Ekspert, No. 12 (367), March 31, 2003, pp. 19-21

According to Army General Makhmut Gareev, all aspects of the military operation indiate that there will be no repeat of the Kosovo or Afghanistan scenarios in Iraq. Ground warfare has by no means become a thing of the past, as some American military theorists had believed. The battles for Umm-Qasr and Basra clearly refute the thesis of the superiority of “contact-free wars” as well as the proposition that 21st Century warfare will not require strategic troop deployments or firepower support from ground-based attack forces. There cannot be a victory until troops have taken all the territory. The first Gulf War also demonstrated that. If the United States had not held back from a land war, and had taken Baghdad, it would not have needed to fight a second war.

All this enables us to assume that the very idea of “contact-free space wars” is no more than a myth artificially propagated by the US defense sector. The end of the arms race with the Soviet Union resulted in huge losses for the US defense sector. Over the past 20 years, America’s leading defense giants – Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon – have repeatedly found themselves on the brink of bankruptcy. Were it not for the new multi-billion-dollar contracts received from the Pentagon in the last two years, those corporations would have been reduced to virtually the same wretched existence as Russia’s defense enterprises. Boeing has been particularly hard-hit. Its shares fell by 40% in 2000-01. Following September 11, Boeing cut back its civilian aircraft production by almost half. Were it not for military contracts, the war in Iraq would have brought Boeing to the edge of disaster – reduced passenger traffic on Asian routes is very bad for the airlines, and consequently for the aviation industry. But Boeing was fortunate. The corporation secured a contract worth over $40 billion to create a missile defense system; its satellite division received multi-billion-dollar contracts to develop and produce satellites and new missiles. As a result, Boeing share prices have returned to their pre-crisis levels, and continue to rise. Fortune has also smiled on Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. The former secured a contract worth over $200 billion to create a fifth-generation F-35 fighter; the latter has a contract worth several billion dollars to develop the new THAAD missile defense. The Bush administration hasn’t neglected other parts of the defense sector either. By choosing to go with the “Star Wars” program, the Pentagon has rescued the bankrupt Iridium LLC company, and provided hundreds of millions of dollars for satellite companies Hughes, PanAmSat, and Intelsat.

The White House continues to make unprecedented efforts to ensure that defense companies are provided with new orders. US defense spending has been running at over $1 billion per day since November 2002; but this still doesn’t appear to be enough for the US defense sector. Last week, President George W. Bush requested Congress to allocate an extra $65-70 billion for the war.


Rossiiskie Vesti, April 3, 2003, p. 2

According to our sources, a secret directive has recently been confirmed and issued by the presidential administration: the Party of Life must win at least 15 Duma seats in the December elections.

This is part of an overall plan for the lower house of parliament, adopted by the Duma’s Kremlin curators. According to this plan, the parliament must continue to be as manageable as it is now, but no single party – not even the most loyal to the president – should hold the “controlling interest”. In other words, there should still be several centrist factions, competing and cooperating at the same time. Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov, the new leader of the Party of Life, is said to have pushed this decision through the Kremlin.


Rossiiskie Vesti, April 3, 2003, p. 2

Reports of increasing conflict between clans at the top have received further confirmation.

This was provided by Liudmila Narusova, widow of former St. Petersburg mayor Anatoly Sobchak; in a television appearance, she accused Boris Yeltsin of having betrayed the democratic revolution – saying this betrayal had led to a bureaucratic and oligarchic form of capitalism. This did not escape the attention of the key figures in the “Yeltsin’s Family” clan; now they are making frantic efforts to ascertain whether Narusova’s words had Putin’s personal approval.

In connection with this, there are speculations that the “St. Petersburg security people” clan has received authorization for greater freedom of action, and is preparing a great purge of “Yeltsin’s Family” personnel from the presidential administration and the government.


Rossiiskie Vesti, April 3, 2003, p. 3

Oleg Deripaska (Russian Aluminum) has stepped up his efforts in the lead-up to gubernatorial elections in the Leningrad region.

Rumor has it that he plans to turn the Leningrad region into the center of Russia’s aluminum industry, by building several factories and exporting aluminum (the region is close to the border). Some believe Deripaska’s team is looking to back a certain member of the Leningrad regional government, whose name has not yet been revealed.


Rossiiskie Vesti, April 3, 2003, p. 3

According to analysts, there are specific reasons why the Federal Tax Police Service is being replaced by an agency aimed at countering drug trafficking.

This is largely connected with the impossibility of finding new jobs for 40,000 tax police personnel all at once; providing a job for Viktor Cherkesov is only a secondary reason (his appointment is probably temporary, en route to another position). Having such a large number of unemployed tax police personnel – with their wealth of experience – might well make an impact on the nation’s weak economy. Not in a good way.


Rossiiskie Vesti, April 3, 2003, p. 3

Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov’s sudden switch to supporting the introduction of rental payments for the extraction of natural resources, and faster economic growth – against the backdrop of statements he made only recently about a gradual transition to the active stage of that process being preferable – only appears strange at first glance.

Some analysts are speculating that this is aimed at pre-empting Sergei Glaziev’s economic policies in the upcoming election campaign. However, it’s really a matter of Kasianov’s own political survival: he has no wish to become a scapegoat during the campaign. Now that Kasianov has made such statements, his opponents will have fewer arguments at their disposal.


Rossiiskie Vesti, April 3, 2003, p. 3

Ukraine is facing a fuel and energy crisis. Coal reserves are exhausted, coal miners are on strike, and several reactors at the Yuzhno-Ukrainskaya and Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plants are down for repairs. The Ukrainian government plans to plug the energy gap by buying extra gas from Turkmenistan.

Gaz Ukrainy, a subsidiary of Neftegaz Ukrainy, is being forced to quadruple natural gas deliveries to Ukraine’s thermo-electric power stations: from 6.7 million to 26.5 million cubic meters a day.

However, no agreement has yet been reached with the president of Turkmenistan; and it is likely that under the present difficult political circumstances, Ukraine’s growing debts for Russian gas will once again be forgiven in exchange for ephemeral assurances of friendship.


Zavtra, April 3, 2003, p. 1

According to our sources in Jerusalem, Israel’s “Sephardic” circles are discussing ways of prolonging the campaign in Iraq and discrediting President Bush. Within days, it is likely that there will be extensive ground fighting, with heavy casualties among US troops (this is probably a reference to the attack on Baghdad). This is expected to lead to a political explosion across the Middle East, with a change of government in Egypt and Jordan – leading to direct Arab-Israeli conflict, in the course of which there are plans to use nuclear weapons “for intimidation”, as well as to carry out “ethnic cleansing” within the territory of the Palestinian Autonomy, turning Israel into a mono-ethnic state.

Reports from Tashkent say missile and grenade launcher attacks on US Armed Forces locations in Afghanistan have killed 50 American troops and injured dozens more. “Counter-terrorism forces” personnel are forbidden to leave the territory of carefully-guarded military towns. Another outbreak of activity from the Taliban and other Islamic formations is expected within days, mostly aimed at forcing the United States to provide more “financial aid”.


Zavtra, April 3, 2003, p. 1

Pro-American “agents of influence” have started active work on “smoothing over differences which have arisen between Russia and the US over the operation in Iraq”. The main aim is not to permit large-scale anti-war protests on the streets of Russian cities. At the same time – in order to “appease” Washington, which has protested against “Russian arms sales to Iraq” – another surrender of Russia’s military and strategic resources is being prepared. Sources from one of Russia’s security agencies report that there are also plans to set up some sort of “common center for the management of nuclear facilities on the territory of Iraq” – and its activities will subsequently be extended to Russia as well.