This Date's Issues: 1122 • 1124
Johnson's Russia List
14 August 1997
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Russia: Harvard Probe Moves Apace.
2. Reuter: Kokh led controversial Russian privatisation.
3. Reuter: New Russian privatisation chief a reform hawk.
4. Celeste Wallander (Harvard) on web page on Russian
5. Mitchell Polman asks for information on youth in
Russia and Kazakhstan.
6. Cathy Porter (East View Books) on information security
in Russia and Korzhakov's book.
7. Dennis McKinsey: ARREARS AND THE SOVIET PEOPLE.
8. Wendell Solomons: A Vietnam in Europe.
9. Chicago Tribune editorial: REVENGE BY GOSSIP IN THE
10. Interfax: Duma Defense Committee Chair Demands Yeltsin '
11. Moskovskiy Komsomolets: Lebed's Stalled Political Career
12. Voice of America's Peter Heinlein reports from Moscow
on Russian capitalism.
13. AP: Russia's '97 grain crop put at 80 million tons.
14. Reuter: Russian farms face cash crunch despite higher crop.
15. Komsomolskaya Pravda: $12 Billion Earmarked for New Weapons
16. PRNewswire: From the Communist Party to Your Party Silver
>From the Kremlin's Private Collection. (DJ: We are not carrying
ads but note Yeltsin's personal involvement in this oddity.)]
Russia: Harvard Probe Moves Apace
August 13, 1997
By MAURA REYNOLDS
MOSCOW (AP) - A Harvard-affiliated think tank is fully
cooperating with a probe into allegations it misused U.S. aid given
to assist Russia's transition to a market economy, a top Russian
official insisted Wednesday.
Dmitry Vasiliev, chairman of the Federal Commission on
Securities, said the Institute for a Law-Based Economy has
furnished all documents requested by U.S. government auditors.
Vasilev assembled reporters to respond to an article in
Wednesday's Wall Street Journal about allegations that Harvard
scholars and their associates benefited improperly from their work
for the Russian government.
``All the members of the commission are interested in the
scandal and would like to see it resolved,'' Vasiliev said.
Vasiliev said he was surprised by an assertion in the newspaper
that U.S. auditors were denied access to documents and information
from the think tank.
``All the necessary documents are being provided and will
continue to be provided,' he said.
The scholars - Andrei Shleifer, director of the Harvard
Institute for International Development's Russia project, and
Jonathan Hay, who ran its offices in Moscow - were fired in May
after the U.S. Agency for International Development accused them of
conflicts of interest.
A preliminary USAID investigation alleged that Shleifer and Hay
used inside knowledge of Russia's markets for private gain, and the
agency suspended its $14 million contract with the Russian
institute. A deeper probe is continuing.
Since 1991, Vasiliev - a key government reformer - has worked
closely with Shleifer, a tenured economics professor, and Hay, a
Sergei Shishkin, the institute's director, said the only
documents not yet provided to the auditors relate to operations not
funded directly by the U.S. government. The think tank wants
assurances that the confidentiality of those materials will be
protected and is awaiting a reply, he said.
USAID also has charged the Russian institute with stealing
$500,000 in office equipment. Both Shishkin and Vasiliev described
the incident as a misunderstanding.
The World Bank, which helps fund the Russian think tank, said
last week that its own investigation found no improprieties in the
use of its money. That investigation did not look into possible
misuse of U.S. funding.
Kokh led controversial Russian privatisation
By Jonathan Lynn
MOSCOW, Aug 13 (Reuter) - Alfred Kokh, who quit the Russian government on
Wednesday for a career in private business, presided over one of the
stormiest phases of privatisation.
But warm words from President Boris Yeltsin and Kokh's own comments suggested
he was not leaving because of the controversy surrounding the latest
sell-offs of state property.
Kokh, 36, was one of several reformist ministers targeted by businessmen and
bankers who felt they had lost out unfairly in Russia's biggest privatisation
to date, last month's sale of one quarter of telecoms holding company
He was also dragged into the controversy about this month's sale of a 38
percent stake in Russia's biggest mining company, Norilsk Nickel, which Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin tried to halt at the last minute.
And his decision in June to halt the privatisation of Russia's biggest
insurer, Rosgosstrakh, has resulted in the company's disgruntled management,
which stood to gain from the deal, suing his department.
Kremlin sources said Kokh's departure was a token sacrifice to the
businessmen who lost out in Svyazinvest and have since waged a ferocious
media campaign attacking cabinet reformers.
But Kokh, a highly rated but brusque professional who has never worried about
his public image, issued a statement thanking Chernomyrdin for his training
A statement from Yeltsin's office expressed satisfaction at Kokh's work in
``one of the most difficult areas of government.''
Kokh had long argued that all profitable businesses should be privatised and
only those providing social services or state needs should be kept in public
In recent months he had focused on the need to raise as much money as
possible from privatisation and not just on the transfer of property for
``We are united on one thing -- state property should be sold dearly,'' he
told a hostile parliament in June.
