The shameless battle for money and sinecure
December 11, 1999
TAZ report by Klaus-Helge Donath
In the Russian election battle, the elite are outdoing themselves with mutual smear campaigns. Party programs are playing no role. It is more a matter of the various clans marking out their territories.
The plumber finds nothing wrong with the toilet and turns to his associate: "Petrovitch, the stink is coming from over there, where the television is turned on." ... A caricature of the latrine politics in the election battle. On December 19, Russia elects a new Parliament. That much is true. The speculations that Boris Yeltsin's entourage could postpone their funeral march because they fear a loss of power have been refuted. That tells the whole happy story right there.
In the Caucusus, while Russian soldiers are wading through blood and muck, the political elite are battling to the point of violence in Moscow. There are no limits to the shame. A civil war rules in Russia. But it is not the oppressed masses who are grabbing the weapons. They are and remain the statistics of circumstance. It is more the reigning elite that carry on a merciless war against each other - using the most effective weapon, the media.
Anyone who watches the only network which is received nationwide gets a clear picture of which rascals in the capitol city are evil incarnate. They are Moscow mayor Juri Luschkov and former Premier Minister Jevgeni Primakov. Both stand before the election block of the fatherland, all of Russia (OVR), which has good intentions of installing the communists as the strongest faction. Since summer, the Kremlin administration has been trying to frustrate the alliance of opportunity between the provincial governors and the republic presidents. The reason: the regional nomenclatura had ostentatiously turned away from Yeltsin. Since then, the Yeltsin clan, his close staff and family members have been afraid of revenge. The parade in the Duma is regarded as a test run for the presidential elections in the summer. Anyone who assures himself a place in the parliamentary elections may campaign successfully for his successor. The voters do not give their vote to a party, but to a person. Russia does not know of parties which are fixed in the social milieu, with the exception of the Communist Party. They will also make the biggest faction in the new Parliament without playing a decisive role. Their functionaries belong to the establishment; their protest is restricted to symbolic politics.
The fixation on a leader figure with the qualities of a savior is a decisive point of the political culture. The mediocre Soviet bureaucrat and negotiator Primakov, during his time as Minister President, succeeded in addressing the nostalgic sentiments of the politically weary citizens. He introduced his list of favorite presidential candidates uncontested.
There is no lack of compromising material
In a joint endeavor with pragmatic mayor Luschkov, nobody seems to be able to touch the duo in the Duma elections. No ideological differences exist between the Kremlin and the OVR. And political accusations do not play a role in the election battle. Only diverse clans are marking off their territory.
For instance, when Luschkov announced a victory, certain decisions of ownership had to then be reviewed again. At the time, Primakov, as premier, had detected shady business deals of oligarch Boris Beresovski. The financial mogul is the main stockholder of ORT broadcasting, which is now launching the campaign of instigation. Seconded by state channel RTR. They discredited Primakov by stating that in 1991, as frustrated chief of the foreign intelligence service, he had secured a fortune in the billions of the Communist Party. Besides that, he is said to be ill and has to get surgery in Switzerland for 100,000 marks.
The Moscow city patron is not being dealt with any less carefully. He is alleged to have put out a murder contract on an American businessman and to be a backer of the Scientology organization in Russia. Every Sunday ORT moderator Sergei Dorenko puts on a new episode in the tragic-comedic Russian soap opera. There is no lack of compromising material - "kompromat" - in Russian politics.
Power serves mainly to guarantee one's own material welfare. The bureaucrat pockets his tithe from all transactions between the state and the citizen. "Kormlenie" - lining [one's pocket] - is what it was called in the days of the czars.
In the meantime, the presidial administration has taken yet another path to supplant the fatherland. Emissaries from the Kremlin are offering campaigners horrific sums of money to withdraw from the candidacy. If enough withdraw, according to election law, the OVR could still be excluded. Campaigner Konstantin Satulin was offered $700,000. Contact was made by banker Mamut, who belongs to the inner circle of the Yeltsin clan. The intimidated Kremlin camarilla is, of course, also participating in the elections.
