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Johnson's Russia List


March 13, 1998  
This Date's Issues:    2107  •   

Johnson's Russia List
13 March 1998

{Note from David Johnson:
The Center for Defense Information (my employer) is moving
this weekend to new office space on the 6th floor of the new
Carnegie building at 1779 Massachusetts Ave. in Washington.
I expect all my new Carnegie building-mates to make their presence
known and to welcome me into the Carnegie Russia-Empire. I'll
be there Monday.
1. AP: Yeltsin Suffering From Infection.
2. Fred Weir on Yeltsin's illness.
3. Jerry Hough on Sarah Mendelson and Afghanistan.
4. Andrew Howell: eXile press review.
5. Elizabeth Teague Re eXile Appraisals.
6. Reuters: Russia cuts rates, but Yeltsin still a worry.
7. Reuters: Chronology of Yeltsin's health problems.
8. Moscow Times: Chloe Arnold, Superstitious Russia Shrugs Off 
Friday the 13th.

9. Moscow Times: Leonid Bershidsky, MEDIA WATCH: Chubais Calls 
Kettle Black.

10. Reuters: Yeltsin urges Russians to protect consumer rights.
11. AP: U.S.-Russian Summit May Be Delayed.
12. WP: DH, Moscow Mayor Defies Court on Residence Rights.
13. Washington Times: Embassy Row by James Morrison. (Re Strobe
Talbott on future of Europe).

14. New York Times: Michael Specter, 'Alexander Solzhenitsyn': 
Viewing the Man Through a Freudian Lens.]


Yeltsin Suffering From Infection
13 March 1998

MOSCOW (AP) - President Boris Yeltsin canceled his meetings today after
doctors said he was suffering from an acute respiratory infection.
The Kremlin press service said Yeltsin, 67, had a sore throat because of the
infection and was being treated with antibiotics.
Yeltsin was staying at his country home outside Moscow and has not been
A brief Kremlin statement said Yeltsin was experiencing discomfort in
but that his temperature was normal.
Yeltsin has suffered from heart troubles and other health problems in recent
years, raising concerns about his ability to govern.
The president had been scheduled to hold meetings in the Kremlin today with a
delegation of German parliament members and Russia's culture minister, said
the president's chief of staff and TV officials.
The president was shown on Russian television Thursday after meeting with
officials and appeared to be relaxed and in good health.
Earlier this week, Yeltsin complained that he faces too much media scrutiny
about his health. He said doctors who examined him last week detected no
Yeltsin underwent heart bypass surgery in November 1996 after suffering a
heart attack. He came down with pneumonia two months after that surgery.
The president was hospitalized with a bad cold for about two weeks last
December. He resumed a busy schedule after returning to the Kremlin.


Date: Fri, 13 Mar 1998 12:56:34 (MSK)
For the Hindustan Times
From: Fred Weir in Moscow

MOSCOW (HT Mar 13) -- The shaky health of President Boris
Yeltsin resurfaced as an issue Friday when the 67-year old leader
cancelled all meetings and stayed home with what aides called an
acute respiratory infection.
The terse announcement from the Kremlin press office was
clearly designed to head off the political trouble that always
arises when Mr. Yeltsin stages one of his increasingly frequent
It said the president had an "acute respiratory disorder"
which "entailed the development of acute laryngotracheitis with a
hoarse voice. . . Medics started a course of anti-inflammatory
therapy with the use of antibiotics."
Unfortunately, this communique sounds much like one last
December, which led to Mr. Yeltsin being sidelined for treatment
and subsequent vacation for over a month.
That last illness deeply disrupted the Russian government's
work schedule, put off a crucial cabinet reshuffle and caused the
cancellation of several important presidential engagements --
including a planned state visit to India.
Mr. Yeltsin, who had quintuple heart by-pass surgery in
1996, has seemed increasingly frail, indecisive and disoriented
in recent months.
Any presidential indisposition sets off jitters in Moscow
because in Russia's Kremlin-centred political system Mr.
Yeltsin's physical presence is required to get almost anything
Also, should Mr. Yeltsin suddenly leave the stage it could
trigger explosive turmoil in a society that is far from
"Yeltsin's health is a constant theme in our politics,
mainly because the question of inheritance is unsettled," says
Andrei Piontkowski, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies
in Moscow.
"No one knows what might happen, so everyone worries
constantly about the state of his health."
Ironically, the announcement of the president's new bout of
viral infection comes just days after Mr. Yeltsin attacked
journalists for "constantly dragging around the issue of the
president's health" and boasted that he had passed a recent
medical exam with flying colours. 
"No abnormalities were found," during the check up, Mr.
Yeltsin said. "The tests were conducted with the most modern and
advanced equipment. They found no change."


