Truth in Media Global Watch Bulletins

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TiM GW Bulletin 2001/1-6

Jan. 22, 2001

Two Former Soviet Union Partners Sign New Arms Sales Deal 

Russia Drawing Ukraine Back into Its Orbit

Russia’s Radical New Sukhoi Fighter Being Tested; Diplomatic Row Brewing: Prominent Russian Official Arrested on Way to Bush Inauguration



Kiev                           1. Russia Drawing Ukraine Back into Its Orbit

Moscow                     2. Russia’s Radical New Sukhoi Fighter Tested

New York                  3. Diplomatic Row Brewing: Prominent Russian Official

                                        Arrested on Way to Bush Inauguration  

Moscow                     4. Quality over Quantity: Putin to Scale Down Chechnya TroopsJan. 24, 2001

Moscow                     5. Russian Arms Sales Set New Record in 2000Jan. 24, 2001


1. Russia Drawing Ukraine Back into Its Orbit

KIEV, Jan. 21 - After several years of Ukraine’s flirting with Washington’s “Partnership for Peace” program, Russia has started to draw this former Soviet Union republic back into its political and military orbit.  The two countries agreed to go to the international arms market together, according to an Agence France Presse report. 

An accord about the joint arms sales was signed Jan. 20 in Kiev during the visit by the Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, according to Russia’s top military official, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov.

The Russia-Ukraine deal foresees "an integration of the countries' military-industrial complexes, with the two sides carrying out joint technical, research and building work in the production of new weapons which can be exported to the West," Ivashov said.  The accord also commits Russia and Ukraine to holding three joint military exercises in 2001, which are planned for the navy and combat units, the news agency reported.

"Either we conduct military talks with the West together or we go separately and end up getting in each other's way," said Ivashov, chief of international cooperation at Russia's defense ministry, according to the ITAR-TASS news agency.

Russia set itself a new record in arms sales last year by selling $3.8 billion dollars (four billion euros) worth of weaponry, the AFP reported.


2. Russia’s Radical New Sukhoi Fighter Being Tested

Fabled Sukhoi Designers Build the S-37, a New 21st Century Fighter to Compete with the F-22

MOSCOW, Jan.18 - A TiM reader from Texas, a former U.S. senior military officer, has sent us the following interesting news clip about a little publicized arms race between Russia and America. 

“The article describes a new fighter the Russian Government has been building, which is pushing our development (and high dollar cost development) of a comparable fighter (the F-22),” the TiM reader said.  “As we ship billions of our tax dollars to the Russian Government, we should remember that we are directly, or indirectly, funding this effort.”

A bold, new combat aircraft designed by the legendary Sukhoi Design Bureau, and now undergoing tests in Russia, has taken aim at America’s next-generation fighter, the F-22, the has reported.  The Russian challenge comes in the form of the single-seat Sukhoi S-37, the world’s first combat aircraft to successfully exploit forward-swept wing (FSW) technology.

Fighter aircraft aficionados among the TiM readers can find additional information by clicking on…


3. Diplomatic Row Brewing: Prominent Russian Official Arrested on Way to Bush Inauguration

NEW YORK, Jan. 19 - A diplomatic row is in the making, set off by the Jan. 17 arrest of a prominent Russian government official, accused of taking millions of dollars in kickbacks from Swiss companies, as he landed in New York from Moscow, enroute to George W. Bush’s inauguration on Jan. 20.

Pavel P. Borodin, a close associate of both President Vladimir Putin and former President Boris Yeltsin, appeared Jan. 18 in federal court in Brooklyn on a Swiss arrest warrant.  In Moscow, the Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, summoned Ambassador James Collins of the United States to demand that Borodin be freed, according to a New York Times report.

The TiM readers may recall our September 1999 story in which we elaborated about the connections between Borodin and the Boris Yeltsin regime to a Swiss company Mabetex, run by a Kosovo Albanian Bahgjet Pacolli (see S99-144, KFOR "Peacefarce" 38 - Special TiM GW Bulletins, Sep. 1, 1999).  The Swiss arrest warrant is reportedly related in part to these dealings.

Borodin arrived in New York after receiving an invitation to an inaugural "candlelight dinner" from Vincent J. Zenga, a lawyer from West Palm Beach, Fla., who has contributed sizable sums to the Republican National Committee and to Mr. Bush's 1998 campaign for governor. 

