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testimony of dr. alexie yablokov

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 Weldon

October 2, 1997

In these excerpts, Yablokov asserts his belief that Russian "suitcase bombs" do exist and that some of them are unaccounted for.

Introduction by Representative Weldon

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 answers.

... 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 from Russia.

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 possible?

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 Energy. ...

... 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 relationship.

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 these devices?

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 in Moscow.

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, honestly speaking.

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 course.

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.

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