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13 October 1997
Date: 13 Oct 1997 16:12:38 U
From: Laura Belin <email@example.com>
Subject: Russian media ownership
I wanted to let JRL readers know that my colleagues Floriana Fossato and Anna
Kachkaeva have translated their special RFE/RL report on Russian media empires
into Russian. The report identifies the business and government interests that
control major print and electronic media in Russia. It can be found on the
following Web page:
Russian Media Empires (Russian version)
The original, English-language version of the report is still available at
These pages will be updated periodically following major developments in
Russian media ownership.
From: "Kathryn Stoner-Weiss" <kesw@WWS.Princeton.EDU>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 10:19:20 EST
Subject: Book on regions
For any of your readers interested in regional politics, I have a
book coming out shortly with Princeton U Press (indeed I just
received an initial copy last week) on Russian regional governance.
It's called Local Heroes: The Political Economy of Russian Regional
Governance. Actually, in terms of suggestions for your list, I'm
sure people would appreciate any lists of new books in the field of
Russian/Soviet domestic and foreign policy. One was recently
forwarded to me. If you think it's something you'd like to post, I
can forward it to you. Just let me know.
Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs
Center of International Studies
Princeton, NJ 08544
tel. (609) 258-4868
fax (609) 258-3988
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 00:42:50 -0400 (EDT)
From: John Jaworsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Domrin/Graves (JRL #1219)
David: I realize that my response to an item included in JRL (#1219)
quite a few weeks ago is rather belated, but I'm catching up with old
e-mail messages. I hope you can include my comment in JRL.
On 21 September 1997 Alexander Domrin noted that:
> As to against what nations Stalin's crimes were aimed, I always ask
> this question of my students. And the answers are 100% similar:
> "Jews, Ukrainians". (A student at Cornell added "Estonians", a student in
> Iowa - "Tatars", and another student at Villanova - "Chechens").
> Archives say something very different.
> See, for instance, a remarkable study "Victims of the Soviet Penal
> System in the Pre-War Years: A First Approach on the Basis of Archival
> Evidence" by J.Arch Getty, Gabor T.Rittersporn, and Victor N.Zemskov in
> American Historical Review, vol.98. No.4, October 1993. P.1017-1049:
> "In comparison with their weight in the general polulation, Russians,
> Belorussians, Turkmen, German and Poles were over-represented in the camps"
> (P.1027). "On the other hand, Ukrainians, Jews, Central Asians (except
> Turkmen) and people from the Caucasus were less represented in the GULAG
> system than in the population of the country; as national groups they
> suffered proportionately less" (P.1028).
Alexander Domrin's answer to the question "against what nations
Stalin's crimes were aimed" is woefully incomplete. I have not conducted
any research on the composition of the GULag population in the 1930s.
However, if the generalization quoted by Domrin is correct, then the
situation changed dramatically during and after World War II. For example,
almost all the memoirs of those who were imprisoned in the Stalinist camps
after WWII, and all sources which attempt to address the composition of
their inmates, underline that a very large number consisted of "zapadniki"
(Westerners) -- nationalist partisans and sympathizers from the Baltic
states and Western Ukraine. These "zapadniki" were usually the
best-organized of the various groups in the post-war camps, and usually
spearheaded the various camp revolts which followed Stalin's death.
It is also worth noting that the "calculus of repressive strategy"
during the post-Stalin period continued to single out certain groups, such
as Ukrainians and Balts, for special attention. Thus, for example, a
variety of samizdat sources, as well as a number of attempts to evaluate
the composition of the Soviet political prisoner population in the 1960s,
1970s, and early 1980s, stress the extent to which several groups (in
particular, Balts, Jews, and Ukrainians) were very heavily
over-represented in this population, while ethnic Russians and some other
groups (e.g., Central Asians) were under-represented in comparison with
their weight in the general population. In fact, if Western observers had
devoted more attention to the patterns of state-directed coercion against
political non-conformists in the pre-Gorbachev period, they would have
been much better prepared for the high profile of the "national question"
in Soviet domestic politics once the Soviet authorities loosened their
controls over non-conformist activities during the Gorbachev period.
University of Waterloo
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 00:41:38 +0200
From: elena danielyan <email@example.com>
Subject: Institute for Humanities and Political Studies, Moscow -
IGPI, the Institute for Humanities and Political Studies in Moscow, now is
on the web at:
The founder and Director of the Institute is Viacheslav Igrunov, Deputy of
the State Duma, Vice-Chairman of faction Yabloko. Among the Advisory Board
are Vladimir Lukin, Grigory Yavlinsky, Vladimir Averchev.
