KALUGIN’S TRIAL IN ABSENTIA

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KALUGIN’S TRIAL IN ABSENTIA

Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 27, 2002, p. 2

Former KGB General Kalugin has been sentenced to 15 years hard labor. He has been stripped of his military rank of major-general, and the state honors he received for almost 40 years of service in the Soviet KGB.

This was the verdict the Moscow City Court handed down yesterday, emphasizing the point that Kalugin’s past and present activities had “damaged Russia’s national security”.

The court found Kalugin guilty of high treason. The former KGB officer passed state secrets to the United States. What does this concept mean? Revealing secret information about actions taken by the Soviet intelligence agency to discredit the CIA, the FBI director, and US counter-intelligence; about the use of undercover agents at Russian embassies in the US; about the creation of the K department in the Soviet foreign intelligence service, and about its targets. Besides, Kalugin revealed information about especially valuable “sources” in Canada, Australia, and France. All this was contained in a book he wrote in 1994 in collaboration with an American journalist.

The Moscow court set aside the incident of Kalugin giving evidence at the trial of former U.S. army colonel George Trofimoff, sentenced to life imprisonment; the court said it did not want to draw conclusions based on media reports.

Defense attorney Yevgeny Baru categorically disagrees with the verdict, and intends to appeal against it. He said the trial had been timed deliberately to finish by July 1 (when Russia’s new Criminal Procedure Code comes into effect, which disallows trials in absentia). However, all this is unlikely to change the present position of the former KGB officer, and might only give him an extra argument for gaining U.S. citizenship. Kalugin has said that had no doubt about the outcome of this trial, and feels quite confident after the verdict.

We spoke to some former intelligence officers, who said off the record that Kalugin may now be used in an exchange in case an American spy is arrested. If the Americans agree to this, of course.

BEATINGS CONTINUE

Moskovsky Komsomolets, June 27, 2002, p. 2

Yesterday Russia marked Victims of Torture Day. Human rights groups claim there are about 3 million incidents of torture in Russia each year. This means around one in a hundred Russian citizens is affected.

AUDITING COMMISSION FINDS 3 BILLION RUBLES

Izvestia, June 27, 2002, p. 2

Sergei Stepashin, head of the Auditing Commission, reported to the Federation Council yesterday on results for 2001. He said the Auditing Commission had found a total of 14 billion rubles being used in inappropriate ways. However, only 3 billion rubles has been recovered by the state.

Last year, a thousand Auditing Commission personnel carried out over 400 audits in in 55 regions. The Auditing Commission has some new tactics: it is focusing on expanding the scope of audits rather than their number. The result has been the recovery of 3 billion rubles; over 450 warnings issued about inappropriate use of state funds; and about 50 criminal cases instigated by the prosecutor’s office based on audit results.

NUCLEAR SUBMARINE NAMED AFTER 14TH CENTURY HERO

Izvestia, June 27, 2002, p. 3

The world’s largest heavy missile-firing nuclear-powered submarine, a Project 941 vessel which had been undergoing modernization at the Sevmash shipyard for 12 years, was launched at Severodvinsk yesterday. The repairs had dragged out for years because of insufficient funding. Those attending the launch ceremony included Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. He described the nuclear submarine, named after Dmitry Donskoi (a Russian 14th century hero), as “one of the world’s most formidable vessels”. After meeting with shipyard executives, Ivanov stated that arms procurement would be expanded.

“Russia can’t get by in the modern world without a powerful army and powerful Navy,” he emphasized. “It is necessary to create modern weapons and train skilled personnel capable of operating these weapons.”

Today, the delegation headed by Ivanov will be at the nuclear testing ground on the island of Novaya Zemlya (New Land), where the Nuclear Energy Ministry plans to start construction of a radioactive waste storage site to hold 50,000 tons.

VAVILOV BECOMES A SENATOR

Izvestia, June 27, 2002, p. 3

Former deputy finance minister Andrei Vavilov was approved as a Federation Council member yesterday, representing the legislature of the Penza region. Before the approval procedure, Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov told journalists the upper house had received all necessary documents from Penza, both from the legislature and the prosecutor’s office. The documents confirmed there were no “grievances against Vavilov”. At the same time, Oleg Kochkin, the only member of the Penza regional legislature who voted against Vavilov, told us he would take legal action with the aim of getting Vavilov removed from the Senate.

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