Russia may contribute to the international counter-terrorism campaign in any form, but it should stop short of deploying its troops in Afghanistan, Alexei Arbatov, second in charge of the Defense Committee in the State Duma, or parliament's lower house, said Saturday at a conference entitled "Russia and the West at the Turn of Millennia." He believes that all-out assistance, including airstrikes, should be provided for the Northern Alliance. The MP pointed out that Russia is no ally to the United States, and has no binding commitments to that country as far as military aid goes. So, the international anti-terrorist campaign and Russia's participation in it shall get the authorization of the UN Security Council. Arbatov said that if it is going to take part in this large-scale operation, Russia should also be involved in the planning. The lawmaker warned that on joining the international anti-terrorist coalition, Russia may become an object of "retaliatory acts" on the part of terrorists. This is why, he concluded, "Russia will need guarantees of support, military as well as political and economic, from the United States and other Western nations."
Mysterious philanthropist, Rustem Magdeev, had agreed, at his own expense, to donate a sculpture of Rudolf Nureyev, made by Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, to the Kazan Opera and Ballet Theatre