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CDI Library > Johnson's Russia List

Johnson's Russia List
 

 

April 7, 1998  
This Date's Issues: 2137 2138  


Johnson's Russia List
#2137
7 April 1998
davidjohnson@erols.com

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Yeltsin urges accord but unbending on PM.
2. Rossiiskaya Gazeta: PRESIDENT YELTSIN'S RADIO ADDRESS.
(On paying taxes).

3. Jeremy Weinberg: Yeltsin's shake-up.
4. Doug Merrill: re: Goble on Communist victories (2128).
5. Rossiiskaya Gazeta: APRIL 7 ROUND TABLE PROCEDURES.
6. Financial Times (UK): John Thornhill, Kiriyenko promises 
action on pensions.

7. Reuters: Russian tycoon defends Yeltsin nominee Kiriyenko.
(Berezovsky).

8. Moscow Times: David McHugh, Ruling Elite Hunts For Presidential 
Candidate.

9. Moscow Times: William Brumfield, Culture on a Shoestring.
10. RIA Novosti: MEDIA MONOPOLY BARS PUBLIC OPINION, WARNS 
JOURNALIST GUILD LEADER.

11. Washington Post editorial: Selling Death Overseas.
12. Washington Post letter: The Case for NATO Expansion. (From
US NATO Ambassador Alexander Vershbow).

13. Stephanie Baker (RFE/RL): Shareholders Elect Chubais To Board 
Of Energy Giant.

14. RIA Novosti: SERGEI KIRIYENKO, IF CONFIRMED AS PRIME MINISTER 
BY STATE DUMA, WILL STAY AT HIS POST UNTIL 2000, SAY PUBLIC POLL RESULTS.]


********

#1
FOCUS-Yeltsin urges accord but unbending on PM
By Timothy Heritage 

MOSCOW, April 7 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin struck a tough note as he
kicked off a round-table meeting with political opponents on Tuesday by ruling
out a coalition government and urging them to back his controversial prime
minister-designate. 

Yeltsin sacked the old cabinet on March 23 and chose little-known energy
minister Sergei Kiriyenko, who is just 35, to form a new government to inject
fresh vigour into reforms. 

"We have spent two weeks without a government," the 67-year-old president said
in his opening remarks, witnessed by reporters in the Kremlin. "It is very
serious, of course. If it continues, we will lose out even more. 

"That is why I ask you to support the president (on Kiriyenko's nomination)." 

Yeltsin, who has called for more action and less politicking from the next
cabinet, said he was in favour of finding professional figures to work in
government. 

But he added: "This does not mean at all, and I ask you not to say this ever
again, that I agreed to a coalition government. No, no, I agreed to a
government of business-like people." 

Amid the bluster, he added a dash of compromise by suggesting to the 20 or so
assembled party leaders, trade unionists and members of parliament's upper
house that 1998 should be declared a "non-confrontational year." 

"Non-confrontational -- I don't veto, you don't reject," he said. "Let's give
it a try." 

Yeltsin spoke for 20 minutes in a firm and at times gruff voice. Reporters
said he looked well. 

The meeting -- at a round table in a round white-pillared and domed room --
was due to last 90 minutes and expected to involve speeches rather than open
discussions around the table. 

But the talks, along lines devised to crack a stalemate between Yeltsin and
the Communist-led parliament last year, are seen as pyprotest this Thursday. 

With two years of his term left to leave his mark on Russia and ensure the
succession of a like-minded heir, the president then doubled the surprise by
nominating the outgoing energy minister, Kiriyenko, as premier. 

Yeltsin said Kiriyenko would bring new vigour to reform. 

A former provincial banker and protege of liberal first deputy premier Boris
Nemtsov, Kiriyenko faces objections from the opposition-dominated State Duma,
the lower house of parliament, which must confirm his appointment. 

Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, who leads the biggest party in the house
but does not have a majority, has said he will vote down Kiriyenko's
endorsement three times if need be -- a move that would force Yeltsin to
dissolve the chamber. 

The nominee was too young and too liberal, Zyuganov said. 

Even liberals and pro-Yeltsin parties -- seven Duma party leaders will speak
at Tuesday's round table -- have been cool on Kiriyenko's appointment for a
variety of reasons. 

Like the Communists and their allies, who have long demanded seats in a
coalition government and a new economic policy with more emphasis on welfare,
all parties see advantage in playing hard-to-get with the votes Yeltsin and
Kiriyenko need. 

But leading parliamentarians have already been hinting that Kiriyenko, who has
grown markedly in political stature after two weeks in the spotlight, may win
the Duma's endorsement in a first vote to be held on Friday. If not, many say,
he could secure the appointment at a second hearing. 