Kokh was promoted to Deputy Prime Minister in Yeltsin's reformist cabinet in
March this year and given responsibility for privatisation and some tax
He had been appointed Chairman of the State Property Committee, effectively
Russian privatisation minister, in September 1996.
Kokh is one of a group of St Petersburg economists close to First Deputy
Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, as is his successor Maxim Boiko.
Kokh was brought into the State Property Committee when it was headed by
Chubais, who masterminded Russia's mass privatisation in the early years of
economic reforms, and worked closely with Chubais on a controversial
This programme allowed investors to take over the management of state-owned
stakes in partly privatised companies in late 1995 and early 1996 in return
for loans to the government.
The scheme raised much-needed funds for the government, but was widely
criticised for being unfair and uncompetitive, allowing a small group of
well-connected banks to take control of stakes in plum energy and metals
companies for much less than could have been achieved in open tenders.
Since then the stakes have been fully privatised, in every case going to the
winner of the original shares-for-loans tender, and often at ridiculously low
Kokh said he had asked to resign once before in 1995, but his request had
been turned down because he was needed to work on a new phase of
privatisation, concentrating on raising money for the government rather than
transferring property wholesale.
Kokh gave few details of what his new work would be, but said he wanted to
found his own company which would be independent of the current major banks
-- apparently a reference to the recent media attacks in the Svyazinvest
New Russian privatisation chief a reform hawk
By Peter Henderson
MOSCOW, Aug 13 (Reuter) - The choice of Maxim Boiko as Russia's new
privatisation head will not lead to any U-turn in reform policy and may
inject greater efficiency into the sale of state property, economists said on
President Boris Yeltsin named Boiko, currently his deputy administration
head, as privatisation minister after accepting the resignation of Alfred
Kokh, the Kremlin said.
Boiko, one of Russia's most experienced privatisers, takes over as head of
the State Property Committee where Kokh ruled for a year and a half and also
inherits the deputy prime minister's job which Kokh had held since a March
Privatisation revenues are crucial to the Russian government's finances as it
tries to scrape together taxes and Kokh this year has raised billions of
dollars from a few sales.
Kremlin sources said the move was in part politically motivated after a
recent controversial sale but a Property Committee official said
privatisation policy would not change.
Many economists said policy under the diffident Boiko -- a behind-the-scenes
leader of Russia's first wave of privatisation -- would differ little from
that of the blunt Kokh who was well respected in the West.
One economist said possible changes might include improved efficiency in
state sell-offs. ``Boiko is by all accounts an extremely effective
administrator and I have not heard that said of Kokh,'' he said.
Boiko worked closely in the administration with Russia's regions, often
estranged from Moscow and the key to the country's battle to reverse years of
He is seen as one of the closest advisers of economic policy chief Anatoly
Chubais, who is First Deputy Prime Minister, acting Finance Minister and an
effective politician and administrator.
``Maxim Boiko has an excellent reputation as a reformer,'' said Deutsche
Morgan Grenfell Russia research chief Kingsmill Bond, who worked at the
semi-private Russian Privatisation Centre which Boiko once headed.
``If he is in charge, that is good.''
Russian Economic Trends economist Rory MacFarquhar said Boiko would have
little room to manoeuvre under a newly passed privatisation law but would
play by the rules.
``Boiko has always kept a low profile, but he has always been extremely
important,'' he said. ``He has proven a commitment to transparency and is
also not averse to foreign participation in privatisation. Both of these will
The change of helm comes at a difficult point for the government. Kokh had
been singled out for criticism after the July auction of a quarter of
Svyazinvest telecom holding company by media owned by businessmen supporting
the losing bid.
United City Bank banking analyst Andrei Yachenko said Boiko, who set up a
deal which fell through in 1996 for Italy's Stet to buy the Svyazinvest
stake, would not reverse the new sale, which raised $1.9 billion, mostly for
``Boiko was one of the originators of the first deal, and I am sure he
supports this deal as well. I don't think anything will be changed in
privatisation policy at all.''
Kremlin sources said Kokh had twice tendered his resignation, intending to go
into business, and that the timing of the president's acceptance now
signified a political sacrifice to the bankers who opposed the Svyazinvest
Kokh was also criticised for halting the controversial privatisation of
Russia's biggest insurer, Rosgosstrakh, in June. Company management, which
stood to win a large stake, is suing the State Property Committee over the
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997
From: email@example.com (Celeste A. Wallander)
I thought I would let JRL readers know of the website address for a project
I am directing on Russian security. It is
The program includes leading younger scholars working in university and
research settings who focus on issues of Russian security, including the
domestic political, economic, and social sources of Russian interests and
policies. The group is meant to be a resource on these issues, and the
website currently lists their expertise and contact information.
