Johnson's Russia List
20 April 2003
A CDI Project

  1. Interfax: Most Russians think husband plays leading role at home - poll.
  2. Interfax: Russian-American marriages most long-lasting of mixed
marriages - poll.
  3. Reuters: Russia politicians hit out in murdered MP's burial.
  4. AFP: Russians pay last tribute to slain deputy. 
  5. AFP: Russian who worked with slain deputy seeks asylum in US.
  6. Interfax: Investigators make composite sketch of State Duma deputy's
  7. Joel Ostrow: Yushenkov.
  8. Baltimore Sun: David Holley, Deaths few, but epidemic of HIV is raging
Russia. Focus is on prisons as primary source of virus.
  9. Newsweek International: Christian Caryl, A Frosty Friendship. The U.S.
Russia try to mend their frayed relations.
  10. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Russian Experts Comment on Reducing Anti-American 
Attitudes of Russian Public.
  11. The Sunday Telegraph (UK): 'Russian spies told Saddam how Bush would 
justify war.' David Harrison in Baghdad uncovers the secret documents which 
expose the extent of Moscow's involvement.
  12. Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming): W. Dale Nelson, Russia mulls global
  13. Salt Lake City Tribune: Michael Nakoryakov, Russian View: Iraq War: 
Consequences Remain to Be Seen, But It Was Fought Well.
  14. New York Post editorial: Putin's Perfidy.
  15. Foreign Affairs letter: Matthew Evangelista, Just and Unjust Words
(re Chechnya)
  16. Interfax: 78% of Russians have never taken part in street protests -
  17. BBC Monitoring: Chicken fined for wrong road crossing in 
Russia's southern region.
  18. BBC Monitoring: TV shows chemical weapons arsenal in Russia's Kurgan
  19. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Ben Aris, Amber room is glowing again
Nazi pillaging.
  20. IRNA (Iran): US official accuse Russia of hypocritical stands on Iraq.
  21. Rosbalt: Paying for Victory? (re return of German art)
  22. Newsweek International: Andrew Nagorski, The World of the Gulag. 
A definitive account portrays the Soviet Union not as a noble experiment gone 
awry but as a system of murder.
  23. AFP: Russian ecologists protest oil sector pollution.
  24. Reuters: YUKOS plus Sibneft - a possible oil supermajor.
  25. New York Daily News: Mila Andre, Moscow must-see TV is here. 
  26. New York Daily News: Joyce Shelby, Station's news: It's in Russian.] 


Most Russians think husband plays leading role at home - poll

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) - A recent poll held in Russia revealed that
59% of respondents think the husband is the head of the family, and 13%
said the wife plays the leading role at home. 
   The poll, held by the ROMIR Monitoring firm, also showed that 15% of
those surveyed favor equal relations between husband and wife. Ten percent
ascribed the leading role to other family members - the father- in-law, the
mother-in-law, or the children. 
   The share who think the family should not have an obvious leader is
greatest in the Northwestern Federal District (29%.) 
   In the Urals District, 72% of the respondents said the husband is head
of the family. 
   Sixty-nine percent of the polled men and 51% of women agree with this. 
   Only 19% of the women and 6% of the men polled said the wife is head of
the family. 
   The poll was held in April and involved 1,500 respondents. 


Russian-American marriages most long-lasting of mixed marriages - poll

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) - Marriages between Russian women and American
men are extremely successful and harmonious, says a report by an expert of
the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of Psychology, Olga Makhovskaya. 
   "Changing over from the American family model with the spouses' equal
partnership, to an orthodox one, the American man starts playing a greater
role in the family. He enjoys more power and respect, and, undoubtedly
wins, gaining a higher social and psychological status," Makhovskaya writes. 
   By contrast, Russian women, breaking the model of the orthodox family,
shake off the heavy burden of responsibility and get a chance to live a
normal life in a family with clearer responsibilities - children, cooking,
the home, and greater attention and support from the husband. 
   In Russian-American families relations are more harmonious. "Such
marriages are long-lasting, as all roles are distributed in advance, and
the mechanism keeps working. Both spouses make concessions and perfectly
play their roles," she writes. 
   Russian-Chinese marriages are also very successful. "Tens of thousands
of Russian-Chinese marriages have been registered in Primorye. Chinese men
are hard-working, do not drink and bring their pay to the family, and
therefore have serious advantages as compared to Russian men. Russian women
are satisfied with their Chinese husbands, which suggests that the number
of such marriages will be growing," Makhovskaya believes. 
   Ukrainian-Jewish marriages deserve special mention. Relations in such
families may be described as ideal. "Perhaps this reflects a specific way
of settling conflicts - humor - rather than a good compatibility of family
models. When attempts are made to laugh away a conflict, its seriousness
fades away," she said. 


Russia politicians hit out in murdered MP's burial

MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) - Russian politicians hit out at the unresolved
problems of corruption and political violence at the burial on Sunday of
the ninth Russian State Duma deputy to be murdered in nine years.

The shooting on Thursday of liberal politician Sergei Yushenkov, a member
of Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament, was seen as a blow to
President Vladimir Putin's claims to be enforcing law and order.

"We thought political terror was over, but this murder shows that it is
right in front of our eyes," Boris Nemtsov, leader of the political faction
"The Union of Right Forces," and one of Russia's most prominent
politicians, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.

"Yushenkov was a calm, incorruptible, and honest politician," he added.

The murder has baffled police, since Yushenkov seemed to have no business
interests or ties to criminal groups, but Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov
had no hesitation in linking it to his political work.

"I think that this is a political murder because a deputy has been killed,
any deputy is a politician," he said in remarks televised on Russia's ORT

Although Yushenkov's Liberal Russia political party was small, he was an
opponent of Russia's campaign against rebels in Chechnya and famous for
opposing a coup against reforms introduced by then-Soviet President Mikhail
Gorbachev in 1991.


Russians pay last tribute to slain deputy
April 20, 2003
Thousands of Russians lined up to pay a last tribute to deputy Sergei
Yushenko, gunned down in an apparent political killing, as one of his
colleagues in a key investigation said she was seeking asylum in the United

Carrying carnations in line with tradition, many of them in tears, mourners
of all ages filed past the open coffin ahead of the burial that was due to
take place amid heightened security. 

The popular liberal deputy was shot dead near his home on Thursday in the
latest and most stunning in a long series of political killings. 

Most of his predecessors are assumed to have been killed because of their
business activities -- none of the murders has yet been resolved -- but
Yushenkov is widely regarded as above reproach in that regard, and his
murder is believed to have been politically motivated. 

Colleagues of his Liberal Russia party, which he succeeded in registering
for next December's parliamentary elections only hours before he was shot
dead, attended the funeral. 

Several prominent centre-right leaders, notably former prime minister Yegor
Gaidar and two leaders of the Union of Rightist Forces, Boris Nemtsov and
Irene Khakamada, also paid tribute in Moscow's Palace of Youth. 

A retired colonel and deputy since 1991, Yushenkov was hailed as a champion
of the ordinary Russian soldier who had sought to introduce desperately
needed army reforms.

Speculation as to the causes of the killing has focused on divisions within
Yushenkov's party and on his role as a leading member of a parliamentary
committee examining alleged secret service (FSB) involvement in a series of
mysterious apartment block blasts four years ago. 

Liberal Russia had close ties to the self-exiled businessman Boris
Berezovsky, receiving funding from the London-based tycoon before later
expelling him. 

Yushenkov, in association with Berezovsky, was also prominent in
highlighting alleged links between the FSB and the September 1999 bomb
attacks on apartment blocks in Moscow and other cities that killed nearly
300 people and were blamed on Chechen separatists, triggering the Chechen

Last year he helped distribute a documentary film produced by Berezovsky
purporting to prove FSB responsibility for the bombings. 

Earlier Sunday a former resident of one of the bombed flats who had
collaborated with Yushenkov said she was afraid for her life and was asking
for political asylum in the United States. 

Alyona Morozova, who lost her mother in an attack on a Moscow building,
said she had "no doubt" that Yushenkov's murder was linked to his

"I am afraid that to return to Russia would present a threat to my life,
and I am asking the US authorities to grant me political asylum," Morozova,
who is currently in the United States, said in a statement from her lawyer
received by AFP in Moscow. 

"There is no doubt in my mind that Sergei Yushenkov was killed because of
his investigation of the Moscow bombings," she said. 

"Exactly one year ago, together with him I arranged the presentation of the
(Berezovsky) documentary about the bombings, 'Assassination of Russia', in
the US Congress. After the screening he said: Our activities enrage the
FSB, sooner or later they will seek revenge. Today he is dead." 

Morozova said she had joined the public commission investigating the blasts
in the hope of determining who had killed her mother and neighbours. 

"After Yushenkov's murder I have no doubts about who did it. That's why I
am afraid to go back to Russia," she said. 

