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March 19, 1993 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-03-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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WESTERNIZING page 43

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© Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Inc., 1992. The name "Brooklands" is a trademark, and the . name "Bentley" and the badge and
radiator grille are registered trademarks. *Manufacturer's suggested retail price. Taxes, title and registration fees additional.

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DA Y

1222

etroiters conducting
business in the for-
. mer Soviet. Union
and Eastern bloc have
differing views on anti-
Semitism there.
Eugene Pyatenko, a
senior partner with
Miller Canfield Paddock
and Stone, is not Jewish.
He and Michael Kovacs,
Who is Jewish and vice-
president of Baltic
Technology Group, say
that the media have
blown the issue out. of.
proportion.
Howard Berkowitz, a
member of Temple
Emanu-El and partner
in HB-B Enterprises in
Farmington, said his
company has successful-
ly sold food processing
equipment in Russia
during the past year.
Like Mr. Pyatenko and
Mr. Kovacs, he says that
anti-Semitism is not a
major problem.
However, that might
change if Boris Yeltsin
loses power to more
right-wing leaders, he
said.
Other businessmen
think anti-Semitism is
more pronounced. Mark
Szymanski of Michigan
Trade Exchange, an Oak

'

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4 ,(,

851 - 5730

them automate businesses
in the Baltic republics and
other Eastern bloc
nations. Some of Baltic
Technology Group's train-
ing is performed through
internship programs with
companies in the United
States.
Mr. Kovacs, a member
of Congregation Beth
Achim, tried to convince.
managers of a govern-
ment-owned shipping corn-
pany thata - new computer
system would say.e them
time and money. The ship-
ping company's accounting
staff numbered 600. Still,
some of its management
resisted the offer. Mr.
Kovacs now suggests the
workers Might have
resisted in order to keep
fiscal corruption under
wraps.
. "We estimated' that,
with a computer system,
and five staff members,
they could do the same
job," he said. "But.when
you have 600 people doing
what could be done by
five, things get lost. With
a computer system (work-
ers) were deathly afraid
they could get caught."
Other factors create a

Communists still serving
in high-ranking manage-
ment positions, were not
entirely hostile to - new
ideas. However, they
weren't as receptive to
Western concepts. as the
younger students.
"It was like they figura-
tively shuddered," he said.
"At their ripe old age and
esteemed position, they
have to start' learning all
over again.".
Starting from scratch
might worry former Com-
munists for another rea-
son. Corruption. Under
the Communist system,
corruption was rife, pri-
marily because it was easy
to perpetrate. When a
company is .riddled with
inefficiencies, stealing
money- becomes simple,
said Detroiter Michael
Kovacs, vice president of
marketing for Baltic
Technology Group, which.
is based in Latvia.
Baltic Technology Group
has hired 40 Latvian corn-
puter scientists and tech-
nicians. The company
trains them on the latest
computer hardware and
software. It then brings in
Western experts to help

Park company doing
business in Minsk, says
anti-Semitism in the
CIS will worsen if politi-
cal turmoil persists.
"In some areas it is
quite extreme," Mr.
Szymanski said. "I have
never seen it manifested
violently, but there is
job discrimination...I
don't see any immediate
solution for it. There are
more immediate needs to
be addressed. When peo-
ple can't eat and feed,.
their family, they tend
to start blaming others."
Michael Traison, who
works as a senior part-
ner with Mr. Pyatenko
at Miller Canfield
Paddock and Stone, says
Jews are not safe in the
CIS.
"I agree with those
who said that totalitari-
anism in Eastern Europe
was the main reason
anti-Semitism was kept
in check," he said.
"Ironically, the lifting of
the Iron Curtain has
brought greater risk to
Jews in Eastern Europe,
but the situation in
Russia, specifically, is so
volatile. Jews are always
going to be at risk out-
side of Israel."

1

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