This Date's Issues:
Johnson's Russia List
6 July 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Dmitri Gusev: Re. Pipes/Military.
2. Timothy Blauvelt: Re. Dmitri Mikheyev on Pipes/Russian
3. Albert Weeks: We scooped AP in Oslo...
4. Chicago Times: Tom Hundley, FARMERS FIGHT STALIN'S LEGACY.
5. AP: Clown to Terrorist for Actor Baskin.
6. AP: Editor Loses Russian Paper Fight. (Izvestia).
7. Washington Times: Richard Grenier, PBS shows the real
8. The Times (UK): Michael Binyon, Alliance goal speeds
pace of East's reform.
9. RIA Novosti: "ONCE YOU ARE INSIDE, YOU NEED NOT FIGHT",
THIS PRINCIPLE SHOULD GOVERN RELATIONS BETWEEN FEDERAL CENTRE AND
REGIONS, SAYS SERGEI SHAKHRAI.
10. The Sunday Times (UK): Mark Franchetti, Yeltsin's daughter
stirs Russian envy.
11. New York Times editorial: Momentous Days in Madrid.
12. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Robin Lodge, Russia's
forces cold and hungry.]
From: "dmitri gusev" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Pipes/Military
Date: Sat, 5 Jul 1997 17:12:15 -0500 (EST)
I would like to respond to the July 3, 1994,
article by Richard Pipes, "Russian Generals Plan for the Future",
that appeared on your Russia list.
Pipes states that "there is evidence today that Russia's brass hats
have adjusted to the strained circumstances under which they must
operate and begun to take steps which, they hope, in ten to twenty
years will help Russia regain the rank of an imperial superpower."
It is my opinion that many if not most of the high-rank Russian
generals are concerned mainly with embezzling funds and building
themselves comfortable dachas, and relatively recent stories
of Kobets, Grachev, Vorobiev et al. are evidence of that. These
folks couldn't care less about rebuilding the empire.
Pipes writes, "Russian generals have decided to reduce procurement
of weapons and concentrate their limited resources on research
and development. Their aspiration is to draw on Russia's impressive
scientific talent to blueprint military technology that in the not
too distant future will give them fighting capabilities unmatched
by any potential rival. Emphasis is laid on directed energy,
electronic data equipment, lasers and other futuristic weapons
that are being designed with the help of U.S. supercomputers."
If this "evidence" is what he read in Russia's new military doctrine,
then keep in mind that this document is nothing but a piece of paper
on which something is written by people unable to defeat even
rebel Chechens, leave alone "any potential rival". I wish
Prof. Pipes mentioned how much (actually, how little) Russia
pays to its scientific talents working for the military industry,
and how many (actually, how few) U.S. supercomputers it owns
compared to the U.S. or "any potential rival". No matter what
Russian generals write when they pretend that they are
conducting the military reform, Russia will not become a serious
military threat to anybody for dozens of years to come.
Moreover, the supercomputers in question were obtained
to simulate effects of nuclear tests, and I know of no
evidence of them being used for any other purpose.
My best guess is that Russia's "scientific talents"
actually use them to play computer games most of the
time, though. You cannot expect people to do the job
if you don't pay them enough.
The proposed parallel to Germany after WWI is nothing but
a bad parallel, and the claim that "Russian generals,
with the support of Yeltsin's government, are laying the
groundwork for the restoration of the empire" is nothing
but a false claim. Remember what happened to Igor Rodionov,
who honestly attempted to come up with realistic plans
for the military reform. He couldn't get any "support
of Yeltsin's government". Presenting defense budget
cuts as "support of Russian generals laying the
groundwork for the restoration of the empire" is
just utterly ridiculous.
The statement that "the Russian ruling elite has not reconciled
itself to the separation of the fifteen dependent republics"
is also false, only Zhirinovsky has not reconciled himself
to it, and he has pretty much gone out of style and does
not belong to the ruling elite. The ruling elite is busy
stealing what's left of Russia's riches and investing
in villas on Cyprus and Bahamas, it does not give a damn
about "the restoration of the empire".
The subsequent claim that the "true long-term mission" of Russian
troops stationed in other CIS countries "is to promote the
``integration'' of the CIS" is baseless and, again, false.
Most of those troops were sent there as peacekeepers on
the case-by-case basis, with no strategy behind the decisions
whatsoever. This applies to Moldova, Tajikistan, and, yes,
To my great amazement, Pipes says that "the Russians had
incited" the Abkhaz minority to rebel against the Georgians
so that the Russian troops could then come to the Republic
of Georgia as peacekeepers. Nothing can be further from
the truth. In actuality, the Georgian parliament's decision
to return to the Constitution of 1921, under which
Abkhazia had no ethnic autonomy, was what triggered
the conflict, and the Abkhazs got a lot of military help
from their Chechen neighbors who had already declared
themselves independent from Russia by then. Russia
never recognized Abkhazia's independence, nor did
it move to acquire Abkhazia and make it part of Russia.
