December 27, 2002 - Pravda: Moscow informs Washington of intention to abandon Peace Corps agreement

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By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, December 27, 2002 - 4:34 pm: Edit Post

Moscow informs Washington of intention to abandon Peace Corps agreement

Read and comment on this story from Pravda that Moscow has officially informed Washington of its intention to abandon the agreement for the Peace Corps to work in Russia.

This story comes as no surprise since it comes on the heels of the head of the FSB, successor organization to the KGB, who, in an interview on December 15, accused volunteers of trying to collect information on government officials and on the country's politics and economy.

This is the latest episode in the ongoing controversy between the United States and Russia over the continued presence of Peace Corps Volunteers in Russia. Earlier this year, the Russian government refused to extend the visas of 30 of the 64 Peace Corps workers already in the country. At the time, the Russian government gave no explanation.

Some RPCVs have speculated that Russia is using the Peace Corps to signal its displeasure with other US government policies. Other RPCVs who served in Russia say that the Russian government considers the presence of the Peace Corps an affront to Russian pride. This second interpretation is supported by the statement in Pravda that "in accordance with the paragraph nine of the agreement, activity of the Corps is oriented at developing countries first of all."

For the record, there is no evidence of intelligence gathering by the Peace Corps or by Peace Corps Volunteers over the Peace Corps' 40 year history.

Read the story at:

Surprise From FSB Director on the New Year’s Eve*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Surprise From FSB Director on the New Year’s Eve

The FSB unmasks spies working under the cover of the US humanitarian organization “Peace Corps”

Moscow officially informed Washington of its intention to abandon the agreement concluded with the USA on activity of the Peace Corps on the territory of Russia. Russian news agency RIA Novosti learnt the information from well informed sources in Moscow on Friday.

As sources mention, Moscow made the decision “as the situation has radically changed in Russia since 1992, when the agreement was signed.” Russia doesn’t need cooperation with the Peace Corps so much. Besides, as the sources emphasize, in accordance with the paragraph nine of the agreement, activity of the Corps is oriented at developing countries first of all.

On December 16, director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Nikolay Patrushev met with directors of several Russian mass media in Moscow. He said that this year Russia refused to prolong entry documents to 30 members of the Peace Corps. “Some of them are people who collected information about social, political and economic situation in the Russian regions, about officials in the government and the state departments, about the course of elections in Russia, etc.,” Nikolay Patrusev said.

For instance, as Nikolay Patrushev reported, former director of the Peace Corps’ department in the Far East, Valerie Ibaan violated the frontier regime when she penetrated a closed zone on the border with China.

Peace Corps volunteer, former CIA staffer Brown, who is known for his active recruiting of military men in Berlin in the 1970s, established contacts with the local administration and leaders of the defense establishments in the Russian city of Samara.

The USA reaction to the event was immediate. A spokesman for the American Embassy said: “The statements saying that members of the Peace Corps were involved into activity incompatible with their volunteer work are absolutely groundless.”

The Peace Corps is by no means the number one organization collecting information for the CIA. If we look deeper into the Russian and Soviet history, we’ll see lots of interesting facts, about activity of the American Relief Administration (ARA), for instance.

In 1921, millions of people in villages and cities of the 34 Russian regions were on the brink of starvation because of a severe drought. That is why famous Russian writer Maksim Gorky appealed to all “honest people in Europe and America” for assistance to the Russian regions beaten by the failure of crops, especially the Volga region. Governments and people from many countries responded to the appeal. Special committees were created in those countries for collection of donations to the starving Russian people.

The USA offered its assistance to Russia as well; many of ordinary Americans gave their money to save Russians from starvation. Businessmen also rendered their assistance, but they were guided not by humane reasons only: during WWI, the USA accumulated huge provision stocks, which entailed reduction of prices and threatened with a crisis of so-called overproduction. And leaders of American monopolies couldn’t find ways to move those goods away from the national market. One of the methods to get rid of the provision stock was to remove the food abroad, to the countries that needed extra provisions, including the Russian Federation.

The American Relief Administration was charged with purchasing, transportation and distribution of provisions on the territory of the Russian Federation. The State Political Administration exercised a secret control over activity of Americans in the country. This was done because of previous experience of contacts with some Americans. Those foreigners, also including Americans, who were in Russia during the civil war, were several times caught in military, political and economic espionage. The headquarters of the ARA central administration in Russia was formed by Herbert Hoover himself and mostly consisted of US army officers, former members of intelligence and police services. What is more, those people knew Russia, the Russian language, the life and traditions of the country. For instance, William Haskel, who had been the High Commissioner in the Caucasus, was later appointed director of the ARA representative office in the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic. At that time, the man was inimical to the Soviet Russia and tried by all means to embroil it with the Soviet republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Later, when Haskel got back to the USA in 1923, he became one of the intelligence chiefs at the US army headquarters. (“Humanitarian Mission or Subversive operation” by Oleg Matveyev, published by Independent Military Review on July 28, 2000).

For reference:

The American Peace Corps operates on the Russian territory since 1992. Currently, about 200 American volunteers are working in almost 30 regions of Russia. The Peace Corps sends teachers of English language and business fundamentals to Russian educational institutions. In addition to technical assistance, the Peace Corps also assists in the cultural exchange and in improving mutual understanding between the people from the USA and Russia, a US Embassy spokesman says.

Dmitry Chirkin

Translated by Maria Gousseva
Background on the Peace Corps in Russia

Read more background on the Peace Corps in Russia at:

Peace Corps disappointed with Russian decision
Exclusive: Peace Corps disappointed with Russian decision 27 December 2002

Moscow to abandon Peace Corps agreement
Pravda: Moscow informs Washington of intention to abandon Peace Corps agreement 27 December 2002

Associated Press: Russia Rejects U.S. Peace Corps 27 December 2002

US Ready to Remove Peace Corps From Russia
U.S. Ready to Remove Peace Corps From Russia, Citing Disputes 17 December 2002

Russian Spy claims "groundless" says US
Russian claims about Peace Corps volunteers "groundless" says US Embassy 16 December 2002

KGB accuses PCVs of "suspicious activities"
Update: KGB Chief says PCVs involved in suspicious activities 15 December 2002

KGB chief accuses Peace Corps workers of spying in Russia 15 December 2002

KGB refuses visas to religious workers
Russia refuses visas to religious workers 2 November 2002

Russia is cooling to the Peace Corps
Time Magazine says Russia "Cooling To the Corps" 23 August 2002

Radio Free Europe makes the Case for the Peace Corps in Russia 18 August 2002

Secretary of State Powell makes no progress on Peace Corps visas with Russian foreign minister 14 August 2002

Russia refuses visas for Peace Corps Volunteers
Peace Corps Moscow chief denies allegations of non-professionalism 13 August 2002

Russia Ousting Dozens Of Peace Corps Volunteers 12 August 2002

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Russia



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