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The Sarmatian Review Index

April 2004

Volume XXIV, No. 2

German defense cuts and shift from territorial defense to overseas peacekeeping in 2004

Amount by which German expenditures on defense are to be cut in 2004, as announced by German Defense Minister Peter Struck: 33 billion dollars.

Planned decrease in the number of troops in the Bundeswehr: 35,000, down to 250,000.

Planned divisions among this quarter-million: 35,000 to be designated as "intervention" troops, 70,000 as "stabilizing" troops, and 137,000 as support troops.

Source: UPI (Berlin), 14 and18 January 2004.

Russian military corruption

Standard size of necessary bribe to military officials to acquire the status of a conscientious objector: 800 dollars.

Amount of bribe money necessary to avoid military service altogether: 5,000 dollars.

Source: Moscow branch of the Soldiers' Mothers Committee, as reported by Russia Reform Monitor, no. 1114 (January 21, 2004).

Government spending in EU and US as percentage of GDP

Government spending in the European Union and the United States: 48 percent and 34 percent of GDP, respectively.

Source: Robert J. Samuelson, Newsweek, 9 February 2004.

Increase in Russian arms exports

Amount of money Russia received for its arms exports in 2003: 5 billion dollars.

Rate of increase in the Russian arms exports over the last several years: one billion dollars per year.

Source: Andrei Belyaninov of Rosoboronexport, Russia's state arms-exporting agency, as reported by Russia Reform Monitor, no. 1116 (28 January 2004).

Baku-Ceyhan pipeline

Cost of the Azeri-Turkish oil pipeline that will carry Azeri oil and bypass Russia: 3.6 billion dollars.

Source: Associated Press (Moscow), 7 February 2004.

Percentage of oil Poland consumes that is imported from Russia: 95 percent.

Polish hopes associated with the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline: the weakening of dependence on Russian oil.

Source: Donosy, January 2004.

Russian President Putin's assessment of the significance for Russians of Communism's demise

Putin's description of disintegration of the USSR made in a speech launching his presidential campaign on 12 February 2004: "It was a national tragedy."

Source: Gazeta , 12 February 2004.

Russian GDP vs. its natural resources

Russia's ranking in terms of the estimated wealth of its natural resources: second in the world.

Russia's ranking in terms of its GDP: 84th in the world.

Source: Head of the National Audit Authority Sergei Stepashnin, as reported by UPI, 18 February 2004.

Further AIDS increase in former Soviet republics

Former Soviet republics that are in the greatest danger of AIDS epidemic: Russia, Ukraine, and Estonia.

Estimate of the number of Russians infected by the year 2020: between 5.4 million and 14.5 million.

Projected population losses as a result: between 3.9 and 12 million people by 2025 (in one scenario), or at 5 million and 13 million by 2020 (in two World Bank scenarios).

Source: United Nations Report, as reported by UPI, 18 February 2004.

Size of the Internet

Number of the U.S.-registered domain names on the Internet: 30 million.

Source: Reuter's News Service, 5 February 2004, as reported by Houston Chronicle on the same day.

It has been printed--it must be true

Ethnic background of the population of Houston, Texas: 25.3 percent black; 30.8 percent "Anglo" (includes Central European non-Germanic ethnics); 37.4 percent Hispanic.

Source: President of the Houston Police Officers' Union Hans Marticiuc in Houston Chronicle, 11 February 2004.

Ethnic background of the population of Houston, Texas: 17 percent black; 49 percent "Anglo" (includes Central European non-Germanic ethnics); 29 percent Hispanic; 5 percent Asian.

Source: Lynn Ashby in Greater Houston Weekly, 11 February 2004.

Partitions of Poland and the value of the Polish zloty

Loss of value of the Polish zloty between 1650-1750: 50 percent.

Devaluation due to: depreciation of the silver content.

Scholarly works dealing with this development: none to our knowledge.

Source: Bernard D. Weinryb, The Jews of Poland: A Social and Economic History of the Jewish Community in Poland from 1100 to 1800 (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973), Appendix 1.

Composition of the original multinational division in Iraq under Polish command

Poland, 2,500 soldiers; Holland, 3,200; Italy, 1,130; Spain, 1,321; Ukraine, 1,644; Bulgaria, 480; Kazakhstan, 27; Romania, 205; Hungary, 441; Slovenia, 82; Latvia, 103; Lithuania, 45; Mongolia, 174; Thailand, 886; Philippines, 177; Dominican Republic, 300; El Salvador, 360; Honduras, 360; Nicaragua, 120.

Source: UPI, 1 August 2003.

Ukrainian language returns

Number of Ukrainian-language schools in Kiev in 2003: 500.

Number of Russian-language schools in Kiev in 2003: 8.

Proportions of Russian-Ukrainian schools in the Crimea: exactly reversed, 500 Russian-language and 9 Ukrainian-language schools.

Source: AFP, 19 November 2003.

Russia's external debt

Russia's external debt as of July 2003: 159.1 billion dollars (an increase since previous year).

Source: AFP (Moscow), 24 October 2003.

Violent death rates in the former USSR

Russia: 221 per 100,000, or the highest in the world; Ukraine: 149 per 100,000, or second highest in the world, followed by Kazakhstan (119 per 100,000). Violent deaths include murders, suicides, automobile and other accidents.

Source: France's National Institute for Demographic Studies, as reported by Russia Reform Monitor, no. 1092 (7 November 2003).

Contract murders in Russia

Number of contract murders by organized crime in Russia in 1999 and 2003, respectively: 3,300 and 26,000.

Source: UPI (Moscow), 20 January 2004.

Book seizures in Russia

Number of the FSB-seized copies of Aleksandr Litvinenko's The FSB Blows Up Russia, a book alleging that the Russian secret police agency was behind the 1999 apartment building bombings that killed more than 300 people and helped spark military intervention in Chechnya: 4,400.

Place where the book was printed: Latvia.

Circumstances of seizure: taken away from delivery truck as "anti-state propaganda."

Source:, as reported by Jonas Bernstein in Russia Reform Monitor, no. 1107 (30 December 2003).

Popularity of political parties in Poland

12 February 2004 Rzeczpospolita poll results concerning approval rates for Polish political parties: the ruling leftist alliance SLD-UP, 13 percent; League of Polish Families, 13 percent; Law and Justice Party, 13 percent; Peasant Party, 6 percent; Self-Defense Party, 17 percent; Civic Platform, 28 percent.

Source: Rzeczpospolita, 12 February 2004; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 13 February 2004.

Polish wages in 1989 (under Communism) and in 2003 (in free Poland)

Number of bread loaves one could buy for the average monthly wage in Poland under communism and today: 1017 and 1570, respectively.

Same figures for sugar: 490 lbs. vs. 1148 lbs; ham, 58 lbs. vs. 136 lbs; TV set, 0.2 vs. 1.5; car, 0.02 vs. 0.06; gasoline: no change; services: much more expensive today; food: the percentage of wages spent on food has decreased considerably.

Source: Bohdan Wyznikiewicz, Instytut Badan nad Gospodarka Rynkowa, as reported by Lena Bialkowska in Donosy, no. 3643 (5 January 2004).

Polish and Mexican GDP, or what Communism bequeathed to the next generation

Size of the Polish GDP per person in 2002 and 2004: 4,570 and 5,487 dollars.

Size of the Mexican GDP per person in 2002: 5,910 dollars.

Source: Lena Bialkowska in Donosy, no. 3678 (23 February 2004); World Bank data ( as of 1 March 2004.

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