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Johnson's Russia List


July 18, 1997   

This Date's Issues:   1059  1061•  

Johnson's Russia List
18 July 1997

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Kenneth Duckworth (USAID): Re Henrietta Thomas/Spheres of 

2. Christian Science Monitor: Richard Haass (Brookings), NATO Expansion: 
Does It Have an End?

3. Stuart Byczynski: Death of Russian adoptee in US. (UPI

4. Jacob Kipp (US Army): Pipes and Armstrong. Comments on Pipes' 
Military Observations and Armstrong's Kto vinovat Accusations. 

5. Steve Blank (US Army): Military reform. (DJ: The items by Kipp and Blank
are long and may not be of interest to all but recipients of JRL should
be used to quantity as well as quality by now.) 

6. Robert Lyle (RFE/RL): Russia: Reform Program On Target Says IMF.] 


Date: Fri, 18 Jul 97 1:37:01 RST
From: "Kenneth C. Duckworth" <>
Subject: Re: Henrietta Thomas/Spheres of Influence

I must respond to Henrietta Thomas's remarks regarding the Law "On 
Religious Association and Freedom of Conscience."
I fail to see how Ambassador Collins' remarks regarding this law amount to 
interference in Russia's internal affairs. The U.S. and Russia are two 
countries with bi-lateral relations, and the United States has every right 
as a to inform Russia of its objections to or support for specific policies 
and to inform Russia of the consequences certain policy choices may have 
for those relations. Russia is free to choose that policy if it so 
The United States is not telling Russia that it cannot restore its own 
historical religious traditions. What the United States is saying is that 
that restoration, if we accept the democratic values of individual liberty 
and freedom of conscience, should not occur at the expense of any religious 
group. I am sympathetic to arguments that Orthodoxy is just getting back 
on its feet after seventy years of oppression and feels threatened by the 
influx of missionary organizations from abroad. However, it is no worse a 
position than any other religious institution that was persecuted in Russia 
during Soviet rule. Its activities were as tightly restricted as those of 
other religious organizations in Russia.
What the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy is engaged in now is a cynical 
political game to shut out other religious organizations, including other 
Orthodox churches with whom it disagrees. The argument that because you 
are Russian you are therefore Orthodox is false. Russia is and always has 
been a multi-cultural and mult--national country with a number of religions 
and religious traditions. Orthodoxy has, of course, made strong 
contributions to Russian national identity and culture, but this does not 
therefore place it in a position to crowd out other religious traditions. 
There is an old Russian proverb: "Poka grom ne granet', muzhik ne 
perekrestitsa," which roughly translated means one remembers God only when 
he is in trouble. Russia today is in a deep economic and social crisis, 
and people are naturally turning to religion for solace. Most Russians 
that I know are nominally Orthodox. They identify with the Orthodox Church 
because of their cultural connection, but few really know what it means to 
be an Orthodox Christian. Church leaders do not seem to be taking any 
initiative in starting educational programs or catechism classes that would 
inform Russian Orthodox Christians more about their own beliefs and 
traditions. Rather than giving people the opportunity to come to know and 
understand their religious heritage and traditions, the simply seem to 
believe that they can win souls by default. When times get better, they 
will find their flock once again greatly reduced. 

Kenneth C. Duckworth 
Please note that the above represent my personal opinions and not those of 
the United States Government or the United States Agency for International 


Christian Science Monitor
18 July 1997
[for personal use only]
NATO Expansion: Does It Have an End? 
By Richard N. Haass 
Richard N. Haass, who directs the Foreign Policy Studies program at the
Brookings Institution, is author most recently of "The Reluctant Sheriff:
The United States after the Cold War."

They came, they enlarged, they departed. So might run the epitaph to
the recent summit meeting in Madrid, where the heads of government of
NATO's 16 members met and approved the first expansion of the organization
in more than a decade.
Invitations to join were extended to Poland, Hungary, and the Czech
Republic; if all goes as planned, NATO will grow to 19 by the time the
organization celebrates its 50th anniversary in April 1999. 
But a good deal will have to happen before and after that date if NATO
enlargement is to succeed. Most important, perhaps, all 16 of NATO's
current members have to approve the expansion. In most cases, this can be
assumed. One country whose favorable vote cannot be assumed, however,
happens to be the alliance's most important member, the United States. 
Why is US support in question? After all, the idea for NATO
enlargement only gained real life once it was adopted and promoted by the
Clinton administration. But the administration fumbled its handling of this
initiative, launching it before either Congress or the American public was
educated about its benefits and liabilities. Indeed, the president
committed the United States to going ahead with enlargement before most
Americans even knew it was an option. 
What has ensued is a belated but nonetheless intense debate within the
foreign policy establishment over the wisdom of proceeding. Advocates point
out that enlargement is the best way to stabilize the new democracies of
Eastern and Central Europe and ensure that this region never again becomes
a battlefield. Enlargement also promises to lock in the gains realized at
the end of the cold war and constitutes a hedge against the possibility
that a hostile Russia might reemerge.
Opponents muster at least as many arguments. NATO enlargement is
criticized as sure to make doing business with Russia more difficult,
harmful to the security of those European states not brought in, and costly
at a time defense budgets are shrinking. It is also seen as distracting
policymakers who ought to be concentrating on more important and pressing
foreign policy concerns, such as promoting open trade, building relations
with China, and salvaging Middle East peace. There is even the argument
that enlargement is bad for NATO because it will complicate the task of
reaching consensus and making decisions.

