media become more independent and
responsible now that Gusinsky and Berezovsky have been forced into exile? No
one has the answers to these questions. Only time will tell.

In any case, now that U.S. President George W. Bush has resorted to the use
of force, he would do well to learn the lessons of Vladimir Putin's attempts
to restore order after the fighting is done.

Having neutralized Gusinsky and Berezovsky, the Kremlin clearly felt a sense
of guilt toward the journalists, in particular toward the so-called Yevgeny
Kiselyov team. One year ago, the Kremlin gave Kiselyov a broadcasting
license, forced a large group of oligarchs to back him financially and
assigned "political officers" to monitor both the journalists and their
backers. Not a month had gone by before the new station, TVS, was rocked by
scandal. The oligarchs began to fight among themselves. In its first year,
the station has had three general directors. The oligarchs say the
journalists want too much money, and the journalists say the oligarchs aren't
putting enough money into the station.

The journalists are also fighting among themselves. A number of
freedom-loving news anchors sent a collective letter to Kiselyov demanding
that Grigory Krichevsky be removed from his post as the head of news
programming. Kiselyov duly removed him. This "conflict" was hotly debated
last week in the Moscow press. The Kremlin was to blame yet again. If Putin
were to offer Bush one piece of advice, it could well be: Don't lose your
nerve. It's not enough to destroy Hussein and his sons. Take no prisoners
from among their cronies, either.

Alexei Pankin is the editor of Sreda, a magazine for media professionals
(www.sreda-mag.ru)

********

#5
Russian Tycoon Berezovsky Nabbed in U.K.
March 25, 2003
By MICHAEL McDONOUGH

LONDON (AP) - British police said Tuesday they have arrested Russian tycoon
Boris Berezovsky at the request of Russian authorities who are
investigating him for alleged fraud.

An extradition request charges that Berezovsky defrauded the administration
of Russia's Samara region while director of a company called LogoVaz
between Jan. 1 1994 and Dec. 31 1995.

The Metropolitan Police said officers arrested Berezovsky in London early
Monday. A LogoVaz associate, Yuli Dubov, was also arrested Monday, police
said.

Berezovsky and Dubov were released on bail, pending an appearance at Bow
Street Magistrates Court on April 2, police said.

``Both were charged on the extradition warrant issued by Bow Street
Magistrates' Court following a request for assistance from Russian
Authorities investigating allegations of a fraud,'' said a statement from
the Metropolitan Police.

``The charge alleges that between Jan. 1, 1994, and Dec. 31, 1995, they
defrauded the Administration of Samara Region of 60 billion rubles whilst
being directors of Logovaz,'' it added.

In December 1995, 60 billion rubles was worth some $13 million.

A Moscow court last October issued an arrest warrant for Berezovsky, Dubov
and another associate in connection with the theft of cars from Russia's
largest carmaker AvtoVaz.

LogoVaz was the official dealer for AvtoVaz and later functioned as the
holding company for a range of Berezovsky investments. Dubov was general
director of LogoVaz.

Berezovsky, an influential member of former Russian President Boris
Yeltsin's circle, was emblematic of the politically connected group of
so-called oligarchs who amassed huge wealth after the collapse of the
Soviet Union.

However, Putin's government targeted Berezovsky in its anti-corruption
campaign, and the tycoon became a bitter critic of the Russian leader.
Berezovsky says the efforts to prosecute him are motivated by his
criticism, and have forced his self-imposed exile in Britain.

********

#6
Izvestia
March 25, 2003
SYNONYMS AND EUPHEMISMS
THE COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC POLICY DISCUSSES RUSSIA'S STRATEGY FOR
2004
Author: Yekaterina Grigorieva
Source: Izvestia, March 25, 2003, p. 3
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]

The Council for Foreign and Defense Policy met for a two-day
conference at the Lesnye Dali sanatorium near Moscow, this week-end,
to discuss "Russia: The 2004 Strategy. Global World Challenges and
Modernization of the State". Presidium Chairman Sergei Karaganov
warned those present in his welcoming address that any mention of the
word "Iraq" would be taxed (the fine amounted to $100). Nobody was
fined despite apparent eagerness of some delegates and financial
problems of others. Members of the Council for Foreign and Defense
Policy used all sorts of euphemisms like "the city where everything is
calm".
The only exception was made only for the distinguished guest,
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. According to the minister, Iraq is the
first major crisis in the wake of the Cold War leading the world to a
new type of international relations whose nature cannot be predicted
at this point. "We do not believe in export of democracy or export of
revolutions," Ivanov said clearly implying that Iraq would remain a
subject of numerous international complications even should the
military operation there succeed.
Ivanov made it plan that the return of the crisis management
under the aegis of the UN Security Council was inevitable because the
American rule would be an occupation regime otherwise. Our colleagues
in the United States realize the necessity of legitimization, Ivanov
said.
According to diplomatic sources, this is precisely what Russia
relies on. "We will be on our guard against resolutions legalizing the
military operation," Ivanov promised. In other words, Russia will
insist on having all pre-war accords remain in effect (including the
oil accords, needless to say). Ever reluctant to make prognoses,
diplomats say that battles over that in the UN Security Council will
be probably fiercer than the ones fought before the war. Along with
that, diplomats deny that this is going to be Moscow's chance to even
the score. The idea of logical and noble - incriminate the winner (all
experts agree that the United States will be the winner, sooner or
later). The only question is whether the winner, the country that has
already made clear what it thinks of importance of the existing
international organizations, intends to appal to the UN for the sake
of its own return into the boundaries of the so called international
law.
Ivanov agrees that the United Nations is in need of self-reforms. As a
matter of fact, Russia promotes expansion of the UN Security Council
and permanent membership in it for Germany, Japan, and representatives
of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Russian diplomats admit that other
permanent members are not enthusiastic about the idea, mostly with
regard to candidates for permanent members, i.e. the key issue. As for
ways of the reforms, diplomatic sources suggest a meeting of national
leaders of the UN Security Council. As a matter of fact, the idea was
first suggested in the midst of debates over Iraq but was deemed
inexpedient because it would have only mounted international tension.
All the same, the Iraqi crisis does not solidify Russia's positions at
all. Russia's place on all sorts of ratings is well-known. It is in
the top ten only with regard to three parameters - membership in
international organizations, participation in peacekeeping operations,
and number of embassies.
The Council for Foreign and Defense Policy is unanimous on the
necessity of modernization of the state and says that absolutely all
directions are a must.
"Just do not confuse development and growth," one of the Council
members preached. "We used to have development without growth before
1998. It is vice versa nowadays."
Those present viewed administrative reforms as an untapped resource of
the economic growth and conditions for the non-existent political
competition as a means of development. Some experts are of the opinion
that a real competition is possible only with a government of
parliamentary majority and, ideally, party membership for national
leaders. Unfortunately, ideals and the soil where they are to be
cultivated are virtually incompatible. A single example will suffice
to illustrate it: the moment President Putin joins any political
party, it will be anything but political competition in the country
the next day.
Council members are of the opinion that Russia will face a choice
between the parliamentary and presidential rule closer to the end of
Putin's second tenure. They refer to inevitability of doubts in the
expediency of the institute of succession.
The end of the second tenure does not have anything to do with the
2004 strategy, and the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy
concentrated on a nearer future. The hypotheses of what may become the
grounds for political modernization in 2004 include the law on
presidential administration, regulating its functions; prosecution for
the use of administrative resource; a test of the idea of nomination
of presidents only by political parties (a transition to the primaries
system, in other words). Discussed some more, the ideas may be
incorporated into the final report on The 2004 Strategy For Russia the
Council for Foreign and Defense Policy hopes will he heeded and may be
even used by the political establishment.
(Translated by A. Ignatkin)

