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Nuclear News - 08/09/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 09 August 1999

Brain Drain
  1. Russia: U.S. To Boost Employing Scientists To Reduce ArmsProliferation, RFE/RL(08/06/99)

Nuclear Waste

  1. Russian Port Rejects Radioactive Shipment of Scrap Metal, Associated Press(08/08/99)

Russian Military

  1. Russia Soldiers, Sailors Die in Two Shooting Sprees, Reuters(08/06/99)

U.S. - Russia General

  1. U.S. to Work With New Russian Leader, AssociatedPress(08/09/99)
  2. Putin Named as Acting Prime Minster, AssociatedPress(08/09/99)

A. Brain Drain
Russia: U.S. To Boost Employing Scientists To Reduce Arms Proliferation

Michael Lelyveld
August 6, 1999
(for personal use only)

Boston, 6 August 1999 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. State Department may be forced to cutsome programs for Russia and other countries in the region to provide jobs forneedy scientists at research institutes, a top aid official says.

William Taylor, the State Department's coordinator of assistance for the NewlyIndependent States, told RFE/RL that the U.S. government may have to reduce oreliminate other programs in order to fund increases for Russian researchscientists.

Ambassador Taylor spoke Wednesday after the U.S. House of Representatives votedto slash nearly $2 billion from President Bill Clinton's request for the foreignaid budget next year. The bill provides $725 million for the region, which is$307 million less than the administration wanted.

The U.S. Senate previously approved $780 million, virtually assuring that anycompromise in the Congress will fall far short of the aid goal. The presidenthas been advised to veto the entire measure, but no final decision has beenmade.

Although the House of Representatives did not make cuts in specific programs,it reduced the president's request for the region by about the same amount asthe State Department's planned spending for a program known as the "EnhancedThreat Reduction Initiative." The initiative is largely aimed at providing jobsfor nuclear and other scientists who may be tempted to sell secrets to countrieslike Iran.

The administration is trying to increase spending for the initiative because ofthe Russian economic crisis of last August 17. The government is seeking a totalof about $1 billion for the threat reduction effort, including separate spendingby the Departments of State, Energy and Defense.

The House of Representatives said that it agrees with the merits of the program,but not with the higher amounts that the administration wants to spend.

"They are not convinced that the rapid expansion of several projects is feasibleor justified," said Ambassador Taylor, quoting from a House of Representativesreport.

But the administration remains committed to the idea of more spending for threatreduction. If they have to live with the foreign aid measure, officials would beforced to make some tough decisions on other programs in order to raise spendingfor scientists, Taylor said. Some lower-priority projects might have to beeliminated altogether, posing a difficult choice.

"There's no consensus on what is a low-priority program," the ambassador said.

The State Department administers a variety of regional programs that includeefforts to build democratic institutions and promote market reforms. But it istoo soon to say which projects will suffer the most.

The U.S. Administration may also adjust its planned funding for all regionalprograms, providing an increase for scientists that is not as large as itsoriginal request. Officials had planned to raise spending more than fourfoldfrom $21 million to $95 million at the International Science and Technology Center in Moscow and the Science and Technology Center of Ukraine in Kyiv, forexample.

Funding could still be doubled or tripled for science programs, resulting inincreases with less drastic cuts in other areas of aid.

The struggle is the latest sign of the high priority placed on armsproliferation and doubts about programs to control it. In May, the U.S. Congressimposed a series of new restrictions on another program to employ Russian scientists, known as the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention,administered by the U.S. Department of Energy. Members of the U.S. Congress wereangered by reports that only a fraction of prior funding had actually been paidto the scientists because of Russian taxes and charges by U.S. companies andgovernment arms laboratories, which cooperate in the program.

In previous years, Congress has complained that funds were not spent in the sameyears that they were appropriated due to inefficiency. This year, Congress hasthreatened to cut the funding and require that a greater share go to thescientists. Russian taxes on aid would not be allowed.

Differences over the programs must be worked out in September to meet the budgetdeadline for the next U.S. fiscal year, which begins October 1. But the fightsover aid programs are likely to be perennial, as long as Russian arms technologycontinues to spread.

