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Johnson's Russia List
12 July 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Arch Getty: archive disaster.
2. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Alan Philps, Yeltsin can be
sure of tight lines on holiday.
3. The Times (UK): Richard Beeston, Fish feel the catch as
Yeltsin has break from rain.
4. MSNBC: Preston Mendenhall, Yeltsin settles in at the dacha,
but it’s a bumpy road back to Moscow.
5. Financial Times (UK): Chrystia Freeland, Russia: Top banker
faces questions in arms cash inquiry.
6. Sovetskaya Rossiya: Move To Change Chubays Image Claimed.
7. Salon: Michael Boxall reviews Jennifer Gould's "Vodka, Tears,
and Lenin's Angel."
8. RIA Novosti: NO BRAIN DRAIN FROM RUSSIAN NUCLEAR PHYSICS:
9. The Straits Times (Singapore): In Russia, you get paid in
10. Paul Goble (RFE/RL): Undermining NATO's Timetable.
11. Reuter: Russian farm minister says crops better this year.
12. Reuter: Ukraine's Kuchma nominates premier candidate.
13. Interfax: Kozyrev Blamed for Initiating NATO Expansion.
14. Pravda Rossii: Dyachenko Appointment Shows 'Contempt for
15. Reuter: Key Russian region to elect new governor.]
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 1997
From: Arch Getty <email@example.com>
Subject: archive disaster
11 July 1997
from J. Arch Getty
Eltsin's recent promises to pay back wages and pensions seemed the usual
demogogic tripe from the administration. After all, he had mugged for the
press and blamed his subordinates for this problem countless times before.
This time, though, he may be serious and the consequences could be
Surprisingly few people had asked where the money would come from to make
up the massive arrears. Certainly it would not come from the pockets of
the prosperous bureaucrats or their bloated and corrupt apparatus.
Yesterday I saw one of the effects of the budgetary change. I spent the
afternoon with the directors of RTsKhIDNI (formerly the Central Party
Archive) waiting for the electricity to be cut off.
Archives, although classified as "biudzhetnye" organizations, had been
budgeted this year at zero and told that they would have to survive on
their "own resources." With their miserly salaries paid from other
budgets, the income from copying sales and agreements with foreign
institutions might have allowed them to squeak by.
But a little more than a week ago, RTsKhIDNI was suddenly informed by the
electric company that if they did not pay 240,000,000 rubles (about
$44,000) by Thursday, all power would be cut off. Utility providers, now
under pressure to pay back wages and pensions, will apparently no longer
give grace periods, extensions, or other breaks to their customers. Even
if the hard-pressed archivists could come up with this astronomical sum
(which they can't), it would only cover back debts; future bills would
also be high and payable immediately.
It's another Hobson's Choice for a country run by incompetents and crooks.
Certainly workers and pensioners need and deserve their back and future
payments as a matter of survival and elementary justice. And it's pretty
clear that the Eltsin government has been maintaining the currency and
Russian debt schedules by withholding wages and pensions.
On the other hand, to take the present example, if the lights go out at
RTsKhIDNI, a priceless part of Russia's culture will be lost. The archive
would not only close to researchers. Temperature-controlled vaults would
stop working and historical documents would begin to crumble.
Irreplaceable photographic and film originals would quickly decompose.
RTsKhIDNI officials spent the day scrambling to find money, to try to
negotiate a payment schedule with the electric providers, and to interest
someone in the government in their predicament; all to no avail.
Government officials are too busy posing for TV and stuffing their own
pockets to care about things like the national heritage. And, as usual,
the central archival administration is powerless to provide any help.
Always an optimistic group -- and one has to be at least a little
optimistic to work today in the cultural field in Russia; the alternative
is complete depression -- archive officials had weathered crises in the
past with temporary closings and had characterized the situation as merely
"tiazhelo." Today the word is "katastrof". And it is clear that RTsKhIDNI
is only the first; in the coming weeks and months we can expect the see
more lights go out in Russian culture as libraries, universities, and
museums face the same dilemma.
Fortunately, by the end of the day, the guy from the electric company had
not managed to show up to pull the plug. (It is Russia, after all). It
seems that Monday will be the day of truth. When the archivists come to
work Monday morning and flip the light switch, they --and we -- will know
more about the future of Russia's cultural heritage.
The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
12 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Yeltsin can be sure of tight lines on holiday
By Alan Philps in Moscow
BORIS Yeltsin had every fisherman's dream come true when he went on
holiday to the north of Russia this week. Local authorities restocked
the lake with thousands of fish and kept other fishermen away.
