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JRL #7116 Plain Text - Entire Issue

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1. Interfax: Moscow city planning council confirms Patriarshiye Ponds reconstruction project.
2. Reuters: Russian firms deny sales of banned devices to Iraq.
3. Christian Science Monitor: Fred Weir, Cold-war frost forms over Iraq. President Putin rejects US allegations that Russian firms recently sold military equipment to Baghdad.
4. AFP: Russian refusal over Iraq, US arms sale charges, fuel Cold War talk.
5. Rosbalt: All Maps of Iraq Bought up in Moscow.
6. RIA Novosti: WILL THE IRAQ WAR LEAD TO WORSE RUSSO-US RELATIONS?
7. RIA Novosti: ALEXEI ARBATOV: CIS-STATES BACKING U.S. WAR AGAINST IRAQ STAIN THEIR REPUTATION.
8. RIA Novosti: US LOSING WAR IN IRAQ POLITICALLY - RUSSIAN PARLIAMENTARIAN.
9. RIA Novosti: USA LOOKS TO PIN BLAME FOR MILITARY FAILURES IN IRAQ.
10. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Text of Duma Statement on Iraq Conflict.
11. NG Dipkuryer: Leonid Shebarshin, AMERICANS PREFER TO ATTACK WEAK COUNTRIES. The USA always acts with due consideration for possible reaction of China.
12. Moscow Times: Larisa Naumenko, Russians Flock to the Net for Latest From Iraq.
13. Christian Science Monitor editorial: Moscow's Cold Shoulder.
14. BBC Monitoring: Russia seeks to bring US back to international fold, wants role in postwar Iraq. (Viktor Ozerov)
15. Prime-TASS: Roland Nash, Iraq Impact on Russia.
16. Interfax: Russian expert denies military-purpose export to Iraq.
17. ITAR-TASS: Russia throws arms-to-Iraq accusations back at the West.
18. Asia Times: Stephen Blank, Russian weapons and foreign rogues.
19. Reuters: Stalingrad historian expects no "Baghdadograd."
20. Kennan Institute event summary: Accountability for Wartime Presidents in Russia and the United States. (Martha Merritt)
21. RIA Novosti: RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH HAS OVER 16,000 PARISHES IN RUSSIA.
22. BBC Monitoring: Russian independent TV casts doubt over Chechen referendum results.
23. BBC Monitoring: Chechen rebel web site dismisses referendum turnout figures.
24. Interfax: Putin's aide says strong rouble bad for Russian economy. (Illarionov)
25. St. Petersburg Times: Robin Munro, New Foreigners Law Targets Minorities.

*******

#1
Moscow city planning council confirms Patriarshiye Ponds reconstruction
project

MOSCOW. March 25 (Interfax) - The Moscow mayor's public city planning council
on Tuesday decided that only a sculpture of prominent Russian writer Mikhail
Bulgakov, author of the novel Master and Margarita, will be installed at
Patriarshiye Ponds under a project to reconstruct this area in the heart of
Moscow.
It was originally planned that a sculpture of Ieshua, a gigantic
primus-stove, and a fountain would have been erected at the pond. However,
the council decided to abandon this idea, an Interfax correspondent has
reported.
Bulgakov's figure is likely to be seated on a bench among a row of other
benches on Malaya Bronnaya Street, although the location of the monument
could still be reconsidered.
The council also decided not to make an embankment and only leave grassy
slopes.
Old-style lamps on the Patriarshiye Ponds will be restored, and new lamps
will be installed near the benches. Lime-trees, which were planted back in
1873, will also be rehabilitated, and 48 new trees will be planted along the
motor roads. In addition, the fence along Malaya Bronnaya Street, which was
constructed in the 1950s, will also be restored.
In winter, the pond will be turned into a skating-rink.
The original version of the composition, which would contain a
primus-stove and other elements, was devised several years ago and was
supported by the Russian Culture Ministry. However, its implementation was
first obstructed by the 1998 financial crisis, and later it faced severe
criticism by district residents.
As a result, the supporters and opponents of the composition reached a
compromise. The city authorities now intend to ask the Culture Ministry to
revise the original plan.
Speaking at the council session, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov apologized to
the author of the project, sculptor Alexander Rukavishnikov. Luzhkov said he
believes Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi should also apologize to the
sculptor, "because Rukavishnikov's design will be put into practice only
partially."
"The author of the sculpture should receive compensation for the moral
losses he has suffered," he said.
Luzhkov said the authorities committed "an unforgivable mistake" in
failing to discuss the project with local citizens on time. As a result, the
project was used "by politicos to mislead public opinion." In particular, the
mayor said that someone was spreading rumors that an underground parking lot
would be built under the Patriarshiye Ponds, which is "absolute nonsense."
"The Bulgakov theme will be continued in Moscow. In particular, there are
plans to create Bulgakov's path in Moscow," he said.
"The monument to Bulgakov has served us as a lesson of compromise," the
mayor said.

*******

#2
Russian firms deny sales of banned devices to Iraq
By Maria Golovnina

MOSCOW, March 25 (Reuters) - Two Russian companies accused by the United
States of selling banned military hardware to Iraq denied on Tuesday making
any such deals, although one of them admitted Iraqis had visited regularly
on shopping trips.

The White House said on Monday it had evidence Russian firms had sold
banned equipment to Iraq, endangering the lives of U.S.-led forces fighting
to topple President Saddam Hussein.

"We have never delivered any such equipment to Iraq," said Oleg Antonov,
head of Moscow-based Aviakonversia, which Washington says supplied Iraq
with electronic devices for jamming satellite signals guiding aircraft and
missiles.

KBP Tula, accused by Washington of providing anti-tank missiles to Iraq,
also denied striking any such deals.

"These attempts ... are aimed at explaining away the failures of the U.S.
armed forces in the first phase of operations in Iraq," KBP chief Arkady
Shipunov said in a statement.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said on Monday that Washington was very
concerned at reports that Russian firms were providing GPS jamming
equipment, night-vision goggles and anti-tank guided missiles to the Iraqis.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters the U.S. Embassy in
Moscow sent extra information about the alleged deals to Russian Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov on Tuesday.

"I hope (the information) will allow them to get on the trail and take what
we believe is appropriate action. It is of concern to us and we are
speaking about it very candidly and openly with the Russians," he added.

ILL FEELING

The charges fueled ill feeling following Russia's opposition to the U.S.
military operations in Iraq and led to a tense telephone conversation
between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush.

Putin, fighting to preserve a warm relationship with Bush despite tensions
over Iraq, reminded the U.S. leader that Moscow had several times issued
information proving Russia had not supplied such weapons to Baghdad, the
Kremlin said on Tuesday.

Putin had told Bush that "unproven" State Department assertions to the
contrary "could only damage relations between the two countries," Kremlin
spokesman Alexei Gromov said.

Antonov said that over the past four years about 15 delegations from Iraq
had visited his company, which has been producing jamming devices since
1995, but no deals had been clinched as the Iraqis never transferred the
payment on time.

"At first I could not understand what was going on. But later understood
that this was part of their strategy to cover up their own equipment
production and research," Antonov said, adding Iraq was capable of
producing similar devices on its own.

Aviakonversia's jamming equipment is similar to that used by the military
of the old Soviet Union to block radio transmissions from 'enemy' countries.

Washington, which has in the past accused Moscow of leaking sensitive
technology to what the United States sees as its enemies, has demanded
immediate steps by the Russian government to stop the practice.

Antonov, while denying his company had supplied Iraq with GPS jamming
equipment, told Reuters the jamming equipment his company produced was not
banned or subject to international sanctions against Iraq.

"This equipment is neither illegal nor banned. These are very simple
defense devices," he said, adding the United States has been among his
company's clients since 1997. He declined to name other countries.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage predicted on Tuesday that
relations between Moscow and Washington would soon improve, despite the
current disagreements.

"I think you'll see in the not too distant future that Foreign Minister
Ivanov, Secretary Powell will get right back where they left off... I have
no reason to believe that the same won't be true of Mr. Putin and Mr.
Bush," he told Public Television's The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

*******

#3
Christian Science Monitor
March 26, 2003
Cold-war frost forms over Iraq
President Putin rejects US allegations that Russian firms recently sold
military equipment to Baghdad.
By Fred Weir | Special to The Christian Science Monitor

MOSCOW Cold war-style accusations are flying between Washington and
Moscow, raising fears that recent diplomatic rifts over US-led military
action against Iraq could harden into permanent estrangement between the
two key partners in the global antiterrorist coalition.
The United States alleged at the weekend that its troops in Iraq are at
risk from Russian-made weapons and equipment recently supplied by Russian
companies to Baghdad in breach of UN sanctions.

