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Security Watch: November 12, 2002

12 November 2002, Volume 3, Number 40
U.S., RUSSIA DISCUSS SUMMIT. U.S. Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton and Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Mamedov met in Moscow on 10 November to begin preparations for a U.S.-Russia summit tentatively scheduled to take place in Russia toward the end of the month, and other Russian news agencies reported. An unidentified source within the Russian presidential administration said the summit will be held near St. Petersburg but declined to provide other details, reported on 10 November. Mamedov told journalists the discussions will center on joint efforts to resolve the Iraq issue and to combat international terrorism, as well as cooperation in the field of antimissile defense and nuclear nonproliferation. Mamedov said that in the wake of the U.S. congressional elections, the chances are good that Congress and the Federation Council will ratify the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty by the end of the year.

PUTIN SIGNS 'ACCEPTABLE' ACCORD ON KALININGRAD... Speaking at a Brussels news conference on 11 November, European Commission President Romano Prodi, EU foreign-affairs chief Javier Solana, and President Vladimir Putin announced an agreement on access to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, Russian and Western news agencies reported. Under the accord, Russian citizens traveling by car between Kaliningrad and the rest of Russia will be issued special multiple-transit travel documents to cross Lithuanian territory, and those traveling by train will receive single-transit travel documents, and reported. Railroad travel documents will be issued when the ticket is purchased, and Lithuania will reserve the right to deny entry to anyone believed to have violated the law or to pose a threat to Lithuanian security. Putin described the agreement as "not ideal, but acceptable" and said talks on the issue will continue. commented that Russia had de facto accepted the EU demand that some sort of visa regime be implemented, even if the word "visa" does not appear in the agreement.

...RECONCILES WITH DENMARK... At the same press conference, President Putin said that he and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is also the rotating chairman of the European Union, agreed fully to restore bilateral relations marred by the Danish decision to allow the World Chechen Congress to be held in Copenhagen in October despite Russian protests (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 October 2002.), reported. Rasmussen told RIA-Novosti that his government had no right to ban the congress, which was held on private funding and which posed no threat to public safety. Rasmussen added that in view of the reconciliation, planning would resume for a trip by Danish Queen Margrethe II to Moscow in the near future.

...DISCUSSES COOPERATION WITH NATO... Putin also met in Brussels with NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson and discussed with him the upcoming NATO summit in Prague, at which a number of countries are expected to be invited to join the alliance, Russian news agencies reported on 11 November. "If NATO is reformed and transformed and can respond to Russian national interests, then cooperation [with the alliance] will be expanded and made more comprehensive," Putin said, according to RIA-Novosti.

...AND WELCOMES UN RESOLUTION ON IRAQ. Speaking to his cabinet on 10 November, President Putin said that UN Security Council Resolution No. 1441 on Iraq, which was adopted on 8 November, is "an acceptable compromise for Russia and is the result of joint efforts by all the permanent members of the UN Security Council," ITAR-TASS reported. He lauded the fact that the resolution includes no provision for the automatic use of force against Baghdad. Meanwhile, "Moskovskie novosti," No. 42, and RTR on 9 November reported that Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service, recently visited Moscow. In the 1970s and 1980s, Prince Turki coordinated a campaign by Islamist radicals in Afghanistan and elsewhere against the Soviet Union. His visit was seen as a reflection of Saudi fears that after a U.S. campaign against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, Saudi Arabia might be listed as a sponsor of international terrorism and targeted for an attack. Prince Turki urged Moscow to continue its efforts to prevent an attack on Iraq and pledged that Saudi Arabia will use its influence to assuage Russian Muslims and will provide Russia with considerable financial assistance.

DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS RUSSIA IS AT WAR. In an interview with "Izvestiya" on 5 November, Sergei Ivanov said that "war has been declared on Russia, a war without front lines, borders, or visible enemies." Ivanov said Russia must adopt new strategies and weapons in the response to this new type of war. He said President Putin's recent statement that Russia will strike the organizers and financiers of terrorism wherever they might be (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 October 2002) does not mean that Russian troops will be sent abroad. Instead, Putin meant that Russia reserves the right to use precision-guided weapons to strike training bases or other objects related to international terrorism, Ivanov said. He confirmed that the Federal Security Service, or FSB, will take the lead in combating terrorism, and the armed forces -- particularly the airborne forces -- will stand by to assist.

