2 October 2001, Volume
PUTIN OUTLINES FIVE-PART ANTITERRORISM PROGRAM.
In a nationwide broadcast on 24 September, President Vladimir Putin said Russia's position on terrorism remains "unchanged," Russian agencies reported. He said Moscow's position concerning the planned American antiterrorist operation in Afghanistan includes five provisions: active cooperation among intelligence agencies; the opening of Russian airspace for humanitarian missions; agreement with Central Asian allies on overflights; participation in search and rescue operations; and expanded cooperation with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. He noted that "other, more extensive forms of cooperation are possible." He also has created a coordinating group to be chaired by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Putin said this group would both collect and analyze information about the terrorist threat and also interact with those taking part in the antiterrorist operation.RUSSIAN COOPERATION MAY MEAN LESS THAN IT APPEARS...
Most aspects of Russian cooperation with any antiterrorist coalition might, in reality, prove to be different than they initially appear, "Komsomolskaya pravda" reported on 26 September. Moscow will not want to yield on airspace access, the paper said, and the military bases in Central Asia are in such miserable condition that they may not be useful, "Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie," No. 39, reported. Moreover, intelligence cooperation on counter-terrorism has been going on for a long time already....BUT RUSSIA REMAINS SUSPICIOUS OF COOPERATION BY UZBEKISTAN, TURKMENISTAN.
"Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie," No. 39, noted that the goals of Tashkent and Ashgabat are different than those of Moscow. Both want stability in Afghanistan in order to see pipelines carry their gas and oil through that country and on to international markets. That development would be helpful to the U.S. but could threaten Russia's interests. Indeed, concerns on this score help to explain the support Moscow has given to the Northern Alliance, the weekly noted.GOVERNMENT TO PROPOSE STRICTER ANTITERRORISM LAW.
Aleksandr Kotenkov, the Kremlin's representative in the Duma, said on 24 September that the presidential administration intends to introduce a new, updated antiterrorism bill because the versions presented earlier are now "absolutely unacceptable," Interfax reported. Justice Minister Yurii Chaika called the same day for the rapid adoption of new laws to combat terrorism, the news agency reported. Meanwhile, Russian politicians continued to discuss how to react to Washington's antiterrorist effort. Duma Deputy (Peoples' Deputy) Gennadii Raikov said on 24 September that any such effort must proceed under the UN flag, Interfax reported. Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov said he would appeal to President Putin not to allow Russia to be dragged into "a war with the Islamic world," while National Bolshevik Party leader Anatolii Tishin said that Russia should be supporting the Taliban against the United States, the news agency reported.FOREIGN MINISTER PROPOSES SPECIAL UN SESSION ON TERRORIST THREATS.
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told the UN General Assembly in New York on 24 August that Moscow would like to see a special UN session convened on new terrorist challenges to global security and the problems of nonproliferation, Russian and Western agencies reported. Such a session, Ivanov said, could also take up disarmament questions as well, including Moscow's proposal to cut the number of nuclear weapons held by Russia and the United States to 1,500 each. In his address, Ivanov said Moscow would like to see the establishment of a global system to counter terrorism and provide early warnings of terrorist attacks, Interfax reported. Ivanov also called for the development of more balanced rules to govern global trade.DEFENSE MINISTER WANTS MOSCOW, NATO TO COORDINATE STRATEGY ON COUNTERING TERRORISM.
Sergei Ivanov said in Brussels on 26 September that Moscow and NATO will now work together in the struggle against terrorism, Russian and Western agencies reported. He said such cooperation might eventually even take a military form, but he repeated that Moscow will not participate in any action in Afghanistan. Moreover, he specifically limited President Putin's offer to engage in search-and-rescue operations to the territory of the CIS and the portion of Afghanistan controlled by the Northern Alliance, to which he said Moscow will now provide more money. The Russian defense minister did say that Russia and its Central Asian allies are offering their airspace to American and allied aviation for any attacks on Afghanistan. Ivanov insisted that "there is no classifying terrorists into good and bad," something Russia has learned. But he acknowledged that, "Russia and NATO do not have a complete understanding on Balkan issues. They consider Albanian militants as rebels while we consider them terrorists or extremists." He said, "We have to reach a common view on this problem."RUSSIAN MILITARY ADVISERS WORKING WITH NORTHERN ALLIANCE.
