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UK Parliament: Select Committee on Foreign Affairs 7th Report

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  • jeremyputley
    5 THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION 280. The Russian Federation has become a close partner of the West in the years since the fall of communism. After 11 September 2001
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31, 2004
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      5 THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION


      280. The Russian Federation has become a close partner of the West
      in the years since the fall of communism. After 11 September 2001
      Russia made clear its support for the US in the war against
      terrorism. This support continues - President Putin said in his
      State of the Nation address on 27 May 2004: "Our line in the
      struggle against terror remains unchanged and consistent. We will
      continue to work on the development of internationally recognised
      legal instruments and collective mechanisms for the neutralisation
      of global threats. I regard the task of strengthening the anti-
      terrorist coalition as one of the most important ones."[367]

      281. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the
      growing challenges of Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan and
      Chechnya present major threats to the Russian Federation's national
      security which the authorities are working to tackle. For instance,
      on 31 May 2004 Russia joined the Proliferation Security Initiative
      (PSI), an effort to control WMD proliferation by stopping and
      searching ships and aircraft outside states' legal boundaries,
      despite previous doubts about the initiative.[368] The war on
      terrorism has presented opportunities for Russia, according to Mr
      James Sherr, a fellow of the Conflict Studies Research Centre at the
      United Kingdom Defence Academy, when he gave us evidence because:


      it has enhanced their position in Europe and the world, especially
      as a major player in energy. It has afforded them a new set of
      justifications for enhancing their own influence and domination over
      certain countries in the former Soviet Union, particularly Ukraine
      and Moldova, and certainly there are strong aspirations in this
      regard with respect to Georgia.[369]
      282. However, Russia's anti-terrorist stance does not match either
      the Federation's military capacity for anti-terrorist operations or
      its strategic thinking. Reform of the armed forces is slow, while
      strategic planners retain some degree of scepticism towards the
      international anti-terrorist coalition. The president of the Academy
      of Military Science Army, General Makhmud Gareev, encapsulated the
      institutional scepticism of the war against terrorism when he wrote
      in mid 2003: "The US and some other NATO countries try to use the
      threat of terrorism to cover their far reaching geopolitical goals…
      Orientating the armed forces only toward low intensity conflicts and
      local wars or only for the war on terrorism is rather dangerous.
      Such an orientation in the structuring and training of armed forces
      could lead to a deterioration of the army, the fleet and the officer
      staff."[370] Many strategic planners still see Western military
      dominance as the major threat to the Federation's security, with
      particular concern for US dominance with precision weapons.[371]

      283. Mr Sherr explained to us why Russia was sceptical of the war
      against terrorism. He said:


      Even as of 12 September 2001, we succeeded in developing only a
      limited partnership with Russia in the global war on terrorism. That
      is because there are a number of considerable differences in
      approach. They have developed over the years, and the Iraq war has
      intensified them. The first of these is that, from a Russian
      perspective, the war on terrorism is a matter of national survival.
      Many people in Russia perceive that we—particularly the United
      Kingdom and the United States—are using the war on terrorism as a
      way of enhancing and extending our domination of the international
      system. Secondly, whereas we are inclined to link the issues of
      terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation, other
      dangerous proliferation of weapons and material, the Russians are
      not inclined to do this and very clearly separate these issues.[372]
      284. This section of the report will examine Russia's contribution
      to the war against terrorism by looking at Russia's involvement in
      the war against terrorism, involving its position on the conflicts
      in Iraq and in Afghanistan, its military reform process and its
      relations with NATO. Then, it will examine the war in Chechnya,
      before discussing international non-proliferation efforts, such as
      the G8 Global Partnership and the Nunn-Lugar Co-operative Threat
      Reduction (CTR) Programme, and Russia's role in Iran's nuclear
      programme.

      Russia and the war against terrorism

      IRAQ

      285. Russia voiced loud opposition in the run up to the war in Iraq
      last year. On 16 March 2003 President Putin told the Duma in a
      debate on Iraq that "strong, well-armed national armies are
      sometimes used not to fight this evil [international terrorism] but
      to expand the areas of strategic influence of individual states".
      [373]

      286. Putin opposed the war for a number of reasons. First, Russia
      had a strong economic commitment to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, which
      included lucrative construction and oil industry contracts, and a
      Soviet era debt owed by Baghdad to Moscow, worth about US$8 billion.
      Negotiations on Iraq's debt are ongoing.[374] Second, the US war in
      Iraq was very unpopular in Russia, where many people saw it as a
      threat to Russia; Putin was also aware that 18% of the Russian
      population is Muslim.[375] The third, and perhaps most important
      reason, is Russia's commitment to the United Nations, and the
      Security Council as a remnant of its superpower status. Putin told
      the Duma in his 2003 annual address: "In the event of an aggravated
      threat to the world community as a whole or to an individual
      country, it seems extremely important to have a decision making
      mechanism which has to be comprehensible, transparent and recognised
      by everyone. It goes without saying that the United Nations and its
      Security Council is the most important such mechanism."[376]

      287. Events since the invasion, including the strategy outlined by
      US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to "forgive Russia",
      have softened the rhetoric; for instance, the passage of UNSCR 1546
      on Iraq on 8 June 2004 has reduced acrimony over Iraq.[377] On our
      visit to Moscow we learnt that the Russian Foreign Ministry welcomed
      the compromise text of the resolution, that the willingness of the
      former Occupying Powers to consult Moscow had led to Russia's more
      conciliatory stance, and that a similar approach in 2003 might have
      lessened opposition to the war.