Morozova's lawyer Alex Goldfarb said his client was studying at a
university in the United States but did not want her location to be


Russian who worked with slain deputy seeks asylum in US
April 20, 2003

A Russian who said she had worked with slain liberal deputy Sergei
Yushenkov on investigating a mysterious appartment block blast four years
ago said she feared for her life and was asking for political asylum in the
United States. 

Alyona Morozova, who lost her mother in the September 1999 blast and had
worked with Yushenkov on an investigating commission, said she had "no
doubt" that the deputy's murder was linked to his role in the probe.

"I am afraid that to return to Russia would present a threat to my life,
and I am asking the US authorities to grant me political asylum," Morozova,
who is currently in the United States, said in a statement from her lawyer
received by AFP in Moscow. 

The Moscow appartment block explosion was one of a series in which nearly
300 people died. Russian authorities accused Chechen rebels of organising
the attacks and sent troops into the southern republic to put down a
separatist insurgency there. 

Yushenkov, who was gunned down near his home in Moscow on Thursday, played
a leading role in a State Duma (parliamentary) committee investigating
long-standing allegations that a faction of the Russian security services
(FSB) had organised the bombings. 

His party, Liberal Russia, had close ties with the self-exiled tycoon Boris
Berezovsky who last year produced and distributed a documentary film
purporting to prove FSB responsibility for the blast. 

"I have no doubt that the killing of Yushenkov is linked to his role in the
investigation into the Moscow blasts," Morozova said. 

"A year ago, I took part with him in the presentation of the (Berezovsky)
film 'Attack on Russia' in the US Congress. After the screening we were
told: Our activities have angered the FSB, and sooner or later they will
remind us of it. Now he's dead." 

Morozova said she had joined the public commission investigating the blasts
in the hope of determining who had killed her mother and neighbours. 

"Now I have no doubts on that score. That's why I am afraid to return to
Russia," she said. 

Morozova's lawyer Alex Goldfarb said his client was studying at a
university in the United States but did not want her location to be

Nine Russian deputies have been murdered in the past nine years, mostly for
reasons associated with their business ties, but observers agreed that
Yushenko's killing by professsional hitmen was most likely to have been due
to his political activities. 

Yushenko, a vigourous opponent of the Chechen war, was to be buried in a
Moscow cemetery later Sunday, with many liberal lawmakers expected to attend. 


Investigators make composite sketch of State Duma deputy's killer

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) - Based on wintesses' accounts, investigators
have made a composite sketch of a man who could be the killer of State Duma
Deputy Sergei Yushenkov. 
   The composite sketch will be circulated among policemen soon, police
sources told Interfax. 
   Concerning theories of the crime, a source said that Yushenkov's
financial and personal contacts are currently being investigated.
"Yushenkov could have fallen victim to financial, political, or personal
feuds," the source said. 
   He said parallel investigations are expected to be launched into the
murders of Yushenkov and fellow Liberal Russia Party member Vladimir
   Yushenkov was killed in Moscow on April 17. 


From: "Joel Ostrow" 
Subject: Yushenkov
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 2003 

I was shocked and deeply saddened by the assassination of Sergei Yushenkov.
It is a political tragedy for Russia, and a personal tragedy for me.  I knew
him well, and thought I would share for the list some memories of him.

I had met Yushenkov a few times during previous work in Moscow, but got to
know him well during 1993-1995 while conducting my research on the Duma.
For many reasons, the first months of the Duma were extremely difficult ones
for conducting research.  Legislators remained traumatized by the October 93
events, and the Duma itself was in a nomadic stage.

Sergei was always eager to help.  He would share his time and insights, and
convince otherwise hesitant members from all shades of the political
spectrum to sit with me and talk to me.  He was a guarantor of access should
any try to harrass or exclude me, one I always knew I could count on in a
time of need.

Anyone who has spent a long, sustained time of conducting first hand
research in a foreign country knows there are moments of loneliness.  There
were times I retreated to the "bufet" in the Duma for a cup of coffee and
would locate myself in a corner, away from the hub-bub. I have crystal clear
memories of at least two occasions on which Sergei left his company to say
"hello" and ask if I needed anything.

This was rare.  While I routinely found Duma deputies quite willing to speak
to me, they all knew who I was and what I was doing there.  They did not
regularly approach me, not in this personal way.  I tried not to make close
personal friendships with deputies, whom I considered subjects of my
research.  I ended up with one or two such relationships.  What is notable
and memorable for me is that Sergei was not one of these social friends, yet
his concern and interest were so genuine, as reflected in the example above.

He was, to a fault, a passionate, clear-thinking analyst of Russian
politics.  He had strong views on many issues, combined with a personal
integrity and honesty that even his political opponents always found
refreshing and admirable.  I was frequently stunned when one I considered
would be hostile to Yushenkov would direct me to him, "Sergei Nikolayevich
will have a different take on this from me, you should speak to him" is the
translation of what I often had said to me by his fellow deputies.  Again,
there were not many in the Duma who commanded such respect and admiration
from political opponents.

It is this quality that led to such immediate shock from all quarters, and
comments to the effect that he was uncorruptible, that this was not a
business contract killing, in the hours after his murder.

He was a tireless worker and a deeply principled man.  I spent 36 hours in
his office in December 1995, in the hours after the commencement of the
first Chechnya campaign, with many young Russian journalists.  He was angry,
he was sad, and he wanted to make sure that anyone who would listen would
hear what he had to say and how he had to say it.  And, because of who he
was, we knew that he was the most reliable data-collector.  He would be
among the first to get reliable information ... people who had the facts
would give him that information, even knowing he might view the facts quite
differently than they.

I will miss Sergei Yushenkov.  Moscow will not be as welcome a place to go,
the Duma will not be as dynamic a place.  There will be a friendly face
missing.  That is the personal tragedy.

More to the point, he internalized and promoted what I find to be critical
centerpieces of democratic political culture: a devotion to principles of
transparency, respect for rules for law, and recognition of the essential
and important place for a "loyal opposition" in politics, particularly
legislative politics.  That is the political tragedy.  With his loss, Russia
moved another step further from stable democracy.  Russia lost exactly the
sort of politician it could not afford to lose, one who understood,
promoted, and lifed for those democratic principles, and who loathed and
feared their absence in his colleagues.

He will be deeply missed.

Joel Ostrow
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science


Baltimore Sun
April 20, 2003
Deaths few, but epidemic of HIV is raging in Russia
Focus is on prisons as primary source of virus 
By David Holley
Special To The Sun

MOSCOW - Although the number of AIDS deaths is still low, an epidemic of
HIV infection is raging in Russia, with up to 1.5 million citizens carrying
the virus, the country's top expert on the disease said last week. 

Vadim V. Pokrovsky, head of the Health Ministry's AIDS Prevention and
Treatment Center, made the statement at a news conference called to promote
a battle against human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency
syndrome in Russian prisons, where the disease readily spreads and is then
transmitted to the broader society as inmates are released. 

Russia has 235,000 registered HIV/AIDS cases, but the actual number is
estimated at 700,000 to 1.5 million, Pokrovsky said. That includes 37,000
inmates who are confirmed to be infected. The Russia-wide totals are up
from 442 registered cases in 1990 and 1,080 registered cases in 1995. 

An all-star cast of international health organizations appeared at the
media event, which was focused on a new Russian-language health manual
designed for use by prison doctors. But in an indication of why the
epidemic rages on, Pokrovsky said in response to a question near the end of
the news conference that the book is full of nice ideals but is detached
from reality. 

"The book reflects the best practices and the best intentions," Pokrovsky
said. "Of course, the book should be adopted taking into account the
economic situation in this country. The book reflects the ideal situation.
It doesn't take into account the real situation. The financial situation
today does not allow the implementation of these ideas into Russian reality." 

The news conference was attended by representatives of the World Health
Organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres, Penal Reform International and
Moscow-based AIDS Foundation East-West. But no one at the news conference
gave any strong indication that key preventive measures recommended in the
manual would be acted upon. 

The World Health Organization book paints a bleak picture of problems in
Russian prisons and many other penal institutions around the world that
contribute to the spread of AIDS. 

A Russian prisoner survey cited in the manual found that of 1,087
respondents, 20 percent said they had injected drugs while in prison, and
of that group 64 percent said they had used shared equipment. 

Another Russian survey found that of 1,100 male prisoners ages 18 to 80 who
had been imprisoned for 1 1/2 to 10 years, more than 85 percent reported
sexual contacts while incarcerated. 

The manual suggests three ways to limit the transmission of HIV from drug
use: providing sterile needles, providing bleach so that prisoners can
sterilize needles and providing methadone treatment to addicts. 

Russian prison authorities generally say that given overcrowded conditions
and the susceptibility of poorly paid guards to bribery, keeping prisons
drug-free is an impossible task. 

But many critics of needle-exchange programs condemn them as condoning drug
use. Bleach is considered dangerous because it can be used as a weapon
against other prisoners or guards. And methadone is generally banned in

The book quotes a statement by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS
that it is "vital that condoms, together with lubricant, should be readily
available to prisoners." 