"Moskovskii komsomolets" reported on 25 September that some Russian veterans of the Afghan and Chechen campaigns are now serving as advisers to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. Some of the men involved were recruited from among Russian emigres in the United States. These advisers, the paper said, significantly increase the military capability of the Northern Alliance.
PUTIN SAYS EFFORT IN CHECHNYA PART OF ANTITERRORIST CAMPAIGN...
President Putin said in his 24 September broadcast that "the events in Chechnya cannot be considered outside of the context of the struggle with international terrorism." Allowing for the possibility that some Chechen militants may have taken up arms against Russia "under the influence of false and distorted values," Putin said that Moscow is prepared to offer those who "still have not laid down their arms in Chechnya" a chance over the next 72 hours to turn themselves in to the authorities. He did not specify what the Russian authorities would do to those who fail to turn themselves in. The Russian president added that he has named Viktor Kazantsev, the presidential envoy to the Southern federal district, to oversee this process....AND DM IVANOV SAYS AFGHANISTAN, CHECHNYA 'TWO BRANCHES OF ONE TREE.'
Defense Minister Ivanov said on 24 September that "Afghanistan and Chechnya are two branches of one tree," adding that "the roots of the tree are in Afghanistan," RIA-Novosti reported. Ivanov said that terrorism grows most easily in places no one controls, such as Afghanistan and parts of the Philippines. Ivanov also said that the solution to the problem of terrorism requires more than military strikes. He said Russia has no plans to participate in any U.S. raid on Afghanistan. The same day, representatives of Russian special services said they have arrested a man in Chechnya who was carrying plans for the strikes on the World Trade Center, Interfax reported.'VEK' SAYS MOSCOW SHOULD FOLLOW U.S. IN IGNORING BORDERS AND EXTEND FIGHT AGAINST CHECHNYA INTO GEORGIA.
Writing in "Vek," No. 37, Valerii Solovei said that American plans to attack terrorists wherever they are found regardless of national borders provide a justification for Russia to do the same and cross into Georgia if need be to defeat Chechen militants. Meanwhile, Akhmar Zavgaev, the Chechen member of Russia's Federation Council, said he expects the fall session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to assess the situation in Chechnya "more objectively and reasonably than before" because of the 11 September terrorist attacks, ITAR-TASS reported on 24 September. That view was repeated by presidential adviser Sergei Yastrzhembskii, Interfax reported the same day. But PACE Chairman Lord Russell-Johnston said on 24 September that the terrorist acts in the U.S. "have not changed the position of the European parliamentarians to the situation in the Chechen Republic."PUTIN'S ULTIMATUM TO CHECHENS EXPLAINED.
Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev said on 25 September that President Putin's proposals on cooperating with the international antiterrorist campaign are "correct and timely," RTR reported. He added that Putin's call for Chechen militants to lay down their arms over the next 72 hours is in fact an ultimatum and that those who do not comply will be destroyed. "Kommersant-Daily" made the same point on 25 September. Meanwhile, Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the independent social commission on Chechnya, told Interfax the same day that the authorities must carefully differentiate between the militants who do surrender, those Chechens with blood on their hands, and those -- the more numerous, he said -- who had taken up arms either as a result of threats or misunderstandings. Failure to do so, he said, would represent a violation of human rights.TAX POLICE IDENTIFY COMPANIES SUSPECTED OF FUNDING CHECHEN MILITANTS.
The Main Directorate of the Federal Tax Police in the Central federal district, which includes Moscow, on 25 September announced that it has compiled a list of 65 banks and companies suspected of funding "Chechen bandit formations" and turned this listing over to the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Interior Ministry for action against them, Interfax reported. Meanwhile, FSB officials said that much of the funding for the Chechen militants comes from international terrorist Osama bin Laden via the Muslim Brotherhood group, the Russian news agency reported the same day.
PUTIN CALLS FOR EUROPE TO BECOME AN 'INDEPENDENT' POWER CENTER.