********

#7
TV1 Review
www.1tv.ru
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (luba_sch@hotmail.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office

HEADLINES,
Monday, March 24, 2003
- Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Russian
President Vladimir Putin about the refugee camp for Iraqi refugees
the ministry will set up in Iran. Four planes have arrived to the
campsite, bringing provisions for up to 5,000 people.
- President Putin appealed to the opposing sides to be humane
towards the prisoners of war. He ordered Foreign Minister Igor
Ivanov to make an official declaration to that effect.
- The preliminary results from the referendum in Chechnya are in.
Voter turnout exceeded 80 percent. Almost 96 percent of the
voters answered yes to all three questions. The question on the
Chechen Constitution clearly states that Chechnya is an
inseparable part of the Russian Federation. The positive response
to the question now makes it impossible for separatists to speak on
behalf of the Chechen people.
- President Putin declared: The Chechen people have made their
choice in favor of peace, in favor of positive development together
with Russia.
- Presidential Aide Sergei Yastrzhembsky spoke in favor of a
general amnesty in the Republic of Chechnya. He noted that the
results of the referendum make it possible for the federal center to
be generous.
- Chairman of the Central Electoral Commission Aleksandr
Veshnyakov declared that the presidential elections in the republic
of Chechnya could be held along with the elections to the State
Duma, in late September of this year. Elections to the republics
parliament could be held in early 2004.
- Fire was exchanged between the Iraqi guards of the Russian
Consulate in Baghdad and unidentified men at about 2am local
time.
- Iraqs Ambassador to Russia Abbas Khalaf confirmed that
several American soldiers have been taken hostage. He noted that,
despite the fact that the Iraqi government considers them
mercenaries, the captured Americans will be treated like prisoners
of war.
- Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov rejected Washington Posts
accusations that Russia supplied weapons to Iraq in violation of
international sanctions.
- President Putin met with key government officials to discuss the
referendum in Chechnya, the war in Iraq and other vital current
affairs issues.
- About 70 Georgian guardsmen mutinied in Tbilisi, making
demands of a social nature. All of the rebels have been detained.

********

#8
Chicago Tribune
March 25, 2003
Turnout in Chechen vote raises red flags
By Alex Rodriguez
Tribune foreign correspondent

GROZNY, Russia -- Unusually high voter turnout figures are contributing to
doubts about the legitimacy of a referendum that pro-Moscow authorities say
resulted in overwhelming approval of a new constitution for war-battered
Chechnya.

Already skeptical about the likelihood of a fair and open referendum in
wartime, many Chechens said the new constitution probably would not make
any difference in their lives.

"This will turn out the way Russia wants it to turn out," said Aslambek
Israilev, gazing at a school wall marked by a blast inflicted by rebels the
night before Sunday's voting. "But Moscow should know by now that the
rebels will fight before the referendum, and they will fight after the
referendum."

Chechen election officials appointed by Moscow said 85 percent of
Chechnya's 536,000 registered voters took part in the referendum. More than
95 percent of the votes reportedly were for the constitution, which keeps
the breakaway republic within the fold of Russia but provides limited
autonomy.

But journalists taken on a carefully structured government tour of polling
places observed only handfuls of people showing up to vote.

For much of the day Sunday, Israilev and his friends huddled for warmth
outside School No. 7, watching a trickle of voters go inside to cast their
ballot. Later he watched in disbelief as newscasts reported government
estimates of turnout in his region as high as 50 percent.

In Russia, at least half of all registered voters must participate in the
balloting for the results to be valid.

Those Chechens who did vote expressed hope--but not confidence--that a new
constitution and the election of a new president and parliament would
resurrect the battered republic from 12 years of civil war.

Under the constitution, Chechnya will remain a Russian republic but be
allowed limited self-rule. It will elect a government and draft
laws--although they must not conflict with Russian federal law.

The Kremlin believes that creating the legal groundwork for limited Chechen
autonomy will win over a war-weary population and isolate the bands of
separatist guerrillas.

Critics of the referendum have argued that the results of the referendum
would have little validity given the timing. Because of security concerns,
the voting also was not scrutinized by international observers who
routinely monitor the fairness of elections held in Europe.

An observer representing the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose
alliance of former Soviet republics, reported seeing no irregularities
during his visit. But there were clear signs of problems. A reporter for
the French newspaper Le Figaro said he walked into a polling place,
presented his French passport and was allowed to vote.

It also appeared as if there was no clear mechanism to ensure that
displaced Chechens, who were allowed to cast a ballot at any polling place,
did not vote twice.

Asked about the issue, Chechen election official Abdul-Kerim Arsakhanov
said, "It's not in the nature of Chechens to cheat."

Unusually high turnout was reported in the unlikeliest of places, such as
the mountainous Vedeno District, where rebel sympathy runs high. Turnout
there was reported at 86 percent.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said it continued to have
questions about the conduct of the referendum, including voter registration
figures and voting by displaced persons.

One aspect of the election did appear to come off without a hitch:
Authorities reported no instances of rebel attacks Sunday on polling
places, some of which were guarded by as many as 20 Chechen police and
Russian soldiers. There were 18 rebel attacks on polling places in the days
leading up to the election.

Some voters said they worried about the potential for such attacks but
deemed the referendum too important to ignore.

"I am tired of waiting for a better life," said Tamara Bisultanova, 52, as
she prepared to cast her vote at the House of Culture building in the
village of Chernokozova. "I've got nothing right now. I sell vegetables,
fruit and liquor along the street. It's enough for bread, but that's it."

********

#9
Gazeta
March 25, 2003
PUTIN HAS TALKED A LOT WITHOUT SAYING VERY MUCH
Putin scares and attracts investors at the same time
A report from a Russian business conference held in London
Author: Milana Davydova
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
BACK IN 1999, EVERYONE WAS DEMANDING TO KNOW WHO MR. PUTIN WAS. NOW,
A YEAR BEFORE ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW
WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER PUTIN. PARTICIPANTS IN A LONDON CONFERENCE
YESTERDAY AGREED THAT AFTER PUTIN, THERE CAN BE ONLY PUTIN.

