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Johnson's Russia List


December 3, 1997  
This Date's Issues: 1405  1406  

8:26 AM 12/29/00Johnson's Russia List
3 December 1997

[Note from David Johnson:
1. David Johnson: Resignation.
2. Reuters: Russian Duma speaker seeks more power for deputies.
3. Fred Weir: Gorbachev and Pizza Hut.
4. David Filipov: Pizza and Gorby.
5. Stefan Lindgren: Boris in Sweden.
6. Nicolai Petro: Re 1405-McCormick/Estonian Language Law.
7. Ira Straus: Re 1402- Whitehouse/Nielsen/Estonia.
8. AP: Yeltsin: Russia Ready to Cut Forces.
9. Financial Times (UK): Western banks asked for $2bn loan.
10. AP: Hefty history of worldwide communist crimes a French 
best seller.

11. Bergen Record (New Jersey): Jane Applegate, Doing business 
in Russia isn't easy.

12. Eugene Miasnikov: Center for Arms Control, Energy and 
Environmental Studies.

13. New York Times: Alessandra Stanley, In Dark Times, Russia's 
Economic Chief Looks on Bright Side. (DJ: I am told that Ms. Stanley 
recently compared Chubais with Elliott Ness--the American gangster 
fighter. Can anyone confirm this?)

14. Interfax: Official Says Spy Charges Against U.S. Citizen Proved.
15. AP: NATO to Discuss Closer Russia Ties.
16. Interfax: PM: Wave Of Crime Beaten Down In Russia.
17. Interfax: Yeltsin Sees OSCE As Foundation Of European Security.]


David Johnson
3 December 1997

For me, as for most readers of JRL, Russia is an entertaining spectator
sport. Watched from afar or experienced as a temporary visitor, Russia today
is interesting. But it is not our country; it is not our lives or families 
which are at stake. In innumerable ways we can distance ourselves,
become calloused to the tragedy and failure that is the West's experiment in 
social engineering in Russia through the instrument of Boris Yeltsin.
I have generally avoided inserting my own views into JRL since the early
episodes of sustained criticism of the New York Times and David Remnick.
But I have suffered a lapse of nonpartisanship upon reading these words
in the current Newsweek story on women in Russia ((JRL #1403):
"Sharply rising suicide rates also suggest that Russian men have proved
less capable than women in dealing with the shocks their nation has endured
since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia at the end of 1997 is full of
brilliant, proud men, from physicists to generals, who have seen their status
vanish--often along with their paychecks. Their response--a collective
drowning of sorrows--could not be more destructive."
This is a valuable article by Bill Powell and Kim Palchikoff. But I think
we have here a striking example of the "blame the victim" syndrome which has
become so common in Western attitudes toward Russia today. That millions
of Russian men (and, of course, millions of Russian women) find their
lives hopeless in Yeltsin's Russia is their fault, not Yeltsin's, his men,
his Western sponsors, and their policies and actions. 
For me, what is most striking about the period 1992-97 is the personal
responsibility of Boris Yeltsin for innumerable failures and yet the absence
of accountability. The example that Yeltsin has set has had enormous impact 
on Russian life, mostly, I would suggest, for the worse. The main feature of
Yeltsin's coarse political culture has been the continuing demonization
of opponents in order to delegitimize alternative political figures and
The very accumulation of failures has forced Yeltsin to constantly attempt 
to paint all alternatives as either worse or nonexistent. For the most part,
Western media and politicians have eagerly encouraged and facilitated
this process.
The main carrot that Yeltsin has exercised throughout this period has been
his promise of delivering Western money as the solution to Russia's problems.
That continues right down to today as Chubais is retained to keep Western
investors happy. The mirage of Western help, however, is only one of the more
prominent and obvious failures of the Yeltsin era.
There has been nothing inevitable about the policies pursued in Russia
since 1991. The abuses of privatization, the emergence of oligarchs,
the exclusion from political power of large sectors of society, the depth
and breath of the economic collapse, the war on the former Parliament and on
Chechnya, etc., all of this is in large part the product of deliberate
not of natural forces. President Yeltsin and his financial and political
bear the responsibility. This remains the case today, even when many 
Yeltsin-enthusiasts in the West have been forced to modify their overt 
Where to go from this point? President Yeltsin should resign. It's time
to start the post-Yeltsin era. Russians need a fresh start, a new sense
of possibility and change. They need a new political constellation at the 
top. This can only happen if Yeltsin steps aside, acknowledging his
personal responsibility for failure, and lets others try their hand at
shaping Russia's future. 
Whether Yeltsin and his court are capable of recognizing the larger 
national interest is another question. With the evaporation of the 
latest "light at the end of the tunnel" in the current financial crisis,
however, I do not think it out of the question that Yeltsin could be
persuaded that the best contribution he can make to Russia would be
to resign. The fact that Yeltsin is not indispensable (and never was)
could be portrayed to him as his own accomplishment. Of course, the
health pretext is always available.
Perhaps there is some senior statesman, good-will ambassador to the
West, role that Yeltsin can play in his twilight years. There should
also be rewarding commercial opportunities.
Some guidelines for a Russian New Deal: 
1. Political inclusiveness--a genuine spirit of reconciliation and
2. Self-reliance--an end to looking to the West as Russia's saviour.
3. Recasting of political structures to make them more legitimate
and consistent with Russian experiences. This may very well involve
significant modifications of Yeltsin's constitution.
4. Implementation of accountability for abuses in recent years,
including revisiting illegal privatizations. This is not for purposes
of retribution but to correct important mistakes.
5. Clear recognition of the need for a significant role for the
state in the economy, acknowledging that the version of capitalism
now growing in Russia has little resemblance to real capitalism
in the West.
6. A more self-confident attitude toward the West, supplanting
the teacher-child model which has grown up.