******

#2
>From RIA Novosti
Rossiiskaya Gazeta
April 4, 1998
PRESIDENT YELTSIN'S RADIO ADDRESS
Good Morning!
The date by which Russians were to submit their income and
property declarations has come this week.
The number of people who honestly pay taxes keeps growing
every year. There is likely to be more than five million of
them this year, or four times as many as in 1995.
Last year, we made it binding on all the high-ranking
officials to declare their incomes and property assets. This
year, this was a must on all public servants, regardless of
rank.
I think it is correct. We have made a new important step
towards curbing corruption. What is more, the ruling elite
should give the example of respect for law.
I have also submitted my declaration to a tax
inspectorate. I have filled the same forms as all the other
people.
Naturally, filling the declaration without assistance is
rather difficult for any person who does it for the first time.
The State Tax Service has issued a special booklet with
detailed instructions. Tax inspection officials, too, are
always ready to help.
So, all who wished to declare have done so. Some have
probably not taken the matter seriously or forgotten all about
it. This will not be a justification for the tax inspection
authorities. Tax evaders will be punished all the same.
Still others have decided to rely on the off-chance,
hoping that they would get away with it, as Russians would
often do. However, tax police has been gaining experience. They
revealed more than 200,000 tax evaders last year. These people
will have to pay large fines and may even be brought to trial.
It is true that one is unwilling to give away part of
one's earnings. But it cannot be helped: taxes are the
foundation of any country's budget. If there are no tax
proceeds, there is no money to keep the army and police, build
new schools and hospitals and pay wages and stipends, and the
most important programs will only remain on paper.
Tax evasion destroys the budget. That is why it is a
serious crime.
Some people have heeded the "Pay taxes and sleep
peacefully" television commercial only out of the fear of
punishment. Most, however, have already realised that it is
necessary to pay taxes - it is the civil duty of all
law-abiding citizens. When the latter become the majority,
Russia will be a truly civilised country.
In industrialised countries taxes on private individuals
constitute up to 80% of all tax proceeds to the budget. The
remaining are the taxes paid by enterprises. In our country,
only 6% of tax proceeds come from private individuals. Besides,
there are not too many really rich people in Russia and the
so-called middle class, the class of well-to-do people, is also
too small. The biggest problem is that paying taxes has not
become a habit with out people yet. So, they need to be
reminded, persuaded and even threatened.
We gradually try to ease the burden of taxes. People with
incomes in the middle brackets will pay smaller taxes from this
year. The system of tax benefits - for the birth of a child,
the building of a house or the purchase of a flat - will be
expanded. In a word, our tax system is being constantly
improved.
Nonetheless, no tax system can satisfy everyone. This is
true of any country. But dissatisfaction is no ground for tax
evasion.
Those who are strong and rich and have achieved a lot
ought to share with those who are old and poor, who cannot make
a living, whose wages depend on budgetary allocations and who
needs help and protection.
This is only fair. Paying taxes is not only a law. It is a
moral duty and an obligation to one's own conscience.
Thank you.

*******

#3
From: Jeremy Weinberg <Jweinberg@aol.com>
Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 
Subject: a submission (inaugural from me) to JRL

There have been almost as many interpretations of Yeltsin's latest 
shake-up as there are Russia observers. My personal bias is toward the 
Yulia Latynina/Carol Williams' version of it being in part a 
Chubais-instigated suicide bomb to take out Chernomyrdin and Kulikov 
along with himself. I'd like to add another possible factor.

By dismissing this government, Yeltsin allows the new administration, 
rather than, say, Chernomyrdin, to earn the credit for any economic 
upturn that manifests itself by the time of the Duma elections in late 
1999 and the presidential election of June 2000. While significant 
growth is hardly guaranteed, there is a widely held belief within 
Russia and outside that, finally, all the building blocks are in place 
for a recovery. Yes, we have heard that one before, but this time, 
barring catastrophe, progress is apt to be real and tangible, even if not
tiger-like. Voters in most countries vote with their pocketbooks and 
on the basis of what-have-you-done-for-me-lately (witness the 
pro-Yeltsin margins in regions where back wages were paid in spring 
1996). If a reformist, "technocratic" administration publicly led by 
youngsters such as Kiriyenko, Nemtsov, Zadornov, etc. is in office to 
bask in the fruits of economic growth (along with doing more to 
promote it in the meantime), such figures will have a big leg up in 
the parliamentary polls and, more importantly, the presidential race.

I do not suggest that this is the entire explanation for the shake-up, 
nor even that such a calculation would have been wise (a period of 
political stability would have done more to ensure economic recovery; 
squabbling over the credit for it could have been done later). But 
this is yet one more possible factor in Yeltsin's (or Chubais') 
thinking.

*********

#4
From: merrilld@mindspring.com (Doug Merrill)
Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 
Subject: re: Goble on Communist victories (2128)

In addition to Goble's well-taken points on the votes in Ukraine and
Moldova, I would say that the votes fit a fairly well-established pattern
in post-communist societies, in which governments led by the communists'
successors alternate power with parties or leaders with a more
dissident/nationalist heritage.