Russian business tycoons gathered in London yesterday to discuss
the corporate management of Russia on the eve of the annual Russian
economic forum in London (this year it will take place on April 2-4).
From the very start of the conference, it became apparant that Russian
business leaders are much more interested in the upcoming elections
than in corporate management.
"Putin is out of touch with the situation. Russia hasn't been
doing anything to attract foreign investors, and they are not
interested in the Russian stock market. Russia is not transparent."
The conference began with these points. Brunswick UBS Warburg
Executive Director Peter Wallis said that three or four years ago,
foreign investors were truly attracted to major Russian corporations
like Gazprom and Russian Joint Energy Systems. These days, they fear
holding stakes in these companies - because when everything is state-
controlled, it is a disaster. The Russian stock market lacks materials
for portfolio investors because its capacity is small, according to
Western banking executives.
Conference participants agreed that the situation would change
only after the next presidential election, but only if Putin is re-
elected. This reasoning seems to indicate that investors value
stability more than the need to "be in touch with the situation".
Russian executives had a simple answer to Wallis' direct question
about what would happen after Putin: "Putin."
Alexander Shokhin of Renaissance-Capital even ventured a guess
about who would be the next prime minister. If Putin succeeds in
forming a party of the majority in the Duma before 2004, the leader of
that party might become the prime minister, Shokhin said.
Conference participants then tried to explain what would change
for business during Putin's second term. They consider that Russia
will get an investment rating and potential investors will revise
their assessment of the Russian market. According to Lord David Owen,
YUKOS-International president and a former British foreign minister,
Putin is proving amazingly adroit in reorganizing the energy
production sphere, and in other vital economic decisions. "Putin has
talked a lot about restructuring electricity production, but has
managed to say very little. This is a good tactic," Lord Owen
concluded.
To be on the safe side, companies have resolved to help the
authorities improve the investment climate. Conference participants
criticized the medium-term economic strategy of the Cabinet (heavier
taxation for the raw materials sector being one its central ideas),
and advised the government to use the only correct solution to the
problem of investment, which they called "a win-win option". They even
offered some recommendations on implementing the administrative
reforms. Shokhin (he is responsible for this area in the Russian Union
of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs) says that business leaders
propose abolishing all ministries and departments and replacing them
with services performing executive functions, supervisory structures,
and state-owned companies. The Industry Ministry should remain the
only one, a ministry determining state policy in the sphere of
industry and business. The Russian Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs suggests augmenting it with five agencies, including
Rosaviakosmos.
According to Shokhin, the Russian Union of Industrialists and
Entrepreneurs will forward its proposals to the government by late
April, before the presidential address to the Federal Assembly, which
will mention the administrative reforms.

********

#10
Report: Russia's Nukes May Be Vulnerable
March 25, 2003
By H. JOSEF HEBERT

WASHINGTON (AP) - Russia should provide broader access to its sites
containing nuclear or biological material if a U.S. program to keep such
material out of the hands of terrorists is to be successful, says a
congressional report.

The report by the General Accounting Office says that nearly two-thirds of
Russia's nuclear material and many of the locations holding dangerous
pathogens once used in the country's bio-weapons program may be
inadequately protected.

It noted the United States has spent $1.8 billion over the last decade to
help Russia improve safeguards at sites where nuclear materials and
warheads are stored, and to help nuclear scientists shift to a post-Cold
War economy.

But the report said in many cases progress has been stymied because Russia
continues to bar U.S. officials from many of the sites, despite a more
liberal access agreement reached in September 2001.

``Russia is not providing needed access to many sites ... (and) there is
little reason to believe this situation will change in the near future,''
said the report.

As for protection of Russia's deadly pathogens, the GAO said after four
years of effort, little progress has been made in addressing security at 49
Russian sites where the two countries have collaborative programs to
improve safeguards.

It said the Defense Department, which leads that program, ``has limited
information on the location and security'' of many of these sites where
Russia continues to store deadly anthrax and pathogens that cause smallpox
or the plague.

Earlier this month, a report by a group of Harvard University researchers
said that only 37 percent of the potentially vulnerable nuclear material in
the former Soviet Union is being adequately protected. The GAO produced a
similar percentage.

At a news conference releasing the Harvard findings, Sen. Richard Lugar,
R-Ind., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, acknowledged
the continuing problem of access to Russian facilities.

``Russia has got to be a partner,'' said Lugar, who 12 years ago was
co-author along with then-Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., of the law that authorized
the beginning of the U.S. assistance program on nuclear materials.

Lugar cited a lengthy list of cases where Russians have rebuffed the United
States in seeking access to nuclear sites, but said it would be ``absurd''
to abandon the program because of this.

``What alternative do we have?'' asked Lugar.

The GAO report said that of the 600 metric tons of weapons-usable nuclear
material in Russia, only about 228 metric tons is being kept at facilities
with enhanced safeguards under the U.S. assistance program.

``Despite years of negotiations, Russia will not let (the Energy
Department) visit or begin work at nearly three quarters of he buildings in
the weapons complex,'' said the GAO.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham has outlined an expedited U.S.-Russia
program, with increased U.S. access to sites under the 2001 agreement, with
a goal of having all of Russia's nuclear material secure by 2008.

But the GAO said ``with the department's lack of access to many of the most
sensitive sites in Russia's nuclear weapons complex'' it is unlikely that
DOE will achieve the 2008 target.

The GAO said DOE has finished work at only 14 of 133 buildings in Russia's
weapons complex. A bright spot, the GAO acknowledged, was progress in
protecting nuclear material belonging to the Russian Navy where 85 of 110
buildings have had security improvements.

********

#11
San Francisco Chronicle
March 24, 2003
Hunting down tons of anthrax on a remote island
Last summer, a Pentagon team destroyed Soviet-era stockpile
Christopher Pala, Chronicle Foreign Service

Almaty, Kazakstan -- In one of the most remote spots on Earth, Brian Hayes
led an expedition last summer to neutralize what was likely the world's
largest anthrax dumping grounds.

Hayes is a biochemical engineer with the Pentagon's Threat Reduction Agency,

which is charged with carrying out the hunt for unconventional weapons. He
recalled how his team dug up, tested, killed and reburied between 100 and 200
tons of military-grade, antibiotic-resistant anthrax last May, June and July
on Vozrozhdeniye Island in Central Asia's Aral Sea.

In the 1930s, Vozrozhdeniye, or "Renaissance," was the site of the most
extensive biological weapons testing in history after Josef Stalin decided
that he needed such weapons to load onto bombs. Anthrax, plague, smallpox and
a half-dozen other diseases, in addition to vaccines against them, were
tested on animals.

The island's 120-degree summer heat, dry climate and remoteness from
population centers made it an ideal place to test deadly germs on monkeys,
horses, guinea pigs, rabbits and donkeys.

First used in 1936, the island was abandoned by the Red Army after the Soviet
Union dissolved in 1991, becoming the property of the new nations of
Kazakstan and Uzbekistan.

But because of its remote location, neither country sent military forces to
occupy the uninhabited island and occasional visitors have been scavenging
ever since 1996, taking anything from floorboards and sinks to pipes and
electrical wiring.

The anthrax was hastily buried on the island in 1988 after Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev decided that the discovery of a stockpile of anthrax in
eastern Siberia would be an embarrassment if Western countries ever found it.
The West had suspected the Soviet Union was in violation of a 1972 treaty
banning biological weapons ever since a 1979 accident at Sverdlovsk, 850
miles east of Moscow, released anthrax spores that killed some 70 people.

SOME 200 TONS BURIED

In utmost secrecy, the Soviets sent the spores by train to Aralsk, and then
by ship to the Vozrozhdeniye Island, according to Kazak officials. Russia
won't say exactly how much anthrax was moved, and Hayes says it is difficult
to determine. But Western estimates vary between 100 and 200 tons buried at a
depth of 5 feet to 8 feet.