Summing up, contrary to Prof. Pipes's assertion, no work is
underway in Russia "to restore its global military capability
and rebuild the empire". Russia's military, along with its
military industry, is left to "rot and die", as Gen. Lev Rokhlin
put it recently. Consequently, Russia will not present
a serious military threat to its neighbors or "any potential
rival" for years and years to come.
Finally, I doubt that Richard Pipes, a reputed scholar, could actually
the load of nonsense attributed to him by IntellectualCapital.com.
Do we have a way to verify his authorship independently?
Date: Sat, 5 Jul 1997 15:15:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Timothy K Blauvelt <email@example.com>
Subject: re: Dmitri Mikheyev on Pipes/Russian Imperialism
Mr. Mikheyev is most likely correct in his argument that Russian
political elites do not have expansionist goals and also in his insistence
that Russia is not inherently imperialistic. I'm not so convinced,
however, that the interests of the military elites - the "brass hats"
are the same as those of the government elites. Many Russian opinion polls
in the last few years have suggested that military officers have a much
higher preference for the restoration of empire than does the population
at large. Many officers are also members of political parties with similar
This, in itself, would not be a cause for excessive concern if it were
not for the troubled state of civilian control over the military and the
relationship that this has to Russian policy in the unstable regions of
the "near abroad." The real danger here, I think, is not of a centralized
attempt by Moscow (or even by the central military command) to restore
empire or a centralized expansionist Russian policy directed toward the
states of the "near abroad," but rather the opposite - a vaguely defined
policy and a lack of control over the competing armed service branches
that have been deployed (or simply remained) in the more unstable regions.
Units of the Russian military and security organs on the ground often
on their own initiative and with only the vaguest direction from Moscow.
This has caused these units to both exacerbate and to become embroiled
the ethnic and political conflicts that they are nominally there to
moderate. As in Transdnestria, Tadzhikistan, and Abkhazia, the role of
the Russian military tends to evolve from one of observer, to kingmaker,
to active participant, which makes misperceptions among combatants and
information failures more likely, and exacerbates the security dilemma.
is this unpredictable and non-constructive military policy that presents
the most serious future threat to the security of the region - rather
the hidden and premeditated intentions that Professor Pipes fears.
Date: Sat, 5 Jul 1997 17:42:03 -0400
From: Albert Weeks <AWeeks1@compuserve.com>
Subject: We scooped AP in Oslo...
Very interesting! That report by AP datelined Oslo! About the 1995 launch
episode and the Russian alarm. So, I am --and I guess you are--glad you
could run Aleksandr Kharkovsky's piece on the same episode, as published
the Russian weekly, `Panorama.' Which so few Russian specialists bother
read: "Biased Russian emigres write for it, you know."
Frankly, I have found--as I have mentioned to you several times--that
is missed (esp. in matters military!) by those run-of-the-mill
correspondents who live out of each others' pockets, hew to stock
interpretive lines within the press community in Moscow like good little
boys and girls--all of which was pointed out so devastatingly by one of
them himself years ago--Andrew Nagorsky, formerly NEWSWEEK's Moscow man.
You have seen his book, I expect. We need another, updated volume like
covering today's crop of boilerplating correspondents! (Not all of them,
course. Some--too few, though--are really very good.)
I remember one particularly egregious case of herd-like behavior by Moscow
correspondents in recent years--with few exceptions. It was just after
December 1993 parliamentary elections in the RF. Many days after the
results had been tabulated and were clearly known, the NYTimes--and other
papers, with few exceptions, and the air media based in N.Y., as we know
and I know from personal experience as a broadcaster at NBC, simply recap
The Times--all reported that the Communists and their allies and the
nationalists had garnered less than 50% of the votes. That was untrue,
from the earliest returns from the voting. The slant of the coverage in
nutshell was, "Not to fear, folks. Yeltsin and his political allies won.
Everything's going to be just fine."
Need we forget: Over the years, the pacesetting, "flagship" NYTimes
coverage of the Soviets and of post-'91 Russia has generally been
lackluster, namby-pamby, tardy in catching trends, and overall,
unimpressive--or even worse. One exception was some of the reportage by
Times man Bill Keller back in the early '70's. Meanwhile, TV "reporters,"
like Stewart Loury on CNN, likewise were embarrassingly weak and/or
incompetent. Loury, with an academic sidekick from a D.C. think tank at
elbow, were on the air during Brezhnev's funeral, November '82. Both were
notorious for "lacquering" and having predicted that Yuri Andropov, former
head of the KGB, would surely become an enlightened Soviet leader. Hmm.