For example:
Hungary (Antall then Horn)
Poland (Welesa then Kwasniewski; parliamentary coalitions have also
alternated right-left-right in consecutive elections)
Lithuania (right-left-right alternation in the presidency)
Romania (Ionescu - Constantinescu presidencies)

Further, in the Czech Republic, the Social Democrats are gaining strength
and will likely replace the post-dissident parties at the top in the next
election.

Lennart Maari's successor is presently unknown, and I can't recall the
parliamentary details of either Estonia or Latvia at the moment. Bulgaria
is likewise fuzzy, but I think it has also been post-communist to
post-dissident; that would mean the next election is the really interesting
test case. Slovakia hasn't changed governments since independence.

At any rate, the electoral evidence supports Goble's assertions: the
post-communist parties are responsible to voters who can and will throw
them out if they don't get the job done. (All of this may be an unintended
positive consequence of careerists and opportunists joining the various CPs
late in the socialist era; but that's another discussion.)

********

#5
>From RIA Novosti
Rossiiskaya Gazeta
April 7, 1998
APRIL 7 ROUND TABLE PROCEDURES

The press service of the Russian President has announced
the following procedure for the Round Table conference on 
April 7:
Opening remarks will be made by President Boris Yeltsin;
speech by Yegor Stroyev, Speaker of the Federation Council, the
upper house of the Federal Assembly (parliament) of the Russian
Federation; speech by Vladimir Ryzhkov, First Deputy Speaker of
the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of the
Russian Federation; exchange of opinions between Round Table
participants - representatives of the parliament's both houses,
the Government of the Russian Federation (it is presumed that
the leaders of all the factions and deputies groups and some
Federation Council members will lay down their views); speech
by Sergei Kiriyenko, acting Chairman of the Government of the
Russian Federation; and concluding remarks by President
Yeltsin.
The following persons are on the list of the Round Table
participants: Boris Yeltsin, President of the Russian
Federation; Yegor Stroyev, Speaker of the Federation Council of
the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation; Vladimir
Ryzhkov, First Deputy Speaker of the State Duma of the Federal
Assembly of the Russian Federation; Sergei Kiriyenko, acting
chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation; Boris
Nemtsov, acting First Deputy Chairman of the Government of the
Russian Federation; Valentin Yumashev, chief of staff of the
Russian President's Administration; Mikhail Komissar, deputy
chief of staff of the Russian President's Administration;
Valery Kokov, Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council of the
Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and President of the
Kabardino-Balkar Republic; Anatoly Guzhvin, administrative head
of the Astrakhan region; Viktor Ishayev, administrative head of
thew Khabarovsk territory; Anatoly Lisitsyn, governor of the
Yaroslavl region; Eduard Rossel, governor of the Sverdlovsk
region; Vladimir Yakovlev, governor and chairman of the
Government of St. Petersburg; Yury Luzhkov, Mayor and chairman
of the Government of Moscow; Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the
Communist Party of the Russian Federation, KPRF, faction;
Alexander Shokhin, leader of the Our Home Is Russia, NDR,
faction; Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic
Party of Russia faction; Grigory Yavlinsky, leader of the
Yabloko faction; Oleg Morozov, leader of the Rossiiskiye
Regiony (Russian regions) deputies group; Nikolai Ryzhkov,
leader of the Narodovlastiye (People's Rule) deputies group;
Nikolai Kharitonov, leader of the Agrarian deputies group;
Mikhail Shmakov, chairman of the Federation of Russia's
Independent Trade Unions; and Sergei Khramov, chairman of the
Sotsprof United Trade Unions of Russia.

*******

#6
Financial Times (UK)
7 April 1998
[for personal use only]
RUSSIA: Kiriyenko promises action on pensions
By John Thornhill in Moscow

Sergei Kiriyenko, Russia's acting prime minister, yesterday promised to 
take urgent measures to bolster the country's state pension fund - if 
parliament confirms him in his post on Friday - warning of the social 
danger of ignoring the problem.
In recent days, Mr Kiriyenko has stressed the need to add a social 
dimension to Russia's austere economic policies in line with President 
Boris Yeltsin's latest demands.
But Mr Kiriyenko's comments yesterday were also seen as a transparent 
attempt to curry favour with opposition politicians before the critical 
parliamentary vote and to dampen the wave of mass protests that have 
been demanded by the trade union movement on Thursday.
After meeting the regional directors of the pension fund yesterday, Mr 
Kiriyenko said that pension payment delays were currently running at 
seven to 10 days across Russia but could grow considerably worse if the 
gap between the fund's income and outgoings was not closed.
"If we do not urgently take essential measures, then by the end of the 
year the pension fund deficit could amount to nearly Rbs20bn ($3.3bn)," 
he said.
Mr Kiriyenko demanded that the directors present a plan of action to the 
government by the end of the week to normalise the situation. "In this 
plan there must be tough measures and it cannot be otherwise in as much 
as the life of our pensioners depends upon it," he said.
Mr Yeltsin is due to meet parliamentary leaders today for "round-table" 
talks in an attempt to win support for Mr Kiriyenko, the 35-year-old 
former energy minister and surprise prime ministerial nominee.
Yesterday, the pro-government Our Home is Russia faction, which had 
previously expressed reservations about Mr Kiriyenko's inexperience, 
said it would vote for him if it knew who would be appointed to other 
important economic posts.
Mr Kiriyenko can also count on the support of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's 
ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, which often votes on the 
government's side, as well as many independent MPs in the 450-seat 
parliament.
Nonetheless, Mr Kiriyenko's candidacy still looks likely to fail unless 
Mr Yeltsin can persuade at least some Communist MPs to swallow their 
previously stated objections or bring the liberal Yabloko faction back 
into the fold.
But Grigory Yavlinsky, Yabloko's leader, said the round-table talks 
would not change his party's stance. "We will take part but we declare 
again that the Yabloko faction has taken a collective decision not to 
support Kiriyenko's candidacy," he said.

