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CDI Library > Johnson's Russia List

Johnson's Russia List
 

 

August 22, 1997  
This Date's Issues: 1137 1138   

Johnson's Russia List
#1137
22 August 1997
djohnson@cdi.org

[Note from David Johnson:
1. RIA Novosti: ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN LASHES OUT AT DUAL 
STANDARDS OF WESTERN DIPLOMACY.

2. Lewis Siegelbaum: Re 1135- McFaul/Trade Unions.
3. Gary Kern: The Russian idea: inferiority is superior.
4. Henrietta Thomas: Re 1135-Danzer/Russian Idea.
5. Timothy Blauvelt: Spheres of Influence.
6. Stephen Shenfield): book query.
7. Aaron Tovish: Re Zavtra's Den.
8. Laura Belin: correction on Berezovskii.
9. Rabochaya Tribuna: Gennady Yuryev, MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.
10. The Independent (UK): Christopher Bellamy, Yeltsin joins 
trend of tighter arms exports.

11. MSNBC: Jeff Thein, In 1997, what's a Cossack to do? 
Legendary horsemen demand modern recognition.

12. Asia Times: Massive swindle to be revealed. (and more).
13. IEWS Russian Regional Report: Vladimir Shlapentokh,
CENTER-PERIPHERY RELATIONS: A POWERFUL FACTOR IN SHAPING RUSSIA'S
FUTURE.

14. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: BILL RICHARDSON AS A FRIENDLY FIGURE FOR 
RUSSIAN DIPLOMACY.

15. ARGUMENTY I FAKTY: Poll Shows Majority of Russian Regret 
Collapse of USSR. 

16. AP: Yeltsin on Mir: Russians Don't Care.] 

*******

#1
ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN LASHES OUT AT DUAL STANDARDS OF
WESTERN DIPLOMACY 
BRUSSELS, AUGUST 22 /FROM RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT VICTOR
ONUCHKO/ -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn thinks that the West's policy
regarding the ex-USSR territories is "hypocritical". The West
issues "non-unselfish recommendations" for relations between
countries of the CIS and ignores "its own more than
contradictory approaches to the Kurd and Northern Ireland
issues", he writes in a Belgian weekly, published in Brussels
today. 
Solzhenitsyn censures the expansion of NATO which, together
with the West's economic enslavement of Russia, is targeted at
"full neutralisation" of Russia. He also censures the policy of
the Russian leadership, which he finds wavering towards the CIS
countries. He thinks the steps to preserve Chechnya as part of
Russia and Moscow's stance with regard to the Southern Kuriles
are doomed. 
As to the situation in the former Yugoslavia, its tragedy
is due to not only "the communist clique of Josip Tito" but also
the "lofty campaign" carried out by heads of the leading Western
countries. He thinks controversial and hypocritical the policy
of the Western powers, above all the United States, during the
Yugoslav conflict and also biassed towards the Serbs.
Solzhenitsyn writes of the "dubious" principles of justice of
the Haague International Tribunal and calls its work tuned to
the Western scenario for the ex-Yugoslavia. 

*******

#2
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 16:42:16 -0400
From: "Lewis H. Siegelbaum" <siegelba@pilot.msu.edu>
Organization: Michigan State University (History)
Subject: Re: 1135- McFaul/Trade Unions

Michael Mcfaul's characterization of Renfrey Clarke's article on 
trade unions in Russia was tendentious and inaccurate. Clarke neither 
explicitly stated nor implied that he "still sees the AFL-CIO as an 
enemy of labor both abroad ... and in the U.S. as well." Nor, in my 
reading of his article, did he imply "that the FNPR is the friend of 
Russian labor." And nowhere in his article does he characterize the 
FNPR as "left wing."
What he did do was to provide some useful historical background to 
the AFL-CIO's "missions" abroad and the role that its Free Trade Union 
Institute (FTUI) played both before and after the collapse of the 
Soviet Union in working with so-called independent unions. He lamented 
that FTUI had written off the FNPR as a tool of the Communists, but 
indicated that this policy was under reconsideration. (Ironically, 
McFaul's revelation that "FNPR people worked for Luzhkov and Yeltsin" 
and that "Shmakov ...and his entourage [were] at the victory party for 
Yeltsin at his campaign headquarters" would seem to suggest that FTUI 
has finally seen the light) Beyond this, as a friend of labor, he 
applauded the AFL-CIO's change of direction under Sweeny's leadership 
and praised Irene Stevenson, although perhaps not as fulsomely as 
McFaul might have wished. Finally, he expressed concern about the 
extent to which the source of FTUI's funding (the US government) might 
limit its flexibility in responding to what is still a very fluid 
situation within the trade union movements in Russia. 
McFaul admits he is no expert on these matters, and that is 
obvious. For although he "cannot remember a major strike over the last 
decade in which the FNPR took a leading role," many --even non-experts 
-- might recall the "Day of Protest" that the FNPR sponsored last 
March, which although not as massive as predicted, involved more 
people than any other labor action in recent years. 
Those who are interested in learning more about the FNPR and the 
independent unions since the break up of the Soviet Union should 
consult the several volumes authored and/or edited by Simon Clarke (no 
relation to Renfrey, as far as I know), beginning with <What about the 
Workers?> (Verso, 1993) and <The Workers' Movement in Russia> (Edward 
Elgar, 1995), as well as my forthcoming article ("Freedom of Prices 
and the Price of Freedom: The Coalminers' Dilemmas in the Soviet Union 
and its Sucessor States") in <The Journal of Communist Studies and 
Transition Politics>, vol. 13, no. 4 (December 1997). I also co-
authored with Daniel Walkowitz an article on FTUI's less than 
praiseworthy role in fostering "democracy" within the coalminers' 
movement in Ukraine during 1991-2. That article appeared in <The 
Nation>, November 2, 1992 under the title, "The AFL-CIO Goes to 
Ukraine."