"Unfortunately, there still exists a strong current of denial in many
places about male-to-male sex - especially in prison - and a corresponding
refusal to do anything which might be seen as condoning it," the statement

Although HIV/AIDS in Russia has until now been spread primarily through
intravenous drug use, its spread through heterosexual relations is growing
rapidly, Pokrovsky said. And because widespread infection is so new in
Russia, the epidemic is just beginning to explode, he said. 

David Holley is a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing


Newsweek International
April 28, 2003
A Frosty Friendship 
The U.S. and Russia try to mend their frayed relations 
By Christian Caryl

      Vladislav Achalov has only good things to say about Saddam Hussein.
He is a “strong man,” he says, “fighting for his country.” A former deputy
Defense minister in the U.S.S.R., Achalov met Saddam “several times” during
his frequent visits to Baghdad, most recently last April at the Iraqi
dictator’s lavish birthday celebrations in Tikrit. 
       RUSSIAN JOURNALISTS HAVE seized on the relationship to ask whether
Achalov and other retired Russian generals provided military advice to
Baghdad in the war. Achalov denies it—but admits that the Russian brass
often went to Iraq. “We didn’t spend all that time talking about women,” he
adds with a grin.
       Moscow and Washington insist they’re eager to bury the hatchet and
revitalize the “strategic partnership” forged after September 11. But the
job seems to be getting more difficult by the day. Shortly after the
beginning of the war, the United States publicized Russian arms sales to
the Iraqis—from GPS jammers designed to interfere with American
precision-guided munitions to the Kornet missiles that destroyed several
Coalition tanks on the battlefield. Next came revelations that Achalov and
other Russian military veterans were hobnobbing with Iraqi war planners.
Then U.S. forces apparently shot up a convoy of Russian diplomats leaving
Baghdad, under mysterious circumstances.
       Last week journalists searching through the rubble in Baghdad
government offices produced a new crop of ticklish allegations. London’s
Sunday Telegraph newspaper obtained documents taken from the headquarters
of the Iraqi secret police, the Mukhabarat, that seemed to indicate the
Russian spy service, the SVR, had been sharing intelligence with its Iraqi
counterparts—including a transcript of a closed-door war meeting between
Tony Blair and Silvio Berlusconi, as well as a list of assassins for hire
in the West recommended by the Russians. Searching another building,
reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle found official-looking
certificates from a “Special Training Center” in Moscow attended by Iraqi
agents for training in eavesdropping and surveillance, as recently as late
last year.
       So far, the reaction from both London and Washington has been muted.
A spokesman at the British Embassy in Moscow downplayed the significance of
the documents: “Our priority at the moment is to deal with the issues on
the ground at Iraq.” The U.S. ambassador in Moscow, Alexander Vershbow,
told Russian reporters that Washington was already aware of some
“legitimate” intelligence contacts between the Iraqis and the Russians. The
extent to which the Russian government is directly involved may also be
hard to determine, since its military and intelligence services are well
known for freelancing in order to bolster their meager incomes.
       Whatever the reasons, the relative lack of official reaction has
been striking. Anatol Lieven, a Russia analyst at the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace in Washington, argues that the United States is
worried about driving President Vladimir Putin further into the arms of the
French and the Germans, bolstering their anti-American alliance within the
United Nations. Sarah Mendelson, of the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington, believes the administration is
reluctant to vent its growing anger with Moscow, largely for fear of
suggesting that George W. Bush and his national-security adviser,
Condoleeza Rice, were wrong about Putin and Russia’s good intentions.
      Clearly, Washington wants Russia’s help—as an ally in the war on
terrorism, as a new source of cheap oil and as a counterweight to Europe.
Russia has also served as a go-between in the North Korean nuclear crisis,
and Washington may hope to exploit Russia’s privileged relationship with
Iran to pressure Tehran into giving up its ambitions to build an atomic
      Still, some experts say that the damage to the U.S.-Russian
relationship could be hard to overcome. “Our political elite clearly
detests America,” says Andrei Piontkovsky, a political analyst in Moscow.
Moscow has condemned the United States for its recent criticisms of Syria.
And after some initial fudging, Putin has rejected Bush administration
calls for a write-off of Iraq’s national debt, including some $8 billion
owed to Moscow. At the United Nations, Russia and its European allies are
blocking U.S. demands to lift sanctions so that Iraqi oil can be put to use
for humanitarian aid and reconstruction. Washington and Moscow may yet
succeed in making common cause again—but it’s going to be an uphill climb. 


Russian Experts Comment on Reducing Anti-American Attitudes of Russian

Rossiyskaya Gazeta
15 April 2003
Report by Dmitriy Vladimirov: "Will Russians and Americans Become 
Friends Again in Two Weeks?" 

RG's Experts: How To Bring Down Anti-American Attitudes 

    According to various information, around 60-65 percent of our 
citizens have a clearly negative attitude toward U.S. policy. Just a year 
ago the percentage of such citizens amounted to no more than 20 percent. 
However, Russia will one way or another have to develop its relations 
with the United States in order to defend its own interests. What is it 
essential to do in order to change the attitude of Russians toward the 
United States? Experts answer these questions of RG. 

    Dmitriy Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Foundation: 
    I believe that in order to change the anti-American mood of our 
society, for a start it is essential to assemble in the Kremlin the 
managers of the leading domestic mass media and simply tell them why the 
Russian leadership intends to become friends with the United States. It 
is very important to understand that the Russian public is extremely 
strongly subject to the influence of the mass media, and to a significant 
degree, forms its position thanks to them. And this is why a serious and 
confidential discussion between mass media representatives and the 
government could be very useful. One should probably expect that the mass 
media itself will change its tone, and then public opinion will again 
shift in favor of cooperation with the United States. 

    Boris Makarenko, deputy general director of the Political 
Technologies Center: 
    I believe that there is no such anti-American attitude in Russian 
society. There is a refusal to accept the polices of President George 
Bush Jr and his administration, and nothing more. It seems to me that the 
citizens of our country are sympathetically inclined towards the 
Americans themselves as they were before, and sociological polls say 
this. The authorities must now "reset the brains" of the so-called party 
of power -- I have in mind United Russia, which clearly overdid inflaming 
anti-American feelings in the public. In the regions the expression of 
these feeling has gone very far: recall just the statement of Mufti 
Tadzhuddin on a jihad against the United States which he made at a United 
Russia protest meeting in Bashkiria. Of course, one must admit that 
changing an already-formed public opinion is not a very easy thing to do. 

    Vladimir Rinskiy, chief of the Sociological Department of the Indem 
    I am deeply persuaded that the attitude of the public in our country 
depends on the position of its highest officials -- the President 
personally and the members of the government. Foreign policy is an 
extremely complex sphere of activity, and ordinary citizens understand 
little about it. People simply repeat what they see on the television and 
read in the newspapers, where the information most often comes from the 
words of the state's leaders. Then a reverse effect takes place: the 
public opinion formed in such a manner begins to influence the actions of 
those in power, who want to be popular with people. In fact, in my 
opinion, only two weeks of intensified propaganda through the mass media 
on a specific point of view is needed to win over public opinion. If the 
country's highest leadership would now sharply change the direction of 
its statements and begin to speak constantly about how beneficial 
friendly cooperation with the United States would be, then in a 
half-month the attitude of the citizens would sharply change again. 


The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
April 20, 2003
'Russian spies told Saddam how Bush would justify war' 
David Harrison in Baghdad uncovers the secret documents which expose the
extent of Moscow's involvement 

The full extent of the help given to Saddam Hussein by Russia's
intelligence services is laid bare in secret documents uncovered by The

As well as spying on Tony Blair, Russian agents reported to Iraq that
President George W. Bush hoped to justify war by provoking a conflict with
the UN weapons inspectors.

The documents were obtained from the smoking ruins of the federal
headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (Iris) in central Baghdad.

They show that, only months before war began, the Russian Federal Security
Bureau briefed Saddam that the White House was pinning its hopes on Iraq
obstructing the weapons inspection teams.

The information, which appears to draw on intelligence from Russian agents
and diplomats around the world, is likely to have helped Saddam formulate
his strategy of "hide and seek" with weapons inspectors, rather than
obstruct them openly as he had done during previous inspections.

In a report dated November 13, 2002, the Russian security bureau informs
its Iraqi counterpart that America had launched a two-month propaganda
campaign to win public support for the war.

The Russians say in the report that Washington feels that two months would
be long enough to cause a breakdown in relations between UN inspectors and
Iraq, making it impossible for inspections to continue.

America believes that it would then be able to accuse Iraq of breaking
agreements and so justify military action against Saddam, according to the
report from Moscow.

The revelations about Russia's intelligence services follow The Telegraph's
disclosure last weekend that they spied on Tony Blair during private
meetings with Western leaders, including Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's prime
minister, to discuss the war.