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B. Nuclear Waste
Russian Port Rejects Radioactive Shipment of Scrap Metal

Associated Press
August 8, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian port officials returned a 150-ton shipment of scrap metalto its sender in southern Russia because it was highly radioactive, a newsreport said Sunday.

The cargo included pieces of pipe that had been used for transporting oil fromwells with a high natural uranium content, the ITAR-Tass news agency quoted theStavropol Emergency Situations Committee as saying.

The shipment was emitting radiation at more than 200 times acceptable levels,the committee said. The report did not give an exact radiation level.

The metal had been shipped via train from a company based in Budyonnovsk in thesouthern Russian region of Stavropol to the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. Itwas unclear where the company was sending the metal.

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C. Russian Military
Russia Soldiers, Sailors Die in Two Shooting Sprees

August 6, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Aug 6 (Reuters) - A Russian conscript killed two of his comrades in theTomsk region of Siberia before turning his automatic rifle on himself, theDefence Ministry said on Friday.

Another military source told Reuters the soldiers had been guarding a weaponsresearch centre when the incident happened on Thursday evening.

In a separate incident, two sailors shot the head of their guard dead on Fridayin Russia's Murmansk region. One was then killed by guards and the other shothimself, Russia's Northern Fleet said in a statement.

The sailors had been working at a base where old nuclear-powered submarines arebeing stored before being dismantled for scrap, Northern Fleet sources said bytelephone.

Officials could give no motive for either incident but said investigations hadbeen launched.

Killings, suicides and other forms of violence are common in Russia'sdemoralised, cashapped armed forces.

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D. U.S. - Russia General
U.S. to Work With New Russian Leader

Tom Raum
Associated Press
August 9, 1999
(for personal use only)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Clinton administration reacted cautiously to the latestpolitical upheaval inRussia today, saying it is ready to work with President Boris Yeltsin's newchoice for prime minister.

``Clearly it is within President Yeltsin's prerogative'' to make such a chance,said David Leavy, a nationalsecurity spokesman for the White House.

Leavy said that Vladimir Putin, the man Yeltsin named to replace fired PrimeMinister Sergei Stephashin, was a known quantity.

U.S. officials most recently worked with Putin in resolving Russia's role in theNATO peacekeeping force, Leavy said.

``We had a good relationship'' with Stepashin and expect to have a similarlygood relationship with Putin if Yeltsin's new choice is confirmed by the Russianparliament, Leavy said.

As to the issue of Russia's stability with the frequent changes in government,Leavy said: ``We work withthe Russian government based on policies, not personalities.''

Yeltsin's abrupt firing of Stepashin and his entire cabinet -- the fourth timein a year and a half he has made such a sweeping change -- appeared to catchU.S. officials off guard.

Leavy said National Security Adviser Sandy Berger had briefed President Clintonon the latest developments. He said he did not know if any high-level contactsbetween the administration and Yeltsin's government had occurred since thefirings.

The U.S. official said that the administration was hopeful that the change inYeltsin's government would not slow down efforts on Yeltsin's part to get theDuma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, to ratify the long-languishingSTART II arms control agreement.

Yeltsin recently promised Clinton to redouble his efforts to win ratification ofthe agreement, which would cut Russian and American nuclear stocks. The accordwas signed by Clinton and Yeltsin in 1993 and has been ratified by the U.S.Senate.

``We'll make it clear to the new team'' how important progress on arms controlis to the United States,Leavy said.

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Putin Named as Acting Prime Minster

Greg Myre
Associated Press
August 9, 1999
(for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Boris Yeltsin fired Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin andthe entire Cabinettoday, and announced that the new premier is the man he'd like to see aspresident next year.

Yeltsin's unexpected move marked the fourth time in 17 months he has fired thegovernment. Yeltsinimmediately named Vladimir Putin, the head of the Federal Security Service, themain successor to theKGB, as acting prime minister.

Putin, 46, has spent most of his career in the country's security servicesandhas little experience with political or economic issues. But Yeltsin, whose termexpires next year, declared Putin would be hispreferred successor.

``I'm convinced he will serve the nation well while working in this high post,and Russians will be able toappraise Putin's human and business qualities. I trust him,'' Yeltsin said in atelevision address.

``I also want everyone who goes to the (presidential) polls in July 2000 to maketheir choice to trust him too.''

