Russia Tokyo Gas Attack

Date:         Sat, 08 Apr 95 23:14:59 EDT

Subject:      Russia & Tokyo Gas Attack (fwd)

I really don't know what to make of this...

                               The Daily Yomiuri

                             March 31, 1995, Friday

HEADLINE: Aum friendly with high Russian official

BYLINE: Yomiuri Shimbun

The Aum Supreme  Truth sect has had close relations  with some officials high

in the Russian government, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned Wednesday.

While the sect operates in several countries, Russia, where it has aired some

regular radio programs  and operated affiliated companies,  is considered its

strongest position abroad.

Aum once issued a booklet with a  photograph of its founder Shoko Asahara and

Oleg Lobov, head of the Russian Security Council.

Lobov, a  former vice  prime minister  of Russia, is  one of  President Boris

Yeltsin's closest  associates. He  is also  a former  chairman of  the Russia

Japan Foundation.

The booklet contained  a statement that Lobov had recommended  Aum be allowed

to use  part of the Russia  Japan Foundation's building as  its headquarters.

A  staff member  of Aum's  affiliate  company Mahaposha  visited the  Defense

Agency in November 1993 and asked for permission to use a large helicopter of

an organization chaired by Lobov to fly to Taiwan.

He told of a  plan to use the helicopter, which can  carry 100 passengers, to

fly from Vladivostok to Taiwan via Niigata, Fukushima, Hachijojima island and

Okinawa.  The plan was not carried out.

The  company later  bought another  large Russian  helicopter, Mil  17, which

police found on Aum's property in  the Asagiri highlands near Mt. Fuji during

the recent search.

Aum leaders also visited Ruslan Khasbulatov,  then speaker of the Congress of

People's Deputies, in March 1992.

"Aum started  its activities in Russia  in 1990 or sometime  around then. The

group first tried to have close ties with the Communist Party's leaders, then

with officials close to Yeltsin after the coup d'etat plot in 1991," a source

close to Russian government said.

The source said Aum was obviously supported by some high government officials

because only Aum was dropped from  the list of "organizations to be watched,"

after the  counterespionage office once concluded  it should be on  the list.

A reporter for  a prominent Moscow newspaper predicted  that Russian politics

could be shaken by Aum-related  scandals as the Japanese police investigation

moves ahead.

After the March 20 sarin gas  attack on Tokyo subways, the Russian government

voided  Aum's registration  as a  religious group  and the  court seized  its


A  Moscow radio  station also  decided to  stop broadcasting  Aum's programs.

Former  Russian Vice  Prime  Minister  Oleg Lobov  and  Aum founder  Asahara,

pictured in an Aum booklet photograph.