Boris Beresovski is trying to get a direct mandate in the north Caucasian republic of Karatshaio-Czerkessia. The money of billionaire Roman Abramovitch and his family are campaigning on the Chukotka Peninsula in the Far East for a seat in the Duma. 40,000 poor people waiting for retirement would not want to disappoint him. If nothing else, he came with a basket full of gifts. If his leap to the Duma succeeds, he has reached his goal: immunity.
In September the Kremlin christened another one of its own parties, "Jedinstvo, Medvyed" - "Unit, Bear." In virtual character it resembles its opposing election association, OVR. The backbone of the Union is also composed of provincial governors and representatives of the regional nomenclatura. Disadvantage: the Kremlin could only gather another secondary guard about itself.
Top candidate is the Minister for Catastrophic Events, Sergei Shoigu, who has had the confidence of the television public for years. The second man in the alliance, ringer Alexander Kalenin, was once an Olympic winner in the Greek-Roman style. Since Caucasian demolition expert and Premier Vladimir Putin has told the people that he would only consider "Friend Shoigu," the "Bear" has risen several rungs on the ladder of popularity. That is because Putin, at home, is honored as a national savior.
Perspective: parties and programs have no significance in the elections. Clans which arise from the second ranks of the nomenclatura decide over distribution and guarantees of sinecure with the help of voting ballots. Still a victory of formal democracy, since customarily open questions are clarified in rights free ["rechtsfrei"] spaces.
Struggle for power
Parliament's election as trial balloon for electing Yeltsin's successor
December 5, 1999
by Ursula Zenger
Moscow - The report that Russian President Boris Yeltsin had to go back into the hospital again last Monday has its special symbolism. Two weeks before the Duma's election, the people of the Russian federation are reminded that a Parliament for the post-Yeltsin era will be appointed on December 19.
However, the 68-year-old demonstrated his ability to carry out his duties, in spite of a lung inflammation, in that he telephoned Arafat from his sickbed and, on Friday, pointedly let it be known that the military offensive in Chechnia would be carried out "until terrorism was eradicated" in the north Caucuses.
In spite of that, it cannot be overlooked that the parliamentary elections are serving as trial balloons for the election of a new president which happens on June 4, 2000 - in case something does not happen before then. Over 5,000 candidates from 28 parties are campaigning for the 450 seats in the Duma, half of which are elected by the representative proportional system, the other half are involved in direct mandate in individual groups. But the scene is dominated by a battle among giants, by any top politicians who have ambitions for the presidential office or some other manner of power in post-Yeltsin Russia.
There is Juri Luschkov, the powerful mayor of the capitol city, who applied for a re-election there on the day of the Duma elections as city chief. For that reason, every democratic party in Moscow backed him which was fully united in the State Duma with Luschkov's Block Fatherland-Entire Russia against Yeltsin and his administration.
Even fledging Kirjenko was hard at work
The heavyweights in the ring at the Duma election also include long-term Foreign Minister Jewgeni Primakov, one of a series of men who was called by Yeltsin in ever shorter intervals to the administrative chief and was transferred as soon as they became too self-determined or too popular. And only after their transfer could they then begin to work in earnest on what was festering the ambitious power-seekers - succeeding Yeltsin.
Even 37-year-old Sergei Kirijenko, who had been taken under the wing of the ex-premier, was not sitting on the sidelines. He is active in the Union of Legal Powers and is trying to profile himself in Moscow as Luschkov's opposing candidate for the mayor's office. He will have to hold back as far as his presidential ambitions go though, because a celebrity from Yeltsin's former confidantes, Anatoli Tschubais, is also getting involved with his party. That could open the back door into the administration for political child prodigy .
