The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 10, 1998, Page 6, Image 6

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Russia is
By Eric Rineer
Staff Reporter
Though Russia is in the midst of
political and economic turmoil, the
country is making remarkable
progress since its breakup, a former
foreign correspondent said
Hedrick Smith, a Pulitzer Prize
winner and former reporter for The
New York Times, spoke at the E.N.
Thompson Forum Thursday about
Russia’s state of affairs.
Smith, who won the 1974
Pulitzer Prize for his reporting in
Moscow, said Russia is on the verge
of making a major transformation
within only a few generations. That
pace is incredibly fast for a country
to rebuild its entire political and eco
nomic systems.
amira saiu u is important ior
Nebraskans to understand the crisis
Russians are experiencing.
Though Russia is no longer a
superpower, it still has a tremendous
influence on world politics, Smith
said. For example, Russia is the only
other country in the world with great
nuclear capacity.
The greatest failure for Russia to
this point is the country’s inability to
develop political parties, Smith said.
He said the absence of political
movement is part of the reason for
political instability.
Though Russia lacks political
movement, Smith said the institu
tions of democracy are beginning to
take place. This, he said, is an impor
tant beginning for a political trans
Though an empire has collapsed,
there have been no real changes in
Russian unemployment, he said. It
also is remarkable that there have
been no civil wars in Russia.
Smith also emphasized that
Russia possessed the second
strongest economy in the world
before die Soviet Union’s breakup.
It’s enormously difficult for any
country to undergo a major recon
struction of its economy, he said.
One of its biggest hurdles is its huge
decline in foreign investment.
The turmoil in Russia has
caused a separation of generations,
particularly between those older and
younger than 40. He said it was
much harder for the elders to adjust
to the radical changes now taking
place. The youth had a much easier
time adapting.
inougn many oi xne Russian
people have lost their economic,
political and belief systems, Smith
said Russians are far from being
politically passive - Russia has had
five national elections since 1995.
James King, a UNL associate
professor of agricultural leadership
and communication, attended the
forum and said it’s important for
UNL students to learn about interna
tional affairs.
“The more we know, the better
off we will be,” King said. “The
Russians have a great tradition in
arts and literature.”
Nebraska’s relation to Russia is
especially important, he said,
because its people are experiencing
a major change in their agriculture.
This, King said, includes the
possibility of Nebraska exporting
agricultural products, technology
ami expertise to Russia.
“It’s important to understand
what’s happening to people that are
hungry,” King said.
Dan Inhelder, a forum attendant
and senior forestry, fisheries and
wildlife major, also said it is impor
tant for students to stay informed on
Russia^ development.
“It’s essential to hear about
world economies, especially as in
Russia where the people are bounc
ing back from political change.”
Union bookstore
looking for buyer
BOOKSTORE from page 1
to Starbuck’s, the remodeled bookstore
will feature an expanded athletic wear
department and a branch of the UNL
computer shop, Main said.
If the bookstore was not sold, the
university would have to finance any
renovations itself and that could take 20
years to pay for, Main said.
Instead, whatever firm the commit
tee selects - and administrators
approve - to buy the bookstore will
provide UNL with a “very handsome”
sum of money to “improve things that
are going to benefit students.”
“They’re in it to make money,”
Main said, “but they’re going to want to
contribute portions of their profits back
to the university.”
Main said the bookstore deal would
be similar to the Pepsi Cola beverage
alliance, with the company contribut
ing to scholarships, campus improve
ments and programming.
The purchase would be the second
new ownership in Lincoln’s bookstore
business - ownership of the Nebraska
Book Company, which owns the
Nebraska Bookstore, changed hands
three months ago.
Leanna Fitch, junior French major,
said if the same firm that owns the
Nebraska Bookstore bought UNL’s
bookstore, she would be worried about
prices because of a book monopoly.
Right now, Fitch said, if prices at
one bookstore are too expensive, she
has the option to go to another.
“That would cause a problem
because there wouldn’t be competi
tion,” she said.
Daryl Swanson, Nebraska Unions
director, said the university could stand
only to benefit by the privatization
because it didn’t need to be financially
bailed out.