      288. Russia's interests in peace and stability in Iraq and the
      broader Middle East are strong, since the Federation has large and
      transparent economic interests in Iraq, mostly in the oil, power,
      transport and infrastructure sectors.[378] Referring to these
      interests, old and new, Elizabeth Jones, the US Undersecretary of
      State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said on 18 March 2004:


      Russia has not yet pledged major economic assistance to Iraq, but
      Russian companies are eager to participate in its reconstruction on
      commercial terms, and are already doing so under contracts already
      funded under the Oil-for-Food program, to the tune of almost two
      billion dollars. We have assured Russian leaders that Russian firms
      are welcome to bid on sub-contracts associated with U.S. tenders.
      Moscow has also expressed its willingness to reduce Iraq's Soviet-
      era debt of approximately US$8 billion in accordance with its
      memorandum of understanding with the Paris Club.[379]
      However, the Russian Federation still has major concerns about
      Iraq's sovereignty and the course of the political process, and the
      importance of preserving Iraq's unity.

      289. We conclude that the latest diplomatic efforts have re-engaged
      Russia on Iraq and are contributing to a less divisive climate. We
      commend the Government for its work on the latest United Nations
      Security Council Resolution on Iraq, but we also recommend that the
      Government continue to consult the Russians closely so that it is in
      a position to take account of their concerns in Iraq and the broader
      Middle East.

      AFGHANISTAN

      290. The Russian Federation supported the US-led campaign in
      Afghanistan, because of longstanding concerns about the situation in
      the strife-torn state. Afghanistan's instability and its impact on
      Central Asia has shaped Moscow's policy in the region, which
      involved assistance for the pro-soviet government until its fall in
      1992 and opposition to the Taliban take over from 1994. The Russians
      accused the Taliban of aiding the Chechen separatist effort, and
      declared their support of the Northern Alliance/United Front.[380]

      291. In September 2000, the US-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan
      released a joint statement calling the situation in Afghanistan a
      continuing threat to regional security, and pledging to counter the
      threats emanating from Afghan territory.[381] The Group's concerns
      appeared vindicated following the 11 September 2001 attacks. Since
      then, Russia has cooperated with the United States, supporting the
      establishment of bases in Central Asia and providing intelligence
      and diplomatic support for the campaign in Afghanistan. Mr Sherr
      described the Russian Federation's involvement in the campaign as "a
      very firm partnership",[382] and Russian troops continue to play a
      key role on the Tajik border preventing the escape of former Taliban.
      [383]

      292. Russia has strong concerns about the reconstruction process,
      however. A major reason for Russian concern is the flow of drugs
      from Afghanistan. As we note above, under the US-supported Afghan
      Transitional Administration of President Karzai the production of
      opium has surged, and this year's harvest could reach 4000 tons, up
      from 3,422 tons in 2003 and a radical increase from a low in 2001
      when, after the Taliban banned the crop, production plummeted by 96%.
      [384] We learnt on our visit to Moscow of the Russian authorities'
      concerns about the export of opium and heroin from Afghanistan,
      because Russia currently has between 3 and 4 million drug addicts in
      a population of about 145.5 million.[385] The Russians felt that the
      US has been slow to understand both the scale of the problem of
      drugs production and how anti-drugs policies needed linking into a
      wider approach which includes the diversification of agriculture,
      interdiction of trafficking and greater use of aerial
      reconnaissance.

      Russia is concerned that security concerns override the war against
      drugs. Speaking in Munich in February 2004, Sergei Ivanov, the
      Russian Defence minister, criticised NATO for turning a blind eye to
      the flourishing opium trade in Afghanistan—a policy he claimed the
      USA and its partners pursued to ensure the support of warlords for
      reasons of security—saying that "following the operation in
      Afghanistan, this State has once again turned into a major source of
      drug trafficking which crosses the CIS and Russia on to Western
      Europe".[386] Our recommendations on Afghanistan are set out above.

      293. We conclude that the Russian Federation's support for efforts
      to bring peace and democracy to Afghanistan is valuable, but that
      support for the reconstruction process is being damaged by the slow
      progress on the counter-narcotics strategy.

      MILITARY REFORM IN RUSSIA

      294. The Russian Federation's contribution to the war against
      terrorism is linked to its progress on military reform. A strong
      effort is under way to reinvigorate the armed forces, which
      President Putin emphasised in his State of the Nation Speech. He
      said: "The modernisation of the army is…undoubtedly one of our
      national priorities. We need battleworthy, technically equipped and
      modern armed forces for the secure defence of the state."[387]

      295. Mr Sherr told us that military reform remained a priority:


      I think it is fair to say with regard to the key instruments in
      combating terrorists or dealing with Russian national security — and
      I do not simply mean the armed forces of the Ministry of Defence but
      this formidable array of other military structures outside the
      Ministry of Defence — the Ministry of the Interior, the Federal
      Security Service (FSB) and so on — that there has been a very
      concerted effort, beginning in 2001, to conduct systematic reforms
      of all these structures; but there remain serious problems.[388]
      296. Reorganising the Russian military has met intense opposition
      from entrenched interests. Mr Sherr described the problems facing
      the Russian authorities:


      When President Putin came to office, the Russian armed forces and
      security services had become so deficient in their capabilities and
      so pathological in their way of dealing with problems that they were
      actually a threat to Russia's national security, rather than an
      instrument of national security. Now the picture is much more mixed,
      but there remain very deep-seated problems in all of these
      structures. Many of them begin and end with morale, training and the
      quality of people who are called upon to undertake what we all know
      are extremely complex and difficult tasks. If the buoyancy of the
      Russian economy fails to sustain itself, I think that the
      significant but limited gains which have been achieved will not be
      sustained either. This therefore remains an area with which we all
      have to be concerned.[389]
      He added that the demise of the Soviet Union resulted in the
      collapse of a "global intelligence entity", and that corruption was
      still a major problem in the intelligence services.[390]

      297. Without an effective military geared towards the challenges of
      the war against terrorism, the Russian Federation's contribution
      will be less effective than hoped. However, on our visit to Moscow
      we saw some signs of a commitment to military and security reform.
      For instance, we heard that the reinvigoration of the National
      Security Council under former Minister of Defence Igor Ivanov points
      towards an increased determination to tackle the threats facing the
      Federation by bringing together all the organs associated with
      Russia's national security.