"The purpose of the expedition was to prevent potential adversaries from
acquiring biochemical materials that could pose a significant risk and danger
to Uzbekistan and the United States," Hayes said.

Gennady Lepyoshkin, who ran a huge anthrax factory in northern Kazakstan
under the Soviet Union and spent 18 summers on the island, disputed the risk.

"It's much easier to get anthrax spores from laboratories than from the
island," he said "It's very remote and not many people know where the anthrax
was buried."

Lepyoshkin noted that the anthrax used in the 2001 attacks on lawmakers in
the United States was developed by the U.S. Army.

The island's remoteness was very much on Hayes' mind when he and a handful of
Americans assembled in Nukus, Uzbekistan, last year for one of the most
challenging expeditions in the history of biological weapons.

With a team of 113, Hayes flew to Moynak, once a prosperous fishing port on
the Aral Sea and now a dying town 50 miles from the sea's coastline, in a
single-engine An-2 biplane, the workhorse of the former Soviet hinterlands.
The operation cost about $5 million.

Three helicopters carried their equipment to Kantubek, Vozrozhdeniye Island's
only town, built for the 2,000 people who staffed the top-secret testing
ground. Today, Kantubek lies in ruins.

Once Hayes and his team got to work, they discovered the Soviets had
apparently mixed the anthrax with calcium hydrochloride in what he called "a
smaller version of the 55-gallon drum" before emptying the mixture into 11
pits, taking nearly all of the drums back with them.

"We did some testing and when we found that some spores were alive, we didn't
go any further," he said. "We just went on the assumption that all the earth
in the sample area contained live spores."

TESTING FOR LIVE ANTHRAX

The team used high-tech laboratory equipment to test more than 1,000 samples
for live anthrax spores. Hayes also bought a cement mixer to mix the
contaminated earth with calcium hydrochloride, which kills anthrax spores.
But when the machine proved too heavy for an Mi-8 helicopter to lift, it was
disassembled. Once on the island, his team couldn't put it back together.

So Hayes devised an alternative way to kill the anthrax: he used backhoes to
dig trenches and then threw the contaminated earth into pits lined with thick
plastic filled with calcium hydrochloride. The earth was then submerged for
six days before being covered up again after tests revealed no living spores.

Near an old laboratory complex overgrown with weeds, lays a lone unmarked
grave of a woman who died several decades ago of an infection from handling
germs.

"I used to drive up there every day and say a prayer for her," said Hayes.
"And when I left, I thought that all the people who used to work there have
gone home, and now we were going home, but she was going to stay there
forever.

I never even knew her name."

********

#12
"SMOLENSK ARCHIVE" IN RUSSIA AGAIN

SMOLENSK, March 25, 2003. /from Vladimir Korolev, a RIA Novosti
correspondent / -- The Smolensk Archive kept in the US National Archive in
Washington for more 50 years has been officially handed over to Russia in
Smolensk (the administrative centre of the Smolensk region, 300 km west of
Moscow, that borders on Belarus).

Representatives of the US Embassy in Russia, officials of the Russian
Foreign and Cultural Ministries, heads of the regional executives bodies,
and scholars took part in the ceremony.

Head of the Russian Archive Service Vladimir Kozlov said that the documents
carried facts and historical events of both the Smolensk region and the
entire country.

The Smolensk Archive including 541 cases of more than 70,000 pages has been
brought back to its historical homeland. Soon it will become available for
scientists.

The Smolensk Archive was captured and brought to Germany during World War
II. After the German defeat the archive found in the American occupation
sector was taken to the U.S.

********

#13
The New Republic
March 31, 2003
book review
Truth and Consequences
By Stephen Kotkin (kotkin@princeton.edu)
Stephen Kotkin is director of Russian studies at Princeton and co-editor of
Political Corruption in Transition: A Skeptic's Handbook (Central European
University).

Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
By William Taubman
(W.W. Norton, 876 pp., $35)

Beria--My Father: Inside Stalin's Kremlin
By Sergo Beria
(Duckworth, 397 pp., $26.95)

Hitler started the Cold War. Let us remember, he decisively won World War
II. By 1941, through conquests, annexations, and alliances, Nazi Germany
controlled all of Europe from the English Channel to the Soviet border. The
defiant British, an irritant, posed no threat, and the compliant Soviets
were obediently fulfilling a nonaggression pact and a trade pact with their
Nazi comrades. But Hitler unilaterally broke his deal with Stalin and
invaded the one country that had the power to defeat the Nazi land army,
calling forth an epochal defensive war that unexpectedly implanted the
Soviets in Berlin. The crusade that Hitler thrust upon the Soviets afforded
them the transcendent purpose and the geopolitical aggrandizement that
Communist ideology professed but that had largely eluded the Soviets outside
their factory towns. The war integrated the huge village population into the
revolution, extended state borders in all directions, and brought a bonus
European buffer empire. The Vozhd, as Stalin liked to be called, never had a
greater partner than the Fuhrer, not even Lenin.

And Stalin, in turn, conjured up today's Pax Americana. Flush with victory
in the great war, not only did he stubbornly refuse to accept change, or to
bring his devastated domestic order even minimally in line with the more
powerful liberal ascendancy being imposed on defeated Germany and Japan, but
he also force-cloned Soviet regimes in the windfall lands that Hitler's
racist megalomania had perversely bestowed. In the years after the war,
Stalin appears to have expected a capitalist crisis still greater than the
Great Depression, as well as divisions among the capitalist powers even
deeper than those of the interwar period. Mistake! He and his heirs came
smack up against the capitalist world's greatest economic boom, while his
ideologically inflected opportunism in Eastern Europe, and then in Korea,
united the highly fractious Western powers and decisively mobilized the
internationally circumspect United States for a sustained global campaign.
Stalin is long dead and the Cold War won (except, of course, on the Korean
peninsula). But the world that the Soviet menace induced, with a huge
initial hand from the Nazis (and a lesser one from the Japanese), lives on:
an American superpower engaged and deployed across the entire planet, not to
mention outer space.

From a state's-interests viewpoint, Stalin's foreign policy stands among the
greatest failures in world history. And yet the Soviet dictator cast a
shadow over his heirs as a supposed grand statesman for having vanquished
Hitler and presided at Yalta and Potsdam. Following Stalin's death, when one
man, again, emerged to rule one-sixth of the earth, Nikita Khrushchev
inherited this confrontational security policy that failed to provide
security (evidenced by a ring of American bombers based in Norway, Germany,
Italy, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Japan). Khrushchev inherited also a
boomeranging occupation of Eastern Europe, a gratuitous rift with Tito, an
unresolved German problem, an unsustainably hypercentralized economy, grain
harvests smaller than they had been in 1913, a self-defeating Gulag of slave
labor seething in revolt, and more than two hundred million "free" people
living a lie, which a majority understood in some fashion as truth.