The battle of the giants is being carried out with vigor, and the Kremlim has jumped into the foray. Yeltsin's entourage, which is worried about its own flows of power and money, does not want to see the popularity of Premier Vladimir Putin, who has led this one through the Chechnia campaign, increase. The public can witness the showdown every Saturday, when they sit in front of the television set with their zappers. Week after week, broadcasters sympathetic to the administration, ORT and RTR have endlessly raked new muck on critics of the Kremlin, like that of dismissed corruption investigator Juri Skuratov last Friday. The prime targets, however, are Juri Luschkov and Jewgeni Primakov, two politicians who could be dangerous to Yeltsin's declared crown prince Putin. Luschkov, besides being accused of being connected with the corruption scandals, was also accused of being sympathetic to the Scientology sect. The TV muckraking battle is getting to be too much. The President of the small republic of Bashkortostan, as have many of the regional princes allied with Luschkov, have recently been replacing the compromising material with entertainment films - "Kobra."
Even the democrats are fighting using the principle of negative campaign instead of a political program for the Duma positions. "Kompromat" is the name for what all fear, yet what all seek: compromising material to discredit the opposition. In the face of a lack of facts, it can be invented. An ex-secret agent like Premier Putin has a terrifying secret advantage in that aspect.
Incriminating material is not the only weapon in the election battle. Maria Arbatova, Russia's best known feminist, is said to have reported that "respectable people, not bandits" had offered her 150,000 franks and a residence if she gave up her candidacy. Ex-premier Primakov has also accused the Kremlin of offering his party's candidates money to withdraw from the election slate.
There is no lack of the campaign issues in Russia. Nevertheless, it seems certain that once again only a few political blocks will be able to make the five percent hurdle: the communists, the big democratic blocks of Luschkov/Primakov and Our House Russia, Grigori Jawlinski's Reform party Jabloko and, possibly, also the rights outside party of Schirinovski.
Unproductive string-pulling will continue
In contrast, Putin and the Yeltsin clan have no house power in Parliament. At most, they could count on the loyalty of many- and long-termed Minister President Viktor Tschernomyrdin and his block of Our House Russia. It remains to be seen, though, as to whether the party recently founded by Minister Sergei Schoigu will be up to snuff.
It is pre-programmed into the system that the unproductive string-pulling between the powerful president and, on one side, the administration appointed by him, and the Parliament on the other, will continue. Unless Yeltsin's successor can arrange something with the reformed parties - or if he comes from one of these parties and can form an effective coalition.
A problem with Scientology in the house of Luschkov
November 11, 1999
Moscow's mayor Yuri Luschkov has a problem. His name is Sergei Dorenko. For weeks the well-known journalist, who moderates a political magazine in a broadcast studio friendly to Yeltsin, has been accusing the city chief of corruption, nepotism and contact with the mafia. An unpleasant situation, especially in the election campaign for the next state president, for which Luschkov is regarded as a promising candidate. Therefore the mayor hired a new judiciary staff member, Moscow lawyer Galina Krylova, and assigned her to prepare a libel suit against the journalist. Since then, Luschkov has yet a greater problem.
That is because the 37 year old woman is not only regarded as the most important legal representative for international sects in Russia, she also sits on the board of the "Citizens Commission on Human Rights" (CCHR) in the USA. This organization is a full-fledged offshoot of Scientology, whose goal it is to "liberate" the earth of psychiatrists.
Once more, sect experts are warning of possible Scientology influence upon Russian politics. "The mayor is either ill-informed, or somebody is trying to compromise him," said Alexander Dvorkin, sect commissioner of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, about the new legal advisor. "Krylova is being used by Scientology as a Trojan horse."
"On top of that, she also represents a coalition of totalitarian cults." In fact, Krylova has conducted all the important proceedings for sects of all sorts in the last few years in Russia - and has lost most of them.
For instance, in 1995 she represented the Japanese poison gas sect, Aum Shinrikyo, when parents' initiatives fought to ban them. She has also worked for the Korean Moon sect, the Hare Krishnas and the Jehovah's Witnesses. Mostly, though, she has worked for Scientology, whereby her assignments have gone far beyond the duties of an attorney. The Scientologists put her on the board of CCHR and published a photograph in their magazine "Scientology News" in 1997 of "Fighters against Psychiatry" at a California sect gala. Krylova stood in the first row.