Continuing a tradition of ensuring that Kremlin leaders excel at
shooting and fishing while on holiday, authorities in the city of
Petrozavodsk, in Karelia, near the Finnish border, supplied about 10,000
fish. As Mr Yeltsin, 66, began his holiday, a local fishing official
predicted to the news agency Itar-Tass, "there will be no problems for
the president with fishing."
The reason for his confidence soon became clear. "I saw at least two
container lorries emptying fish into Lake Ukshe," said Sergei Kulikayev,
a journalist on the local Severny Kurier newspaper.
He said that Mr Yeltsin's first day was unsuccessful, but that he caught
20 on the second, and two buckets full the next day. A source in the
local fisheries commission told the Moscow Times: "We were told to make
sure the president has a good time."
In the days of Leonid Brezhnev, who ruled the Soviet Union for almost
two decades until 1982, a wild boar was once tethered to a tree to make
sure he could not miss.
When a boar hunt was laid on for Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader,
gamekeepers could not find a suitable wild animal, and painted a
domestic pig black.
Mr Yeltsin is also known to enjoy duck shooting, although the recoil
from his shotgun is said to have complicated his heart complaint last
•The Russian Prime Minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin, who is rumoured to be
among the world's richest men, declared an annual income of £5,000 last
year and personal wealth of £30,000.
But newspapers claim he has personal wealth of £3 billion, due largely
to his control until 1992 of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom.
The Times (UK)
12 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Fish feel the catch as Yeltsin has break from rain
FROM RICHARD BEESTON IN MOSCOW
PRESIDENT YELTSIN left little to chance this week when he embarked on a
fishing trip in northern Russia: aircraft were scrambled to clear rain
clouds, and a lake was stocked with thousands of fish to ensure that the
Kremlin leader had plenty to catch.
Although the Russian leader's two-month holiday in the northern lakes
region of Karelia was supposed to be a quiet family break to forget the
trappings of office and pressures of the job, behind the scenes a small
army of Kremlin officials has been on hand to ensure that the trip goes
Following in the tradition of Soviet leaders, who even in their dotage
insisted on shooting semi-tame bears and boars to prove their prowess,
nothing was left to chance when the Russian leader cast his line into
Anatoli Tsigankov, the editor of the local Karelian newspaper, said
locals first knew of the arrival of their grand visitor when the
authorities banned them from going on the lake to fish.
Then, despite a spate of bad weather, he said the climate suddenly
changed thanks to the expensive intervention of light aircraft
designed to seed approaching rainclouds.
By far the best touch was provided by the Karelian Fisheries Commission,
which was so eager to please its guest that it stocked the lake with
thousands of extra fish.
"We were told by the city administration to make sure Yeltsin had a good
time, and that is what we are doing," said a fisheries official,
following the tradition of Prince Potemkin, whose fake villages so
impressed Catherine the Great.
"There are probably an extra 10,000 fish that were specially stocked for
the President," the official told the St Petersburg Times.
Kremlin sources said the President was also receiving covert help from
his bodyguards, who set off each morning to dig up worms for their boss
to use as bait.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Kremlin leader appears to be notching up
record catches. Naina Yeltsin, whose family is now established for the
summer at the presidential residence at Shuya, said this week that her
husband came home one day with 20 fish and the next with 30, mainly
perch and roach. "Some were very small, but still very tasty," she said.
"I think the water is very good here."
While the President's arrival may be bad news for Karelia's fish
population, the region's four-legged and feathered animals can rest easy
at least while Mrs Yeltsin is on hand.
The Kremlin leader's love of fishing is surpassed only by his passion
for shooting, and even during his illness last year he claimed to have
shot scores of duck and a large wild boar. However, since his heart
operation last year he has been banned by his wife from picking up a gun
and has concentrated his efforts on angling.
Mr Yeltsin's absence from Moscow has prompted many other senior Russian
figures to escape the heat and dust and head for the countryside or
beach. The difference this year is that all ministers and political
leaders have gone to great lengths to advertise the fact that they are
spending their holidays with their wives and children.
The move, according to local reports, was prompted by the dismissal of
Valentin Kovalyov, the former Justice Minister, who was recorded on a
secret video taking part in an orgy held at a sauna frequented by
Russian mobsters. Other politicians have apparently also been filmed in
compromising positions. No one wants to become the next scandal victim.
Yeltsin settles in at the dacha, but it’s a bumpy road back to Moscow
By Preston Mendenhall
Preston Mendenhall is a producer for NBC News in Moscow.