The website is the beginning of publishing IGPI materials on the web, more
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 15:23:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: "H. M. Hubey" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 1272-Taibbi/How the World Bank Plundered Russia
>Date: Thu, 09 Oct 1997
>From: "Matt Taibbi" <email@example.com>
>Subject: How the World Bank Plundered Russia
>By Matt Taibbi
>the eXile (Moscow)
Whatever the World Bank might have done to Russia, there are
simplifications of difficult problems of society in Matt
Taibbi's article. To illustrate a very simplified version of
some problems faced by those in the unfortunate position of
having to make very difficult decisions, let us look at a particular
problem of rationing medical care in a war, as a case study.
In every society goods are rationed; they are just not called
that, but they are rationed anyway. In some cases we let something
called the market do the rationing and in other cases a system
exists in which these decisions are made by some centralized
agency which is supposed to have high humanitarian motives.
In marketized economies, the amount of money in people's pockets
(and what they can borrow) determines how goods are rationed to people;
that is, people ration themselves. In centralized economies
the goods were allegedly available for a song, but in practice
they were not to be found.
In any case, during normal times in a society, the number of
people needing medical aid is distributed in time so that the
available medical personnel is more or less sufficient. In war
the wounded are brought to medical care in large batches so
that medical care has to be rationed somehow.
The first idea that occurs usually to people is that the rationing
should be on a first-come,first-serve (or FIFO queue, first-in,
first-out) basis, because this is what we normally see in stores
and shops. However, one can see immediately, that it makes
no sense to be treating someone's broken finger while others
are suffering from serious hemmorrhaging. It is not "fair".
We can make a decision to make a two-way division and only
treat those that have serious wounds. However, this also
has drawbacks. Some of those who were treated will die
immediately after or even on the operating table, while
others will die waiting for treatment.
Despite the seeming cruelty, what is done is to divide up
the wounded into three groups; light wounds, medium wounds
and serious wounds. The lightly wounded will not die even
if not treated. Those with serious wounds are those who will
probably die even if treated. Meanwhile, those with medium
wounds are the soldiers who will die if not treated and will
probably live if treated. It is this middle group that gets
immediate treatment. It is the treatment of this middle group
that returns the greatest benefit (in this case, the greatest
number of saved lives). As cruel as it may seem, short of
having enough medical personnel and facilities to treat
all the wounded exactly at the same time, this solution, the
triage solution, seems to be the one that produces the
greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Of course, none of this is meant to suggest that the World
BAnk should simply give up on certain countries, or that
we cannot do things differently. What is certain is that
the World Bank also operates with a limited amount of money
and that this money has to be allocated/rationed according
to some plan. Furthermore, politics is inseparable from
economics in some ways. It would be better if the World Bank
had more money to lend. But this money comes from the
citizens of countries which apparently do not love the rest
of humanity as much as some of us may think they should.
Russian Duma, Government Mull Budget Compromise
By Anatoly Verbin
MOSCOW, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Russia's parliament and government began their
search on Monday for a compromise over the cabinet's draft 1998 budget,
which was rejected last week by the State Duma lower house on its first
Government officials signalled during the first meeting of a conciliation
commission, which groups delagates from the Duma, the Federation Council
(upper house) and cabinet, that they were ready to make some concessions to
push the budget through.
But in a sharp reminder of simmering tensions between reformist ministers
and the communist-dominated parliament, the Duma's speaker, Gennady
Seleznyov, said on Monday the chamber was likely to hold a planned vote of
no-confidence in the government on Wednesday.
Seleznyov told Interfax news agency a formal decision on the date of
voting, initiated last week by the Communists who believe the cabinet's
economic course is disastrous for Russia, would be taken by leaders of the
Duma parties on Tuesday.
To be passed, the no-confidence proposal needs the backing of 226
deputies and parliament insiders say it has a high chance of being passed.
President Boris Yeltsin can ignore the initial vote and the Duma will
have to pass another no-confidence vote within three months to force Yeltsin
to replace the government or to call early parliamentary election.
Yeltsin has issued veiled threats that he might dissolve the Duma if they
keep dragging their feet over economic reform laws.
Many parliamentary experts have suggested the no-confidence vote is
mainly designed to improve the Communists' bargaining position over the
budget rather than to oust the government.
They say the outcome of voting hinges strongly on the work of the
conciliatory commission but add that a second no-confidence vote is most
unlikely because no major parliamentary force wants to rock the boat.
First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais said after the meeting of the
conciliation commission that the cabinet was ready to raise its estimate for
the 1998 gross domestic product (GDP), allowing increased spending in some
"The government is ready to reconsider GDP figures, taking them to
2.80-2.81 trillion roubles from the initial 2.75 trillion," Chubais said
after the meeting.
