Twelve generals of the Federal Border Service have published in the pro-Communist daily Pravda a collective letter to the Duma, asserting the need to close "holes" in Russia’s western and southern borders and asking for adequate funding to do the job. The generals write that they have neither enough manpower nor equipment to protect the borders with Ukraine, Belarus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and China. The penetrability of these borders contributes to the increase of criminality in Russia and the "plundering of the country’s material wealth," according to the generals. They allege that approximately 20 percent of Russian oil, timber, and non-ferrous metals are being smuggled out of Russia across those borders by criminal groups. They also complain that inadequate manpower on the Russian-Chinese border has led to an influx of illegal immigrants to Russia’s Far East. Despite this situation, the 1996 draft budget allots the Federal Border Service only 40 percent of the 12 trillion rubles it says it needs. (4)
Kuchma to Visit China.