Burnt-out White House draws tourists: Julian Nundy reports that Moscow seems remarkably calm only two weeks after the crushing of armed rebellion

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THE MAN outside the Ukraina Hotel sidled up and opened his overcoat to show his photographs. They were anything but erotic, however. They were postcards of the burnt-out White House, the Supreme Soviet, just across the river. 'Russian souvenir', he explained.

For a consideration, he and his associates took pictures of the steady trickle of people who made the parliament, shattered by tank fire, the object of a Sunday excursion. Grinning families stood with their backs to the building while the men by the Ukraina snapped them.

The Russian capital seems remarkably calm two weeks after the armed rebellion by supporters of the hardline Communist and nationalist deputies who holed up in the parliament in defiance of President Boris Yeltsin's decision to dissolve the body.

With a curfew in force until yesterday morning, the mafia, the crooks who float around town in flashy limousines, had gone off the streets. Over the weekend, some started to re-emerge. In the Tren Mos bar near Kropotkin Street, so named because it is owned by a joint venture company whose US partner comes from Trenton, New Jersey, the shaven-headed and muscle-bound pawed their blondes as they threw down dollars for their beer. The Russian manager of the bar was shot dead a few weeks ago.

Gone, too, were the vindictive and loutish nationalist types who like to stare people down in the metro, especially those they suspect of being part of the 'Jewish-Masonic plot'.

'They've gone out of town,' said one Muscovite. 'They're hovering on the outskirts waiting for the moment to return. Don't think they're finished. We've only had the first round.'

For Ivan Rudakov, a computer programmer in one of the many private banks which sprang up with the demise of Communism, the violence of 3 and 4 October was a logical consequence of what he said was the 'afganizatsiya of society'. He thus sums up the motley coalition, from religious loonies to out-and- out fascists, who backed the deputies. At the core were the afgantsy, the veterans of an unpopular Afghan war who have seen everything they thought they were fighting for crumble since the mid-1980s.

Twenty-one years ago, Mr Rudakov was interrogated for several weeks day in, day out by the KGB security police in 'Case 24', an attempt to destroy the Chronicle of Current Events, a cyclostyled and clandestine account of human rights abuses in the Soviet Union which was then in its 24th issue.

The KGB ensured that Mr Rudakov's job was held open for him while he was questioned. Each morning, he would turn up at a KGB office and would be given time off for lunch.

The two main suspects in the case were Pyotr Yakir and Viktor Krasin. Both recanted and received light sentences in a week-long trial in September 1973. Yakir, now dead, was the son of Ion Yakir, a Jewish Soviet army general and Communist Party Central Committee member who was executed in Stalin's purges. At the age of 12, for being his father's son, Yakir went to his first labour camp. By the time he was 28 he had spent half his life in jail.

After serving his term, Mr Krasin emigrated to New York where he became a financial analyst for a brokerage firm. Recently he retired and returned to Moscow.

A few months after the Yakir- Krasin trial, correspondents were called to a flat in the Moscow suburbs. There, Sergei Kovalev, now President Yeltsin's adviser on human rights, gave them three new issues of the Chronicle. He too was arrested and imprisoned.

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