Testimony of Dr. Alexie Yablokov, former Science Advisor to Boris Yeltsin,
before the Research And Development Subcommittee of the House National Security Committee, chaired by Representative Curt
October 2, 1997
In these excerpts, Yablokov asserts his belief that Russian "suitcase bombs" do
exist and that some of them are unaccounted for.
Dr. Alexie Yablokov is the founder of the non-profit non-governmental Center
for Russian Environmental Policy, currently distinguished professor and
academician of the Russian Federation Academy of Sciences. He formerly chaired
the Interagency Commission on Environmental Security of Russian Federation
National Security Council, reporting directly to Boris Yeltsin.
Until December 1993, he was President Yeltsin's special counselor on the
environment and public health. In 1991, Professor Dr. Yablokov was elected to
the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and served there as deputy chair of the
Committee on Ecology. From 1967 to '89, he worked as head of the laboratory at
the Institute of Developmental Biology of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In
1982, he was elected a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
He served as chair of the USSR branch of Greenpeace from '89 to '90, and as
president of the Moscow Society for the Protection of Animals from '88 to '93.
Professor Yablokov's international honors include doctor honoris causa (ph),
University of Brussels; Role of Honor, International Union for the Conservation
of Nature, Switzerland, 1991; Science Award, American-Saudi for eco-toxicology
and chemistry, 1991; and honorary member of Globe International.
He's a author of ten books, ten of which have been translated into foreign
languages and five of which have been published in the United States. His many
articles have attracted a great deal of attention and demonstrated using
extensive scientific evidence how far the process of destruction of nature was
advanced under communist rule. ...
Dr. Yablokov is truly an international figure and someone who is very highly
regarded and someone who, I think, will offer some very insightful testimony
today on the status of Russia's nuclear stockpile, their materials, our ability
to work with Russia, and especially on the issue of small Russian devices.
YABLOKOV: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I feel slightly uneasy after a such a
bright introduction, but I am here because we need to protect American and
Russian people from nuclear threat.
And I mostly concentrate today on some unusual, maybe exotical problem
concerned with small-sized nuclear weapons -- suitcase atomic demolition
munitions. Why it's so important? Because we have no answer for this threat,
no answer. We discussed this problem with [terrorists] -- nobody have answers
for this threat. If somebody will [attack] us with such munition, we have no
... Why I -- biologist and ecologist -- raise this question, I feel that in
the former Soviet Union, all territories are radioactive -- and nuclear
pollution, number one pollution, compared with other problems, environmental
problems. And I tried to collect more and more data about this. ... During
collection of material for this book, I have met hundreds and hundreds of
nuclear specialists in my official duty as a counselor to Russian president and
as the chairman of the Environmental Security Commission in the National
Security Council. I visited many of the nuclear installations in Russia,
including Krasnoyarsk-26, Tomsk-7 ... Chelyabinsk-65, even Penza-19 [which is]
never mentioned, but it's very interesting place, and many nuclear power plants
and many scientific institutes.
And what is more important, I have during my discussion with some people, I met
one people who told me several years ago, "Yes, do you know that exists such a
small size of nuclear weapons, like suitcase?" I was surprised and cannot
believe, but he told me, "I made it."
He made it in beginning of the '70s by order KGB -- not military, mind, but KGB
order. ...One year ago, 44 NGOs, just one day before Moscow G-7 meeting about
nuclear safety, conduct NGO meeting on nuclear safety. And we openly arised
this question -- we make special note to recommend[ to the] leader of G-7 [to]
make prompt public declaration all of the overall size and breakdown of nuclear
weapon arsenal and the fissionable inventory.
And I have present[ed] this material in mass media. I openly talked about
existing of such strange, small-sized nuclear weapons which [were] never
mentioned in Russian or Soviet stockpiles. It was why General Lebed, when he
[was] granted power, [raised] this question in official way. ... General Lebed
announced that he was successful [in his investigation] partly. He find 48
such munitions, so it exists. But what we have in official way, after Lebed
declaration, after my declaration, all official sources of information say,
"No, it's impossible," or, "It [does] not exist."