MOSCOW — Keeping with the long tradition of Russian czars and
Soviet party bosses, President Boris Yeltsin is taking his letniy otdikh
(summer vacation) away from Moscow. And like those before him, he is
not going far.
Like former Russian and Soviet leaders, Yeltsin knows pesky
opposition forces tend to flex more muscle the farther a leader travels
from the capital.
But while masses of Russians fight traffic and packed commuter
trains to get to their dachas, country houses which usually amount to
little more than wooden shacks with no electricity or running water, the
66-year-old Yeltsin will vacation in grand style.
Two years ago, a Russian print journalist in Karelia, a remote
and lushly forested region on the Russian-Finnish border, came across
200 Turkish construction workers building an elaborate country estate.
Correctly calculating the post-Communism formula for quick and
luxurious construction (Turkish labor + imported materials = government
construction project), and taking into account an edgy Kremlin security
detail, the reporter broke the story that Boris Yeltsin was building the
mother of all Russian dachas for his personal use.
A rambling, two-story stuccoed structure, the super-dacha is
near a lake that was dragged and secured by Kremlin security. The cost
of the massive retreat is reportedly what an average Russian would earn
in about 15 lifetimes. The swimming pool alone could supply an average
Russian dacha with water for a year.
But a series of heart attacks, health problems and a
presidential campaign have kept Yeltsin from visiting Karelia. Even now,
Yeltsin is under doctors’ orders not to strain himself. This trip, the
tennis fanatic president will only be able to dream of matches at the
dacha’s indoor tennis court.
Since his health deteriorated several years ago, Yeltsin’s
travel is carefully stage-managed. Before his visit, local officials in
Karelia feverishly painted over buildings along the road to and from the
airport. Construction crews even resurfaced the road and the bridges
along it, the Moscow daily newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.
At times, it seems aides try to keep him as far away from the
evidence of Russia’s economic woes as possible.
On July 4, Yeltsin’s last working day in Moscow, he ordered the
government to pay within three months all back wages owed to public
sector workers — a sum estimated at several billion dollars.
Yeltsin’s economic ministers tried to interject, calling the
plan “impossible.” The president would hear none of it. He was intent on
issuing one last decree, however half-baked, before retreating to the
Just as construction workers painted over problems on the road
to his dacha, Yeltsin sought to pave over political potholes before he
left for vacation.
When he returns in two weeks, the road back to the Kremlin may
have gotten bumpier.
Financial Times (UK)
12 July 1997
[for personal use only]
Russia: Top banker faces questions in arms cash inquiry
By Chrystia Freeland in Moscow
State prosecutors are to question Russia's most powerful banker, Mr
Vladimir Potanin, and a former leading government minister, Mr Andrei
Vavilov, as part of what they are calling a criminal investigation into the
financing of arms sales.
Leaked official documents published this week by Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the
government newspaper, implicated the bank MFK, a subsidiary of
Oneximbank, Russia's mightiest financial group, in transactions
surrounding a $237m (£140m) sale of MiG fighter jets to India.
According to these documents, Mr Vavilov, then a deputy finance minister
but later president of MFK, instructed his ministry to buy $237m worth of
promissory notes from MFK, ostensibly to pay for the jets. It is alleged
that the notes never made it to the MiG factory.
Earlier this month Mr Sergei Dubinin, the chairman of the central bank,
said he knew of two cases in which three Russian banks had effectively
stolen around $200m from the state.
A spokesman at the federal prosecutors' office said a criminal
had been launched into the fighter jet affair. Prosecutors said they intended
to question Mr Potanin, president of Oneximbank and a former first deputy
prime minister, and Mr Vavilov, although charges have not been filed
against any individual.
Adding to the intrigue, Mr Vavilov has abruptly left Russia. Mr Modest
Kolerov, an Oneximbank spokesman, rejected suggestions that Mr
Vavilov might be fleeing the law, saying that "only rats and cockroaches
flee, men go on holiday". He said the criminal investigation implied no
wrongdoing on the bank's part.
"The bank could not be at fault. We were only implementing the
instructions of the government," Mr Kolerov said. He blamed the tide of
revelations about allegedly dubious transactions at the bank on
"All of the critical articles were placed and paid for by our competitors,"
Mr Kolerov said, referring to the common Russian practice
of "ordered" newspaper stories, which, posing as news, are in fact
financed by political or business interests.
Although scandals involving the alleged theft of hundreds of millions of
dollars from the state have become commonplace in Russia, this week's
imbroglio could mark a turning point.
The bankers at the centre of the scandal have enjoyed exceptionally warm
ties to top Russian government officials: Mr Potanin has long been a close
ally of Mr Anatoly Chubais, the reformist first deputy prime minister, while
Mr Vavilov has been linked to Mr Victor Chernomyrdin, the premier.