1983-4 was hardly a good vintage year for U.S.-Soviet relations! KAL
shootdown, Soviet-deployed subs off the U.S. East Coast, World War III
alarums, and much else under Yuri the Wise. (Some post-Soviet apologists
have been singing Andropov's praises posthumously, too. The elder Arbatov,
e.g. This is sheer nonsense, as some other Russian observers have frankly
pointed out.) Yet The Washington Post, et al., thought Andropov's (alleged)
penchant for Glenn Miller, Scotch, and spoken English (all fairy tales)
meant that he would make a good Communist-in-the-Kremlin. How inane can
I mention these things only to recall, once again, that the path of
correspondence in and feedback from Moscow is strewn with Martian-like
rocks and boulders, and often equally barren and not worth the
trip--despite Pulitzers, flattering exposure in the media, McNeill-Lehrer
guest appearances, campus tenure and obeisance, book contracts, etc.
Meantime, I like to think JRL, esp. by some remarks you yourself have
might help fill some of the gaps and tread where certain angels fear to
tread, or shy away from, whether intentionally or out of ignorance...
5 July 1997
[for personal use only]
FARMERS FIGHT STALIN'S LEGACY
By Tom Hundley, Tribune Staff Writer.
Dateline: VYSHNEVE, Ukraine
Memo: Ukrainians who support privatization are undermined by a U.S. trade
policy that encourages them, yet subsidizes wasteful farm collectives
their Soviet-style bosses.
Measured in human lives, what Soviet leader Josef Stalin ordered done
Ukrainian peasants almost seven decades ago was a crime on a par with
Stalin's brutal campaign to collectivize Ukraine's agricultural production
was accomplished at a cost of perhaps 9 million lives. It culminated in
premeditated famine of 1932-33, in which close to 7 million people starved
death on the richest farmland in Europe.
Today, 5 1/2 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, an independent
Ukraine wants to finally redress the injustice of this dark chapter in
history by breaking up its massively inefficient state farms and returning
the land to private farmers. But efforts to do away with this legacy of
Stalin are discouragingly difficult.
Part of the problem is the United States trade policy with Ukraine. The
Clinton administration says it wants to encourage privatization of
agriculture, but last year it helped underwrite a $187 million purchase
1,049 John Deere farm combines which, say critics, will only prop up the
state farms and the bosses who run them.
At this point, only 2 percent of Ukraine's agricultural land has been
handed back to private farmers. Another 13 percent is in "private plots,"
land that state farm workers or even urban dwellers are allowed to cultivate
privately. The rest is controlled by the giant state farms, which typically
range in size from 5,000 to 7,500 acres, and employ 600 to 1,000 workers.
Despite their enormous size, state farms have long been spectacularly
unproductive. In the years since independence the problem has only worsened.
Agricultural production in the former Soviet Union's breadbasket has dropped
by half since 1990.
This is due mainly to the loss of traditional markets in Russia and the
other former Soviet republics. But even under the best of circumstances,
agricultural experts say that waste, spoilage and corruption eat up about
half the state farms' annual crop before it reaches the market.
Another measure of the state farms' inefficiency is the fact that the
privately cultivated land now accounts for more than a third of Ukraine's
During the first years of Ukraine's independence, there was much
discussion of land privatization. It was seen in symbolic terms--righting
historic wrong, severing unhappy ties to Russia--but the idea quickly
In the Rada, Ukraine's parliament, farm bosses form a powerful bloc, with
one of their own, Pavlo Lazarenko, becoming prime minister a year ago.
Persistent allegations of corruption forced Lazarenko to step down this
week, but the Rada remains firmly in control of the bosses who are set
against anything that threatens their privileged status.
What is perhaps more surprising is the reluctance of state farm workers,
pensioners and their families--an estimated 32 percent of the population--to
apply for ownership of the land they farm.
"It turned out that only a small fraction of these people were prepared
go it on their own," said Harry Walters, an agricultural expert with the
Agency for International Development, in Kiev.
Anatoly Starunsky, 43, was one who did. Four years ago, he gave up his
as an agricultural economist at the giant Sovky state farm, a 7,500-acre
collective in Vyshneve, just outside of Kiev.
Today he farms 25 acres and heads the regional association of private
farmers, which has 43 members.
At the beginning, Starunsky was alone.
"Most people were afraid. They didn't want to be the owner of the land,"
he said. "This was a kind of psychological deterioration that occurred
during the Soviet time. People were taught to obey orders. Nobody demanded
initiative. People only knew how to respond to commands and orders."
Starunsky works his land with the help of his twin teenagers and several
brothers. By pooling resources, farmers in the association he heads have
able to buy a few small, Soviet-era tractors, but nothing like the new
Deere combines, which can cost close to $200,000.