      298. We conclude that reform of the military and security services
      in Russia would contribute to the international struggle against
      terrorism. We therefore recommend that the Government continue its
      support for Russian efforts to reform its military and its
      contribution to mutual understanding by increasing exchanges of
      military personnel between the United Kingdom and the Russian
      Federation. We recommend that in its response to this Report the
      Government set out how it intends to strengthen military ties with
      the Russian Federation.

      NATO AND RUSSIA

      299. The growing relevance of the North Atlantic Treaty
      Organisation (NATO) to the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan
      means Russia's relations with NATO are central to any successful
      conduct of the war against terrorism. For instance, the expansion of
      NATO into eastern Europe and the Baltic states in April 2004 and its
      involvement with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)
      in Afghanistan, mean both that Russia's relations with NATO need to
      take into account the Alliance's changing role and that NATO needs
      to dispel Russia's traditional fears of containment by the Alliance.

      300. The Russian Federation currently enjoys closer relations with
      NATO than at any time in the past, despite its concerns about the
      expansion of the Alliance to its borders. These links are, in part,
      a response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 which
      resulted in the creation of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) at the
      Rome Summit on 28 May 2002. The NRC meets at ambassador level once a
      month, and at six monthly intervals at foreign minister level, and
      builds on co-operation in certain key areas, including the war
      against terrorism, crisis management, non-proliferation, arms
      control, theatre missile defence, sea search and rescue, military-to-
      military cooperation and civil emergencies. Russia has no right of
      veto in the NRC and NATO reserves the right to keep discussion on
      contentious issues amongst members. All 27 members of the NRC,
      including the Baltic states and Russia, met for the first time on 2
      April 2004.[391]

      301. Despite the evolution of the NRC, Russia still has powerful
      doubts about NATO's aims. When NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop
      Scheffer visited Moscow on 9 April 2004 in an attempt to allay
      Russian fears about the expansion of the Alliance, President Putin
      made clear his scepticism of NATO's place in the war against
      terrorism. He said: "This purely mechanical expansion does not let
      us face the current threats and cannot allow us to prevent such
      things as the terrorist attacks in Madrid or restore stability in
      Afghanistan."[392]

      302. Many Russians still feel that NATO has aggressive intentions
      towards Russia. For instance, the Duma passed a resolution in May
      2004 attacking the deployment of Belgian F16 fighters in the Baltic
      states as a threat to Russia.[393] This is symptomatic of 'old
      thinking' in the State Duma, since the Russian government had been
      given two months notice of the deployment and had made no formal
      protest. Another source of concern is that the Baltic states have
      yet to sign an amended version of the Conventional Armed Forces in
      Europe Treaty, which controls the continent's troop numbers and
      equipment quantities.[394] Russia fears that NATO could build up its
      forces in the Baltic states until the new members adopt the treaty,
      but NATO has linked the issue to the frozen conflicts in Moldova and
      Georgia and the failure of the Russian Federation to meet its
      undertakings to withdraw its forces made at the 1999 Istanbul
      conference of the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in
      Europe.[395]

      303. NATO's decision to step up Partnership for Peace programmes in
      Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as the diplomatic impact of
      the new US airbases in Central Asia, will also require careful
      handling in order not to increase fear of competition or threat
      among Russian policy makers.[396] Responding to the concern in
      Russian strategic circles, Elizabeth Jones, US Assistant Secretary
      of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said in March 2004: "We
      have no desire to compete with Russia in a modern version of
      the 'Great Game.'"[397]

      304. The threat of competition rests on lack of mutual
      understanding. Strengthening links between NATO and Russia is
      essential to overcome the difference in perceptions between the sets
      of foreign policy makers. Currently, the NRC plans a number of
      confidence building measures including further work on the fight
      against terrorism, co-operation on defence reform, efforts to
      develop interoperability between NATO and Russian forces, work to
      implement modalities for NATO-Russia peacekeeping operations, co-
      operation on civil emergencies, dialogue on nuclear issues, the
      development of theatre missile defence capabilities, and approval of
      the Co-operative Airspace Initiative Project Plan.[398] However, the
      NRC must overcome difficulties such as the linguistic capability of
      Russian officers, many of whom speak no English, the limited
      financing for the Russian armed forces, and the negotiation of
      Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) between the two, for future
      consultations to proceed.[399]

      305. We conclude that the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) is an essential
      tool to improve the political and military engagement between Russia
      and the alliance members. We recommend that the Government encourage
      its fellow members of NATO to expand co-operation through the NRC in
      order to alleviate concerns in Moscow about NATO's expansion into
      eastern Europe and to prevent a 'Great Game' between Russia and NATO
      in Central Asia. We also recommend that in its response to this
      Report the Government set out its plans to develop the NRC as a tool
      in the war against terrorism.

