|Russia and the CIS News Digest
Ivanov Warns Against Change In Nuclear Doctrine
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov warned the United States on Sept. 13 against any change of its defense doctrine to allow pre-emptive use of atomic weapons, saying it would prompt others to seek nuclear arms. A draft revision of the U.S. Department of Defense nuclear operations doctrine was made available on Sept. 11, outlining the use of nuclear weapons to pre-empt an enemy's planned attack with WMD.
"Lowering the threshold for the use of atomic weapons is in itself dangerous.... Such plans do not limit, but in fact promote efforts by others to develop nuclear weapons," Ivanov told a news conference in Berlin before a NATO defense ministers' meeting.
Putin Promotes Russian Church Reunification
Russian President Vladimir Putin, heading for the United States to attend the 60th anniversary United Nations General Assembly meeting and have bilateral talks with President George W. Bush, also planned to meet with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR), continuing his efforts to reunify the two branches of the church.
Russian Emergencies Minister Critical Of Katrina Response
In an interview on Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy Sept. 10, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoygu warned that the death toll in New Orleans could reach several thousand. "This is entirely possible. In each city there are people who were not able to leavesingle old people, sick people," Shoygu said. He criticized the "ineffective" way in which information was spread before the hurricane: "The complete truth should have been told, and the city entirely evacuated. All homes should have been visited, and all weak and disabled people registered," he said. Electricity should have been shut off after all the people had been informed.
Shoygu also warned that in hot climates, there is a heightened danger of epidemics, and that to prevent these epidemics, there should always be reserves of water-filtering, disinfecting, and decontamination equipment.
Minister Shoygu expressed his surprise at the poor level of preparation of the U.S. authorities, and said that the creation of the Department of Homeland Security after Sept. 11 may have been in part the cause of the disorganization. He expressed his agreement with a U.S. report released a year ago, which said that it was problematic that smaller agencies and structures had been swallowed up in this hyper-department, and most of the smaller agencies had ceased to fulfill their functions.