Scientology is presently under increased scrutiny by the justice department. After diverse raids, state attorneys are investigating top managers of the sect in various cities. On October 6, a Moscow court ordered the closing of the "Humanitarian Hubbard Center," the largest Scientology branch in Russia, because of money-laundering, illegal business practices and violating civil rights; the appeal of the Scientologists has not yet been decided. Legal representative for the sect was, as usual, Galina Krylova.
Russian and German sect experts are now warning of a renewed attempt by the organization "to exert influence on Russian politics and gather information on top politicians," according to Berlin Evangelical sect commissioner Thomas Gandow. He said that Krylova, based on her position, was "clearly a person who was being remotely steered by Scientology."
Since 1989, the sect has established more and more contacts to Russian politicians. In March 1998, the "Berliner Zeitung" reported that the newly named Premier Minister Sergei Kirijenko had taken Scientology courses. At the time, experts feared extortion attempts by the Scientologists. "Luschkov's connection to Krylova is a certified scandal," now says Russian sect commissioner Dvorkin. "Politically, that could be very dangerous for him."
From: "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" April 29, 1998
Scientology Power and Struggle for Profit in Moscow
One can make an impression with the word "profit" in dynamic Russia. It has the sound of a magical word in the ears of aspiring businessmen, no matter if they are selling grandmother's silver in the Ismailovo flea market at bargain-basement prices, or amassing a wealth of stocks. It is no wonder then, that even the new Premier, Sergei Kirijenko, is said to have taken a one-week seminar in 1995, when he was a bank director. However, this could turn out to be a hidden trap for the 35 year old political upstart. This is because the source of his training in Nishnij Novgorod was the Hubbard College, part of the Scientology sect. The suspicion stubbornly lingers that Kirijenko could have been caught in the net of the sect.
Kirijenko calls the report the "best April Fool's joke yet," but, because of the suspicion, nobody is laughing, especially not the Communists and Nationalists. Two weeks ago, the Duma had decided to form an investigation committee, but because of a "lack of time," so it is said, they were not able to collect "any definitive perspectives."
From Scientology's side, the governmental chief with his contacts to the powers of politics and business would certainly be a magnificent catch. This would be the case even if Kirijenko had not made himself capable of being blackmailed by the so-called auditing, translated freely by some as "brainwashing." Scientology extends far into Russia. Dianetics Centers are in more than 50 cities. Just as many companies, banks, and business complexes are said to be members of the Scientology business organization, WISE.
The [Scientology] organization, legal in Russia, seeks to extend its influence into banks, as well as into the arms and manufacturing industries. According to Alexander Dvorkin, professor for Church History at the Russian Orthodox University in Moscow, Scientologists have already "nested" in "dozens of mammoth industrial complexes" in Perm and Jekaterinburg. Perm could even be the first "Scientology city of a million people" in the world. The mayor, one of them, is reported to have said that he would need six months to accomplish that [goal].
From: DER SPIEGEL, April 4, 1998
The Russian parliament, the Duma, resists the nomination of Sergei Kirijenko as Minister President - he is too "inexperienced." In saying this, the representatives are not bothered by where the novice has graduated a management course: with the Scientologists.
Talking was not his strong point, but at his departure from office of the Minister Presidency, Viktor Tschernomyrdin found the right words. "We wanted to make it better," apologized the man who ruled Russia for more than five years, with an honest view of the unhappy state business, "but things happened as they always had."
His nominated successor, Sergei Kirijenko, 35, Minister of Energy for the past four months, added: "The last administration talked a half year about the tendencies of the economy to improve," he performed a variation on the verdict of his chief, Boris Yeltsin, "although the bulk of the population detected nothing of the sort."
Communist chief Gennadiy Siuganov demanded that Yeltsin immediately withdraw the nomination of the cabinet member. Because, he said, the situation in the country is "not less dramatic" than it was during the coup of 1991, when tanks fired upon the Duma 1993 or "before the outbreak of war in Chechnia."
Indeed, super-father Yeltsin introduced the young vice premier, father of two daughters, as a sort of better office herald: He led him into the White House, the administrative sessions, opened doors and roused officials, until he reached the hallowed office of the administration chief.