The Senate debate
All of this will come to a head over the next six to nine months as the
Senate prepares to vote on revising the treaty that binds the US to NATO.
Much of the Senate debate will probably focus on money. Estimates of how
much enlargement will cost the US vary widely, but a bill of several
hundred million dollars a year for a dozen years is well within the
ballpark. This will be too much for some senators, especially when a number
of NATO's European members balk at paying what is judged their fair share.
Other senators will question enlargement on policy grounds, echoing the
same doubts already raised by various experts. Also, there are sure to be
questions as to why American sons and daughters should be prepared to risk
their lives defending these faraway places.
In the end, though, NATO enlargement is all but certain to gain the
two-thirds vote required. The vote will not simply be about NATO, but
something more: this country's willingness to follow through on its
commitments and be a major world power. A negative vote would be portrayed
as the late 20th century equivalent of the Senate's defeat 80 years ago of
US membership in the League of Nations. Few in the Senate will want to
accept such a responsibility. 
More difficult hurdles will emerge in the aftermath of the vote.
Enlarging NATO is as much a military as a political initiative. The three
new members must improve their military capabilities, while the alliance
will have to integrate the new members as well as improve the collective
capacity to defend them. All of this will take time and money. 
Also difficult will be managing Russia's reaction. The "Founding Act"
signed in Paris in May between NATO and Russia created a permanent joint
council intended to facilitate consultations between the two and help
assuage Russian unhappiness with the decision to enlarge. But friction is
inevitable. It is only a question of time before NATO will have to declare
consultations with Russia to be over and act in a manner that Moscow opposes. 
Then there is the problem of the states that did not get asked to join.
NATO has already taken an important initiative by establishing a special
relationship with Ukraine. In addition to expanding Western military
cooperation with Ukraine under the Partnership for Peace framework, a
mechanism is being created for regular consultations between Ukraine and
NATO. In addition, the next phase of NATO enlargement - which could come in
less than two years - will likely take in Romania and Slovenia, two states
that made clear their desire to enter this time around but were told "not

No. 1 dilemma: the Baltics
The biggest problem of all is likely to involve the Baltic states:
Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania. Demands in the United States for their
inclusion in NATO are sure to grow; just as certain is Russia's opposition
to their entry, along with that of several European NATO members who view
Baltic membership as dangerously provocative. There is no way to square
this circle and leave everyone satisfied. The question of what to do about
the Baltics will burden NATO and the United States for years to come.
All this makes it clear that NATO enlargement is less an event than a
process. Moreover, it is a process with an uncertain future. To paraphrase
what is often said about wars: The only thing certain about NATO
enlargement at this point is that it will be more difficult to end than to


Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 10:10:30 -0600
From: "Stuart Byczynski" <Stuart.Byczynski@MCI.Com>
Subject: Death of Russian adoptee in US

I think this story would be of interest to JRL readers...the adoption
and abuse and (in this case) murder of Russian children by Americans is
a crime in which Yeltsin and his administration have a hand.

Witnesses testify in mom's murder trial
GREELEY, Colo., July 17 (UPI) _ Prosecutors say a Colorado woman charged
in the death of her adopted 2-year-old son, broke a plastic spatula and
wooden spoon while beating him shortly before he died. 
Lawyers for Renee Polreis claim the boy _ adopted from a Russian
orphanage six months before his death _ suffered from reactive attachment
disorder, a rare condition which sometimes takes children into violent,
self-destructive rages. 
The disorder _ associated with children who reject affection, even being
held and loved _ has been found in orphans where they receive little or no
attention other than feeding and changing. 
David Polreis, the father of the boy, testified today, ``He'd kick, bite
spit, pinch _ anything that he had to do,'' and that he and his wife used a
wooden spoon to spank the child, David, Jr., and their other children. 
Police said they found two broken utensils wrapped in a bloody diaper in
a wastebasket inside the Polreis home after the boy was rushed to the
hospital on Feb. 10, 1996. Mrs. Polreis did not accompany the boy to the
Assistant district attorney Todd Taylor said in opening statements that
the little boy ``was bruised from his neck to his knees.'' 
Defense attorney Harvey Steinberg says the boy often had violent
tantrums and sometimes injured himself, outbursts he claims were the result
of reactive attachment disorder. 