But he made clear the government would not compromise on other key
indicators deemed crucial for ensuring modest economic growth in 1998 after
years of decline.
"We see no ground for revising our inflation forecast,"
Chubais said. The government hopes to hold inflation to 5.7 percent in
the year to December 1998.
As the government and parliament clashed over the country's economic
course, Yeltsin, in his characteristic way, appears happy to stand apart
from the political wrangles.
Russian news agencies quoted his press secretary, Sergei Yastrzhembsky,
as saying the 66-year-old leader would probably stay at his country
residence, preparing for an intensive round of talks and meetings next week.
Yeltsin is due to host Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien next Monday
On October 22 Yeltsin will hold talks with the leaders of the ex-Soviet
states of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan who form a customs union with
Russia. He will then fly to the Moldovan capital Chisinau.
The next day he will chair a summit of the Commonwealth of Independent
States which groups 12 ex-Soviet republics.
On October 24 Yeltsin is due to receive Lithuanian president Algirdas
Brazauskas in Moscow.
($1 = 5,859 roubles)
PM says Russia still a good place to invest
By Lynnley Browning
MOSCOW, Oct 13 (Reuters) - Russia is still a good place for foreign
investors, despite a recent spate of investor-unfriendly moves which have
spooked and irritated potential big-ticket spendors, Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin said on Monday.
Chernomyrdin, speaking after meeting top Western executives from
prominent multinational corporations with large projects in the former
Communist giant, said the climate was improving despite a need for better
laws and tax brackets.
But he and other senior officials brushed off concerns that recent events
-- in which a ministry stripped a U.S. oil major of its right to tap an oil
field, and a prominent U.S. businessman was temporarily denied a visa to
enter Russia -- had cast an ill wind over Russia's climate.
"The Russian government regards foreign investment as an integral part of
Russia's economic policy," Chernomyrdin told a news conference with Western
But he added later: "Of course we're first and foremost worried about the
tax code. We need tax reform."
Chernomyrdin and other officials played down recent official moves in
which Exxon <XON.N> was left high and dry after winning an oilfield tender
which was then annulled, and U.S. businessman Boris Jordan was denied the
right to re-enter the country.
Russia, flush with a landmark $33 billion debt-rescheduling agreement
with the London Club of leading international banks, says it could win far
more investment than the the total $20.2 billion it now has.
Its economy is showing the first signs of growth after over seven years
of severe contraction since the Soviet collapse in 1991, and crown-jewel
enterprises are being auctioned in sales that have attracted big foreign
But foreign investors, especially those in the energy sector, complain
relentlessly of ever-changing tax brackets and a lack of clarity from the
government about its attitude to outside owership of companies.
"You have to have the patience and endurance to stay in there so that you
can turn a loss-maker into a profit-maker,"
Percy Barnevik, board chairman at Swedish-Swiss engineering giant ABB,
told the conference.
The government has promised to push through tax reforms this year that
will mean the difference between red ink and black ink for many investors.
Chernomyrdin said Russia had targeted $10 billion in direct foreign
investment by 2000.
Russia attracted $6.5 billion last year, but only $2.1 billion of that
amount was in foreign investment. Already the amounts for the first half of
this year were slightly above those levels, according to a statement from
the Consultative Council on Foreign Investment, which groups prominent
Western businessmen and senior Russian government officials.
But investors have been upset by the Exxon and Jordan cases.
Jordan, who heads Bank MFK (ICFI) and Renaissance Capital, which are
merging into Russia's largest investment bank, was recently stripped of his
visa. He told a separate news conference on Monday the government had given
him no reason for the move but that he had subsequently been granted a
limited, three-month extension to the week-long pass he got last week.
Chernomyrdin, when asked if the Jordan episode, which has been widely
reported, would scare off foreign investors, said, "It shouldn't."
The prime minister, once known as the guardian angel of foreign energy
firms in Russia because of his former role as head of the Gazprom gas
monopoly, seemed flummoxed by a question on Exxon.
The Natural Resources Ministry in August vetoed Exxon's right, won
through a public tender, to tap giant oil reserves in Russia's Far North in
a project worth $1.5 billion.
The move provoked an outcry among Western investors and left them
wondering about the strength of communist and nationalist opposition to
Yevgeny Yasin, an economic advisor and a minister without portfolio, said
Russia's Committee for Investors' Rights would examine the matter.
When asked if Russia's foreign investment climate was improving, some
Western executives hedged their answers.
"I would say it's improving, said Karl Johanssen, managing partner at
Ernst & Young.