"This affair is a way for the government to establish a new relationship
the banks," said Mr Sergei Markov, a professor of political science. "The
government wants to create a more competitive environment, with less
favouritism. Chubais is applying pressure, but he doesn't
want to destroy the banks, just bring them in line."
Move To Change Chubays Image Claimed
July 10, 1997
[translation for personal use only]
Unattributed article: "Woodpecker Works for Chubays"
Have you noticed something new in the style of the always aggressively
impudent and cynical Mr. Voucher? Yes, he has become more dignified, the
responsibility of power can be seen on his brow, his pose suggests personal
sacrifice and in his every word there is concern for the poor, the elderly,
and the orphaned.... The display over pensions this summer is worth
Yet there is a reason for it. Chubays is changing his image.
It is known from confidential sources in the presidential staff that
certain benefactors from across the ocean have been assigned $4 million to
pay for the services of the British "Tim Bell" company, which has been
instructed to fashion a new image for A. Chubays now that he holds a key
post in the Russian Government. And CIA agents and highly qualified
specialists in organizing election campaigns who worked in Russia last
spring and summer have allegedly already arrived in Moscow. Some by force
of habit have settled at the President Hotel while others have taken up
residence at the U.S. Embassy.
Our source asserts that through D. Meysi [name as transliterated], a
former Russian Government adviser with links with the U.S. special
services, the collection of funds for A. Chubays' possible election
campaign has already begun. According to some reports D. Meysi has already
gotten consent in principle for the allocation of about $1 billion by a
wealthy Arab sponsor for the purpose. But it is planned to obtain the bulk
of the funds in the form of additional loans from international credit
institutions controlled by the United States.
In the estimation of the U.S. special services A. Chubays despite
widespread opinion will be able radically...to improve his image in the
eyes of the Russian population if he uses the hard currency money obtained
from the West to resolve the problem of paying wages and pension arrears
with a simultaneous skilled and flexible propaganda campaign in his favor.
This method worked very effectively during the election campaign of B.
Yeltsin, who also had an adverse popularity rating but was able very
rapidly to accomplish what had seemed impossible.
There is no need to be a sociologist and to carry out "probes" of
public opinion to see that the majority of potential voters assess
politicians' activity according to the real improvement in their own
situation and are entirely capable of changing their attitude toward them
if such an improvement occurs. We all witnessed the way in which the
television daily dinned into us that the start of the payment of wages and
pensions, which was thwarted by federal and local bureaucracy, was
connected with A. Chubays.
A few words about the "Tim Bell" company. It has to its credit the
successful organization of the election campaigns of M. Thatcher and B.
Clinton and is regarded as one of the best companies in the world for
"molding" attractive images for politicians. In 1996 the company developed
for $2.6 million a detailed scenario for the "Russia Is Our Home" election
campaign and for V. Chernomyrdin personally. The company specialists
assert that the scenario "was thrown into the garbage can by talentless
government bureaucrats, who preferred traditional schemes and suffered a
resounding defeat with them."
There are rumors that initially "Tim Bell" refused to act on the
instruction but under pressure from influential Americans it changes it
stance. A key role was played here by the "tough anti-Communist" Nick Tvil
[surname as transliterated], a close friend of the son of former U.S.
President G. Bush and closely connected with U.S. banking circles.
As for David Meysi (nickname the Woodpecker) during last year's
presidential campaign he was a middleman between the CIA services and the
U.S. election specialists staying at the President Hotel. He has now once
again been assigned the function of a middleman between the team of "quiet
Americans" and the "Tim Bell" company, whose contract for Chubays' image
was drawn up by David. There is talk that he is married to a Russian woman
-- Vera Boyko -- and is a permanent resident in the capital.... He is
considered a major specialist on Russia. However strange it may seem, D.
Meysi's "cover" is provided by the "Association of Reserve Officers" closed
joint-stock company whose leaders, according to some reports, are not fully
informed of the American's activity.
Book review by Michael Boxall
Vodka, Tears, and Lenin's Angel
A YOUNG JOURNALIST DISCOVERS THE FORMER SOVIET UNION
BY JENNIFER GOULD
ST. MARTIN'S PRESS
Every so often history lurches forward and throws nations off balance
like riders on a crowded bus. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the
West assumed a fully fledged democracy would pop up from nowhere and step
confidently into communism's empty shoes. It did not, and by every measure,
life in Russia has gotten worse. Arriving in Moscow in February 1992,
Jennifer Gould thought she might stick around for six months. She ended up
staying four years. "Once bitten, it's hard to leave," she writes. Besides,
what journalist would give up a ringside seat at an empire's collapse?