From: "Jacob Kipp" <>
Subject: Pipes and Armstrong
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 97 14:16:00 PDT

Comments on Pipes' Military Observations and Armstrong's Kto vinovat?

There are serious issues that deserve serious analytical responses and
there are broadsides that just give pause. Richard Pipes' recent remarks,
with which I take issue, fall into the first category. Pat Armstrong's
accusations fall into the second. If Pat means to suggest that there are
those in the West who have the old disease of "Russophobia" so what is new.
Napoleon's "scratch a Russian and you have a Tartar", Palmerston's
declared objective of "driving the Russian wolves and bears back into
Asia,"are old business and say more about the speakers than they do about
Russia. What worries me about Pat's remark is his identification of some
topics as evidence of Russophobia. I would argue that they are very
legitimate topics of debate and discussion. There are no political correct
answers here only real questions. Pat might just ask whether his remarks
will encourage significant debate on real questions or increase our
knowledge of Russia and its institutions. I hope he will reconsider the
implications of his remarks.

Having studied Russian and Soviet military foresight and forecasting for
the last three decades and having just completed the editing of the English
translation of Army General Makhmut Akhmetovich Gareev's book, Esli zavtra
voyna? Kontoury vooruzhennykh konfliktov v budushchee [If War Comes
Tomorrow? The Contours of Future Armed Conflicts] I suspect I have
something to add to the issues raised by Professor Richard Pipes' "Russian
Generals Plan for the Future." 

Pipes' thesis seems to be that Russian generals (which?) are planning for
the future. This insight should hardly be surprising. General Staffs have
been doing that for the last hundred plus years since war became mass and
industrial. There are two key issues. The fist issue is for which war,
with whom, and when are they [I assume he means the General Staff]
planning. The second issue is who is listening and acting. Are the Russian
forecasters Oracles of Delphi or Cassandras in Yeltsin's Russia? Pipes
suggests Oracles who have the ear of the power-that-be. He implies that in
their plans are wars of reconquest against the other successor states of
the former Soviet Union. He is confusing military-technical issues of
force modernization with military-political plans for the conduct of
operations. He makes no strong case on either point, given the current
state of the Russian economy, polity, and military. 

The answers to these two issues are critical and not so clear as Pipes
suggests. First Pipes oversimplifies the issue. The Russian General Staff
was not stunned by the Gulf War. They certainly missed the casualty ratios
for the two sides, but so did many other militiaries. But the technology,
especially precision fire and advanced troop control and REW, was no
surprise. RADM V. S. Pirumov's study of the Falklands, published in 1988,
foresaw the role of information warfare and REW very clearly. Pirumov was
from the Main Naval Staff and the Academy of the General Staff at the time.
Marshals Ogarkov and Akhromeev had been talking about the revolution in
military affairs from the late 1970s. The Gulf War did not convince
Russian generals that "they must abandon traditional Russian strategy and
tactics of relying primarily on offensive by hordes of foot soldiers
regardless of casualties." The infantry army of the Great Patriotic War
was dead by that war's third phase. In the post-war era tanks and APCs
replaced foot soldiers. The issue in the Gulf War was the survival of
masses of mechanized and tank forces on the post-modern battlefield. The
Soviet had been trying to address this issue by looking at concentration of
deep fire and strike effects without massing means -- tanks, APCs,
artillery and rocket systems -- which could be hit by precision strikes,
the reconnaissance fire and strike complexes of the 1980s. The cohort of
1923 which led the Soviet Army almost to the very end never could give up
the idea of massed mechanized warfare. Younger officers grasped the problem
and the inherent revolution in military affairs associated with the new
systems and began to challenge the methodology for analyzing combat and its

Regarding Russia's pool of manpower, Pipes makes critical points and then
fails to carry the analysis forward. Russia has had a mass army since the
Miliutin reforms of the 1870s, but mass conscription does not provide the
sort of soldier necessary to man modern weapons systems. The long-term
demographic problems and current hostility towards the draft intensify
the man-power problem. But Russia is a continental state with potential
threats on multiple strategic directions, and requires some sort of
mobilization [economy and personnel] system. Even the cadre-territorial
reforms of the mid-1920s provided for a mobilization base.