Subj: Re Sarah Mendelson [JRL#2094]
Date: 98-03-12 14:27:31 EST
From: (Jerry F. Hough)

I was surprised by Sarah Mendelson [JRL#2094] letter to the 
New York Times that treated Afghanistan as a victory for the reformers.
First, surely both American and Russian factors were involved. 
We did train, equip, and finance the rebels. That must be part of the 
story as Mendelson said. But in addition the Russians not only withdrew 
troops, but Najibullah was actually basically stable in Kabul until 
Yeltsin ended the financing of his army.
But, most important, why does she speak of a victory? The 
Afghan revolution had several leaders, some of them worst than others. 
(To give the Russians their due, Amin was the worst.) The 
Soviet decision to support Najibullah, however, was the decision to support
a man who was more for modernization in traditional terms than for 
socialism. He aroused his greatest opposition from those who thought he
was evil for liberating women and educating children. He was precisely
the sort of man who might have given Afghanistan some hope of getting back
on a decent path. 
One can understand why those in the CIA who play the great game for 
its own sake are proud of their victory. But why should someone who is 
for human rights and women's rights be happy with the outcome and the 
role of the reformers and Yeltsin in it?
Those in my generation remember when collectivization and the 
suffering it caused was defended as a historical necessary and worth 
the cost for the paradise it would bring. Perhaps it is those memories 
that lead some of us to be so repulsed by the identical arguments today 
made to justify a similar number of deaths--all the more since the 
historically necessary policy seems just as ideological and just as 
historically unnecessary.
But there seems no reason to justify the kind of repression we 
see in Afghanistan as historically necessary. It is just the awful 
consequence of ideology, both that of the Islamic fundamentalists and the 
The issue is not just of historical interest. Brezhnev's policy
in Central Asia was to buy temporary social peace by investing in irrigation 
and keeping the population on the farms. The rural population grew 
rather than declined. Those who did migrate to the city supported the 
kind of groups that Americans saw as democratic, but that had a very 
different character. The migration is going to come, and handling it 
over the first half of the 21st century without an Afghanistan or Algeria
outcome is going to be tricky. We should be supporting the modernizing
kinds of former Communists in control of places like Uzbekistan and not
have the illusion that democracy would have consequences different than
Afghnistan and Algeria. 
As I have said before, we need to make the distinction between 
human rights and constitutional limits on government on the one hand and 
democracy on the other. Historically the former usually comes first. 
One of the benefits of bringing women into academy is that they should be 
more sensitive about human rights or protection of the liberty of 
women. The fact that we never attack human rights in Arabia and call 
for democracy in Indonesia, which surely would bring ugly Muslim 
extremists to power, and even claim Afghanistan as a victory show that we 
have not come as far as one would wish in sensitivity to this issue.


From: (Andrew Howell)
Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 21:56:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject: eXile press review

I'd like to express my support for the outrageous guys at the eXile. Sure,
press reviews might be over the top; but they are also well written, highly 
entertaining and usually contain more than a kernel of truth. Despite the 
rhetorical excess, these pieces provide a refreshingly critical look at an 
institution whose members can be as foolish as the rest of us but who are
subjected to much public scrutiny. I think that your readers are sophisticated 
enough to discern between the genuine insights to be found therein and the 
accompanying hyperbole. I hope you continue to include these pieces, especially 
since I have my doubts as to how much longer the writers can sustain their 
efforts before getting either burnt out or beat up.


Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 22:58:21 +0100 (MET)
From: "Elizabeth Teague" <>
Subject: Re: eXile Appraisals

My opinion, for what it's worth, is that I love the eXile appraisals, and not 
just because they once said something nice about "something called the Jamestown
Foundation Monitor," but because they make me think twice about how I write 
myself. Please go on publishing them.


FOCUS-Russia cuts rates, but Yeltsin still a worry
By Mike Collett-White 

MOSCOW, March 13 (Reuters) - New worries about President Boris Yeltsin's
health threatened on Friday to overshadow a confidence-boosting six percent
cut in interest rates by the central bank. 

Economists said the rate cut, to 30 percent effective Monday, was a sign of
improving finances and renewed support by foreign investors as memories of
Asia's financial crisis and its impact on Moscow markets faded. 

But news that Yeltsin had cancelled all his Friday engagements because of an
acute respiratory infection, coming just 15 minutes after the central bank's
announcement, quickly put some markets on the defensive. 

``Obviously Yeltsin's health is important to the markets, but he's had
problems in the past,'' said Peter Boone, Brunswick Warburg's co-head of
research. ``People will be a bit nervous on this news, and will wait to see
how serious it is.'' 

The central bank's decision to lower rates is a signal to markets that the
currency is strong and the economy improving. 

A hike in rates to a recent peak of 42 percent on February 2 was the bank's
chief weapon in defending the rouble, which had come under increasing pressure
due to foreign funds bailing out of Russian markets in the aftermath of the
Asian crisis. 

The rouble fixed at 6.0660 to the U.S. dollar on the Moscow Interbank Currency
Exchange from 6.0690 on Thursday. 