In addition, in the next month the website will also include policy briefs
written by group members, abstracts of program working papers, and
conference reports from our periodic meetings.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mitchell L Polman)
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 23:17:23 EDT
I'm trying to find some hard to come by statistics for a grant proposal.
If anybody out there has any statistics with regards to the following for
Russia and Kazakhstan please e-mail me:
-statistics on youth alcoholism
-statistics on juvenile delinquency and violence
-teen drug usage
-percentage of young people who participate in volunteerism
-survey research data on youth attitudes towards volunteerism and on
-survey research on youth attitudes towards religious tolerance/bigotry
-school drop-out rates
-numbers on young people involved in gangs and/or organized crime
As recent as the statistics are the better. Thank you.
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997
From: "Cathy Porter" <email@example.com>
Subject: Russian Federation Draft Doctrine on Information Security [and
re Korzhakov book]
INFORMATION SECURITY IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
East View now has available the draft doctrine on
Information Security for the Russian Federation
resulting from yesterday's meeting of the Russian
The document is 14 pp & Russian-language and can be
supplied via overnight mail, or electronically.
A Security Council press statement released
yesterday announced, "Security of the information sphere
largely determines the security of the entire nation
in a modern society where information and the means of its
processing, transmission and distribution increasingly
become an important strategic resource."
Vitally important interests noted in the report
include the development of national industry of
means of informatization and telecommunications
and measures to bring its products to world
markets, as well an ensuring the security of
Russian information and telecommunications
The price for the report is $150.00. Please contact
firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
For all of those following the current press frenzy
about Korzhakov's new book.... Yes, East View will be
offering it AS SOON as it is off the presses. Currently,
the hype is preceding the actual book.. but the Moscow
office spoke with the publishers yesterday and the book
should be out within the next 10 days.
We don't have a price yet.. but will post it as soon as we
This book is likely to go very fast... Anyone who would
like to place an advance order is *highly* encouraged to
do so. You can definitely include a "stop" or upper limit
..and if the price is above this amount our Moscow office
will contact you and confirm your order before sending
the book. If the price falls under this order, they will
send the book right away upon publication without delay.
All the best,
East View Books
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 20:04:08 +0000
From: Dennis McKinsey <email@example.com>
Subject: An Article For You
ARREARS AND THE SOVIET PEOPLE
Undoubtedly one of the most intractable problems confronting the
clique in control of that part of the Soviet Union known as Russia is
the incredible amount of governmental wages that are owed in arrears.
Millions of teachers, civil servants, soldiers, medical personnel,
police, and a nearly every other similarly employed group, as well as
retirees and pensioners, have not been paid in months and the amounts
owed continue to accumulate. But even more appalling is the manner in
which the gangsters in charge have opted to partially alleviate this
situation. Because tax evasion is as common as poverty, they have
chosen, instead, to sell governmental property at fire sale prices in
what is known as privatization in order to raise sufficient hush money
to make payoffs and grant temporary reprieves, especially just prior to
elections. It also facilitates the elimination of socialism as well.
This robbing Peter to pay Paul scheme unquestionably lies at the very
quintessence of capitalist degeneracy. Here more than anywhere else we
can see the depths to which they will sink to remain in power.
Apparently many Russians fail to realize that wages months in arrears
are being paid with money already possessed by the receivers. Its
analogous to discovering you were paid hundreds of dollars in back wages
with money obtained by selling your home. The Soviet people are
partially gaining in one hand what they are losing monumentally from the
other. Under socialism they owned the means of production,
distribution, and exchange which included the mines, factories, forests,
etc. Now they are losing all that for a pittance. The key questions in
this regard are how long the masses are going to stomach this abominable
situation and what is the government going to do when the supply of the
peoples' s property available for sale has been exhausted.
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997
From: Wendell W. Solomons <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: A Vietnam in Europe
Well described Nick!
>From: Nick Sivulich
>Subject: Russian religion
> Richard Pipes' criticism of Russian Orthodoxy (#1112,
>Aug. 10) is instructive. It helps show how utterly
>political students of Russian life can be. Pipes describes
>a religion that is "xenophobic, nationalist and
>anti-democratic." Anybody know many religions NOT fitting
>his description? Worse, he certainly infers that Russian
>Orthodoxy is beyond redemption...
> To put it briefly, precisely which religion does Pipes
>believe lives without serious, and sometimes even
>murderous, historical embarrassments?
> Russia's Orthodox religion is the worst, of course,
>except, perhaps, for all the rest.
This also indicates that Kremlinologists now tear there hair out
to stuff in the ears of Western policymakers, something (now religion,
earlier laziness, drink, winter, politburo) so as to cover up a hideous
fraud committed on the US-taxpayers money.