In a phone conversation Monday with George W. Bush, President Vladimir
Putin hotly denied the charges and retorted with "analogous questions,
which were not answered," concerning similar illicit sales to Iran by
"close American allies," according to Kremlin spokesman Alexei Gromov.
(Iran is another Middle Eastern bone of contention between Russia and the
US. Charges have been lobbed back and forth about the role of Russian and
Western firms in helping Tehran develop nuclear power capability, and
suspicions abound that dangerous technology or equipment may have been
leaked.)

In the increasingly chilly US-Russian atmosphere, Moscow is accusing the US
of "returning to the cold war practice" of flying U-2 spy planes on
scouting missions along Russia's borders. In a sternly worded statement
Sunday, Russia's Foreign Ministry claimed that three such flights over the
ex-Soviet republic of Georgia in the past month, allegedly to observe
terrorist activities by rebels from neighboring Chechnya, were actually
spying on Russia.

Though both sides insist the antiterrorism partnership built in the days
following the Sept 11 attacks must be maintained, many signs point to one
of the deepest plunges in US-Russian mutual trust in decades.

Last week the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, decided to
indefinitely postpone ratification of the Moscow Treaty signed last year
between Presidents Bush and Putin, which mandates deep cuts in the two
sides' nuclear arsenals. However, the upper house, the Federation Council,
said yesterday that it would continue debating the treaty.

"I can't remember seeing such sharp anti-American moods since the 1960s,"
says Alexander Panarin, who chairs the department of comparative politics
at Moscow State University. Recent opinion polls suggest that more than 90
percent of Russians oppose US military action in Iraq. "Elections are
coming up in Russia, and every politician has to take the public's views
into account," says Mr. Panarin.

Some experts say the tensions could spiral, especially if the US cuts
Moscow out of the anticipated postwar reconstruction of Iraq. Russian oil
companies have major business in the region, including a $20 billion
contract by the partly state-owned LukOil firm to develop Iraq's huge West
Qurna oilfield, which could be nullified by a post-Saddam regime in Baghdad.

"If we are shut out of Iraq, Russia will be angry," says Yevgeny Bazhanov,
director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Institute of Contemporary
International Studies. "The reasons are not so much economic, as that
Russia cannot accept the US acting as though it runs the world."

For many in Moscow, there is deep uncertainty about the further intentions
of the US. "If the Americans break Iraq's resistance swiftly, will they
target Iran next?" says Panarin. "Russia has reasons to fear the threat
coming into our own region."

Mr. Bazhanov raises the same worry: "If the Americans intend to move on to
new targets after Iraq, it will be very dangerous," he says. "Sooner or
later, the US must realize that it cannot solve all the world's problems on
its own. It needs to cooperate with the UN, with Russia and others."

Antagonisms have accumulated over past months as Russia joined France in
threatening to veto any UN Security Council resolution authorizing the use
of force against Iraq. In the days since the war began, Russian opposition
has toughened. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov warned Saturday that
Moscow will block any future effort in the UN Security Council to
legitimize the US-led coalition's assault or its postwar control in Baghdad.

"Iraq does not need democracy brought on the wings of Tomahawks [cruise
missiles]," Mr. Ivanov said.

Putin complained to a weekend gathering of security officials that the
US-led war in Iraq threatens to destabilize the entire Middle East and
spill into the territory of the former Soviet Union. "The war against Iraq
is fraught with unpredictable consequences, including increased Muslim
extremism," he said.

But the specific charges now being traded threaten to significantly raise
the temperature. The US says that technicians from a Moscow-based company,
Aviakonversiya, are presently in Baghdad teaching Iraqi specialists how to
use the firm's portable jamming units, which are capable of scrambling the
GPS signals used to locate the targets for most US precision-guided munitions.

Aviakonversiya's director, Oleg Antonov, says the American claim is
"nonsense." But he adds that Iraq "might have constructed such devices
itself or purchased them from a third company."

Two other Russian companies are suspected of recently providing to Iraq
militarily significant numbers of wire-guided Kornet antitank missiles, and
thousands of night-vision goggles - which could neutralize the American
advantage in night-fighting. Russian experts say all three companies named
in the US complaint do brisk export business, with customers that include
the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Jordan, and India.

"These American allegations are plausible," says Vitaly Shlykov, a former
Russian deputy defense minister who is now an independent security
consultant. It's long been known that much of the former Soviet arsenal
found its way into the international arms market during the freewheeling
1990s, he notes, but the US charges refer to fresh production of advanced
Russian weaponry.

"The fact is that the Kremlin is unable to control the situation, and the
general climate of anti-Americanism prevailing among the Russian elite may
encourage some businesspeople to take risks," such as dealing with Saddam
Hussein, Mr. Shlykov says.

Much may depend on whether the US-led attack is swift and successful in
deposing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and also whether a victorious
Washington is magnanimous toward those countries who opposed it.

"This rift needn't be permanent," says Bazhanov. "The US and Russia need
each other very much, for a long list of reasons. Let's hope everybody
comes to their senses after this, and we return to working together to
solve problems."

********

#4
Russian refusal over Iraq, US arms sale charges, fuel Cold War talk

MOSCOW, March 25 (AFP) - Russian demands that the UN rule on the
legality of the US-led military operation in Iraq and Washington's accusation
that Moscow is supplying jamming equipment to Baghdad have fueled tensions
reminiscent of the Cold War.
"The fact that the American accusations were made public signifies the end of
the honeymoon," Dmitry Trenin, of the Moscow Carnegie Centre, said in
reference to the warm relations established by the Russian and US presidents,
Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush, in the past two years.

US officials and media have been stunned at the strong line taken by Moscow
opposing the US push for war in Iraq, since many had been convinced that
after an initial balancing act Putin would swing into line behind Washington.

The Russian president was seen, through his friendly contacts with Bush, to
be positioning himself with a firm pro-Western slant, especially following
the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

But Russians playing hardball -- culminating this week in the call on the UN
Security Council to take a position on the legality of the US-offensive in
Iraq -- has cast a chill in Russia-US relations.

The US charges are "a serious signal, coming after Russia accused Americans
of spying missions from Georgian territory. All this smacks of the Cold War,"
Trenin said.

For some observers, Russia-US relations appear to operate on two levels.

Putin and Bush are seen to maintain good personal relations, while at the
adminstrative level officials conduct relations which, while not exactly
confrontational, remain more or less adversarial.

The degree to which Washington spared Putin over its failure to secure a UN
resolution approving its Iraq campaign, directing its wrath at France despite
Russia's clear complicity, illustrates the US concern to preserve
presidential ties.

An analyst close to the Kremlin, Sergei Markov of the Citizens' Council for
International Relations, believes that much of the fault for the cooling of
relations comes from the US side where, he says, the political elite is
highly conservative and marked by the Cold War.

A typical example in his view is the notorious Jackson-Vanik amendment,
introduced to hit the Soviet Union economically for its restrictions on
Jewish emigration.

"For 15 years now, Soviet and Russian Jews have been able to come and go as
they please, but the amendment is still in place and limiting our trade,"
Markov noted.

A pledge by Bush at last May's Russia-US summit in Moscow to have the
Jackson-Vanik amendment lifted has still not been put into effect.

Another example of adversarial conduct, Markov charged, are the harsh terms
imposed on Russia's aerospace industry, in his view virtually an attempt to
kill it off, as part of its conditions for allowing Russia to join the World
Trade Organisation.

The immediate cause of Washington's accusations over the jamming equipment,
in Markov's view, is the failure of some US missiles launched on Baghdad to
hit their designated targets, with an accompanying loss of civilian life.

"Someone had to be blamed for the failure of the US and British attacks. The
first prisoners shown on television were American, not Iraqi. They put this
all down to modern weapons, allegedly supplied to Iraq by Russia," Markov
said.

Putin specifically rejected the accusation in a telephone conversation with
Bush overnight Monday.

For Trenin, the Iraqi war lies at the heart of the chill in relations.

"Washington's major disappointment is not that Russia refused to join the
coalition against Iraq, but that it sided with France," he said.

"The situation is very difficult. Whether the relationship can be mended
remains to be seen," he said.

********

#5
Rosbalt
March 25, 2003
All Maps of Iraq Bought up in Moscow

MOSCOW, March 25. It became virtually impossible to obtain a single map of
Iraq or the Persian Gulf in Moscow shops and kiosks yesterday. As RTR
television company reports, the entire stock of such maps were bought up
several days before the outbreak of the war. All the detailed color maps of
Baghdad and other cities in the region disappeared from shop counters as well
as guidebooks showing the airports, excursion routes and historical sights.
The maps were mostly bought by students, journalists, historians and office
workers. The shortage of such maps means that customers are now having to
resort to school atlases of the world. Interest in the Iraq crisis is also
leading the Moscow population to buy books for geologists and other reference
books, which contain small maps of Iraq.

********

#6
WILL THE IRAQ WAR LEAD TO WORSE RUSSO-US RELATIONS?

