For a Kinder, Gentler Society
In March 1997, the Iraqi parliament ratified a 23-year oil contract with Moscow allowing a Russian oil consortium headed by LUKoil to develop reserves estimated 7-8 billion barrels in Iraq's southern Qurna oil field, Iraqi media reported. Russia is spend $200 million on activities related to the project and extend credit worth $1 million to Iraq.

 - In August 1997, Interfax reported a joint venture between Russia and Iran to construct a major trade port in the village of Olya in Astrakhan Oblast, in the Volga delta, kilometers from Astrakhan and 45 kilometers from the Caspian coast. On completion, the port will handle 10 million tones of fright annually. The first new facilities, which will be completed by 2000, will have an annual capacity of 2 million tones.

- In August 1997, Russian oil companies concluded a series of deals with Bagdad to buy more then 30 million barrels of Iraqi oil under the UN's so-called "food for oil" arrangement. Among them Zarubezhneft, LUKoil, Rosneft, and Alfa-Eko led the way, each will buy more than 5.5 million barrels of oil.