********

#7
Russian tycoon defends Yeltsin nominee Kiriyenko
By Fiona Fleck 

BONN, April 6 (Reuters) - Influential Russian business tycoon Boris Berezovsky
on Monday defended President Boris Yeltsin's nomination of young technocrat
Sergei Kiriyenko as prime minister, saying it was the "right choice" and
promoted reform. 

Kiriyenko, 35, was named as Yeltsin's preferred choice to succeed Viktor
Chernomyrdin, who was sacked along with the rest of his cabinet last month in
a move that suprised the world. 

Berezovsky said he was confident Kiriyenko, the former fuel and energy
minister, would win the necessary parliamentary approval for the post. 

The Duma can reject three of Yeltsin's nominations for the post. After that,
it would have to be dissolved and elections called -- something he contended
deputies did not want now. 

"Despite the president's health problems and somewhat diminished sense of
reality, the president made the right choice," Berezovsky said during an
evening talk to members of the Bonn-based German Foreign Policy Society. 

"The choice of Kiriyenko is in favour of reform," he said. "Yeltsin and
parliament both know what sort of collapse it would lead to if he is not
approved." 

Berezovsky, visiting Bonn on a long-standing invitation by the Society, was
speaking after talks with Joachim Bitterlich who heads the chancellery foreign
relations department. 

The 53-year-old magnate, whose empire led by the LogoVAZ trading company has
made him one of Russia's richest men and given him immense influence, declined
say what they discussed. 

But a source close to the talks said the tycoon had briefed Chancellor Helmut
Kohl's office on the reshuffle, which unleashed speculation and unease about
Yeltsin's motives, but that "nothing very important" had been been discussed. 

Berezovsky, who commands a vast business empire spanning energy and media and
enjoys close ties with Yeltsin's family, has widely been attributed with
having had a hand in Chernomyrdin's removal -- a charge he denies. 

He said Kiriyenko would be "duty bound to produce a programme which ordinary
people understood" and dismissed charges youth and lack of experience stood in
his way. 

"I don't think youth is an obstacle. He's unknown, but it's apparently a
Russian tradition to pluck people from obscurity and put them in important
positions," he said, joking that his anonymity gave him an advantage over
Russia's known politicians who "nobody liked" anyway. 

"It's not clear how effectively the new government will rule, but the old one
had run out of steam and was not ready for the next stage in (Russia's)
development," he said, stopping short of overt criticism of Chernomyrdin. 

Berezovsky issued a bleak warning that rising nationalism could dominate the
next presidential election in 2000, comparing Russia to the United States,
where he said integration of foreigners had in contrast been a success. 

"Russia lacks the confidence and conviction in its ability to integrate
(ethnic groups) and that's why I see dangerous aspirations. This is a real
danger which must be recognised and overcome," he said. 

Berezovsky is one of seven leading businessmen who helped finance Yeltsin's
re-election campaign in 1996, and he was later appointed deputy secretary of
Russia's Security Council. 

He lost that post last November and is now an adviser to Valentin Yumashev,
Yeltsin's Kremlin chief of staff. This, and his friendship with Yeltsin's
daughter and imagemaker Tatyana Dyachenko, guarantees him access to the
Kremlin. 

*******

#8
For more articles from The Moscow Times, check out their website at
www.moscowtimes.ru

Moscow Times
April 7, 1998 
Ruling Elite Hunts For Presidential Candidate 
By David McHugh
STAFF WRITER

Back to the drawing board. 

That is the situation that Russia's ruling elites find themselves in as 
they look ahead to the 2000 presidential elections, now that their 
consensus candidate, Viktor Chernomyrdin, has been unceremoniously 
booted out of the government. 

Although Chernomyrdin, who declared his candidacy five days after his 
March 23 dismissal, remains a possible choice, he was undercut by 
President Boris Yeltsin just as he had apparently solidified his support 
among Russia's political kingmakers. 

Political analyst Nikolai Petrov at the Moscow Carnegie Center compared 
the current situation to the early U.S. presidential primaries, when the 
process of choosing the contenders is only beginning. 

