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Security Watch: April 30, 2001

30 April 2001, Volume 2, Number 17
MOSCOW FACES TECHNICAL PROBLEMS IN ELECTRONIC WARFARE. Lieutenant General Valeri Volodin, the chief of the GRU's Electronic Warfare Directorate, said that his service is well-prepared for penetrating the information systems of enemies but suffers from some problems because of technological shortcomings, "Krasnaya zvezda" reported on 14 April.

FSB IS 'BURNED' IN MOSCOW. At least two floors of an eight-story building located at Bolshaya Lubyanka 21, and used by the FSB, suffered from a major fire on 23 April, reported. This is the second major fire at FSB premises within a month -- the first took place on 30 March at the FSB Academy on Bolshoi Kiselevskii pereulok -- but no details are available for either because of security considerations.

A DRUG WAR IN THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST. Drug dealers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran are now challenging Chinese and North Korean drug kingpins in the Russian Far East, "Parlamentskaya gazeta" reported on 19 April. Heroin is the major drug involved. One measure of the size of the market is that only three heroin dealers were arrested in the region in 1997 but some 748 were detained in 2000.

DUMA BACKS MARTIAL LAW BILL. The Duma on first reading approved a martial law bill that will give the president enormous powers in the event of aggression or the threat of aggression against Russia. It effectively suspends political and civil rights, including travel abroad, and gives the Kremlin the power to take over all kinds of mass media and communication channels.

NEW CITIZENSHIP LAW MORE RESTRICTIVE. President Putin has submitted a draft citizenship law that will reverse many of the liberal features of the 1996 act, RTR television reported on 23 April. If approved, the measure will make it more difficult to obtain or reject citizenship and also will eliminate dual citizenship. Applicants for citizenship will have to wait five years rather than three, and those with convictions or service in the military and security agencies of foreign countries can be denied the right to gain Russian citizenship.

EURASIANISTS RALLY AROUND PUTIN. Speaking at the founding congress of the new political movement "Eurasia," geopolitician Aleksandr Dugin said his group has been created to provide "total support" to President Putin, RIA-Novosti reported on 21 April. Among participants in the movement are Vsevolod Chaplin, the secretary of the Patriarchate's Foreign Relations Department, Talgat Tadzhuddin, the chief mufti of the Russian Muslim Spiritual Directorate, Did-Khabalam, the leader of Russian Buddhists, and Hassidic Rabbi Avrom Shmulevich. (For more on Dugin and neo-Eurasianism, see "End Note" below.)

RUSSIAN NEO-NAZI POGROM ON HITLER'S BIRTHDAY... More than 150 members of neo-nazi skinhead groups attacked vendors from the Caucasus in Moscow markets on 20 April, Russian and Western agencies reported. Chanting "Russia for the Russians," they smashed windows and beat up vendors. Some five people were arrested for an outrage that the Moscow media called a pogrom. In one case, neo-nazis killed a Chechen teenager.

...AS PUTIN CONDEMNS 'RACISM.' After the pogrom, President Putin said that Russia cannot tolerate any manifestations of racism, Russian agencies reported on 21 April. He said that any incidences of racial hatred will be severely punished. In 1997-98, Putin served as chairman on the Commission of Political Extremism, set up by then-President Boris Yeltsin, which has since been disbanded.

MOSCOW BACKS STEEL PRODUCERS AGAINST UNITED STATES... Moscow has decided to denounce an earlier accord with the U.S. on steel exports, thus backing the position of domestic producers, "Izvestiya" reported on 24 April. Deputy Economic and Trade Minister Maksim Medvedkov said that the new U.S. administration is to blame because it is seeking to protect its domestic producers against less expensive Russian steel.

...MOVES AGAINST U.S. POULTRY, GRAIN IMPORTS. The Russian State Customs Committee said that Russia is importing six times as much poultry as it did a year ago, with prices having fallen by 50 percent, RIA-Novosti reported on 23 April. Because of the impact on domestic producers, the agricultural ministry said it is beginning an "anti-dumping" investigation against the predominantly U.S. exporters.

AN ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT EDITOR AT 'LITERATURNAYA GAZETA.' The board at "Literaturnaya gazeta" elected Yurii Polyakov as the weekly's new chief editor, Interfax reported on 21 April. Polyakov made his name with satirical works about the so-called "new Russians," including scenarios for a variety of films. "Literaturnaya gazeta" is 70 percent owned by Rosprom-Yukos, which in turn is controlled by oligarch Vladimir Potanin.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST GUSINSKY GOES ONLINE. The Communications Ministry has cut off the website of Ekho Moskvy and as part of the more general campaign against media magnate Vladimir Gusinsky. RosTelekon spokesmen said that the sites had been shut down because of "unpaid debts."

FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE UNHAPPY WITH FOREIGN MINISTER. Russia's foreign intelligence service, the SVR, is constantly complaining that Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is not doing enough to support SVR stations at Russian embassies abroad, "Obshchaya gazeta" reported. The paper said that the failure of diplomats to support SVR officers had led to the recent intelligence failures in the U.S. But the paper says that the Kremlin has its own reasons to be unhappy with Ivanov. He falsely predicted that Slobodan Milosevic would win last year's election in Yugoslavia and that George W. Bush had no chance to defeat Al Gore in the U.S.

MOSCOW EXPECTS INSURGENCY IN CENTRAL ASIA. Major General Boris Mylnikov, the head of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center, said that Russia is preparing to counter several Islamist groups that he said will seek to destabilize Central Asia over the next several months, "Rossiiskie vesti," No. 14, reported. Mylnikov told the journal that his agency has identified about 12,500 "non-Afghan international terrorists" in Afghanistan, among which the most dangerous is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which threatens both Uzbekistan and Uzbek-populated areas of Kyrgyzstan. President Vladimir Putin created the Anti-Terrorist Center in July 2000 and named KGB veteran Mylnikov to lead it.

