RUSSIA GETTING DESPERATE
Could it drive Russia to attack Israel?
MOSCOW-- Russia's painful transition to a market economy has helped cause a serious drop in population as death rates soar and birth rates plummet, a government report concludes.
``The current mortality rate threatens Russia's national security interests and prospects of its future development,'' the presidential commission's report said Tuesday.
Tension over the economy appears to have caused more violence and a rise in self-destructive behavior such as drinking, resulting in higher death rates - especially for the Russian male, the committee concludes.
At the same time a growing number of Russians feel they can't afford to have children, and a health-care collapse has meant more babies die at birth, the committee said.
``The combination of a rising death rate and falling birth rate that we have here is unprecedented for a large country in peacetime,'' commission chief Yekaterina Lakhova said. ``Of all nations in Europe, Asia and America, Russia's mortality rate now is only lower than Afghanistan and Cambodia.''
There were 40 percent more deaths in Russia in 1995 than in 1989, the report said, while the number of births fell 60 percent over the same period.
Last year, about three people died for every two who were born, and Russia's population shrank by 475,000 people or 0.3 percent.
From 1990 to 1996, the number of murders and deaths from alcohol poisoning doubled, the number of suicides rose by one-half and the number of deaths caused by contagious diseases increased by 70 percent.
The average life expectancy plunged to a record low of 57.6 years for men and 71.2 years for women in 1994, the report said. Russia ranks 135th in the world in life expectancy for men, and 100th for women.
Men seem to find it more difficult than women to adapt to social and economic instability, experts say.
The report says 70 percent of Russians are under severe stress, contributing to a rise in mental diseases, alcoholism and drug addiction.
It notes that Russia's alcohol consumption more than doubled from 1990 to 1995 to 3.4 gallons of alcohol annually per average Russian - about the same as in France.
``But the quality of drink, the drinking habits and food here is quite different, resulting in a steady growth of alcohol-related illnesses,'' said Vladimir Yegorov, the Russian Health Ministry's chief alcohol expert. ``When you mostly subsist on potatoes, vodka becomes disastrous for your health.''
Some experts also suggested Russian men may be more self-destructive than other Europeans.
``The neglect of one's health and life lies deep in the Russian male mentality,'' said Dr. Valery Yelizarov, a demographics expert at Moscow State University. He considered that a legacy of Soviet times, when the said the government devalued human life.
The advisory group suggested media campaigns to promote healthy habits and encourage Russians to reduce their use of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs.
It also argued for an increase in state spending on health care, from the current 2.8 percent of gross domestic product to 8 percent or 9 percent - unlikely considering the cash-strapped government is unable to meet its current financial obligations.
Russia's population stood at 147.5 million as of Jan. 1, the report said.
Balaam's Ass Speaks: Editor: We note that Russia needs a reason in some context to attack Israel. One reason which many have been watching would be Israel's much better food supply. Is it too far out to also wonder if Russia would like to take captive some Jews to force them to return to Israel as slaves? Impossible in the 20th Century? I am not sure.
Ezekiel 38-39 indicates that God will put hooks in Russia's nose and draw her to attack Israel. It seems that God has a score to settle with God and Magog, and God has very little choice. The hook could be just about any fantasy that God put into the Russian mind. God has now carved Gog down to just the original collection of peoples. The Mongolians and Middle Eastern lands of the former USSR are now separated, so Gog can cut a deal with Gomer (Germany), and they can go south for the spoil. Do you doubt that Germany would join Russia?
Well, Germany is also in trouble. Her constitution guarantees virtually ANY people from the whole world the right to flee to flee to Germany. Resorts have been 100% taken over in many areas by immigrants who have gotten onto the public dole and have shared rooms. They are also soon driving Mercedes cars, and the German tax payer HATES them with a passion. White hot Neo-Nazi hatred is boiling up in Germany for these aliens.
The same conditions that prevail in Russia could easily come to pass in Germany. I am 100% convinced that the death rate in the article above is also greatly affected by AIDS. This subject is always left out by wimpy media people because they don't want to go against the prevailing One World policy of keeping AIDS a big secret. Panic could set in, and panic in Russia could be mind boggling right now.
Germany is very promiscuous also. I don't think there is a people anywhere in the world more gross in conversation, and lust is splashed all over their advertising media. This means that they are then given to fornication and adultery as a raging passion. The AIDS plague ravages nations with no self-control on a national level, and the Germans are 100% out of control in the area of the libido. Russia is no different.