Regarding the Russian decision to reduce current procurement of weapons and
concentrate on R & D, this is prudent policy in a time when the risk of
general war seems very low and when a Revolution in Military Affairs is
under way. Many states are following that policy. Pipes, however, focuses
on technology in the abstract. The Russian generals are seeking "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." It would seem that
the key event in this R & D offensive is "the help of U. S.
supercomputers." What Pipes does not seem to understand is that a military
revolution has two critical components and is not a simple matter of
weapons production. First, the state needs science, technology, and
economic capacity that can be mobilized in a timely fashion for military
purposes. Second, a military revolution is not a matter of wonder weapons
and strategic technological surprise but a struggle for the technological
initiative, where concepts and organizational innovations, requiring
exercises and study, are absolutely critical. What an army spends on
training and education of its officer corps matters more than actual
weapons R & D. The Reichswehr had no tanks. The Wehrmacht learned in Spain
that it had procured the wrong tanks in the MI and MII and went to war with
a hodgepodge of obsolete and foreign tanks in its parks. But the concept
at the heart of the panzer division of mechanized war involving combined
arms coordination with effective troop control proved effective.

Desert Storm did not show that one post-modern army equipped with advanced
C4I and precision-strike weapons "are now capable of neutralizing an army
before serious combat operations even get underway." It demonstrated the
vulnerability of a modern, tank-heavy force with weak C4I to such
capabilities. We do not know -- have no experience with -- combat between
two post-modern forces. Negation of "mass" may be overstated since "mass"
could take on a very different character in post-modern combat and
operations. Russian military studies on military systemology, i.e., a
conflict of one system of systems against another system of systems, seems
to put a premium of redundancy, force protection, and robustness.

Pipes is correct in noting a shift in Russian nuclear policy, which now
renounces no first use pledge. But it is hardly like NATO's flexible
response. Coming from one of the great hawks of the Committee on the
Present Danger this characterization of Russian current strategy as
deterrence sounds a bit strange. Russia has a weak conventional military,
unstable neighbors, a nuclear arsenal of questionable stability, and a
government that has suffered military defeat on its own territory. That
does not sound much like the context of NATO's Flexible Response or a sound
deterrence posture. The same generals whom Pipes once accused of just
waiting for the right correlation of forces under the CPSU to launch a
war-winning nuclear strike are now going to be prudent in a
military-political crisis affecting their immediate state, territory and
population. Good relations with the United States have reduced the risk of
nuclear war on a global scale and can lead to further reductions in the
nuclear arsenals of both powers. But Professor Pipes does not seem to have
such actions in mind.

Opposing NATO expansion, Pipes emphasizes the threat Russia poses to the
other successor states from the Soviet Union. He specifically cites
Russian requirements for additional population, Ukrainian food, and Caspian
oil. But these are hardly war aims. Even Pipes suggests that: "Military
weakness along with fear of foreign sanctions precludes simple reconquest.
But they do not inhibit gradual military penetration of the sovereign
states of what
has become known as ‘the near abroad'." Does public support for such
adventures enter into this matter in any way? Or does Pipes assume that
Russians are just imperialists by definition? 
That thought is the most troubling aspect of the essay because it raises
questions of the Reichswehr analogy. The Reichswehr - von Seeckt analogy is
all wrong precisely because the cases do not fit. First, Pipes does not
understand the military transformation of the Reichswehr under von Seeckt,
the topic of Corum's two recent books on the Reichswehr and the Luftwaffe.
This transformation involved mastering the lessons learned from World War
I, especially a revolution in infantry-combined arms tactics and troop
control, which set new requirements for troop training and equipment. The
covert mobilization capacity was significant but limited. Germany was
forbidden to produce or acquire certain weapons, including combat aircraft,
tanks, chemical weapons, submarines, and capital ships of above 10,000
tons. A small, professional force of 100,000 men with the advantage of
peace could master the training for specific missions--war in the west and
east -- France and Poland. The German Wehrmacht that emerged in the 1930s
was not designed for global war whatever Hitler's ambitions. The Luftwaffe,
having assumed that England would not be an opponent, had no significant
intelligence on the RAF infrastructure and aviation industry in 1940. The
Reichswehr did circumvent Versailles through foreign covert arrangements
with the Soviet Union, Sweden, and Finland in the production and testing of
prototypes. but it is unclear how much Germany gained by this process. At
the same time the Reichswehr sought retain its professionalism by staying
out of German politics, to be a state within the state. The German
national economy although racked by hyper-inflation and then a world
depress remained on the cutting edge of technological development in all