      The War in Chechnya

      306. The Russian Federation contends that the conflict in the
      secessionist region of Chechnya epitomises its ongoing struggle
      against international terrorism. The war started when the
      dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 offered the Chechens an
      opportunity to declare independence under Dozkhar Dudayev. No
      Russian military response took place until 1994, when 35,000 Russian
      troops entered the secessionist republic, in response to which the
      Chechens launched an imaginative guerrilla campaign led by Shamil
      Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov. The Russians withdrew, defeated, in
      August 1996, and signed a formal peace treaty in May 1997.[400]

      307. Chechnya became a failed state in the period following its
      successful secession from the Russian Federation. Lawlessness
      defined the Republic between 1996 and 1999, while Wahabism funded by
      Saudi supporters took hold in the traditionally Sufi population and
      contributed to a rising tide of Islamic militancy. In August 1999, a
      raid aimed at establishing an Islamic Republic led by Basayev and
      the Jordanian Arab, Khattab, into neighbouring Dagestan, started a
      new war. Russia launched an assault on Chechnya with 90,000 troops
      in December 1999 and took Grozny in February 2000.[401]

      308. The Russian Federation decided to "Chechenise" the conflict
      following the capture of Grozny. President Putin appointed Ahmad
      Kadyrov, Chechnya's Grand Mufti — its most senior Muslim cleric —
      and a former resistance leader, head of a civilian administration
      and scaled back the Russian military presence in Chechnya; an
      election replete with irregularities in October 2003 sealed
      Kadyrov's position. However, Russia's efforts to normalise Chechnya
      faltered with his assassination by bomb on 10 May 2004. The attack,
      for which warlord Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility, also
      severely injured Russia's foremost military commander in the region,
      General Valery Baranov.[402] The assassination was a body blow to
      Russia's policy in Chechnya.

      309. In response to the crisis, President Putin appointed Kadyrov's
      27 year old son, Ramzan Kadyrov, as Deputy President, pending
      elections in August 2004. Ramzan controls a 2000 strong militia,
      known as the Kadyrovtsy, that intimidates and murders opponents of
      the regime.[403] Putin also paid a rare visit to the secessionist
      republic and declared that he would send another 1000 troops to
      supplement the approximately 80,000 troops already there.[404] The
      current favourite to succeed to the Chechen Presidency is Alu
      Alkhanov, who appears to have the official endorsement of the
      Kremlin.[405]

      310. The place of the conflict in Chechnya in the wider war against
      terrorism is complex. In Moscow we heard that Russian security
      forces had found foreign passports on insurgents captured or killed
      in Chechnya and that ties between al Qaeda and Chechnya were strong.
      Indeed, in a response to the attacks of 11 September 2001, President
      Putin said that "Chechen developments ought not to be regarded
      outside the context of efforts against international
      terrorism."[406] However, some observers contend that the Chechen
      war is not strictly an Islamist movement. For instance, elements in
      Chechen society have struggled to resist the Islamisation of their
      war efforts - most notably Aslan Maskhadov, president of the
      secessionist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria who reluctantly espoused
      Islamist principles in 2003.[407]

      311. Tom de Waal, who heads the Caucasus project at the Institute
      for War and Peace Reporting, said that three conflicts existed in
      Chechnya. He told us:


      One is a conventional sort of colonial/separatist conflict that we
      could know from places like Algeria, with a rather brutal government
      trying to defeat secessionists. The second one is an internal
      Chechen conflict—again a feature of the last two or three years—
      where you have seen Chechens fighting Chechens, and Chechens
      becoming victims of bombings. Again, this is a result of Russia's
      policy of what they call "Chechenisation", which is…subcontracting
      the war to loyal Chechen satraps—although Chechenisation is in a lot
      of trouble since the assassination of Akhmad Kadyrov, its main
      object, on 9 May. The third one, as you say, is a terrorist war.[408]
      312. He contended that before 1994 Chechnya was not a strongly
      Islamic society.


      Slowly, in the 1990s, you saw a radicalisation, as a result of the
      appalling destruction of people's lives and homes. People started
      turning to Islam. Simultaneously, you saw the arrival of foreign
      volunteers, and then you had a period of de facto independence when
      more volunteers arrived between 1997 and 1999. Of the two wings of
      the Chechen rebel movement during the current war, the Islamist
      radical wing suddenly became much stronger. Having said all that, I
      think we should put this into context. We are not talking about
      Afghanistan. The number of foreign volunteers is probably a few
      dozen, rather than in the thousands. You have to remember that
      Chechnya is surrounded by high mountains. It is very difficult to
      access…Secondly, the Chechnya population is still quite resistant to
      radical Islam. I have seen estimates that maybe 10% of them
      subscribe to radical Islam. Thirdly, I would go back to my main
      point: that even if all the foreign volunteers and all the Islamists
      were to die, you would probably still have a conflict in Chechnya -
      in the sense that fundamentally, underneath, that
      colonialist/nationalist conflict remains.[409]
      313. In Moscow, we heard that the greatest importance of Chechnya
      was its role as a rallying point for Islamist groups. Mr de Waal
      underlined this point when he said:


      I think that the foreign Islamist jihad interest in Chechnya is
      stronger than the other way round. We have had, for example, Ayman
      al Zawahiri trying to go to Chechnya, in 1998 I think, and actually
      spending six months under an assumed identity in a Russian prison -
      a very bizarre incident. His identity was not rumbled. You saw
      people trying to go to Chechnya and there is this Saudi warrior, Abu
      al-Walid, who is still believed to be in Chechnya and who had been
      in Afghanistan. Obviously there are links there. You also saw phone
      calls being made during the Moscow theatre siege to Chechens based
      in Qatar and places like that.[410]
      However, he played down the reports of Chechens fighting in
      Afghanistan or Iraq, saying that "when people come across Russian
      speakers they tend to dub them Chechens, whether they be Tajiks or
      Uzbeks. There is almost no evidence of real, live Chechens being
      found in Afghanistan."[411] He then summed up the links between
      international terrorism and the Chechen fighters by saying that
      there was "a lot of ideological support, some financial support; but
      in terms of actual, logistical physical support, still fairly
      limited - fortunately."[412]