MOSCOW, 25 March, 2003. /Corr. RIA Novosti/--Deputy Chairman of the State
Duma Defence Committee Alexei Arbatov has announced at a Moscow press
conference that the war in Iraq will most likely lead to complications in
Russo-US relations.

According to him, the harder things become for the Americans in Iraq, the
more they look for guilty parties, "including among other states." The
politician said that the United States would demand the support of Russia and
European countries, and then when this was denied, would make accusations
against other states.

At the same time, he rejected claims that Russia and the USA would return to
the type of relations seen during the Cold War. In his opinion, the main
difference between the current times and that era is that "official
propaganda was then anti-American, while the nation as a while had a good
attitude towards the United States, just as now the situation is the complete
opposite: official propaganda is trying to play down tension and not set
people against the USA, but the population's mood is extremely
anti-American." When predicting how events will develop, Arbatov suggested
that the USA would sooner or later turn to other states and the UN for help
to resolve the situation. The parliamentarian concluded that the friction and
contradictions could then disappear.

*******

#7
ALEXEI ARBATOV: CIS-STATES BACKING U.S. WAR AGAINST IRAQ STAIN THEIR
REPUTATION

MOSCOW, March 25th, 2003. /From a RIA Novosti correspondent/--Alexei Arbatov,
deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma Defence Committee, believes that
the decision to back the U.S. war against Iraq taken by Georgia, Uzbekistan,
Azerbaijan and Ukraine "had stained their reputation." Mr. Arbatov stressed
at a press conference that in their wish to please the USA, Georgia,
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine "had undermined their prestige." Moreover,
according to the deputy, "these countries look like puppets of marginal U.S.
circles in the eyes of the international community." However, when answering
to a question whether the decision to back the USA taken by Georgia will
affect Russian-Georgian relations, Alexei Arbatov said that it would not be
so.

*******

#8
US LOSING WAR IN IRAQ POLITICALLY - RUSSIAN PARLIAMENTARIAN

MOSCOW, March 25, 2003. /From a RIA Novosti correspondent/--The military
campaign of the anti-Iraqi coalition is proceeding more or less according to
plan in what concerns purely military aspects, but politically the US has
already begun to lose this war". This is the view expressed at a news
conference in Moscow by State Duma defence committee deputy chairman Alexei
Arbatov.

Still, he does not consider it is too early to jump to hasty conclusions that
"the military campaign is faltering", although it goes on slightly less
quickly than expected. "In two to three weeks Baghdad, Basrah and other
cities will be overrun," he predicted.

*******

#9
USA LOOKS TO PIN BLAME FOR MILITARY FAILURES IN IRAQ

MOSCOW, 25 March, 2003. /Corr. RIA Novosti/--Deputy Chairman of the State
Duma Defence Committee Alexei Arbatov has announced at a Moscow press
conference that the USA's accusations that Russia illegally exported arms to
Iraq are part of a campaign to pin the blame on someone else for the US
military's failures in the current military operation in that country.

According to him, the US accusations against the Russian Defence Ministry's
committee for military-technical co-operation are "completely groundless."
Arbatov said, "nothing on that level has been delivered to Iraq recently, let
alone the last few days." At the same time, he did acknowledge that
individual pieces of equipment, including infra-red night vision sets and
navigation systems, could have gone to third countries, and then ended up in
Iraq. However, even in this case, Alexei Arbatov said, "it would be naive to
assume that these instrument could stop the American military machine." In
the deputy's opinion, the Americans are unhappy about the fact that they are
losing this war in political relations. Therefore, they have started to try
and find guilty parties, "as this is easier psychologically."

*******

#10
Russia: Text of Duma Statement on Iraq Conflict

Rossiyskaya Gazeta
22 March 2003
Text of Russian Federation State Duma statement: "In Connection
With the Start of Military Operations by the United States and Britain
Against
the Republic of Iraq"

The State Duma statement adopted by deputies
yesterday [21 March] was tougher than the original version. It states:
"On 20 March the Republic of Iraq was subjected to massive missile and
bombing strikes by the Armed Forces of the United States, Britain, and
their allies. There have been numerous fatalities, vitally important
infrastructure is being destroyed, and a threat is being created to peace
and security not only in the Near East region, but also beyond it. There
continue to be in Iraq Russian citizens, about whose fate the Russian
Federation Federal Assembly State Duma is very concerned.
"The coalition action has seriously damaged the world community's
efforts to bring about a political settlement of the conflict in the
Persian Gulf zone and to eliminate the Iraqi potential as regards weapons
of mass destruction and delivery systems. This development of events,
which the Russian Federation has consistently and resolutely opposed,
causes deep alarm. By carrying out this act of war, the United States,
Britain, and their allies have violated the UN Charter, the generally
accepted principles and norms of international law, and also the rules
governing responsible behavior by states in the world arena.
Essentially, the entire system of support for international peace and
security, whose central component is the UN Security Council, has
suffered tangibly.
"Russia has made persistent efforts to promote the speediest political
and diplomatic settlement of the situation around the Republic of Iraq.
The potential for a peaceful resolution of the Iraq crisis has by no
means been exhausted. This is confirmed, in particular, by the
successful recent progress of cooperation between the Republic of Iraq
and the United Nations.
"The Republic of Iraq Government has consistently complied with the
requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 1441, providing the UN
Security Council with information on its programs to develop chemical,
biological, and nuclear weapons. The UN Monitoring, Verification, and
Inspection Commission has obtained unrestricted access to any facilities
on the territory of the Republic of Iraq and has found no evidence that
Iraq has weapons of mass destruction or any intention of developing them.
Despite this, throughout the entire inspection period the United States
has leveled unsubstantiated accusations against the Republic of Iraq,
independently interpreting the results of the inspections and undermining
the United Nations.
"The start of military operations by the United States against the
Republic of Iraq undermines the system of international relations and
institutions and creates a threat to international stability.
"In connection with the above, the State Duma calls on UN Secretary
General K. Annan and the UN Security Council to urgently make a
principled assessment of the strong-arm action by the United States,
Britain, and their allies, and to do everything possible to settle the
situation around Iraq by peaceful means.
"The State Duma supports the efforts made by the Russian Federation
leadership aimed at bringing about a political and diplomatic settlement
of the situation around the Republic of Iraq. It has currently become
obvious that the United States is ignoring all peaceful means of settling
the situation in order to promote its own political and economic
interests and military ambitions.
"Given that the events in the Near East affect the Russian
Federation's national security, the State Duma is proposing that Russian
Federation President V.V. Putin:
"-- submit to the UN Security Council a query on sending UN
peacekeeping forces to Iraq to separate the warring sides;
"-- initiate the convening of a special UN General Assembly session to
debate the issue of the aggression by the United States, Britain, and
their allies against a sovereign state and UN member -- the Republic of
Iraq -- and the postwar political and socioeconomic rebuilding of Iraq
under UN auspices.
"Russian Federation Federal Assembly State Duma deputies cannot remain
indifferent to this new large-scale military conflict and call on the
United States, Britain, and their allies to urgently put a stop to the
military action, to show restraint and prudence, and to prevent any
further escalation of a conflict that is liable to have tragic
consequences not only for solving the Iraq problem but also for
international stability. State Duma deputies are convinced that a
solution to the Iraq problem is possible only by peaceful means based on
compliance with corresponding UN Security Council resolutions.
"The State Duma calls on the world's parliaments to uphold a political
and diplomatic settlement of the situation around the Republic of Iraq
and to support the UN efforts in that direction.
"The actions of the United States, Britain, and their allies against
the Republic of Iraq have created a military-political situation that
potentially threatens the national interests of the Russian Federation.
This requires the country's military-political leadership to take urgent
measures to strengthen the Russian Federation's defense capability.
"In this connection the State Duma proposes that the Russian
Federation president and Russian Federation Government submit by 1 June
2003 proposals for amending the 2003 federal budget to increase defense
spending to not less than 3.5 percent of GDP and to channel additional
funds into accelerating the modernization of the Russian Armed Forces and
equipping them with modern combat hardware. As of 2004 the annual
allocation of funds for defense expenditure at this level should be
envisaged.
"The State Duma proposes that the Russian Federation president and the
Russian Federation Government provide humanitarian aid to the Republic of
Iraq's civilians."