"We are at the stage of defining the main candidate, which I think will 
end significantly before the presidential election," Petrov said. "I 
don't think it will go so far that they will actually fall out among one 
another and fight with the president himself." 

Until then, however, Russia faces increased political uncertainty, 
Petrov said. 

"The situation Yeltsin created when he dismissed Chernomyrdin, the 
situation where he is alone and outweighs everyone politically, is 
dangerous," he said. "Because if suddenly something happens to Yeltsin 
-- he gets sick or dies -- all of a sudden there is no real successor on 
which all the basic financial and political forces can agree." 

The term "party of power" refers to Yeltsin's team in the Kremlin and 
the government. It also includes regional officials and the so-called 
semibankirshchina or "seven bankers" group of business tycoons such as 
Boris Berezovsky and Vladimir Potanin. 

Chernomyrdin added another element of mystery Sunday night by refusing 
to say whether he would run against Yeltsin, who has made conflicting 
statements about whether he will seek a third term despite his fragile 
health. "Let us wait and see," Chernomyrdin said in an interview on 
NTV's "Itogi" program. 

Other likely or declared candidates include retired General Alexander 
Lebed; Moscow Mayor Yury Luzkhov; Boris Nemtsov, a first deputy prime 
minister in the dismissed government; liberal Yabloko bloc leader 
Grigory Yavlinsky; and Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov. Yet none 
seems to be in a commanding position. 

Luzhkov, though well-positioned with enormous financial backing from the 
booming capital, is far from an ideal candidate for members of the 
financial elite who grew wealthy from the cheap sell-off of state 
properties under former First Deputy Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais, who 
was fired along with Chernomyrdin. 

The populist Luzhkov has denounced Chubais' economic policies and 
suggested that some of the privatizations should be re-examined. In 
addition, his support outside Moscow is weak, though he is taking steps 
to reach out to Russia's regions. 

Yavlinsky seems limited by the small size of the liberal electorate; 
Nemtsov by his failure to win allies in the Moscow bureaucracy since 
moving from Nizhny Novgorod last year; and Lebed must win an April 26 
election for governor of Krasnoyarsk before contending for president. 

But the chief by-product of Yeltsin's bold move is uncertainty about 
2000. 

"It's useless to guess" who the party of power will choose, said 
political analyst Yury Korgunyuk of the USA/Canada Institute. "It's a 
roulette game." 

Korgunyuk said much depends on whether the sluggish economy improves and 
on the outcome of the 1999 parliamentary elections. 

Another source of uncertainty in the short term are the gaps in the 1993 
constitution's provisions for succession if Yeltsin dies or is 
incapacitated. 

Leonid Lazarev, head of the constitutional law department at the 
Constitutional Court, said his own interpretation was that Kiriyenko 
could serve as acting president even before Duma confirmation as prime 
minister. 

But only the Constitutional Court could give the final word, he said. 

********

#9
Moscow Times
April 7, 1998 
Culture on a Shoestring 
By William Brumfield 

The economic news from Russia is dominated yet again by credit ratings, 
tax collection issues and austerity programs. Government spending is to 
be reduced further, and every constituency must clamor ever more loudly 
for continued support at any level. How are Russia's museums faring in 
these austere times? With much reason, experts tell us that culture 
rests on an economic base, and until the economy gains a healthy, legal 
pattern of national growth, areas of cultural life will be unable to 
attract the resources that the state can no longer afford to dispense. 

One could counter that the amounts needed to maintain most cultural 
activities are relatively small. But such arguments fall on deaf ears in 
a country where millions of pensioners struggle to make ends meet and 
salaries for large numbers of working people go unpaid. Under these 
circumstances, leading cultural institutions such as the Hermitage 
Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery and the Bolshoi Theater have learned to 
adopt a newly aggressive approach to fund raising from both public and 
private sources. 

Although these institutions have gone through periods of crisis, the 
results of their efforts have been impressive. And in major provincial 
cities, important cultural establishments, such as theater and ballet 
companies, often manage to retain a significant share of funding from 
cultural departments within regional administrations. 

A less visible feature of the regional cultural landscape, however, is 
the network of local history museums. In some cities, they occupy 
elegant premises, such as the magnificent Zolotarev House in Kaluga. 
Others are decidedly more modest. Rarely are there funds for modern 
display techniques, yet these museums offer their own quiet testimony to 
the dense texture of the history of provincial Russia. Here one is 
rarely jostled by the madding crowd. The old-fashioned display cases 
with their artifacts often seem more suited to a drawing room in a 
prerevolutionary country house. 

In many provincial towns, these local history museums receive only 
minimal funding. This appears particularly true in parts of the historic 
Russian North -- in the Vologda and Arkhangelsk provinces -- whose rich 
history has created so many distinctive architectural monuments and 
examples of folk crafts. Despite the economic stringencies of the times, 
many towns in this vast territory have their own museums, and all that I 
have visited perform an invaluable service in maintaining a sense of 
local history in an age whose media barrage tends to efface distinctive 
regional characteristics. 