How could a new Soviet leader possibly overcome Stalin's legacy at home and
abroad? Khrushchev unavoidably, and erratically, struggled to square that
circle. It is strange that Khrushchev, despite his sensational denunciation
of Stalin and his gripping showdowns with Eisenhower, Nixon, and Kennedy
during an era of basement bomb shelters and drills to practice ducking heads
under school desks, has not provoked a rich biographical literature. There
is Edward Crankshaw's journalistic treatment in the 1960s, and Roy
Medvedev's brief but incisive portrait in the 1980s, and William Thompson's
updated overview in the 1990s, and that's about it. But now William Taubman
has produced a breakthrough book. Twenty years in the making, this
extraordinary tome ranks in accomplishment with Paul Preston's Franco, Renzo
de Felice's untranslated Mussolini, and Ian Kershaw's Hitler.

Khrushchev, with three volumes of his own in English (four in the new
Russian edition), was an industrious self-chronicler, an industry overseen
and expanded by his son Sergei, now a scholar at Brown and an American
citizen. (So much for his father's boast that "we will bury you!") Taubman
makes thorough use of this remarkable record--he even listened to the
disjointed master tapes from which the autobiography was culled; but he
deftly corrects the Khrushchev family's version of events. He evokes the
period and its personalities through a masterly use of quotations, some from
older sources (such as the nonpareil insider account by Veljko Micunovic,
the Yugoslav ambassador to Moscow), many from documents that were
declassified and published in the 1990s. Taubman ably navigates the big
issues in Soviet and Cold War history, and he brilliantly illuminates
Khrushchev's family and inner life. His splendidly illustrated study is a
consummate piece of scholarship and a delight to read. It paints an
unforgettable portrait of an impossible inheritance combustibly mixed with a
hypomanic (this was the CIA's formulation) but ultimately war-wise
personality. Everything, it seems, goes back to World War II.

The outcome of World War II was essentially decided on the Eastern front,
before the landing in Normandy, but the war concluded with only one genuine
victor, the United States, even as Britain (and more so France) rode
American coattails. The war also had what might be called three fortunate
losers: Japan, Germany, and Italy. And it had one other loser, the Soviet
Union, although almost half a century passed before that country's
defeat-in-victory became manifest. It has taken more than a decade since the
climactic events of 1989-1991 to recognize the upshot of World War II and
its aftermath: namely, the new-style American empire, consisting in
unmatched and combined economic, cultural, military, and diplomatic power,
without costly direct rule of territories, which, when taken, were
relinquished. This unforeseen but logical by-product of the necessary Cold
War (with all its excesses and commercial aspects) is the American situation
still: a world in which everything that happens, no matter where or why, is
somehow an American responsibility, so that if the United States tries to
abjure this responsibility in particular cases--choosing not to act, say, in
Rwanda or North Korea--it finds that its credibility comes into question.
And this imperial dilemma is one that Khrushchev, ruling a far different
kind of empire that controlled and in most cases subsidized colonies, faced
as well.

Nikita Khrushchev was born dirt poor in a southwestern Russian village in
1894. Fourteen years later, his landless (even horseless) farming family
relocated to a mining settlement in the empire's Russified eastern Ukraine,
where his father performed seasonal labor. Though Khrushchev never ceased to
cultivate a vegetable garden or to utilize a pungent peasant speech, he was
ashamed of his rural origins and styled himself a miner's son. By the age of
fifteen, having completed just a few grades at a village school, he
apprenticed himself to a metalworker. Out of scrap he built a bicycle, then
converted it to a motorcycle so he could arrive at social gatherings with a
roar. Under his mother's influence, Nikita neither drank nor smoked. During
World War I, when he received a skilled-worker exemption from the carnage,
he helped to organize strikes against the proletariat's infernal conditions
and the imperialist conflict. Mostly, though, he dreamed of returning to
school to become an engineer. But revolution and civil war intervened, and
he became an apparatchik. Taubman calls him "the archetypal Soviet man," a
climber but also a true believer.

For people of his generation who vaulted high in the new regime, Khrushchev
joined the party relatively late, in 1918. His chief patron, Lazar
Kaganovich, Stalin's henchman in Ukraine, was only a year younger than
Khrushchev but joined the Bolsheviks in 1911. In September 1929, however,
with a boost from Kaganovich, Khrushchev landed among a select hundred
individuals who were admitted to Moscow's Industrial Academy. He never
graduated, but he excelled in the Stalinist clampdown and party purges
there, particularly against well-educated types who condescended to him.
Khrushchev also palled around with Nadezhda Alliluyeva, an inconspicuous
student and earnest party worker who, he discovered, happened to be Stalin's
wife. Taubman speculates that Nadezhda's denunciation to her husband of
Khrushchev's fanaticism may have served as an unwitting recommendation, for
in 1930 one of Stalin's aides contrived Khrushchev's installation as party
secretary of the academy. Two years later Nadezhda shot herself, in apparent
protest against her husband's dictatorship. In January 1934, Stalin's
pet--as Taubman aptly designates Khrushchev--was elevated to party boss of
the Soviet capital. His leap from a mud-spattered birth village and an
adopted black-lung hometown to the gilded offices and granite facades of
Stalinist Moscow made the revolution personal.

Responsible for everything from garbage collection to supervision of the
intelligentsia, Khrushchev threw himself into the socialist upheaval in the
metropolis, and into the liquidation of his colleagues. Of Moscow city and
province's thirty-eight highest functionaries, only three survived the
bloodbath of the late 1930s. Khrushchev's portrait bobbed above the parading
crowds. The capitalist world's prolonged Great Depression and fascism's
frenzy of militarism mitigated whatever doubts surfaced about Soviet
socialism, and, paradoxically, so did proximity to the dictator. In one of
his spellbinding private audiences with Stalin, Khrushchev broached the
subject of arrests that appeared utterly without foundation, and Stalin
replied: "I know what you mean. There are these kinds of perversions. They
are gathering evidence against me, too." Call it paranoia as persuasion.

Separated by a generation, the two men shared humble origins and abbreviated
formal educations; and at barely over five feet Khrushchev also stood five
unthreatening inches shorter than the diminutive dictator. In 1938, Stalin
entrusted him with overseeing vital Ukraine, a territory the size of France,
where Khrushchev reigned until 1949, returning periodically to Moscow for
Politburo meetings. In Kiev, the autocrat who loved to play the democrat
took over the resplendent villa of a prerevolutionary sugar magnate. In June
1941, when the Nazis blasted across Soviet frontiers and began bombing Kiev,
Khrushchev was spending the night in his office after a defector had warned
of imminent attack. Less than two weeks later, he and the entirety of Soviet
officialdom deserted the burning Ukrainian capital.

For the most part, Stalin's inner circle sat at the dictator's knee in the
Kremlin during the Nazi firestorm, only venturing to the front lines under
heavy guard on "inspection" tours to find fault. Khrushchev, by contrast,
who missed World War I, spent all of the incomparably vaster World War II on
the front lines. He took a prominent part in the triumphs at Stalingrad and
Kursk--and also in debacles elsewhere, for which Stalin emptied his pipe
ashes on Khrushchev's bald head, though he might have made human ashes out
of him. Alexander Dovzhenko, the film-maker, traversed the battlefields with
Khrushchev and described a scene that they witnessed:

An airplane was lying in the road, burning: not more than half an hour had
elapsed since it crashed. Near
the airplane lay the pilot--legless, charred, with a white skull, armless.
Naked white bones protruded from his shoulders. The co-pilot had been tossed
out and lay at a distance. His head was shattered. The pink brain,
hemispheres separated, lay in the stubble and large green flies crawled over
it. I looked at the pilot's face, which had been covered with a cloth. A
dark, bloody hole gaped in his forehead. That was where his brain had come
out.

