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Johnson's Russia List


May 13, 1998  
This Date's Issues: 2176  

Johnson's Russia List
13 May 1998

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Moscow Times: David Johnson, Net List Balances Views on Russia.
(DJ: I like this article about JRL!)

2. AP: Greg Myre, Yeltsin: Relations With U.S. Healthy.
3. Moscow Times editorial: Time to End Posturing on World Stage.
4. Fred Weir on Yeltsin's Internet press conference.
5. MSNBC: Transcript of Yeltsin's Internet Q and A.
6. The Moscow Tribune: John Helmer, THE LEBED THREAT, IN THE MIRROR 


8. Izvestia: Vyacheslav Nikonov, WHAT'S NEW ABOUT THE NEW GOVERNMENT.

10. Fred Weir on Russia and India's nuclear tests.
11. Financial Times (UK): Chrystia Freeland, KIRIYENKO: The mockery 
turns to approval.]


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

Moscow Times
May 13, 1998 
Net List Balances Views on Russia 
By David McHugh
Staff Writer

David Johnson is the person you go to for the other side of the story. 
Since 1996, Johnson has spent hundreds of hours of his free time putting
out an e-mail newsletter called Johnson's Russia List, a broad -- make that
very broad -- spectrum of opinion, journalism and scholarship about the
motherland for 2,300 serious Russia wonks on both sides of the ocean. 
Johnson's guiding principle, he explained during an interview last week
in Moscow, is to include a wider range of views to counterbalance what he
sees as simplistic, disrespectful attitudes about Russia among the U.S.
"Russia is a very important country, very important to America," said
Johnson who was making his first trip to Russia since 1985. "But my feeling
was that Americans really were not paying attention, and in some respects
had a very limited understanding of Russia." 
He started sending out the list during the 1996 presidential race, when
he felt that U.S. news media were exaggerating the threat of a Communist
resurgence. "So I started this as a reaction to the oversimplified coverage
of Russian politics," he said. "And the intention was to provide a more
balanced, broader perspective, a wider range of views." 
And so his list includes writing from all over, from big and small and
right and left: The New York Times rubs shoulders with the Hindustan Times;
those on the right, such as historian Richard Pipes, with those on the left,
such as Katrina Vandenheuvel of The Nation; the play-it-straight wire
services with the partisan Pravda. 
The list, sent out free of charge, has also attracted contributions from
heavyweights in the field of Russian studies, such as Pipes and Murray
Feshbach, a leading U.S. expert in Russian and Soviet demography.
Occasionally, the participants engage each other in debate, moderated
loosely by Johnson. 
Johnson, who holds a master's degree in Soviet studies from Harvard,
describes himself as a liberal Democrat and works as associate director of
research for the Center for Defense Information, a Washington institute that
keeps a critical eye on the U.S. military. After working during the Cold War
years to monitor what he considers the excesses of the U.S. defense
establishment, he wants to help prevent another lapse into poor relations
between the two world powers by making sure Americans are better informed
about Russia. 
At first, Johnson wrote his own articles, criticizing, among others, The
New York Times and Pulitzer prize-winning author David Remnick for what he
saw as excessively anti-Communist bias. After the election, however, he
stopped acting as a contributor and now serves as more of an impartial
editor "trying to ensure broad coverage, getting things that weren't in the
mainstream out there." 
"I think because I sort of play an editorial role, some of the more
wasteful exchanges that take place on the Internet are prevented," he said.
"A lot of Internet newsletters have a lot of noise, a lot of wasteful,
antagonistic back and forth." 
Issues that have drawn heated responses in recent weeks include press
criticism by The Exile, a Moscow-based alternative weekly, and the
deteriorating relations between Latvia and Russia. 
Johnson hopes to come back to Russia regularly from now on to soak up the
zeitgeist and meet journalistic contributors such as Fred Weir of the
Hindustan Times, Vanora Bennett of the Los Angeles Times, and David Filipov
of the Boston Globe. 
"Just about everybody I had never met," he said. "It was kind of a
breaking of the ice." 
To subscribe to Johnson's Russia List, send an e-mail to 