What were these comfortable Russian specialists predicting when
Dr Sachs and PR firm Burson-Marstellar social-engineered their country
of "expertise" for INSTANT CAPITALISM? Confidence-tricksters don't
leave their tracks in history books but these have. China did not
rely on their snake-oil and sees GDP growth of 10%.
If this pack of quacks is US-levered again they will stir up enough
mud to speed up creating a Vietnam in Europe.
Pipes already spoke out as a seller of quack medicine for fencing
out the former 320 million people USSR like an Injun reservation by
enhancing NATO at cost to the Western payer. Policymakers will discover
that today's ecological issues in Europe are connected with nuclear
reactors and not the longbow.
N.B. It has been suggested that Pipes, the elder, may quite directly
share an insider heritage at Harvard with Sachs, the younger.
August 13, 1997
REVENGE BY GOSSIP IN THE KREMLIN
Russia may be having a difficult time mastering the finer points of
democracy--fair elections, separation of powers and the primacy of law. But
when it comes to the less-edifying aspects of the Western political system,
like vote-rigging, mudslinging and campaign finance abuses, the Russians are
No surprise, then, that the Kremlin is being rocked by yet another dubious
staple of modern democracy, a tell-all book by a disgruntled political
insider with a score to settle and lots of ugly secrets to blab.
The gossipy tome was penned by the man who spent a tumultuous decade as
President Boris Yeltsin's closest aide and constant companion before being
abruptly cast aside with nary a word of thanks during last year's
Alexander Korzhakov, a former KGB officer, had been the mercurial
Yeltsin's chief bodyguard, bartender, confidant and amateur shrink before a
series of embarrassing political blunders and persistent rumors of official
corruption forced the Russian leader to dump him in a last-minute bid for
Up to that point, Korzhakov's loyalty to Yeltsin had been ironclad and
unconditional. He even resigned from the KGB and followed his mentor into the
political wilderness when Yeltsin was kicked out of the ruling Politburo by
then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. When Yeltsin put down a hard-line
Communist coup in 1991 and then squashed a violent uprising two years later,
Korzhakov was right there at his side.
Now the former head of the Kremlin security detail, Russia's powerful
Praetorian Guard, is out to avenge his betrayal by Yeltsin. Those who have
read parts of his 400-page book say it is just oozing with first-hand
accounts of drunken episodes, political fiascoes, psychological collapses and
even suicide attempts. Sounds like delicious reading, eh?
But Korzhakov's book is also a milestone of sorts in Russia. It wasn't too
long ago that political losers were killed or dumped in a gulag before they
could spill any inside dirt. Democracy is not only a better system. It's also
a lot more fun.
Duma Defense Committee Chair Demands Yeltsin Resignation
MOSCOW, Aug 12 (Interfax) -- A member of the Duma's Our Home faction,
General Lev Rokhlin, who chairs the Duma Defense Committee and heads the
movement for supporting the army, defense industry and military science, on
Tuesday urged Russian citizens to demand the resignation of President Boris
Yeltsin and the government.
"We, Russian citizens, have every right to bring to account the
authorities, first of all the president, for the armed forces' breakup, and
demand their resignation," says his eight- page appeal, made available to
"The current regime does not only refuse to work out compromises, but
does not even want to deal with its opponents," the document says. "It is
getting ready to use the entire potential of its police apparatus. Suffice
it to recall the president's statement that he would dismiss Rokhlin and
his like," it says. "The regime has lost the feeling of reality... and has
taken off its mask," Rokhlin writes.
He urged Russian citizens "to become united and awaken from sleep and
indifference," and "all Russian patriots to brush away their ambitions and
stop scoring points off each other."
He proposed forming a new government trusted by the people and
preparing conditions for free elections. He also criticized Prime Minister
Viktor Chernomyrdin and his first deputy, Anatoliy Chubays, "who have been
charged with reorganizing the army."
"The organizers of the movement have no plans to come to power. There
is only one thing we are after -- to give the nation one more chance to
make its choice. The honor and glory of the Motherland, and tranquility
and well-being of the people are the sole goal to which all forces and, if
necessary, life can be given," says Rokhlin's appeal.
Lebed's Stalled Political Career Pondered
August 11, 1997
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Yuriy Zaynashev: "The Tula Cake -- The Angers and
Hopes of Aleksandr Lebed"
Not too long ago Aleksandr Lebed was as popular as the cakes baked in
Tula. But now the general has himself buried his political career. He
announced that from now on he would not accept any posts in Russia below
that of president. It has became clear that the press had obviously been
too hasty last fall in calling Mr. Lebed "the next president of Russia."
Having been dismissed, Aleksandr Lebed made an whole series of
predictions on a grand scale. In mid-October he promised that the chairman
of the government, Viktor Chernomyrdin would be fired by no later than
November, and would be "gobbled up" by Anatoliy Chubays. At the end of
January Lebed predicted that "in about two months" the Communists would
remove Gennadiy Zyuganov because he "is past his best." (Moreover, a third
of the CPRF [Communist Party of the Russian Federation] would immediately
break away and join "me.") At the same time he st the time for a general
catastrophe in Russia (provoked by Yeltsin's ailing health) in another two
months: "In March all the crises will merge into one."
