RUSSIA TO REVIEW ITS NUCLEAR STRATEGY
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 11, 2002, p. 2
An official visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov to the United States begins today. Observers ascribe this to intensified efforts to increase contacts within the framework of preparations to the Russian-American summit scheduled for May and the probable signing of a new treaty on strategic offensive arms.
Mr. Ivanov says that both sides admit that there is need for a new mutually-binding document. Russia is of the opinion that the new Russian-American treaty should rest on the principles of openness, trust, and control. These are precisely the matters on which Moscow and Washington have not been able to reach an agreement. Senior Deputy Chief of General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky reminds that the United States does not intend to dismantle its nuclear warheads and prefers to refer to them as “operationally deployed warheads”.
The possibility of the US developing a national anti-ballistic missile defense system and deploying its elements in space is another subject Ivanov will surely want to discuss in Washington. Russian military experts see it as a clear danger to Russia. In the meantime, Russian politicians are unlikely to get any concessions from the United States in matters of strategic offensive arms and anti-ballistic missile defense control before the Russian-American summit.
Thirdly, the Presidential Administration and Security Council are reviewing the issue of developing strategic nuclear forces. The political leadership may once again return to the idea of forming a Joint Command of Strategic Deterrent Forces. Perhaps, its formation will cool down the hotheads in America and they will accept the necessity of having a universal and in-depth control over strategic offensive forces.
ANOTHER OPEC DELEGATION IN MOSCOW
Izvestia, March 12, 2002, p. 5
Algerian Minister of Energy Shakib Khelil was in Moscow. The visit is unlikely to sway Russia’s determination to increase oil output and export. OPEC General Secretary Ali Rodriguez and President Rilwanu Lookman came to Moscow last week but left without the coveted promise. The fact itself of the negotiations played a decisive role, and oil prices grew. Brent cost $23.33 a barrel last Friday (against $21.89 a week ago), and the Russian brand Urals grew from $20.22 to $21.44. The refusal of Iraq to attend the OPEC meeting on March 15 also had their effect on prices.
NATO EXERCISE IN POLAND
Vremya Novostei, March 11, 2002, p. 2
Last weekend marked a peak of NATO activeness in Poland. This is the first time Warsaw would be participating in a large scale NATO exercise since it became a member of the alliance and the first time it actually received new allies on its testing grounds and shooting ranges. The Strong Resolve’02 is a drill of the Alliance’s ability to promptly respond to two simultaneous crises in different locales. In Norway, NATO contingents work out procedures for acting in situations where Article 5 is invoked (an attack on a NATO state). In Poland, NATO states and countries participating in the NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program seek to cooperate in peacekeeping missions beyond the NATO sphere of responsibility on the basis of a UN mandate. The maneuvers will last until March 15. They involve 25,000 servicemen of NATO armies and 12 members of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program.
Russia does not participate in the Strong Resolve’02 but hopes to include peacekeeping operations the spectrum of jointly-planned operations involving NATO within the 20 format. According to information available to Vremya Novostei, these hopes of the Kremlin are frowned upon by official Washington, which remains highly reserved with regard to the idea of transformimg the 19+1 format into 20. A prominent American senator is sceptical about the possibility of reaching a consensus on the issue at the NATO-Russian meeting of foreign ministers in Iceland this May and in 2002 in general.
NEW APPOINTMENTS IN THE CABINET
Vremya Novostei, March 11, 2002, p. 4
Mikhail Delyagin has been promoted to the office of Premier Mikhail Kasianov’s assistant. Before his appointment, Mr. Delyagin had worked as an analyst in Boris Yeltsin’s group of experts, an adviser to ex-deputy premiers Anatoly Kulikov, Boris Nemtsov, Nikolai Aksenenko, and ex-Premier Yevgeny Primakov.
GENNADI SELEZNEV’S ENEMIES PUT FORTH AN INITIATIVE
Vremya Novostei, March 11, 2002, p. 4
Centrist deputies in the Duma have put forth amendments to Article 13 of the Duma charter, stripping Chairman Gennadi Seleznev of the right of the decisive vote. According to Oleg Kovalev, Chairman of the Duma Charter Committee, on March 12, the Duma Council will fix a date for the discussion of the amendment, and the lower house of parliament may discuss it this month. Explaining the move, Kovalev said that the existing correlation of forces (votes) in the Duma “does not reflect the existing political situation in the Duma”, and that the chairman’s decisive voice puts the Communist faction at an advantage in decision-making on key matters.
ASLAN MASKHADOV’S ENVOY AKHMED ZAKAYEV MEETS WITH CARLA DEL PONTE, GENERAL PROSECUTOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE IN THE HAGUE
Vremya Novostei, March 11, 2002, p. 4
According to Akhmed Zakayev, “the situation in Chechnya and specifically human rights abuses and war crimes taking place there” were discussed in the course of the meeting. “We agreed that criminals would be prosecutors, and this is a fact of life,” Zakayev said. The Chechen emissary was quoted as saying that Maskhadov’s followers were “hopeful” since Slobodan Milosevic’s trial had begun. He also said that he had “names and addresses” of war criminals. “The meeting with Mme. del Ponte was very helpful in this respect,” he said.
ON THE UPCOMING AMNESTY
Vremya Novostei, March 1, 2002, p. 4
Justice Minister Yuri Chaika said not so long ago that the upcoming amnesty would spark an epidemic of TB, that 30,000 amnestied criminals is by far too much, and that he feared a deteriorating crime rate throughout Russia. Social adaptation of so many former inmates would be difficult, Chaika said.
As it turned out, officials of the Penitentiary Directorate and Duma deputies do not share the minister’s opinion. The upcoming amnesty will apply to only 24,000 inmates, women and juveniles. “A TB epidemic in society in the wake of the amnesty is impossible,” says Professor Oleg Filimonov, Assistant Director of the Penitentiary Directorate. “Firstly, so far we have released only 18 inmates cured of TB. Approximately the same number will be released in addition. Secondly, we do not usually release the inmates not yet cured. They are cured first and released only after that…”
The practice of past amnesties shows that about 5-6% of ex-inmates never find themselves jobs and they return to prisons and colonies. According to Filimonov, women adapt better, juveniles have more problems with social adaptation but not crucially.
“Even if every second former inmate adapts to normal life again, it will be a victory,” says Alexander Barannikov of the Legislation Committee of the Duma, one of the authors of the draft law on amnesty. “Imprisonment is a shock therapy which is effective only for the first twelve or eighteen months. When it goes beyond two years people get used to it. Penitentiary system becomes a form of existence, and the inmate embraces prison laws. It is much more difficult for him to adapt to the usual social norms afterwards.”