However, Yeltsin's backing is a mixed blessing. The president's approval ratinghas been in single digitsall year, and his endorsement could do a candidate more harm than good.

Still, Putin declared his candidacy in his first remarks after being nominatedfor the post.

``I will undoubtedly run for president,'' said Putin.

But first parliament must approve him as prime minister. A vote on his candidacymust take place within a week. Yeltsin appointed the deputy chief of the FederalSecurity Service, Nikolai Patrushev, as acting head of the agency.

Meanwhile, Yeltsin's critics said the president's unpredictable behavior madehim unfit to govern.

``It's hard to explain madness,'' Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister,told the Echo of Moscow radio station. ``The people have grown tired of watchingan ill leader who is not capable of doing his job.''

In Washington, the Clinton administration reacted cautiously, saying it is readyto work with Putin. ``Clearly it is within President Yeltsin's prerogative'' tomake such a change, said David Leavy, a nationalsecurity spokesman for the White House.

U.S. officials most recently worked with Putin in resolving Russia's role in theNATO peacekeepingforce in Kosovo, Leavy said.

Putin takes over as prime minister at an extremely volatile time.

Russia's security forces are trying to suppress an uprising by several hundredIslamic militants who have seized several villages in the southern republic ofDagestan. Russian forces fired rockets and artillery at the rebels over theweekend, but did not dislodge them. More clashes were expected in coming days.

Also, Russia's economy is still struggling following a financial crash lastyear. The changes did not augurwell for Russia's enfeebled economy because foreign lenders are unlikely torelease any new aid until anew government is in place. It may also hold up talks on rescheduling some ofRussia's mammoth foreigndebt.

Trading on the Russian stock exchange was suspended after the benchmark RussianTrading System index fell 11 percent in the first hour of trading. It laterresumed and the index rallied to 101.72, down 1.4 percent from Friday's close at103.15.

The Russian Constitution bars Yeltsin from a third term, and the Russian mediahas speculated that Yeltsin and his advisers are considering the possibility ofpostponing or canceling elections in a bid to extend his tenure.

The Kremlin has vigorously denied these claims. Yeltsin signed a decree todaythat sets parliamentaryelections for Dec. 19, as had been expected. Still, the latest upheaval adds toconjecture about Yeltsin'sintentions.

``In a year, the first Russian president will transfer his powers to a newlyelected president for the first timein history,'' Yeltsin said. ``You will elect your president in fair and honestelections.''

Yeltsin ousted Stepashin at a brief meeting early today at the Kremlin.Stepashin, who served for onlythree months, said he was not given any reason for his dismissal.

``This morning I visited the president, and he signed a decree on myresignation. He thanked me for goodwork -- and fired me,'' a somber-faced Stepashin told the Cabinet in a speechbroadcast on Russiantelevision.

The mild-mannered Stepashin, who has been staunchly loyal to Yeltsin, indicatedhe was not pleased with his dismissal.

``I honestly expressed my position concerning my resignation ... but this is hisright as the president and the commander-in-chief,'' Stepashin said. ``I toldthe president that I have been, am, and will remain with him until the end.''

Yeltsin, 68, has suffered a series of ailments in recent years and usuallyvisits the Kremlin only a coupledays a week for a few hours at a time. He has not set clear policy goals, andthe repeated politicalshake-ups have added to the sense of a government that is drifting without anyreal direction.

The Russian media has speculated that members of the president's inner circlewere pushing forStepashin's removal in order to advance their own candidate -- presumably Putin.

Putin was a KGB officer in Germany during the Soviet era and has spent much ofhis adult life in thesecurity services. Like Stepashin, he is a Yeltsin loyalist who had littlepolitical experience before being named to the prime minister's job.

Yeltsin did not publicly criticize Stepashin during his brief tenure in office,but the president did not givehim broad authority and Stepashin did not initiate any major changes.

``These three months haven't been wasted, we have managed to keep the situationin the country undercontrol. The ruble hasn't plunged contrary to many predictions,'' Stepashinsaid.

However, the ruble began to fall immediately upon news of his dismissal.

Throughout his tenure, Yeltsin has frequently reshuffled his staff and theturnover has become evenmore rapid in the past two years.

He dismissed Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in March of last year, thensacked his successor SergeiKiriyenko last August and fired Yevgeny

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