      314. The intransigent position of the government in Moscow has
      prevented any resolution of the crisis, while frequent human rights
      abuses by Russian or pro-Russian forces have seriously damaged any
      support for the Federation in the region, and risk contributing to
      the spread of the conflict. Mr Sherr told us:


      Beginning in 1996, and more intensively in 1999, the Russian federal
      structures systematically eliminated any people, any networks and
      any institutions from Chechnya, which had credibility amongst the
      Chechens and which could have secured some kind of stable peace. The
      result of this, in my view, has been that a vacuum has been created
      into which foreign forces and radical Islamists have entered and who
      are beyond the control of anyone…Solving the situation is a very
      long term issue, but the urgent priority is not to make it worse.
      The problems that the Russians continually face…are almost always
      the fruit of previous Russian conduct.[413]
      315. The record of human rights abuses in the secessionist republic
      is appalling. Mr de Waal told us:


      I have some figures here from last year from Memorial, the human
      rights organisation. In 2002 they recorded 729 killings of civilians
      [in Chechnya]; 537 people abducted and disappeared. In 2003, 500
      civilians killed; 470 disappeared. Most of these people were killed
      and abducted at night, when it is very difficult for the rebels to
      operate. We must therefore presume that these are either by the
      Russians or the pro-Russian forces.[414]
      These figures only covered 25 to 30 per cent of the territory of
      Chechnya.[415] Amnesty International also released an extensive
      report documenting human rights abuses in Chechnya on 23 June 2004,
      which the report claims are happening in the neighbouring republic
      of Ingushetia.[416]

      316. The grounds for optimism are not strong. A raid into
      Ingushetia on 22 June 2004 by Chechen forces points to an
      intensification of the conflict, and Mr Sherr told us that "even in
      the short term we will see a noticeable deterioration of the
      situation there".[417] Some of what we heard during our visit to
      Moscow tended to support his fears, since we learnt that some
      Russians feel that attempts to resolve the crisis politically had
      led to the current impasse, and that a military solution would
      already have terminated the conflict.

      317. Chechnya, then, is more an issue to rally support in the
      Islamic world than a breeding ground for terrorism itself, although
      the brutal policy pursued by Russia risks contributing to the spread
      of the conflict by radicalising a desperate population. The Russians
      argue that the Chechen conflict is part of the war against
      terrorism, and there is little doubt that groups linked to al Qaeda
      have shown an ideological interest in and provided limited support
      for the secessionist Chechens. However, the Russian authorities
      adamantly refuse to internationalise the war and claim that it is an
      internal matter.

      318. Mr de Waal suggested that there are two groups the Russians
      should engage in an effort to resolve the conflict.


      One is the international community. They continually say now that
      this is an international problem but deny there should be an
      international aspect to the solution, which seems to me to be a
      paradox. They do allow, on a limited basis, the Council of Europe to
      visit Chechnya; but the OSCE mandate is now very limited. It seems
      to me that, if we can push the Russians on getting an expanded
      Council of Europe and OSCE presence in Chechnya to monitor what is
      going on, that would be in everyone's interests, including the
      Russians. The second group that they have consistently failed to
      talk to is the Chechen population as a whole. All elections have
      been rigged in Chechnya, and Chechnya actually has a very
      decentralised, community-based culture—or at least used to before it
      was shattered by war. Everyone who knows Chechnya says that some
      kind of parliamentary system, some kind of Loya Jirga for Chechnya,
      would be a way forward in which different groups could be brought
      together. Again, that involves the Russians loosening control,
      delegating power to ordinary Chechens—which is something they are
      very afraid of doing.[418]
      319. We conclude that links exist between the Chechen rebels and
      the international network of terrorists affiliated to al Qaeda, but
      that the conflict is not purely a terrorist insurgency. We further
      conclude that Chechnya has great importance as a rallying cry for
      Islamist insurgency throughout the Muslim world, and that the heavy
      handed approach of the Russian authorities, including repeated human
      rights abuses, risks further radicalising the Chechen population and
      spreading the conflict in the North Caucasus. We recommend that the
      Government engage the Russian Federation on Chechnya, and comment on
      Russian policy in the region—in private if necessary. We also
      recommend that the United Kingdom encourage the Russian authorities
      to increase the role of the international community in the
      secessionist region, and that in its response to this Report the
      Government set out how it will seek to encourage the Russians both
      to expand the OSCE and Council of Europe mandates in Chechnya and to
      consult with the ordinary people of Chechnya.

      Non-proliferation

      320. The Soviet Union took non-proliferation seriously, supporting
      both the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty and the 1968 Nuclear Non-
      Proliferation Treaty. The Soviet military also took great pains to
      remove nuclear weapons from Russia's borderlands in the wake of the
      1991 dissolution of the Union. However, Russia's record since 1991
      has raised major concerns for the non-proliferation efforts
      associated with the war against terrorism.