So we see that Gomer (Germany) and Russia (Gog) would have no inhibition at all to go south and rage against Israel. Lack of food, economic malaise, and lack of national identity have frequently been the prelude to war. Why? Answer: To simply get the people's minds off of their troubles. Thinking people-- Bible believer Christians-- have NEVER imagined that the Kaiser's, Bismark's, and Hitler's mindless lust for power, and hate for Jews, have been cleansed from the Germanic and Russian peoples. We do not point this out in hate for these people, and we ought to send them missionaries and Bibles so that they can be delivered of this spirit from Satan, But, prophetically, we also ought to be realistic about the Ezekiel 38-39. If you are a German or Russian and living out this depraved life, why not repent and be delivered of this doom your nations are certain to soon choose?
Note that Russians already are taking up arms in fear:
MOSCOW-- Valery Alexsayev looked his customer straight in the eye.
``You have to decide what you want the gun for,'' he said. ``If it's for self-defense, this Saiga is the piece. The clear choice.''
Alexander Surikov, a stocky, square-jawed man in a hip-length leather jacket, nodded gravely on the other side of the counter.
``And if you want to ride with your friends outside once in a while and shoot a duck, you can use this Saiga too,'' Alexsayev added. He cradled the rifle in his arms, and ran his fingers down the barrel.
It was just what Surikov was looking for. Few freedoms in the new Russia have been celebrated quite so enthusiastically as the right to bear arms. Gun sales, legal and illegal, have soared in the past few years - so much so that the Interior Ministry calls the domestic arms market ``the most destabilizing factor'' facing Russian crime-fighters.
Scarcely a day passes without a report of a gangland hit. Some Moscow restaurants require patrons to check their guns at the door.
And so far, there hasn't been a peep of protest from Russia's gun-control movement, and with good reason: Remarkably, given the scale of gun-related crime, no such movement exists.
``No,'' said retired Col. Viktor Kirilyuk, director of the Central Sports Shooting Club of the Russian Defense Society. The very notion of a gun-control movement seemed to puzzle him. In Russia, he finally said, there is ``no such problem.''
Actually, Russia's gun laws are far more restrictive than those of the United States. Handguns are illegal here, as are automatic weapons. And just as there is no mass movement to further control guns, there is no mass movement - no National Rifle Association - pressing to liberalize Russia's gun laws.
Kirilyuk, an avid firearms advocate whose office is festooned with brightly colored pennants from sports shooting clubs and tournaments around the world, recoiled at the thought of legalizing automatic weapons.
``You know,'' he said, ``we don't have so many animals that we should be shooting them with automatic weapons.''
But animals - and, more to the point, people - are being shot with automatic weapons, not to mention handguns. Russian newspapers are filled with stories about the black market in illegal weapons - many of them stolen from the army and from arms factories.
In its crime report, the Interior Ministry said it had identified 27 organized crime gangs that specialize in illegal arms sales. It said 9,500 crimes were committed with guns in 1996 - a pittance by U.S. standards, but a huge leap compared to Soviet days.
A recent article in the weekly newspaper Argumenty i Fakty estimated that there were 100,000 illegal weapons on the streets of Moscow alone.
During the Soviet era, all adults theoretically had the right to own one gun. In practice, not that many did, although most learned how to handle guns in school and competitive shooting sports were popular.
Under a 1994 law, Russians now have the right to own up to five guns, including gas-powered pistols, which use gas cartridges instead of gunpowder. The Interior Ministry, which licenses gun owners, refused to say how many guns are owned legally in Russia.
At the Central Sports Shooting Club, home of one of Moscow's largest indoor shooting ranges, interest in sports shooting has actually declined, following a decline in state-sponsored shooting clubs. Still, the place crackles with the sound of gunfire every afternoon and weekend, when whole families come to squeeze off a few rounds for target practice.
What has grown is the business at the club's adjoining gun shop.
On a weekday afternoon, customers streamed into the shop to admire its selection of American, European and Russian weapons at prices ranging from less than $90 for a Russian-made, gas-powered pistol to $2,300 for an Italian deer rifle.
The most popular gun in the shop is the Saiga 20 - named after a Siberian antelope, a Russian-built, .20-caliber, smooth-bore carbine with a detachable butt. At about $500, this is the gun that attracted the attention of Alexander Surikov.