Russian Duma speaker seeks more power for deputies

MOSCOW, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The Communist speaker of Russia's lower house of
parliament called on Tuesday for a constitutional amendment to allow the
chamber to elect each member of the cabinet. 
Gennady Seleznyov told a news conference the amendment -- putting more
in the hands of the 450 seat chamber -- was needed for the sake of political
"Before the government has the support of at least 226 deputies, it will
always be in earthquake zone," Seleznyov said. 
The lower house of parliament, or State Duma, has been embroiled in a
game of
nerves with the reformist government for months over its reforms. 
The row centres on the government's leading reformer, First Deputy Prime
Minister Anatoly Chubais, a hate figure for the opposition-dominated
The Duma, which had no say in Chubais's appointment, has called for his
dismissal, accusing him of ruining Russia. 
Under existing rules, the Duma has to approve the president's choice of
minister but not the whole cabinet. 
"I think we must persuade the president that we shall need such an
to the constitution, not for us, but most likely in time for the next State
Duma election," Seleznyov said. The next Duma election is in 1999. 
Seleznyov said he envisaged a government mostly consisting of members of
party, or a coalition of parties with a majority of votes in the State Duma
lower house. 
"This is my superdream -- to live to the day when we shall be able to
work in
this way, the way in which civilised countries work," Seleznyov said. 
No party now has a majority, or 226 seats in the Duma, which is the
number of
votes needed to push a draft law through. The Communists, the biggest
faction, have 138 seats. 
Seleznyov unleashed a new salvo against Chubais on Tuesday, describing his
economic views as those of a "temporary worker." 
Last month, President Boris Yeltsin relieved Chubais of his position as
finance minister because of a scandal involving advances for a book on
privatisation that Chubais plans to co-author. 
But Yeltsin kept him as first deputy prime minister, arguing that there was
no one else suited to the job for the moment. 
Despite this, Seleznyov said he believed the writing was on the wall for
As first deputy prime minister, Chubais has wide responsibilities over
economic reforms and was the father of Russian privatisation, which paved the
way for the stock market. 
Seleznyov said the administration should focus on appointing new people who
would be able to spur growth in the economy. 
This year the economy started recovering slowly after years of decline,
the State Statistics Committee saying industrial output was up 1.5 percent in
the first 10 months of 1997. 
But Seleznyov said he did not believe the figures. He said the government
should choose several branches of industry for support and introduce high
customs tariffs for imported goods. 


Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 13:31:49 (MSK)
For the Hindustan Times
From: Fred Weir in Moscow

MOSCOW (HT Dec 3) -- Mikhail Gorbachev, the father of
perestroika reforms in the USSR, broke new barriers this week by
starring in a television commercial for Pizza Hut, an American
company that pioneered fast food in Soviet-era Moscow.
The TV spot, which will not be aired in Russia, shows Mr.
Gorbachev eating with his 9-year old granddaughter Anastasia in
the Moscow Pizza Hut restaurant, and chatting with other diners
about perestroika.
According to news agencies, the commercial ends with
customers shouting: "Long live Gorbachev, who brought us Pizza
The ad will be shown in the United States, where Mr.
Gorbachev is still warmly remembered as the man who ended the
Cold War, and later in Europe.
Mr. Gorbachev, 66, has been in semi-retirement since he was
forced to resign as president of the Soviet Union six years ago,
and the superpower he led disintegrated.
He remains deeply unpopular in his native Russia, where the
left accuses him of wrecking the USSR with his perestroika
experiments and the right disdains him for hanging on to his
socialist principles for too long.
Last year Mr. Gorbachev entered Russia's presidential
election campaign, but finished with less than 1 per cent of the
In a prepared statement, Mr. Gorbachev's press service
explained Wednesday that the former Soviet leader has always
refused to do television commercials in the past but made an
exception in this case because his Moscow think tank, the
Gorbachev Foundation, needs the money.
"The agreement with this company stipulates that Gorbachev's
full fee (for doing the commercial) goes to the Gorbachev
Foundation," the statement said.
There was no indication of how much Mr. Gorbachev is being
paid for his appearance, but the press service said the money
would go towards purchasing the large Moscow building where the
Foundation is currently housed.
While some Russians may see the TV commercial as evidence
has fallen far and relinquished the last of his socialist
beliefs, others say it shows he is still a tough and independent
"By doing this Gorbachev demonstrates he's still alive and
walking among us, and that's not bad," says Viktor Kremeniuk, an
analyst at the Institute of Canada-USA Studies in Moscow.
"I hope the commercial will eventually be shown in Russia.
People here have forgotten who established freedom and brought
democracy to this country, and this is as good a way as any to
remind them." 


Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 18:31:26 +0300
From: David Filipov <>
Subject: Pizza and Gorby

David, David, David. 

Mamma mia, lemme get this straight.

This Gorbachev character who pitches calzones in an upcoming Pizza Hut ad
that will be shown in the West, but not in Russia -- this is the guy you
wanted us to stop making fun of and start taking seriously, right?

Food for thought: Can the Godfather Pizza spot featuring Berezovsky be far


[DJ: I think the actual author of this item is Stefan Lindgren,]
From: "nikst" <>
Subject: Boris in Sweden
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 11:16:09 +0300

Yesterday's show - the meeting between Sweden's Prime Minister Goran
and Russia's president Boris Yeltsin - was in some respects a depressing one.
The two have in common that they are both former local party bosses
(Persson however still wears his red necktie) and in some sense usurpers of 
power. Persson became a Prime Minister only after he (?) had leaked a scandal 
with misuse of a state credit card against his rival Mona Sahlin.
What was especially depressing at the press conference was the very
absent-minded performance of Boris Yeltsin.
He named both Japan and Germany *nuclear powers*, then corrected the
mistake concerning Germany, and his Russian interpreter replaced *Japan* 
with *England* in the translation.
Talking about Russian efforts to sell gas to Sweden he said that *the
swedes are tired of coal*. We however got tired of coal already in the 40-ies 
and 50-ies and coal only plays a marginal role in Sweden's energy system.
On the other hand his blunt colleague, Persson, answered that Sweden has
to ask the Germans and Norwegians before we make up our mind. Which was to
say that it is in Bonn and Washington Sweden's energy policy is decided. 
Next, talking about peace, Yeltsin started to babble about a *90-year old
man* who once went to war with Russia, but now should forget the whole thing.
In the next sentence it appeared that Yeltsin was talking about Finland
is separate from Sweden since 1809).
Generously he promised the Swedes not to start any war against us* at
least in the 2 1/2 year which I can answer for, he said. Very reassuring*
The promise to cut Russias stocks of nuclear warheads with another third,
was of course very pleasant, but was not - in view of the general performance 
of Yeltsin -seriously received by the reporters. Yeltsin's press secretary
Yaztrezhembsky later declared that he had no information to further explain 
the statement of the President.
One can guess that still somebody in the President's team will be punished
for his blunders in the next future.
We who are old enough to remember both late Chrushchev's visit to Sweden
and Nikolay Ryzhkov's easily become victims of a hopeless nostalgia.

Stefan Lindgren, editor of the emailpaper *Ryska Posten*


Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 09:39:57 -0500
From: "Nicolai N. Petro" <>
Subject: Re: 1405-McCormick/Estonian Language Law

Instead of making excuses for ethic discrimination, perhaps its time for
Estonians and Latvians to get over thinking of themselves reflexively as
part of the USSR and to start thinking of themselves as independent
countries. The proper analogy is not Estonians surrounded by a sea of
Russians, but a Russian-language minority within an independent Estonia,
in which the titular nationality is using state power to systematically
deny equal rights to others. 
McCormick's analogy to Quebec is the correct one, but its focus is
misplaced. It is the Russian-speaking minority that deserves expect
special protection against the (quite natural) tendency of the majority to
abuse state power, and the most convincing argument that the Baltic
governments could make that they are indeed mature democracies, is to enact
legislation providing special protection for the linguistic minority that
lives among them and put an end to all discriminatory practices against


From: "Ira Straus" <>
Subject: Re: 1402- Whitehouse/Nielsen/Estonia
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 1997 00:27:00 +0300

Regarding Tom Whitehouse's and Jens Nielsen's pieces (about a moderate
Russian mayor of an Estonian town, who, despite his cooperative approach, 
was kicked out of his elected position on grounds of imperfect knowledge of
the Estonian language) -- 
I'd like to hear the view of the supporters of Estonian ethnic policy on
this case. 
Earlier this year, when some Russians and Estonians were writing some
things about Estonian ethnic policy without bothering ever to address one
another's arguments, I tried to get the debaters on the two sides to answer
one another rather than just go on talking past one another. In this, I
have to admit, I had a notable lack of success.
Maybe we can do better this time. I could hardly imagine a more noble
Western character, from an Estonian point of view, than Jens Jorgen
Nielsen, given his description by Whitehouse as "a Danish academic who
organised a series of EU-financed Estonian language classes for
Russian-speaking local councillors". In other words, he's another of us
agents of Western influence, the kind who wants to integrate the Estonians and
other former easterners into the West; one, particularly, who was trying to
help the Estonians make their language policy to work in a way that would
not be too discriminatory and so would not disqualify them from the EU 
integration for which they're hoping. That ought to make his disappointment 
the more significant, in an evidentiary way, especially for those who have 
sometimes seemed to prefer to put any such evidence out of mind or think of 
it as a mere reflection of Moscow's influence. Hopefully this time, people 
will try to address the message rather than stone the messenger. 