"Definitely they (the government) understand -- the question is, can they
do something about it."
LAWYER OF BORIS NEMTSOV: ZHIRINOVSKY PLAYED SOMEBODY'S TUNE
MOSCOW, OCTOBER 13, RIA NOVOSTI'S LYUDMILA VANINA,
ALEXANDER IVASHCHENKO - The "disclosure" press-conference, given
by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, is possibly the execution of somebody's
social order", said Boris Nemtsov's lawyer today.
Today the LDPR leader called Boris Nemtsov a corrupted
person, when he was the governor of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast.
Zhirinovsky founded his accusations on the documents, submitted
to him by the Nizhny Novgorod businessman Andrei Klementyev and
his lawyer Sergei Belyakov.
Khavkin called this announcement of the LDPR leader
"another emission of compromising material, which does not even
exist" and "a storm in a glass of water". He also stated that
Zhirinovsky thus "demonstrates his dislike to independent and
Khavkin reminded that in former times the first
vice-premier addressed to the General Prosecutor's Office with
an application of slander against him on the part of Klementyev,
who blamed Nemtsov of taking bribes when the latter was the
>From RIA Novosti
11 October 1997
PEN NO FAIRY LAND
By Artyom VETROV
It seems that the many hopes the Russian prison population
and human rights champions have been pinning on the forthcoming
widely-publicised amnesty and the transfer of the country's
penitentiary system under the wing of the justice ministry are
Russia's interior minister Anatoly Kulikov addressed a
press conference on 10 October to say there would be no fast or
scaled changes in the pen.
The minister claimed that the idea of an amnesty had been
generated by his ministry in early 1997. It was later approved
by both the President and the legislature yet was
misinterpreted by some politicians who hurried to proclaim that
the amnesty should reduce the population of overcrowded cells
by 200,000-400,000 inmates.
The minister dotted all i's: the amnesty will embrace as
many as 400,000-450,000 inmates, but only 30,000-35,000 of them
will be released - older people, veterans and inmates serving
prison terms for non-violent crimes and those committed without
For the rest of them, the amnesty will mean serving
shorter terms and being released of suspended sentences and
There will be no mass 'exodus'.
The matter of transferring the penitentiary system from
the interior ministry to the ministry of justice is much
vaguer, according to Kulikov, even though the President has
signed the relevant decree.
The document specifies that the nation's prisons would
fall under the justice ministry only after all technical and
legislative aspects have been settled. The latter are known to
be the most complicated.
In particular, the law-makers will have to review over 40
laws and 200 other regulations of life in the pen. Another
outstanding matter is the interaction between the police and
the justice ministry.
The minister said that covert police action in prisons
helps solve 60,000 plus crimes a year. It is only natural that
the practice should continue. Moreover, what rights will
investigators and detectives enjoy while interrogating prison
Until these and other issues are settled, the penitentiary
system will remain the interior ministry's turf.
AS A RESULT OF THE ELECTIONS TO THE BELGOROD REGIONAL
DUMA, THE COMMUNISTS HAVE INCREASED THEIR REPRESENTATION
FOURFOLD, THE REGIONAL ELECTION COMMISSION REPORTS
MOSCOW, OCTOBER 13 (RIA Novosti Correspondent Alexandra
Utkina) - According to the preliminary data, the communists have
increased their representation by four times as a result of the
elections to the Belgorod Regional Duma, vice-chairman of the
Regional election commission Dmitry Ryapolov has told the RIA
Novosti correspondent by telephone.
According to him, the KPRF candidates have won thirteen
Duma seats out of 35, mostly in the cities and towns. The Left
had only three mandates in the Duma of previous convocation. The
other winners of the election race ran for election as
independent candidates. Ryapolov has said that the
representatives of the Honour and Motherland movement, Yabloko
and the LDPR failed to win seats in the Duma. In this
connection, he has not ruled out trials of cases filed by the
losers, since, according to him, some mutual claims were laid by
the candidates during the campaign.
Ryapolov noted that the electorate's activity "did not
rouse enthusiasm among the members of the election commission" -
a mere 42 per cent of the voters went to the polling stations,
though a much greater turn-out had been expected.
New York Times
13 October 1997
[for personal use only]
A Perilous Pause on Nuclear Cuts
Nearly a decade after the end of the cold war, some 30,000 nuclear warheads
are still available for use around the world, each with devastating
destructive power. Future generations may someday look back at the failure to
reduce that total more rapidly as the greatest blunder of the 1990's.