According to Iraqi intelligence documents, this information was then passed
on to Baghdad.

The papers also revealed how Moscow had given Saddam a list of assassins,
details of Russian arms deals with countries in the Middle East, and Osama
bin Laden's plans to fund camps to train Arab terrorists to fight in Chechnya.

The Russian report about President Bush is headed: "Propaganda to secure a
United States military operation against Iraq". An Iraqi intelligence
officer attached a note to the report saying: "We will pass this to M4 and
take it to the President."

The report says: "The Bush administration has taken a decision to make a
more active information and propaganda campaign to secure military action
against Iraq.

"The White House has ordered the relevant departments to increase
activities to acquire and make public any [including circumstantial and
fabricated] 'proofs, testimonies and facts' which reveal direct links
between Baghdad and international terrorists and its eagerness to possess
weapons of mass destruction."

It adds that American embassies are already informing managers of mass
media loyal to the US in different countries and says that Washington plans
to organise "special seminars and round tables" to influence international
public opinion. "In particular," the Russian report says, "the United
State's foreign missions in Latin America are already taking active steps
in this direction". The Moscow intelligence service tells the Iraqis that
the Bush administration would continue the propaganda campaign for up to
two months.

"In Washington they think that during this period they will manage to
provoke a conflict between the UN inspectors and Iraqi authorities and to
render the Unmovic work 'impossible', to accuse Iraq of breaking agreements
and to open the way to a military operation against Baghdad."

I found the new documents after a second search, lasting many hours, among
the rubble and burnt-out offices of the Iraqi intelligence headquarters,
which are now being combed by looters, many armed.

"Before the fall of Baghdad we would have been shot for coming anywhere
near the entrance to these buildings," said a 29-year-old looter called
Mahmood, struggling with an armchair he had taken from the office of a
senior intelligence officer.

They were joined, however, by Iraqis on a poignant but forlorn quest for
clues about what had happened to relatives who had been arrested and taken
to Saddam's dreaded intelligence headquarters, never to be seen again.


Casper Star-Tribune (Wyoming)
April 20, 2003
Russia mulls global future
By W. DALE NELSON Star-Tribune correspondent 
LARAMIE -- Russian President Vladimir Putin considers ties to the United
States more important than alliances with European countries, a State
Department official told a University of Wyoming audience.

By contrast during a Monday panel discussion, a Johns Hopkins professor of
Russian studies said he believes that, although Russia has "no effective
alternatives to alliance with the U.S.," Putin "does not want to be aligned
too closely" with America.

Steven Grant is chief of the Russia, Ukraine and Commonwealth Branch of the
State Department's Office of Research, which conducts public opinion
surveys in the former USSR. He said his views were his own, not those of
the department or the U.S. government.

He said that based on these surveys, the terrorist attacks on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon, "were a very important day for us, but
nothing like a watershed for Russia."

He also said that the guiding principles of Russian foreign policy "remain
more or less unchanged" from those of former President Boris Yeltsin, and
"to some extent his predecessors" in the Soviet Union.

"One of the strategies that Putin does have is clearly, I believe,
integration with the West," Grant said.

Soviet foreign policy since the 1917 revolution was "basically
schizophrenic," he said, because the Soviets wanted to spread the
revolution worldwide and at the same time wanted to integrate with the
non-Communist countries of Western Europe.

"I think Putin followed the exact same thing," the State Department
official said.

"Russian foreign policy, as seen through the eyes of the people," he said,
"is based on one overriding principle: you avoid violence; you avoid the
use of force in world politics."

"I believe that to Putin, ties to the United States are more important than
ties to Europe," said Grant.

Bruce Parrott, director of the Russian and Eurasian division of the Johns
Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies, said both
Russia and the United States are in the midst of debate about their role in
the world.

In America, he said, the debate is about "the growth of American power." In
Russia, it is "about the loss of power." Putin, he said, came to power in a
country whose economy had shrunk drastically -- perhaps as much as 50
percent -- under the Soviet Union and had by no means fully recovered with
the advent of capitalism.

"There are no effective alternatives to a policy of alignment with the
U.S.," although there are other alternatives, effective or not, Parrot
said. "Russia needs relations with the West, and probably with the United

He said the "jury is still out on how the United States is going to be
viewed" in the wake of the Iraq War. "Is Iraq an exception, or is Iraq the
first in a series."

"I think for Russians, this is a very disturbing thought, and Putin doesn't
want to be lined up too closely" with the U.S., he said.

Oleg Gubin of Moscow University, a visiting professor at UW, responded to
Grant's remarks and described Putin as "a Russian pragmatist" who "is by
his very nature an aristocrat." He also said there is growing
anti-Americanism among the Russian public.

"There will be new alliances," he said, and they will be welcomed "if they
work for Russia."

Jean Garrison, a UW professor of political science, responded to Parrott
and said that Russia's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, is "the
number one reason why the U.S. should think creatively about relations"
with that country.

Unilateral movements by the United States, she said, "might shape Russia's


Salt Lake City Tribune
April 20, 2003
Russian View: Iraq War: Consequences Remain to Be Seen, But It Was Fought
By Michael Nakoryakov 
Salt Lake Tribune Columnist 

    The war is over. Never mind the opinion pieces, including some carried
by this newspaper, saying the U.S. military success in Iraq means nothing
and is just the beginning and everything depends on how Americans handle
the post-Saddam Hussein challenges. 
    There still is plenty to do in Iraq, of course. To ignore that would be
silly, risky and could lead to some spooky developments -- such as invading
    But without Saddam's defeat, any Iraq remodeling would have remained
just a meaningless dream. 
    When, a month ago, President Bush's critics grudgingly acknowledged the
U.S. and British troops, with their 21st century equipment, could take care
of Saddam's 1950s Soviet-made tanks, the underlying message was, "Yeah, you
probably can take Baghdad, but it will be so messy and bloody and
hate-provoking, you'll regret doing that for the rest of your lives." It
was messy, and it was bloody, and there were Iraqi children killed and
maimed by the "smart" bombs that went astray. Wars are bound to be ugly and
    But the overwhelming desire of each and every U.S. and British soldier
to try to get it done by the book, without harming civilians, then come
home, hug the kids and mow that lawn before it grows waist-deep was so
obvious, even Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based TV channel, could not ignore it. 
    The United States was all thumbs when it tried to get United Nations
backing before the war, and it now appears quite clumsy making scary faces
at Syrian President Bashar Assad. 
    Yet, it has done two things: It won the war in a persuasive and
civilized (if there is such a thing as civilized war) manner and it made
sure the readers, listeners and viewers all over the world had complete
access to most of what was happening on the battlefield. 
    That is not to say everybody was convinced. The coverage of the
campaign in Iraq by many European publications and TV stations seemed to
portray some other conflict. 
    The U.S. news media also showed the suffering of innocent Iraqis who
happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The difference is, the
French, German and Russian news dispatches from Iraq showed little else. 
    Who would think The Salt Lake Tribune is read in France? But it is, and
the day after my wartime columns run, there usually are a few angry e-mails
from Paris. It is amusing to be called a warmonger once in a while. 
    Further east, Russia's largest-circulation daily, Komsomolskaya Pravda,
offered critiques of the U.S. military campaign by Marshal Dmitri Yazov,
the former Soviet defense minister and key plotter of the 1991 Communist
coup attempt. That Yazov is not a big fan of the United States is not
    Yet the expressions he applied to the Americans, such as "greedy
militarists" and "ruthless invaders," were quite common for the mainstream
Russian news media, particularly in the first days of the war. Mohammed
Sahaf -- the great, allegedly late, Iraqi information minister -- would
have been proud. 
    The paper, formerly published by the Soviet Komsomol's Central
Committee, also ran a picture of crying Iraqi women with a caption that
read, "Americans are not showed those." Trouble was, the picture also
carried a credit of a very American news agency, The Associated Press. 
    Yet, as it was becoming clear Saddam had no chance to win, the tone
started to change. The condemnation of the "coldblooded U.S. invasion"
gradually was replaced by contemplating the ways to repair the damaged ties
with the United States. Russian President Vladimir Putin, mostly silent
while his aides seemed to be competing in who would produce a nastier
assessment of U.S. policies, finally spoke up last week and called for
cooperation with Washington. 
    It might be too soon to talk of the long-term impact of the U.S.
campaign in Iraq, but one thing so far is obvious: Things could have been
much worse. There is no refugee crisis. There are almost no oil fires. The
casualties, although there are more than anybody would like to see, are not
terribly high. 
    When President Clinton bombed Belgrade in 1999, there were voices
claiming that campaign could end the traumatic legacy of Vietnam in the
United States. It did not -- primarily because in the former Yugoslavia, as
in Vietnam, the United States took a side in an ongoing civil war. Worse,
that war had strong ethnic overtones. Even though most Europeans and the
United Nations (just as ignored as it was this time) did not say a word to
stop the Americans then, the Kosovo campaign was not a huge success. Some
Kosovo Albanians may be happy now. But many Serbs -- not the bad guys, the
regular people -- appear miserable. 
    Iraq, on the other hand, could turn out different. No matter how easy
it is for some to believe that the war in Iraq was about cheap oil and U.S.
dominance in the Arab world, the idealistic symmetry of kicking out a
bloody dictator, ending a brutal regime and then leaving for home when it
is done is compelling. 
    Time will tell whether the Iraq war was worth waging in the first place
-- much still can happen. But it was fought well. Incidentally, does
anybody know whether the former CNN reporter Peter Arnett, who seemed so
excited helping out Saddam's agonizing propaganda machine, still is
employed by London's Daily Mail? Maybe my new French e-mail buddies can
offer some insight. 
    Michael Nakoryakov is editor of The Tribune's World Desk. For many
years, he was a journalist in Moscow. Send Nakoryakov an e-mail at 

New York Post
April 20, 2003
Putin's Perfidy

According to syndicated columnist Jim Hoagland, the Bush administration's
postwar plans for the Axis of Weasel can be summed up as: Punish France,
ignore Germany and forgive Russia. 