      321. Currently, Russia provides aid for Iran's nuclear energy
      program and exports nuclear reactors for ships and submarines, which
      rely on highly enriched uranium fuel, to states such as Indonesia
      and India. The nuclear sector still produces large quantities of
      weapons grade plutonium, and no comprehensive inventories of fissile
      material stockpiles exist, despite the accumulation of large
      quantities of weapons grade plutonium from civilian reactors each
      year. For instance, three reactors in the closed nuclear cities of
      Seversk and Zhelevnogorsk generate enough plutonium for a nuclear
      weapon every day, although the US and Russia have agreed to shut
      them down.[419]

      322. The military also still has a vast number of nuclear warheads -
      the current Russian nuclear stockpile is estimated to include about
      5,000 deployed strategic weapons, about 3,500 operational tactical
      nuclear weapons, and more than 11,000 stockpiled strategic and
      tactical warheads, for a total arsenal of about 19,500 nuclear
      warheads.[420] Many other less radioactive substances, such as
      material used in hospitals, also remain at large. For instance, the
      132 nuclear lighthouses along the Arctic Coast powered by Strontium
      90, some of which have not been inspected in years and have even
      gone missing, could present terrorists with the means to obtain
      radiological material.[421] The Russian Federation's chemical
      weapons facility is also vast but the biological weapons programmes
      may be a greater concern, since international observers cannot visit
      sensitive laboratories and the Russians are reluctant even to admit
      their existence.[422] The greatest difficulty in dealing with the
      Soviet Union's weapons legacy is that individuals and institutions
      in the Russian Federation profit greatly from the trade in WMD
      materials and know-how.[423]

      323. The international community, particularly the USA, works
      closely with the Russians but differences in perception of the WMD
      threat are substantial. Mr Sherr told us that :


      there are some very significant differences in official policy
      between Russia and ourselves, particularly with regard to providing
      defence and technology and the nuclear relationship between Russia
      and Iran. In some respects these disagreements have hardened since
      President Putin came to office. They have not diminished just
      because our relationship has become stronger.[424]
      IRAN'S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME

      324. The support Russia provides for the Iranian nuclear programme
      underlines the differences in perception of the WMD threat. Russian
      co-operation with Iran has raised concerns in London and Washington
      since President Putin restarted support for the Bushehr nuclear
      plant in 2000. The US claims that the plant provides Iran with an
      opportunity to build up supplies of enriched uranium and contributes
      to the Iranian nuclear weapons programme, but the Russian Federation
      contends that because Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation
      Treaty—and has even agreed an action plan with the International
      Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) under the Additional Protocol—its
      policy is legitimate.[425]

      325. On our visit to Moscow we heard that the Russians believe that
      denying Iran its nuclear programme would be unwise, since Russia
      takes back spent nuclear fuel and monitors Iran's nuclear programme
      closely. The Russians contend that a monitored programme is better
      than an unconstrained one, and their stance appears vindicated by
      comments from Mohamed El Baradei on 29 June 2004, stating that the
      Bushehr nuclear plant did not contribute to an Iranian nuclear
      weapons programme.[426] In our last Report, we expressed our strong
      support for the IAEA's inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities,
      and concluded that Iran's willingness to comply with the Additional
      Protocol demonstrated the influence of a joint approach.[427] In our
      Report on Iran earlier this year, we also noted that Iran was likely
      to test the agreement with the IAEA to its limits, and called for
      very close monitoring and supervision of its compliance.[428]

      326. We conclude that Russian support for Iran's nuclear activities
      could risk contributing to the spread of WMD capabilities in the
      Middle East by advancing the Iranian nuclear programme. We recommend
      that the Government, together with its EU and US partners, seek to
      persuade the Russians to ensure that their support for the Bushehr
      nuclear plant does not extend to assistance with activity consistent
      with a nuclear weapons development programme.

      NON-PROLIFERATION PROGRAMMES

      327. The Russian Federation's WMD arsenal has concerned the
      international community since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
      Gary Samore, Director of Studies at the International Institute of
      Strategic Studies, explained the nature of the threat. He told us:


      The point of maximum danger in Russia was in the very early years
      after the collapse of the Soviet Union, where there really was a
      general disappearance of the state security apparatus. I think in
      the last five or six years the Russian Government under President
      Putin have taken measures to strengthen their controls over nuclear
      materials, and I think they are in significantly better shape now
      than they were in the early part of the 1990s. I think there is
      still work that needs to be done, and the various programmes that
      are under way, the Conflict Threat Reduction, Nunn-Lugar programmes
      are all important to maintain, but my judgment is that the threat of
      leakage of significant amounts of highly enriched uranium from
      Russia is much lower now than it was a decade ago.[429]
      328. Despite these improvements, the Russian Federation still
      receives extensive financial and technical support from the USA as
      part of its international non-proliferation efforts. For instance,
      the USA has played a prominent role dealing with Russia's WMD with
      its Co-operative Threat Reduction (CTR) programme, which includes
      the Nunn-Lugar programme dealing with security and safety of nuclear
      weapons in the former Soviet Union. To date, the Nunn-Lugar
      Programme has funded the disassembly of thousands of strategic
      nuclear weapons, dozens of nuclear submarines, and put tonnes of
      fissile material into safe storage, at the cost of no more than 3
      per cent of the US defence budget.[430] The scale of the CTR
      programme is huge: President Bush recently signed a waiver granting
      $450 million of federal funds to finance its initiatives.[431] We
      discussed the CRT programme with Senator Lugar on our visit to
      Washington in March 2004.

      329. The European Union also has a role to play in dealing with
      Russia's WMD legacy. The EU provides funding for the non-
      proliferation efforts in the former Soviet Union, through its TACIS
      programme supporting nuclear safety in the Russian Federation which
      provided about 3 million euro in 2003, and 2.4 million to the middle
      of 2004.[432] The projects include support for plutonium disposition
      and the security of storage facilities, efforts to develop MOX fuel
      development, and the transport of MOX facilities.[433] The EU also
      supports the work chemical weapons destruction plants at Gorny,
      Schuch'ye and Kambarka with funds of about 15 million euro, by
      establishing environmental monitoring projects, and also provides
      advice for Russian strategic export controls, by streamlining the
      system with electronic licenses.[434] However, the EU's contribution
      is not commensurate with its economic weight in the world.