And what a story she has to report. Socialist ideology is swept away by
a tidal wave of greed, both Russian and imported. Like flies to rotting
meat, advisors, consultants and MBAs descend from the West in search of
easy money. They are not disappointed. They come, they prosper, they rent
MIG fighters for amusement and hang out in clubs with naked women in cages.
Compared to the local talent, though, their excesses are modest. "The
serious and the power-crazed don't drink," Gould notes. Neither do they
wear coats, a signal that they are powerful enough to be driven everywhere
and not have to rub cashmered shoulders on the street with Moscow's 100,000
homeless. They throw away thousands of dollars a minute in tedious
gambling. But they are more interested in making money than spending it.
Their lives, nasty, brutish and liable to be made shorter by a burst of
gunfire, are dedicated to business.
While most of Russia sinks into ever more abject poverty, the ruthless
still make really big money. There's a nation's worth of real estate to be
bought -- or snatched -- and sold. There's a superpower's nuclear arsenal
to be marketed, and no shortage of customers. There are republics like
Mongolia, so unhip to the cruel ways of the outside world that its central
bank, whose key executives were teenagers fresh out of school, tried to
play the international stock market with a single telex machine and
Mongolian operator-assisted phone calls. It lost, with breathtaking speed.
Gould quickly develops contacts at all levels, from politicians and
hustlers to malodorous landladies and artists. Her account of the country
and her life in it is wonderfully vivid and hard-edged. She has a
filmmaker's eye for detail and movement, and senses the deep cold currents
swirling beneath the surface. Russia, she says, is like Dostoevsky
interpreted by Fellini, a place paralyzed by fear and captivated by greed.
"Vodka, Tears, and Lenin's Angel" brings it alive in all its grimy
splendor. You can almost smell it.
July 11, 1997.
Michael Boxall lives in Vancouver, B.C., and writes for many North
American and international publications.
NO BRAIN DRAIN FROM RUSSIAN NUCLEAR PHYSICS: MINISTER
MOSCOW, JULY 11. (from RIA Novosti).
Victor Mikhailov, federal Minister of Nuclear Power
Industry, refuted allegations of a brain drain out of
government-run production and research centres, though several
per cent of physicists have left for Russian-based commercial
Nothing harasses the ministry more than mutual corporate
indebtedness. At present, it owes to its partners R19 trillion,
while they owe to it 23 trillion, and back federal allocations
account for the biggest sum, Mr. Mikhailov said to a RIA Novosti
Even in these dire straits, the industry is not going
downhill. Three power units are sure to be commissioned before
the year 2000, with a mere 15 to 20 per cent of work left to
Military contracts currently account for 9 per cent of the
entire produce. Though the industry failed its first attempt
wholly to shift to civil-oriented production, another programme
will be launched within the few next years. It is all the more
necessary with military-oriented produce sale problems, said the
The Straits Times (Singapore)
11 July 1997
[for personal use only]
In Russia, you get paid in pineapples
MOSCOW -- Pineapples are cheaper than potatoes in the southern Russian
port of Taganrog at the moment because dockers have been paid with tins of
the exotic fruit rather than in roubles, Itar-Tass news agency said on
Tne news agency said that the dockers were selling the tins on the
streets to raise cash to buy food for their families.
Many Russian workers have not been paid for months.
In March, crowds of Russians gathered in hundreds of towns and cities to
demand payment of more than US$9 billion (S$12.6 billion) in wage arrears.
According to Russian trade unions, total wage arrears rose to around 50
trillion rubles (S$13 billion) from 46 trillion rubles at the end of last
Cash-strapped enterprises are handing out all kinds of products from fish
to saucepans in lieu of money.
The Kremlin has decreed that all public sector workers should receive
wage arrears by the end of the year.
Private enterprises are not covered by the announcement. -- Reuter.
NATO: Analysis From Washington -- Undermining NATO's Timetable
By Paul Goble
Washington, 11 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - The timetable for NATO expansion
announced at the Madrid summit this week may break down even before the
alliance takes in its first new members two years from now.
The summit invited three countries - Poland, Hungary and the Czech
Republic - to begin accession talks leading to membership by 1999. The
alliance leaders indicated that they would consider inviting a second group
of countries in that year.
And they said that they would keep the process of including ever more
East European countries in the alliance both open and deliberate after that
This carefully worked-out timetable reflected calculations by some NATO
leaders about how both their own populations and Moscow would react.