Looks like the White House may have to go back to the drawing board. 

The liberation of Baghdad is yielding many of Saddam Hussein's most
important secrets. And perhaps none is proving more embarrassing - and
infuriating - than intelligence documents that demonstrate the astonishing
extent of Iraq's ties to Russia. 

According to published reports, Moscow and Baghdad shared intelligence
secrets - and even agreed to provide phony visas to enable Saddam's agents
to get to Western countries. 

Moreover, as recently as last fall Russia was actively training Iraqi spies
at its Special Training Center in Moscow. The Russians also reportedly
provided Baghdad with a list of assassins who could carry out hits in the

All of which is pretty much what you might expect from a Russian leader,
Vladimir Putin - who not only cut his teeth in the Soviet-era KGB but was
quick to surround himself with former KGB officials upon taking office. 

Indeed, it's hard to believe any nation could have been more perfidious on
the subject of Iraq than the French, but Putin certainly is giving Jacques
Chirac a run for his money. 

The implications, though, are troubling. It now becomes clear that Putin's
determination to prevent the forced removal of Saddam Hussein had as much
to do with keeping his intelligence ties to the Butcher of Baghdad hidden
as it did with protecting Russia's investments in Iraq. 

President Bush famously declared that he'd looked into Putin's "soul" and
decided that this was a man he could trust. 

Sounds like it's time for Bush to take another look. 


Foreign Affairs
May-June 2003
Just and Unjust Words
By Matthew Evangelista

To the Editor:

In an otherwise thoughtful and well-informed review of my book, The Chechen
Wars ("Crisis in the Caucasus," March/April 2003) [DJ: JRL 7058, February
12], Charles King makes two charges to which I feel obliged to respond.
First, he claims that my critique of a U.S. double standard on Russia's
human rights violations is misplaced. Second, he suggests that I may have
committed libel against several scholars whose views I criticize.

On the first point, King suggests that it is "sophomoric" of me to ask why
Western governments have held Russia to a lower standard of compliance with
international humanitarian law than they did Serbia under Slobodan
Milosevic. "The answer," according to King, "is that Russia is not Serbia."
King claims that "merely pointing out the inconsistency here is a lame
critique," for "inconsistency, after all, is the indispensable prerogative
of great powers." This remark represents just the sort of attitude I set
out to criticize. Consider, by contrast, Michael Walzer's observation, from
his classic Just and Unjust Wars, that "the exposure of hypocrisy is
certainly the most ordinary, and it may also be the most important form of
moral critique." My chapter on Western responses to Russian war crimes was
intended as a critique of U.S. policy and of Western observers who use the
language of the laws of war -- whose ethical foundation is just war theory
-- without interpreting them accurately. I had already indicated that
"motives of realpolitik influenced the Clinton administration during the
first war as it sought to bolster a political regime that it considered
friendly to U.S. interests." King's interpretation is thus the common
wisdom and does not get us very far.

In his second charge, King claims that I have made "highly inaccurate, if
not libelous" accusations against Anatol Lieven, Jack Matlock, Jr., and
Robert Bruce Ware to the effect that they "have somehow given Moscow a pass
on wartime atrocities." I stand by my criticisms that these analysts have
misinterpreted fundamental tenets of the laws of war by conveying the view
that the just ends of the Chechen wars -- the preservation of Russia's
territorial integrity, defense against kidnapping and terrorism -- make
otherwise unjust means more acceptable. As Ware put it, "if we accept the
objectives then it appears that we must tolerate some of the methods, for
it is unlikely that objectives could be achieved with methods that were
substantially different." I reject King's claim that I have quoted any of
the authors out of context or selectively, let alone that I could plausibly
be charged with libel. Having met both Lieven and Matlock and having
enjoyed reading their own sometimes polemical works, I doubt very much that
they would be so thin-skinned as to pursue such a frivolous charge. Ware is
another story. In any case, readers can draw their own conclusions. 

Matthew Evangelista
Professor, Department of Government, Cornell University


78% of Russians have never taken part in street protests - poll

MOSCOW. April 19 (Interfax) - Pollsters have said 78% of Russians have
never taken part in any protest march or demonstration. 
   The highest percentage of people who have taken part in street protest
actions live in the Volga Federal District (32%), the Ural Federal District
(33%) and the Far Eastern Federal District (24%). The Southern Federal
District has the lowest record, 14%, according to the Russian opinion
studies company ROMIR. 
   People over the age of 60 are the most active, accounting for 31% of
those who have at least once taken part in street protests. Only 13% are
between the ages of 18 and 24. 
   According to a poll in which 1,500 people were questioned, ROMIR says
83% of servicemen, 88% of high-school students and secondary- school
students, 89% of housewives and 71% of administrators and managers have
never taken part in a street protest action. 


BBC Monitoring
Chicken fined for wrong road crossing in Russia's southern region
Source: Ren TV, Moscow, in Russian 2025 gmt 18 Apr 03

Presenter: Krasnodar Territory police are fighting for the order on the
roads in their own way. The Russian law does not allow the domestic animals
to walk along and across public roads. So, local police are going to fine
chicken or, to be more exact, their masters, R1,000 for wrong road
crossing. Anastasiya Litvinova has the details. 

Correspondent: Lidiya Gerasimovna received this postcard on 8 March. She
thought it was a congratulation a Women's Day is celebrated in Russia on 8
March , but it turned out to be a bill. She was asked to pay R1,000 for
leaving her chicken unattended on a public road. She remembered that a
police officer had visited her a week before. He put down her name and
address and asked her to sign below a blank piece of paper.

Lidiya Gerasimovna Kosogur, captioned: They did not bother anybody. There
is a small river, so we keep geese, too. We have all the conditions to keep
poultry but they are sending us huge bills, so we would probably have to
get rid of it.

Correspondent: There are neither traffic lights nor a police station in the
village of Andreyevskaya. Cars are passing by once in half an hour. Chicken
and geese on the road did not bother anybody until recently. The idea to
fine old people was proposed by a local car owner, whose relative worked in
road police. Police have managed to impose fines on five people. Then old
ladies, whose average pension is R800 per month, put up a revolt. One
thousand rouble is an enormous sum for them.

Natalya Ustimenko: I was simply knocked out! I'll need plenty of time to
save R1,000!

Correspondent: The victims addressed the district prosecutor, who supported
the pensioners, declared the bills nil and void and promised to bring the
policemen to account.

Vladimir Doroshenko, captioned as Kalininskiy District deputy prosecutor:
Police did not notify these people about the time and place of the
administrative commission's meeting. They were fined in absentia, which is

Correspondent: Meanwhile, members of the district administrative commission
insist that they were acting in strict accordance with the law and a
resolution passed by the Krasnodar Territory Legislative Assembly 1.5 years
ago, which bans domestic animals from walking on the roads unattended.

While police and local administration are calling for villagers to comply
with this unrealistic demand, domestic animals and poultry are walking
around freely and no-one is going to restrict them.


BBC Monitoring
TV shows chemical weapons arsenal in Russia's Kurgan Region 
Source: NTV Mir, Moscow, in Russian 1500 gmt 16 Apr 03
[Presenter] A court hearing into a legal suit filed by the inhabitants of the 
town of Shchuchye, Kurgan Region, was postponed again in Moscow today. They 
have learnt that they live near one of Russia's largest warehouses containing 
chemical warfare agents. Now they demand a compensation of R1m per each of 
them. They say this will be compensation for fear.

The hearing was postponed more than once due to various circumstances. Today 
the absence of plaintiffs was cited. Lawyers say a lot of them are ill.

Residential buildings in this district of Kurgan Region are separated from 
the storage of sarin and yprite only by rows of barbed wire and armed guards. 
This simple Russian community is poor, so it cannot afford to order 
examination of the soil and air to check whether there is real threat to 
life. But people don't doubt this in neighbouring villages. They call this 
district's inhabitants "damned".