DUMA DRAFTS BILL OUTLAWING DEALING WITH TERRORISTS. State Duma Deputy and Deputy Chairman of the Security Committee Gennadii Gudkov (People's Deputy) announced on 5 November that he will introduce a bill that would regulate the process of negotiating with terrorists and ban the payment of ransoms for hostages, and other Russian news agencies reported. Gudkov said that only authorized state agents should be allowed to talk with terrorists and making deals with them should be illegal. Ransoms paid to terrorists are a direct way of funding terrorism and are used to purchase weapons and explosives and to pay bribes to officials, Gudkov said. He said talks with terrorists should only touch upon the terms of their surrender and punishment.

NEWSPAPER SAYS FSB INTERROGATING HOSTAGE TAKERS WITH LIE DETECTORS... The FSB interrogated two men and one woman captured during the 26 October storming of a Moscow theater where Chechen fighters were holding more than 800 hostages, "Nezavisimoe voennoe obozrenie," No. 43, reported. The FSB used domestically produced Delta lie detectors, which are reportedly able to assess the veracity of testimonies based on six biometric parameters. The FSB also used the Delta machine to screen Interior Ministry personnel in its effort to identify anyone assisting the Chechens. The FSB reportedly believes that Chechen moles have thoroughly penetrated the Interior Ministry.

...WHILE PROSECUTOR-GENERAL SAYS NO HOSTAGE TAKERS SURVIVED. None of the Chechen fighters who participated in the 23-26 October hostage taking survived the special-forces operation to liberate the theater, RIA-Novosti reported on 5 November, citing the Prosecutor-General's Office. There were 41 hostage takers, 22 men and 19 women, and all of them were killed during the operation. Authorities are currently checking the authenticity of identification documents found on their bodies. Investigators also reported that at least one person was being held on suspicion of "complicity with the terrorists" and the hunt for additional collaborators is continuing.

DEFENSE MINISTER TO PREPARE ARMY FOR WAR AGAINST TERRORISM... The reforms planned for the Russian Army are intended to enable the country to respond effectively to the challenges of international terrorism, Sergei Ivanov told journalists on 5 November during a visit to the Far East Federal District, Russian news agencies reported. Ivanov said the military will develop operational plans and train personnel to secure important objects and to storm them if they are captured by terrorists, Ivanov added. He said he believes Russia needs an army of 1 million soldiers, rather than the 1.173 million it currently maintains. He said the army must be mobile, professional, efficient, and equipped with the most modern weaponry.

...AS EXPERTS URGE MOVING BEYOND COLD WAR DOCTRINES. Russia and the United States should eliminate the portions of their respective national-security doctrines that depict one another as potential enemies, Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mikhail Margelov said on the ORT political talk show "Vremeni" on 3 November. Margelov said the ongoing cooperation between the CIA and Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) in the battle against international terrorism contradicts Cold War-era legislation that both countries adopted to protect state secrets. Ivan Safronchuk, a Moscow-based analyst with Washington's Defense Information Center, said on the same show that the two countries have endorsed the concept of preventative strikes against international terrorism. However, he noted that, although the United States and Russia face many common threats, preventative strikes could have very different ramifications for them because of their distinct geopolitical situations and varying political influence.

MEDIA MINISTRY UNVEILS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR COVERING CRISES. The Media Ministry on 4 November released its recommendations for media covering situations in which people's lives are threatened, RTR and other Russian news agencies reported. In addition to a general reminder to observe the laws on the mass media and on terrorism, the ministry's recommendations call on journalists not to initiate interviews with terrorists, offer terrorists live airtime without consulting law-enforcement agencies, publicize details about rescue operations, transmit unconfirmed information, or serve as intermediaries. The Media Ministry recommends that journalists not seek access to secret information from the special services. "Saving lives is more important than society's right to information," the recommendations state. The document has been posted on the ministry's website at

PRESIDENT PUSHES POLITICAL PROCESS IN CHECHNYA... Speaking to journalists on 10 November following a Kremlin meeting with 19 pro-Moscow Chechen leaders headed by Chechen administration chief Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov, President Putin said he had approved an initiative to "accelerate a referendum on the adoption of a new constitution" for the republic, ORT and other Russian news agencies reported. Until two months ago, Russian and Chechen officials had advocated holding the referendum before the end of 2002 or in early 2003, but Russian presidential aide Sergei Yastrzhembskii recently suggested it be held simultaneously with State Duma elections in December 2003 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 September and 10 October 2002). Andrei Babushkin, chairman of the Moscow-based Civil Rights Committee, told RFE/RL's Russian Service that it is impossible to conduct any referendum in Chechnya during the military operation there. He also pointed out that about half of the republic's population is currently living outside of Chechnya.