On the one hand, many NATO leaders have indicated that they could not
hope to win popular support for the costs of expansion if the alliance
tried to take in too many countries too quickly.
And on the other hand, even more NATO leaders have suggested that a
slow, step-by-step expansion is the only way to avoid offending Moscow and
pushing Russia back into an adversarial role.
But there are already at least three indications that the Western
alliance may have a number of difficulties in holding to that script.
First, many of the countries that had hoped to be invited into the
alliance now or in the near future are stepping up their campaigns for
membership rather than simply accepting the Madrid timetable.
Following their rejection at Madrid, the countries that had hoped to
break into the first round - Slovenia, Romania, and the three Baltic
countries - indicated that they would step up their efforts to be included
sooner than the Madrid schedule.
Lithuanian President Algirdas Brazauskas, for example, pointed out on
Wednesday that "a long-term cataclysm could occur in three, four or five
years." As a result, he said, Vilnius wanted "guarantees for the future"
sooner rather than later.
And other East European countries that were not expected to be included
took courage from the alliance's decision to expand and indicated that they
too might press for membership far sooner than the NATO leaders had planned.
Buoyed by their charter with the Western alliance, several Ukrainian
political figures said this week that they hoped Ukraine would achieve NATO
membership in the not too distant future, something no one in the alliance
now appears to be contemplating.
Second, the three countries that were invited to join at Madrid
reportedly have agreed to press for the more rapid inclusion of the Baltic
states into the Western alliance.
On Wednesday, the presidents of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary
met with the presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and apparently
indicated that they would press for Baltic membership in the alliance as
soon as possible.
Following the meeting, Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis said that he and
his Baltic colleagues looked to the three Madrid invitees "to become
advocates" of the rapid inclusion of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Such support for Baltic membership may be more difficult to resist than
the NATO planners had expected. Indeed, in addition to Polish, Hungarian
and Czech support, the Balts received backing from the American ambassador
Thomas Siebert told the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter on the same day
that "we will not consider the expansion of NATO to be accomplished or
successful unless or before the Baltic states' ambitions are fulfilled."
Both the efforts of those who hope to join and the attitudes of those
already invited to do so will put pressure on the alliance to move more
quickly than it had planned, especially since those on the outside are
likely to view delay as a sellout of their security.
But the third indication that the Madrid timetable may not be kept
points in the opposite direction and suggests that NATO may not expand as
quickly as the Madrid summit planned.
The pressure on NATO from both those included and those not yet in
inevitably raise the stakes of the first round of alliance expansion and
thus virtually guarantee increased opposition to any growth in the alliance
by both Moscow and many in the West.
Russian leaders from President Boris Yeltsin on down have indicated that
they can accept NATO's expansion only if it is both limited and deliberate.
Consequently, at least some in Moscow are likely to read the statements
of both those countries not invited in and even more those invited to join
at Madrid as a threat, and one that Russia is likely to respond to.
That will have an impact on the ratification debates in the current NATO
member countries and provide ammunition to those who oppose any growth in
As a result, the euphoria about the Madrid NATO summit could quickly
evaporate as some countries discover that their own enthusiasms threaten
their own interests.
Russian farm minister says crops better this year
MOSCOW, July 11 (Reuter) - Russian crops are in much better shape this year,
Agriculture Minister Viktor Khlystun said on Friday.
"The condition of crops this year is significantly better compared to last
year, and the first results of the harvest are encouraging," Interfax news
agency quoted him as saying.
Khlystun adhered to his forecast of 1997 net grain output of at least 70
million tonnes, saying production would rise since use of mineral fertilisers
had increased 10 percent. Greater inputs had protected plantings against a
parasite known as the bedbug-turtle, which usually destroys some crops.
But Khlystun cautioned that a lack of fuel to get harvestors out to fields
could result in what he termed gigantic losses.
The ministry had said previously losses could be 12 million tonnes.
Russia needs 35-37 trillion roubles (around $6 billion) to bring in the
First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov said on Thursday output would
million tonnes. Last year's grain harvest was 69.3 million tonnes, the second
poor result in a row and one of the top-three worst in 30 years.
Ukraine's Kuchma nominates premier candidate
KIEV, July 11 (Reuter) - Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma will propose Valery
Pustovoitenko, currently minister without portfolio, as the next prime
minister, a presidential spokesman said on Friday.
Parliament will vote on the nomination next week before going into its
recess, Roman Bessmertny told Ukrainian television Studio 1+1 after a meeting
between Kuchma and parliamentary deputies.