In his speech to the Bundestag delivered on 25 September, which he made in German, President Vladimir Putin said that the world has become much more complicated than it was during the Cold War and that politicians must overcome stereotypes from that period, Russian and Western news agencies reported. Putin called for the creation of "a new, reliable and enduring arrangement" in international affairs that reflects contemporary political realities. He urged that while he has no desire to cast doubt on the "high value of relations between Europe and the United States," he believes that Europe can function as "a powerful and genuinely independent center of world affairs," especially if it unites its enormous capacities "with the human and natural resources of Russia and [Russia's] defense potential." The text of the speech is available online at http://www.president.kremlin.ru.RUSSIA, GERMANY TO CONDUCT JOINT MILITARY MANEUVERS.
President Putin began his state visit to Germany on 25 September by meeting Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Russian and Western news agencies reported. The two called for an international coalition to combat terrorism and pledged to freeze the assets of terrorist groups. They also agreed that the Russian and German armies will conduct joint maneuvers in 2002. Putin stressed that Germany is Russia's biggest trading partner, while Schroeder said that he hopes Russia's participation in the international coalition against terrorism will help Moscow overcome its fear of NATO expansion and eventually allow Russia to join the alliance. During his visit Putin made a stopover in Dresden, where he once worked as an undercover KGB agent.
SPECIAL STRUCTURE TO PROTECT STATE SECRETS CREATED.
Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on 24 September signed a directive creating a new Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets and a Control Directorate, gazeta.ru reported. A government spokesman said that the new structures will be integrated into the government's existing structure and allow for "better distribution of functions within the government and the coordination of efforts to fight international terrorism."RUSSIA'S POPULATION DECLINE ACCELERATES.
The State Statistics Committee said on 24 September that the population of Russia declined during the first seven months of 2001 by 530,800 people, or 0.4 percent, Interfax reported. During the same period in 2000, the country's population declined by only 471,200 or 0.3 percent, the committee said. Moreover, during the January-July 2001 period, immigration compensated for only 5.5 percent of the total loss, a figure also lowers than in earlier years. Meanwhile, officials at the Federation, Nationalities, and Migration Policy Ministry said that there may be 1.5 million or more illegal residents currently living in Russia, the news agency said.RUSSIAN MUSLIMS, KREMLIN TO HOST MEETING ON 'ISLAM AGAINST TERRORISM.'
Ravil Gainutdin, the chairman of the Council of Muftis of Russia, told ITAR-TASS on 25 September that Russian Muslims, together with the presidential administration, will convene an international conference in Moscow in late October-early November 2001 on the theme of "Islam Against Terrorism." Gainutdin also said that the world must work to prevent the unification of terrorists at the international level as well as to block any upsurge of Islamophobia, the news service reported.THE .SU RETURNS ON THE INTERNET.
The Fund for the Development of the Internet told Interfax on 24 September that as of 1 October 2001, Internet users may again register with the domain .su. The fund's spokesmen said such registration will cost $15,000, and that they hope it will be used across the former USSR.HERMITAGE MUSEUM OPENS BRANCH OFFICE IN LAS VEGAS.
Culture Minister Mikhail Shvidkoi said in Berlin on 25 September that his agency will open a branch of St. Petersburg's Hermitage Museum in Las Vegas, a step that he said should provide that state museum with up to 40 percent of its revenue needs, Interfax reported. He added that the Hermitage plans to establish affiliates with other museums in the future, including the Guggenheim in New York by 2008.PAGING THE PIED PIPER.
The number of mice and rats in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast has increased more than 20 percent this year compared with last, Interfax-Eurasia reported on 25 September, citing the oblast's state epidemiological inspectorate. According to the inspectorate, the increase in rodents is linked with the climatic conditions of the last spring-summer season and a decline in rat-extermination measures due to inadequate financing. Center officials declared that emergency measures will be taken to reduce the rodent population because of the danger of the rats spreading fever. As of 25 September, three people had already been identified as having been infected.
DEPUTY PREMIER SAYS BALTIC EU MEMBERSHIP MAY HAVE NEGATIVE IMPACT ON RUSSIA.