Ira Straus
Fulbright Professor, Russian State Humanities University


Yeltsin: Russia Ready to Cut Forces 
By Vladimir Isachenkov 
Associated Press Writer 
December 3, 1997 

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- President Boris Yeltsin said today that Russia is
ready to cut ground and naval forces along its northwestern border by 40
percent in 1999. 
The proposal, announced in a speech in the Swedish Parliament, appears
aimed at reducing tensions between Russia and the three former Soviet
states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Russia is deeply concerned by
those three countries' interest in joining NATO. 
On Tuesday, Yeltsin said Russia was ready to make a one-third cut in its
nuclear weapons. But presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky later
backpedaled, saying it was an idea that had been broadly discussed, but was
not ``on the negotiating table.'' 
Yastrzhembsky also noted that Yeltsin was tired when he spoke Tuesday.
The proposal on cuts in the northwest appeared to be more solid; Yeltsin
made it in reading from a prepared text. 
Yeltsin said the cuts would take place in both ground and naval forces.
But he did not specify what areas were included. 
Russian Defense Minister Marshall Igor Sergeyev confirmed the pledge
hours later, saying the cuts would be made to ground troops in the
Kaliningrad enclave between Poland and Lithuania, in the region around St.
Petersburg and to the Baltic and Northern fleets of the Russian navy. 
``These are regions that are the most stable in Europe and we feel able
to make drastic cuts of 40 percent,'' Sergeyev said in Brussels, Belgium,
after talks with defense ministers from the 16 NATO nations. 
He said the reductions would be part of an ongoing overhaul of Russia's
military, whose forces should be reduced to 1.2 million by Jan. 1, 1999,
down from the current level of 1.5 million. 
U.S. Undersecretary of Defense Walter B. Slocombe said the reductions in
the nuclear arsenal promised by Yeltsin were in line with what the Russians
have told Washington about the goal of a new round of treaty talks. 
``It is not in fact a unilateral declaration to make a cut, but a
Russian indication that a level of about 2,000 is the right level for START
III,'' Slocombe said. 
The regions identified by Sergeyev have about 82,000 soldiers in ground
forces, two naval infantry brigades, 79 submarines and 68 combat ships,
said Col. Terry Taylor of the International Institute for Strategic Studies
in London. 
Russia previously has offered security guarantees to Lithuania, Latvia
and Estonia if they stay out of NATO. But the proposals have been rejected
by the three countries, which perceive Russia as a potential threat. 
``I'm sure that the Baltic will become the region of firm confidence,
stability and security,'' Yeltsin said on the second day of his three-day
visit. ``We want that the common border does not divide us but makes us
closer, that it becomes a border of peace, not strife.'' 


Financial Times (UK)
3 December 1997
[for personal use only]
Russia: Western banks asked for $2bn loan
By John Thornhill and Chrystia Freeland in Moscow and Edward Luce in 

The Russian government has asked a group of western banks in Moscow to 
prepare an emergency financing package of up to $2bn as it seeks to 
cover its budget deficit and pay off wage arrears.
On Monday, Anatoly Chubais, first deputy prime minister, contacted at 
least four banks, including Salomon Brothers, Credit Suisse First 
Boston, Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, asking to raise a 
syndicated loan for the government.
None of the banks would comment yesterday, but it is understood they 
reacted positively.
"Foreign banks have been involved in this type of bridging loan before, 
but it has not been publicised," said one banker who knew of the deal. 
"I do not think it would be a problem."
In a further effort to shore up Russia's jittery financial system, the 
chairman of the central bank summoned the heads of Russia's leading 
banks yesterday to discuss the current liquidity crunch.
It is understood the central bank reassured Russian commercial bankers 
it was ready to assist the country's top banks.
"For the central bank the collapse of any of the largest banks would be 
undesirable," said Irina Yasina, the bank's spokeswoman, after the 
meeting. She said the 10 commercial banks and the central bank had 
pledged jointly to back the rouble.
In London, Russia signed an agreement with 423 western banks to 
restructure $31bn of defaulted commercial debt dating from before the 
Soviet Union's demise in 1991. The deal creates a vast bond market in 
the former loans which should become one of the world's most highly 
traded emerging market instruments.
In addition to propping up Russia's shaky economy, the $2bn loan Mr 
Chubais is seeking could help resurrect the minister's own fading 
political fortunes.
"They will say: 'Again Chubais has saved the motherland!' " said a top 
Russian businessman who is familiar with the deal and hostile to the 
controversial minister.
At yesterday's meeting, the central bank also urged Russian banks to 
begin trading with one another again.
The Russian government is hopeful the International Monetary Fund will 
accelerate disbursement of a delayed $700m tranche of its $10bn support 
loan before the end of the year. That may also trigger the release of 
structural adjustment and coal sector loans from the World Bank.
But the government appears to be making contingency plans in the event 
that these monies are not forthcoming and is seeking additional finance 
from both local and foreign banks. One Russian banker said the creation 
of a domestic emergency fund was also discussed at the meeting in the 
central bank.
Boris Yeltsin, the president, has warned that ministers' heads will roll 
if the government does not fulfil its promises to pay off wage arrears 
to federal employees by the end of the year.
The instability in world financial markets has significantly increased 
the Russian government's cost of borrowing, as foreign investors have 
started pulling out of the domestic debt market, putting upward pressure 
on interest rates and downward pressure on the rouble.
Yields on short-term treasury bills soared from 35-40 per cent to more 
than 50 per cent at one point yesterday. This compares with the central 
bank's refinancing rate of 28 per cent.
The central bank yesterday reiterated its commitment to maintain the 
rouble within its trading corridor amid signs that the Russian public 
was beginning to buy more dollars.