The interesting thing is not that all the predictions failed to come
true, but the fact that they revealed the mentality of Aleksandr Lebed.
Experienced politicians are reluctant to "spoil" their predictions by
giving them a precise framework, or else they make long-term predictions to
give the public a chance to forget them. But General Lebed has failed to
learn the rudiments of political science -- he limited his predictions to
two months. An experienced tactician, he never did become a strategists
and as before does not have a sense of the general course of events. The
reason for this haste is in full view -- the general does not even want to
think about the fact that the presidential elections will take place in the
year 2000. As a politician he might simply not live to see them.
Aleksandr Lebed is hardly likely to enlist the weighty support of the
bourgeoisie. Not only is he careless with his statements, but with
finances as well. The general, for instance, has not yet completely paid
for the election campaign of 1995. An assistant to Mr. Rogozin, with whom
Aleksandr Lebed went into the elections back then, revealed in an interview
with Moskovskiy Komsomolets that in November 1995 the leaders of the KRO
[Congress of Russian Communities] were planning to take a preelection
airplane tour along the Khabarovsk-Omsk route. Mr. Rogozin concluded a
contract concerning these plans with one tourist agency that had made hotel
and transportation reservations along the entire route. About 10 days
before setting off the KRO leaders changed their minds and canceled the
whole thing, and according to Rogozin's assistant, to this day the firm is
still waiting to receive the penalty charge -- $1500.
Aleksandr Ivanovich's party-building effort is not working out either.
When he became disenchanted with the KRO, just like Grigoriy Yavlinskiy,
he was on the point of deciding to "sit on" the ready-made structure of the
dwarf Republican party in order to cultivate his own National Republican
party out of it. Developing a party requires patience and compliance, but
the general never did understand what a compromise is. He never did reach
an agreement with the leader of the Republicans, Vladimir Lysenko. Lately
he has spent a lot of time holding unpublicized talks with Galina
Starovoytova through assistants, trying to lure the democrats over to
himself. But it was here that pride once again prevailed, and in another
interview Aleksandr Lebed upped and said that Starovoytova is forcing
herself upon him. Naturally the democrats immediately broke off the talks.
The saddest thing is that according to his associates, Aleksandr Ivanovich
himself does not realize why he needs to hurry up with [building] a party.
The love of the people turned out to be short-lived -- a younger politician
stole his ratings away from him. Without a rating, without a party, without
Korzhakov's compromising materials, without a post at the State Duma,
without the governorship in Tula, Aleksandr Lebed has been left on the
sidelines. He is biding his time to see if his former boss [Yeltsin] will
kick the bucket. Idleness is more dangerous for him than is Chubays.
Perhaps the only way out is to go pull his horns in further and lie low.
He should avoid the limelight for about a year and give Moscow
newspapers a chance to forget about him, and in the meantime move around
the country. Not at a gallop, like Solzhenitsyn, but with thoroughness --
for example, going to the "hottest" spots, like Maritime Kray, putting
together a party, studying the situation, proposing specific measures at
meetings with people and in the local press. In part, Lebed is doing
precisely that -- he visits Russian provinces or neighboring Belarus, at
times without publicity. But in the last three months the general has been
regularly putting his foot in his mouth: Either he prints some plagiarism,
or, as in Irkutsk, he gambles on a candidate who did time in jail for rape.
But the victory of his protege in the election of Samara's city leader
shows that the general has not lost his political luck or his instinct.
Lebed could make excellent use of the respite that he has been given
-- to, say, bone up on his history and economics, and simple good manners.
It would be extremely necessary for him to find a common language with
Yuriy Luzhkov. After all, the Moscow mayor cannot help but be aware of the
fact that he will never make it to the post of president -- the
Moscow-phobia in the country is just too strong. But the political
catamaran of Lebed (head of state) and Luzhkov (head of government) could
break down many barriers at the next elections. For the time being the
impression is that these "tough guys" are hardly likely to come to an
agreement. So far Lebed has not been able to make a deal with anyone --
except for Lev Rokhlin, and that is useless. General Rokhlin is naive or
inexperienced, and his movement is the thousandth version of a dwarf party
which has been joined by a handful of the politicians from the day before
Willy-nilly Aleksandr Lebed continues to work for Boris Yeltsin - - as
a powerful stick to beat the Communists. If Yeltsin was to dissolve the
State Duma tomorrow -- Lebed and his RNRP [Russian People's Republican
Party] would be forced to enter the new elections in order to wrest a good
part of the votes away from the Communists. Lebed will automatically take
away Gennadiy Zyuganov's parliamentary majority from him, but he himself
will not agree to a coalition with the CPRF or the LDPR [Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia] for anything in the world. Consequently, the president
and the democrats will be opposed not by two, like now, but by three
uncoordinmated factions at once in the new Duma. For services like these,
Boris Yeltsin could once again start being nice to the disgraced general
out of sheer rejoicing, and even favor him with a post of, say, adviser.