Multiply this incident by, say, twenty-seven million. "The war traumatized
Khrushchev," Taubman observes. "It drove him to smoke and to drink; it
commanded more attention in his memoirs than almost any other subject."
(These were precisely the chapters most abridged in the incomprehending
English translation of the memoir).

Like no other top Soviet official, then, Khrushchev knew firsthand the
horrors and the blunders of the war, including his own. But "the fact that
so many fought and died for the Soviet system," Taubman surmises, "deepened
his faith in socialism." The war also emboldened him. Struggling to halt the
Nazi onslaught, Khrushchev hurriedly inquired into the fates of purged
Soviet officers, intellectuals, and political leaders, forcefully recalling
many people from the camps (though none from the grave). He clashed with top
military commanders, but he also established close bonds with them, and they
became a crucial constituency in later power struggles.

After the hostilities, he may have risked his career trying to block the
wholesale arrests of those who had the misfortune of having fallen behind
German lines, insisting that they should be thanked for not having taken
flight (like their would-be interrogators). Moving into a still more
luxurious villa, Khrushchev made the rounds of Ukraine's shattered
factories, mines, and villages, commiserating with the countless invalids,
widows, and homeless. A changed Khrushchev also dared to speak to Stalin
directly of the terrible famine (and cannibalism) of 1946-1947, even asking
that the requisition quotas of grain for the state be reduced, thereby
provoking the tyrant's wrath and a demotion, which proved to be temporary.

In 1949, the aging tyrant recalled Khrushchev to Moscow and the inner
circle, making him both a target of a pending gigantic new purge and a
contender in the scramble for the sick man's succession. "Khrushchev wasn't
stupid," one of the big losers, Vyacheslav Molotov, snobbishly allowed. "But
he was a man of meager culture ... a very primitive man." Was the onetime
peasant's ascension a fluke, then? Not in the least. Taubman's sure-handed
account of the arrest of Lavrenti Beria in the summer of 1953 demonstrates
that the stupendous coup against the secret police chief was indeed
Khrushchev's handiwork. In the end Khrushchev proved to be the wiliest in
the unseemly entourage, and the most daring. The others underestimated him,
just as Lenin's heirs had underestimated Stalin. Consider that all the top
Stalinists managed state ministries, except Khrushchev, who ran mass party
organizations--and the biggest ones to boot, in Moscow and in Ukraine. He
was not only Stalin's master pupil in dissembling and political intrigue, he
was also a skilled politician, a barnstormer with Communist convictions, as
well as a frontline veteran.

De-Stalinization would seem to be a secure feather in Khrushchev's cap, and
yet his historic claim has been questioned. Huge uprisings in the Gulag in
1953-1954, when it held at least 2.5 million prisoners, had to be put down
with tanks and fighter planes, demonstrating that Stalin's terrible legacy
would confront his heirs whether or not they confronted it themselves. Also,
Khrushchev initially resisted efforts to probe and to criticize Stalin's
rule, seeking instead to scapegoat Beria for the millions of arrests,
executions, and deportations. And it was Beria who initiated
de-Stalinization, in the months between Stalin's death in March 1953 (happy
fiftieth anniversary!) and his own execution in July--that is, three whole
years before Khrushchev's secret speech at the Twentieth Party Congress.
Stalin was barely cold when his police chief Beria acted on his own to
repudiate the Doctors' Plot and other falsified cases, to release Gulag
prisoners en masse, and to launch numerous self-serving but unorthodox
initiatives in domestic and even foreign affairs, such as an unauthorized
rapprochement with Tito and a proposal to cashier East Germany.

So was Lavrenti Beria, notorious rapist and torturer, the true "liberal
reformer," and Khrushchev merely a schemer--not to mention an
anti-Semite--who tweaked and therefore in effect preserved Stalinism? Such
was Amy Knight's "revisionist" argument in her serviceable if overwrought
biography, Beria, Stalin's First Lieutenant, which appeared in 1993. Such is
also the contention of an unusual work that Knight uncomfortably denounced
(in the Times of London) for its attempt to rehabilitate Beria, but that
uncannily conveys the flavor of its subject: namely, Beria--My Father:
Inside Stalin's Kremlin. Sergo Beria's inevitable apologia for his father,
who here stands for everything good and opposes everything evil, is too
absurd to warrant refutation. Anyway, Sergo--who was born in 1924 and named
for Sergo Ordzhonikidze, his father's main patron and the commissar for
industry under Stalin-- refutes his own book. "The reader may be surprised
that I have remembered so many of my father's remarks," he writes, adding,
"I was so very fond of him that every word of his is imprinted forever in my
memory." This is doubtful, to say the least; and then he admits that "my
father never confided his real intentions to me," and that "my father never
expounded to me his views on our regime." Among the multitude of sensations
not otherwise mentioned in the avalanche of revelations since 1991 but
supposedly discussed in the admittedly highly placed Beria household is that
Stalin had a thing for opera singers and fathered two more children after
the war "with a redhead."

And yet it must be said that the younger Beria saw a great deal, thanks to a
career in intelligence and military technology. He was in Iran in 1941 and
1942 to arm the Kurds so that they could be deployed to protect Soviet oil
fields in Baku. He transferred to the central NKVD laboratory to study
radio--the same installation, he discovered, that bugged Politburo members.
In 1943, Sergo found himself in Tehran typing up translated transcripts for
Stalin of the secretly recorded conversations of Roosevelt and Churchill.
Two years later he performed similar duties in Yalta. Having learned German
in school and from his nanny, Sergo baby-sat the captured German commander
at Stalingrad in 1943 and met with rounded-up German scientists in 1945. On
top of all these experiences, he came to know the regime by observing his
father, and by mixing socially as well as professionally with the military
elite, state functionaries, and their gossiping wives and offspring--no less
than did Khrushchev's son. Indeed, his memoir aims to undo the Khrushchev
family's blackening of Beria by re-directing the bile. This Beria family
memoir enacts its own principal insight: that bitter hatreds formed the very
essence of the Soviet regime.

Sergo draws back the curtain on a world of elite animosities. His account is
premised on the genuine insight that Stalin established innumerable parallel
groups on every significant issue or task. Why deliberately cultivate
inefficiency? Because competitors engaged in mutual denunciations, ensuring
a steady flow of information to the despot, who never became dependent on a
single individual in any crucial sector. In turn, the success and even the
survival of functionaries depended not just on Stalin's favor, but on the
quality of their Stalin-fostered enemies--along the lines of "my father drew
the conclusion that $(Marshal$) Konev was a shit rather than a madman."
Sergo further explains that Beria's arch-enemy was Andrei Zhdanov, the
party's top ideologue and a Russian chauvinist whose pretensions Beria
openly mocked. But after Zhdanov came under serious attack for war-related
fiascos, Beria defended him because, Sergo writes, he preferred such a
worthless adversary to a more formidable replacement. In fact, when Zhdanov
died in 1949, his position was effectively taken over by his protege Mikhail
Suslov, who despite a castrato voice proved more dangerous to Beria owing to
his indomitable capacity for work. Francois Thom, who supplies helpful notes
that question and occasionally confirm Sergo's recollections, remarks
correctly upon a "hideous world, made up of petty intrigues and great
crimes," a "regime of blackmailers."