*******

#11
NG Dipkuryer
No. 5
March 2003
AMERICANS PREFER TO ATTACK WEAK COUNTRIES
The USA always acts with due consideration for possible
reaction of China
Leonid SHEBARSHIN, president of the Russian National
Economic Security Service, former head of the First Chief
Directorate (Intelligence) of the KGB

The US aggression against Iraq was not launched to bring
democracy or improve the life of Iraqis. The idea is to replace
the regime of Saddam Hussein. After winning the war, the
Americans will place their man there to rule a puppet
government who would hardly be able to control developments in
the country beyond the line of Western assistance, just as in
Afghanistan.
I think that after Iraq the USA will turn to Saudi Arabia
but the change of regime will be most probably peaceful there.
Iran may be the next, more serious target of the Americans.
The USA is striving to resolve a strategic task vital for
it. The prospected oil reserves are running out and the world
may reach the critical point in the 2030s (optimists say this
will not happen until the 2050s). He who will control oil and
gas deposits and transportation lines in the foreseeable future
will lead the world.
This brings us to a subject that has been taking a
clear-cut shape. I mean the forthcoming USA-China
confrontation. China is the only force that can claim global
leadership. Its economy is developing very dynamically but the
country is short of energy resources.
Though the Taliban appeared to be the main target of the
US invasion of Afghanistan, in fact the Americans were looking
at neighbouring China. The Western forces in Afghanistan have
outlined the border which Chinese power and influence must not
cross. After that the USA got down to restoring order west of
Afghanistan, within the outlined zone of its geostrategic
interests.
China is mounting pressure on Kyrgyzstan concerning the US
base on its territory. Why do the Americans need military bases
in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan? Their establishment
after the restoration of order in Afghanistan looked completely
senseless. The USA needs these bases not to combat terrorism
but to monitor North-West China. China, and, just in case,
Russia are being surrounded with US military bases.
Russia cannot compete with the USA in terms of political,
economic and military capabilities. There is an illusory belief
that if we behave now, we will get a bonus later. I hope very
much - but I am not sure - that our diplomats, military and
intelligence officers are analysing all aspects of the
situation, trying to determine the results of the harsh stand
with regard to the USA, which Russia assumed in the past few
weeks, and possible reply actions by the USA.
What can the USA give Russia if it behaves from the US
point of view? We must not expect anything. No payment is
provided for rendered services. The USA promised Serbs 1
billion dollars for the surrender of Slobodan Milosevic, but
the late premier Zoran Djindjic never saw the money. The USA
also promised major assistance to Afghanistan, but Premier
Karzai is begging for trifles now.
In the past I worked for many years in the region on which
global attention is focused now. I know the mentality of the
people who live there and can tell you that they will not like
what the Americans are doing. On the other hand, there will be
no serious resistance to the unwanted guests, including in Iraq.
There may appear followers of Palestinian shakhids, suicide
terrorists. One way or another, the Americans and their allies
will not live a tranquil life in Iraq.
I can confidently predict that the war in Iraq will speed
up nuclear weapons programmes in Iran, North Korea and several
other countries. For the Americans, though they love to boast
of their might, nevertheless prefer to attack weak countries,
such as Vietnam. On the other hand, the latter example shows
that this law does not always work in practice.

*******

#12
Moscow Times
March 25, 2003
Russians Flock to the Net for Latest From Iraq
By Larisa Naumenko
Staff Writer

Russians hungry for the latest war developments in Iraq have
flocked to the Internet in numbers not seen since the Dubrovka hostage crisis
last fall.

Since the war began six days ago, the country's top Internet news outlets
have seen their traffic jump by an average of 50 percent.

Traffic doubled last Thursday, the first day of the war, according to a firm
that monitors the country's web network, known as RuNet.

"The number of visitors to RuNet news resources has leaped since the
beginning of the war in Iraq," said Fyodor Virin, a spokesman for Spylog
Internet statistics agency. "We observed a 100-percent increase last Thursday
and a 50-percent increase in the following days."

News sites around the world have seen anywhere between a 50-percent increase
and a 400-percent increase in their traffic after the U.S.-led military
campaign began in Iraq, Dow Jones reported Friday.

According to Rambler's Top 100 list put together Monday, news resources
RosBusinessConsulting at www.rbc.ru, Dni.ru and Gazeta.ru took the top spots
behind Mail.ru's catalog and email sites as the top five most frequently
visited sites.

News agency Rbc.ru saw a jump from just above 100,000 unique visitors per day
to some 200,000 visitors a day since last Thursday.

The number of visitors to online news site Gazeta.ru peaked Thursday at
almost 165,000 unique visitors, or double the regular 80,000 to 90,000 unique
visitors the site sees daily.

"We currently see a 40-percent to 50-percent increase in the number of
visitors," said Natalya Kutusheva, a spokeswoman for Gazeta.ru.

Another news site, Lenta.ru, has experienced a similar skyrocketing growth
among its audience since last Thursday, with 120,000 unique visitors the
first day of the war and 80,000 to 90,000 unique visitors in the following
days, a significant increase in volume over its standard 60,000 unique
visitors a day.

The Internet site, www.iraqwar.ru, created especially to cover the war in
Iraq by participants of the Military Historical Forum-2, at www.vif2.ru, has
seen some 45,000 unique visits since the U.S. forces crossed the border in
pursuit of Saddam Hussein, the site's spokesman Konstantin Prokhortsev said.

He added that traffic might have been even higher had it not been for
numerous attacks on the site from hackers since they launched the site last
week.

Prokhortsev said he thought most of the attacks have come from U.S. Internet
users, judging from the IP addresses.

This, he thought, was "the manifestation of the U.S. statement that Russians
are to blame for their problems in the United States."

Referring to the United States, he said, "Just like they enjoy bombing
[Iraq], they enjoy attacking sites like ours. It makes it nearly impossible
for us to regularly update information on our web site and make it accessible
to our visitors."

As substantial as these increases may be, Russian Internet news sites have
seen bigger spikes. "The biggest jump in Russian news site traffic happened
after the Sept. 11 [2001] attacks in the United States and after the Dubrovka
theater crisis in Moscow last October," Lenta.ru spokesman Maxim Fatkin said.

And the higher levels of online news readers aren't likely to disappear
completely even when the war ends, Gazeta.ru's Kutusheva said. "Cataclysms
like this raise the regular audience of Internet news sites, and after that
site traffic hovers about 30 percent higher than before such events."

*******

#13
Christian Science Monitor
March 26, 2003
Editorial
Moscow's Cold Shoulder

A series of irritants threatens to bring US-Russian relations to their
lowest point since the cold war:

The United States says Russian companies sold Iraq electronic jamming
equipment, night-vision goggles, and antitank missiles that Baghdad is
using against US forces. President Putin denied it in a tense phone call
with President Bush. Russia counters that an Anglo-Dutch company sold Iran
centrifuges for enriching uranium. The firm rejects the charge.

Russia has protested US U-2 spy-plane flights over the former Soviet
republic of Georgia. Washington says the flights are looking for terrorists
in remote areas. Moscow claims they are spying on Russia.

Congress's General Accounting Office says in a recent report that
two-thirds of Russian nuclear material and many bioweapons sites are
unprotected. Despite a US-funded bilateral program to secure the sites,
Russian officials continue to deny US experts access to the facilities.

Russia's lower house of parliament has postponed ratification of a
bilateral arms-control treaty that calls for deep cuts in both sides'
nuclear arsenals. The upper house, however, is continuing debate.

Russia's denials of military equipment sales to Iraq may be cover for the
Kremlin's acute embarrassment over sales it didn't prevent. But Moscow may
have allowed the transfers, which violate UN sanctions, to signal its
displeasure over US policy toward Iraq. Fortunately, US generals say the
electronic equipment is having little effect and coalition forces have
destroyed several jammers.

Good US-Russian relations are in everyone's interest. Washington could do
more to show sensitivity to Russian concerns over US troops on its borders.
Moscow is also deeply concerned about instability in the Middle East
spilling into former Soviet republics and Russia itself.

But Moscow must leave behind its traditional distrust of the West, in which
it sees every move as hostile. Once again, Russia seems unprepared to make
that mental leap.

*******

#14
BBC Monitoring
Russia seeks to bring US back to international fold, wants role in postwar
Iraq
Source: Ekho Moskvy radio, Moscow, in Russian 1108 gmt 25 Mar 03

Russia believes one of its current aims is to see the US return to the
international fold, according to the head of the Federation Council Defence
and Security Committee. Viktor Ozerov told Ekho Moskvy Radio that consulting
MPs from NATO member-states and pushing for ratification of the Strategic
Offensive Reductions Treaty would demonstrate the reality of Russia's own
commitment to international law. Similarly, Ozerov applauded the idea of
convening an emergency sitting of the UN Security Council and was sanguine
about the USA's likely no-attendance since he was sure the US and Britain
would turn to the United Nations again once it came to sharing out the burden
of postwar reconstruction in Iraq. He said Russia would be seeking a role in
that work. The following is an excerpt from the interview, which was
broadcast on 25 March; subheadings have been inserted editorially:

[Kseniya Larina, presenter] Undoubtedly, the most important topic on the news
for at least some time is going to be the war in Iraq - until it's over
although even after that there'll be things to discuss ... Now let me
introduce our guest. He is Viktor Alekseyevich Ozerov, chairman of the
Federation Council Defence and Security Committee...