NTV's special correspondent in the region, Viktor Kuzmin, reports.

[Correspondent] There are wooden warehouses containing about 13 per cent of 
Russia's entire chemical weapons arsenal in the birch grove behind me. The 
first batch with chemical agents was brought here in late 1950s and the last 
one - 20 years ago.

For 50 years the locals were told that this was a conventional weapons 
arsenal and that it presented no danger to the environment or health of local 

Thousands of square metres of land are covered with boxes containing 
cartridges with sarin, soman and phosgene. There are so many chemical agents 
here that several regions will become a lifeless desert if a leak occurs. 
Tens of rotten wooden buildings, several rows of barbed wire and servicemen 
with Kalashnikovs after each 50 metres. This is Russia's largest chemical 
weapons storage.

The village of Chumlya is in 3 km from the arsenal. Local people are 
accustomed to living near this powder keg...

Kurgan Region's environmentalists say the destruction of mines containing 
phosgene and yprite in late 1950s may have caused hereditary illnesses. In 
March this year, 3,000 inhabitants of Shchuchye District wrote a letter to 
the president and prime minister, asking them to resolve the problem of their 

Old people complain that even their potatoes don't sell in neighbouring 

A new topic is being discussed in the locality - the construction of a 
factory to destroy chemical weapons. The villagers fear that lorries with 
weapons will drive along their streets. In addition, it has become known that 
weapons from Udmurtia-based arsenals will also be scrapped here...


The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
April 19, 2003
Amber room is glowing again after Nazi pillaging 
By Ben Aris in St Petersburg

After 25 years of painstaking work St Petersburg's Amber room, once hailed
as an eighth wonder of the world and destroyed in the Second World War, has
been recreated.

Finishing touches should be applied just in time for the city's 300th
anniversary celebrations and a G8 summit next month.

The room's 1,080 square feet is covered with more than six tonnes of
exquisitely inlaid and crafted amber with four Florentine mosaics made of
precious and semi-precious stones at the centre of the main panels.
Prussia's King Frederick William I gave Peter the Great the original room
in 1716. Peter's daughter, Tsarina Elizabeth, later had the room assembled
in her palace at Tsarskoye Selo, 15 miles south of St Petersburg.

Through a combination of detective work and mind-numbing attention to
detail, the room has been completely reconstructed after the original
panels disappeared at the end of the Second World War.

As German forces advanced on St Petersburg in 1941, many of the room's
furnishings were whisked to safety by Soviet officials. But when the city
fell to the Germans, all 27 of the priceless panels were packed and shipped
to the German city of Koenigsberg, today the Russian enclave of
Kaliningrad. They were never seen again.

Mystery surrounds the Amber room's final resting place and it has
tantalised generations of Baltic treasure seekers. According to some it was
smuggled into Finland, but the most popular theory is that Nazis threw the
crates down a flooded mine as the Red Army advanced.

A combination of detective work and intricate handiwork has gone into
rebuilding the room. The project was begun in 1979 by the Soviet Ministry
of Culture, which began work based on a handful of black-and-white
photographs taken shortly after the revolution in 1918.

But the work has been hampered by lack of money. The Soviet government
invested some £4.7 million between 1979 and 1991. But work was halted for
nearly a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ninety per cent of the world's amber comes from the Baltics. Once they
became independent Russia had to buy the amber at full market price, making
it almost prohibitively expensive.

Tatiyana Zharkova, the director of the reconstruction project, said: "In
Soviet days buying the amber was not a problem as the Baltic countries were
still part of the Soviet Union. It only took a government order and amber
cost a few rubles per kilogram - nothing. However, now they are independent
the cost of medium-quality amber is £190 per kilo and best-quality amber
costs £625 a ball-sized piece."

German energy giant Ruhrgas came to the rescue in 1999 with a £2 million
donation to finish the work, enough for four tonnes of amber and the
artisans' wages.

Each piece has its own number and place on the walls in what is effectively
a room-sized jigsaw puzzle. The most difficult task has been guessing the
colour of the pieces from the black-and-white photographs. Ms Zharkova
said: "It took 11 years just to sort through all the pieces and decide on
their colour before we could even start assembling the panels."

In the small workroom on the grounds of the palace a team of 50 artisans
have been reconstructing each panel piece by piece for more than 25 years.
Each of the 10 small panels that run around the bottom of the room took a
team of four artists a full year to make.

The four main panels took a team of a dozen artisans several years each to
assemble, but all 56 panels are expected to be ready by the peak of the
city celebrations on May 31.

The mosaics of couples lounging in Renaissance Florence's countryside at
the centre of each of the main panels have been especially difficult to

The only original piece in the whole room is one of the four mosaics. It
was picked up by a retreating German soldier at the end of the war and
seized by police at a Berlin auction in 1997.

Andrei Zhukov, the artisan in charge of cutting the semi-precious stones
that make up the mosaic, said: "We had a bit of luck with this one as the
artist painted a copy which we found in Italy, so we have a good idea of
the colours in the original. All the stones come from former Soviet
countries - the onyx from Kazakhstan and the lapis lazuli from Afghanistan."


US official accuse Russia of hypocritical stands on Iraq 

Tehran, April 20, Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA)
-- The Director General of the Middle East     
Policy of the United States Dr Clerson said on Saturday Russia has    
adopted a hypocritical stand vis-a-vis the US calls for lifting       
sanctions against Iraq.                                               
    The Qatari Al-Jazeera TV Channel quoted Clerson as saying that    
Russia has since long called for lifting the United Nations sanctions 
against Iraq but now that the United States has won a war on Iraq     
Russia is calling for continuation of the anti-Iraq sanctions.        
    It is, he said, an unexpected matter that Russia is calling for   
the sanctions to continue while Russian officials had in the past     
called the international community to help remove the economic        
sanctions on Iraq.                                                    
    He said the United States has asked the world countries to cancel 
all the Iraqi debts to them. He said the US government is also to     
cancel several million of dlrs of debts to Iraq to help the economic  
recovery of the Middle Eastern country.                               
    He said the US government is attempting to find out proper measure
to help reconstruct Iraq and bring prosperity to the Iraqi masses.    
    He said the US is also to ask Russia to get involved in efforts   
to rebuild Iraq.                                                      
    The United States is to provide the grounds for the Iraqi         
nationals to run the state affairs of Iraq.                           
    Al-Jazeera also quoted the Russian ex-envoy to Syria as saying    
that Russia believes now that the situation has changed in Iraq, the  
issue of sanctions on Iraq has to be re-examined.                     
    He said the re-examination of the sanctions is up to the United   
Nations not the United States.                                        
    He said the US president's call for lifting the sanctions on Iraq 
is in fact a tactic by the United States to diminish the UN role in   
Iraq while it was the United Nations which has implemented the        
oil-for-food program in Iraq for years.                               
    President George W. Bush, Al-Jazeera reported, has asked the      
United Nations to lift economic sanctions against Iraq in phases.     
    The new approach of the United States received cool responses from
France, Russia and other UN Security Council members.                 
    Bush on Wednesday called on the United Nations to lift economic   
sanctions on Iraq now that Saddam Hussein's regime has been removed   
from power.                                                           
    The UN-administered oil-for-food program since 1996 has enabled   
Iraq to export limited amounts of oil and use the revenues to buy     
basic humanitarian supplies.                                          
    Moscow said it would oppose the proposal until UN inspectors      
confirm the country has no weapons of mass destruction.               
    French President Jacques Chirac has insisted that the United      
Nations should be the one to decide how and when the sanctions should 
be lifted.                                                            
    The United Nations imposed sweeping sanctions on Iraq after Saddam
Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. They included a ban on all     
trade with Iraq, an embargo on its oil exports and an arms embargo.   


April 20, 2003
Paying for Victory?

According to Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre Valery Gergiev
Russians are currently 'the guests of Europe' and yet nobody can deny the
depth and diversity of Russian culture. Moreover, Russia is ready and
willing to share both its cultural heritage and its contemporary culture.

However, the Germans are quite happy on their own. 'Give us back those
valuables that were taken out of the country during the Second World War
and we will support your projects in the EU,' is basically what the Germans
are saying at the moment on the topic of restituting national art. This
problem of restitution is currently one of the most controversial issues in
Russian-German relations. 

It was only at the end of the 1980s, during the period of glasnost and
democracy, that people began speaking about war trophies. A bilateral
agreement of cooperation in all cultural affairs was signed in 1992,
whereby Russia was supposed to give back all the German artwork it had
taken in 1945, some 250 thousand pieces of art according to modest German
estimates, while Germany provided financial support for the Russian
government in return. 

In this way Germany regained possession of the Dresden Gallery as well as
101 drawings from the Bremen Kunsthalle collection, including pieces by
Durer and Manet, and also part of the Goethe Library, which was practically
given as a gift to German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel. 