It creates a lot of additional questions. ... During beginning of '70s, in USSR
have been made some number -- nobody knows exactly -- some number of small-
sized suitcase-size nuclear munitions. For what? For terroristic [purposes].
Exactly; only for terroristic [purposes].
It was cold war; it was maybe middle of cold war, and they tried to fight this
capitalism. They tried to kill capitalism through this unusual weapons. I
repeat, it was KGB; it was not Minister of Defense. It was KGB who ordered it.
This nuclear bomb [was] never included into official list of Soviet nuclear
arms or nuclear stockpiles.
Maybe now it don't exist. Why? ... Any nuclear arms, any nuclear warhead,
have to be replaced in several years. Fissile material have to be replaced,
especially plutonium, after six or seven years ... . It means that during this
time, beginning from '70s, this small-sized nuclear weapons have to twice ...
be replaced. I doubt that it have happened during -- I don't know -- last ten
years, at least. But Russian officials ... have conducted ..., under my
pressure, a report, which our chairman mentioned.
When I was head of presidential secret commission about nuclear dumping and
when this commission complete this report, I ask and pray my president, Mr.
Yeltsin, all this negative fact about nuclear dumping, radioactive, it not
belong Russia; it belong to Russian-Soviet past. Let us open this data for all
people, and we clean the hand.
It happened and now we know it is out... . It never happened with small nuclear
bomb. They lie about this. Now, it's too late to accept this or if they
accept, the all people around the world will count Russian officials is liar
because they don't accept it before. Such a strange situation -- at the end of
the story, I am absolutely sure that ... it had been made, but I'm not sure
that it exists just now... . But, this question about small nuclear munitions
raises maybe a more wide question connected with the nuclear threat arising
Nobody can trust our nuclear ministry. ... You have to understand this. Nobody
can trust our nuclear ministry, because they have his own logic, his own moral,
his own task, his own target. By the way, maybe it's not the proper place to
mention it, but I have to make it, because I honestly want that you understand
the situation. The Minister Mikhailov was the only official person whom,
during Soviet time, Soviet Parliament officially mark[ed] him as a liar. It's
the only place during Soviet history. I was a member of Soviet Parliament, and
we'd catch Mikhailov [lying] when he told us two times absolutely opposite ...
things about consequences of ... nuclear test activity.
What's the end of this story, not with Mikhailov, but with all of this
situation with small nuclear arms? I feel that the main perils now is
uncontrolled development in the Ministry of Nuclear Energy in my country.
Mikhailov openly declared that his target as a minister [was] to make this
ministry independent from state. For what reason? For what aim? How is it
In 1992, this ministry earned about $700 million American for expert[s],
technology and so on. In 1996, this ministry earned more than $2 billion ... .
And Mikhailov openly in this year, several months ago, declared that his own
target [was] to earn in two years or in three years $5 billion American... .
If they really have $5 billion ... it creates a situation where this ministry
really will be independent from government, from budget. And in such a
situation, maybe it will be uncontrolled development of new military technology
inside ministry, uncontrolled even [by] government.
I know a lot of people which work in this ministry. During Soviet time it was
special selected people, talented, very talented, but with only one thing. All
which good for ministry. Ministry of Nuclear Energy is good for country, such a
strange, strange mood. And I know that until now the main people, top level
people in this ministry dream about coming back to Soviet militarized style of
society. ... How we can stop it? You have two possibilities to act, inside
Russia and outside Russia. Inside Russia, I think maybe you'll be interested
that three days ago I just came from Kazakhstan, where I participated in a very
interesting ... social union, it was a socioeconomic, ecological union, for all
former Soviet Union. And nineteen anti-nuclear groups joined inside this union
three days ago to declare the need to create special anti-nuclear program in
the former Soviet Union. So we have a lot of non-government organization[s]
that can serve like watch dog for unhealthy development of Ministry of Nuclear
... I am ready ... for your question[s]. But, before I finish I have to say
that I am proud to be here. I am glad to be here. We have to join our
strengths to make our countries and the world more safet ... . Thank you, Mr.