On the fiscal front, improving tax collection raised hopes that the huge
revenue shortfall of 1997, which the government scrambled to plug, would not
be repeated. 

Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov said on Thursday that cash budget revenues
so far this year were up 30 percent over the same period of 1997, as the
government clamped down on tax dodgers and reduced the level of payments in

A planned mark-denominated Eurobond roadshow next week, for Russia's first
foreign market issue since November, raised hopes that pressure on the central
bank's depleted reserves would ease further. 

``We haven't yet started the Eurobond issues, which will lead to a big fund
inflow,'' Boone said. ``So we could see reserves pick up further and yields
continue to come down.'' 

The central bank has around $16 billion of foreign currency and gold in its
war chest. Reserves have risen around $600 million this month but are well
below the $24 billion mark made in the middle of last year. 

Zadornov said he did not expect the cost of borrowing money abroad to rise
significantly, despite a rating downgrade from Moody's Investors Service on

The Eurobond launch, he said, ``will consummate our work overcoming the
financial crisis on world markets.'' 

Despite spreading bullish economic sentiment, domestic shares quickly
demonstrated that Yeltsin's well-being, at least in the short term, was as
important as the economy's. 

Equities had shown strong pre-market gains in reaction to the cut in
refinancing and Lombard rates, but quickly slipped on the Yeltsin news. 

The benchmark RTS 105-share index was at 346.10 after an hour's trade, down
1.2 percent from Thursday's close. Turnover was a hefty $29 million. 

Dealers said that encouraging economic signals should check losses triggered
by the latest Yeltsin health scare. 

``In principle we could have had some good growth today,'' said one senior
trader at a Western bank. ``There is a little bit of downside but the downside
is limited.'' 

The dollar was helped higher against the German mark on the international
currency markets due to the Yeltsin scare. 

But Russian domestic government securities rallied on the central bank's rate
cut, shrugging off concerns over Yeltsin. 

Yields on bonds maturing in a year or more fell to around 30-30.5 percent in
early trade from 31-33 percent on Thursday. 

Richard Deitz, head of fixed income at MFK-Renaissance brokerage in Moscow
said Yeltsin's sickness had not thrown the market off balance. 

``Generally speaking the market is taking it in stride,'' he said. ``Part of
it is we've all heard it before. It is coming against a strong market
backdrop. In a different time, perhaps it would not have been received so


Chronology of Yeltsin's health problems

MOSCOW, March 13 (Reuters) - Boris Yeltsin has a history of illnesses which
have dogged his two terms as Russia's president -- although until 1995 he had
always denied any serious health worries. 

On Friday, the Kremlin said Yeltsin had cancelled all engagements and was
suffering from an acute respiratory infection manifesting itself in a sore
throat and a hoarse voice. 

The state of health of Kremlin leaders has traditionally been shrouded in
secrecy and there is still no full picture of Yeltsin's health record,
although as recently as Tuesday he pronounced himself fit. 

``The subject of the president's health should be closed,'' he said at a
Kremlin meeting. ``This subject does not exist.'' 

The following is a chronology of reported health problems. 

1949-1955 - Yeltsin plays volleyball for several hours a day and studies at
night. The stress lands him in hospital, but he ignores doctors' warnings and
discharges himself. ``The risk was colossal and I could have ruined my heart
forever,'' he later writes in his autobiography. 

1987 - Yeltsin is taken to hospital with head and heart pains after being
humiliated by the Communist leadership. He is treated with sedatives for
nervous stress and describes his headache at the time as the ``torture of

1990 - Yeltsin's plane crash lands in Spain and Barcelona doctors operate on
his back. 

Oct 1991 - Yeltsin is ordered to take two weeks' rest after aides said he
suffered minor heart problems. 

Jan 1992 - Yeltsin fails to meet Japan's foreign minister. Tokyo news agencies
quote aides as saying he has a heart condition, but he reappears in good
spirits 24 hours later. 

April 1992 - Yeltsin misses a meeting with then U.S. treasury secretary
Nicholas Brady. He said he was working, the media said he was drunk. 

April 1993 - He says: ``I have only two problems -- tiredness and lack of
sleep. There are no other health problems.'' 

Sept 1993 - Yeltsin, suffering back pains, invites the Spanish surgeon who
operated on him in 1990 to Moscow. 

April 1994 - Yeltsin offers to undergo a public check-up ``to show everything
I have inside me, from blood to urine.'' He adds: ``I hope you will all be as
well as I am when you reach my age.'' 

Dec 1994 - Yeltsin has a minor operation on his nose and disappears from
public view -- officially because of the treatment -- while thousands of
Russian troops roll into rebel Chechnya. 

April 1995 - Yeltsin's spokesman says he suffers from high blood pressure
which can cause sporadic muscle weakness. 

July 1995 - Yeltsin goes into hospital with an ischaemic heart condition -- a
blood supply problem. He spends two weeks in hospital followed by two weeks in
a sanatorium. 