Surikov, a 32-year-old security guard at Russia's Central Bank, previously had not owned a gun, but decided it was time. ``I'll feel more comfortable in our difficult, turbulent time,'' he explained.
Alexsayev, the salesman, resplendent in a billowing white shirt under a black suede vest, said Surikov was a typical customer. ``As they say, `For my family, for my home.' It's for self-defense.'' Personally, he'd prefer a handgun, Alexsayev said. Something unobtrusive, easy to tuck away in a car.
He broke off the conversation to attend to a new customer. Picking up the Saiga 20S, he began his sales pitch. As he spoke, he pointed the gun at a cockeyed angle toward the ceiling and absentmindedly pulled the trigger, over and over and over.
And, to complicate things, are the big guns are about to fire?
WASHINGTON-- Recent malfunctions of equipment controlling Russia's nuclear arsenal have switched missiles to ``combat mode'' on several occasions, increasing the risk of an unauthorized attack on the United States, a newspaper said today.
The Washington Times quoted a classified CIA study that said ``command and control equipment often malfunctions and on more than one occasion has switched spontaneously to combat mode.''
But the CIA report said that switching the missiles to combat status ``would not necessarily result in an unauthorized missile launch'' because of safeguards, including codes that control locks on weapons and supply target data to the missile.
The Times said the report was produced in March after warnings by Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov that control systems for Russia's nuclear weapons were deteriorating rapidly and the armed forces were partially blinded by a shortage of spy satellites.
Unless the military got more money, ``the system could fall apart'' for controlling the nuclear arsenal, Rodionov said in February. A senior Pentagon official, briefing reporters in advance of Rodionov's visit Tuesday with Defense Secretary William Cohen, said he would not comment directly on intelligence reports. But he pointed out that the report quotes a former officer in the strategic rocket forces, adding, ``That is at best, hearsay.''
``I've never seen any credible report from our intelligence services - across the board - that would indicate the risk of unauthorized or accidental launch has been raised,'' said the official, who is a specialist on nuclear matters. ``This is not something that's keeping me up at night,'' the official added at another point. He said he was far more concerned about the safety of the Russian's stockpile of chemical weapons, and the failure of the Russian Parliament, or Duma, to ratify the Chemical Weapons treaty.
Another Clinton administration official, also speaking on condition of anonymity said, ``We are confident that the Russian strategic rocket forces continue to maintain necessary levels of security and protection of nuclear weapons.''
In Moscow, a Defense Ministry duty officer declined comment today except to note there have been similar news reports, including one today by the military daily Krasnaya Zvezda. The military publication carried an item signed by Maj. Gen. Vitaly Denisyuk, chief of the Russian Strategic Nuclear Force's Central Command post.
``Since I became a duty officer at the Central Command post in 1985 ... there have been no cases of spontaneous switching to combat mode at any of the Strategic Nuclear Force command posts,'' Denisyuk wrote.
But, he added, ``Recently, the funding of planned replacements of combat control systems at control stations has been disrupted. If this tendency continues, a moment will come when the combat control systems' reliability will stop to meet the requirements.''
The CIA rated the chance of unauthorized nuclear missile launch as low under ``normal circumstances'' because ``many safeguards'' remain.
``However, if that system and its safeguards continue to degrade because of a lack of funding and maintenance, our concern will increase, especially if a crisis arose that splintered the armed forces,'' the report said. The newspaper said a CIA spokesman had no comment on the report.
Lest you, dear reader, think Russia is also mindlessly pagan, that condition is now more common in the USA. Note the following:
MOSCOW-- A Russian TV station canceled a broadcast of ``The Last Temptation of Christ'' for a second time Friday after a rally outside its studios by protesters who called the film blasphemous and pornographic.
The independent television station NTV originally tried to show the Martin Scorcese film on the eve of Russian Orthodox Easter last month, but pulled it under pressure from religious organizations and members of parliament.
NTV made a second attempt to show the movie, rescheduling it for late Friday night. But after a protest by several dozen people from the Orthodox Church and political groups outside its offices Friday, station executives yielded to demands to cancel it.
The Pamyat nationalist, patriotic group had announced earlier that it could not guarantee ``the safe existence of the NTV staff'' if the movie were broadcast, the Interfax news agency reported.
Scorsese's 1988 film has been criticized for depicting Christ marrying and having children, and has been banned in several countries. He received an Academy Award nomination for best director for the film.