Chairman, and I only ask when somebody asks a question make it in the simplest
form, and slowly please.
REP. WELDON: Thank you, Dr. Yablokov for your outstanding testimony and for
traveling so far to be here on rather short notice. ...
And when we begin the questioning, let me say for the public and the press
that's here, we have a transcript of Professor Yablokov's interview on Russian
TV, about the nuclear devices. We have a copy of Professor Yablokov's letter
which appeared in the Moscow press about a week or so ago. And we have also an
article from a Russian magazine that gives very specific details about suitcase
bombs. Now, why is all this important? It's important because every major
leader in Russia, over the past week to ten days, has emphatically denied that
these devices ever existed. Now, here we have a person who has talked to
individuals who were involved in making these devices.
I have an article that appeared in Zaftra in 1995, a Russian periodical, that
went into very specific detail, which we'll provide to anyone here, of the
construction of these devices. I've asked Professor Yablokov to look at this
article, which he did this morning. It describes in exact detail the size,
dimension and capability of these weapons. I have another article that
documents Dudayev in Chechnya, where there was a threat that was made against
the Russian government that if they didn't pull out of Chechnya a suitcase
device would be used. Our intelligence community was contacted, and as it's
been reported in the media, our CIA sent over agents into Chechnya, cooperating
with the Russian intelligence, to determine whether or not these devices were
in place in Chechnya.
So, in fact, both the U.S. and Russia took this extremely seriously, as
recently as 1995. And, in fact, under questioning yesterday, by our friends
from the NEST team they train every day for the potential response necessary to
deal with suitcase sized nuclear devices. And to be frank and honest with you,
one of the problems that I have, as someone who spends as much time in a
positive relationship with Russia as any member of this Congress is a repeated
denial of what we know to be reality, in fact. That just doesn't help our
And this hearing, as I said yesterday, is not being called to somehow back
Russia into a corner. This hearing is not being called to embarrass anyone.
This hearing is not being called because I want to portray Russia as the evil
empire, because none of those things are true. This hearing is called because
if we're going to have a stable relationship, it must be one built on
transparency, on candor, and on an honest effort in both countries to deal with
problems that could effect the people in Russia, as well as the people in my
home state of Pennsylvania, and throughout this nation. ...
Dr. Yablokov, in your testimony today you mentioned that the devices were
produced at least in part for the KGB. I have before me an article written by
William Potter, director of the Center for Non-proliferation Studies at the
Monterey Institute of International studies. And I want to quote from what he
said. "In January 1996, I received a similar report," -- he's referring to the
suitcase bombs that Lebed spoke of -- "from a senior advisor to President Boris
Yeltsin. According to this individual, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the
KGB acquired an unspecified number of small nuclear weapons, under 75 pounds,
that never were included in any inventory." Are you aware of the briefing that
was given to President Yeltsin back in the '70s and '80s?
MR. YABLOKOV: I don't so sure.
REP. WELDON: Is it your impression that the KGB, in fact, was the purchaser of
MR. YABLOKOV: It's difficult to say. I don't know the situation just now. ...
In Soviet time, KGB was divided into four different governmental bod[ies]. Now,
KGB have not such a huge size and huge influence, but it exists. But, of
course, during this divide, during this process, maybe not too strong -- so
strong guide for nuclear weapons. I don't know. Now, answer for your
question. Now we have no such KGB like we have in Soviet time.
REP. WELDON: I understand. When you talked to some scientists who had worked
on these devices, did they share their concern about the security of them and
who would have access to them? Who would control them?