Under Ukraine's constitution, 226 deputies in the 450-strong assembly must
approve the candidate for prime minister, whose duties are now being carried
out by acting premier Vasyl Durdynets.
Pustovoitenko, seen as a close ally of the president, ran Kuchma's election
campaign office in 1994.
The respected Den newspaper has said his appointment could signal the start
of Kuchma's next election campaign for October 1999.
Pustovoitenko, 50, also heads Ukraine's football federation.
The previous prime minister, Pavlo Lazarenko, resigned on health grounds,
though few believe he was actually ill.
Kuchma is keen to speed up economic reforms but faces strong opposition from
the more conservative parliament. Political analysts say they expect Kuchma
to start ruling more by decree after years of fighting with the deputies.
Kuchma's decision to nominate Pustovoitenko rounded off a roller-coaster
that included the signing of a landmark security pact with NATO in Madrid and
a rebuff from the International Monetary Fund over Ukraine's slow market
The IMF decided to delay a long-term loan but said it might offer a smaller
standby credit at a later date to see Ukraine through the pain of
long-delayed structural reforms.
Kuchma said the deal with NATO, which promises Kiev consultations if it
threatened from abroad, would also provide economic benefits in the form of
increased foreign investment.
Kozyrev Blamed for Initiating NATO Expansion
MOSCOW, July 8 (Interfax)--Chairman of the Russian External Defense
Policy Committee Sergey Karaganov blamed former Russian Foreign Minister
Andrey Kozyrev for initiating NATO eastward expansion.
"Mr. Kozyrev is likely to be one of the main initiators of NATO's
decision to expand. About three years before, he began unofficial
negotiations on compensations for Russia joining NATO, according to
numerous sources. He gave the impression Russia would agree and started
the process," Karaganov said in an interview with the NTV television
"If it were not for Kozyrev, NATO would not be expanding," he said.
Dyachenko Appointment Shows 'Contempt for Public Opinion'
July 9, 1997
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Mikhail Levchenko under the "Corridors of Power" rubric:
"From Domestic Prompter to the Presidential Stage"
A week has already passed since Tatyana Dyachenko's sensational -- an
adjective I dislike, but this is what it is -- appointment as her father's
adviser. This is a high post but, most importantly, it has a guaranteed
salary many times higher than the national minimum.
Newspapers of various political persuasions are tirelessly playing up
this unprecedented event. Each, of course, from its own standpoint. The
democratic media are seeking historical analogies and have even found some.
In the United States and France, it seems, there have already been
daughters who worked for their fathers' election campaigns, but I should
point out that this was when they were merely among the contenders for the
presidency. Furthermore, these daughters did not live at the state
treasury's expense. Our president, however, has appointed his daughter
while in office, so to speak, and now she, occupying a state post, will
evidently ask her father officially not to dance in front of the television
Whereas the patriotic press unambiguously condemns this truly
"paternal gesture," the democratic press, in its attempts to spin out this
juicy story, nevertheless agrees with the opposition on one thing:
Whichever way you look at it, this appointment reeks of cynicism and
contempt for public opinion.
However, from the point of view of ethics, things have not been "in
order" in the president's family for a long time now. There is a grandson
in England, a son-in-law who is an Aeroflot boss, and a daughter in the
Kremlin. Lest I be accused of making groundless accusations, I shall cite
the notes that Valeriy Streletskiy, former deputy leader of the
Presidential Security Service, passed on to a foreign publishing house.
The facts cited in them demonstrate that what is going on in the corridors
of power is immoral, and I believe there is no reason to doubt their
But there are journalistic lackeys whose conscience is directly
dependent on the size of the purse given in exchange for their lies and
servility. We saw such a picture last week when Tatyana Dyachenko was the
guest of the NTV "Hero of the Day" program. The 20 minutes that the
president's daughter was "interrogated" by the suddenly unctuous Kiselev,
who nevertheless preserved his well-known verbal tics "e-e," "so to speak,"
"but this is not the main point," and so forth, cast light on the
As the "state" daughter said on television, her husband is extremely
unhappy that she is "slaving away" for her pop every day... for free.
Apparently she cannot forever advise her father at home -- after all,
people are saying all sorts of things, although everyone has long known
about it: She must to switch to a legal status so she can "tell" the
president the "unvarnished truth" actually at work. And finally only
Tatyana can say unpalatable things to Boris Nikolayevich. Well, the truth
is the truth.