The Russian situation is different in key details. In Russia there are
arms limitations but they were mutually negotiated and not imposed on the
defeated by the winners. The arms transfer arrangements in the Russian case
are overt and involve current sales of advanced systems for cash to retain
RDTE capacity. In at least the Chinese case the sales are to a major
potential opponent. Domestically, Russian militaries are completely
politized and involved in intense rivalries for state support. Only the
regular forces of the MOD seem to have any institutional interest in
technological development or a professional orientation towards future
high-tech threats. Sustaining three million plus non-MOD troops must be a
break on state investment in R & D. But the current government sees the
chief threat as internal and counts on the loyalty of its various Internal
Troops, Border Guards, FSB special forces, FAPSI and MChS to sustain
internal order and leverage the borderlands and near abroad. Russian
intervention in these areas since 1991, as Steve Blank recently suggested
here, has been problematic and costly. Unlike the Reichswehr the Russian
Armed Forces have not been allowed to focus on their own reform but have
been used by the state in an unsuccessful attempt to put down succession.
There is a risk of an Anti-Western backlash in the military. Aleksandr
Yanov has argued that Yeltsin's Russia is in a "Weimar stage" from which
forces of revanche may gain the upper hand in the form of some "Red-Brown"
alliance. But that is primarily a question tied to Russian internal
stability, statehood, and a politized military, very different from von
Seeckt's professional autonomy. 

Andrei Kokoshin, First Deputy Minister of Defense, in his recent book,
Armiya I politika [The Army and Politics] did, indeed, look back to the
1920s for an inspiration for military reform. But Kokoshin did not
emphasize von Seeckt and the Reichswehr, but Svechin and the Red Army. In
his conclusion he stressed three relevant points: adapting the concept of
deep operations to system of systems vs system of systems warfare involving
information superiority, determining the level and imminence of the threat
of war on specific geopolitical directions, and the capital problem of
effective civilian control of the military. These are all real issues
which will have much to say about Russia's military power, its place in the
international security system, and the level of stability in Eurasia.
General Gareev has argued for the renewed relevance of B. H. Liddell-Hart's
"indirect approach" to using military power in the post-modern world. He
sees very little prospect of any state seeking to use general war as a
policy tool, considers nuclear weapons instruments of deterrence, and has
focused on stability operations and local wars. Of the present Russian
military he considers the lack of sustained training and exercises and the
poor pool of recruits to be the key inhibitors on the development of new
concepts for the use of advanced weapons. Before the Russian military can
master the RMA it has to overcome the serious, basic tactical problems
revealed in Chechnya. Before we jump to sinister conclusions we might just
want to analyze the existing situation and engage in foresight.

In conclusion regarding Pipes' argument, the Reichswehr model is
irrelevant. The RMA is real and the General Staff will try to respond to
it. But the key to success will be competent professionalism and a sound
economic-technological base within Russian society and that will have to be
created out of what one Russian author has called the wreckage of Soviet
"industrial feudalism." The present crisis of the military and its officer
corps undermines such professionalism and in the short term increases the
risk of military intervention in politics. The immediate threat to Russia
is not external but internal, and the growth of the non-MOD internal forces
reflects this priority. Those forces have no interest in the RMA. The
economic-technical base for a Russian RMA has not appeared.

Regarding Pat Armstrong's argument, I call into question his
generalizations and their significance. Pat argues: ". . . there are a lot
of "old memories and judgements" floating around and -- dare I say it --
they are usually uttered by people who have been wrong virtually every time
out of the box over the last ten years (remember all the confident
pronouncements that Gorbachev was just re-painting the facade, that there
would be a military coup, that the USSR would never pull out of Eastern
Europe, that Russia would never leave the Baltics, that Zhirinovskiy would
take the place over, that Yeltsin wouldn't dare hold elections and so on ad
nauseam?) On each of the issues listed there were compelling reasons to
study the questions at issue. Gorbachev's efforts, the military coup, the
fate of the WTO and Eastern Europe, etc. Pat seems to suggest that there
were consistent answers that were obvious on each of these issues. I
remember a debate that we had on the likelihood of a military coup in
Russia in mid-August 1991. Pat firmly believed that democratic forces
railed around Gorbachev were strong enough to prevent any coup. I
disagreed, partly on the basis of the analysis of the Yeltsin team which
saw the Union Treaty leading to a confrontation with hard liners. I left
that Bedford Colloquium for home with deep respect for Pat's analysis,
although we agreed to disagree. A few days later I flew to Zurich. There I
was awakened by a call early in the morning of August 19 asking what I had
heard about events in Moscow. If Pat means to say that democracy won and
so there was no danger of a military coup in August 1991, then I think he
is doing some serious historical rewriting. As to Zhirinovsky, the issue
was not the LDPR as an unstoppable force but the question of whether he was
a simple clown or something more sinister. When his party won the largest
party share in the Duma in December 1993, that issue became very important
because of its policy implications. Aleksandr Yanov, who can hardly be
accused of Russophobia, has suggested that we do need to study Russia's
internal dynamics--not because the answer is inevitable--but because we
need to engage in foresight. Political correct research topics are
dangerous and stiffling debate foolish. They sound too much like Bill
Casey's infamous order: "I want no benign analysis of the Soviet Union."
There is no room for benign or hostile analysis -- only honest and
objective analysis.


Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 08:19:35 -0400
From: (Steve Blank)
Subject: military reform

David: what I'm about to send you represents a preliminary attempt to 
make sense of the decrees on military reform and what they portend and 
is offered up here for discussion. Presumably there may be 
differences in the final version but this is my sense of where things 
are going at present based on my discussions with Jacob Kipp, Robert 
Arnett, and other recognized authorities. However, they are not 
responsible for my thinking.

In July, 1997 the first signs of military reform began to
emerge in a series of Yeltsin decrees which, if implemented,
could have lasting and major significance for the Russian
)multiple) armed forces and the Russian state. To grasp their
significance we must first try to understand the goals the
forces who pushed through these decrees have in mind. Those
goals are:
To continue the tradition under Yeltsin of multiple
politicized armed forces whose distinguishing criteria is
their personal loyalty to Yeltsin and his retinue of the
To create a substantial and separate Praetorian Guard or
force that is wholly at his disposal and personally
subordinate to Yeltsin and his retinue. In both of these
cases the threat is seen as an internal threat to the
stability of his government, not a threat to Russia's
integrity, sovereignty, or other vital interests.
To do away with, to the maximum possible degree, the central
apparatus of the Ministry of Defense which they are
convinced opposes reform and will subvert any Yeltsin
policy that runs counter to the military's corporate
interests. This also entails fundamental reorganization of
the regular armed forces' services in order to degrade the
central control of the CINCs and their direct subordinates.
To reduce substantially the amount of money the government
spends on defense while preserving a force that supposedly
is adequate to whatever challenges may arise.
To terminate the mass volunteer army based on conscription
and raise a new army that is wholly professional.
To enrich the banking interests to whom the new favorites,
Chubais, Nemtsov, Baturin etc. are closely connected.
To preserve the multiple militaries in their functions but
to bring them all supposedly under more direct presidential
control through the Defense Council and the commissions
chaired by Chubais.
The decrees' actual elements are as follows. Yeltsin
abolished the office of Commander in Chief of the Ground Forces,
stated that the Ministry of Defense's central apparatus will only
be allocated or allowed to spend 1% of the defense budget,
launched the amalgamation of the Air Force and the Air Defense
Forces which will be combined but with Tactical Air Forces going
to the Army in the four Military Districts (Moscow, North
Caucasus, Far East and Urals). Those Districts will no longer
answer to the MOD but their commanders, who will be virtually
autonomous in their districts with regard to peacetime training,
operational plans, and mobilization of resources, will supposedly
answer directly to the President, or more likely the Defense
Council. All strategic nuclear weapons will be merged into a
single command entitled the Strategic Nuclear Forces (S Ya.S). 
This includes ICBM's SLBM's and air based strategic systems. But
it will also presumably include strategic ASW assets and surface
vessels to protect the submarine fleet, both the SSBN's and the
hunter killer SSNs. The two fleets that lack nuclear forces, the
Baltic and Black Sea Fleets, will probably be restricted to
coastal defense and naval operations in support of the ground
forces' flanks in their theaters. However, tactical nuclear
weapons, including both land-based and tactical air based
systems, will devolve to the control of the District CINCS. 
While the multiple militaries, MVD, FSB, Border Troops,
FAPSI, etc. will remain in their current structure, forces
presumably from them and the various special forces, including
but not only Spetsnaz, will be reorganized, along with the
Airborne Troops into the president's Special Reserve or Guard
that are personally at his disposal for emergencies. Most likely
these will be internal emergencies, including political strife at
home, and they will not come under any service or district
commanders, making them Yeltsin's and the Defense Council's
Praetorian Guard. They will thus also be removed from any
connection with the MOD as well. 
Yeltsin also decreed a reduction in force of 500,000 men and
the move towards professionalization, but without setting a date
for completing this task. Thousands of officers will be removed,
presumably given vouchers with which to buy houses from
construction companies that will be privatized and removed from
the MOD's construction and trade organization. One can expect
that given the fortunes that can be made by contracting to build
housing for these men and their families, that the big banks,
along with smaller entrepreneurs, will be immediately establish
construction firms who will be paid in these government vouchers
that they can redeem for cash, thereby once again enriching the
banks and other officials' clients. While this may be called
privatization; it should be noted that the banks will be doubly
enriched due to these reforms. Not only will they be able to
redeem these vouchers for cash; most likely the government will
now bypass the MOD in paying new soldiers and officers in the