*******

#3
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 23:07:23 -0700
From: Gary Kern <gkern@ucr.campus.mci.net>
Subject: The Russian idea: inferiority is superior

John Danzer suggests in JRL #1135 that we exchange views on the Russian
idea, since the Yeltsin committee on the question was unable to come up
with anything even half intelligible. He finds the unifying idea in the
Russian land--Mat' Rodina--and undoubtedly is right in the geopolitical
and perhaps popular religious sense, but there is another aspect I would
like to consider: the psychological.

The Russian idea, as I perceive it, is not something that the Russians
can readily admit as a national policy. It is certainly not the
enthusiastic receptivity to all cultures or spontaneous
multiculturalism--vsechelovechestvo--that Pushkin and Dostoevsky
expressed, nor the reflexive xenophobia--"Russian secrecy and
suspiciousness"--that many historians and political commentators have
described. Rather, it is an abiding sense of inferiority before the
West, a persisting suspicion that Slavs are boorish, medieval and crude
by comparison with modern, enlightened Germans, French and English. On
the national level, I think, Russians always feel that they must prove
themselves, either outwit or outdo the West, chiefly Europe. The
constructionist slogan was "catch up with and overtake America"--dognat'
i peregnat' Ameriku--but I think it applied more to Europe. The
attitude of the Russians toward America has always been special, because
they recognize a fellow inferior of sorts, a breakaway country from
Europe, a land of frontiers and new ventures striving to outdo the Old
World, but never quite as cultured and wise.

On the individual level, Russians have developed the mentality of an
inferior to a fine art. It runs something like this: "I am subject to
forces more powerful than myself, to great numbers of both stupid and
clever people who can seriously harm me and to a government that
attempts to control me and may crush me; something bad can and probably
will happen, but if I keep relatively quiet and don't stick out too
much, I can survive; what's more, I can play dumb, outwait and outwit
the wise guys. In my manifest inferiority lies my private
superiority." Often this individual inferiority mentality alternates
with the national need to demonstrate superiority. The Soviet leaders,
including the Georgian Stalin, were very Russian in this regard. 
Perhaps Gorbachev, the least successful of all, was an exception.

O.K., these are broad generalities, just my private impressions. The
experts can shoot me down and prove I'm an idiot. But look closely at
the next Russian you rub elbows with. You'll see it, even in the
brilliant and showy intellectual: the inferiority-superiority complex.

*******

#4
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 13:27:05 -0500 (CDT)
From: Henrietta Thomas <hkt@wwa.com>
Subject: Re: 1135-Danzer/Russian Idea

At 10:19 AM 8/21/97 -0400, John Danzer wrote:
>After reading about the special committee to study the creation of
>a Russian Idea I decided to think about it myself....
>So here is my idea for Russia. 
> "Conservators of the Great Eurasian Heartland"

You know, I was thinking the very same thing -- how to tie Russia 
in with the land. Consider the following from Russian history:

Zemski Sobor - Assembly of the Land
Ivan Kalita (aka Moneybags) gathered up the Russian lands
"Land and Liberty" - a 19th century peasant slogan
Pavel I. Iakushkin's "Great is the God of the Russian Land"
(written at the time of the emancipation)

There are probably more examples, but these are the ones that come
to mind.

I would not use the word "conservators" though. It doesn't sound
quite right to me. A better slogan, IMO, would be:

Russia - The Great Eurasian Heartland 

Or perhaps:

Russia - The Great Eurasian Landbridge between East and West

I wonder what Russian readers of JRL think of this.

*********

#5
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 14:37:23 -0400 (EDT)
From: Timothy K Blauvelt <blauvelt@acsu.buffalo.edu>
Subject: Spheres of Influence

In response to Yeltsin's accusation of American intent to "penetrate
and exert its influence" in the North Caucasus as a "sphere of US vital
interest," the US State Department spokesman said that the US "does not
believe in spheres of influence for the US or any other country" (RFE/RL,
Aug. 21). How very Wilsonianist. Is the US really prepared to abandon its
century-long sphere of influence approach in the western hemisphere, or
does this simply mean that the US does not believe in a sphere of
influence for Russia? Is the US approach to Transcaucasia and Central Asia
Wilsonian universalism, or a continuation of containment?

*******

#6
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 15:13:23 -0400
From: Stephen_Shenfield@brown.edu (Stephen Shenfield)
Subject: book query

Recently I came across a review of or notice about a new book in English
about Russian public opinion -- i.e. a survey of findings of Russian public
opinion surveys (if I recall correctly). I very much want to get hold of
this book, but it seems I have mislaid my note of the author and title. Is
there anyone out there who can help?