MR. YABLOKOV: I never heard about some problem with control. Under my
official duty, we discussed the problem. It was a special meeting of my
commission, Environmental Security, and National Security Council about
environmental security during nuclear disarmament. It was two years ago. And
we discussed wide spectrum of problem. ... And ... the main problem [was] the
transportation of nuclear weapons, as I remember ... not [security] in the
place but transportation.
REP. WELDON: Dr. Yablokov, I want to take a moment to set the record straight
in terms of the interview with General Lebed, because some of our media and
some of the Russian media have portrayed General Lebed's statement as a
grandstanding attempt to gain media attention. And I want to explain how
General Lebed's comments came about. My second trip to Russia this year was in
May, as the chairman of the American side of the Duma Congress Study Group,
which I formed last year and which I chair with my co-chair Steny Hoyer. So we
were involved in meetings with members of the Russian Duma, over two or three
days. While there we met with members of the senior Russian leadership ... to
get an assessment on some of the ideas we had for working with Russia.
I thought it would be useful if our delegation of six members of Congress also
met with General Lebed to get an assessment from his perspective of stability
in Russia's military. We asked for the meeting. And we had a private, two-
hour, closed meeting in his office. There was no media present. There was no
press conference before or after our meeting. It was a very private
discussion. There were a number of things that General Lebed raised.
He raised the issue of nuclear security, of nuclear waste, the problem of the
reactors on the submarines that are sitting in the ports of Russia, that you've
raised repeatedly. He raised the issue of the morale problem in the Russian
military, which has been widely documented throughout the world, the lack of
pay and pensions, the lack of housing, which we've been aware of in this
country. He raised the issue of his concern about some of the more capable,
senior, former Soviet generals and admirals having been forced out of the
military by the downsizing and not having adequate and proper pension funding,
having to resort to, in some cases, criminal activity.
One of the things he mentioned was that he was given the responsibility, when
he was secretary to the security council for Boris Yeltsin, was to account for
132 suitcase sized devices. He wasn't raising this issue to alarm us, or to
make some big international media story. He was raising the issue as one of a
series of concerns that he had, that he felt we should work on together. And
he said that in his work, out of the 132 devices he could only locate 48. And
we asked him about the others and he shrugged his shoulders and said, I don't
know. This was not an attempt to have an international story appear.
I then came back to America and produced the report from that trip, and
published it, as we do, as a public document. The media then picked up one
small part of that entire trip, and of General Lebed's broad discussion, which
was the story of the suitcases, and called me for an interview on 60 Minutes,
which I did. And then they followed that up with a meeting with General Lebed
I want to set the record straight, because there are some, both in Russia and
the U.S., who have portrayed this as an attempt by Boris Yeltsin to enhance his
vision, or enhance his visibility worldwide, and to assist him in his
presidential ambition. I want to set the record straight that the
circumstances under which this information came out are just as I have outlined
them to you. And in fact, I have been in contact with General Lebed and his
staff. He's traveling in Japan right now, and he's agreed to come to
Washington at the end of October, and discuss in more detail his concerns. And
his concerns are not just about these devices. It's about the control of
nuclear fissile material, nuclear weapons, the adequacy of the accounting
procedures, and the status of the Russian military.
Would you step away [from this topic] for a moment, Dr. Yablokov, [and talk]
not necessarily ... about the specific nuclear suitcase devices [but] of our
effort to fund what you heard Senator Lugar talk about, and that is
dismantlement of weapons. There have been some who have said we should have
concerns, because all of the money is not going for that purpose. Would you
give me your feelings on that?
MR. YABLOKOV: My feelings are extremely complicated, because on one side I
know ... in Russia, that the bulk of [foreign] money which Soviet Russia now
spent for nuclear security [comes] mostly from United States. But, I doubt that
all this money is going proper way. This is question, because you supply our
Ministry of Nuclear Affairs some good amount of money. We need to follow this
money, up to the smallest amount, how we can conduct in existing system. You
have no good watchdog.