Oct 1995 - Yeltsin again suffers from ischaemia. He spends more than two
months in hospital and in a sanatorium, leaving on New Year's Eve. 

Feb 1996 - Yeltsin launches a vigorous campaign to win a second term in office
He travels non-stop, holds dozens of meetings, dances the twist and swings on
a swing. 

June 28, 1996 - Yeltsin disappears from public view a week before the end of
the election campaign, from which he emerges victorious. Aides say initially
he has a sore throat. 

Aug 1996 - A Yeltsin aide says the president is suffering from ``colossal
weariness'' after his election campaign and needs two months of peace and

Sept 5, 1996 - Yeltsin , breaking with Kremlin tradition, says he will have
heart surgery. 

Sept 20, 1996 - Surgeon Renat Akchurin, expected to lead the operation on
Yeltsin, tells a U.S. television channel Yeltsin had an unreported heart
attack in late June or early July. 

Nov 1996 - Yeltsin undergoes successful quintuple heart bypass operation in
the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow. 

Jan 9 - Yeltsin is taken to hospital with signs of pneumonia, which develops
into a serious bout of pneumonia of both lungs. 

Jan 20 - Yeltsin, looking thin, leaves hospital and is transferred to Gorky-9
state residence. 

Jan 22 - Yeltsin visits Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in Kremlin, opening
weeks of occasional visits to Kremlin. He is back in his office full time by
the end of February. 

March 20 - Yeltsin goes on his first foreign trip after operation and illness,
meets U.S. President Bill Clinton in Helsinki. 

July 23 - Yeltsin, who has regained some of the weight he lost during his
illness, says his heart ``works like a clock.'' 

Nov 4 - Yeltsin's surgeon Renat Akchurin says he has ``no worries'' about
Yeltsin's health after checks carried out in hospital, one year after the

Dec 10 - Days after returning from a trip to Sweden during which he made
several diplomatic blunders, Yeltsin retreats to the Barvikha sanatorium
outside Moscow for two weeks with what the Kremlin says is an acute
respiratory viral infection. He returns to his office briefly but starts a
two-week holiday days later. Yeltsin is back at the Kremlin by mid-January. 

March 13 - Yeltsin cancels all his engagements and the Kremlin says he has an
acute respiratory infection. A Kremlin statement says he has a sore throat and


For more articles from The Moscow Times, check out their website at

Moscow Times
March 13, 1998 
Superstitious Russia Shrugs Off Friday the 13th 
By Chloe Arnold

If a black cat crosses your path, it is bad luck. If you meet someone 
with an empty bucket, it is bad luck. If you whistle indoors it is extra 
bad luck, and if a crow flies in through your window, you have no choice 
but to call a priest to exorcise your entire house. 

Russians are a superstitious bunch. But when it comes to Friday the 
13th, they do not share the mass hysteria that takes hold in the West 
every time the date and the day coincide. This year has seen Fridays the 
13th in February and March, and another will fall in November. 

Psychologists, parapsychologists and psychiatrists around the world have 
various explanations for the phenomenon that spawned one of Hollywood's 
most-sequeled horror films. But most Moscow-based experts said that 
Friday the 13th was no different from any other day. 

"It's just a load of baloney," said Igor Vinokurov, parapsychologist and 
author of two books on ghosts. "I don't come across bad spirits on 
Friday the 13th any more than on other days of the week." 

Alexander Shlyadinsky, an independent researcher of evil forces and 
demons, agreed. "Of course the number thirteen is unlucky," he said. "It 
goes back to the Last Supper, when Jesus and his apostles numbered 
thirteen. The devil was among them, as we know, in the shape of Judas. 
But why anyone should be afraid of an ordinary day beats me." 

Some consider the day to be a bad omen only for those who are 
superstitious. "Just as some people's sexual instincts develop to 
consummate levels from childhood to adulthood, so superstitious 
tendencies are magnified as people grow up," said Andrei Tkachenko, head 
of the laboratory of forensic sexology at the Serbsky Center for Social 
and Forensic Psychology. "But I am not superstitious. Friday will be the 
same as any other day for me." 

According to a survey conducted in the 1970s by Julian Rotter, a 
professor in psychology, people can be divided into internal and 
external classes. The internal type believe that only their own actions 
influence the way they behave, while the external type believe their 
lives are influenced by other criteria. 

"Of the external type, half believe that they are governed by powerful 
others -- politicians or parents, for example," said Dr. Kate Eanes, who 
teaches developmental, social and psychometric testing at Coventry 
University in Britain. "The others believe they are influenced by luck. 
Those are the people who will not walk under ladders, or have a fear of 
Friday the 13th," she said. 

Dr. Caroline Watt, a researcher in parapsychology at Edinburgh 
University, said it all came down to hype. "If a date gets a reputation 
for being jinxed, this often creates a self-fulfilling prophesy," she 

"People expect the worst, and that affects the way they act, making it 
more likely for something unlucky to take place," she added. 