With the words "Now this is all yours", he punched him in the shoulder. Boris' boy coughed "thanks, thanks" and took a seat in the leather chair, three sizes too big, in Tschernomyrdin's corner. Yeltsin warned him, "yes, don't remove his portrait until the year 2000. Kirijenko nodded, Yeltsin beamed. Just right, thought the presidential ambassador, that's the way he should nod to any further instructions.
Kirijenko then introduced himself to the factions of the Duma. The communists and their allies (almost 50 percent of the 450 Parliament seats) found the recruit "inexperienced and unacceptable." Grigorij Javlinksi, chief of the liberal "Jabloko" party, found the candidate as "polite, well-bred", and nothing more. Even the rural party "Our House Russia" (65 representatives), still enraged over the expelling of their patron Tschernomyrdin, stated that they were not ready to give their approval at "the push of a button."
The tactician Yeltsin invited the speaker of the Duma, Gennadij Selsnojov, to the Russian state dacha, where he normally receives only those of equal rank. He was enticed by the admission of the opposition into the new cabinet, and named the alternative: dissolution of Parliament - new elections. Dismissal of the representatives, loss of the proud assemblies, the residence in the capitol city, gone would be the offices equipped with fax and computers, as would their whole importance in general.
The stubborn opposition indicated they were ready to at least postpone the vote concerning the Premier. The risk seemed barely worth mentioning, Kirijenko himself had brushed it off as an "April fool's joke": a sect aspiring to world domination could blackmail him -- the Scientologists of the (deceased) American Ron Hubbard.
With footholds in a half hundred cities they seek to conquer Russia. Their interests focus mainly on the military-industrial complex, their "college" in Jekaterinburg has spread out into an optical armament factory, the one in Perm is in an engine factory which produces for the military. The Scientology Center in Moscow reports to each of the 100 visitors per day that 1,000 expensive, high-gloss Scientology publications are produced every week by each person.
Six years ago the US [religious] mission gave a copy of Hubbard's book, "Dianetics" to 69 Duma representatives, several of whom were held by the Western legation to be susceptible to heresy. From this time on, the Vice-President, Alexander Ruzkoi, enemy of Yeltsin, quoted Hubbard, who was also praised by the Secret Service Chief-to-be Sergei Stepaschin. At the time he was serving as Secretary of the Interior.
The Scientologists trick: they represent their teachings to the country children, who are greedy for any western import, as "management technology," which is to be learned in training courses. The young Kirijenko had participated in one such "continuing education seminar", a sort of brainwashing, in his hometown of Nischni Novgorod.
Here's how it came about: As did the other ex-functionaries of the [Communist] Party Youth Organization, "Komsomol," Kirijenko, prior Komsomol regional leader, also strove for a leading position after the demise of communism -- now as a manager in capitalism. The "utopian ideals" of communism were gone for good. Kirijenko understood that, and drew the conclusion from it, as he most recently expressed it, "I love money, and I admit that extremely professionally."
Old friends, who once had haggled over foreign clothes on the streets, now sold entire truckloads for dollars as far away as the duty-free shops of Hamburg. The gap between the shrinking state economy with its fixed, subsidized discount rates and the booming private commerce in the world market offered unheard of chances for profit, just for the transport from one area to another.
Kirijenko went for the highest rate of profit: he wanted to found a bank for this kind of business, which was the reason for a more intelligent strategy in securing mental competency. The trained shipbuilding engineer elected the renowned Academy for National Economy, led by Gorbachev's economic advisor, Abel Aganbegian. He arrived in Moscow right after the foiled coup, in 1991.
His graduate work, which he presented after two years work, amounted to his professional goal, the commerce bank: his assignment, he wrote, was to use "all possible ways and methods" for capital growth, and for that to unconditionally "gain influence on every plane of political power."
That is what he stuck to. Again in Nischni Novgorod, his friend Boris Nemzov, the governor, who now serves as his vice minister, let him establish the Bank Garantia, which supported local pension funds with oil sales.