My idea is, if you create some kind of public group to follow this money, it
will be just what we need. We have people who can serve in this, who have
good, absolutely outstanding reputation, and who will be included in such a
group. ... We need something, because look, for example, America and European
council support our nuclear power plant. Yet, our nuclear power plant, out of
question, is all very dangerous. We are facing to close it. Instead this
money, which the Ministry of Nuclear Affairs has from abroad, [is used] to
innovate this nuclear power plant. Maybe it's not the best way to act. Maybe
it will be better to spend this money to close this nuclear power plant, Kola
Peninsula power plant, which may be [most] dangerous power plant all over the
globe, Leningrad nuclear power plant, the same Chernobyl type, also very
dangerous. Instead [the money is used] to innovate it. So you have to open
discussion. You have to open this topic, not only for closed group, for
nuclear specialists, but for open honest discussion. And inevitably, in such a
discussion, you have to involve non- governmental organization. It's the only
source of real information. ...
So I support your idea about creation of such a non- governmental watchdog for
American money. It will be excellent. It will be good for America. It will
be good for Russia. ...
Let me turn to my colleagues, and then come back to some other questions.
Mr. Redmond, do you have any questions?
REP. REDMOND: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have a couple of questions and a couple of observations. One is that, you
know, during the 1980s, during the Star Wars days, we were very concerned about
what was going to come in over our heads, and not realizing that the threat was
coming in in a suitcase over the border. And I think that this reminds us that
the propensity of the human mind to be devious and create destruction -- which
is a reminder for us to always be vigilant and cautious. I have a question
concerning the stewardship of what we do have inventoried. Does the
Nunn-Lugar- Domenici bill, does it include funding for the computer simulation
that's necessary to make sure that what we do have inventoried is safe and
reconstructed when it needs to be reconstructed? ... My second question is, any
of the Nunn- Lugar- Domenici funds -- is any of that designated to investigate
and identify that which is not inventoried?
MR. YABLOKOV: For me it's difficult to say what's the best ... what size fund
... .I only say, the American money now very important for us. ... I deeply
appreciate that you have that decision because it not only for us. It also for
you. It creates more safety situation for all the globe.
What's the best way to act? You have to continue to spend this money, because
it creates more safety situation for United States, also. But, the task, I can
repeat it three times or four times, we need to follow this money. We need to
be sure that this money spent is the proper way. We need to be sure that this
money not for the illegal development of new type of nuclear weapons in some
secret laboratory of the Ministry of Nuclear Energy.
REP. REDMOND: ... Have you said that there have been additional secret cities
created recently, is that correct? How many?
MR. YABLOKOV: One. It was a place in Saratov district, near Volga, in middle
Volga, where place is center of production of chemical weapons. I forgot the
name, exact name. But, it's a small city, where [they] conduct a lot of public
protest against [the] existing plan to destroy chemical weapons in this place,
because the people are afraid that it creates the same environmental problem,
and public health problem which we have in previous times when the produced
chemical weapons. And instead solving of this problem, [they put] this city,
under secret status. We have special law about secret cities. It's impossible
to any public demonstration, and something like this.
That we feel that a strong attempt to press environmental movement in Russia,
this is one more reason why it's so important to support non-governmental
environmental organization in Russia. Non- governmental environmental
organization, may be now one of the more sound public organization which help
to create normal society, normal, democratic, open society. ...
REP. REDMOND: The next question I have is in regard to the one hand not knowing
what the other hand is doing in the sale, or attempted sale of munitions to
Iran. Has that been politically cleared up inside Russia, so that we won't be
looking at another situation where one hand is not knowing what the other hand
is doing with your inventory?
MR. YABLOKOV: It's impossible to say something about political clearings
inside Russia. It's so complicated situation, so many people involved. ...