The son details his father's frequent blackmailing of colleagues, showing
that Beria was no "liberal" reformer, contrary to Knight. Yet Sergo's book
(along with some choice declassified Politburo documents) indicates--and
here Knight was on to something--that Beria represented a counterpoint to
Stalin as well as to Khrushchev. Beria was a statist, dismissive of the
party. He detested Communist agitprop and its accompanying censorship, and
he proposed eliminating entirely the party's role in managing the economy
and instead relying exclusively on the state apparatus, which was his power
base. He did not advocate the market or political pluralism, nor did he want
to dismantle the Soviet Union; but he did seek to curtail Russification,
preferring to augment the autonomy and the loyalty of the non-Russian
elites, his other power base. In the aftermath of the war Beria looked
askance at establishing Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, but not because
he was anti-empire. On the contrary, he evidently wanted to use military
types to consolidate two blocs or federations, one in the north centered on
Poland, the other in the south centered on Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, which
would be nonCommunist but economically oriented toward the Soviet Union.
Were these consistent views? Could any of this have worked? Would a more
federalized Soviet Union and two loyal non-Communist blocs have lasted
longer than the Russian-dominated USSR or its Communist satellites?

Beria recognized his own vulnerabilities for his utmost complicity in
monstrous bloodshed, and also the similar and larger vulnerabilities of the
Soviet system, and he was alive to many overlooked opportunities. Alone in
the hierarchy he seems to have appreciated the strategic significance,
during and after the war, of Turkey and Iran. Most of Beria's personal files
remain closed, but his son writes plausibly that his father hated to see
Turkey so readily recruited into the American orbit. In northern Iran,
according to Sergo, contrary to the party's transparently doomed intrigues
to create a Communist regime, Beria stressed maintaining good relations to
guarantee access to oil, or possibly organizing a putsch to bring back the
Shah, who would then be beholden to the Soviets. (The CIA-assisted coup that
re-installed the Shah in 1953 happened to take place one month after Beria's
arrest.)

Khrushchev wrote that Beria was the sole person able to proffer frank advice
to Stalin on foreign policy, but Stalin seems not to have followed it.
Neither did Khrushchev, whose triumph over Beria signaled the re-assertion
of the party over the state, and of Communist ideology over realpolitik.
Both Beria and Khrushchev were Stalinists, but with significant variations.
They offered different paths of de-Stalinization, with divergent
implications: cautious retrenchment founded on dangerous cynicism versus
dangerous risk-taking founded on ultimately disabling idealism.

Having failed to consult Eastern European leaders before taking the bungee
plunge of de-Stalinization in February 1956, Khrushchev hurried to Poland
and delivered an impromptu second secret speech, which was recorded verbatim
and has been declassified from the Polish archives. "If you ask, comrades,
how we now evaluate Stalin, who Stalin was, was he an enemy of the party and
working class, then the answer is no, and that's what the tragedy is,
comrades," Khrushchev fumbled. "The devil knows how to explain why so many
perished."

Or what the consequences were going to be. Worker strikes broke out in
Poland demanding bread and freedom. It has come to light that Khrushchev
mobilized the Soviet military, and in response the Poles mobilized. A
"fraternal" armed confrontation was avoided only owing to the dexterity of
the Polish Communist leader Wladyslaw Gomulka, and owing to the fact that
Hungary also erupted. Even more startling, Khrushchev acquiesced in the
overthrow of socialism in Hungary; but a few hours later he reversed himself
and dispatched tank armies. "Khrushchev lurched from surrender to bloodbath
in Hungary," Taubman concludes. "The whole terrible sequence confirmed that
he and his colleagues were in over their heads, just as Stalin had predicted
they would be." In fact, here as elsewhere, Taubman's evidence demonstrates
that Stalin had bequeathed a lose-lose situation.

Blaming Stalin proved an unstable strategy for ruling his empire. Confounded
by the escalating Hungarian revolt, a waffling Khrushchev lamented to Tito
(as paraphrased by Micunovic) that "if we let things take their course, the
West would say we are either stupid or weak, and that's one and the same
thing." Worse, Khrushchev continued, people would say that "when Stalin was
in command everybody obeyed and there were no big shocks, but that now, ever
since they $(meaning himself, Khrushchev$) had come to power, Russia had
suffered defeat and the loss of Hungary. And this was happening at a time
when the present Soviet leaders were condemning Stalin." Thus, although he
relished the interventionist troubles that the simultaneous Suez crisis was
causing Britain and France, Khrushchev opted for armed intervention. "If we
leave Hungary," he reasoned out loud to his colleagues, "that will encourage
the Americans, English, French, the imperialists. They will ... go on the
offensive... Our party won't understand our behavior."

Indeed, perhaps the most interesting thing that we have learned from the
secret archives is the difficulty encountered in controlling local party
discussions of Khrushchev's secret speech, and the apparent incomprehension
or outright disapproval of de-Stalinization among much of the Soviet masses.
Within fifteen months of the secret speech, in summer 1957, a majority of
the Politburo brazenly voted to oust Khrushchev--another fact that we have
belatedly learned. Only with the determined help of younger party proteges
in the Central Committee, and also of Marshal Zhukov, the wartime hero he
knew so well, did Khrushchev beat back his Stalinist comrades in an
eleven-day marathon showdown, cleverly branding his opponents the
"anti-party group."

Just seven years later, however, the Kremlin leader was sacked by the very
men who had earlier saved him. "Khrushchev's speech denouncing Stalin was
the bravest and most reckless thing he ever did," Taubman concludes, echoing
Roy Medvedev's view as well as other scholarship. "The Soviet regime never
fully recovered, and neither did he." Much later, following the ignominious
Brezhnev years and Soviet collapse, some surviving participants in
Khrushchev's dismissal publicly expressed regret. Taubman's narrative,
completely in command of this extensive literature, reveals the scope of the
disarray in the Kremlin, and of Khrushchev's wild mood swings. "He's either
all the way up," Khrushchev's devoted third wife, Nina Petrovna, confided to
the wife of the American ambassador in 1959, "or all the way down."

Foreign policy, perhaps not a suitable endeavor for a manicdepressive (and
an ideologue), dominates Taubman's biography. Khrushchev made himself
inordinately accessible to the diplomatic community in Moscow, especially
compared with Stalin; but as a result foreigners came to know, and to
dislike, his unrestrained garrulity (his ramblings on agriculture alone fill
eight volumes) and his vulgarity. Sipping cognac, the Soviet leader would
exude charm and then suddenly explode, his folksiness turning foul. "If
Adenauer pulls down his pants and you look at him from behind," he once told
W. Averill Harriman, "you can see that Germany is divided. If you look at
him from the front you can see that Germany will not stand."