Hefty history of worldwide communist crimes a French best seller
December 2, 1997

PARIS (AP) - An 846-page history of communism by six academics, its 
dense print broken up by old black and white pictures, would seem a 
prime candidate for the discount bin. 
Instead, ``The Black Book of Communism'' is a surprise French best 
seller, with more than 70,000 copies snatched up in just three weeks. 
The weighty tome has set off a political debate in parliament and a bit 
of hand-wringing in the French Communist Party. 
Splashed across the front cover is the book's primary conclusion: 
communism - through deportations and famine, labor camps and executions 
- killed at least 85 million people in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia 
and elsewhere. 
Though others have chronicled the horrors of the gulag, the authors of 
this book claim theirs is the first attempt to add up the numbers 
worldwide and truly make use of newly opened archives in the former 
Soviet bloc. 
The book, subtitled ``Crimes, Terror, Repression,'' was proclaimed by 
the leftist daily Liberation as the ``first global and scientific 
balance sheet'' of communism. 
Part of the book's unexpected popularity - and its shock - may lie with 
France's lengthy and continued attachment to the founders of the Soviet 
regime, especially Lenin. 
Though a wealthy democracy, France nevertheless is a place where 
streets, squares and public buildings still are named for Lenin, who 
once lived here, and the French Communist Party long was one of the most 
hard-line in Western Europe. 
Though Communist Party support is well down from its postwar high of 
about 30 percent of the electorate, many French people are still 
attracted by its ideals. 
``I think in France, there has always been a very great interest in 
communism,'' explained lead author Stephane Courtois, 50, a historian at 
France's premier scientific research center. 
The book tops France's nonfiction best seller list, ahead of a memoir by 
Gen. Charles de Gaulle's longtime spokesman and a juicy look at current 
French politics by one of France's leading TV anchorwomen. 
Printers are rushing out more copies of the $32 book to meet demand 
during the busy Christmas season and publisher Robert Laffont is looking 
to translate it into English and other languages. 
It has been front-page news in top dailies, featured in weekly magazines 
and on talk shows, including one with a snippy battle among the authors 
who still argue over Courtois' introduction. 
The introduction, itself the subject of 17 pre-publication meetings, 
makes a controversial comparison between communism and Nazism. 
Many historians and intellectuals have weighed in. Some agree with 
historian Alain Besancon, who said in Le Monde that communism and Nazism 
were ``equally criminal.'' Others say communism and Nazism are 
ideological apples and oranges and such attempts at comparison 
diminishes the unique horror of the Holocaust. 
Courtois insisted: ``You have to compare them. You can't look at 
20th-century history if you don't compare the two systems. You won't 
understand anything.'' 
Some of his co-authors say Courtois was too militant, having written an 
impassioned diatribe rather than a sober introduction to a scholarly 
book based on years of archival research. 
Communist Party leader Robert Hue seemed defensive when talking about 
the ``black book,'' even as he admitted the party had been slow to 
distance itself from its Stalinist past. 
Hue insisted on French radio last week that ``one cannot in any way 
identify the true foundations of communism, which is real humanism, with 
what was done in its name.'' 
But Hue also was grateful for Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's 
defense of the three Communist ministers in his Cabinet when debate on 
the book exploded in parliament. 
Shortly after the book's release, a member of the center-right Union of 
Democracy challenged Jospin to justify having Communists in his 
government, given the murderous history of their movement. 
Jospin countered that the Communists have ``learned the lessons of 
history'' and he was proud to be associated with them. 
``In France, we have lots of trouble looking at history in a calm, 
serene way,'' Courtois said. ``In France, history is politics.'' 