In 1997 however, the State Duma passed a new law concerning the works of
art which had been brought to the Soviet Union during the Second World War
which essentially meant that all such foreign artwork was now the property
of Russia. Once it had been passed, this law made it virtually impossible
to return artwork to Germany which was now the legal property of the
Russian government and it also made it very difficult for artwork held by
private owners and the church to be returned. 

Rudolf Blaum, A Bremen expert on international law and also a long-time
member of the joint commission on restitution, described this law as a
'foolish decision' and across Germany there was nationwide opposition to
Russia with many denouncing Russia as 'non-European'. While Germany had had
its own way in the restitution process until then, any mention of art
restitution became a topic of dispute after this time.

In Russia meanwhile, cultural activists had divided into two camps: on the
one hand there were those who called for German art to be returned to
Germany and on the other hand there were those who continually reminded the
Germans of the 3 thousand cities they had destroyed, the 427 museums, the
1670 churches they had damaged or destroyed and the 180 million books and
564 thousand pieces of Russian art they had stolen. 

Those in the first camp argued thus 'Why do we need valuables which are not
a part of Russian culture and which mean nothing to us?' while those in the
second camp stressed that many rarities had been kept in good condition
insisting 'We are not plunderers!' 

Last year Germany returned seven paintings, copies of portraits of the
Russian tsars by unknown artists of the 18th century, to Pavlovsk. Russia
immediately made a return gesture by returning 111 of the stained glass
windows of the Marienkirche. This year, however, talk of returning the
so-called Baldin Collection to Germany, which includes two original
landscapes and 362 drawings by Rodin, Delacroix, Van Dyke and others, has
caused a political scandal. 

We can not ignore the political importance of this restitution process,
despite Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky's insistence that we
must regard war trophies as art and not as money or politics. One must
assume that Germany is sincere about paying for its Nazi past by offering
grants to former Russian prisoners in the concentration camps and
restituting copies of Russian art in return for its own national artwork.
Russia, however, which is unable to provide a dignified pension for its war
veterans, may one day have to give up the Schliemann Gold, 259 pieces
dating from 3000 BC, which were once on display in the Berlin Museum and
are currently exhibited at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. 

Germany claims that there are virtually no more pieces of Russian art on
German territory, insisting that museum pieces stolen from the USSR by
German soldiers during the war were then returned by Red Army soldiers from
Soviet-occupied territory or by other allies. They estimate that about 500
thousand pieces of art were returned in this way. Moreover, the restitution
of Russian art is a private initiative, which is not in the hands of the

95% of German art located in Russia, however, is in fact in the hands of
the government, although not all in one place. There is now increasing
pressure on Russia to return German national art as German experts begin to
make more and more demands and lobby the government. It has become a
political process. 

Even though the initial agreement was based on complete 'reciprocity' it is
difficult to see how this restitution process could be mutually acceptable.
An article appeared in German newspaper Die Zeit in 1991 which read 'the
Russians have been robbed twice: first by fascist Germany and then by their
allies.' The Americans managed to take a lot with them when they left
Berlin in 1945 and yet, for some reason, Germany is only interested in
artwork currently located in Russia. 

Russia, by recognising its obligation to return foreign art, is basically
putting itself in a position whereby the roles of the victor and the
vanquished may be reversed. 
Without war trophies neither the Louvre nor the British Museum would even
exist. The problem of restitution is worldwide but European culture, which
is now united in a single political entity, is continuing to develop and is
enriched by integration and joint projects. For those who are culturally
aware, the issue of restitution is simply about working together to display
unique collections of art in different European museums and galleries. 

It is of little significance for European culture whether the armor stolen
by an American soldier from the Bavarian State Museum after the end of the
war is exhibited in Philadelphia, as it was until 1977, in the Metropolitan
Museum, which later bought the armor knowing that it was in the US, or in
Bavaria, where it was eventually returned. The most important thing is that
in all this time the armor remained a piece of art which could be seen by
the public. 

It is impossible though to exhibit Russian war trophies in Europe as Russia
is not a part of Europe and any joint projects are doomed to long talks and
bureaucratic delays. Moreover, Russia can not become a part of Europe while
it has this 'non-European' policy on foreign art. 

It is possible that a solution will be found to this problem but several
aspects of this restitution process prevent us from thinking of art the way
that Mr Piotrovsky and others would have us think of it. Of course, we will
always be grateful for the USD 3.5 million German company Ruhrgas has spent
on restoring the Amber Room but the fact is it will never replace the Amber
Room which disappeared in 1944 somewhere in the vicinity of Konigsberg. 
Germany can also take pride in the fact that two original fragments of the
tsar's palace have been returned and that a certain sponsor paid USD 250
thousand for the mosaic Touch and Smell and German magazine Spiegel paid
USD 200 for a Russian commode. Both these last pieces were delivered to
Saint Petersburg immediately and formally handed over by German Culture
Minister Mikhail Nauman to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 
Many will remember, however, how much Russia put into these pieces: USD 8
million, 10 tonnes of amber and more than 20 years work by Russian restorers. 

Olga Osinovskaya, Rosbalt 
Translated by Nick Chesters 

PS This comment was made after the Russian-German forum Petersburg
Dialogue, which took place in Saint Petersburg on April 10-11. Plans were
made at the forum to make 2004 the Year of Germany in Russia, just as 2003
is currently the Year of Russia in Germany. The efforts being made by both
sides suggest that European culture will continue to spread into Russia and
that Russian culture will inevitably be assimilated into that of Europe. 


Newsweek International
April 28, 2003
The World of the Gulag 
A definitive account portrays the Soviet Union not as a noble experiment
gone awry but as a system of murder 
By Andrew Nagorski
    During a couple of tours as a correspondent in Russia and Germany, I
was struck by a remarkable contrast. Visitors to Moscow are happy to snap
up memorabilia featuring hammer-and-sickle emblems and images of Lenin and
Stalin, but visitors to Berlin wouldn’t dream of buying swastika trinkets
or Hitler portraits—even if they were on offer, which they aren’t. 
     “WHILE THE SYMBOL of one mass murder fills us with horror, the symbol
of another mass murder makes us laugh,” writes Anne Applebaum, now a
Washington Post columnist. Her 677-page book “Gulag: A History” (Doubleday)
should stop the laughter. It should also immediately claim its rightful
place as the most authoritative—and comprehensive—account of the Soviet
concentration-camp system ever published by a Western writer.
      The explosive growth of that network of camps has been chronicled
before, most memorably by former zeks, or prisoners, like Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn, Evgeniya Ginzburg and Gustaw Herling-Grudzinski. Western
scholars like Robert Conquest have also contributed a rich body of
literature on the subject. But in the West, the Soviet camp system has
never haunted the popular imagination like the Nazi version has. By writing
a vivid, detailed history for a general audience, Applebaum has clearly set
out to change what she sees as a fundamental misperception of many
outsiders to this day: that the Soviet experience was a noble experiment
gone awry rather than a system based on murder and destruction from day one.
      While the Gulag is most closely associated with Stalin, it was
started under Lenin right after the Bolshevik revolution of 1917. As part
of Lenin’s Red Terror, “special camps” were quickly established. In theory,
what came to be known as the Gulag was a system of forced labor rather than
a death machine. But of the 18 million people who passed through between
1929 and 1953, Applebaum points to a death count of almost 3 million. And
this is far from a complete tabulation. It doesn’t include those who
perished in the early or late years of the system, which outlived Stalin’s
death in 1953 and continued, albeit with smaller numbers of political
prisoners, until 1986. It also omits the millions of others who died as a
result of the regime-orchestrated Ukrainian famine, outright executions and
political exile in remote regions.
      Drawing on a flood of new memoirs and documents from archives that
were at least briefly opened, Applebaum paints a mesmerizing picture of
every stage of the life and death of zeks. After the already terrifying
ordeal of arrest and interrogation in prison, they faced transport—usually
in sealed railroad cars—across vast distances to reach freezing
destinations in the North and Far East. Hunger, thirst, torture and sadism
were the norm, anything to break the spirit of the “enemies of the people.”
Charges were a mere formality and often forgotten, and new sentences were
added on top of old ones at a guard’s or interrogator’s whim. Common
criminals engaged in gang rapes and even murder of the “politicals” as the
authorities looked the other way. Taken to orphanages, children of
prisoners were told to “forget their parents”—and often disappeared
       But along with the horrors, there were impressive displays of
humanity, heroism and resistance. From the earliest days of the Gulag, some
prisoners staged hunger strikes, refused to work or escaped—although all
those actions could lead to death. Applebaum tells the riveting story of
“The Forty Days of Kengir,” a huge revolt that broke out at a camp in
Kazakhstan in 1954, a year after Stalin’s death. A rare alliance between
the criminals and the politicals allowed the prisoners to drive the
authorities out in a short-lived victory. When they returned, it was with
troops and tanks that—unlike the tank at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in
1989—didn’t hesitate to crush the resisters, including women, who stood in
their way.   
      When Nikita Khrushchev finally acknowledged “grave abuse” in his
famous 1956 speech, one Politburo member argued against too quickly
rehabilitating those who suffered in the Gulag. Otherwise, he warned, “it
would be clear that the country was not being run by a legal government,
but by a group of gangsters.” Which is exactly the case Applebaum makes
with elegant restraint, allowing the brutal record to speak for itself. 