...URGES CHECHENS TO TAKE OVER BATTLE AGAINST 'BANDITRY'... President Putin also said the political process for resolving the conflict in Chechnya must be detached from the ongoing campaign against "terrorism." He said he understands that the political process must be re-energized and that political power in the republic must be transferred to Chechens as soon as possible. Putin said that during the 1990s the republic became a victim of international terrorism and that he hopes "Chechens will soon take upon themselves the entire burden of combating banditry." On 10 November, Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov signed an order authorizing the creation of a republican Interior Ministry.

...AND EQUATES MASKHADOV WITH BIN LADEN. In the same comments, President Putin harshly attacked Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. Putin said that until recently the Kremlin had maintained secret contacts with Maskhadov's administration and that the Chechen president had steadfastly evaded any political compromise with Russia. "[Maskhadov] told us [that he agreed] to destroy the most odious terrorists and, at the same time, he appointed them as his deputies," Putin said. "He organized terrorist attacks in Russia, but after they failed, he condemned them. Finally, he adopted the path of terrorism instead of talks and stood behind those who took hostages in Moscow on 23 October." The president added that initially Maskhadov and other Chechen leaders had good intentions, but they later came under the influence of Wahhabism and adopted the goal of creating a radical Islamic state in the North Caucasus, Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the Volga region. "To those who thoughtlessly or deliberately, out of fear of bandits or following the lingering European tradition of appeasement, will continue to urge us to sit down at the negotiating table with killers, I suggest that they should enter into talks with [Osama] bin Laden or Mullah Omar," Putin said.

POLITICAL ANALYST EXPLAINS PRESIDENT'S PLANS. As Europe and the United States continue to press the Kremlin to stop relying exclusively on military tactics in Chechnya, Putin feels he must develop and propose a political alternative, Valerii Fedorov, director of the Moscow-based Political Conjecture Center, told on 10 November. However, this alternative cannot include talks with the "Chechen resistance" because Moscow does not see any difference between "moderate separatists and radical terrorists." Therefore, Moscow is seeking possible negotiating partners from among Chechen groups that do not insist the republic leave the Russian Federation. These groups, including the pro-Moscow administration headed by Kadyrov, are divided among themselves and lack support in Chechnya. The lack of any legitimate local authority, in the Kremlin's view, has become a major problem and that is why Moscow is now seeking to move away from military administration in the territory it controls to some form of elected government. However, Fedorov said, Moscow's efforts to expand its political base in Chechnya do not mean that the Kremlin will back away from the use of military force.

LIBERALS DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM CHECHEN PRESIDENT. Speaking at a Moscow conference on political solutions to the Chechnya conflict on 10 November, Yabloko leader Grigorii Yavlinskii said he does not see anyone in authority in Chechnya with whom Moscow can negotiate, reported. Yavlinskii said the idea of peace talks is premature. He also harshly criticized President Maskhadov for "failing to condemn" the 23-26 October Moscow hostage taking. Oleg Orlov, head of the human rights organization Memorial and an organizer of the conference, said that Union of Rightist Forces co-Chairman Boris Nemtsov did not show up for his planned speech to the conference and had withdrawn his signature from an open letter in defense of Chechen Vice Premier Akhmed Zakaev, who was arrested in Denmark on 30 October and who now faces possible extradition to Russia (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 30 and 31 October and 5 November 2002). Orlov added that a majority of conference participants called for a political solution in Chechnya and for peace talks with Maskhadov.

FSB DIRECTOR CALLS FOR 'NEUTRALIZATION' OF CHECHEN LEADERS... Speaking at a joint meeting of the government commission on the Chechen economy and the operational staff controlling the "counterterrorism operation" in the republic, Nikolai Patrushev said his agency knows which Chechen leaders were behind the 23-26 October Moscow hostage drama, RTR reported on 4 November. "We know them. They have been named, and we will correct our efforts to neutralize them," Patrushev said. He also noted that "the low level of the local economy, unemployment, and the criminalization of social relations help to replenish the ranks of the bandit formations and illegal business." Patrushev, who is in overall charge of the military operation in Chechnya, called for more aggressive work with the local population and improving the educational level of Chechen youth.