Among the northern regional history museums that I have visited, one of 
the most ambitious is the Totma Museum, directed by the energetic local 
patriot Yulia Yerykalova. The museum actually consists of several sites, 
including the log house that belonged to Ivan Kuskov, founder and 
commandant of Fort Ross in California, as well as an excellent Museum of 
Church Treasures in the former Dormition Church. During the 16th through 
the 18th centuries, Totma was a major depot on the trading route between 
Vologda and the White Sea, and the wealth created by enterprising local 
merchants gave rise to a series of extraordinary churches during the 
latter part of the 18th century. 

Yet now that the town no longer commands such wealth, there is no clear 
answer to the question of proper use for these grand structures, most of 
which were severely damaged during the Soviet era. The Russian Orthodox 
Church has opened one (the Trinity) and might possibly reclaim another 
(the Nativity). But there are at least another half dozen. In a town of 
some 11,000 inhabitants, the church can hardly afford to support 
continued expansion. In the lower part of the Church of the Entry into 
Jerusalem, the museum has recently opened a new branch dedicated to 
Russia's shipping history. Church officials might frown upon this 
continued use of churches for secular purposes, but without the efforts 
of the museum, these monuments to past glory would fall still further 
into disrepair. 

The Totma example reveals the complexity of the situation facing 
Russia's regional history today. Responsible for preserving a record of 
local culture at a time when society's priorities lie elsewhere, these 
museums are still the institution of last resort for many cultural 
treasures -- including some that formerly belonged to the church. Yet 
the museums often lack the budget to maintain proper security, and the 
danger of theft is increasing. This was made clear to me by Faina Novak, 
the director of the museum in Ustyuzhna. Located in the Cathedral of the 
Nativity, the museum has the usual display of local artifacts; its 
greatest -- and most vulnerable -- treasure is the superb iconostasis of 
the church itself. 

The same problem exists in Veliky Ustyug, at the other end of Vologda 
oblast, although Iya Belozertseva, the director of the local cultural 
office, explained that measures have been taken to preserve the 
extensive local museum holdings. In some ways, the task of Lidiya 
Sevastyanova, director of the Kargopol History and Art Museum, is even 
more daunting, for she holds responsibility not only for this ancient 
town's several museums -- most of which are in former churches -- but 
also some of Russia's best examples of wooden architecture in the 
villages surrounding Kargopol. 

These directors, as well as their colleagues throughout this area of the 
Russian North, are the unsung heroes of the struggle to preserve the 
country's heritage. Although lacking the resources of major metropolitan 
museums, their institutions deserve the attention of all who value 
Russia's cultural history. 

William Brumfield, professor of Russian at Tulane University in New 
Orleans, is a writer and photographer of several books on Russian 
architecture. He contributed this comment to The Moscow Times. 

******

#10
MEDIA MONOPOLY BARS PUBLIC OPINION, WARNS JOURNALIST GUILD LEADER

MOSCOW, APRIL 6 (from RIA Novosti's Yulia Panyushkina) -
Appropriated as they are by financial tycoons, the Russian mass
media can no longer objectively respond to the public opinion,
let alone influencing it, warned Igor Yakovenko, Russian
Journalists' Union Secretary, as he addressed parliamentary
hearings on media monopolies.
Pocketed by moneybags, the media are mere tools in the
banking tug-of-war, bureaucratic squabbles and financial group
competition to cause a degeneration and crying economic
stratification of the journalistic profession. The chosen few
are making more than a thousand US dollars a month while the
bulk of newsmen make do with a monthly 500 roubles (slightly
over $80).
Mr. Yakovenko named Boris Berezovsky, LogoVAZ president;
Vladimir Gusinsky, Media-Most group boss; Moscow mayor Yuri
Luzhkov; and Vladimir Potanin, UNEXIM Bank president, as leading
media monopolists.