********

#7
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 97 20:37:15 UT
From: "Aaron Tovish" <tovish@classic.msn.com>
To: "David Johnson" <djohnson@cdi.org>

The piece you ran attached below is in need of context. Who and what is "Den 
Security Service"??? How do they have inside information, with quotes, on 
"analytical structures in the White House"? And "instructions drawn up by 
U.S. special services" for Chubays to pass on to Sergeyev?? And 
Shevardnadze's plan for the Caucasus which is to be pursued with out "with 
maximum secrecy and caution"?? Are these people super-sleuths or just
wacko. 
If the former, it would be interesting to see the "omitted passages. If the 
latter, perhaps you should preface the piece with a WARNING, including it
only 
to show how paranoid some people can get. (It is as if some of the militia 
writing in this country were to be distributed in Russia as if it were even 
remotely credible.)

>#1103 
>'Den Security Service' on Army Reform, Caucasus Plan=20
>Zavtra, No. 29
>"Agents' reports" from the Den Security Service "Bulletin Board"
....

***********

#8
Date: 22 Aug 1997 16:07:59 U
From: "Laura Belin" <belinl@rferl.org>
Subject: correction on Berezovskii

A mistake was introduced into Floriana Fossato's latest feature ("Conflict
Increases Among Berezovsky, Nemtsov And Chubais," JRL #1136) during the
editing process without the author's knowledge.

Boris Berezovskii does not own 49 percent of the shares in Russian Public
Television (ORT). His LogoVAZ group and Obedinennyi Bank are simply among the
private shareholders who own a combined total of 49 percent of ORT shares.
(The state owns a 51 percent stake.) However, Boris Nemtsov has accused
Berezovskii of introducing a "peculiar privatization" of ORT, because
Berezovskii pays the salaries of top executives at the network. Nemtsov also
says Berezovskii controls ORT's cash flow.

Thanks in advance for posting this message,

********

#9
>From RIA Novosti
Rabochaya Tribuna
August 13, 1997
MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS
By Gennady Yuryev

Prior to the revolution Russia differed from other
countries by its very high birth rates. After the upsets of
the First World War, the revolutions and the Civil War, the
high levels returned, but beginning with the late 20s the
birth rate in Russia started to fall off rapidly, something
natural for a country that entered the period of demographic
modernisation. 
In 1950, the total birth coefficient of the symbolical 
generation of women (that is, an expected number of children
born on average by one woman during her entire life with that
year's births intensity maintained in the future) for Russia's
entire population was 2.8. From the later 50s the fall in
births accelerated, slowing down in the mid-60s, but
continuing until the first half of the 80s, when the indicator
rose, evidently stimulated by some measures of population
policy, and also by optimistic public expectations of the
perestroika's early years. 
Towards the end of the 80s, both factors ran out, and the
unusual growth of births was followed by an equally unusual
drop. In 1994-1995, new trends showed signs of emerging. The
most remarkable among them was a growth of births from women
aged 25 to 29 and 30 to 34, above all in the cities and towns.
Most probably, this phenomenon had a compensatory character:
some of the women who under normal conditions would have given
birth to children at an earlier age, but failed to do so,
began catching up. 
It is widely believed in Russia that the birth rate in
the country has been going through a kind of inordinate
catastrophe in recent years due to a social and economic
crisis. Comparing Russia with other non-crisis and rather
prosperous countries casts doubts on this view. 
In the early 90s, that is, when, in the view of some
observers, Russia was hit by an unprecedented population
disaster, in birth rate terms it joined the club of such
countries as Germany, Italy, and Spain. Nor is there any
appreciable difference from the US or France, where the birth
rates are slightly higher. 
An overwhelming majority of families in Russia, just as
in all industrialised countries, regulate the number of their
children and the time of their appearance. But all these
countries, as a rule, have passed through the so-called
"contraceptive revolution" in the post-war period--prevention
of pregnancy by means of contraceptives. In Russia, however,
one of the main methods of family planning is still pregnancy
termination by artificial abortion. True, according to
official figures, the number of abortions has fallen off in
recent years. These estimates, however, should be treated with
caution, for the degree of their inaccuracy is for a number of
reasons increased. 
In Russia in 1994 the number of abortions per 100
deliveries reached 235, in Britain 24, in France 23 (1991), in
Italy 27, and in Germany 14. 
According to VTSIOM poll results about the population's
reproductive plans (April 1994), answers to the question:
"Should you get unexpectedly pregnant, what would you do?"
were as follows: 13 per cent would "have the baby" and 40 per
cent would "interrupt the pregnancy."

From the analytic survey "Russia's Demographic Potential"

*******

#10
The Independent (UK)
22 August 1997
[for personal use only]

Yeltsin joins trend of tighter arms exports
By Christopher Bellamy, Defence Correspondent 

Boris Yeltsin yesterday fired the chief of Russian arms exports, appointed
a new supremo linked with the aircraft industry, and ordered a series of
measures to tighten state control over the arms business - the country's
principal earner of hard currency. 