      330. We conclude that international efforts, such as the CTR
      programme, to counter the proliferation of the Soviet Union's WMD
      legacy are essential work. However, we also conclude that while the
      efforts of the EU are welcome, its contribution to non-proliferation
      efforts neither takes account of the scale and threat of the task,
      nor of the EU's economic importance. We recommend that the
      Government encourage its partners in Europe to increase the EU's
      contribution to non-proliferation efforts in the Russian Federation.

      G8 Global Partnership

      331. The G8 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and
      Materials of Mass Destruction, also seeks to secure and destroy
      Russian WMD. The Partnership was launched in June 2002 at the G8
      summit at Kananaskis in Canada, when the G8 states pledged 10 plus
      10 over 10 - US$10 billion from the US, US$10 billion from the other
      member states, over the next ten years to manage Russia's WMD
      legacy. The United Kingdom pledged £750 million to fund G8 Global
      Partnership projects under the co-ordination of the FCO, DTI and
      MOD, Baroness Symons, Minister of State at the Foreign and
      Commonwealth Office, told the House of Lords on 25 February 2004.
      [435]

      332. A joint statement issued by the G8 at Kananaskis stated:


      Under this initiative, we will support specific cooperation
      projects, initially in Russia, to address non-proliferation,
      disarmament, counter-terrorism and nuclear safety issues. Among our
      priority concerns are the destruction of chemical weapons, the
      dismantlement of decommissioned nuclear submarines, the disposition
      of fissile materials and the employment of former weapons
      scientists. We will commit to raise up to US$20 billion to support
      such projects over the next ten years.[436]
      The most recent Sea Island Summit in June 2004 took the initiative
      further. The Global Partnership Annual Report, published in June
      2004, described the progress to date. For instance, pledges of
      funding have come in, discussion on the legal basis for work is
      under way, projects have started, work is under way to improve co-
      ordination of projects, and states are working to establish
      guidelines to form the basis for specific agreements.[437]
      Additionally, more states have joined the G8 Global Partnership,
      including Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the
      Republic of Korea and New Zealand, as well as Finland, Norway,
      Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland who joined last year.[438]

      333. On our visit to Moscow we heard that the G8 Partnership has
      had some successes, but that problems continue to delay its thorough
      implementation. The greatest difficulty has been disputes over the
      potential liability for future damages, the tax obligations of donor
      funds and issues of access to the sites.[439] One of the G8
      Partnership's targets is to establish agreements that settle these
      difficulties effectively; a successful example is the Multinational
      Environmental Programme in the Russian Federation (MNEPR), which
      watered down demands that full liability for accidents rest with the
      Russian Federation.

      334. We conclude that the G8 Global Partnership makes an essential
      contribution to the reduction of the threat of proliferation of WMD,
      although certain difficulties remain between Russia and the other
      members. We recommend that in its response to this Report the
      Government set out how it has resolved the differences over
      liability for future damages, the tax status of donor funds, and
      issues over access to the sites, as well as how it is working with
      the USA to help overcome American differences with the Russian
      authorities.

      Chemical and Biological Weapons

      335. The FCO, DTI and MOD outlined progress on the destruction of
      Russia's chemical and biological weapons in their first Annual
      Report on the G8 Partnership. Examining chemical weapons, the Report
      says:


      Russia has declared 40,000 tonnes of chemical weapons, stored at
      seven sites on its territory. Over 30,000 tonnes is in the form of
      more than 4 million munitions containing nerve agent … Russia's
      initial progress with destroying its chemical weapons was slow, with
      insufficient resources being allocated. However, increased funding
      and commitment to progress have been evident in the last three
      years. The first of Russia's chemical weapon destruction facilities
      (at Gorny in the Saratov region) became operational in December 2002.
      …[However] Russia has already made clear that it will not be able to
      complete destruction of its CW stocks by the 2007 final deadline,
      and has sought an extension to 2012.[440]
      The United Kingdom plays an important role in the construction of
      the Shchuch'ye destruction facility, for instance by establishing
      water and electricity for the plant.[441]






      ---------------------------------------------------------------------
      -----------
      367 In quotes: Putin vows defence of democracy, BBC, 27 May 2004
      Back


      368 Russia to participate in Proliferation Security Initiative,
      Russia Journal, 1 June 2004. Back



      369 Q280 Back



      370 Alexander Golts, "Military Reform in Russia and the Global War
      against Terrorism", in Journal of Slavic Military Studies vol 17
      (2004) : pp 29-41 Back



      371 Trenin, Dmitiri, "Russia and Global Security Norms",
      Washington Quarterly, ,vol 27: 2 (2004), pp 63-77 Back



      372 Q280 Back



      373 Alexander A Belkin, "US-Russia Relations and the Global
      Counter-terrorism campaign", Journal of Slavic Military Studies vol
      17 (2004) ,pp 13-28 Back



      374 'Russia discusses old Iraqi contracts', BBC, 22 December 2003,
      Back



      375 'Russian muslims hail headscarf ruling', BBC, 15 March 2003
      Back



      376 Alexander A Belkin, "US-Russia Relations and the Global
      Counter-terrorism Campaign" in Journal of Slavic Military Studies
      Vol 17 (2004) pp 13-28 Back