Many a time has the president kicked people out, only to make up with them
later. This is the year of Reconciliation and Harmony.
Voice of America
INTRO: IT HAS BEEN NEARLY SIX YEARS SINCE RUSSIA STARTED DOWN THE
ROAD FROM A CONTROLLED, STATE-RUN ECONOMY TO CAPITALISM.
PROGRESS, TO SAY THE LEAST, HAS BEEN UNEVEN. VOA MOSCOW
CORRESPONDENT PETER HEINLEIN REPORTS EVEN THE STRONGEST
SUPPORTERS OF FREE MARKET REFORMS HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THE
TEXT: THE BILLIONAIRE AMERICAN FINANCIER GEORGE SOROS CALLED IT
"ROBBER CAPITALISM". HE TOLD A REPORTER RECENTLY HE BELIEVES
RUSSIA HAS MOVED FROM THE EXCESSES OF THE SOVIET SYSTEM TO THE
EXCESSES OF LAISSEZ FAIRE -- OR UNCONTROLLED, CAPITALISM. HE
SAID IT WAS UNFAIR TO CONDEMN CAPITALISM BY USING RUSSIA AS AN
HAVING SAID THAT, MR. SOROS IS INVESTING HEAVILY IN RUSSIA. ONE
DAY LAST MONTH, HE CONTRIBUTED 980 MILLION DOLLARS TOWARD THE
PURCHASE PRICE OF A LARGE SHARE OF THE COUNTRY'S
TELECOMMUNICATIONS GIANT, SVYAZINVEST. HE SAID HE WAS PUTTING UP
THE MONEY TO SHOW HIS FAITH IN RUSSIA'S TEAM OF YOUNG ECONOMIC
THE SVYAZINVEST SALE WAS PART OF THE GOVERNMENT'S HIGHLY
CONTROVERSIAL PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM. PRIVATIZING, OR SELLING OFF
THE SOVIET STATE'S ASSETS, HAS MADE A FEW RUSSIANS VERY RICH.
BUT FOR THE AVERAGE FAMILY, THE CHANGEOVER FROM COMMUNISM TO
CAPITALISM HAS BROUGHT A STEADY DETERIORATION IN LIVING
SEVENTY-YEAR OLD MAYA PANKRATOVA HAS BEEN A KEEN OBSERVER OF
RUSSIAN SOCIETY. AS A LECTURER AND RESEARCHER AT THE INSTITUTE
FOR SOCIOLOGY AT THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, SHE BOTH
STUDIED COMMUNISM AND LIVED IT.
LOOKING BACK, SHE SAYS THE DOWNFALL OF THE COMMUNIST SYSTEM WAS
INEVITABLE BECAUSE IT TOOK AWAY PEOPLE'S INCENTIVE TO WORK HARD,
AND THEREFORE TO BECOME RICH.
...BECAUSE WE REFUSED CAPITALISM -- THAT WAS THE SOURCE
OF ALL TROUBLES AND DIFFICULTIES IN OUR COUNTRY IN
COMMUNIST TIMES. AND THE CRASH OF COMMUNIST SYSTEM WAS,
FIRST OF ALL, BECAUSE IT DID NOT ALLOW EVEN ELEMENTS
TODAY, IN THE TWILIGHT OF HER CAREER, MS. PANKRATOVA WATCHES AS
HER CHILDREN'S AND GRANDCHILDREN'S GENERATIONS ADAPT TO THE NEW
//OPT// SHE WORRIES ABOUT THE GROWING RESENTMENT OF RUSSIANS
SUDDENLY SURROUNDED BY WESTERN CONSUMER GOODS THEY CANNOT AFFORD.
///SECOND PANKRATOVA ACT///
THIS EXAGGERATED IMPRESSION OF THE WEST AS A PARADISE
MAKES FOR DISSATISFACTION AND (RAISES) DEMANDS OF GOING
BACK TO NOSTALGIC COMMUNIST TIMES. ESPECIALLY BECAUSE
BAD THINGS ARE NOT SO WELL REMEMBERED AS GOOD THINGS.
MS. PANKRATOVA NOTES CITIZENS OF THE SOVIET STATE HAD LITTLE
CONTACT WITH THE OUTSIDE WORLD, AND THOUGHT THEY LIVED
COMPARATIVELY WELL. //END OPT//
SHE SAYS RUSSIANS TODAY, ESPECIALLY THE ELDERLY, FEEL BETRAYED BY
CHANGES AROUND THEM. THE LITTLE SATISFACTION THEY FIND IS IN
THEIR NEWFOUND FREEDOM TO COMPLAIN.