Mr Yeltsin fired Alexander Kotelkin, chief of the Rosvooruzheniye (Russian
Armaments) state weapons export company, only a day after officials
reported they expected to make more than $4bn (2.5bn) from arms sales this
year. Last year, Russia was the world's third biggest arms exporter, with
exports worth $4.6bn, just behind Britain's $4.8bn. Top was the United
States, exporting $11.3bn worth of arms. 

In Mr Kotelkin's place Mr Yeltsin has appointed Yevgeny Ananev, a former
chairman of the Mapo bank which is linked with the company that builds the
Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) range of combat aircraft. 

The Presidential decrees issued yesterday transformed Rosvooruzheniye into
a new state company bearing the same name but with greater government
control. Two other state-run companies, Promexport and the new "Russian
Technologies Company" were also granted the status of official weapons
exporters. Promexport will handle selling military equipment made obsolete
by Russia's planned military reforms, and Russian Technologies will handle
the provision of military expertise necessary to operate equipment.
Rosvooruzheniye will continue to handle the export of most new weapons
systems. 

Russia seems to be taking a leaf out of its Western competitors' book.
Shortly after Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, announced a new "ethical"
approach to arms exports, and with the US Congress finalising a new "code
of conduct" on arms exports, Mr Yeltsin said he would personally approve
all weapons export, until a detailed list of items allowed to be sold and
of approved customers is finalised. 

Mr Yeltsin has also ordered the newly appointed chief of Promexport,
Vyacheslav Filimonov, to devise new measures to facilitate exports.
According to Rosvooruzheniye's deputy director, Oleg Sidorenko, Russia is
aiming to export arms to the Persian Gulf, elsewhere in the Middle East and
Latin America, as well as its traditional customers, India and China. 

Third world countries often need help to pay for their arms through export
credit guarantees. 

Mr Sidorenko said that although the US is by far the world's biggest arms
exporterRussia might "catch up by 2001" - though Western experts doubt it.
Russia's economy is in crisis and although some of its armaments are superb
there are doubts about Russia's ability to provide after-sales service. 

Yesterday, Russia unveiled a new anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, an
updated version of the S-300, known to Nato as the SA-12 "Grumble", which
is similar to the US Patriot. Russia recently did a deal to sell S-300s to
the Greek Cypriots, which has greatly angered the Turks. The new S-300,
called Favorit, has a longer range - 125 miles - and a more powerful
warhead than earlier versions. 

t Kiev (AP) - Ukraine's top arms sales official defended his country's
deals to repair Soviet-made tanks for Syria, saying the refurbished
equipment would not heighten tensions on the Israeli border. Ukraine
recently returned more than 100 T-55MV tanks to Syria after repairing them
under a 1995 contract to fix 200 of the vehicles, said Andriy Kukin,
director of the arms sales co-ordination body Ukrspetsexport. 

*******

#11
MSNBC 
http://www.msnbc.com
August 21, 1997
In 1997, what's a Cossack to do? 
Legendary horsemen demand modern recognition 
By Jeff Thein
NBC NEWS PRODUCER 

MOSCOW - If the American cowboy ever had a counterpart in the wild, wild
East, the Cossack would be it. Both rode horses, were tough as rawhide and
thrived on the freedom of living off the land. And both, it seems, feel a
bit out of synch these days. 
THE COSSACKS WERE more than ropers and ranch hands. They were soldiers,
explorers, conquerers and revolutionaries. And 500 years after they first
saddled up and strapped on their sabers, Russia's Cossacks are trying to
secure their place in the 21st century. Only now, they"re going to battle
not in the Volga valley but in a hotel conference room. 
Clad in full military gear, dozens of Cossacks recently marched into
a new conference at the Radisson hotel in downtown Moscow to deliver an
angry message to Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
"We are ready to serve Russia!" shouted Nikolai Kozitsyn, chief of
the Don Cossack Army of Southern Russia, the biggest of Russia"s modern
Cossack groups. But according to the Cossack leaders, their offer to serve
is falling on deaf ears at the Kremlin. In fact, they say, Kremlin policy
is threatening their very existence. 

A DECREE IN QUESTION 
Earlier this year, Yeltsin signed a decree allowing another group
calling itself the Don Cossak Army of Southern Russia to register in its
place, prompting charges that the government is recognizing the wrong
people as true Cossacks. The reason for the move in unclear. Sergei
Dontsov, an official with the President"s Administration for Cossack Armies
which draf the decree, says there are 438 known Cossack groups across
Russia. The government only recognizes 12 of them. 
Despite all the sensitivity over who is and isn't a genuine Cossack,
it's surprisingly easy to become a member of these elite ranks. All you
really need to do is prove family roots, like a father or grandfather who
served. "They"ll usually get in, as long as they don't have a drug probem
or psychiatric flaws," according to Aleksey Novokreshyonnykh, a
card-carrying Cossack whose grandfather fought the Reds in Russia"s Civil
War just after the revolution. "Candidates appear before their local
Cossack board to make their case." If they pass their background check,
they"re free to carry on the tradition. 
The name Cossack comes from the Turkic word "kazak," meaning
"adventurer" or "free man," and is applied to members of tribes who for
centuries fought for their personal freedoms and conquered vast territories
in the name of the Russian Empire. It was the Cossacks who crossed the
Bering Strait and settled Alaska, then moved down the Pacific coast of
North America to occupy most of Northern California in the 18th century.
The first Cossacks are thought to be descendants of the Mongol
Tatars who ruled Russia with an iron fist from the 11th to the 14th
centuries. Thousands of peasants who fled slavery in Poland, Lithuania and
other regions also called themselves Cossacks. And throughout centuries of
changing kingdoms, serfdoms and freedoms across Eurasia, these free
peasant-warriors managed to stay together in self-governing communities,
mandating military service for their members, and appointing village
leaders to keep their tribes cohesive.