All the same, some Muscovites will be taking extra care on Friday the 
13th. "It isn't the luckiest day of the year," said Stanislav 
Voskresensky, manager of rockabilly band, The Skyrockets. 

"But frankly I think Monday 16th is a lot worse. You miss work Friday 
because you are too afraid of what might happen," Voskresensky said. 
"You spend the next three days drinking vodka and by Monday, you feel so 
bad you can hardly move. And that's really bad luck." 


Moscow Times
March 13, 1998 
MEDIA WATCH: Chubais Calls Kettle Black 
By Leonid Bershidsky 

"A newspaper, journalists and an editor who will do anything for money": 
That is how First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais described the 
daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, owned by his arch-rival, the magnate Boris 
Berezovsky. Nezavisimaya printed the description twice on its front page 
-- once in Chubais' interview and once in a headline. 

This might give the reader the impression that Nezavisimaya editor 
Vitaly Tretyakov is perversely proud of the way Chubais feels about his 
paper. I think he is amused rather than proud. A brilliant journalist, 
Tretyakov cannot fail to see the beauty of one tarnished "knight in 
shining armor" running down another. Tretyakov's self-flagellation, in 
my view, stems from a peculiar sense of cynical self-irony that he does 
not always acknowledge himself. 

In 1990, Tretyakov started Nezavisimaya on a 300,000-ruble grant from 
the Moscow city government. He had a staff of hungry and inexperienced 
young reporters and a Latin motto, "Sine ira et studio," or "Without 
Anger or Bias." 

He told renowned U.S. journalist David Remnick then that he wanted to 
start the Russian equivalent of The New York Times -- "the first 
Western-style, respectable, objective paper of the Soviet era." 

What has happened to all that now? Why the anger and the bias? Alongside 
Chubais' interview, Tretyakov ran his own commentary, in which, among 
other things, he called the minister a liar. The interview itself was 
preceded by six months of vitriolic attacks on Chubais on Nezavisimaya's 
pages, some of them, Tretyakov admits, penned by Berezovsky himself and 
printed under a pseudonym. All of this sounds more like the Daily Mirror 
under Robert Maxwell than The New York Times. 

But could it be otherwise? The magnate bailed out Nezavisimaya after it 
stopped publication in 1994. Tretyakov had run his newspaper into the 
ground, refusing to run it as a commercial project, driving away 
talented reporters by his managerial style. 

Now, with Berezovsky's backing, Tretyakov does not have to worry about 
financial problems or, indeed, about the size of his readership. When 
the number of Nezavisimaya's subscribers recently increased to a little 
over 7,000, Tretyakov declared in an editorial that "Russia was getting 

So, is Chubais right to say Tretyakov has sold out his reputation to 
Berezovsky lock, stock and barrel? Tretyakov's answer on last Sunday's 
Itogi news show on NTV was, "Didn't [Chubais] want a market economy in 
the first place? What's his problem with journalists selling their 

Remnick wrote in his book "Lenin's Tomb" that in 1991, Nezavisimaya was 
one of the two most respected newspapers in the nation, along with 
Izvestia. Now Izvestia is a pocket publication for Uneximbank, and 
Tretyakov admits in his commentary to Chubais' interview: "Yes, it is 
true that [Nezavisimaya] hardly ever criticizes Berezovsky." 

The mighty have fallen so low that an informed reader only picks up a 
newspaper these days to find out what a particular "oligarch" is 

"I read Nezavisimaya Gazeta with great interest," Chubais said in his 
interview. "Why? Because it's not a newspaper in the normal sense of the 
word. ... There are only the interests of one man -- Boris Berezovsky." 

Look who's talking. Chubais is, after all, a government official who 
recently accepted a $90,000 advance for an economics book from a 
publishing house affiliated with Uneximbank. He is not qualified to pass 
moral judgments on the likes of Tretyakov. The editor can always tell 
him that he is really no better. 

Tretyakov was a free-press legend in the early 1990s. A few years on, 
Chubais was a free-market legend. Now both are tarnished to such an 
extent that the words "reform" and "newspaper" have utterly lost their 
initial meaning. Even if Martin Luther came to Moscow now to preach 
reform, he would be laughed off the stage. Even if The New York Times 
were miraculously transported to Moscow and started publishing in 
Tolstoyan Russian, it would be derided by the cynics who know now what 
the newspaper business is all about. 

Tretyakov seems to be reveling in this situation as the detached, 
intellectual observer that he can make himself out to be even when he is 
an active participant in events. 


Yeltsin urges Russians to protect consumer rights

MOSCOW, March 13 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin urged Russians on Friday
to learn to protect their consumer rights, which he said were the best proof
of dramatic changes brought about by his radical market reforms. 