///THIRD PANKRATOVA ACT///
FOR EXAMPLE, PENSIONERS' CONDITIONS ARE NOT GOOD. BUT
THEY WERE NEVER GOOD. BUT IN COMMUNIST TIMES THEY DID
NOT COMPLAIN, BECAUSE IT WAS NOT ALLOWED TO
COMPLAIN. THEY THOUGHT IT WAS AS IT MUST BE. BUT NOW,
EVERYBODY COMPLAINS, SO THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO MAKE
MS. PANKRATOVA SAYS DESPITE THE HARDSHIPS OF THE TRANSITION, MOST
RUSSIANS ACCEPT THE INEVITABILITY OF THE FREE MARKET, ALTHOUGH
THE ROBBER CAPITALISM THEY HAVE SEEN HAS BEEN OFFENSIVE TO MANY.
//REST OPT// BY WAY OF EXPLANATION, SHE RECITES A SMALL JOKE TOLD
IN RUSSIA. SHE SAYS "WE NOW KNOW ALL THE SOVIET PROPAGANDA ABOUT
COMMUNISM WAS FALSE, AND EVERYTHING THEY TOLD US ABOUT CAPITALISM
Russia's '97 grain crop put at 80 million tons
August 13, 1997
MOSCOW -- Russia's agriculture minister said in an interview published
Wednesday that the 1997 grain harvest should rise to about 80 million
metric tons (88 million short tons). About 1 million tons (1.1 million
short tons) are slated for export.
Victor Khlystun told the newspaper Izvestia that the 1997 harvest should
exceed last year's by about 10 million tons (11 million short tons).
Imports of grain will probably total less than 1 million tons, Mr.
Khlystun said, adding that Russia might export about the same amount of
grain this year.
"That is, the export-import balance would be zero," he said.
At their weekly meeting on Wednesday, President Boris Yeltsin and Prime
Minister Victor Chernomyrdin said the outlook for the harvest was good,
but that the main problem currently was providing fuel to the collective
farms for the harvest.
Based on the meeting, Mr. Chernomyrdin will give "strict instructions"
to make sure the fuel gets to the farms on time, the presidential press
Last year's grain harvest was 69.3 million tons (76.2 million short
tons), up from the low of 63.4 million tons (69.7 million short tons) in
1995. The grain harvest in 1994 was 81.3 million tons (89.4 million
short tons), down from 99.1 million tons (109 million short tons) in
In his interview, Mr. Khlystun also indicated that contrary to popular
belief, Russia doesn't import more food than it had before economic
reforms began and the collective farms began to crumble.
Russian farms face cash crunch despite higher crop
By Mike Collett-White
MOSCOW, Aug 13 (Reuter) - Russia's farmers are finding the transition from
state handouts to commercial financing tough, but dwindling Kremlin support
means their dependence on banks will only grow, Russian farm officials said
The agricultural sector is heading for a significantly higher harvest this
year than the two previous paltry campaigns -- but the industry still faces
major problems, mostly stemming from a lack of cash.
"The main problem in the agricultural sector is the absence of money," said
Vladimiy Totsky, deputy director of Russia's Grain Union. "This is because
there is no access to normal credits and normal downpayment systems."
Moscow, strapped for cash, is attempting to put its troubled agriculture
sector on a more independent footing by inviting commercial banks to finance
farms, rather than dishing out cheap credits which in Soviet times were
"They (farmers) understand they can't rely on God or on the government, only
on themselves," Agriculture Minister Viktor Khlystun told the Izvestiya
newspaper in an interview.
But the relationship between banker and farmer is not an easy one. Khlystun
said many banks were reluctant to forward credit to what was viewed as such a
"Extending credits to the agricultural sector is a complicated and risky
procedure," he said.
Totsky said changes would probably be slow.
"I think that if commercial banks credit the sector normally...then
everything could work out," he said. "But I don't expect a normal system in
place until next century."
Khlystun warned that with little if any direct state subsidies set aside for
agriculture in the draft 1998 budget, time was not on the farm sector's side.
The consequence could be fewer people working the field.
"We need to understand that if we ignore the farmer-partner today, then
tomorrow he may disappear forever," he told Izvestiya.
Khlystun met President Boris Yeltsin on Wednesday to discuss the
agricultural sector, after which Yeltsin promised support for farmers faced
with fuel shortages.
"We have fuel, but villagers cannot pay for it," Yeltsin was quoted by the
Interfax news agency as saying after the meeting.
He said fuel suppliers must be "compelled" to send supplies to the farms,
while farmers should pay them back once their grain was sold.
But in the short term at least, an expected recovery in grain output this
year should make life easier for some of the struggling sector's employees.
Khlystun forecast a net grain harvest of around 80 million tonnes, from 69.3
million last year and 63.4 million in 1995.