More than 10,000 warheads remain in Russia, where nuclear security has
eroded and underpaid scientists and security guards may be tempted to smuggle
weapons for profit to countries like Iran or Libya or to criminal gangs or
terrorists. That Moscow no longer has its missiles aimed at the United States
is deceptively reassuring. Targets can be changed in minutes. Given the
dangers, President Clinton should urgently re-energize negotiations on
drastic further reductions in warheads, building on the substantial
achievements of his two Republican predecessors. The treaties Presidents
Reagan and Bush signed with Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, even though
the last of them has yet to be ratified by the Russian Parliament, have cut
nuclear arsenals nearly in half.
But since 1993 the drive has gone out of nuclear weapons reduction. The
three modest agreements reached by Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in Helsinki
last winter only underscore the loss of negotiating momentum. The two sides
agreed to relax the restrictions of a 1972 treaty limiting defensive missiles
and to delay the deadlines for dismantling Russian nuclear warheads set in
the 1992 Bush-Yeltsin treaty. They also set modest goals for a new round of
reductions in negotiations not scheduled to begin anytime soon.
What is needed is not the bending of old treaties but immediate efforts to
negotiate new and deeper cuts. Mr. Clinton and Congress insist on waiting
until Russia ratifies the 1992 treaty before beginning negotiations on the
next steps. In contrast, almost immediately after the signing of the first
arms reduction treaty, Mr. Bush and Mr. Yeltsin got to work on the second
Washington should begin negotiations on a third treaty now, aiming for
limits as low as 1,000 warheads on each side, not the 2,000 agreed at
Helsinki. Commitments to sharp additional cuts could speed Russian
ratification of the 1992 treaty by sparing Moscow the cost of building new
single-warhead missiles to conform to the 1992 limits.
Meanwhile, Washington should seek agreement to move most of both sides'
warheads off alert. Stansfield Turner, a former Director of Central
Intelligence, suggests that each side physically separate a large proportion
of its nuclear warheads from the missiles that would deliver them and post
observers at each other's storage sites. That would lessen the risks of
accidental launch, and, in a crisis, give diplomats time to work.
In Russia, where conventional forces are weak and anxiety is rising about
NATO's planned eastward expansion, politicians once again talk of nuclear
weapons as a vital line of defense and the last vestige of Russia's global
power. In America, both Congress and the Administration talk of preparing to
rebuild nuclear arsenals if Russia's Parliament fails to ratify the 1992
treaty. The peaceful dividends that have come with the end of the cold war
may look meager in the years ahead if the danger of nuclear disaster is not
more effectively contained.
13 October 1997
[for personal use only]
Trains are what Russia does best
By MATTHEW FISHER (74511.357@CompuServe.com)
Sun's Columnist at Large
ABOARD THE YAMARKA -- There is nothing better than a train ride to
shake off the Moscow blues, which are particularly acute this fall
because it has been raining all the time lately when it hasn't been
The view from the window of the crack express train connecting the
capital and Russia's third-largest city, Nizhny Novgorod, 400 km
southeast, is of an endlessly familiar landscape, part Canadian Shield,
part prairie, part foothills, sometimes Big Sky.
Although the reality may be something else, the rivers and lakes which
punctuate any Russian train journey look as pure and dynamic as those
which finger across our latitudes. As in the populated parts of Canada,
deciduous trees -- many of them strapping maples and hardy birches --
are a riot of rust, blood red and gold.
A lot of the churches which Russian trains trundle past look the same
as the distinctive Orthodox onion domes along the Canadian National and
Canadian Pacific main lines between Winnipeg and Edmonton and Calgary.
Even the ducks and geese streaming south across both countries every
autumn are close cousins.
The fields of corn, sunflowers, market vegetables and especially grain,
along what Gordon Lightfoot called "the ribbon of steel" are familiar,
too, with this whopper of a caveat. Swarms of harvesters and threshers
with powerful floodlights work around the clock every fall to ensure
that Canada's crops get picked in time. Russian crops often languish
until long past the ideal picking date or are left to spoil because of
machinery shortages and breakdowns and vodka-induced sloth and
Russia and Canada share the same, by turns raw and searing, climate and
the same vast, dramatic topography. But as any long train journey
demonstrates, the world's second-largest country has bent the land to
its will much more inobstrusively than what still is the world's largest
The Russians, with their grandiose, often ill-conceived Stalinesque
mega-projects in the middle of nowhere, have left a much deeper imprint
on the land. But to far less obvious purpose or advantage.
Another difference is that Canadians have tended to build good roads
alongside or near all of our major railways except on the CN main line
between Capreol and the Manitoba border and on the not-much-used CN
branch lines north from Montreal to Senneterre and from The Pas to
Manitoba's sub-Arctic port of Churchill.