Bergen Record (New Jersey}
1 December 1997
[for personal use only]
Doing business in Russia isn't easy 
Editor's Note: Jane Applegate recently visited Russia to speak at a 
conference and report on the economy and entrepreneurial market. This is 
Part 3 of a three-part series.

MOSCOW -- If you want to understand the challenges of doing business in 
Russia, consider this:
Although new automatic teller machines adorn major boulevards in Moscow, 
people seem reluctant to use them. Fear of being robbed is one reason, 
but until this year, it was legal to drive your car on the sidewalk 
during rush hour. So, what person in his right mind would risk getting 
run over while lined up in front of an ATM machine?
Impossible traffic jams, corrupt politicians, high taxes, and lack of 
infrastructure pose challenges to anyone trying to do business here. For 
instance, in mid-November, Russia stopped doing business with 11 major 
banks, including Chase Manhattan and J.P. Morgan. The dispute over 
securities transactions will surely be resolved, but stories like this 
don't help fuel economic growth.
No matter how tough it is, doing business in Russia still has tremendous 
appeal to Western entrepreneurs. But wanting to do a deal in Russia and 
actually doing it are two different stories. For example, while standing 
in line waiting to board the flight home, I overheard an engineer from a 
major Midwestern utility saying how much the Russians wanted his company 
to finish building a desperately needed nuclear power plant. At the site 
he visited, after 10 years of construction, only one cooling tower and a 
section of one building were complete. The Russians really wanted to do 
business with the utility, but had no money and were hoping for a barter 
Another American on my flight, a sales executive, exports snack cakes to 
Russia. While he can easily ship container loads of cakes to St. 
Petersburg, the big problem is getting the cakes into distant stores 
before they become stale. He said aging trucks and pot-holed Russian 
roads make shipping cakes extremely difficult. To buy more time, his 
Russian distributor suggested the bakery add more chemical preservatives 
to the cake. But the U.S. firm objected: The cakes already have a 90-day 
shelf life, and beyond that they don't taste very good. "Freshness 
doesn't matter. Just make the cakes last longer," the distributor 
If you have lots of patience and money and believe your product or 
service will appeal to Russians, start doing your homework. Call the 
U.S. Commerce Department and ask to speak to a Russian trade specialist. 
The Export-Import Bank and U.S. Agency for International Development 
also operate assistance programs for people wanting to do business in 
To obtain a business travel visa, you officially need an invitation from 
a Russian firm. However, several U.S.-based companies sell visas. The 
Russia House in Washington, for example, charges $195 for a one-trip 
visa. The company needs eight to 10 days notice, a copy of the first two 
pages of your U.S. passport, and three passport photographs. If you plan 
to go back and forth, a three-month visa is $245.
Try to arrange for a colleague or the hotel driver to meet you up at the 
airport. If not, you'll be greeted by a scary group of taxi drivers who 
charge $100 for what should be a $45 to $50 trip downtown. Once in 
Moscow, the trolleys and Metro are great -- if you can read Russian. If 
not, you can hail a renegade taxi by standing on the curb with your hand 
pointed down. These unofficial taxis are plentiful, and if you ask 
someone to write down the address you need in Russian, they'll take you 
there for a few dollars.
Forget what you've heard about bringing your own toilet paper. You 
should bring bottled water, but if you check into the new Marriott Grand 
Hotel, you'll feel right at home. It's expensive -- about $250 a night 
-- but you can watch CNN, pay-per-view movies, and a Russian version of 
MTV in your room.
Expecting a drab and dreary scene, I was surprised to see the boulevards 
teeming with fashionably dressed men and women. The bustling shops in 
Red Square are piled with goods from Benetton and cosmetics by Estee 
Lauder. Steep income and payroll taxes may discourage free enterprise, 
but American and Russian entrepreneurs say they keep two sets of books, 
paying their employees a small sum on the books and the rest in cash.
A U.S. business consultant who runs an incubator in a remote part of the 
country said Americans have a tough time getting used to the quirks of 
doing business here. For example, she asked the baker in her incubator 
if he would bake black bread because she loved it. She assumed he would 
just order the ingredients, and fire up the ovens. Not quite. It took 
more than a year and hundreds of dollars in "fees" to obtain a permit to 
bake black bread. "This story is very typical of trying to do business 
here," she said.


Date: Wed, 03 Dec 1997 11:49:52 +0300
From: Eugene Miasnikov <>
Subject: Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies

My colleagues and I found the CDI Web-site very helpful source for searching
information on problems related with various nuclear issues. 

You may also include in your list a link to the home page of the Center for
Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at Moscow Institute of
Physics and Technology ( Our Center is an
independent organization, focusing on research of technical aspects of
disarmament and education of political leadership and public.

Our WWW site has been created just recently, and it is intensively growing.
In particular," START-2 and Further Nuclear Arms Reductions" page contains a
list of recent publications on current problems of START-2 ratification in
Russia and concrete steps for further strategic nuclear arms reductions.
Contents of many listed documents, including the views of Russian authors,
are available on line.