THAT FRONTIER SPIRIT
The Cossacks evolved into guns-for-hire, given freedom, special
privileges and fertile land by Russia's tsars in return for their military
might. The Cossacks also proved themselves as master frontiersmen,
embarking on explorations eastward that would rival the adventures of Lewis
and Clark along the Mississippi, extending the Russian crown"s territories
into Central Asia, past the Ural mountains to Siberia, to the Russian
Pacific Far East and even North America. 
Doing the Tsar's deeds also had a dark side. Vast numbers of
Cossacks took part in anti-Jewish pogroms in the late 1800s. By this time,
there were 12 major groups of Cossacks. Whenever their special political
status was threatened, they revolted. Toward the end of the 19th century
and the beginning of the 20th, when Imperial Russia was beginning to
unravel, and talk of the working class, communists and hammers and sickles
began to thunder across this giant land, the Tsar used Cossack fighters to
put down revolutionaries. Under Soviet rule, Cossacks were targeted as
enemies to the communist cause, and purged under Stalin. 
Fast forward half a century. Mikhail Gorbachev"s 'glasnost' reforms
pave the way for the Cossacks to saddle up again. By 1990, Cossack
regiments had shined up their grandfathers' boots and returned to their
proud roots. Cossack groups across the Soviet Union's eleven time zones got
back to work. In reality, most Cossacks play a rather ceremonial role
today, adorned in colorful costumes and parading on horseback. Cossacks
with knives and guns are no match for modern troops and tanks. Nonetheless
some groups are offering to step in and right some wrongs in a Mother
Russia plagued by economic strife and ethnic hostility. 
There have been Cossack offers to guard Russian railways in the
disputed Georgian region of Abkhazia, and attempts to negotiate freedom for
Russian journalists held captive by criminal groups in Chechnya. Some
regiments, like the Stavropol Cossacks in the Northern Caucuses, saw combat
during the two-year Chechen war. The Kremlin says its dozen "sanctioned"
Cossack regiments will stick to more peaceful work like guarding national
forests, fisheries and lending a hand with other civil service projects.
Like many of the recently revived traditions in post-Soviet Russia,
it's going to take awhile for the Russians to work these heroes on horses
into the daily grind.

*********

#12
Asia Times
22 August 1997
[for personal use only]
Massive swindle to be revealed

Allegations of massive misappropriation of federal funds by the local
political establishment in Russia's Maritime Territory will soon be made
public, informed sources in Moscow say. 

Earlier this month, the Maritime Directorate of the Federal Security Bureau
(FSB) submitted to the Russian Prosecutor General's Office the results of
an investigation detailing "at least a dozen instances of misapplication of
federal budgetary allotments by senior Maritime Territory officials over
the past three months". 

Among the most glaring misappropriations, according to the FSB report, is
the use of 6.5 billion rubles (US$1.1 million) for the construction of
private cottages outside Moscow - almost 8,000 kilometers away from
Maritime Territory constituencies. Financial resources allocated by the
Russian government to build thermal power stations in the city of Ussuriysk
had been used instead for building those cottages. Although details of who
exactly perpetrated this fraud were not disclosed, the FSB report says that
cottages near the national capital were constructed by "the most prominent
representatives of the Maritime political elite". 

Another allegation by the FSB is that as a result of "primitive forgery"
the joint-stock company "Dalenergo" managed to get from the state treasury
more than 40 billion rubles (US$7 million) in subsidies. 

Rumors among FSB officers, however, suggest that the report was politically
inspired. A senior FSB officer speaking anonymously says that "the
investigation was initiated and controlled by the Kremlin itself". The
current Russian Administration and President Boris Yeltsin personally are
extremely dissatisfied with the ultra-independent and often anti-government
attitude of Maritime Governor Anatoly Nazdratenko and his close associates.
Sources say, therefore, that the investigation may have been directed
against Nazdratenko and his cronies in order to facilitate and expedite
their removal from the Russian political scene. 

"New era" setback 

According to Russian government sources, Moscow is facing a serious setback
and the first major disappointment since its "new era of friendship and
cooperation" with China was ceremoniously heralded earlier this year.
Concerns in Moscow center around the almost certain defeat of Russian
bidders in the tender for construction of the biggest hydroelectric unit to
be built on China's Yangtze River. 

A senior Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said privately he
feared that "we have lost this US$800 million contract. . . . Although the
Chinese did not say it directly, they let us know that we were already out
of the competition." Information available in the Russian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs indicates that Beijing may prefer European technologies as
represented by a concern involving a joint venture between Siemens and
Woit, two German firms. Also not out of the bidding are General Electric
(Canada), and the British-French company Alstom. 