You've come along today straight after a meeting of the Federation Council.
Here's where I'd like to start. I know you're going to Brussels on 27 March,
or even tomorrow, for a planned meeting between Russian MPs and NATO
representatives. Is the agenda of the meetings being changed in any way in
connection with events in Iraq?

[Ozerov] Of course. During our meetings with the NATO member-states we'd like
to raise the issue of the role and place, above all of the group of 20 and of
ourselves as MPs, in resolving the Iraq crisis. We'll be putting forward
ideas that are already on paper in the State Duma in the form of a resolution
and tomorrow a corresponding statement will be adopted in the Federation
Council and we'll try to discuss joint approaches as to how to get out of
this war.

[Presenter] How great an interest do the NATO representatives have in this,
when it comes to Russia, do you think?

[Ozerov] You know, for the first time since World War II, the war in Iraq has
created a pretty interesting situation where the states of the world are
divided not along ideological lines - as they used to be when there was the
Soviet Union in one camp -

[Presenter] Red and white.

Meeting NATO MPs, seeking treaty ratification show Russian commitment to
international law

[Ozerov] That's right. They're divided according to their approach to solving
the Iraq problem. There's one exception, however. We're not on opposite sides
of the barricades to the United States and Great Britain when it comes to
holding an antiterrorist operation. We voted together and unanimously for
Security Council resolution 1441 which proposed disarming Iraq and that Iraq
should have no chemical or other weapons of mass destruction or the means to
deliver them. We are divided only on the means of implementing and carrying
out this resolution. It seems to me, therefore, that it will be of interest
to the NATO MPs to hear Russia's point of view from the horse's mouth. Again,
proceeding from the position that we're not planning to throw away what has
been achieved in Russian-US relations in recent years and, moreover, you
mentioned the council of the house [of the Federation Council], well, in the
council we've discussed and adopted an appeal to our colleagues in the State
Duma suggesting that all parliamentary procedures are continued as regards
ratifying the Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty. In the opinion of the
Federation Council, as the upper house of parliament, we don't think
everything should be all mixed up together.

[Presenter] Let's just remember that the State Duma has adopted a decision to
postpone ratification of the treaty [words indistinct] -

[Ozerov] Postponed indefinitely.

[Presenter] In connection with events in Iraq.

[Ozerov] That's right. The Federation Council is proceeding from the position
that, if we are defending a line that leads to or calls for the return of the
United States to international law, an international treaty is yet further
confirmation that Russia isn't just talking but is taking action in this
direction. For this reason, the treaty corresponds to the Russian
Federation's strategic and defence interests and we are suggesting that our
colleagues move from the emotional outburst that was understandable in the
early days of military action in Iraq to a more sober assessment of the
situation we're in. As far as this is concerned, both the trip and the
meetings with the NATO MPs and continuation of bilateral dialogue with the
United States of America are evidence that war on Iraq is not the end of life
on earth but that we'll go on living and will have to deal with the fact that
the United States of America, NATO and Russia all exist. And, proceeding from
the pragmatic position the president has now set out for our foreign policy,
that's the line we have to take...

[Presenter] To go back to the situation in Iraq, to the war, we know the Arab
League has already issued a decision condemning the war and, from what we
know, has come up with an initiative to convene an emergency sitting of the
UN Security Council. How realistic is that and what do you think the main
point of such a sitting would be? Apart from stopping the war, of course.

Opposition to allied action is growing, US will return to UN in due course

[Ozerov] Stopping the war, on the one hand, of course, but, on the other,
it's a fairly long time since the Arab League expressed its collective view
of the situation in Iraq and this statement - albeit a mild one, since at the
moment it is only demanding a discussion of the situation in Iraq at the
Security Council - still shows that, if you can put it like this, the
antiterrorism coalition or the coalition against unilateral action by the
United States and Great Britain is growing.

How realistic is it? I think the United States, in the person of its
secretary of state, is unlikely to take part in a sitting of the Security
Council -

[Presenter] Because they've already said what they think of it.

[Ozerov] That's right. They've said they can't see any need for it. At the
same time, however, I think the UN Charter actually says that the Security
Council should be called in the case of such initiatives. We'll have to wait
and see whether it is convened and how interesting its decisions are for the
world. That either today or tomorrow the United States of America will take
an interest in the Security Council, however, because reconstruction, the
developing humanitarian situation, the migration processes under way around
Iraq, well, the United States and Britain can't afford to cover those in full
and they'll remember the Security Council and the United Nations in general...

Russia set on role in postwar reconstruction of Iraq

[Presenter] What will the impact of this war be on Russia and on our
geopolitical interests above all?

[Ozerov] Of course, our interest lies, above all, in ensuring that our
relations with Iraq remain, let's say, civilized. That's the first thing.
Secondly, of course, the oil prices that are currently fairly high are
letting us increase our federal budget revenue and, therefore, tackle a lot
of social issues, including our state's defence capability. On the other
hand, however, it would be cynical to build our prosperity on the misfortune
of others and so Russia must be committed to ensuring that postwar
reconstruction in Iraq does not go ahead without us and the fact that the
Russian Emergencies Ministry has already sent the first planes of
humanitarian aid to Iran is the first sign that we will be involved. Thirdly,
historically the relations that developed between Russia and Iraq, the Soviet
Union and Iraq, over many years will not produce a situation where there are
people with obvious anti-Russian sentiments no matter what the layout or
formation of parliament, no matter who is elected president or how parliament
is formed.

We must turn all this to our advantage and build our mutual relations on the
assumption that we shall receive dividends in both the economic and political
sphere...

*******

#15
OPINION: Iraq Impact on Russia
Contributed by Roland Nash, Head of Research, Renaissance Capital

MOSCOW, Mar 25 /Prime-TASS/ -- Russia-US relations appear to be nose-diving
as a result of the Iraq conflict. Until the shooting war started, Putin had
walked a careful tightrope to place Russia firmly in the camp of the
unwilling, but far enough removed from the French to escape particular US
wrath.

In the last few days, however, Putin appears to have poked his head above the
diplomatic barricades. An unambiguous statement that the war was illegal was
followed by a demand for a crisis meeting of the UN that was designed to
annoy. In a statement that was timed to suggest retaliation, a frustrated US
accused official Russia of permitting arms sales to Iraq. Putin appears to be
making a stand that risks snapping a central plank of his first-term's
foreign policy by deliberately poking the US when they are most vulnerable to
international criticism.

One explanation for Putin's more prickly foreign policy is that it plays well
domestically. As we have pointed out elsewhere, Putin has proved a remarkably
democratic President over Iraq. His stance has pretty precisely reflected
majority opinion, with his handling of the conflict enjoying public support
in excess of 70%.

Unfortunately any explanation based on Russia's fledgling democracy risks
confusing cause with effect. Putin's own rise to power and much of both his
economic programme and his policy in Chechnya reveal quite how much his
government is able to shape public opinion, rather than vice versa.

More likely is that Putin is attempting to position Russia for the
post-conflict world. As with the French, a concern of Russia is to patch-up
the UN Security Council and restore the authority of the veto. Hence the
calls for a UN role in the likely thankless task of post-crisis nation
building, and the current demand for a Security Council crisis meeting.
However, after the breakdown in the Council over exactly the sort of issue
for which the veto was designed (to prevent the emergence of a dominant power
and to demand global consensus prior to conflict that could threaten global
stability), it remains unclear how much authority can be restored to the
discredited institution.

Putin's post-Iraq calculations will perhaps dwell longer on the potential
economic impact of losing US sponsorship. Veiled threats have already been
issued that Russia is risking Presidential support for the abrogation of the
Jackson-Vanick amendment and Russia's fast-track entry into the WTO, as well
as funding for Russia's space programme and ongoing nuclear disassembling

However, on all these issues, the US has historically shown little deviation
from its own interests. Jackson-Vanick was actually a commitment made by
Clinton to Yeltsin in 1993 and which has been repeatedly blocked by a
blinkered Congress. Keeping Russia's space scientists gainfully employed, and
disarming nuclear warheads are obviously beneficial to the US. Only with WTO
has Presidential support made a significant difference, but consequently, the
hold-up is now with the EU, with whom Russia is strengthening relations over
Iraq.

The greatest impact on Russia of the post-conflict world will be the change
in the oil price. A vocal minority of Russian conspiracy theorists claim that
Putin was carefully stringing out UN negotiations in order to maintain the
war premium as long as possible. There is a more widely held (and more
sensible) view that a lower oil price post-conflict will significantly
deteriorate government finances and the Russian investment environment. We
have spelled out elsewhere why we believe this to be bad economics - the
deterioration of rouble competitiveness and the increase in the economic
influence of the owners of natural resources resulting from a higher oil
price outweighs the potential benefits of increased investment funds in a
country without a functioning banking sector. Russia, in our view, benefits
from a lower oil price, particularly if it removes the expectation that the
price has to fall before it can stabilise.