Russian ecologists protest oil sector pollution
MOSCOW (AFP) Apr 19, 2003
Several dozen environmental activists Saturday demonstrated in central
Moscow to protest at mounting oil pollution and demanding stiffer safety
legislation in oil production and transport, the Interfax news agency

The protestors floated a huge blue balloon with black spots they said
symbolised the polluted Earth.

"Although Russia's trade is based on the export of oil products, safety
requirements in production and transportation are low," organiser Anatoly
Panfilov told Interfax. 

Some 100 million tonnes of oil seep into the ground in the Western Siberian
region of Russia alone, Panfilov said.

He further accused Russian companies of damaging oil wastage, extracting
only 30 to 30 percent of proven reserves in many deposits.

"Oil magnates skim the cream and abandon the wells. They leave behind dead,
oil-soaked ground," Interfax quoted Panfilov as saying. 

Russian ecologists have warned that slack environmental protection
standards have entailed serious deterioration in health and safety
conditions in oil-production regions, and are calling for mandatory
controls in subsequent development projects.


YUKOS plus Sibneft - a possible oil supermajor
By Dmitry Zhdannikov

MOSCOW, April 20 (Reuters) - A merger between Russia's second and fifth
largest oil firms, YUKOS and Sibneft, were it to take place, would create
an industry colossus to rival the biggest global players.

The combined company would produce more than 2.2 million barrels per day
(bpd) of crude oil, on a par with OPEC member Kuwait, and close to the
world's fourth and fifth largest oil firms, ChevronTexaco and TotalFinaElf.

And analysts said such a formidable global competitor could soon climb to
the world top three position given YUKOS's and Sibneft's strategy to
maintain double-digit production growth at least until 2005.

ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell and BP are now the top three oil firms in the

"The merger seems to be logical and, if it happens, international giants
such as ExxonMobil or BP will have something to worry about," said Steven
Dashevsky from Aton brokerage.

Industry and banking sources said on Friday that YUKOS and Sibneft could
announce a merger as soon as next week, a move which would dislodge LUKOIL
as Russia's largest oil producer.

YUKOS's main shareholders, including CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, would get a
controlling stake in a firm with a market capitalisation of around $35

Sibneft's shareholders, including the powerful governor of the remote
eastern region of Chukotka, Roman Abramovich, would get a blocking stake
and a cash payment of up to $1.4 billion.

Both YUKOS and Sibneft said they would not comment on "market speculation."

YUKOS and Sibneft are the fastest growing oil firms in Russia and currently
produce 1.6 million bpd and 600,000 bpd respectively.

They control or operate a total of 10 refineries in Russia, Belarus and
Lithuania with refining capacity of above 2.0 million bpd and a network of
2,000 petrol stations.

YUKOS controls reserves of 12.5 billion barrels of oil under international
standards while Sibneft has some 8.2 billion barrels of crude oil reserves,
excluding substantial reserves of the freshly acquired oil firm Slavneft.

The two companies are already among the world leaders in terms of
production costs. It cost YUKOS $1.67 to produce one barrel of crude in
2002 and Sibneft $1.75, half the level of ExxonMobil and Shell.

"If the merger happens I can't see many synergies on the production side as
there is not much fat to cut. Some synergies could be found in refining and
lay-offs," said Kaha Kiknavelidze from Troika Dialog.

He added that the move was probably also aimed at preventing another
acquisition of Russian oil assets by an international giant after BP in
February bought a 50-percent stake in Russia's third-largest oil firm, TNK,
for $6.75 billion.

Sibneft's shares have rallied over the past weeks on rumours that Total,
Shell or Exxon were seeking to acquire a stake in it.

"It could be a defensive play. By merging with Sibneft today YUKOS
guarantees that in the long-term the combined firm would reign in the
Russian market alongside with LUKOIL and BP," said Kiknavelidze.

New York Daily News
April 20, 2003
Moscow must-see TV is here 
Credit Russian Media Group (RMG) for getting Russian TV programs to the
millions of former Soviet citizens now living in the U.S.
With headquarters in Fort Lee, N.J., the company has been broadcasting
Russian-language programs across the U.S. for more than a decade.

Now RMG has scored another coup - becoming the sole distributor of
RTR-Planeta, the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Company's
international TV station that televises directly from Moscow.

The news was announced at a bilingual press conference last week at the
Russian Consulate in New York attended by Rabbi Mark Golub, president and
CEO of RMG and hosted by Viacheslav Pavlovskiy, consul general of the
Russian Federation.

Yuriy Ushakov, Russia's ambassador to the U.S.; Gennadiy Gatilov, deputy
Russian ambassador to the UN; Oleg Ivanov, UN ambassador from Belarus and
Anton Zlatopolskiy, CEO of RTR, also attended.

RTR has two national TV stations, Culture and Rossiya, and 89 affiliated
stations. Subscribers to RTR-Planeta can enjoy all the company offers - but
at a price. 

Installation of a special satellite dish and a receiver is $29.99, and the
monthly fee is $29.99 in Brooklyn and $34.99 elsewhere. 

There are, at present, three channels that are available exclusively as a
package through the Russian Media Group (RTN, RTR-Planeta and Russian
World). RTN also is available on various cable systems (thousands see it on
Comcast in Boston, for example) and, as of April 1, it began broadcasting
on New York Cablevision - which serves the largest Russian-speaking
population in the United States.

"In the time period that Russian Media Group has existed, I am very proud
of what we have achieved," said Gary Flom, RMG director of marketing and
distribution. "And, now that we have opened a new era in the business of
Russian television, I am thrilled with the potential that lies ahead of us." 

New York Daily News
April 20, 2003
Station's news: It's in Russian 
The topics of discussion on this brand-new Brooklyn radio station range
from the doings of Hollywood celebrities to the situation in Iraq.
The commercials tout everything from the names of neighborhood doctors to
the lowest rates for phone cards. Most of the music is European or World Beat.

And the language is Russian - 100% of the time. Introducing New Life Radio,
620 on the AM dial. WSNR-AM was an all-sports channel until March 1, when
the format changed.

Now, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on
weekends, the station airs programming in Russian.

"We do news, talk, music, public affairs, weather, traffic and stock
reports," said Alexander Rozbam, vice president of New Life Radio. "We
broadcast in Russian, but we are an American radio station - and we support

That distinction became very important when the U.S. went to war in Iraq,
Rozbam said.

"We explained to our listeners that we support the United States, not the
Russian government," said Rozbam. "This is a free country and all opinions
have a place. But we support this country."

During the early days of the war, listeners relied on program hosts to
translate the New York newspapers into Russian, and to explain the latest

"Callers were very worried," recalled mid-morning program host Maria
Shkolnik. "And they are still concerned. They wonder whether Saddam Hussein
is dead or alive, and what's going to happen next in Iraq."

But as the focus in Iraq turns to rebuilding, the concerns of callers are
shifting, said Michael Bouzoukashvili, also a midmorning program host.

Mayor Bloomberg's economic policies, the city's ban on smoking and raising
children in the U.S. have all been recent topics of discussion.

"We do many broadcasts on health," said Bouzoukashvili. "I am a marathon
runner, and I try to promote healthy ways of living."

2 million potential listeners

At the top of every hour, New Life broadcasts news summaries either from
Echo Radio of Moscow or the BBC. The station also carries reports from its
correspondents in New York, Chicago, Moscow, Ukraine, Europe and Israel.

The Midwood-based operation is the second launched by New Life Radio. The
first went on the air in 1979, in Chicago, which has a population of about
500,000 people who speak Russian.

Rozbam estimates that there is a potential audience of nearly 2 million
people in the metropolitan area.

"It's a much bigger audience than we expected," he said. "Since we've been
on the air, we have heard from people who are Ukrainian, Lithuanian,
Georgian, Polish and Bulgarian. There are listeners from former Yugoslavia,
and many Jews who immigrated here from the former Soviet Union, which had
15 republics."

Russian radio programming also is available locally via a satellite
station, WMNB of the Ethnic-American Broadcasting Co. But no fees or
special equipment are required to pick up WSNR.

"The New York audience has been surprisingly receptive," said Nathan
Liberman, the president of New Life Radio "We've been warmly received by
our sponsors. We've been welcomed as part of the family of media, not as

While it is too early for ratings, Rozbam said there are ways to estimate
the station's popularity. During WSNR's third day on the air, its
transmitting tower was damaged.

"We were off the air for 12 hours," he said. "In that time, we received
3,000 calls."

The station hopes to expand programming to 24 hours a day within the next


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