Neither German nor Chinese officials would confirm a report that Chinese
officials have already sent a notice to Siemens regarding the matter. 

Russian producers are not going to surrender the Chinese market easily.
Sources in the Russian Ministry of International Economic Relations
unofficially report that currently Moscow intends to compete in the next
round of tenders in Shanghai, where two power blocks of 100 megawatt
capacity each are to be constructed. 

Dostum is the one 

The analytical unit of the Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB) recently
issued a classified intelligence report on the current situation in the
war-torn former Soviet republic of Tajikistan. The report pins the primary
blame for the present aggravation of the military-political situation in
the republic on the powerful Afghan warlords, and the Uzbeki warlord
General Abdul Rashid Dostum in particular. 

The report states directly that emissaries of Dostum were "the main factor"
in last week's mutiny of units under the command of Tajik Colonel
Khudarberdyev. That mutiny was quelled, but potential for continued unrest
is high. 

Why were Dostum's henchmen interested in perpetuating a destabilized
Tajikistan? Simple, say specialists from the FSB: The Afghan warlords are
interested in continuation of the civil war in Tajikistan because the
violence and unrest facilitates the task of smuggling huge amounts of drugs
into the republic and from there to Russia, Europe and North America. The
report specifically emphasizes that drug trafficking is a primary source of
income for different warring factions in Afghanistan. More importantly, of
course, drug trafficking supplements the personal income of the leaders
from the various Afghan factions -- including Taliban officials. 

During the first two weeks of August, according to the sources in the
Russian special services, Russian border guards in the Pyanj region seized
over 1,000 pounds of illicit drugs; four traffickers were kiled and five
more were wounded. 

The report concludes that drugs grown in Afghanistan and transshipped
through Tajikistan impact negatively on prospects for a peaceful settlement
of the ongoing civil crisis in Tajikistan and the successful repatriation
of Tajik refugees. The FSB suggested that Russian policymakers "redouble
efforts of the Russian special services and the frontier service in
Tajikistan" to stop the the drug flow from Afghanistan across the Pyanj
river into Tajik territory. 

Not until there is aid 

On the heels of a commitment by the United Nations Drug Control Program
(UNDCP) to provide $16.4 million for opium poppy crop reduction and other
drug control efforts in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the Taliban
proclaimed earlier this week that because "the use of drugs such as heroin
and hashish is banned by the holy religion of Islam, the Islamic State of
Afghanistan informs all compatriots that they must refrain from growing,
using and trading hashish and heroin." 

But a Taliban minister said later that a ban on opium and hashish
cultivation would not be enforced until foreign states provided aid and
helped farmers grow substitute crops. Analysts believe Taliban leaders are
seeking to cement international assistance for the anti-drug effort as a
mechanism to add legitimacy to their rule in Afghanistan. Sources close to
Afghanistan say Taliban officials are seeking to manipulate the opium and
hashish eradication monies offered by the UN to help solidify their grip on
power. 

Although rebel forces are now settled in consolidated positions some 20 km
from the Taliban-controlled capital of Kabul, doubt remains as to whether
rebel warlord Ahmad Shah Masud and his forces can agree with other
anti-Taliban opposition groups on a concerted offensive against Kabul
before new mountain snows come. An auro of legitimacy lent to the Taliban
by UN and other international assistance against drug production and
trafficking will facilitate the transfer of more military aid from Pakistan
and friendly Arab countries to reinforce the Taliban's defense of Kabul,
sources say. Meanwhile, rebel forces continue to receive covert aid and war
materiel - some of it funnelled through Iran. Masud's plans are to blockade
Kabul's entrances and environs to weaken Taliban forces, but analysts are
still not convinced he has the ability to do so effectively. 

********

#13
From
IEWS Russian Regional Report
Vol. 2, No. 27, 21 August 1997
The Institute for EastWest Studies (IEWS) 

CENTER-PERIPHERY RELATIONS: A POWERFUL FACTOR IN SHAPING RUSSIA'S FUTURE
by Vladimir Shlapentokh, Professor of Sociology at Michigan State
University

In the next few decades, relations between the center and the regions
will be among the most important political, economic, and social issues in
Russia as well as in numerous other countries. The sheer number of actors
involved in these relations (for example, there are over one hundred
regional units participating) is daunting and they differ strongly from
each other in dozens of crucial aspects. Among these actors are the
regional elite, central dominant elite, opposition elite, the masses,
intellectuals, neighboring foreign countries, international organizations,
and international companies. Such diversity in the number of Russian actors
illustrates just how complicated these relations are and how difficult it
is to predict their outcome.
However, it is evident that Russia, as a centuries-old geopolitical
power, will become very different over the next few decades. The "old"
Russia, spanning from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean, could exist as a
unitarian state only on the basis of authoritarian or totalitarian rule,
combined with a strong patriotic and nationalistic ideology. In the new
world, Russia, with its market economy and democratic institutions, is
destined to change as a nation-state.
Among the most important factors that will influence the creation of a
new Russian nation-state are these:

-- The country's size and high transportation costs in a "common economic
space."
-- The gravitation of some of Russia's regions to stronger foreign
countries for economic ties rather than to other Russian regions.
-- The strong, growing ethnic and cultural antagonism between Russian and
non-Russian regions.
-- The strong separatist sentiments in several republics, such as Chechnya,
Tatarstan, and a few others.
-- The extraordinarily large cultural, economic, and social differences
among Russian regions.
-- The lack of a stable political system able to create a consensus on
major values.
-- Moscow's loss of prestige as the unifying center of the country.
-- The lack of the threat of foreign invasion.
-- The lack of a strong national idea able to cement the Russian nation.