Short-term focus is obviously fixed on Iraq and inter-governmental diplomatic
sword play. This is inevitable, but we would argue, misplaced. The Russian
economy has finally evolved to the position where private capital flows,
particularly of Russian origin, are shaping the country's economic future,
not international public policy. Private money is unlikely to be
significantly slowed by diplomatic spats between the US and Russia. Partly
this is because most trade is with Europe and China, but mainly it reflects
the different incentives driving private money. Russia is one of Europe's
least developed and most exciting consumer markets sporting cheap assets and
rapidly developing capital markets. As long as public policy remains
accommodating and before asset markets overheat, private money will flow.

The one area in which Iraq-related public policy and private interests
substantively overlap is with respect to Russia's Hussein regime contracts to
develop Iraq's oil reserves. However, as somebody recently pointed out,
either those contracts were legal, in which case, Saddam has already
cancelled them, or the Hussein regime had no right to produce them in the
first place, in which case they should be ignored. Either way, Russian oil
companies should not expect preferential treatment. We would argue that of
more significance is Russia's historic economic ties with the country and its
relative neutrality compared to that of either the US or the UK. On a
post-Hussein level playing field, Russian oil stands a good chance of winning
back the contracts that Saddam recently cancelled.

Despite current diplomatic tensions, we believe, therefore, that the impact
of the Iraq confict on Russia should not be over-estimated. Iraq is
illustrating that Russian interests do not lie exclusively with those of the
US. However, the divergence in international opinion is not, as under
Yeltsin, between Russia and the West, but between (old) Europe and the US.
Russia is maneuvering within that framework.

*******

#16
Russian expert denies military-purpose export to Iraq
Interfax

Moscow, 25 March: Moscow-based experts think Washington has blamed Russia for
illegally exporting military equipment to Iraq for the sole purpose of
defending the professionalism of its armed forces in Iraq.

"The far-fetched story about Russian exports suggests that the US is prepared
to stage more information provocations to justify its attack against Iraq and
its current setbacks. The next step will be the 'discovery' of chemical
weapons in Iraq", an expert told Interfax.

"Washington's suspicions concerning Russian exports of military-purpose
equipment to Iraq are unfounded. The charges advanced by Washington are
rather vague and are actually based on rumours and speculations, which have
not been confirmed by checks," the expert said.

The US argues that Russian companies have supplied Iraq with devices for
jamming the global positioning system, made by the Aviakonversiya firm;
Kornet antitank guided missiles, manufactured by the Tula instrument-building
design bureau, and night-vision goggles, supposedly exported by the
Belarusian firm (?Dipol).

The expert said that at various defence shows, including in Moscow,
Aviakonversiya demonstrated jamming equipment. All of the Iraqi
representatives' inquiries about possible purchases were rejected, he said.

"Of the 20 devices offered for sale, 15 were purchased by the US at the
request of the US ground forces. All of the US buyers are known," he said.

The device is assembled from freely imported components, is very simple in
operation and is not on the list of military-purpose products.

"The same refers to night-vision goggles. Turist D-2M night-vision goggles,
made in Belarus, refer to civilian products and are sold through retail
outlets. Antitank guided missiles were not exported to Iraq," the expert said.

"Russia strictly observers its international commitments and is not supplying
Iraq with military-purpose goods or products entered on the goods review
list," he said.

"Despite reports earlier circulated through official channels that US firms
supplied banned products to Iraq, no information about investigations into
these facts has been submitted to Washington," the expert said.

*******

#17
Russia throws arms-to-Iraq accusations back at the West
ITAR-TASS

Moscow, 25 March: Iraq and western companies concluded about 3,500 contracts
for weapons and dual-use technologies worth over 5bn dollars during the
1980s, ITAR-TASS was told today by a representative of a group of Russian
experts who were given access to Iraqi documents on missile and weapons of
mass destruction (WMD) programmes.

He pointed out that in late 2002 and at the UN's behest, Iraq supplied to the
Security Council a detailed report on the organizational, scientific,
technological and industrial aspects of its work on missiles and WMDs, their
use during the war with Iran and their destruction during the 1990s. Iraq
also sent copies of the document to independent experts in several countries,
Russia included. "It shows clearly that Iraq received most help from
companies in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, the USA and
China," the expert said. "From the nature and substance of these contracts,
the conclusion is that without such help Iraq could not have created its own
WMDs, produced missiles or made progress in its nuclear programme."

In particular, hearings at the US Senate's armed forces committee in
September 2002 were told of two American organizations that from 1985 to 1988
supplied Iraq with samples of various biological materials that could have
been used in work to create chemical weapons.

The international sanctions on Iraq were imposed in 1990 immediately after
its invasion of Kuwait.

********

#18
Asia Times
March 25, 2003
Russian weapons and foreign rogues
By Stephen Blank

At the highest level, the Bush administration has protested to President
Vladimir Putin about Russian arms sales to Iraq. American reports indicate
that Russian firms have sold Iraq night-vision goggles, anti-tank guided
missiles and jamming devices to counter the US's global positioning system
(GPS). Any such sales would constitute a violation of the United Nations
sanctions regime on Iraq, and also raise several disturbing points, many of
which, unfortunately are not new.

First, reports of Russian proliferation to Iraq are hardly new, nor are they
isolated ones. We know that Russia was selling prohibited technologies for
both conventional and nuclear weapons to Iraq in the 1990s. Second, as former
UN arms inspector Richard Butler has written, then-prime minister Yevgeny
Primakov was instrumental in helping Iraq to stonewall the inspections
regime. British and American intelligence agencies have even accused Primakov
in public of being on Saddam Hussein's payroll, unprecedented public
statements from normally highly reclusive organizations. Nor did this
proliferation stop with Primakov.

Russian newspapers have repeatedly reported that Russia's government and arms
dealers have established linkages with arms dealers and plants in former
Soviet republics like Belarus to sell arms to states like Iraq that could not
have been publicly sold by Moscow. Under Putin, Moscow has pursued a
systematic policy to tie defense industries in the former Soviet republics to
those in Moscow and restore the structure of the old unified Soviet system.
One benefit of this policy is Moscow's enhanced ability to hide behind third
parties in these kinds of arms sales. Thus proliferation to Iraq is not an
isolated case of arms sales gone wild, but rather part of a broader policy
that also encompasses Central and Eastern Europe.

For example, virtually every Central and East European government has
reported that Russian attempts to subvert East European governments through
economic penetration, corruption of politicians, intelligence penetration,
etc have continued at least since 1997, if not earlier. Evidence from the
Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Baltic states is
overwhelming and points to a strategic policy decision in Moscow. These
linkages that occur through Russia's embassies abroad are also connected to
shadowy ties to illegal arms dealers. We have seen that scandals involving
arms deals in Ukraine, Serbia and Bulgaria, to cite only some cases, are
connected with the provision of arms to rogue states.

Thus Russia, for all its protestations of innocence, as in the case of its
continuing nuclear proliferation to Iran and rumors of collaboration with
North Korea, shows no interest in upholding the UN's sanctions regime.
Clearly as well it shows little actual concern about the threats posed by the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction worldwide.

Here again it is not alone. China has sold fiber-optic materials to Iraq in
violation of the sanctions and has been a major proliferator to Iran, and
evidently North Korea as well. Similarly, French arms sales to Iraq or
facilitation of third-party arms sales have been described in the New York
Times and Washington Times by William Safire and Bill Gertz, respectively.
These arms sales cast a lurid light on their rhetoric for opposing the war
and for invoking the authority of the UN even as they violate its provisions.

The motives for these sales clearly go beyond the acquisition of money.
Russian analysts, for example, regularly announce that arms sales are so
tightly controlled by the state that rogue salesmen are no longer a question.
Likewise, there is a very strong connection between the arms sales
establishment and the government, including the foreign intelligence service
(SVR) in Russia, to the point where the arms sales organizations have always
been seen as a major source for raising untraceable election funds for
Russian politicians. This same connection between arms dealers abroad and
Russian intelligence is amply attested to as well in foreign reports. It also
is just as unlikely that the Chinese and French arms salesmen are
freelancing.

One can only conclude that despite all the protest about the need to uphold
the UN and international law, or the anti-terrorist coalition, the temptation
to strike surreptitiously at American interests abroad remains too strong for
the Russian and other establishments to forego. Unfortunately for these arms
dealers this is not an administration that is prepared to forgive and forget.
Although some figures of the Russian establishment are either getting rich or
staying in business, or gratifying their anti-American reflexes, the gains
that they make are inevitably short-term ones. But the costs that they are
incurring and which undoubtedly will be exacted by Washington are going to be
lasting ones.