Totsky said Khlystun's assessment was slightly optimistic, but he forecast a
crop not much below, at 77 million tonnes.
Khlystun also predicted Russia's net grain balance this season would be flat.
Russia raided world grain bins in the 1970s after its own crops failed, but
its dependence on outside grain has fallen, making it only a small net
importer last year.
Billions of dollars a year are now spent on other foods instead, above all
meat and dairy products, and Khlystun said over a third of Russia's total
food needs are still imported.
Russia imports around two million tonnes of year annually from outside the
former Soviet Union, according to U.S. Agriculture Department estimates -- a
sign of how far its own livestock industry collapsed during the last ten
But again, it all boils down to cash.
"We need to rejuvenate livestock numbers and the system of securing fodder --
but for that we need investment," Khlystun said.
$12 Billion Earmarked for New Weapons Programs
August 7, 1997
[translation for personal use only]
Denis Baranets report: "$12 Billion for Weapons That No One Has"
More than $12.8 billion has been allocated for funding our
programs for the creation of new types of weapons this year (the
entire military budget amounts to $19 billion). This figure was
made public for the first time in conversation with your Komsomolskaya
Pravda correspondent by a spokesman for the Rosvooruzheniye publicly
owned company who did not wish to give his name. Into what has the
public money been thrown?
Major General Slipchenko, the recent director of the Research
Department of the General Staff, told Komsomolskaya Pravda that
such classes of arms as directed energy weapons, automatic precision
weapons, deep-penetration munitions, and equipment for conducting
so-called electronic warfare are being created at this time.
Andrey Kokoshin, first deputy minister of defense, boasted
in an interview that the program of military development up to the
year 2005 would provide Russia with "weapons that have no counterparts
in the world." It is for this that the 1,700 research centers of
Russia"s military-industrial complex are working.
Komsomolskaya Pravda has managed, however, to ascertain some
of our military secrets. The present high-priority strategic programs,
according to Rosvooruzheniye information, include:
Topol-M2 mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles (an upgraded
version of the SS-25 missile, which was put into mass production
at the end of last year);
a new tactical nuclear arms system capable under combat conditions
of firing nuclear warheads over a distance of 400 kilometers (the
system was tested successfully at the end of 1995);
ultra-small nuclear warheads weighing less than 90 kilograms,
which are already being manufactured;
seven Borey-class submarines armed with the D-31 new ballistic
In addition, Russia"s military laboratories are developing
laser and radio-frequency weapons.
>From the Communist Party to Your Party Silver From the Kremlin's
Stunning Sterling Silver and 18K Gold Tableware
Perfect for Holiday Entertaining!
SAN DIEGO, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- If you're looking for a way to impress
friends and family this holiday season, set your table with actual sterling
silver and 18-karat-gold-plated tableware from the Kremlin's private
collection. Boris Yeltsin, president of the Russian Federation, has signed
an executive order authorizing the sale of this stunning tableware, formerly
used at Kremlin state dinners, to private collectors.
Sovietski Collection, a CA-based direct importer, has rescued these
vintage treasures from top-secret Kremlin vaults, where they had languished
for more than 20 years. (For a complimentary catalogue, call 800-442-0002 or
"Finding these vintage artifacts is truly like uncovering a buried
treasure," said Mitch Siegler, President of Sovietski Collection. "After
several years of negotiations, President Yeltsin finally agreed to make these
extraordinary pieces available to international collectors. We were thrilled
to be the first foreigners allowed inside these secret Kremlin vaults."
The tableware, 20 to 40 years old, is crafted of .875 to .916 pure silver
and accented with 18-karat gold vermeil. Many pieces are also ornamented
with hot-baked enameling in the plique-a-jour style first developed by Peter
Faberge, jeweler to the Imperial Russian Court during the 19th century.
"Each piece bears the distinctive hammer and sickle markings of the former
Soviet Union and, though used, is in excellent condition," said Siegler.
Until recently, this stunning tableware collection was stored in
secret government vaults, deep beneath Red Square. Because of Russia's
unfortunate economic situation, president Yeltsin finally decided to authorize
the sale of pieces from the Kremlin's private collection to collectors of fine
silverware and historical relics.
The collection includes enameled coffee and tea spoons, vodka and cognac
cups, tea accoutrements (such as traditional Russian tea glass holders, sugar
bowls, tea strainers, and cup and saucer sets) and serving pieces at prices
ranging from $39 to $119. All pieces come hand-polished and gift-boxed with
a Certificate of Authenticity and are sold subject to a 30-day money-back
Sovietski Collection is a leading U.S. direct importer and catalogue
marketer of rare Russian and Soviet-era historical collectibles and fine
gifts. To order pieces from the Kremlin silver collection or for a
complimentary, 32-page, color catalogue, please call (800) 442-0002.
International: (619) 294-2000. Fax: (619) 294-2500. Email:
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