"We need machines. We need fertilizer. But the private farmers are getting
no support from the state or from anyone else," he said.
"The government used to give us loans and credits, but for the last two
years, there's been nothing. If they do grant a loan, the interest is
percent," he added.
Farmers such as Starunsky are precisely the ones the Clinton
administration says it wants to encourage. Experts from the Agriculture
Department and other U.S. agencies have been sent to Ukraine to help out.
But last year's John Deere deal was a classic example of how one aspect
the administration's foreign policy--the aggressive promotion of overseas
sales for American corporations--can undermine another: In this case,
need for Ukraine to privatize its agricultural sector and move toward
At the administration's urging, the Export-Import Bank agreed to finance
the Deere & Co. deal despite Ukraine's shaky credit rating and reputation
The sale was the biggest ever for Deere--good for the economy of Moline,
Ill., where the corporation is headquartered, but not particularly helpful
Vyshneve, where Starunsky and other private farmers make do with broken-down
Soviet equipment and manual labor.
The new Deere combines are being delivered to a state-controlled company,
Ukragroprombirzha, which, in turn, resells them to the state farms at
markup or trades them for grain.
Last month, Deere & Co. announced a joint venture with another state-owned
manufacturer that will enable the company to assemble its big Maximizer
model in Ukraine.
"Deere regards Ukraine as being an especially attractive agricultural
market, which is well-suited for the large, highly productive type of
equipment in which Deere specializes" said Hans Becherer, Deere's chairman
Phil Seitz, a USDA adviser in Ukraine, isn't so sure.
"Don't get me wrong. The John Deere 9500 is a wonderful combine. But the
guy we're here trying to help can't even turn it around in his field,"
Seitz. "What these farmers need is an affordable source of much smaller
Without access to this kind of machinery, Vasyl Piatkivsky, 40, another
independent farmer in the Vyshneve district, is forced to turn to an unlikely
source: the army.
"The army is hungry," said Piatkivsky, explaining that the Ukrainian armed
forces, scarcely able to pay its troops, allows them to work for local
"I recruited four or five of them this season. They will get 10 percent
the future profits, which means they will work hard," said Piatkivsky,
showing a grasp of capitalism that thus far has eluded the state farm
Clown to Terrorist for Actor Baskin
July 5, 1997
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Elya Baskin was a Russian clown in 1984's ``Moscow
Hudson'' and he's a terrorist in the upcoming Harrison Ford action thriller
``Air Force One.''
But that's not nearly as big a change as the one he saw in 1995, when
returned to the former Soviet Union for the first time in 19 years to
a film festival.
``When I left, all the billboards were praising Communism,'' he said.
when I returned, all the billboards praised Coca-Cola.''
Born in Riga, Latvia, Baskin got his start in children's theater. He came
his clown act legitimately as a graduate of a Moscow college that teaches
circus and theater work.
He abandoned a Soviet career to emigrate to New York in 1976 and learned
English by watching television and American films.
Since his breakout role in ``Moscow on the Hudson,'' he has played
everything from a monk to Sigmund Freud.
TV viewers may recognize him from recurring roles on NBC's ``Mad About
and ``Walker, Texas Ranger'' on CBS.
Baskin lives in Santa Monica, with his wife, Marina. They are expecting
their first child.
Editor Loses Russian Paper Fight
July 5, 1997
MOSCOW (AP) - A leading newspaper editor has apparently lost out
to corporate interests in a battle for control of Izvestia, one of
Russia's leading dailies, according to media reports Saturday.
Russian newspapers reported that Igor Golembiovsky was being
relieved as editor in chief of Izvestia, which transformed itself
from a communist mouthpiece into one of the country's leading
liberal dailies after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
There has been no formal announcement that Golembiovsky is out.
Officially, he began a two-month vacation last week. A
spokeswoman at the newspaper, who declined to give her name,
declined Saturday to comment on the newspaper reports.
The Izvestia power struggle has attracted close attention in
Russia at a time when large corporations are buying up media
Critics say the corporations are sensitive to critical stories,
and as a result, the Russian media is losing the independent voice
it had started to develop in the post-Soviet era.
The newspapers said Izvestia's owners, the huge LUKOIL oil
company and the powerful Uneximbank, were upset by recent articles
critical of top government figures and leading banks.
At an Izvestia board meeting Friday, LUKOIL and Uneximbank won
control over the appointment of the paper's top editorial job, the
reports said. Previously, the newspaper's staff selected the editor
``This decision deprived us of our right to choose'' the top
editor, Otto Latsis, a prominent Izvestia columnist, told The
Newspaper sales have fallen sharply since the Soviet collapse.