Stephen Blank is an analyst of international security affairs residing in
Harrisburg, PA.

*******

#19
INTERVIEW-Stalingrad historian expects no "Baghdadograd"
By Clifford Coonan

BERLIN, March 25 (Reuters) - Iraq's President Saddam Hussein may want to
crush U.S.-led forces at Baghdad in the same way Stalin's Red Army defeated
the Nazis at Stalingrad in 1943.

But British historian Antony Beevor, author of the acclaimed history of the
siege, "Stalingrad," said he does not expect a fight for the Iraqi capital to
turn into "Baghdadograd."

Stalingrad, the deadliest battle of World War Two, took place 60 years ago.
It saw the Red Army encircle their attackers in a counter-offensive and
snatch victory over the technically superior German army.

Defence experts have pinpointed a Stalingrad-style siege scenario in Baghdad
as a risk for the success of the U.S-led invasion of Iraq.

Beevor said there were parallels between the two battles, but they were
mostly to be drawn between Saddam and Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

"Saddam is imitating Stalin, there are parallels that way. But it does not
appear the battle for Baghdad will follow the patterns of Stalingrad," Beevor
told Reuters in an interview.

"There may be a brief siege, but it won't be a battle lasting for five
months. And there is no chance of the Republican Guard encircling the
attackers in the way the Red Army encircled the Germans, even though Saddam
might dream of it," he said.

"Saddam is obsessed by Stalin. He has pictures of him on his wall, he has the
collected works of Stalin. He would love to see Baghdad as a Stalingrad on
the Tigris."

The German surrender at Stalingrad in February 1943 was the strategic turning
point of the war, crushing Hitler's drive to isolate the Soviet heartland
from the southern oil fields.

Hitler's ambitions on the Eastern Front were doomed and ultimately the German
capitulation triggered defeat in the wider conflict. The battle remains a
powerful symbol of Soviet courage and perseverance during World War Two.

The Soviets lost a million people at Stalingrad -- more than the British and
Americans during the whole war. The defeat wiped out the German Sixth Army.

IRAQI ARMY "ULTRA-CONVENTIONAL"

"The Iraqi army is most definitely not the Red Army. The regular Iraqi Army
and the Republican Guards' training is ultra-conventional," Beevor said.

"A Russian officer who trained them told me that there is no imagination
there, all they can do is defend fixed positions which will make it easier
for the coalition forces," he said.

Beevor himself served for five years as an officer with Britain's 7th
Armoured Brigade, or "Desert Rats," which is taking part in the Iraq war.

The strategic bombing of Baghdad, pinpointing targets but leaving
infrastructure intact, showed some lessons from Stalingrad had been learned,
he said.

"The coalition is well aware that if they flatten Baghdad like the Luftwaffe
bombarded Stalingrad it will produce a perfect killing ground for their own
troops," he said.

During the siege of Stalingrad, Soviet commissars were sent to the front to
inspire Russian soldiers into staunch defence, -- and often used deadly force
to stop them surrendering.

"The Fedayeen militia and the Republican Guard will not function as
commissars but they may terrorise troops into not surrendering," he said.

He said it would be "idiotic" to make a forecast on how long the conflict
would last.

"There are many dangers ahead. One thing that may have been underestimated is
the danger of civil war."

Beevor said memories of betrayal by Washington after the 1991 Gulf War meant
southern Iraqis will also be wary about welcoming American and British forces
and helping them overthrow forces loyal to Saddam.

"This makes (U.S. Vice President Dick) Cheney's optimism somewhat misplaced,"
he said.

*******

#20
Kennan Institute
event summary
Accountability for Wartime Presidents in Russia and the United States
March 17, 2003

In a recent seminar at the Kennan Institute, Martha Merritt, Assistant
Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, began her
discussion by stating that the accountability of public officialsor the
perceived lack of itis a serious problem for democratic societies
worldwide and even more so for quasi-democratic societies such as Russia.
Merritt explained that democratic political accountability is
distinguished by a complex web of monitors and checks that functions to
limit the ability of leaders to craft public policy leading to undue harm,
as opposed to the kind of rapid redress that some desire. She posited that
an automatic tension exists between accountability and political power, as
those in office seek to limit political accountability while those out of
power seek to enhance it.

Merritt stated that in the case of Russia, war serves to limit the
accountability of the president because war in Russia has been a
fundamental part of central state building, an exercise meant to enhance
presidential power. She further noted that while accountability in Russia
has a relatively short history, the political environment is far more
complex than it once was. Merritt argued that while there are elements in
the Russian political environment that could provide
proto-accountability, Russian President Vladimir Putin has contained key
forces that restricted his presidential predecessors.

According to Merritt, President Putin has created a two-track system of
accountability. She explained that Putin and other government officials
have been relatively straightforward in addressing foreign policy
controversies yet provide little information or justification on domestic
matters. Using the latest Chechen crisis as an example, Merritt explained
how the regime has effectively stifled domestic and foreign media coverage
of the human rights abuses in Chechnya itself. But the aftermath of the
gassing of hostage-takers and captives in the Moscow theater showed a clear
divide between domestic and foreign press that could not be attributed to
pressure from the regime alone. Merrit said that the Chechen war has taken
on a peculiar power in the Putin presidency, allowing the President to
appear as the champion of the Russian people, while keeping the military
busy in a war that is not going well.

Merritt noted that in the case of the United States, war is treated
differently because communication between people and president requires
that the United States takes a lot longer to mobilize its war machine.
She explained that perhaps the most dramatic difference is that the U.S.
president has proven able to launch a war effort that is extremely
unpopular worldwide and elicits mixed responses at home because he is
borrowing on centuries of credibility for American presidential authority.

Differences in the potential for presidential accountability in Russia and
the United States also have structural roots in the powers of the
president, in addition to the obviously fewer constitutional checks and
balances in Russia. Merritt noted that in the Russian Constitution, the
president is not defined as part of the executive branch, though he
oversees it. Therefore, the Russian president is structurally accountable
to fewer forces than the U.S. president, who heads the executive branch and
belongs to a political party.

Merritt concluded by reminding the audience that however unsatisfied
Americans might feel about accountability in American politics, it is
important to recognize that there is a web of monitors gathering
information that has the potential to hold U.S. public officials to
account, though not in real time. She stressed that in Russia monitoring
bodies find it increasingly difficult to gather information that has the
potential to hold the Russian president to account. Merritt reiterated
that because accountability is an ex post facto exercise, it will always
leave people hungry for democracy feeling dissatisfied.

*******

#21
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH HAS OVER 16,000 PARISHES IN RUSSIA

MOSCOW, March 25, 2003. /From RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich/--There
are 16,195 registered parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church on Russian
territory, with a total of 17,480 serving priests and deacons. These figures
were quoted in an appeal by Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, made
public at the diocesan assembly of Moscow's clergy in Moscow on Tuesday.

In his address Alexy disclosed that the Russian Orthodox Church at present
has 131 dioceses, and the number of bishops is 155.

Russia has 614 active cloisters - 295 monasteries and 319 nunneries. Their
number does not include 160 monastery inns and 38 sketes (quiet cloisters).

The Russian Orthodox Church runs 43 theological schools, 32 seminaries, 6
preparatory pastor courses, 4 theological academies, 2 Orthodox universities,
2 diocesan theological schools for women, and 1 divine institute. In
addition, there are a number of precentor and icon-paining schools, and also,
in Moscow alone, 135 parish Sunday schools.

Moscow today has 560 Orthodox churches and chapels and 959 clergymen.

There are eight cloisters in the capital - four monasteries and four
nunneries.

*******

#22
BBC Monitoring
Russian independent TV casts doubt over Chechen referendum results
Source: TVS, Moscow, in Russian 0425 gmt 25 Mar 03

President Vladimir Putin's statement that the Chechen constitution referendum
has closed the last remaining problem of Russian territorial integrity fails
to convince Yuliya Latynina, Novaya Gazeta observer presenting the "Yest
Mneniye" (My Opinion) morning commentary slot on the Russian independent TV
channel. The following is the text of the commentary broadcast by Russian TVS
television on 25 March:

The results of the Chechen constitutional referendum have been summed up. The
counting was done at two levels of supervision: first, votes were counted at
local electoral commissions subordinated to the head of the Chechen
administration, Akhmad Kadyrov, while the final results were put together at
the federal level. Since at each of these stages officials were all too eager
to outperform officials at the level below, it is surprising that the Chechen
constitution was supported by only 95 per cent of the population rather than
a whole 130 per cent.

Then President Putin summed up the results. He said that we had closed the
last serious problem related to restoring the territorial integrity of the
Russian Federation. It is worth noting here that we already closed this
serious problem twice in the past. First time it happened in 1991 when Moscow
loyalist Gen Dzhokhar Dudayev was elected Chechen president. Dudayev was
treated with much favouritism, provided with weapons and supplied with money.
The second time came in January 1997 when we helped peace-loving Aslan
Maskhadov to win. And now finally we closed the problem for the third time -
with the help of the former chief Chechen mufti, Akhmad Kadyrov, who at one
point declared a jihad against Russia and whose guard - armed and paid for by
federal money - is in effect the most efficient military grouping in Chechnya.