Speaking at the Baltic Forum in St. Petersburg on 24 September, Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov said Moscow is concerned that future Baltic membership in the European Union may have negative consequences for Russian exports, RIA-Novosti reported. If the Baltic countries become EU members, Klebanov noted, Russian exports through those countries will become subject to EU anti-dumping rules and maximum quotas will be set on exporting oil and nuclear fuel. Consequently, Klebanov said, Russia will seek a special agreement lest it be forced to raise prices and price itself out of the market. At the same time, however, he indicated that the Nordic-Baltic region is becoming ever more important for Russia as a bridge to Europe.RUSSIA TURNS DOWN INVITATION TO JOIN OPEC...
Both Venezuela Minister of Oil Ali Rodrigues and Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi invited Russia to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, but Russian Energy Minister Igor Yusufov said Moscow rejected the offers because it wants to retain its freedom of action, RIA-Novosti reported. At the same time, however, he and other Russian officials indicated that they want OPEC to keep the price of oil higher than it has been in recent years. Yusufov said that some in OPEC believe that Russia's oil exports are undercutting the organization's pricing policies, but he suggested that the best way to remedy that is for OPEC members to invest in Russia and thereby create more domestic demand for oil inside his country. Meanwhile, Baku's "Ekho" newspaper said on 26 September that Moscow may try to corner the oil market following an American attack on Afghanistan....AS FALLING OIL PRICE SEEN THREATENING PREMIER'S GOVERNMENT.
"Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 26 September suggested that Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and his finance minister, Aleksei Kudrin, badly miscalculated the behavior of the oil market in their planning for the 2002 draft budget. The paper said recent declines in the price of oil mean that Russia's revenues will be $10 billion lower than projected, and that could ultimately lead to the dismissal of Kasyanov and his government.FSB PREPARES ECONOMIC NATIONAL SECURITY CONCEPT.
The FSB and the Economic Security Commission led by Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Vyacheslav Soltaganov have prepared and sent to President Putin for signature a new National Economic Security Doctrine, APN reported on 21 September. The document reportedly calls not for reversing past privatizations but rather for checking to make sure that those property transfers were carried out in accordance with the law. If the deals are found to be in violation, the document says, the current owner will be offered the chance to legalize 50 percent of his capital on condition that he pay back the second half to the Treasury.GOVERNMENT PREPARED TO GUARANTEE AIRLINES AGAINST TERRORIST ATTACKS.
Prime Minister Kasyanov said on 26 September that his government will guarantee domestic airlines against military and terrorist risks until the world insurance market recovers from the 11 September terrorist attacks in the U.S. and can underwrite the firms, ITAR-TASS reported.RUSSIAN DELEGATION ARRIVES IN BAGHDAD.
A delegation of Duma deputies and journalists arrived in Baghdad on 24 September to study the situation there, ITAR-TASS reported. The direct charter flight that carried them from Moscow to Baghdad was the 25th such flight since the route opened last year, the agency said. Meanwhile, Russian officials said in Moscow the same day that Russia may sell some of its grain to Baghdad later this year.MOSCOW SEEKS TO PROMOTE DIALOGUE OF TWO KOREAS.
Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Losyukov said on 26 September said Moscow hopes to promote dialogue between North and South Korea, ITAR-TASS reported. The same day, Konstantin Pulikovskii, the presidential envoy to the Far Eastern federal district, told Interfax about the attitudes of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. Pulikovskii said Kim, with whom he spent time on the Trans-Siberian railway during the latter's visit to Russia this summer, has a negative opinion about Soviet and Russian leaders like Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev, and Boris Yeltsin. But, Pulikovskii said, Kim has only positive things to say about current President Putin.NEW GENERATION OF ICEBREAKERS NEEDED FOR ARCTIC SEA ROUTE.
Aleksandr Ushakov, the head of the Northern Route administration of the Transportation Ministry, told Interfax on 24 September that Russia will need to develop a new generation of atomic-powered icebreakers if it wants to keep the entire Arctic route open year-round. At present, he said, existing icebreakers can only keep the western sections of the route open all year.
PRESIDENTIAL ADMINISTRATION DECIDES TO INSURE ITSELF.
Although it is unclear just what assets the presidential administration wants to insure -- its total assets may amount to as much as $600 billion -- its officials have asked the 15 largest Russian insurance companies to provide data on themselves in advance of one or more of them being offered the chance to insure administration property, "Vedomosti" reported on 21 September.DUMA BACKS EXPANDED LIMITS FOR PERMISSIBLE SELF-DEFENSE.