Zenga, who is in Washington for the inaugural festivities, told the Times in an interview that the invitation had been sent to Mr. Borodin "inadvertently." The invitation from Mr. Zenga said that Mr. Borodin had been provided with a room at the Westin Fairfax in Fairfax, Va., from Wednesday through Sunday, and that he would have the use of a car as well.

In New York, Alexander Fishkin, a lawyer for Mr. Borodin, suggested that Mr. Borodin might have been set up for arrest, but he did not speculate by whom. "The arrest warrant is issued on January 10th, he receives an invitation to the inauguration on January 13th and a complaint is filed in New York for his arrest on January 17th," he said. "It could be a coincidence, yes, but it looks too strange to be a coincidence."

Officials in Washington said the United States was tipped off by someone in Russia that Borodin was on a plane to New York. While he was en route, the officials said, the Justice Department and State Department determined that there was a valid warrant for his arrest, under the extradition treaty with Switzerland, and that he was not protected by diplomatic immunity. By the time he landed, everything was cleared for his arrest, they said.

For the rest of the New York Times report, check out…


4. Quality over Quantity: Putin to Scale Down Chechnya TroopsJan. 24, 2001

Rebels Kill Scores of Departing Russian Soldiers

MOSCOW, Jan. 22 - Vladimir Putin, who rose to the Russian presidency on account of his handling of the Chechnya war, has decided to scale down the Russian involvement in this rebellious region by substituting quality for quantity in troops deployment.  Some 7,000 special police from the Interior Ministry will be deployed as the 80,000 current Russian troops in Chechnya are reduced to a 15,000-member army division.

In a report filed from Moscow on Jan. 22, the New York Times said that Putin effectively downgraded Russia's war in Chechnya from a military to a counter-terrorist operation.  A military official said later that a timetable for withdrawals was being drawn up and would be released later.

That plan, combined with an order turning over control of Chechen operations to his domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, suggests that the Kremlin considers its war against the separatist rebels largely won, the Times said. 

Officially, Russia has lost about 2,700 troops and suffered 7,900 injuries since the current war in Chechnya began in the summer of 1999, right after Putin was appointed prime minister by the former Russian president, Boris Yeltsin.  The Russian military says it has reduced rebel forces from about 20,000 at the current war's beginning to perhaps 1,000 now.

Nevertheless, the rebels are still able to hurt the Russians from time to time.  This past Sunday, for example, an unspecified number of Russian soldiers were killed in a surprise attack in the city of Gudermes. 

Another 14 Russian troops died in rebel ambushes and mine blasts in the last two days, according to a Jan. 24 Associated Press report.  The casualties were the Russian artillery and paratrooper units who were reportedly preparing to pull out of Chechnya. 

Rebels trapped a Russian convoy leaving the eastern town of Vedeno, killing one soldier, an official with the Russian-backed Chechen administration told the AP. Five Russian servicemen were killed in a gunfight in the village of Novogroznensky on Tuesday, five died in other rebel attacks, and three more were killed when their vehicles ran over mines in the capital, Grozny.

For the rest of the Times and Journal reports, check out… and .  You have to be a subscriber to be able to access the Wall Street Journal online.


5. Russian Arms Sales Set New Record in 2000Jan. 24, 2001

MOSCOW, Jan. 24 - Russia’s arms sales set a new record last year, rising by 10% from 1999 to $3.8 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal Jan. 24 report, which cited the Moscow-based think-tank, Center for Strategic and Technological Analysis as the source.  But although Russia is the No. 2 vendor among the global “death merchants,” it still lags far behind its American competitors.

In 1999, the U.S. held a 49% market share as compared to less than 7% for Russia, according to the London-based Institute for Strategic studies.  Perhaps that’s one reason Russia is trying to attract some of the former Soviet republics, now independent countries, back into its orbit (such as Belarus and Ukraine - see Item 1 of this TiM Bulletin).

Another is a new flexibility the Russian suppliers have shown in handling the deals.  The biggest arms deal in the closed in 2000 was Russia letting India build 140 Sukhoi SU-30MKI airplanes under a license agreement.  The deal was unique in that India agreed to pay in advance for the research that went into designing the planes.

For additional Truth in Media reports on this topic, check out “Global Arms Sales Soar to $30 Billion,” Item 5 in .


Also check out... Coopetition: New Russian Foreign Policy

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