To improve his professionalism, the bank director applied in 1995 for a management course given by the local "Hubbard College." "Hubbard," that sounded like "Harvard". The Roman letter "B" is written in Cyrilic as "W." [In German, "W" sounds like "V".]
This Scientology course was supposed to bring about a "constant increase of the realization of modern leadership theories," as the stockholders of the Garantia Bank could learn, quite officially, from the 1995 yearly report, which was forwarded to the SPIEGEL.
Kirijenko was impressed by the new, trusted ideals of the ex-communist youth, which Hubbard's commissioners preached: group consciousness and differentiating from the outside. On four weekends the entire lead management of the bank trained in the Scientology Center (at that time Ivan Romanov Street 2, fourth floor) in "Team Spirit and Responsibility Sharing on the Manager Level."
The costs were paid by the bank, which expended 200 million rubles (about $44,000) for all personal training. "The Hubbard College filled a culture vacuum," stated Viktor Kitajev, Kirijenko's successor as head of the bank, "there were no other alternatives."
The Hubbard School of Management did not put their spiritual applications of the religious Scientology sect in the limelight. As Kirijenko's father, former political economist, and philosophy professor at the University for Nischni Novgorod at the time, experienced from his son about the new course of instruction, he also knew nothing of the name of Hubbard.
He turned to his colleague, Dr. Jevgenij Volkov, psychology docent at the same university, and expert in unorthodox religions. "I talked with Sergei Kirijenko for twenty minutes," recalled Volkov, "and made him aware of the possible dangers of Scientology . He thanked me for it."
Four years ago any charlatan in Russia could count on finding many credulous customers for introductory courses in advancing a career in practical capitalism. At the time the dynamic city of Nischni Novgorod, which -- in the strongly enclosed communist gated areas -- was giddily testing its new-found freedoms. Most recently they elected the previously convicted Andrej Klimentjev as major. (He was arrested, the election annulled.)
A critical illumination of Scientology control technology, quite aside from the religion trick, has not taken place in Russia until today. Alexander Dvorkin, theology professor at Moscow University of Russian Orthodoxy, knows his way around. He gives us food for thought: "The decisive factor is whether Kirijenko has taken part in the usual auditing test." That is how intimate information is gathered through interrogation and self-analysis, sometimes under hypnosis.
That is how Russia's ruler could find his way into dependency. Scientologists have an advertisement video which the local TV station "Volga" broadcast six months ago. This made it known that one of the "graduates" of the Hubbard College of Nischni Novgorod is Michail Teodorowitsch, the budget director of the government.
The ecclesiastical sect specialist Dvorkin made an explanatory note about Kirijenko, "He has to become clear. As soon as possible."
A closer bond of the new Yeltsin favorite with the obscure Hubbard Association could easily cost the administration the sympathies of the Russian Orthodox Church. Distrustful, and cautious about their own privileges, they battle the advancement of any other avenue of belief, even if it is respected, such as the Baptists. With the struggle against foreign sects they can always hope for approval from the nationalistic electorate.
Yeltsin is attempting, in his search for a new national idea, to close the gaps left from the loss of state ideology, which Hubbard's agents are also trying to fill. However the totalitarian temptation is enticing, even if it appears in American costumes.
[This is] control technology from the USA, some methods of winning power in the campaign battle, assesses Yeltsin's daughter, Tatiana Borissovna, the officially designated "Imidschmejker" [image maker] for her father. Ex-Premier Jegor Gaidar follows American business trends; Ruzkoi [Russians] once derided "the little boys in the pink pants." Now they are in vogue. Gaidar, 42, outlined the economy program for Kirijenko.
Young people replace the sick man at the top. The squad is led by Yeltsin's Chief of Staff, Vaentin Jumashev, 40.
Yeltsin's ghost writer in the composition of his biography and court chronicler is comparable to a German chancellory chief. His influence is even greater, as the Russian president is closer to sole control than is the [German] Bundes Chancellor. Jumashev was the one suggested by Kirijenko to the rest of the cabinet and to the Duma.