The Duma on 26 September passed on first reading a bill that gives individuals who are attacked specific legal rights to respond with force, RBK reported. This measure represents a break from the Soviet-era arrangements in which those attacked were severely limited in their ability to defend themselves.PIPELINE BYPASSING UKRAINE SAID TO SERVE RUSSIA'S GEOPOLITICAL INTERESTS.
Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko said in Novorossiisk on 25 September at the opening of a new stretch of the Sukhodolnaya-Rodionovskaya oil pipeline, which will allow Russia to export oil without sending it across Ukrainian territory, that the pipeline serves Russia's geopolitical interests, ITAR-TASS reported.
RUSSIA SEEKS TO DEVELOP MILITARY TIES WITH BRAZIL.
A government spokesman said on 25 September that talks have begun in Moscow on military-technical ties between Russia and Brazil, ITAR-TASS reported. The Brazilian military is interested in purchasing Russian aircraft, armored vehicles, anti-aircraft weaponry, and small arms, the spokesman said.
TAX POLICE FOCUS ON ORGANIZED CRIME IN DEFENSE SECTOR.
The Main Administration of the Federal Tax Police (FSNP) for the Central federal district announced on 25 September that it intends to focus its attention on organized crime in the military-industrial complex, Interfax reported. Officials in that sector said that they have already uncovered evidence of significant misuse of budget funds and underpayment of taxes.SERIOUS CRIMES UP DRAMATICALLY.
Interior Ministry officials told Interfax on 25 September that the overall number of crimes in Russia increased by 3 percent during the first eight months of 2001 compared with the same period in 2000. But they noted that serious crimes have increased more rapidly and now make up almost 60 percent of all crimes registered by the authorities. They said that the rate of increase was especially high in the most serious crime categories -- the number of murders rose 13 percent and the number of kidnappings by 23.5 percent.
KREMLIN SETS UP CIVIL SOCIETY INTERNET PORTAL.
Kremlin political adviser Gleb Pavlovskii is behind the opening on 25 September of a new Internet portal devoted to resources on Russian civil society, smi.ru reported the same day. The portal, hartia.ru, is intended to promote the government-sponsored organization of civil society institutions, the site said.'NEZAVISIMAYA' CHANGES ITS FACE.
The new management team at "Nezavisimaya gazeta" plans to make the paper more popular and less elitist, expanding color and advertising and dropping two-thirds of the analytical supplements, APN reported on 28 September.
PUTIN, THE EU, AND NATO
By Victor Yasmann
President Vladimir Putin's meetings with the EU leaders and NATO officials this week were scheduled long before the terrorist attacks on the U.S. But those attacks have changed not only the nature and meaning of these sessions but also Putin's strategy there.
Recent Russian-EU summits have become routine, even tedious. And even Russian meetings at NATO have become something not out of the ordinary. But 11 September changed everything.
In the wake of those attacks, the European Union has been actively supporting the U.S.-led, international antiterrorist coalition. And Putin has already indicated that he wants Russian involvement in that effort to be at the top of the agenda. But he has other goals as well. Among the initiatives he plans to seek to involve the EU with are research in the nuclear and aerospace industries.
Significantly, Putin's meeting with NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson will take place not at the alliance headquarters but rather at the EU office to avoid irritating some in the West and also to accommodate Putin's schedule. But the symbolism of this meeting, especially in the current climate, is nonetheless great as Russia casts itself as part of Europe and the West in a common fight against terrorism.
In the background to Putin's visits are voices in Moscow urging Putin to use the momentum Russia has with both institutions to extract concessions. The most radical political demands include calls for Russia to be included in the alliance, but few believe this is realistic anytime soon. But the more realistic recommendations call for Putin to demand that the West give Russia a freer hand in Chechnya and put a moratorium on the further expansion of NATO to the east and especially to the Baltic states.
But Russian elites are even more hopeful in the economic sphere. Some in Moscow argue that Russia should be rewarded for its support by debt write-offs or by being allowed to expand its income by being given greater access to Western markets, "Izvestiya" reported on 1 October. And that paper noted that Putin's delegation to Brussels has far more economic and trade officials than security ones.