Sincerely yours,
Eugene Miasnikov
Ph.D., Research Associate,
Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies
phone: +011-095-4086381


New York Times
3 December 1997
[for personal use only]
In Dark Times, Russia's Economic Chief Looks on Bright Side

MOSCOW -- Looking confident and self-possessed, Anatoly Chubais, the chief
overseer of Russia's economic changes, said Tuesday that he had a plan to
shore up the country's battered economy and get international loans,
currently stalled, back on track. 
The Russian stock market has plunged in the last few weeks, a ripple
effect of financial turmoil in Asia. Foreign investors, who have lost
confidence in emerging markets, have pulled more than $5 billion in
securities from Russia in the last month. 
But Chubais, Russia's first deputy prime minister, whose own stock was
badly damaged last month by a scandal over a questionable book deal, was
also plotting his redemption. In his first interview with Western reporters
since the scandal broke, he tried to make it clear that he was still in
charge of Russia's fragile finances and a power to be reckoned with. 
He said little about the details of the book contract from a publishing
house, which is owned by one of the banks that has recently benefited from
government sales of state property. 
Instead, Chubais, who calls the scandal a smear campaign, said he was
tripped up by bankers and businessmen who are disgruntled by his efforts to
curb the favoritism and insider deals that have veined earlier
privatization efforts. 
But he acknowledged that the scandal -- which resulted in the removal of
some of his closest aides and could still lead to his own dismissal once
the current economic crisis is past -- has weighed him down. 
"I am now told, 'You must pay wage arrears by Jan. 1 -- yes, there is a
little financial crisis, so you must overcome it, and besides, we will tie
your hands behind your back and we will tie your legs, too.' " 
He added: "So it affects me badly. But what can I do?" 
Chubais said that he had worked out a program with the help of experts
from the International Monetary Fund and that it would almost certainly
persuade the IMF to approve the next $780 million installment of its $10
billion loan to Russia soon. 
The IMF postponed giving out the money early last month because Russia
had failed to raise its targeted tax revenues. 
Last week, Russia sent two top officials to Washington to try to obtain
more aid to see the country through the current crisis. The meetings were
inconclusive, and U.S. officials pointedly referred Chubais back to the IMF. 
But it was not at all clear how much the plan, which Chubais heralded
Tuesday as "tough and radical," differs from steps Russia has previously
promised to take. 
IMF officials arrived in Moscow this week and will work with their
Russian counterparts on hammering out ways for Russia to cut its spending
more rigorously and to raise revenues. The team is due to leave on Dec. 12. 
Most likely, Chubais is hoping that a new show of determination -- and
the country's dire straits -- will persuade the IMF to relent and release
the loan by January. 
"Traditionally, in times of crises, international financial
organizations come forth and help out," he said. 
Chubais said that the Russian government would continue to defend the
ruble, which has lost value since the financial crisis began. But he noted
that it would stop intervening to protect interest rates on the treasury
bond market. 
This would make life easier for the Central Bank, which has been
straining to keep the ruble stable, but might create some turmoil in the
short run. 
"There may be some high and even hysterical splashes," Chubais said.
"But it is clear that in the next few days it will stop somewhere on its
new level, which we will start to protect." 
Among the unpleasant tasks Chubais faces in the coming days is a battle
with Russia's Communist-led Parliament, which is supposed to begin debate
on the 1998 budget on Friday and which has resisted further spending cuts. 
The Parliament has been demanding Chubais' resignation. And, with his
reputation tarnished, he will have an uphill battle to bring the Parliament
to a budget compromise. 
But Chubais seemed mainly preoccupied by the war he is waging against
some of Russia's top bankers and businessmen. He complained that powerful
Russian tycoons are unwilling to surrender the kind of crony capitalism he
says he is determined to uproot and that they will do anything to stop him. 
"What is happening now in reality?" he asked rhetorically. "The members
of my team are under round-the-clock surveillance. Telephone conversations
are being tapped. My close relatives are being followed, too. My wife's
friends are offered any kind of bribes for any kind of compromising
material on Chubais. My son is also being constantly followed." 
"But so far they haven't started to shoot," he said. "But we will see."


Official Says Spy Charges Against U.S. Citizen Proved

MOSCOW, Dec 3 (Interfax) - The collection of secret information by U.S.
citizen Richard Bliss in the Russian city of Rostov November 25 has been
established, the head of the Russian Federal Security Service's department
for Rostov region, Valery Dyatlenko, has told the Interfax- AiF weekly. 
"It has been proved already that Bliss was establishing the accurate
location of specific facilities with the use of special equipment," he
said. "Such information is considered to be secret in all countries,
including Russia, the United States and Germany," Dyatlenko said. 
The Federal Security Service's department cannot put forward any
accusations against the Qualcomm firm where Bliss worked because, possibly,
he was working at his own initiative, the general said. Bliss has confessed
to making video reports, which suffices to accuse him of spying, Dyatlenko
said. This will be done before the end of the week, he said. 
The statements by Western media that the equipment Bliss used can be
bought in any store do not justify him, Dyatlenko said. "One can buy a
pistol in a store in the United States. That does not mean the same can be
done in Russia," he added. 
"Even taking into consideration that the equipment Bliss used is not
spying equipment, he did not have the right to engage himself in such
topographic activity," Dyatlenko said. 