His representative, Sergei Jastrschembski, 44, also public relations officer for the President, serves as management and administrative assistant in all emergencies. As Czar Boris categorized Germany and Japan as atomic powers in Stockholm last December, Jastrschembski put on the brakes, "The President is tired." The week before last, his employer thought a confidential discussion with state guests Chirac and Kohl was a press conference, until Jastrschembski whispered an explanation to him.
The freshman in the circle of the old caretakers - Kirijenko entered the Komsomol when General Secretary Leonid Brischnev had been in office for five years. Can Tschernormyrdin console himself by saying "doing it better"? "But things happened as they always had."
From the "Hamburger Abendblatt"
April 1, 1998
Parliament wants to question new executive chief
Moscow - Has the Scientology sect already gotten its foot in the door of the Russian government? Sergei Kirijenko, named by President Boris Jeltsin as candidate for Minister President, was confronted with a completely unexpected question last Friday before the first election in the Duma.
In his years as a business entrepreneur, Kirijenko had contact with the Scientology sect in Nischnij Novgorod, the sect commissioner of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexander Dvorkin, told the "Hamburger Abendblatt."
Kirijenko, as director of the Garantia Bank, attended a one-week seminar at the Hubbard College of Administration in Nischnij Novgorod in 1995, continued Dvorkin. He had also sent the management of his bank there. Kirijenko is said to have been particularly impressed with "the simplicity and clarity" of the Scientologists.
Boris Nemzov, First Vice Premier of the prior Russian administration, tried to take Kirijenko under his wing yesterday. The candidate for Premier Minister finds himself in a situation "in which information of this sort is bound to come up. He will have expected it and is hardly amazed," said Nemzov. Nevertheless, he said nothing to address the matter at hand.
Last year, Nemzov brought the unknown and just-turned-35-year-old Kirijenko from the province to Moscow and paved the way for him in the management of the department of energy.
Nemzov himself has fallen under a shadow of suspicion. One of his staff, Michail Teodorowitch, is also supposed to have been a "graduate" of the Hubbard College at Nischnij Novgorod.
Sect experts fear that Kirijenko could represent a security risk for the administration. Scientology, according to critics, seeks world domination. In the event that the sect has a folder containing (possibly intimate) discussions with him, he could be a potential target of blackmail. The Russian representatives wish to question Kirijenko in detail on this subject on Friday.
Representatives want explanation of Kirijenko's contacts with Scientology
Russian sect experts are concerned with the possible influence of the psycho-cult on Yeltsin's proposed premier/Tschernomyrdin announces candidacy
by Frank Nordhausen and Liane v. Billerbeck
Moscow/Nishnij Novgorod/Berlin, March 29, 1998. The Russian Minister Premier of Commerce, Sergei Kirijenko had, according to statements of sect experts, taken a one-week Scientology course three years ago in Nishnij Novgorod. Kirijenko, at that time director of the "Garantia" bank, is also said to have arranged for the leading powers-that-be of the financial institution to graduate from Scientology seminars. Kirijenko is said in a speech to have given up the contacts and explained that he wishes "to have nothing more to do with it."
According to information of the "Berliner Zeitung" [Berlin Newspaper] various representatives of the Duma wished to question Kirijenko about his Scientology connections when he presented his administration program to the Russian Parliament. Russian and German sect experts expressed concern about Kirijenko's earlier contact with the psycho-cult, which seeks political influence world-wide. It could be possible that the sect possesses a 'back door' with damaging information on the Premier.
Threat of a new election
The communists announced Sunday that they do not wish to support Kirijenko. Yeltsin threatened to dissolve the Duma and initiate new elections should Kirijenko not be confirmed. In this question the former Russian administrative chief Victor Tschernomyrdin distances himself from Yeltsin: "I am categorically against the dissolution of the Duma."
Communist chief Sjuganov said that Yeltsin should not have used this threat with the Duma. His faction will oppose Kirijenko because he lacks experience: "One can not support just anybody as the second man in power of the country. If the President were to be seriously ill, a situation could arise in with the Premier would carry responsibility for the atomic arsenal." If the President could no long carry out the duties of his office, the Administrative Chief, per the constitution, would take over the post's office.