*******

#11
Washington Post
April 7, 1998
Editorial
Selling Death Overseas

AS COMMUNISM FELL in Eastern Europe, Marlboro Man rode into town. U.S. 
cigarette makers were in the vanguard, exporting their lethal products 
as symbols of Western glamour and free-market prosperity. In the former 
Soviet Union, the three big multinational tobacco firms became, along 
with energy companies, the biggest investors. When Western advertising 
began to provoke a nationalist backlash, a new brand appeared. "Peter 
the Great" cigarettes were designed -- according to an inscription on 
each pack -- for those who "believe in the revival of the traditions and 
grandeur of the Russian lands." They're made by, yes, R. J. Reynolds 
Tobacco Co.
The tobacco industry may be on the defensive here, but it's unashamedly 
on the march overseas, trying any trick to lure old smokers to new 
brands in ex-Communist countries and hook new smokers there as well as 
in the developing world. The big three -- Reynolds, Philip Morris Inc. 
and British-American Tobacco Co. -- wanted a settlement in the first 
place in large part so that legal challenges in their stagnant home 
market wouldn't distract them from growth opportunities in the Third 
World. But an agreement here that protects some American children from 
tobacco addiction at the expense of many more children in foreign 
countries wouldn't be much of a victory.
That's why it's important that any tobacco bill includes some measures 
to limit tobacco's predatory behavior overseas. Sen. John McCain's 
proposal -- with support from senators Ron Wyden, Dick Durbin and others 
-- would prohibit the U.S. government from promoting the U.S. tobacco 
industry abroad. It also would step up U.S. efforts against cigarette 
smuggling and assist other nations in their anti-smoking efforts, with 
funding coming from a two-cents-a-pack "fee" on overseas sales of U.S. 
cigarettes. Perhaps most important, it would seek to impose the same 
restrictions against selling or marketing to children overseas as would 
apply here.
Some of these provisions are modeled on the Foreign Corrupt Practices 
Act, a precedent for U.S. regulation of companies' overseas behavior. 
But it's not clear whether they could apply to foreign subsidiaries, and 
even in their present form they're under attack from some senators and 
the tobacco industry. The Clinton administration should work with 
Congress in passing the strongest legally defensible provisions 
possible. President Clinton also should provide more leadership of an 
international coalition against smoking. Tobacco accounted for 2.6 
percent of the worldwide burden of disease in 1990, according to a 
recent study by the World Health Organization and World Bank. By 2020, 
that figure will grow to 9 percent -- more than malnutrition, HIV or any 
single disease. U.S. firms bear considerable responsibility for that sad 
statistic. 

*******

#12
Washington Post
April 7, 1998
Letter to the Editor
The Case for NATO Expansion

From: ALEXANDER VERSHBOW
Ambassador
U.S. Mission to NATO
Brussels 

Critics have sought to give the impression that serious debate about 
NATO enlargement has never taken place and that the United States and 
its allies have failed to address important questions about Russia and 
the future security environment in Europe.

More than 1,000 articles published during the past year and a half have 
covered all aspects of NATO's evolving role. More than 300 conferences 
on NATO enlargement have been held in Europe and North America, 
including several in Russia. Twelve hearings before Congress in the past 
six months -- with more than 550 pages of testimony -- have explored the 
details of NATO's mission and membership and examined arguments from 
every point on the political spectrum.

Critics charge that NATO enlargement will poison relations with Russia. 
This might be true if NATO were seeking to isolate Russia, but the 
opposite is the case. Through the Partnership for Peace and the newly 
established NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, NATO has created a 
network of security cooperation that has engaged all the states of 
Europe -- even former neutrals. The new NATO gives Moscow a chance to 
move away from the old Soviet pattern of confrontation to one of real 
partnership in Europe.

NATO-Russian relations are better and show more promise today than they 
have at any time in the past 50 years. They encompass everything from 
planning for joint action in civil disasters to joint military 
operations in Bosnia. And they are still developing. How 
counterproductive it would be if we undercut Boris Yeltsin's courageous 
decision to cooperate with NATO by bowing to the pressure of Russian 
hard-liners. That would strengthen the anti-democratic elements in 
Russia and encourage the belief that the Allies, in the face of Moscow's 
bullying, had returned Central Europe to a gray zone of instability and 
limited sovereignty.

As we work to adapt NATO to better fit the security environment of the 
next century, we understand that we must preserve the essential feature 
that has made this the most successful alliance in history -- the 
integrated military structure and its capacity for collective defense. 
The three new members we have invited will significantly improve the 
alliance's defense capabilities. And having so recently regained their 
freedom after decades of totalitarian oppression, they can be counted on 
to stand with us, not just in defense of NATO territory but when the 
values we share are threatened -- as they did recently during the 
confrontation with Iraq.

In postponing the vote on ratification for several weeks, Senate 
Majority Leader Trent Lott declared that his intention was to "get a 
focus on the issue." It is proper to ensure a fair debate of the issue, 
but as Sen. Jesse Helms noted in sending the bill to the floor of the 
Senate, now is the time to act. 

No one who favors democracy should want to keep the lines of security 
drawn in Europe where Stalin marked them in 1945. NATO enlargement is 
the right policy for the United States and the right policy for the 
future of democracy in Europe. 

********

#13
Russia: Shareholders Elect Chubais To Board Of Energy Giant
By Stephanie Baker

Moscow, 6 April 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's former First Deputy Prime 
Minister Anatoly Chubais was elected to the board of Russia's national 
electricity company Unified Energy Systems over the weekend, which could 
boost his chances of becoming the energy giant's chief executive.

Chubais was elected to a new board of directors at an extraordinary 
shareholders meeting on Saturday in the Russian city of Konakovo, 
northwest of Moscow.

The meeting did not resolve the key question of who would take over as 
chief executive at UES, a more hands-on job than the post of board 
chairman. Chubais is considered a top contender for the CEO position, 
but analysts say the post is likely to be used as a bargaining chip in 
the formation of a new Russian government.