``Starting from school all children should learn the 'consumer's ABC' from
most elementary examples, should learn to defend their civil rights,'' Yeltsin
said in his regular radio address. 

Yeltsin recalled the times when shortages of goods under communist rule,
especially in its later years, made a consumers' movement pointless in Russia.

``In the years of deficit the issue of consumer rights was not on the
agenda,'' he said. ``It was clear that whatever the goods or services, they
would be consumed all the same.'' 

Yeltsin added: ``Now it has all changed. Russians face a different problem,
the problem of making a choice.'' 

Shops in Moscow, the showcase of market reforms, offer a choice of goods to
rival the selection available in other European capitals. Numerous firms
aggressively advertise all sorts of services. 

The choice is more limited in provincial towns and villages, but it is still a
huge difference from the empty shelves of the late 1980s. 

Yeltsin said the situation had changed since the government liberalised the
economy after the end of communist rule, which collapsed in 1991. 

``We have done much to (make producers) depend on consumers,'' Yeltsin said,
adding that the quality of goods and services often remained poor. 

Russian officials have complained that the liberalisation of trade has exposed
Russia to a flood of imports which harmed home producers, and have advocated
introducing restrictions to protect domestic products. 

But Yeltsin made clear the government-advocated campaign ``Buy Russian'' had
its limits. 

``The calls to buy Russian should be backed by offering goods of a solid
quality,'' he said. ``This should be determined by a real demand from millions
of demanding Russian consumers rather than by the controlling (state)


U.S.-Russian Summit May Be Delayed
March 13, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) - With President Clinton's projected trip to China taking
shape, his next summit with Russian President Boris Yeltsin could be held up
until the Russian parliament approves the long-delayed START II nuclear
weapons reduction treaty. 

Russian Prime Minister Viktor S. Chernomyrdin talked about summit preparations
with Clinton Wednesday during a visit focused on enhancing U.S.-Russian
economic and scientific cooperation. 

Chernomyrdin's talks with Vice President Al Gore wound up with a flurry of
accords and good will. ``Rejoice, rejoice,'' the prime minister declared. 

But he also acknowledged at a joint news conference the Russian parliament's
failure to ratify the 1993 treaty to cut the two countries' strategic nuclear
arsenals in half by the year 2003. 

``It needs to be done,'' he said. ``The government should do more work on

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin confirmed Thursday the
administration had again urged prompt ratification. 

White House spokesman Mike McCurry, meanwhile, said Clinton was not insisting
on ratification as a precondition for going to Russia this year for a summit.
But he said nuclear weapons reduction was a ``key ingredient'' of Clinton's
next meeting with Yeltsin. 

``That certainly includes spelling out in greater detail and beginning to work
on START III,'' McCurry said. ``That can't happen until START II is ratified
by the Duma.'' 

So while there may not be ``direct linkage'' in scheduling the next summit
meeting, the agenda ``presupposes'' START II ratification, he said. 

A senior official explained that Clinton wants to make work on START III a
centerpiece of his next meeting with Yeltsin. 

The two sides have been refining guidelines for more than a year, but detailed
negotiations are on hold until the START II treaty is approved. 

The Senate ratified the treaty in 1996. START III would set ceilings of 2,000
to 2,500 long-range nuclear warheads for each side. 

At the last summit, in Helsinki, Finland, a year ago, Clinton brought Yeltsin
a series of concessions designed to ease the impact of START II on Russia. 

They included a delay in the deadline for blowing up silos in which banned
missiles were deployed and a delay in scrapping banned bombers and submarines.

However, the long-range warheads on the missiles would have to be removed
under the treaty's schedule. 

The planned expansion of the NATO military alliance eastward toward Russia has
heightened resistance in Moscow to a nuclear weapons cutback. Some American
analysts who are opposed to expansion say it would make Russia more dependent
on nuclear weapons to defend itself. 

The Duma is holding back also because Russia would have to dismantle its most
powerful missiles and could not afford to replace them with single-warhead
weapons permitted under the agreement. 

The Clinton administration has tried to overcome the resistance with the
argument that START III would erase many of the concerns because the lower
ceiling would rule out many costly replacement weapons. 


Washington Post
March 13, 1998
[for personal use only]
Moscow Mayor Defies Court on Residence Rights
By David Hoffman

MOSCOW, March 12—For the second time in two years, Russia's 
Constitutional Court has upheld the right to freedom of movement, which 
was denied during the totalitarian Soviet era.

But the powerful mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, has refused to comply 
with the ruling of Russia's highest court, and several other cities have 
been reluctant to scrap the controversial system of residence permits 
that is at issue in the court cases.

The notorious propiska, or residence permit, governed where a person 
could live, and in Soviet times, it was the purview of the Communist 
Party to tell people where to work and reside. Dissident writers were 
banished to the provinces as punishment; permits to live in Moscow -- 
always the most desirable -- were strictly controlled.