It was Khrushchev who never figured out what to do with Stalin's bastard
East Germany. (As Beria had bluntly pronounced behind closed doors in May
1953, "The GDR? What of the GDR? It isn't even a real state. It only manages
to stay together because of Soviet troops.") In 1958, the frustrated
Khrushchev blockaded Berlin to force Eisenhower to recognize East Germany.
Naturally, the United States refused to bow to pressure, instead pressing
the re-armament of West Germany. American analysts puzzled over what
Khrushchev was trying to accomplish in Berlin. What was his strategy? As
Taubman shows, there was none. Khrushchev loved playing chicken--or chess in
the dark, as he called it; and he regarded war threats as a method to unlock
a grand peace. When Hubert Humphrey was dispatched to Moscow to divine the
Soviet leader's intentions--good luck!--Khrushchev inquired about the
senator's hometown and, hearing the answer, approached a wall-sized map,
circled Minneapolis, and said he would spare that city when the rockets
started flying. "Khrushchev's deepest fear," Taubman surmises, "seemed to be
that he was being taken for a fool by the Americans."

No episode of the Khrushchev era, or of the Cold War generally, has been
more scrutinized than the Cuban missile crisis. Scholars have argued that
Khrushchev made a bold gambit to undo America's strategic advantage and to
win concessions in the stalemate over Berlin. Taubman, again incorporating
the latest research, suggests that Khrushchev had fallen romantically for
the Cuban revolution and thus at least partially wanted to protect Castro
from an American invasion--a motive, the biographer emphasizes, that
Washington never imagined. Thus Kennedy's threats to Cuba helped to provoke
the crisis, Taubman argues, but finally the crisis resulted from
Khrushchev's impulsiveness. "What if," Khrushchev characteristically
remarked, "we throw a hedgehog down Uncle Sam's pants?"

There was virtually no way the Soviet leader could get away with
transporting and installing the huge missiles undetected, given the
capability of American spy planes. Khrushchev had himself examined the
photos that were captured along with downed U-2 pilot Gary Powers, and he
knew there were flights over Cuba. Soviet generals, whose bloated Stalin-era
budgets Khrushchev kept slashing, viewed the Cuba operation as a "crackpot
scheme," and wondered what would happen if it were discovered. Would
Khrushchev go to war with the United States? Even die-hard revolutionaries
were anxious. To Che Guevara, Khrushchev boasted: "You don't have to worry.
There will be no big reaction from the U.S. And if there is a problem, we
will send the Baltic Fleet." But the fleet stayed in port, while Kennedy
proved ready to risk nuclear annihilation to remove the missiles. Castro
cursed Khrushchev as a "son of a bitch" with "no cojones," but the world was
fortunate that the reckless Soviet leader blinked, accepting the humiliation
of retreat.

The Chinese Communists grandstanded over both the nuttiness of Khrushchev's
Cuban adventure and his capitulation to the imperialists. Taubman,
exploiting the recent archival bonanza in the re-examination of Sino-Soviet
relations, quotes Zhou En-lai, who after a trip to Moscow wrote perceptively
in his diary that, being "extremely conceited ... lacking farsightedness,
and knowing little of the ways of the world, some of their leaders have
hardly improved themselves even with the several rebuffs they have met."
Zhou further observed that the putative leaders of the world proletariat
spoke no foreign languages and "appear to lack confidence, suffer from inner
fears, and thus tend to employ the tactics of bluffing or threats in
handling foreign affairs or relations with $(fraternal$) parties."

But what could the Soviets do with the haughty, touchy Chinese? Whereas
Stalin had forced Mao in the wake of the Chinese revolution's triumph in
1949 to cool his heels for two and a half months in Moscow waiting for an
audience, Khrushchev went out of his way to coddle the Chinese leader, who
took the respect as a sign of weakness. Even low-level Soviet officials
noticed Mao's open disdain for Khrushchev, the kernel of the momentous
Sino-Soviet dispute. As for the rift with Tito, another attempted Khrushchev
fix that ended in failure, the Yugoslav leader had broken with Stalin well
before Khrushchev unmasked him, and he, too, insisted on presenting his
country's socialism to the world as an alternative to the Soviet model.
Khrushchev may have had a harder time achieving "peaceful co-existence" with
the socialist bloc than with the West. And yes, he did bang his shoe at the
United Nations, when a Philippine delegate turned the issue of
decolonization against Moscow.

On the Soviet cultural thaw and Khrushchev's shouting matches with the
intelligentsia, Taubman recounts the familiar episodes, such as the infamous
exhibition of modern art in Moscow in November 1962, which Khrushchev
furiously appraised as "dog shit! ... A donkey could smear better than this
with his tail." Taubman omits mention of the important Khrushchev-era
revival of modernism in architecture and design, nor does he analyze major
changes in the media such as the advent of television, or the youth culture
and the sexual revolution, or the new petty-bourgeois "orange lampshade"
domesticity that exploded with Khrushchev's crash construction of
pre-fabricated family apartments. The biographer does examine competently
Khrushchev's grandiose, hurried, almost desperate agricultural and
industrial reforms, which can be summed up by a seditious poster that
appeared in December 1961 in a Siberian town: "You're a blabbermouth,
Khrushchev: where's that abundance you promised?"

Following his forced retirement in October 1964, there were lots of sleeping
pills, tears, and dictation. Yuri Andropov's KGB learned of the existence of
Khrushchev's memoirs but did not confiscate every copy, and may even have
facilitated the smuggling of the memoirs abroad for publication, an apparent
conundrum that goes unexplained. Taubman also refrains from a definitive
appraisal of Khrushchev, juxtaposing divergent opinions, while recognizing
that Stalin remains the glass-plate negative for Khrushchev's positive
historical image. The intriguing contrast, however, may be with Beria. We
will never know if Beria could have sustained the dictatorship and the Union
by forcing a break with communism. What we do know is that Khrushchev's
liberalization aimed at revitalizing communism, far from a mere tweaking,
constituted the certain path of auto-liquidation. Just ask the Hungarians,
or Mikhail Gorbachev.

Beria, the capable and cynical capo of the Soviet secret police and
militaryindustrial complex, oversaw production of the Soviet nuclear
capability, which, however, he never came to control. "My father was a
deeply unhappy man," Sergo Beria concludes about the animal who murdered so
many before meeting the same gruesome end in 1953. "I pity him. What was
left behind him? A dreadful reputation, and the atomic bomb in the hands of
those wretches." He is half right. Khrushchev could indeed be pathetic,
begging his party interrogators to shoot him, but he was no wretch. He
possessed far greater destructive power than Hitler had possessed, and
though the Soviet leader never sought to start a war, he blustered the world
to the brink. Yet Khrushchev always drew back. The cunning Communist
idealist died in peaceful old age in 1971.

Khrushchev was buried on the site of a former monastery, religious ground
that as a youth he had foresworn, with a headstone sculpted by a member of
the intelligentsia, Ernst Neizvestny, whom he had berated. Khrushchev had
once told the artist that his work "resembles this: it's as if a man climbed
into a toilet, slid down under the seat, and from there, from under the
toilet seat, looked up at what was above him, at someone sitting on the
toilet, looking up at that particular part of the body from below, from
under the seat." And so on. Still, Neizvestny accepted a Khrushchev family
private commission and created a magnificent monument. Half black, half
white, encasing a bust, it expresses the stark contrasts of Khrushchev's
life and times: the liberalization and the crackdowns, the quest for
peaceful co-existence and the near attainment of mutually assured
destruction, the hopes and the disappointments--in sum, the chimera, with
all its consequences, of socialism with a human face.