FEW ROADS IN RUSSIA
Even in European Russia there aren't many roads anywhere and virtually
none of them are of any quality. In Siberia and the Russian Far East
there aren't many roads, period.
As a result, railways are more important to the Russian economy than
they have been to Canada for many years. It's a fair assumption that
without them much of the Russian Far East and eastern Siberia would
probably be Chinese today.
What is to be marvelled at in both Russia and Canada is that the
railways were built at all. And not only because of the fantastic
capital cost, which neither country could afford to pay as easily as
that other great transcontinental railway builder, the United States.
Railway engineers in all three countries faced mountains of granite and
had to breach hundreds of rivers. But Russians and Canadians had a
harder time of it because where they worked it was significantly colder.
Unlike the Americans, they also had to lay rails and ties across endless
mosquito-infested muskeg bogs.
When there were labor shortages and to keep labor costs down, Canada
imported Chinese coolies. The Russian solution was to use slave laborers
from the Siberian gulags.
Those cruel days seemed far away when the provodnik who runs each
Russian passenger carriage brought around sweet tea from a samovar and a
pile of freshly pressed bedding made of real linen.
I grew up travelling on what is now VIA Rail's Canadian, with its
stainless steel rolling stock, its glass-roofed observation cars and the
snuggest sleeping berths around. But I'm also a great fan of Russian
In a country that has seen better and prouder days, where the road
network is dreadful and the airplanes are dangerous and disgusting, only
the railways seem to have been able to defy contemporary Russian
Services such as the Yarmarka remain clean, robust and punctual. There
are even unexpected little flourishes such as gaudy golden curtains as
well as a spellbinding window view of a great country in turmoil.
ATTEMPTS TO START "MAKING NOISE" IN RUSSIA'S PARLIAMENT IN
CONNECTION WITH CABINET FATE "RIGHT NOW" IS "A VERY BAD
MISTAKE": VIKTOR CHERNOMYRDIN
MOSCOW, OCTOBER 13, RIA NOVOSTI'S REGINA LUKASHINA -
Attempts to start "making noise" in Russia's parliament in
connection with the cabinet fate "right now" is "a very bad
mistake", Premier Viktor Chernomyrdin stated today. Talking to a
press conference after the meeting of the Consultative council
for overseas investment, he stressed at the same time that it is
the right of the State Duma to put a no-confidence in the
cabinet issue to the vote. However, "if this question emerged at
the State Duma, that will be the place where we will have a
showdown with the deputies", Chernomyrdin stressed. He reminded
that he voiced his attitude to this problem during his recent
visit to the lower house of the Russian parliament. It is known
that last week head of the cabinet submitted a report on the
cabinet activities in connection with the fulfilment of the
budget over the last nine months to the MPs. He then told them
that he "is surprised and distressed with their intention to put
the no-confidence in the cabinet issue to the vote right at the
moment when common efforts of the two branches of power are
needed to solve quite a number of problems, including the
approval of the Tax Code and budget".
Premier Chernomyrdin called upon the reporters present "to
be patient". When asked about whether he anticipates any
complications of the situation in the State Duma, Viktor
Chernomyrdin said that his "state post makes him be ready for
anything to occur every day".
According to some highly-placed representative of the
Russian government, the cabinet "is ready to face all sorts of
developments in the State Duma". Both the government and the
premier, he stressed, are "highly determined" to fire back if
the Duma Council upheld a decision to put the no-confidence in
the government issue to the vote on Tuesday. Should this be the
case, the government has "an elaborated strategy and the
response will be both serious and adequate", the representative
Kremlin Sources: Yeltsin To Focus On Development Concept This Week
MOSCOW, Oct 13 (Interfax) - President *Boris Yeltsin* will spend much of
this week studying proposals related to the concept of Russia's
development in the next few years, Kremlin sources told Interfax.
They said a special group of analysts is completing its work. Summarized
proposals and materials have been sent to Yeltsin who plans to make
final comments and suggestions.
The sources said he started working on the concept at the beginning of
the year widely using public opinion polls and sociological studies,
collecting opinions of federal and provincial government bodies.
Yeltsin mentioned the concept for the first time in his recent speech at
the Federation Council. The speech outlined a number of provisions
related to the role of the state and its policies. The Kremlin sources
did not rule out the possibility that some other parts of the concept
may be disclosed in Yeltsin's speeches in the near future.
Russian government may raise ruble value of GDP forecast
October 13, 1997
MOSCOW -(Dow Jones)- Government officials are considering raising forecasts
for Russia's 1998 gross domestic product in talks with Parliament on the 1998
budget, First Deputy Finance Minister Vladimir Petrov said Monday.