Izvestia's current circulation of 610,000 pales with the 12.5
million subscribers in 1990 when it was still the Soviet government
As a result, publications such as Izvestia have turned to
corporate owners with deep pockets. But the new owners have on
several occasions clashed with news staffs over editorial
4 July 1997
[for personal use only]
PBS shows the real Stalin
By Richard Grenier
When I returned to America after many years in countries with aggressive
communist parties, one thing really stuck in my craw. Our great opponent
in world affairs was unquestionably the Soviet Union, which many signs
suggested aspired to world dominion. The mass of the American population
responded in a manner I thought logical: with hostility. But the
intellectual class seethed with hatred, not of communists, but of
This is a phenomenon, it's been said, of countries with no real
familiarity with communists -- neither with communist rule nor with a
powerful communist party within their ranks. The great "hate" figures
found among educated Americans were not communists at all but supporters
of Joe McCarthy, the country's most notorious and reckless
anti-communist, loathing for whom remains to this day. Hatred for
communism -- about which these people knew next to nothing -- was modest
indeed compared to loathing for anti-communism in all its forms. Often
blamed on McCarthy's antics, this is an attitude so perverse as to seem
In the following years I saw on the Public Broadcasting Service
highly sympathetic documentaries on virtually every Marxist-Leninist
regime or revolutionary movement on Earth. I read with my own eyes a
rejection letter from PBS to the great Cuban cinematographer (and
Academy Award winner) Nestor Almendros, whose documentary on a Cuba he
knew all too well was rejected, quoting extensively from condemnations
in a communist publication.
This sentimental defense of all communists and communist
sympathizers might, at long last, be drawing to a close, as a huge
10-hour documentary called "Russia's War: Blood Upon the Snow" begins
airing on PBS on Friday, July 11. With introductory passages featuring
Henry Kissinger, the film is not simply a war documentary but also a
detailed, blood-chilling account of the career of one Josef Stalin.
Doubtless to the surprise of many Americans, it depicts a career which
parallels point for point that of -- Adolf Hitler.
For the film is in fact the story of two wars: the war between
Russia and Hitler's Germany, and the even more vicious war Stalin waged
against his own people. Of the two -- although this will not entirely
surprise readers of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" -- the
latter was by far the more pitiless and bloody. Furthermore, with the
exception of Hitler's pathological extermination of Jews, Stalin's class
warfare was distinctly more fanatic.
In the modern age, motion pictures, as predicted by Lenin, have
been the greatest means of propaganda in history. And it was footage of
the inmates of the German camps -- barely alive or dead in their
mountains of corpses -- that convinced the world that Hitler was the
quintessence of evil. Since the Soviet Union wasn't defeated, we'll
never see the Soviet equivalent of Germany's mountains of corpses. But
"Russia's War" provides the fullest revelation yet of how Stalin, while
Soviet citizens were fighting a war to the death against a foreign
enemy, conducted his own ferocious war against his own people,
arresting, transporting, torturing, murdering them by the tens of
millions, including members of his own family.
Stalin's first target was the Russian peasantry, and we see NKVD
units from the towns sweep through the Soviet Union, taking forcible
possession of land and crops in the name of collectivization. But for
millions this was a euphemism for theft, famine, and death. There was
mercy. We see the NKVD (later KGB) tearing apart peasants' homes and
barns, flushing out hidden grain. Hundreds of thousands are simply shot,
millions more imprisoned to be worked to death as slave labor, in
Beria's phrase, ground into "camp dust."
Nearly 20 percent of the population dies as Stalin's lethal
creation of a new society strikes Khazakstan. Millions more starve in
the northern Caucuses and Ukraine. Next come the idealized proletarians,
and we see the striking miners of the Donetsk Basin, ashen faced, as
they're sentenced to death for "treason." Hundreds of thousands will be
murdered in order to create a happier proletariat.
The Communist Party Congress of 1934 was to be a moment of rare
triumph -- or so Stalin thought -- until in a secret vote he's soundly
defeated by a bright rising star, Sergei Kirov of Leningrad. Unable to
determine who'd voted against him, of the 139 voting party delegates
Stalin has 98 killed, in addition naturally to Kirov himself. Stalin's
old revolutionary comrades Kamanev and Zinoviev are arrested, tortured
into confessions at brutal "show trials," and shot. The greatest hero
the Red Army at this point is Marshal Tukhachevsky, who's also accorded
a show trial, and shot before lunch. In all 40,000 officers, including
half of the high command, are shot or sent into the Gulag. A bitter note
in the closing months of the war itself was Stalin's abandonment of
Poland's underground Home Army, which rose against Germany in the last
summer of the war. With the Red Army on the opposite bank of the
Vistula, Stalin simply abandoned the Poles to the Wehrmacht.
