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Russian society is hanging in a fragile balance, with millions of poor people, few rich individuals and no middle class, said Gen. Boris Bolshakov, deputy chief for personnel of what used to be the KGB.

Democracy still is alive, but radicals do everything to get power, and the shaky balance can be destroyed by careless moves of authorities in Moscow - or Washington, D.C., Bolshakov said Tuesday at the University of Utah.Bolshakov and his wife, Marina, are in Utah vacationing with their friend Lynn Champagne of Ogden, after meeting with U.S. officials in Washington.

"When Americans say they want the NATO to be expanded to Central Europe, they argue they want to help Poles and Czechs," Bol-sha-kov said in the talk at the university's Hinckley Institute of Politics.

Russian ultranationalists like Vladimir Zhirinovsky would say that was proof of American aggressiveness, he said.

"The Poles probably will be pleased, but instead of (Boris) Yeltsin you will have to deal with Zhirinovsky, and the 1990 conventional weapons treaty will be null and void," he said. "All we'll be able to say under the circumstances will be, `Congratulations on your thoughtful policy.' "

Bolshakov retired from the KGB's counterintelligence directorate in 1989 to become a member of the first Russian popularly elected parliament. He returned in 1993 to the reformed KGB, now called the Russian Federal Counterintelligence Service.

He said the organization has gone through several painful reorganizations.

Bolshakov criticized Moscow's human-rights violations in Chechnya, saying fewer people would have died in the crackdown had his agency been intact.