...AND DEFENSE MINISTER LINKS TROOP WITHDRAWALS WITH FATE OF CHECHEN LEADERS. Speaking to reporters in Vladivostok on 6 November, Sergei Ivanov said Russia will not reduce its military presence in Chechnya "until the leaders of the bandit formations have been destroyed or arrested," RIA-Novosti reported. It is premature to talk now about the renewal of troop withdrawals from Chechnya, Ivanov said.

ANTI-CHECHEN INCIDENTS ON RISE IN MOSCOW. Anti-Chechen stickers were found at a Moscow metro station on 5 November, reported. The stickers -- which read, "There are 380,000 Chechens in Moscow. Do you want to be the next hostage?" -- were placed on escalators at the Novokuznetskaya station by unknown people sometime during the day. Analysts noted that the text of the message seems to have been specially written to avoid conflicting with the letter of the law on extremism, which forbids directly "inciting ethnic conflict." Meanwhile, human rights activists in Moscow on 5 November held a news conference at which they outlined incidents of anti-Chechen persecution by police since the 23-26 October hostage crisis, Interfax reported. Activists described illegal searches and detentions, saying that police in many cases illegally photographed and fingerprinted detainees. The activists also described harassment of Chechen children in schools.

SWEDEN EXPELS TWO RUSSIANS FOR ESPIONAGE... The Swedish Foreign Ministry announced on 11 November that it has expelled two Russian Embassy diplomats under suspicion of espionage, Russian and Western news agencies reported. The ministry declined to reveal the names or positions of the diplomats and said that they had already left the country. In Moscow, Boris Labusov, a spokesman for the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), also declined to comment on the report., however, wrote that two Russians had been caught red-handed by Swedish counterintelligence agents receiving secret documents from telecommunications defense contractor LM Ericsson. Three Ericsson employees are reportedly under investigation in connection with the incident.

...AND GRU OFFICER SENTENCED FOR SPYING FOR U.S. Aleksandr Sypachev, a colonel in Russian military intelligence (GRU), was sentenced during a closed hearing of the Moscow District Military Court on 11 November to eight years in prison and stripped of his rank after being convicted of spying for the United States, and other Russian news agencies reported. According to court spokesman Yevgenii Kommisarov, the court found that Sypachev had approached the CIA and offered to sell secret documents. He was arrested in Moscow in April when he attempted to hand over secret information about Russian intelligence personnel. According to Kommisarov, the court mitigated Sypachev's sentence because he cooperated with the investigation and because he failed to harm state security.

PUTIN CONGRATULATES MILITARY INTELLIGENCE... President Putin met on 5 November in the Kremlin with Colonel General Valentin Korabelnikov, chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU), and congratulated his agency on the occasion of its professional holiday, Military Intelligence Day, Russian news agencies reported. Although Russia's military intelligence capability has existed for more than two centuries, the GRU celebrates the anniversary of the founding of Soviet military intelligence by Leon Trotsky on 5 November 1918.

...AND THE INTERIOR MINISTRY. President Putin on 10 November congratulated the Interior Ministry on the occasion of its professional holiday, Police Day, Russian news agencies reported. Putin stressed that the Interior Ministry, which was established by Tsar Aleksandr I in 1802, is heir to both Russian and Soviet traditions. Although founded in the tsarist era, the ministry's professional holiday marks the anniversary of Vladimir Lenin's signing in 1918 of a decree creating a Workers' and Peasants' Militia.

SIX DETAINED IN CONNECTION WITH STAROVOITOVA MURDER. Operatives of the St. Petersburg branch of the FSB have detained six suspects and filed charges against four of them in connection with the November 1998 murder of State Duma Deputy Galina Starovoitova, Russian news agencies reported on 6 November. However, the authorities have not released the suspects' names, so it is not clear whether those in custody include any of the men named earlier this year as suspects in the case (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 February 2002 and 20 September 2002 and "RFE/RL Crime and Corruption Watch," 26 September 2002). Starovoitova was fatally shot in her apartment building in an apparent contract killing on 20 November 1998. After meeting with FSB officers in St. Petersburg on 6 November, Starovoitova's sister, Olga Starovoitova, told TVS that investigators still lack proof about who ordered the murder.

RUSSIA ASKS FOR OLIGARCH'S EXTRADITION. The Prosecutor-General's Office has formally asked Great Britain to extradite self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovskii, Russian news agencies reported on 5 November. Berezovskii and two associates, Badri Patarkatsishvili and Yulii Dubov, face charges of massive embezzlement stemming from an alleged car-sales scam at LogoVAZ in 1994-95. In an interview with, Berezovskii said he has not been informed of a formal extradition request. He also said that he has applied for permanent residency in Great Britain and will resist extradition to Russia.