Russia's 1993 constitution sought to end the practice. It declared that 
all Russians "shall have the right to freedom of movement and to choose 
their place of stay and their residence." A federal law was adopted 
codifying the same principle.

However, Luzhkov has preserved the system in Moscow, Russia's most 
prosperous city, although he has changed the name and the method, 
calling it "registration" and demanding a high fee -- often several 
thousand dollars. A populist with presidential ambitions, Luzhkov has 
said he fears a flood of newcomers in search of work.

Critics have said Luzhkov's practice is not only unconstitutional but 
also has made it virtually impossible for people from the provinces to 
seek their fortune in Russia's capital. Economists say one of the 
biggest disparities in Russia's transition to a market economy is the 
gap between Moscow, with a boom-town flair and emerging middle class, 
and the provinces, which suffer from the equivalent of the Great 
Depression of the 1930s.

Luzhkov has allowed some workers from Ukraine and Belarus to remain in 
Moscow without permits, if they agree to take menial city jobs such as 
street-sweeping. Russia's rich also are welcome if they can pay the high 
fees. Tens of thousands of people ignore the laws and try to live in 
Moscow without registration, although they can be challenged by the 
militia on the streets and fined, and do not qualify for city services.

In the latest ruling, issued Feb. 2, the high court said that a city may 
only "certify the act of the free expression of will of a citizen" to 
live there. The city cannot be "granting permission" or limit where 
people choose to live, nor can it dictate how long a person could live 
in a particular place it said.

The court issued a similar ruling in April 1996 and since then has 
upheld the principle in related cases. But Luzhkov has refused to 
comply. This week, he repeated his refusal.

His defiance drew a sharp rebuke from the Constitutional Court. Judge 
Vladimir Yaroslavtsev read a statement to the newspaper Kommersant 
Daily, saying, "We would like to warn Luzhkov and other regional heads: 
There will be no closed cities!"

Diederik Lohman, Moscow director for Human Rights Watch, said, "Luzhkov 
doesn't seem to consider himself bound by the rulings of the highest 
court in the country, which obviously doesn't do very much for promoting 
the rule of law, the separation of powers, and democracy."

As a condition for membership in the Council of Europe, Russia promised 
to eliminate the propiska but it has not done so. Moscow is the most 
conspicuous case, but other cities also have balked at ending the system 
of residence permits. 


Washington Times
March 13, 1998   
[for personal use only]
Embassy Row
By James Morrison

Future of Europe
     Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott said Thursday that Russia 
could one day join NATO, the European Union should be expanded as far as 
possible and Yugoslavia must halt its brutal repression in Kosovo.
     In a wide-ranging discussion on the future of Europe, Mr. Talbott 
reaffirmed the Clinton administration's hope that the expansion of NATO 
will complement the enlargement of the EU.
     "While there's no longer a question about whether the EU and NATO 
will expand, there is still debate about how far the process of 
enlargement will go," he told diplomats, U.S. officials and 
foreign-policy experts at the British Embassy.
     The "door that the [NATO] alliance leadership opened ... must 
remain open to all European democracies that aspire to and meet the 
qualifications of membership," Mr. Talbott said.
     In July, NATO invited Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to 
join the alliance and noted that other European nations could be invited 
in a second round of expansion.
     "Were the door to swing shut ... the alliance and its enlargement 
would not only fail to be a force for integration, it would become the 
opposite," Mr. Talbott said. "It would create a new dividing line, a new 
Iron Curtain. ...
     "It would foment among the nations that were excluded mutual 
suspicion, military competitiveness, insecurity, instability, perhaps 
even disintegration and violence."
     Asked if he was anticipating possible Russian membership at some 
point in the future, Mr. Talbott responded, "Never say never. There is 
no need to say never."
     If Moscow were invited to join the alliance, "it would be a very 
different Russia, a very different Europe, a very different NATO," he 
     He reminded the European diplomats that Kosovo is a test of 
"trans-Atlantic cooperation."
     The Yugoslav crackdown on the ethnic Albanian enclave "has the 
potential of igniting the most explosive of all the powder kegs in the 
Balkans," he said.
     "If Kosovo truly blows, it could be worse than Bosnia, with the 
risk of spreading in all directions, including south and east," he said.
     British Ambassador Christopher Meyer convened the forum in 
Washington to coincide with an EU conference that opened Thursday in 
London. Britain currently holds the presidency of the 15-nation union.
     The EU has invited Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, 
Poland and Slovenia to begin membership negotiations this spring. It is 
considering applications from Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and 
     "The European Union means what it says. ... You meet the criteria 
[for membership], and the EU will be there," Mr. Meyer said.
     A larger European Union "means more security and more stability," 
he said.
     "It further reduces the likelihood that American troops will ever 
again have to risk their lives in Europe," he said.