REP. REDMOND: So your leadership is not structured where there is central
control of these weapons that currently exist?
MR. YABLOKOV: It's central. Honestly speaking, I feel that physical control
for existing weapons, I visit a lot of place where it's weapons built and
rebuilt and so and so on, even keeping place, main storage place, and I feel
that it's enough strong control, maybe old fashioned, but enough strong control
REP. WELDON: There is, in the Nunn-Lugar program, they're in the process of
using that money to develop computerized inventories of Russia's nuclear weapon
and materials, right now as we speak. And as you say, Dr. Yablokov, their
inventories have traditionally been done manually on paper. And so an area
that we're focusing on is to computerize these. So it is happening.
REP. REDMOND: Okay. Thank you. ...
REP. WELDON: Let me [go back to] this issue over these nuclear suitcase
devices. Now, you mentioned in your testimony that you talked to some
scientists who had worked on these devices. And you mentioned that we
developed the same type of systems, which we've acknowledged that we did. And
we've destroyed them. Are you aware that there was a story reported in the
Russian media that Chechnyan rebels attempted to buy a nuclear suitcase device
through a middle man in the Baltic states, I believe it was Lithuania? Are you
aware that there was an attempt made to buy one of these devices?
MR. YABLOKOV: When this story had been published a couple of years ago, or
maybe three years ago, I surprised that ... officials have not commented about
this, because this story include[d the] person['s] name ... number of flight,
... so many details that it's possible to check. Nobody check it. It's
strange. It's extremely strange. It creates some feeling that maybe something
happened, something exists.
And I come back to my introduction, why it's so important, suitcase bomb?
Because we have no answer for such terroristic activity. We have no answer. I
deeply appreciate your committee, that you discuss this problem, because even
we have smallest chance that the problem exists, we have join our strengths to
overcome this problem. ...
REP. WELDON: Dr. Yablokov, since the story ran on our news, in early
September, there has just been a barrage of Russian news stories relative to
this issue. It's been amazing to me, I monitor the Russian media on a daily
basis, and what's being transcribed. And I'm seeing article after article
about this. It seems as though the public mood in Russia is very much aware of
this issue. Would you tell us what the mood of the Russians are? What are
they thinking about this? Do they think this is just some crazy story by
General Lebed, or do they actually believe that maybe these devices did exist
and still are unaccounted for? What do the Russian people think?
MR. YABLOKOV: It's an interesting psychological question. Public awareness now
is a very interesting topic in Russia. Public awareness now, concentrates
about criminality, about economical problem, about money, of course, how we can
make money. And all other problem, including public security problem,
environmental security, or military security, I think out of public attention,
out of public attention. Why this suitcase situation took public attention,
maybe? Because Lebed give us ideas that it may be connected with some
criminality. I doubt that it's connected with some criminality. I doubt,
REP. WELDON: ... Will the leadership in Russia ever acknowledge that these
devices did exist?
MR. YABLOKOV: No, I doubt. Leadership of Russia are now preoccupied [with]
other problem, military reforms ... nobody knows in what direction we have to
conduct our military reform. So it's such a hectic time in Russia, in
political sense, economical sense, that I am sure that nobody specially
discusses this question in the government. ...
REP. WELDON: ... What concerns you more in terms of proliferation of nuclear
weapons and materials? Are you more concerned about growing organized crime
getting those devices, or a deterioration of the Russian military?
MR. YABLOKOV: I think the ... most dangerous situation [is the] disorganized
system inside ... government. Not criminality, but simple Russian out of law,
disorder, Russian disorder, which now we have enormous, enormous scale. And
Nunn-Lugar money help us to order, to make it more order. It's important.
REP. WELDON: And I agree with you. And I also share the concerns of my
colleagues, and you, the concerns you raised about making sure the money goes
to the right purpose. And that's why I think the initiative we've talked about
could be so important. But, let me also state to you that, while we support
the Nunn-Lugar program, do you agree that ... the ordinary Russian citizen is
not seeing the direct benefit of Nunn-Lugar money. You know, if you're living
in a small home outside of Moscow, you don't see the direct benefit of America
putting Nunn-Lugar money into your country.