Unlike other universities’ book
stores, Swanson said, UNL’s is well
managed and in good shape financial
“We’re turning to privatization pri
marily to obtain private capital to
improve the store,” he said.
Some students may wonder what
the effect of the improvements will
have on their pocketbooks.
Fitch said prices would be the most
important part of a new bookstore.
“I don’t know that if it’s bought by a
private company that I would even nec
essarily go hang out there,” Fitch said.
“But I do need to get my books there.”
Main said everything would be
“cheaper, faster and better.”
The price of textbooks will not
increase, and may even be lower, Main
said. And the bookstore still will buy
used textbooks, he said.
“If we don’t have improved ser
vice,” Main said, “then we’re not going
to make die change.”
Students also will have job oppor
tunities, either as part-time cashiers or
as interns interested in bookstore man
agement, Main said.
To ensure a firm is in place by the
fall book rush next semester, Main said,
he hopes for a firm to be named by the
first or second week of May.
“The current operation is run very
well,” Main said, “so it’s going to take a
lot to convince us.”
Democrats square off
in gubernatorial forum
FORUM from page 1
“This campaign is going to be
about the values we share as
Nebraskans,” Hoppner said. “I know I
am connected with Nebraskans on the
fundamental issues that concern
Hoppner, who worked on the
gubernatorial and U.S. Senate staffs of
both James Exon and Bob Kerrey, said
Nebraskans’ call for property tax
relief has been especially clear.
“Out of all taxes, the property tax
is the least-linked to a person’s capaci
ty to pay,” he said. The value of a farm
doesn’t indicate its ability to generate
income for a farmer, and the value of a
house doesn’t always reflect the finan
cial well-being of its owner, he said.
McFarland, a former state senator
from Lincoln, agreed, calling the
property tax the “most onerous tax.”
The candidates agreed that educa
tion, which relies on property tax rev
enue, will have to receive more state
financial support as property tax cuts
are enacted.
Hoppner said that although citi
zens have called for a leaner govern
ment, they also want effective govern
ment that represents the entire popula
“I want to provide an assurance
that rural Nebraskans have a seat at the
table and that their interests aren’t just
an afterthought,” he said.
McFarland said one of his cam
paign^ main themes would be invest
ing in education designed meet
die state’s need for more highly skilled
“Our greatest resource in this state
is our citizens,” he said. “If we invest
in our students and make diem highly
qualified and skilled, we will prosper.”
McFarland said the state should
adopt a moratorium on the construc
tion of large hog-confinement facili
ties to protect die state’s environment.
Hoppner said a moratorium would
hurt small- and medium-sized hog
operations and was unnecessary for
sensible environmental regulations.
Hoppner said a $74 million prison
approved by the Legislature last year
is needed to meet the demands of an
overcrowded judicial system.
McFarland countered that the
prison’s price tag punishes taxpayers
more than criminals. He proposed that
greater use be made of community
corrections programs for nonviolent
offenders in order to open prison space
for hard-core offenders.
McFarland said he opposes abor
tion except when needed to save the
mother’s life. Hoppner said the abor
tion issue is less important than pro
viding health insurance to poor
Both candidates praised the work
of Gov. Ben Nelson, who is barred
from seeking a third term as governor
this year. Hoppner lost to Nelson in the
1990 Democratic gubernatorial pri
mary by 42 votes.
McFarland questioned the loyalty
of Hoppner, who did not support
Nelson’s unsuccessful 1996 U.S.
Senate bid and threatened to launch an
independent candidacy in that race.
In interviews after the debate,
Hoppner criticized McFarland for his
comment during the debate that many
rural schools are “woefully deficient
in quality.” Many small schools per
form well, he said, and would be nei
ther more efficient nor more effective
if consolidated with other districts.
But McFarland reiterated his con
cern for improved education and a
lower cost to run die government. He
said he supports a bill in the
Legislature calling for unified school
districts, which would share some
administrative staff.
“I don’t want to have second-class
schools and first-class prisons,” he
Both candidates said the
Republican candidates’ lead in fund
raising doesn’t ensure a GOP victory
in November. They said voters will
make their decisions based on who
best represents their interests, not on
who spends the most