New York Times
13 March 1998
[for personal use only]
'Alexander Solzhenitsyn': Viewing the Man Through a Freudian Lens

Nobody can quite figure out what to do about Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He is
one of the century's most important writers, but it has been decades since he
produced a book worth talking about. A bearded, inflexible prophet whose
blazing truths were too much for a police state to bear, Solzhenitsyn was
forcibly ejected from the Soviet Union and immediately transformed into a
living martyr. 

Permitted to reside in Vermont, where the isolation and cold weather he
sought were both abundant, he hurled an occasional thunderbolt toward the
motherland and at those liberals in the West who liked to pretend that the
Soviet Union wasn't a completely evil empire. But basically he sat in his room
for 18 years and wrote. 

When the wall fell down, people in Russia and the West expected the bard to
return at once to the land that claimed and created his soul. They didn't know
him. The man who gave us two of the most essential documents of the 20th
century -- "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" and the monumental assault
on the totalitarian world of the Soviets, "The Gulag Archipelago" -- has never
been the selfless type. 

He came back to the land in his own time, and to this day seems amazed that
people in Russia find him a sort of biblical apparition, a joke clinging
fiercely to a world that no longer exists. 

As D.M. Thomas points out in this long, redundant, and almost completely
derivative biography, when Sanya -- as Thomas insists on calling him
throughout the text -- was a child, he was so certain of his worth that he
felt sorry for the other students when he was too sick to go to school.
Despite the use of the diminutive -- calling Solzhenitsyn Sanya throughout a
major biography is a little like writing about Victor Hugo and calling him Vic
-- nothing is going to make Solzhenitsyn seem cuddly. Never lacking for self-
esteem, he is, as Thomas suggests, one of the least "clubbable" guys of modern

Still, literature is not a popularity contest, and when it mattered most,
Solzhenitsyn delivered the goods. In 1961, when the renowned editor of the
journal Novy Mir, Alexander Tvardovsky, began late one night to read the first
unpublished copy of "Ivan Denisovich," he was so moved by its power that he
got out of bed, put on a suit and tie, and sat up the rest of the night
reading the staggering account of life in Stalin's slave camps. He said it
would have been an insult to read such an epic in his pajamas. 

Thomas has many such good snippets scattered throughout the lengthy tome.
Unfortunately, most of them are taken from an earlier, far better biography of
Solzhenitsyn by Michael Scammell (to whom the author gives prominent and
complete credit). Unable to secure his own interview, Thomas decided to
collect what is known, reinterpret it, and layer it with a thick patina of his
own Freudian world view. That is, when he was relying on facts. 

More than once, when he could have no way of knowing what was going on, he
simply writes: "I can imagine," and lets loose a wild riff of fiction. Few
biographies make more vapid but aggressive use of the words probably and

Perhaps based on no evidence, Thomas says that at one point in prison,
Solzhenitsyn was "probably experiencing a reawakening of eros." He writes that
"perhaps" the last journey of Anna Karenina flickered through the "anguished
mind" of his first, cast-off wife, Natalya Reshetovskaya as she contemplated
suicide. (If it WAS suicide she contemplated. Despite Thomas' heavy reliance
on her version of events, we get nothing new from him, nor a comprehensible
explanation of why she tried to divorce the writer when he was in the camps.)
Perhaps the news that Solzhenitsyn had lost patience with a lawyer and
literary executor permitted the "broodingly Slavic lips" of another former
friend and ally, Olga Carlisle, to twitch "in a mirthless smile.'' Or maybe

Thomas believes in Freud. He writes that the great poet Anna Akhmatova, if
only she "could come to him just once in the shape of the girl of 1913," might
have captured Solzhenitsyn's heart. Why not? She captured everyone else's. 

Solzhenitsyn reminds Thomas of Freud's description of the anal temperament:
"the repression and the repudiation of the possibilities for pleasure." Sure,
it does seem to apply to this stiff man, for whom rectitude and certainty are
the twin verities of life. Still, is that because he is anal? 

I don't mean to ignore the importance of Freud here, or anywhere else. But
it is also possible that Solzhenitsyn's lack of joie de vivre might just have
something to do with the circumstances of his life, in which he played an
active, prolonged, and devastating role in one of the darkest chapters of
modern history. 

Thomas writes fluidly and at times with great grace and urgency. No matter
how many times it has been attempted before, Thomas can bring the dead fury of
the camps to life. He knows how to write about fear; and fear, in a history of
the 20th century, is a useful force to have at hand. 

Still, Solzhenitsyn -- a little like the last communist leader, Mikhail
Gorbachev -- seems somehow monumentally stranded by the end of the epoch he
helped destroy. It would be good to have a biographer, particularly one so
dependent on Freudian imagery, speculate on why. Is it the final indignity of
a cruel century? Bad luck? Did the man simply outlive his time? Or is it that
once communism was vanquished the writer had little of value left to say? 

On these questions, and on so much more, Thomas remains mute. 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His Life 
By D.M. Thomas 
Illustrated. 583 pages. St. Martin's Press. $29.95.


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