WORLD BANK SAYS HALF THE ECONOMY STILL IN THE SHADOWS. From 40-50 percent of the Russian economy remains in the shadows and is controlled by illegal capital, reported on 11 November, citing a report by the Moscow office of the World Bank. By comparison, in Italy, a developed Western economy that has a relatively large illegal sector, 17 percent of the economy is in the shadows. In Russia, the largest concentration of illegal business is found in the services sector, the study reported. Although the large shadow economy means lower tax collections and skewed economic indicators, the World Bank notes that it also creates additional real employment and serves as a reserve for future economic development, as well as a buffer against any future economic crisis.

ARMENIA, RUSSIA FINALIZE ASSETS-FOR-DEBT DEAL. After nearly two years of negotiations, Russian Industry and Science Minister Ilya Klebanov and Armenian Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian signed in Yerevan on 5 November an agreement under which Armenia cedes to Russia five state-owned enterprises in payment of its $98 million debt to Moscow, Russian agencies and RFE/RL's Yerevan bureau reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 and 18 July 2002). The five enterprises in question are the Mars Electronics Plant in Yerevan, three research institutes that used to work for the Soviet military-industrial complex, and the Hrazdan Thermal-Power Station. The deal does not encompass the unfinished fifth unit of that station, and Russia will decide by 2005 whether to acquire it separately. Armenian President Robert Kocharian hailed the agreement, saying the deal means that Armenia has now completely discharged its debts to Russia. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who traveled to Yerevan to attend the signing ceremony, said the acquisition of the research facilities will contribute to the development of Russia's computer industry, according to ITAR-TASS.

GAZPROM, EU DISCUSS BALTIC PIPELINE. Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller met in Brussels on 11 November with EU General Director for Energy and Transport Francois Lamoureux and discussed a possible natural-gas pipeline from Leningrad Oblast across the Baltic Sea to Germany, and other Russian news agencies reported. Initially, the proposed pipeline would carry 18.7 billion cubic meters per year, with an additional 12.3 billion to be added during a second stage. If the project is approved, the initial stage could be completed between 2007-09, Miller said.

COMMUNISTS SEEK TO END YELTSIN'S PRIVILEGES. Communist Duma Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin on 11 November introduced a bill that would revise the privileges and immunity granted to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin under the current law on guarantees to the Russian president and his family, RosBalt reported. Under the law, Yeltsin and his family receive about 50 million-60 million rubles ($1.6 million-$1.9 million) per year in expenses and benefits. "Such a sum equals the entire budget of an average raion settlement and considering the impoverishment of millions of citizens, it is a superfluous and inexcusable waste of state funds," Ilyukhin wrote in a memorandum accompanying his bill. Under Ilyukhin's amendment, the existing law on guarantees to the president would not apply to anyone who served in that office prior to 31 December 1999. In 1991, Ilyukhin, then a state prosecutor, became famous when he unsuccessfully attempted to prosecute former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev for "state treason."

READY FOR A REVOLUTION? A majority of Russians would not oppose a Bolshevik revolution if one happened today, Russian news agencies reported on 5 November, citing a new poll by the All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM). On the eve of the anniversary of the October 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, which is now celebrated in Russia as the Days of Reconciliation and Accord on 7-8 November, VTsIOM found that 23 percent of respondents would "actively support" the Bolsheviks if the revolution happened today. Twenty percent said they would give "some support," and 28 percent said they would "wait and see." Eighteen percent of respondents said they would emigrate and just 8 percent said they would resist the Bolsheviks. In addition, 26 percent of those surveyed said that if the October Revolution had not happened, some other extremist group would have seized power and would likely have done even more harm than the Bolsheviks did. Twenty-two percent said it would have been good if the tsar had remained in power, and another 22 percent said it would have been best if Russia had developed a Western-style democracy.

EDUCATION MINISTRY DECLARES WAR ON BARBIE. The Education Ministry has drafted a bill that bans the import of children's toys and computer games that are violent, sexually suggestive, or promote "fear," reported on 5 November. The ministry will ask the government to create a special commission that, "with the help of a specially developed methodology," will evaluate toys and impose restrictions. Reportedly, among the first toys to be blacklisted is the perennial favorite Barbie, which ministry specialists believe is capable of producing negative psychological effects on girls and provoking "premature sexual manifestations."