Now that it's all over, a peculiar new element has entered the
ethics of statecraft for those who insist on finding communism a benign
ideology. One isn't supposed merely to consider the havoc wreaked by a
political system, or the fear in which its citizens live, but the
which its leaders are pursuing. How adepts are to determine the
goal which Stalin had in his heart has always been beyond me. With
paranoia, ruthlessness, and sadism, spectators will surely not find
Stalin of their dreams in "Russia's War," a war Stalin fought not
against Hitler's Germany but, even more so, against the Russian
The Times (UK)
4 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Alliance goal speeds pace of East's reform
BY MICHAEL BINYON, DIPLOMATIC EDITOR
THE promise of Nato membership has been the biggest single spur for
change in Eastern Europe.
The prospect of joining the alliance they were once obliged to regard
the enemy has forced a radical reorganisation of the former Warsaw Pact
countries' military commands, secured civilian control of their armies
and pushed their governments into negotiating treaties to end ethnic and
For the three front-runners, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic,
Nato membership is seen not only as a vital security umbrella; it is
also regarded as an endorsement by the West of their democratic and
market reforms since the collapse of communism and a symbolic
reintegration into the mainstream of European culture and identity.
For Romania and Slovenia, two aspirant members which seem likely to be
disappointed in Madrid on Tuesday, Nato membership has for the past year
become virtually a national crusade. Every party, every politician and
every shade of opinion has focused on the urgency of not being left out
of the first wave. If, as now seems inevitable, neither is admitted, the
reaction in both could be explosive: frustration and anger could
destabilise the young democracies, fan ethnic tensions and call into
question recent agreements with neighbours.
The country that has been most insistent on membership has been Poland.
For the Poles, Nato is not only a long-term guarantee that their
independence will never again be threatened; it is also an assertion of
their Roman Catholic, Western-leaning culture and their difference from
the Orthodox East. Poland is by far the largest of the likely new
members, with armed forces totalling 250,000. For the past five years
the forces have been reorganised in an attempt to remove all traces of
the old integration into the East and take advantage of joint exercises
with the West.
Hungary, also with long memories of Soviet invasion and intervention,
sees Nato as a bulwark against any revived Russian expansionism.
Membership, however, necessitates a big expansion because Hungarian
forces number only 60,000 men. Soviet-era officers have been replaced,
staff structures reformed, training reshaped and more than 700 officers
have graduated from Western military academies.
Hungary plans to set up a 2,000-man professional force for rapid
deployment on Nato missions by 1999, and the Defence Ministry is talking
about eliminating conscription by 2010. The defence budget is set to
rise sharply. The forces still rely heavily on Russian equipment,
however, and large sums will be needed to pay for new Western weapons.
Americans arms salesmen are touting for business.
The cost of Nato is not popular and Hungarians are probably less
enthusiastic than their neighbours about their new military alliance.
The Czechs, too, have been sceptical about the benefits of membership,
athough the defence establishment sees opportunities for the country's
arms industry. There has been little national debate and the Government
has presented membership virtually as a fait accompli.
The Czechs, now separated from Russia by Slovakia and Ukraine, see no
immediate threat from Moscow and probably would have preferred European
Union membership first because their free-market economy is closely tied
to the West's.
"ONCE YOU ARE INSIDE, YOU NEED NOT FIGHT", THIS PRINCIPLE SHOULD GOVERN
RELATIONS BETWEEN FEDERAL CENTRE AND REGIONS, SAYS SERGEI SHAKHRAI
By RIA Novosti correspondent Marianna Shatikhina
MOSCOW, JULY 4 /RIA NOVOSTI/--"Once you are inside, you
need not fight". This principle should govern relations between
the federal centre and the regions, says Sergei Shakhrai,
chairman of the commission for preparing treaties and the
presidential envy to the Constitutional Court.
He was commenting on today's signing of treaties with five
of the Federation's territories.
Governors of differing political views put their names to
the treaties in the Kremlin.
While the governors of the Saratov and Vologda regions,
Dmitry Ayatskov and Vyacheslav Pozgalyov, are committed reform
supporters, and Magadan Region head Valentin Tsvetkov, an
"efficient economic executive", heads of administration of the
Bryansk and Chelyabinsk regions Yuri Lodkin and Pyotr Sumin
represent the left opposition.
Shakhrai, speaking at a news conference in Moscow,
emphasised that the governors who today signed the treaties are
cooperating with the central authorities in a constructive way.
He also noted that conclusion of treaties on the
delimitation of powers and terms of reference between the
federal centre and the regions applies in practice the principle
of legal equality of all members of the Federation.
Besides, according to Shakhrai, all treaties signed over
the recent period have been showing up a new trend -- now all
terms of reference are handed "up" from the regions for common
This is done, noted Shakhrai, to pool the financial
capabilities of the centre and the regions to implement specific
projects of the Federation's constituent members.