districts by depositing monies for their upkeep in the banks
which commanders and district governors or Yeltsin's
plenipotentiaries can then draw on to pay them. The banks will
charge for the services at each step of the way and reap a
fortune from the interest float on monies deposited in them. It
should be noticed that none of the actions described here will
allow for Parliamentary oversight either of the armed forces or
of the financial operations involved, so again the government
will reduce the Parliamentary scrutiny nominally associated with
democracy to a fiction and further demolish any notion of
civilian democratic control of the military. 
And to students of Russian history this operation smacks of
the Tsarist method of redemption payments that was grafted onto
the emancipation of the serfs after 1861. Here, because the
government could not afford to pay for emancipation but felt
obliged to give peasants land so they would not become pauperized
or proletarianized, the regime gave peasants land, but obliged
them to pay huge sums for it and their emancipation over a forty
year period. Here the government cannot redeem military arrears
and wages, or give generous and deserved pensions to people who,
after all risked their lives for Russia, so it gives them
vouchers with which they pay for housing, but which is really a
concealed subsidy to the banks, just as the redemption payments
were a concealed subsidy to the government and noble landowners.
What are the consequences of this plan? First of all it
terminates all hope of strategic coordination by professional
military people, unless the General Staff receives that function,
a most unlikely procedure. Each District Commander will be an
autocrat in charge of his own men, training resources, and
mobilization base. There will be no practical way to coordinate
training in different districts or war plans, or resource plans. 
The central government will maintain those forces through
supposedly direct control and by fiscal levers. But given the
absence of money with which to pay for the reform, it is not
unlikely that the authorities in Moscow will try to force
regional governments to pay for the armed forces and raise their
taxes. This would conform to Yeltsin's, Chubais', and Nemtsov's
efforts to recentralize authority at the expense of provincial
and local governments but to force them to cough up more
resources. it also evokes memories of one of peter the Great's
more desperate (because it was done in wartime) schemes, namely
quartering the armed forces on the population while his fiscal
officers remorselessly taxed everything they could think of. 
Politically the alternatives at the regional levels are either
closer dependence of commanders upon regional governments,
thereby enhancing an existing trend, or the incitement of a
venomous competition between them for scarce resources coming
form Moscow. Neither alternative is without serious risks to the
sociopolitical stability of the state, especially as regional
commanders will garner much more autonomy now.
This series of decrees also points to an inability to plan
on a national basis for any kind of economic military planing. 
Mobilization schedules and resources will not be coordinated in
any reasonable way. Neither will training or manpower needs be
strategically coordinated except through the Defense Council. In
short, there is no way Russia could defend itself conventionally
at anything above a regional level, if then. Moreover, this
conventional forces disability will last, if these plans are
implemented, through 2005-2007. For the next 8-10 years, then,
Russia will have no truly usable conventional forces except for
local or regional police actions, and that is not a proven
certainty either.
This puts us face to face with the nuclear issue. Since
tactical and strategic nuclear weapons will be separated with the
former going to regional CINCS whose operational control from
Moscow has been considerably reduced, it is not clear if a
unified system of strategic planning for the use of nuclear
weapons or control over them can be devised. Moreover, local
commanders might be granted more flexibility in deciding when to
use them. When one factors this disturbing possibility into the
equation that already consists of a command and control system
that is not what it should be or used to be, and a launch on
warning doctrine, the results become positively alarming. But
that is not all. 
Russia's current inability to deploy usable conventional
forces necessarily leaves it with few alternatives. The most
prominent one that is coming to the fore is the nuclear option. 
Since 1993 Moscow has advertised its readiness to launch even
preemptive first-strikes against adversaries who are allied to
nuclear powers, against conventional strikes on power plants, C3
targets, or nuclear installations. More recently Baturin's
reform plan demonstrates that even in ethnopolitical conflicts
that get out of control nuclear options remain distinctly
possible. As in 1993, Russia, when confronting so called local
wars that expand, due to outside assistance, into large-scale
conventional wars, reserves the right to use nuclear weapons as
first strike and preemptive weapons. And in Baturin's draft,
which is likely to become the new doctrinal guidance given
Defense Minister Igor Sergeev's mandate and predilections for
emphasizing the nuclear forces, this allegedly limited strike