NATO to Discuss Closer Russia Ties 
By Paul Ames 
Associated Press Writer 
December 3, 1997

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- NATO officials say they are eager to hear more
details of Boris Yeltsin's pledge to slash one-third of Russia's nuclear
warheads, despite a statement by his spokesman that the cut was not imminent. 
The promise gives a fresh focus to talks today between NATO's defense
ministers and Russia about military cooperation. 
Yeltsin made his surprise statement during a visit to Sweden on Tuesday,
the same day the 16 NATO ministers urged the Russian parliament to promptly
ratify the START II treaty, signed in 1993. The treaty calls for the United
States and Russia each to reduce their nuclear warhead stocks to 3,500,
from an estimated 8,000. 
The ministers also called for negotiations on a START III treaty to
further reduce stocks of warheads. 
During Tuesday's talks, Gen. Eugene Habiger, the commander of the U.S.
Strategic Command, reassured the NATO ministers regarding safeguards at
Russia's strategic nuclear weapons bases. 
NATO officials said there was more concern about the state of Russia's
8,000 to 16,000 tactical nuclear arms and said the alliance would seek more
information from Moscow. 
Visits by senior Russian officials to NATO headquarters are increasingly
routine under a series of agreements. 
``With no other country have we had such a density of high-level
meetings,'' said NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana. 
Issues on the table today range from the continued Russian role in the
NATO-led Bosnia peacekeeping force to NATO help to retrain Russian military
officers for civilian life. 
One question NATO is keen to keep off the agenda is Russian concern
about preparations for Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to join the
alliance in 1999. 
Although Russia has toned down its opposition to the NATO enlargement,
it remains prickly about plans for the Western alliance to develop the
military infrastructure of the new members. 
Later today, the NATO talks will open up to more than 40 nations -- most
from the former East Bloc -- who have signed ``Partnership for Peace''
cooperation agreements with the alliance. 


PM: Wave Of Crime Beaten Down In Russia

MOSCOW, Dec 3 (Interfax) - Russian Prime Minister *Viktor Chernomyrdin*
told the leaders of the CIS power agencies on Wednesday that "the Russian
law-enforcement bodies have beaten down the wave of crime and even ensured
a decrease in the crime rate." 
"This has been done due to the mobilization of the resources of the
entire law-enforcement system, and the strengthening and coordination of
its components," he said. 
He noted, however, that "a complex and interdepartmental approach is
needed to solve serious social problems, including the problem of crime."
He said therefore that all of the CIS countries must join their efforts in
combating transnational criminal groupings. 
He said the main attention should be paid to measures to prevent
large-scale illegal machinations in export and import transactions, and to
combat illegal car and drug sales. 
Chernomyrdin said, at the same time, that "the current legal basis is
insufficient for contacts with CIS countries." "The absence of agreement on
a number of provisions of the Minsk Convention (the treaty on legal
assistance between the CIS countries), problems in implementing it, and
improperly stipulated rights of the individual give rise to conflicts over
the problems of citizenship, the detention of criminals, investigation
operations and the use of weapons in other countries," he said. 
He expressed the hope that the signing of a memorandum on cooperation in
exchanging information on international crime between Interpol's General
Secretariat and the CIS Bureau for Combatting Organized Crime will become
an event of great importance. 
He said that the CIS governments "will support the measures proposed by
the power ministry leaders and provide a solid material footing for their
implementation." He announced that the Russian government December 4 will
discuss a federal program for enhancing the efficiency of measures to
combat crime in 1998-2000. 


Yeltsin Sees OSCE As Foundation Of European Security

STOCKHOLM, Dec 3 (Interfax) - Russian President *Boris Yeltsin* has said
the OSCE should be the foundation of European security. 
The world remains far from perfect, he said at a meeting with Swedish
parliamentarians in Stockholm Wednesday. "We feel this even in Europe where
the mechanisms to ensure security are the most developed ones" in the
world, Yeltsin said. "I am convinced that only an organization embracing
all European countries can become the foundation of a solid security
system," he said. 
Such an organization is the OSCE, Yeltsin said. 
The future European Security Charter should be worked out without delay,
he said. The new charter will help strengthen peace and stability, Yeltsin
The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between Russia and the
European Union came into force two days ago, Yeltsin said. "This event
brings us close to the creation of a Greater Europe. It opens opportunities
for forming pan-European space. I am certain we all realize that the
building of the Greater Europe will be solid if all floors, including ours,
the Baltic one, are solid," he said. 



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