A key aspect of the treaties, according to Shakhrai, is the
fact that they enable the regions to practise "their own legal
regulation of joint terms of reference".
Shakhrai pointed out that delimitation treaties are
creating a framework for new federal laws on joint terms of
In particular he pointed out that draft laws currently in
the works include those on foreign economic activity of the
Federation's members, elimination of consequences of natural
disasters in the regions, production sharing, and so on.
The Sunday Times (UK)
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Yeltsin's daughter stirs Russian envy
by Mark Franchetti, Moscow
SHE is young, tough and fiercely intelligent. But Tatyana Dyachenko's
greatest asset is that she is Boris Yeltsin's daughter. As such, she has
a privilege denied to his closest advisers the ability to confront the
Russian president with unpalatable truths without provoking his wrath.
The official appointment of Dyachenko as Yeltsin's image-maker told
Russians more about Yeltsin's patriarchal rule than about Dyachenko's
talent as a spin doctor. The message was clear and most Russians did not
The appointment provoked fierce criticism. The opposition accused her
father of blatant nepotism. It was not the first time. Yeltsin came
under fire in March after the appointment of Valery Okulov as head of
Aeroflot, the Russian airline. The former flight navigator is married
Lena, Yeltsin's elder daughter. "That really was outrageous, a shameless
case of nepotism," said Andrei Piontkovsky, a leading Russian political
"The president has set a bad example with Dyachenko," said Gennady
Seleznyov, the speaker of the duma, or parliament, who accused Yeltsin
of violating the constitution by appointing her. "He has opened a
floodgate and will hardly be in a position to reproach anyone now,
whenever he hears that nepotism flourishes in some ministry."
Dyachenko modestly accepted that she might not be the most qualified
person for the job. But she has other advantages. "There are probably
smarter and more professional people around than me," she admitted. "But
there are some unpleasant things which are only easy for me to tell
Insiders say that Dyachenko models herself on Claude Chirac, the
daughter of the French president and his official image-maker. The two
have met on several occasions. The French president's daughter is said
to have advised Dyachenko to formalise her role in the Kremlin during
tête-à-tête at the Elysée Palace.
Dyachenko's husband, Alexei, is said to have disapproved of his wife's
appointment, concerned at the attention it might attract; the couple
have already been criticised over their decision to send their son Boris
to school at Millfield in Somerset at the cost of £15,000 a year.
Dyachenko, 37, shot to fame during Yeltsin's long absence from his
office as he underwent heart surgery. A former mathematician and
computer programmer at a space research centre in Moscow, the mother of
two became the sole channel to her father, bringing him important
documents, combing his hair before interviews and telling bodyguards not
to wear dark glasses that made them look menacing.
Previously, the role of Yeltsin gatekeeper had been performed by
Alexander Korzhakov, his chief bodyguard and former tennis partner. He
was sacked last year under mysterious circumstances. According to one
version of events, Dyachenko had stopped trusting him, even though the
former KGB general is a godfather to her younger son. She is also
suspected of a role in the elevation of Anatoli Chubais to first deputy
prime minister. The two have repeatedly denied rumours that they are
The timing of Dyachenko's appointment is not coincidental. With three
years left before the end of his second and last term, Yeltsin is said
to be worried about what historians might say about him. He is desperate
to be remembered as the father of Russian democracy.
Dyachenko has recently encouraged her father to make regular addresses
to the nation in an attempt to alter the popular perception of him as
distant leader who has forgotten his humble peasant roots. He has been
encouraged to express sympathy for his countrymen over the enormous
changes he has inflicted on them with his democratic reforms.
"Much of what surrounded old people 10 years ago has totally changed,"
he said in one recent address. "The names of the streets and towns have
changed, as well as the brands of detergents and household appliances
. . it is not easy for an old person to absorb all this." He hopes his
daughter will help him win forgiveness.
New York Times
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Momentous Days in Madrid
Bill Clinton heads to Madrid this week to construct the foreign policy
centerpiece of his Presidency, the eastward expansion of NATO. The
United States has initiated no more fateful enterprise since the end of
the cold war, yet it has done so largely without public discussion. With
NATO planning to issue invitations to three new members in Madrid, a
national debate can no longer wait.
Twenty senators, representing both parties, did their best to start one
last week. In a thoughtful, deceptively mild letter to Mr. Clinton, the
lawmakers identified many of the questions about NATO expansion that
Americans ought to consider before committing their soldiers and nuclear
weapons to the defense of Warsaw, Prague and Budapest. The letter
attracted little public attention, but was closely read by
Administration officials looking for some early indication whether a
two-thirds majority in the Senate can be assembled in 1998 to approve
It is too soon to know, but the 20 senators, led by Kay Bailey Hutchison
of Texas, served notice that cornerstone elements of the NATO plan look
badly conceived and that the Administration has so far done a dismal job
of explaining and justifying the decisions that will be taken in Madrid.