All these factors lead one to suppose that Russia will never again, at
least in the foreseeable future, be as centralized as it has been for
almost five centuries. However, these factors in no way suggest that Russia
will completely disintegrate or even that its territories far removed from
Moscow will secede, creating their own states.
There are a number of reasons why the disintegration of Russia as a
nation-state is unlikely. Among them are (1) the hostility to Russian
culture in the countries bordering Russia in the south and Far East, (2)
the threat that foreign bodies in the Far East and south will expand their
influence and perhaps even annex some Russian territories, (3) the common
cultural and lingual heritage of Russians living in the most remote regions
with the rest of the Russian population, and (4) the interest of most
regions in the maintenance of a greater nation-state for political,
economic, and social reasons.
The combination of centrifugal and centripetal forces will most likely
push Russia to shed the unstable semi-unitarian and semi-federal state that
was dominant between 1991 and 1995 and adopt some sort of confederation
with high provincial autonomy. As has been historically true, in the future
there will also be an oscillation in relative power between the center and
the periphery, depending on various internal and external circumstances.
Several other scenarios can also be envisaged. For a while, Russia
might again become a strong, centralized state. However, it is also
possible that it could become a very loose confederation that would still
contain most of its regions, much as the Holy Roman Empire did.
Speculation about Russia's future has to be placed in the context of
worldwide trends in the relationship between the center and the periphery.
Some authors have predicted that the existing trend toward regionalization,
coupled with the trend toward the independence of even small ethnic groups,
will lead toward the disintegration of the world's leading countries. The
United States, Canada, and Brazil in the Americas; China, India,
Afghanistan, and the Philippines in Asia; Russia in both Europe and Asia;
Spain, France, Belgium, Norway, and Sweden in Europe; and Australia will
either lose large sections of their territories or will be replaced by a
number of new, smaller states.
Other authors speak of the end of an era of universalism and the
beginning of a period of fragmentation or Balkanization in the world. The
demise of communism, one of the most universalist ideologies in the history
of mankind, has significantly contributed to the global trend of
fragmentation in the territory of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.

This article draws on the book From Submission to Rebellion: The Provinces
Versus the Center in Russia (Boulder, CO: Westview Press) by Vladimir
Shlapentokh, Roman Levita, and Mikhail Loiberg.

********

#14
From
RUSSIAN PRESS ELECTRONIC COURIER
[No. 141, August 22, 1997]

BILL RICHARDSON AS A FRIENDLY FIGURE FOR RUSSIAN DIPLOMACY
Reference: Nezavisimaya Gazeta, August 21, 1997, p. 2
Sum-up: American Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson's visit to Moscow
was timed to coincide with Foreign Minister Primakov's vacation and
absence. The officials with whom Richardson met, along with the topics
of their discussions, leave ample room for conjecture about the possible
candidates for the next Foreign Minister.

The visit of the American Ambassador to the UN coincided with Yevgeny
Primakov's vacation.
US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson's arrival in Russia occurred
when the majority of senior Russian officials who usually entertain
guests of such stature are on vacation. Foreign Minister Primakov is
vacationing in Sochi, and Boris Nemtsov, who loves to entertain foreign
guests, is gone as well. That is probably why Richardson had to be
satisfied with a conversation with Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir
Bulgak.
To make up for this, there was a meeting with Presidential
administration deputy director and Presidential Press Secretary Sergei
Yastrzhembsky. But why is Yastrzhembsky, in the Presidential
administration, responsible for international affairs? Perhaps it is
because he is one of those whom Yeltsin is keeping on the shelf as a
possible candidate for foreign minister.
This post is presently fairly well held by Primakov. But it is possible
that his tenure at this post, as well as the foreign policy course that
he pursues, is unsatisfactory not only for several Kremlin
functionaries, but for part of the American diplomatic elite. We
emphasize - only part, and not the entire leadership. So, from a private
conversation with a relatively highly-placed American diplomat it
becomes clear that for Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Primakov
is a comfortable counterpart and partner in negotiations. He behaves in
an open manner and, in his words, it is immediately understood what
Russia wants at any given time. The Americans have become accustomed to
hearing flowery phrases from Yastrzhembsky, which do not always explain
the inarticulate pronouncements made by Yeltsin. Actually the reverse is
true, as they often lead to further confusion.
Additionally, one gains the impression from off-the-record conversations
with Yastrzhembsky that he is also candid, at least where foreign policy
is concerned. True, the meaning of his pronouncements is not much
different from Primakov's.
How could it be otherwise? The US needs, in any case, a reserve channel
for political discussions with Russia, and that is why Washington is
evaluating all possible variants.
Of course, one cannot say with certainty, but Richardson's meeting with
Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov also could be put in the
context of names at the top of the list of candidates for minister. The
name of one of Primakov's assistants is reportedly on this list, and few
doubt the discussion revolves around the Senior Deputy. According to
protocol, in the absence of the Foreign Minister, Ivanov is to receive
guests. There is within the Ministry, however, another deputy who is
responsible for relations with international organizations such as the
UN.
According to official reports, the theme of Richardson's meetings in
Moscow revolved around basic problems in Russian relations, such as, for
example, the restructuring of the UN Security Council. At the same time,
none of the UN representatives in Moscow took part in Richardson's
visit, and they found out about it only from the media. From this, one
can conclude that the negotiations in Moscow were of a fundamentally
bilateral Russian-American character.
Preparations for the visit, according to the Foreign Ministry, started
almost two-and-a-half months ago. Probably at that point the Americans
already knew of Primakov's vacation plans, but the visit nevertheless
coincided with his absence. It would seem that it was not important for
the American diplomat to speak with the Foreign Minister. In any case,
he will have the chance to do that soon enough, at the end of September
when Primakov arrives in New York to participate in the meeting of the
UN General Assembly.