FSB SAYS IT CAN DISTINGUISH ANALYSTS FROM SPIES. Lieutenant General Sergei Diakov, the former head of the FSB's legal department, said that the agency had acted correctly when it charged journalist Grigorii Pashko, scientist Igor Sutyagin, and others of "divulging state secrets," even if the information they had in hand was unclassified or even had been published, according to "Nezavismoe voennoe obozrenie" No. 16. According to Diakov, even publication of unclassified information may be a crime if it leads to the compromising of state secrets. In other comments, Diakov said that revealing state secrets through negligence or preparing to disclose state secrets are actions falling under the terms of espionage statutes. And any journalist who obtains information that turns out to be secret can be charged as well, Diakov added.

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS FSB ON ANONYMOUS DENUNCIATIONS. The Supreme Court of Russia has rejected efforts by human rights groups to disallow the use of anonymous declarations in the work of the FSB, RIA-Novosti reported on 24 April. The court specifically said that the December 2000 FSB directive encouraging the use of such denunciations in investigations was entirely legal.

FORMER FSB OFFICER SPIED FOR BRITAIN, ESTONIA. A Moscow court has sentenced Valerii Oyamyae to "seven years in jail with the confiscation of property for high treason in the form of espionage," Interfax reported on 23 April. The FSB said that he was recruited in Tallinn by the British and Estonian secret services.

JOURNALIST, OTHERS SUSPECTED OF LEAKING STATE SECRETS. Andrei Luchenko, a spokesman for the Military Procuracy, said on 25 April that officers of his agency had searched the apartment of Valerii Shiraev, the deputy chief editor of "Novaya Gazeta," reported. Luchenko said that the search was not connected with Shiraev's journalistic activity but because he had worked for the FSB. He said that military prosecutors have opened a criminal case against him and several other Media-MOST security officers who have intelligence backgrounds for "divulging state secrets."

U.S. EXCHANGE STUDENT FOUND GUILTY. A Voronezh court on 27 April found U.S. Fulbright exchange student John Tobin guilty of marijuana possession and sentenced him to three years in a penal colony, ITAR-TASS reported. Tobin's lawyers said they will appeal.

ISRAELI GENERAL CHARGED WITH SPYING FOR RUSSIA. Israel's Shabak Internal Security Service has arrested retired General Izkhak Iakov on suspicion of spying for Russia, Israeli wire services reported on 23 April. Iakov had been involved with Israel's nuclear program. He allegedly passed secrets to the Russian via a young female Russian associate. Meanwhile, an SVR spokesman told that his agency will not comment on the case, but he added that "Moscow is not interested in Israeli nuclear secrets [and] as for the young Russian woman, she might easily have been employed by an Arab intelligence service."


By Victor Yasmann

The new Eurasia movement brings under one political roof representatives of all major religious confessions, something that has not happened since Soviet times. More importantly, it represents another effort to popularize the concept of Eurasianism and make it into a national ideology for post-Soviet Russia.

Since the demise of the Soviet Union, several variants of Eurasianism have been proposed, but they have not attracted much support either because they were too mired in the 19th century origins of that idea or failed to correspond to the new conditions of globalization.

Given the background of Eurasianism, articulated by Count Nikolai Trubetskoi in the 1920s and then developed by anthropologist Lev Gumilev in the 1960s, that is not surprising. The ideology's chief postulates are that Russia has a special role to play in the lives of other Eurasian states, that the people of the region live in nonantagonist relationships, that there is an irreconcilable difference between them and the West, and that this confrontation cannot be overcome by compromise but only by the victory of one side or the other.

During Soviet times, Eurasianism attracted supporters within the military and the KGB, particularly the latter's special anti-terrorist Alfa group. Many Alfa men are now among the founders of the new movement. And that background is reflected in the earlier career of the leader of the movement, Aleksandr Dugin.

The son of a KGB officer and knowledgeable in many languages, Dugin was trained as a historian. He began his public career in the early 1980s as an activist in Dmitrii Vasiliev's rabidly anti-Semitic Pamyat organization. Later, Dugin joined forces with Eduard Limonov to form a group called Conservative Revolution. A decade ago, they translated into Russian and popularized the ideas of many German and Italian fascists, but the two had a falling out, and Dugin turned toward Eurasianism, an idea that attracted solid financial support and which enabled him to publish his works on geopolitics.

Dugin updated Eurasianism by dropping its initial postulate about the eternal hostility of Russia and the West as a whole. Instead, he spoke about the concentration of what he called "the world evil" in the naval powers of the West, Great Britain, and the United states. And he argued that Russia should form an alliance with Europe against those Atlantic powers, not only for ideological but also for geoeconomic dominance.

According to Dugin, the economic strength of the naval powers is based on their control of the oceans. In response, Russia should lead Eurasia in creating east-west and north-south land transport networks. That idea has already found expression in the speeches of President Vladimir Putin.

In the Eurasia movement's manifesto, published at the website, Dugin suggests that "Neo-eurasianism has had a strong impact upon political parties and movements in modern Russia -- we find large borrowings from the neo-Eurasianist ideological arsenal in the programmatic documents of Unity, the Communist Party (KPFR), Fatherland-All Russia (OVR), the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, the movement Russia, and in a series of smaller movements and parties."

And in yet another indication of the rising influence of Dugin and Eurasianism, the media reported last year that the hall of Lev Gumilev University in Astana was decorated with Dugin's slogans when President Putin came to visit. Dugin, who also serves as an official adviser to Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev, has stressed, however, that he does not seek power but only an extension of his ideological influence. He clearly has achieved a lot in that direction already.