Nevertheless, if a daughter sees her pop at home every day and,
furthermore, in a relaxed atmosphere, what is to prevent her from giving
her father the most sensible, good, and eternal advice? Why does she have
to become an adviser to do this? Television viewers did not get an answer
to this question. Nor did they hear the main question from the "gentle"
interviewer: What about the moral and ethical aspect of the situation? As
the poet said, what will "Princess Marya Aleksevna," that is, society, say
about this? Nothing of any importance -- no one has asked society anything
for a long time.
But, to be honest, the answer to the unasked question could have been
this: It is simply impossible for prominent people close to Yeltsin to
visit him at home and with his daughter's help adopt unpopular measures
within the narrow family circle. The whole world is already laughing.
This has to stop. Now the Kremlin has been selected for these "meetings"
-- this is the decision of the adviser Tatyana Dyachenko with the "disco
dancing" Russian president. The transfer of the domestic prompter to the
presidential "stage" has now taken place. And "Princess Marya Aleksevna"
will have little to say about it.... [Levchenko ends]
Gennadiy Seleznev, chairman of the State Duma, has given his view.
He explained that the law does not allow the appointment of "close
relatives" to senior state posts. In Seleznev's opinion, "this is the
president's second violation of the law on state service." The first,
according to the State Duma speaker, was the appointment of Berezovskiy as
deputy secretary of the Russian Federation Security Council because, as the
chairman of the lower chamber asserts, Berezovskiy holds "dual
citizenship." As the head of state's press service has explained, the law
places the Russian Federation president outside the category of state
servants and therefore the restrictions on the recruitment of close
relatives do not apply to him. "If the president's Legal Administration
can interpret any law as it sees fit, it is thereby putting the president
on the spot," Seleznev stressed.
Key Russian region to elect new governor
By Oleg Shchedrov
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, July 11 (Reuter) - Voters in Nizhny Novgorod, a
laboratory of Russia's reforms, will elect a new regional governor on Sunday
in a runoff poll seen as a referendum on the country's painful economic
As in every Russian regional election, the winner gets sweeping powers to
rule his domain for the next four years and a seat in the Federation Council,
the upper house of parliament.
The polls in Nizhny Novgorod, the cradle of radical economic reform in
post-Soviet Russia, hold symbolic importance for both the so-called Kremlin
``Party of Power'' and its political opponents.
Top Moscow officials, including the region's former governor Boris Nemtsov
and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, have thrown their weight behind
Nizhny Novgorod mayor Ivan Sklyarov.
A string of senior communist leaders, meanwhile, have rushed to help their
candidate Gennady Khodyrev -- who is also backed, surprisingly, by
nationalist, anti-communist maverick Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
``The importance of Sunday's voting stretches far beyond the region,'' local
journalist Sergei Voronov said.
``A victory by Sklyarov will show that the population backs reforms carried
out here by Nemtsov and will also offer huge moral support to the government
in which Nemtsov is now first deputy premier,'' he said.
``But if a communist wins, the situation for reformers in Moscow may become
Nemtsov, drafted into the government by President Boris Yeltsin in March to
whip up the pace of economic reform, dramatically changed the face of the
region during his rule from 1991 onwards.
Nizhny Novgorod, named Gorky in Soviet times and a bulwark of the military
industrial complex, surged ahead of the rest of the country in privatisation.
It also led social reforms, something the government is only now planning on
a nationwide scale.
The communists blame reformers for unemployment and the decline of social
care and education. The liberals retort that the problems started back in the
late 1980s when Khodyrev was ruling Nizhny as the local Soviet Communist
``You cannot imagine the awful state of the region when I came to replace Mr
Khodyrev,'' Nemtsov told a rally on Thursday. ``If you want empty shop
shelves back, if you want transport and energy problems, go ahead and pick
Khodyrev once again.''
Sklyarov, 49, and Khodyrev, 55, scored virtually neck-and-neck in a first
round of voting two weeks ago. But neither has any strong popular following,
and their teams must sell them to voters.
In these circumstances, the turnout figure on Sunday becomes crucial. ``Go
and inspire people to come and vote,'' Nemtsov told his supporters on
``The communists have very disciplined voters and the fewer people who come
to vote, the more chances they will have,'' he said. Sixty percent of voters
ignored the first round of the polls.
The campaign planners chose different strategies. Sklyarov's campaign has
taken on a brash, American style, with walkabouts and showy events such as
the opening of a new petrol station.
A liberal student group has organised a festival on voting day, formally
unrelated to the poll. ``But one is free to read on our faces who we are
for,'' Vladimir, one of the students, said.
The communists have chosen a low-profile door-to-door style campaign. ``Who
cares about news conferences?'' a communist spokesman said. ``Local comrades
and visiting comrades are all down in the constituencies talking to the