*********

#15
Poll Shows Majority of Russian Regret Collapse of USSR 
ARGUMENTY I FAKTY, No. 34
August 1997
Unattributed report from the "Opinion Poll" column entitled:
"One in Five of us Sympathizes With the SCSE, But ...; on the
Attitude to organizers of the 1997 August Coup in Russia;" passages
within slantlines are published in boldface

Political intolerance and discussions about who was right in August
1991 are receding into the past. However, nostalgia remains: a majority (71
percent) of Russian citizens regret to various degrees the collapse of the
USSR. It is quite possible that many "non-Russians" also regret that.
Commissioned by ARGUMENTY I FAKTY, the Nugzar Betaneli Institute of
the Sociology of Parliamentarism carried out a public opinion poll on 11-14
August 1997. A total of 6,000 respondents were polled on a representative
basis in 62 component parts of the Russian Federation, including Moscow and
St, Petersburg, and all 12 economic regions of the country.
The following question was asked:
//"Six years ago, in August 1991, the so-called SCSE [State Committee
for the State of Emergency] coup took place. If the situation were to
happen again, which side would you be on?"//
[Answers] On the side of Yeltsin and defenders of the White House 16
per cent;
On the side of the SCSE 21 percent
On neither side 35 percent
Found it difficult to say 28 percent.
Another question: //"Do you regret the breakdown of the USSR?"//
[Answers] Yes 55 percent
Rather "Yes" than "No" 16 percent
Rather "No" than "Yes" 8 percent
No 14 percent
Found it difficult to say 7 percent.

*******

#16
Yeltsin on Mir: Russians Don't Care 
By Sergei Shargorodsky 
Associated Press Writer 
August 22, 1997 

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russians have become disinterested in space achievements and
fail to appreciate the challenges facing their cosmonauts, President Boris
Yeltsin said today before the Mir crew began a difficult and potentially
dangerous repair mission. 
Many Russians, weary from the country's seemingly unending political and
economic crisis, have shown little concern for Mir as its crew has battled
a chain of accidents in recent months. 
``Recently we have become somehow more indifferent toward space,''
Yeltsin said in his weekly radio address. ``Either we got tired of the
fanfare, ceremonial speeches and applause, or we decided that earthly
problems are closer to us.'' 
Yeltsin also promised that the government would increase spending on
space, aviation, science and technology. 
``Russia must not leave the ground it won here, must not relinquish its
leading position,'' he said. ``We must not forget that the state of our
aerospace complex largely determines the status of Russia as a great power.'' 
The former Soviet Union took great pride in its space program, seen as
proof of communist superiority over the capitalist West. The cosmonauts
were regarded as the cream of Soviet society, and space flights got wide
media attention. 
``Perhaps we've forgotten that space is not a propaganda show. Space is
first of all a hard and dangerous job with the greatest responsibilities,''
Yeltsin said. 
Before the repair mission, Yeltsin encouraged the cosmonauts and
indicated that he would not blame them for Mir's misfortunes. 
``It is necessary to remember that cosmonauts work in extreme
conditions, beyond human abilities. If they sometimes make mistakes, it's
understandable. Work in extreme situations and constant stress have their
toll on them,'' he said. 
But while Western attention focused on the Mir repairs today, many
people here largely ignored it. 
Only one of about a dozen major Russian newspapers had a story today
about the mission. Segodnya put the story on page three. 
``What is interesting for America is not interesting for Russia, and
vice versa. It's an ordinary event,'' said Andrei Lapik, deputy editor of
the popular Moskovsky Komsomolets daily. 
He said the newspaper might run a story Saturday, ``but there is no
great interest in the topic.'' 
Mission Control outside Moscow was jammed today with about 80
journalists, many of them working for foreign media. 
The repair mission was broadcast live on CNN and BBC television. Russian
television stations led off their news programs with the events on Mir and
Yeltsin's address, but soon switched to other topics. 
Many Russians say they are too busy to worry about events in space. Some
think the 11-year-old Mir no longer serves any useful purpose and should be
abandoned. 

********


 

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