Now that we have closed the last serious problem, some minor problems still
remain, for example, economic ones. Angry tongues are saying that federal
money in Chechnya is divided into three parts: one-third goes to Moscow
officials dealing with restoring the republic's economy; another third - to
Chechen officials and the remaining third - to rebels. One can expect that
these minor problems will be dealt with by the new Chechen premier, Anatoliy
Popov, who previously worked as head of the Moscow-based directorate for
restoring Chechnya and is undoubtedly a big expert in the matter.

There are also some remaining problems with rebels who have declared a jihad
against Russia; with sweeping operations - which is a euphemism for mass
torture and murders; with London which is refusing to extradite [Chechen
rebel envoy] Akhmed Zakayev; with the Americans who will punish us for our
stance on Iraq by unleashing all human rights dogs on us; and of course with
the chronic threat of a repeat of the Dubrovka crisis [theatre hostage-taking
in Moscow in October 2002].

But all these are minor problems. The most serious problem - that of
declaring [Chechen separatist leader] Aslan Maskhadov illegitimate - we have
successfully resolved.

*********

#23
BBC Monitoring
Chechen rebel web site dismisses referendum turnout figures
Source: Chechenpress web site, Tbilisi, in Russian 25 Mar 03

25 March, Chechenpress correspondent S. Bakhayev: According to Russian
reports, the pseudo-referendum in occupied Chechnya was held on a grand scale
and with unbelievable speed. True, everything is in ruins and there is
nothing to do. It is better to go and vote before they start another
"clearance operation".

There were also leading districts in the referendum - 88 per cent of Vedeno
District voted. [Chechen commander Shamil] Basayev, his relatives and
comrade-in-arms and their relatives all live in Vedeno District. According to
the logic of the Kremlin liars, he and all the soldiers in his detachments
actively voted. Sixty-one per cent of Nadterechnyy District also voted. After
repeated punitive operations by the occupiers, there are no civilians left in
Sharoyskiy District apart from Doku Umarov's subunits, which regularly kill
enemies and destroy their hardware. They say that 84.6 per cent of this
district voted.

What can we say? The more blatant the lie, the more firmly one believes in
it, Moscow thinks.

[Passage omitted: Russia held the referendum in this manner]

They refer to international observers. But people - those who survived [the
clearance operations] - did not see any of them on "election" day. When we
look through the press, we can only see "26 countries, including Malaysia".
There are no names of organizations, titles or individuals' names. Conscience
is a serious thing. If you have one, you will try to avoid partaking in this
swindle.

So, the "referendum" was held but the war goes on.

********

#24
Putin's aide says strong rouble bad for Russian economy
Interfax

Moscow, 25 March: The Russian rouble is growing excessively stronger due to a
massive influx of foreign currency, which in turn is a result of favourable
foreign trade. President Vladimir Putin's economic adviser Andrey Illarionov
has said that this excessive strengthening poses a threat to Russia's economy.

"If (this year's) inflation forecast of 12 per cent materializes and the
nominal exchange rates of the rouble against the US dollar and the US dollar
against the euro remain at the same level, the effective rate of the rouble
will increase 8 per cent this year, significantly weakening chances of
economic growth in Russia," he told Interfax.

Illarionov added that the recession in Russian industry in September-December
2002 was marked by a distinct trend: while raw materials sectors grew under
favourable conditions on world markets, the processing industry began to
drop, largely due to falling competitiveness from the strengthening rouble.

The growth of industrial production in January-February this year in
processing industries, among others, was connected with the decline in the
rouble exchange rate in the past few months.

Illarionov said that during the past three years, economic growth in Russia
has been slowing down under exceptionally favourable conditions on
international markets. In 2000, GDP grew 9 per cent; it was up 5 per cent in
2001 and rose again by 4.3 per cent in 2002 thanks to favourable world market
conditions and economic growth, which amounted to 9 per cent in 2000, 7 per
cent in 2001 and 9 per cent in 2002.

This means that the contribution of domestic factors has been steadily
declining and has dropped into the red in the past few years, Illarionov said.

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 0939 gmt 25 Mar 03

*******

#25
St. Petersburg Times
March 25, 2003
New Foreigners Law Targets Minorities
By Robin Munro
STAFF WRITER

MOSCOW - Millions of Russian-speaking former citizens of the Soviet Union
play a key part in the Russian economy and send billions of rubles to their
own republics by living and working in Russia.

For many it is a key to survival. The better-off build dachas. The poor drive
trolleybuses, sell vegetables in open markets and bring in the harvest in
agricultural regions.

About a quarter of the households in Armenia and Azerbaijan are dependent on
transfers from family members working in Russia, said Zhanna Zaionchkovskaya,
head of the Academy of Sciences' Center for Migration Studies. Families in
other republics, including Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Tajikistan, are
count on the money, but there are no reliable figures on the amounts
involved, she said in a telephone interview.

Few of the migrants are registered in Russia, leaving them open to
exploitation and extortion from employers and the law-enforcement agencies.

Still others are ethnic Russians who did not manage to get citizenship before
it became more difficult last year and many have been living and working in
the country for years.

The law on foreigners, introduced in November, is intended to either legalize
these workers, or kick them out. The first manifestation of the law is the
migration card, which became compulsory for anyone entering Russia after
February 14.

Nationalities Minister Vladimir Zorin said last year that 2 million Armenian
and 1.5 million Azeri migrants are in Russia, while the next-largest groups
are from Ukraine, Moldova and Tajikistan, Interfax reported.

Boris Gryzlov, head of the Interior Ministry in charge of the Federal
Migration Service, the body that oversees migrant issues, refers to harsh
sanctions against those who fail to fulfill the requirements of the law.

A computer database on all foreigners will be in place by the end of the
year; this will show "the desirability or undesirability of having a specific
foreign citizen on our territory," he said.

The cards will give the authorities some ability to track CIS citizens who,
apart from Belarussians and Georgians, do not need visas to enter Russia. It
is not clear how the authorities intend to control the nation's long borders,
including the 6,846-kilometer border with Kazakhstan and the 1,576-kilometer
Ukrainian border, which CIS citizens can cross legally.

The Interior Ministry said the law will protect jobs for Russian citizens and
that foreigners are responsible for 40 percent of crime in Moscow.

Part of the clampdown is also aimed at making employers responsible for
hiring workers that have no work permits or pay income tax.

"Changes in legislation relating to the arrangement of labor for foreign
citizens will result in maximum difficulty for employers wishing to take
these workers," Alexander Yermolenko, legal adviser at audit and consulting
firm FBK, said at a seminar.

The law on foreigners was passed on July 25, 2002, but almost a year later
several accompanying regulations have still not been issued and there are
signs of second thoughts from officials.

Labor Minister Alexander Pochinok said in February said that fining employers
and insisting they pay taxes on behalf of illegal workers, as envisaged in
the law, could drive businesses into bankruptcy.

Natalya Shcharbakova, coordinator of the migration program at the
International Labor Organization's Moscow office, said that rather than take
jobs away from Russians, the CIS migrants do work that Russians don't want to
do, or won't do for the money offered.

Galina Vitkovskaya, head of the migrant labor program at the International
Organization for Migrants, and the center for migration studies'
Zaionchkovskaya said surveys showed that the average wage of migrants working
in the construction industry or on production lines is about $200 per month.

"The migrants come here because there are no jobs at home. Employers are
interested in illegal employees because it relieves them of a great number of
obligations," Vitkovskaya said.

She doubted that the law would reduce the number of migrant laborers.

"The shadow labor market exists not because of migration, but because our
economy is not yet a market economy and is unable to drag the labor market
out of the shadows," she said. "Enterprises have a lot of trouble getting
labor."

"The sums sent by relatives abroad are undoubtedly important," the Moldavian
Embassy said in a written response to faxed question. "Often this is the only
means of support for a family."

Representatives of some CIS countries have welcomed the introduction of the
law as bringing order, but also express fears that it can be misused by law
enforcement agencies.

"There was complete anarchy and lack of human rights for migrants, legal or
illegal, in Russia," the Azerbaijani Embassy's Agamaliyev said in a telephone
interview. "All the measures taken came a little late - in the meantime crime
has developed."

Vitkovskaya said that although the law is similar to those in other
countries, it treats Russia as if it were "somewhere in Central Europe" and
disregards Russia's links to other countries of the former Soviet Union.

A better way to address concerns would have been to offer a mass amnesty and
to create a unified labor market in the CIS, as Russian leaders have
sometimes suggested, she added.