Petrov said improved economic performance over the summer means GDP this year
could end up higher than originally forecast, allowing an increased nominal
figure for 1998.
Petrov, speaking during a break in a session of the special commission
drafting amendments to the budget, said 1998's GDP could be 2.80 trillion
rubles ($477 million), or 2.81 trillion rubles, up from the original forecast
of 2.75 trillion rubles.
The figures are calculated in new rubles, which are to be introduced Jan. 1.
One new ruble will be worth 1,000 old rubles.
Speaking after the session, First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais
confirmed the government is ready to accept a higher nominal GDP figure, but
noted the growth forecast of 2% remains unchanged.
Chubais noted the increased GDP figure should yield greater nominal revenue
for 1998 but said an exact figure remains to be calculated.
He said the government doesn't see any reason to change its inflation
forecast of 5% next year, despite calls by deputies for a higher figure.
Final decisions on the GDP figure and inflation will be made at the next
session of the commission Tuesday. The panel is to work for nine days, after
which the government will put the proposed changes into the budget draft and
submit the revised documents to the State Duma.
Chubais said that could happen as early as Oct. 24.
In contrast to past budgets, the government this year is working from a very
conservative revenue estimate, forcing significant spending cuts to keep the
deficit under control. Officials contend inflated revenue targets in the past
left the government unable to meet its obligations, setting off a web of
nonpayments destabilizing the entire economy.
RUSSIAN AGRARIANS TO HOLD ALL-RUSSIAN PROTEST ACTION
MOSCOW, OCTOBER 13 (RIA NOVOSTI CORRESPONDENT ANDREI
MALOSOLOV). The Russian agrarians promise to bring out more than
10 million people into the streets on October 14 and 15. An
All-Russian protest action is scheduled for these days, it is
regarded as "the peasants` response to the genocide of the
domestic village and assessment of the activity of the present
government," Chairman of Russia`s Agrarian Party Mikhail Lapshin
said at a press conference today.
According to Lapshin, reduction of state support to the
agricultural-industrial complex and ruinous taxes have led to an
unprecedented industrial recession over the whole post-war
history of Russia and impoverishment of agricultural workers.
The production of butter has dropped by 2.5 times over the last
five years, milk products - by 3.6 times, production of meat has
reduced by 3.2 times. Workers of the agricultural-industrial
complex are deprived of medicine servicing of full value,
Lapshin said. Hundreds of thousands of peasant children have no
opportunity to study at school due to inappropriate financing.
As Lapshin said, peasants will put forward their demands to
the government on October 14 and 15. Among them is a demand to
clear off all debts for the current year, to bring expenses for
the agrarian sector to 10 percent of the expendable part of the
state budget for 1998, to ensure privileged crediting of
agricultural producers, to adopt measures on protection of
domestic producers. In addition, they will demand to introduce
an article prohibiting free sale of land in Russia`s Land Code.
Participants of a press conference of trade union leaders
of Russia`s agricultural-industrial complex held earlier
emphasized that this action will be primarily of economic
nature. However, Lapshin and Chairman of the Agrarian-Industrial
Union Valery Starodubtsev do not rule out that this action may
acquire a political shade. At least trade unions and political
parties assert that if demands of workers of the
agricultural-industrial complex are not fulfilled then workers
of the agricultural-industrial complex will put forward other,
not only economic slogans.
Jamestown Foundation Monitor
13 October 1997
RUSSIA'S 2000 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN IS HEATING UP. The latest opinion poll
conducted by the "Public Opinion" polling organization on October 4-5
predicts that Boris Nemtsov is the popular choice to win the presidential
election due in 2000. If the election was held now, 7 percent of those
questioned said they would vote for Grigory Yavlinsky; 9 percent for Yury
Luzhkov; 13 percent for Aleksandr Lebed; 17 percent for Boris Nemtsov; and
18 percent for Gennady Zyuganov. But, in a run-off between Nemtsov and
Zyuganov, Nemtsov would get 41 percent and Zyuganov 29 percent. (NTV,
October 12) Of these candidates, only Yavlinsky and Lebed have declared
their intention to run, while Nemtsov and Luzhkov have repeatedly denied
that they have presidential ambitions.
Many Russian political pundits seem to be finding it hard to imagine life
after Yeltsin and to take seriously his statement in Strasbourg last week
that he will not seek a third term. Interviewed on Russian TV last night,
Segodnya columnist Leonid Radzikhovsky said the fact the Yeltsin said he
would not seek a third term because that was ruled out by the constitution
suggested that there will soon be an appeal to the Constitutional Court --
"most likely from one of the regions" -- asking for a ruling on this point.