serves to regain escalation dominance and force a return to the
status quo.
For forty years Soviet and Russian writers have stridently
and solemnly insisted that limited nuclear war was impossible. 
We now know that they said so because Moscow had relatively
tenuous controls over its second strike capabilities and could
not be certain they would be usable after a first-strike or that
the command mechanism would remain intact. In other words,
Russia's first-strike was its only strike and entailed launching
thousands of warheads. If anything, despite official denials,
controls have eroded and in any case, most of the existing
nuclear weapons are diminishing assets that must be replaced by
2003-2007. Lastly, Russia retains a launch on warning system,
meaning that it will launch nuclear weapons, not on actual
attack, but if it perceives one to be in progress, rightly or
wrongly. Since its military experts expect a surprise attack,
the possibilities for erroneous launch are not inconsiderable. 
These facts have two implications, not counting the added
danger of rogue actions. First, there is growing danger of
accidental or unintended launches due to failure to discern real
from false enemy launches. Second, Moscow could easily escalate
a purely conventional war way out of control in the crazy belief
that suddenly nuclear strikes can somehow limit warfare and give
it escalation control, despite forty years of contrary argument,
assertion, and policy.
Here again we see that strategic means and strategic
interests remain disconnected, another outcome of the failure to
create adequate political mechanisms for the making of strategy,
defense policy in general, and overarching definitions of
national interests. As a result Moscow faces the Hobson's choice
of going nuclear for purely smaller, conventional conflicts, or
losing them because of the outcome that we could reasonably
expect from such dramatic nuclear escalation. In other words,
Russia's prior strategic failure leaves it with no usable
conventional forces and only the threat of mutual suicide. The
many political and strategic implications of this reliance on
nuclear weapons can only undermine confidence in Russian policy
and Russia's actual power to achieve its self-proclaimed
While the plan described here is a clever one with ulterior
political and financial motives, it is also a recipe for
strategic and military disaster by people who are seriously
deficient in the making of military policy. Since Russia still
has not stopped demanding for itself an extraordinary world role
despite its straitened means, the already large gap between
military-economic-political capabilities and unreachable
political goals is not shrinking but growing wider. Moscow had
decided to demolish its already inadequate mechanism for making
defense policy and strategy and determining a true hierarchy of
vital, important, and tertiary national interests, as well as
for making a unified military policy. It also is racing ahead
with the further poilticization of an armed force or forces and
creating an ever grander mismatch between conventional and
nuclear capabilities and plans. These plans also aim to enshrine
a more centralized political authority over a dispersed and and
divided series of armed forces and further extrude Parliamentary
and judicial authorities from the picture. Presumably as well,
part of this grand design is to resubordinate regional
authorities to the new governing elites as well as that is a
parallel, ongoing campaign at present. Finally, the banks, of
course, will profit quite handsomely from the fiscal sleight of
hand embodied in these plans.
God alone knows what will come of this melange of graft,
opportunism, strategic ignorance and regression to Tsarist
models. But if a serious attempt is made to implement a n
alleged military reform along these lines, we can be reasonably
certain that Russia will continue to be anything but a stable,
democratic partner. The status quo is already not holding, as
this series of decrees shows us, the question then becomes, what
structure will be the next to buckle and what happens then?


Russia: Reform Program On Target Says IMF 
By Robert Lyle
Washington, 18 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - International Monetary Fund (IMF)
sources say figures on Russia's economic reform program supplied at the end
of June seem to indicate that Moscow is on target for the next review of
its three-year loan from the IMF. 
Our economics correspondent in Washington quotes the sources as saying,
however, that the indications are "preliminary and general" and are subject
to far more detailed analysis. They will be looked at more closely by the
next regular review mission of IMF experts and officials who will arrive in
Moscow next week. 
The Interfax Financial Information Agency quotes Russian Deputy Finance
Minister Oleg Vyugin in Moscow as saying second quarter figures suggest
that credit and monetary goals have been exceeded. He is also quoted as
saying that budget and tax policy requirements "are in line with the
program" and "close to planned parameters." 
The IMF review mission will be in Moscow until the first of August to
complete its recommendations on release of the second quarterly tranche of
Russia's $10.1 billion loan. The next drawing, expected to be approved in
late August, will be about $700 million. 


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