A stronger letter was sent to Mr. Clinton last month by some 40
Americans with European expertise, including former Senators Sam Nunn
and Bill Bradley.
Tinkering with the map of Europe is not something to be done lightly.
Two world wars started on the Continent this century and it was the
primary battlefield of the cold war. Europe today is largely at peace
and the great threat to democracy, the Soviet Union, vanished in 1991.
If the map is to be redrawn, the reasons must be overwhelming and the
potential consequences beyond doubt. NATO expansion does not now meet
The Hutchison group, for instance, would like to know what military
threat NATO expansion is intended to counter, now that the Russian
threat has receded. The senators, including conservative Republican
Jesse Helms and liberal Democrat Paul Wellstone, wonder whether
potential armed border disputes among new NATO members would warrant the
use of American forces, as provided under NATO security guarantees. They
are also concerned that NATO growth might jeopardize Russian approval
current and future agreements to cut nuclear arsenals.
Two important issues cited by the senators flared up even before Madrid.
One is that NATO enlargement may divide Europe into two classes of
nations, those admitted to the alliance and those excluded. Even
promises of future consideration for countries like Romania, Slovenia,
Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia would leave them on the sidelines
politically, militarily and economically. That may well turn into one
the most damaging consequences of expansion.
The answer is not to admit every applicant now. Even proponents of
expansion recognize that doing so would overwhelm and weaken NATO. That
leaves Washington and its allies skirmishing over the pace of expansion.
A showdown was barely avoided in Madrid when France last week withdrew
its insistence that Romania be offered membership immediately. This
issue will continue to be a source of corrosive friction within the
The other immediate concern is the financial cost of expansion and how
it should be apportioned among NATO members. The Clinton Administration,
not surprisingly, has calculated a relatively modest $35 billion price
tag spread over 13 years to modernize the military forces of new member
states. Washington's share would be roughly $2 billion, or 6 percent.
Other estimates run much higher, up to a total cost of $125 billion,
with Washington paying $19 billion, or 15 percent. Senator Hutchison and
her colleagues legitimately ask how the White House can be so certain
Washington will ultimately cover just a fraction of the bill.
Hanging over the whole expansion plan is the potential adverse impact
Russia as it moves painfully toward democracy and free markets. Helping
Russia complete that transition should be the primary objective of
American policy today. NATO expansion, though grudgingly accepted by
President Boris Yeltsin, seems likely over time to embolden Russia's
anti-democratic forces. The first time NATO rejects Moscow's advice at
new consultative council set up to ease the concerns of Mr. Yeltsin, his
accommodation with the alliance is certain to come under withering
attack at home.
Given the absence of a clear threat to Europe and the possibility of so
many unpredictable consequences, NATO expansion seems a gratuitous risk.
If Mr. Clinton is determined to make it happen, he has an obligation to
tell the American people why he is so sure it will not undermine
stability in Europe and lead to a waste of American resources. He can
begin in Madrid.
The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
6 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Russia's forces cold and hungry
By Robin Lodge in Moscow
NATO leaders are looking at ways to help Russia transform its bloated,
wasteful and demoralised armed forces into an efficient, professional
and effective military machine.
"With Russia now more or less a democracy, it is clearly in our
interests for it to be able to maintain its territorial integrity - and
to keep control over its nuclear arsenal," a Moscow-based Nato military
expert said. "It's when you get moves to break away from the centre, as
with Chechnya, or attempts to steal nuclear warheads, that you start
Bringing about that transformation is a huge and expensive task which
successive defence ministers have failed to tackle. President Yeltsin
has ordered the new Defence Minister, General Igor Sergeyev, to present
a reform plan by July 25.
The armed forces consist of an estimated 1.8 million men, mostly
conscripts. The forces are hopelessly underfunded. Many officers and men
have been unpaid for months. In outlying regions there have been reports
of malnutrition and even starvation. In winter there is a shortage of
warm clothing and boots. In the air force the lack of fuel means that
fighter pilots are unable to put in enough flying time to maintain
combat-readiness. Failure to pay electricity bills has led to power cuts
at army bases. Corruption is rife.
In April Mr Yeltsin dismissed four senior generals for alleged abuse of
office. Morale is at an all-time low. Suicides and desertions are
commonplace. The humiliating war in Chechnya demonstrated the decline
the armed forces.
Last month a general and member of the pro-government "Our Home is
Russia" faction, Lev Rokhlin, warned that plans to scale down the
military would lead to the ruin of the armed forces. But General
Alexander Lebed, a Yeltsin opponent, said: "Even a regimental commander
should not be criticised too harshly in the first six months of
Gen Sergeyev has longer than six months, but time is running out.
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