Boris Brevnov, the 29-year old banker and ally of acting First Deputy 
Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, stepped down as CEO on Friday after months 
of high-profile clashes with Soviet-era directors in the company which 
were seen as part of the jostling for power in Russia's cabinet. 
Shareholders, however, elected Brevnov to the board of directors on 
Saturday.

The government, which owns a controlling stake in UES, is not expected 
to choose a chief executive for the company until after the State Duma 
approves a new prime minister. Yeltsin has nominated former Fuel and 
Energy Minister Sergei Kiriyenko as prime minister, but deputies are not 
scheduled to vote on his candidacy until Friday.

Shareholders Saturday elected a Kiriyenko ally, Deputy Fuel and Energy 
Minister Viktor Kudryavy, to become chairman of the board.

Kudryavy replaced Anatoly Dyakov, the Soviet-era boss of UES who led a 
failed attempt to oust Brevnov as chief executive in January after 
charging him with corruption.

Kudryavy, a career electricity specialist, worked briefly as Dyakov's 
deputy at UES before moving to the Ministry of Fuel and Energy, where he 
crossed paths with Kiriyenko. Analysts say he has advocated a slower 
approach to reform at the energy giant, but he is not considered a 
Dyakov ally.

Derek Weaving, an analyst at Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, said Kudryavy is 
probably not the chairman of choice for foreign investors.

But Kudryavy is considered a compromise candidate who might be able to 
appease different factions within the company and balance a more 
reform-minded candidate such as Chubais as chief executive.

Chubais was sacked last month after President Boris Yeltsin decided to 
reshuffle his cabinet, but he had been considered the government's 
candidate to take over as chairman of the company's board before the 
political shake-up. Kiriyenko had ruled out Chubais becoming chairman, 
saying the post needed to be filled by a government representative.

Western investors, who own about a quarter of UES shares, had helped 
elect Chubais and Brevnov to the board at Saturday's shareholders 
meeting. Also elected to the 15-member board were Pyotr Rodionov, deputy 
head of the gas monopoly Gazprom and Yevgeny Yasin, minister without 
portfolio.

With a new board, the government has stepped up its control over UES, 
Russia's largest company by sales. But Brevnov's decision to resign from 
the post of chief executive is likely to intensify a political battle 
over who will be put at the helm of UES, Russia's largest company by 
sales.

Brevnov was severely weakened by the corruption charges, which came 
right after his mentor Nemtsov lost responsibility for reforms in 
Russia's debt-ridden energy sector.

Many analysts believe Chubais is likely to be appointed as chief 
executive, which would be considered an important sign of where the 
government is heading.

But parliamentary opposition to Chubais retaining any 
government-appointed role remains strong.

Hartmut Jacob, an analyst at investment bank CAIB, said the government 
would hold off on appointing Chubais until Kiriyenko is approved by the 
Duma. He said putting Chubais in charge at UES would only complicate 
Kiriyenko's confirmation hearings.

The Russian press has speculated that Chubais is after the top job at 
UES to tap the company's vast resources for the upcoming presidential 
election. Nezavisimaya Gazeta, which is controlled by financial tycoon 
Boris Berezovsky, charged last week that Chubais is unqualified for the 
job, saying his experience in the electricity sector is limited to 
"knowing how to change a light bulb." 

********

#14 
SERGEI KIRIYENKO, IF CONFIRMED AS PRIME MINISTER BY STATE
DUMA, WILL STAY AT HIS POST UNTIL 2000, SAY PUBLIC POLL RESULTS
By RIA Novosti corr.
MOSCOW, APRIL 6, RIA NOVOSTI - Sergei Kiriyenko, if
approved by the State Duma as Prime Minister, will stay at this
post until the next presidential election in 2000. 
This is the view of most Muscovites /21 per cent/, who were
polled the other day by the All-Russian Public Opinion Study
Centre /VTSIOM/. 
Two groups of 19 per cent each said that Kiriyenko "would
lead a government for six months or a year". 
The views split nearly fifty fifty in replying to a
question of "would you personally be for or against Sergei
Kiriyenko being approved as Prime Minister", with 31 per cent
replying in the affirmative and 29 per cent in the negative.
Forty per cent were undecided. 
Curious facts were revealed to VTSIOM concerning
personalities who might be included into a new cabinet of
ministers.
The list is topped by Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky, his
candidacy having been supported by 25 per cent of those
interviewed. 
He is followed by Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov with 20 per
cent of the polls. A little more than 10 per cent was gained by
Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov. First Deputy Prime Minister
Boris Nemtsov and ex-Security Council secretary have 10 per cent
each. 
Inclusion of Viktor Chernomyrdin into a new cabinet of
ministers was backed by 8 per cent of those balloted. 
Six per cent gave their preference to Irina Hakamada, while
Yevgeny Primakov, Aman Tuleyev and Sergei Kiriyenko got 5 per
cent each. 

********

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