And that's why my own personal feeling is that we need to do more to help
Russia create a new middle class, which is why I think the housing initiative
is so important, to develop a housing industry in Russia. So that as Russia
continues to transform into a democracy, we need to have an institutional
process that allows people to be able to buy their homes. As you know,
interest rates in Russia today are running at 20 or 25 percent, and you can't
borrow money for more than 1-1/2 to 2 years. So it's impossible for an ordinary
family to buy a home. Do you agree that while we're focusing on Nunn-Lugar,
there should also be another initiative working with Russia to help create a
middle class, and perhaps you can do that through a housing industry that we'd
help develop? What are your thoughts on that?
MR. YABLOKOV: ... I agree with you, the creation of middle class ... may be a
main target. In Soviet society, you have 80 percent of all Soviet industry was
military industry. About 40 million people in Soviet union was directly or
indirectly connected with military industry. If you successfully turn this
huge amount of people into right way, it would solve a lot of problems, of
But, when we speak about Nunn-Lugar money, I have to mention that in public
opinion--maybe it's created from communistic propaganda, until now very heavy,
very effective--that it looks like ... America wants to control Russian nuclear
arms. This creates some negative response from public. When you have to count
this negative response and you have to explain that it's not attempt to
control, to reach our state secret, but it's an attempt to create more safety
situation all over the globe.
I think Nunn-Lugar program nothing to do directly to creation of middle class.
Maybe we have to create some new program, the same size like Nunn-Lugar
program, to support middle class of Russia, because it create enormous support
for our future relations, maybe it's more important, even more important than
our disarmament now, because you have to think about not only for today, but 10
years, 15 years, and so on.
REP. WELDON: I agree with you totally, and as I said before, Charles Taylor
from North Carolina proposed this idea. And he and I went to Russia twice this
year, and that was our discussion. We met with the Minister of the Economy,
the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Housing and Construction, and they
were all in agreement with us, and we came back and met with Ambassador
Morningstar and said that we would help in the Congress put together a model
program to create this housing initiative. Unfortunately it's not come about
yet. But, I think as important as controlling and destroying nuclear weapons,
is we've got to show the Russian people that they're going to benefit directly
from democracy and from the changes that are occurring. And they're not
feeling that right now.
MR. YABLOKOV: I agree.
REP. WELDON: They're still mired down and making $200 a month or less, and
they're having very difficult times with inflation. And unless we do that I
think there's going to be instability within the Russian society, that's going
to eventually cause major upheaval, as General Lebed predicted would occur when
I met with him back in May.
Dr. Yablokov, as always, you've been very forthcoming. You've been --
your statement is just unbelievable. And I can't express enough the importance
-- to those who would say that you're coming here and speaking inappropriately,
let me say to them in advance, again, I spend a significant amount of my time
working issues of cooperation with your country. And it's because of people
like you that I do it. And without people like you, I will not feel, in my
heart, and in the inner part of my body to work these issues.
And so as long as you keep the struggle up in your country, in the end for
what's best for the people of Russia, and for your scientific friends and
colleagues, we know that we can in fact eventually achieve what we all want,
and that's a peaceful, stable relationship between Russia and the people there,
and America and our people, and one that's built on trust and transparency.
And so you've contributed to that tremendously.
The last time you were here you helped leverage funding for the nuclear waste
problem, which continues today. This visit will help, I think, leverage a new
level of cooperation with Russia. And I hope people will take your visit in
that light. Although you certainly have raised some troubling things that we
have to investigate. So thank you for being here, and God bless you for being
such a forthright leader, not just in Russia, but you're really a statesman for
the world. Thank you.
MR. YABLOKOV: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.