      377 'Iraq vote gives G8 fresh impetus', BBC, 9 June 2004. For the
      full text of the Resolution, see Appendix to this Report. Back



      378 Russian contractors to quit Iraq, BBC, 26 May 2004 Back



      379 US Department of State, US-Russia Relations in Putin's Second
      Term: http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/30556.htm Back



      380 Russian policy towards Afghanistan, Michael Jasinski, NIS
      Nonproliferation Program, 15 September 2001 Back



      381 Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Press Statement:
      http://www.ln.mid.ru/bl.nsf/0/d3088cb6461d66ec4325699c003b60ec?
      OpenDocument Back



      382 Q280 Back



      383 'Putin sending troops to Tajikistan', BBC, 27 April 2003 Back



      384 'Russian drug official criticises US for Afghan heroin surge',
      Wall Street Journal, 11 August 2003 Back



      385 'Russia fights heroin attack' BBC, 26 August 2003 Back



      386 Munich Conference on security policy,
      http://www.securityconference.de/index.php?
      menu_2004=&menu_konferenzen=&menu_presse=&sprache=en& Back



      387 In quotes: Putin vows defence of democracy, BBC, 27 May 2004
      Back



      388 Q282 Back



      389 Q282 Back



      390 Ibid Back



      391 NATO: The Prague summit and beyond, Research Paper 03/05,
      House of Commons Library, Back



      392 'NATO chief tries to sooth Putin's fears', Chicago Tribune, 9
      April 2004 Back



      393 'Sergei Lavroy on NATO's decision to patrol Baltic airspace',
      Pravda, 2 April 2004. Back



      394 Ibid Back



      395 'NATO chief promotes friendlier ties', Moscow Times, 9 April
      2004 Back



      396 'Engaging Russia as Partner and Participant', The RAND-ISKRAN
      Working Group on NATO-Russia Relations, Brussels. June 2004 Back



      397 US Department of State, US-Russia Relations in Putin's Second
      Term: http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/rm/30556.htm Back



      398 'Engaging Russia as Partner and Participant', The RAND-ISKRAN
      Working Group on NATO-Russia Relations, Brussels. June 2004 p12 Back



      399 Ibid p 31 Back



      400 Chechnya, Research Paper 00/14, House of Commons Library
      November 2002. Back



      401 Ibid Back



      402 'Russia to boost Chechnya forces', BBC, 11 May 2004 Back



      403 'Son of murdered Chechen leader given senior role', Financial
      Times, 10 May 2004 Back



      404 'Russia to boost Chechen forces', BBC, 11 May 2004 Back



      405 Chechnya Weekly Vol V, Issue 25, The Jamestown Foundation, 23
      June 2004 Back



      406 Chechnya, Research Paper 00/14, House of Commons Library,
      November 2002 Back



      407 Jeffrey M Bale, "The Chechen resistance and radiological
      terrorism", Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, April 2004:
      http://www.nti.org/e_research/e3_47a.html Back



      408 Q285 Back



      409 ibid Back



      410 Q286 Back



      411 ibid Back



      412 ibid Back



      413 Q287 [Mr Sherr] Back



      414 Q288 Back



      415 ibid Back



      416 Normalization in whose eyes?, Amnesty International, June
      2004: http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/document.do?
      id=5FED4C6CEA09682C80256EA80042124C Back



      417 Q291 [Mr Sherr] Back



      418 Q288 Back



      419 'US, Russia agree to plutonium reactor shutdown', Arms Control
      Association, April 2003, Back



      420 , US/Russia Arms Control, Arms Control Association:
      http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2002_06/factfilejune02.asp Back



      421 'Nuclear light houses to be replaced', Bellona, 2 February
      2002: http://www.bellona.no/en/international/russia/nuke-
      weapons/nonproliferation/28067.html Back



      422 Testimony of Dr James Clay Moltz, Director, NIS
      Nonproliferation Program, Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, 14
      May 2003 Back



      423 US efforts to halt WMD proliferation, Centre for
      Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International
      Affairs, 14 May 2004 Back



      424 Q284 [Mr Sherr] Back



      425 Victor Mizin, "The Russia-Iran nuclear connection and US
      policy options ", Middle East Review of International Affairs, vol.
      8, No. 1, March 2004 Back



      426 'UN clears Iran nuclear facility', BBC, 29 June 2004 Back



      427 Foreign Affairs Committee, Second Report of Session 2003-04,
      Foreign Policy Aspects of the War against Terrorism, HC 81, para 221
      Back



      428 Foreign Affairs Committee, Third Report of Session 2003-04,
      Iran, HC 80, para 58 Back



      429 Q69 Back



      430 'The Nunn-Lugar Program', Senator Richard G Lugar:
      http://lugar.senate.gov/nunnlugar.html Back



      431 'Bush signs three year Nunn-Lugar waiver', Bellona, 14 January
      2004 Back



      432 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, European
      Union: http://projects.sipri.se/nuclear/ndci04_eu.htm Back



      433 Ibid Back



      434 Ibid Back



      435 HL Deb, 25 February 2004, col WS25 Back



      436 Statement by G8 Leaders at Kananaskis Summit:
      http://www.g7.utoronto.ca/summit/2002kananaskis/arms.html Back



      437 G8 Global Partnership Annual Report, G8 Senior Group, June
      2004 Back



      438 Ibid Back



      439 Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department of Trade and
      Industry and Ministry of Defence, The G8 Global Partnership: First
      Annual Report 2003 p 9 Back



      440 Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department of Trade and
      Industry and Ministry of Defence, The G8 Global Partnership: First
      Annual Report 2003 p 13 Back



      441 Ibid p 14 Back
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