If the Court says Yeltsin could stand again, the president will almost
certainly do so, Radzikhovsky predicted.
Political commentator Andrei Fedorov observed that, even if Yeltsin does not
run in 2000, the range of candidates will be very similar to the 1996
presidential election. He discounted predictions that some of Russia's
regional leaders will put themselves forward by pointing out that, because
of Russia's lack of a developed party system, regional leaders do not have
either the funds or the necessary support to organize a nationwide campaign.
Vitaly Tretyakov of Nezavisimaya gazeta pointed out that much will depend on
who it is that Yeltsin himself chooses to anoint as his successor. He
predicted that it would be either Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin or, in
an interesting new twist, Yeltsin's daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko. He said
neither could solve Russia's problems but that both would appeal to the
present establishment since they would not threaten its leading members in
the way that either Nemtsov or Luzhkov would do. (NTV, October 12)
>From RIA Novosti
October 9, 1997
RUSSIAN, US DIPLOMATS MEET STATE DUMAV DEPUTIES HALFWAY
And expect their move to be reciprocated
By Alexander KORETSKY
Despite the unwillingness of the State Duma to ratify the
START-2 Treaty, signed back in 1993, the Russian Foreign
Ministry is prepared to resume Russo-American consultations on
the START-3 Treaty. These consultations will be unofficial,
since official talks have been prohibited by a special
resolution of the US Senate until the enforcement of the
START-2 Treaty. At the same time, the Foreign Ministry is
preparing for the decisive battle with the Duma in a bid to
force it into ratifying the treaty.
Russian politicians clearly think that the Duma deputies
will eventually ratify the treaty in its current wording (the
deputies demand changes in several basic provisions which
concern the structure of the national strategic nuclear
forces). The US administration, which intensified consultations
with Moscow on the preparation of the START-2 Treaty for the
final hearing in the Duma in the past few weeks, hopes to
achieve the same aim.
The New York meeting of Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov
and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on September 26
proved to be pivotal for this process. They signed a block of
documents complementing the START-2 Treaty, in particular a
protocol to the treaty and two exchange letters on the early
deactivation of strategic offensive armaments which are to be
liquidated under this treaty. Foreign Ministry analysts are
convinced that these documents take into account all Duma
complaints with regard to the treaty, which, if ratified, will
reduce strategic nuclear forces to 3,000-3,500 charges.
Washington simply had to sign the protocol postponing the
expiry date of the START-2 Treaty from January 1, 2003 to
December 31, 2007. Now the USA wants to see Russia make
reciprocal steps. The US Congress ratified the treaty back in
January 1996, and is now encouraging the Russian Parliament to
do the same.
The protocol prolonging the treaty may become the trump
card in the dialogue with the Duma (the deputies will be
offered to ratify the protocol together with the treaty). The
Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the prolongation of the
treaty will synchronise the fulfilment of Russia's obligations
under the START-2 Treaty with the expiry of the warranty
service of the Russian strategic missiles.
In case of the ratification of the treaty and
complementing documents, this will enable Russia to meet its
obligations by destroying the missiles whose warranty service
will expire by that time. This will prevent additional outlays
on the fulfilment of the treaty obligations. The ministry
experts think that this will save Russia billions of dollars.
Presidency not for Moscow mayor
October 13, 1997
MOSCOW (AP) - Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov insisted again Monday that he will
not take part in the 2000 presidential elections - though many think he could
change his mind.
``Muscovites will say `no' to my participation in the presidential election
and I'm saying `no,''' Luzhkov was quoted as saying by the Interfax news
Luzhkov enjoys broad popularity in the capital for his ambitious construction
program and a drive to spruce up the city.
Many analysts consider him a potential presidential candidate when the next
election is planned in 2000. The race could become a free-for-all if
President Boris Yeltsin steps aside when his term expires.
Yeltsin has given conflicting signals about his plans.
He said last month that he wouldn't run, but changed his stance several weeks
later, saying he was still undecided. Last week, Yeltsin said again that he
would not be a candidate.
Yeltsin's health problems and a two-term limit in the constitution appear to
rule out a third term for the 66-year-old Russian leader.
His spokesman, however, said Yeltsin's first term as Russian president may
not count toward the constitutional limit because he was elected during
The Russian media has speculated that Yeltsin's vague stance could be part of
an effort to probe the intentions of other politicians.
Other possible presidential contenders in 2000 include Prime Minister Viktor
Chernomyrdin, his first deputy Boris Nemtsov, Communist leader Gennady
Zyuganov, former security chief Alexander Lebed and ultranationalist Vladimir