Yeltsin: Relations With U.S. Healthy 
By Greg Myre
May 12, 1998; 3:41 p.m. EDT

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia is regaining equal footing in its relationship with
the United States after a period of ``illusions and exaggerated
expectations,'' President Boris Yeltsin said Tuesday. 
Yeltsin spoke to senior diplomats at Russia's Foreign Ministry. But his
timing -- days before a meeting with President Clinton and the leaders of
six other industrialized countries in Birmingham, England, -- indicated he
was addressing a wider audience. 
``We inherited from the former Soviet Union the status of a ... power
based on a powerful military complex, but with no solid economic
foundation,'' Yeltsin said. ``It is the task of our domestic and foreign
policies to do away with this imbalance.'' 
Yeltsin said it also was time to do away with domination by a few world
powers and move toward a multipolar world in the 21st century. 
While Russia has sought friendly relations with the United States, it
also has sought to strengthen ties with Europe, China, Japan and India to
counterbalance what it perceives as Washington's excessive global clout. 
``Equal interaction with the United States is being established after a
period of certain illusions and exaggerated expectations,'' Yeltsin said. He
did not elaborate on what these were. 
But, he stressed Russia will not ``roll over'' before the United States.
Instead, Russian diplomats must patiently explain Russia's ``position on
those questions where differences exist in principle in our views,'' Yeltsin
Several points of friction mar an otherwise collegial U.S.-Russian
Russians strongly oppose NATO's expansion into Central and Eastern
Europe, and Moscow is eager to do business with Iran and Iraq, two countries
the United States wants to isolate. 
In addition, the Russian parliament has refused to ratify the 1993 START
II arms reductions treaty, which would halve the nuclear arsenals in both
Yeltsin, who endorses the treaty, called it ``one of the priority
questions of Russia's national security.'' 
He also hailed Russia's expanding role in international affairs,
including Russian mediation that helped resolve recent disputes between Iraq
and United Nations weapons inspectors. 
``Russia's opportunities for exerting a positive influence on the world
community have increased in this new environment,'' Yeltsin said. 
He discussed nuclear proliferation problems, including the Indian nuclear
test, with Clinton on Tuesday by telephone, the Interfax news agency
reported. The two presidents also talked about the crisis in the Kosovo
region of Yugoslavia. 
Clinton repeated Washington's objection to Russian-Iranian cooperation in
nuclear technology and Yeltsin reiterated Russia's contention that such
concerns are ``far-fetched,'' Interfax said. 


Moscow Times
May 13, 1998 
EDITORIAL: Time to End Posturing on World Stage 

President Boris Yeltsin's foreign policy address Tuesday held few
surprises, but it did confirm the defiant trend in Russia's recent relations
with the West. 
Breaking with the honeymoon in U.S.-Russian relations in the early years
of reform, the Kremlin has spent the last two years trying to mark out a
territory for Russia outside the U.S. orbit. 
While stopping well short of a return to Cold War hostility, Russia is
now increasingly underlining areas where Moscow and Washington see things
Yeltsin has allowed his foreign minister, Yevgeny Primakov, to lobby
against Washington's proposals for taking action against Iraq in the UN
Security Council and to oppose sanctions against Serbia for its behavior in
Kosovo. Russian officials also do not miss an opportunity to complain about
the decision to expand NATO into Eastern Europe. 
For Yeltsin, this is all part of his doctrine of a new "multipolar" world
order, in which he has invited other second-tier powers to stand up to U.S.
world dominance and protect their own national interests. China, France and
Germany are some of the other "poles" Yeltsin is trying to attract but so
far they have shown little enthusiasm. 
All this plays well at home, where Russia is nursing wounded nationalist
pride at its diminished status in the world. It is also true that Russia
often has its own very specific interests, which do not always coincide with
those of the United States. 
Parading an independent foreign policy may win Russia a few propaganda
successes on the world stage and help Yeltsin prove he is no pushover. In
the short term, Russia may also believe it has a lot to gain and little to
lose by playing devil's advocate. For instance, its sales of sensitive
technology to countries like Iran are highly lucrative. By pushing for an
end to sanctions, Russia is hoping to help Iraq repay $8 billion in debts. 
But this defiant mind-set, if taken too far, could also result in missed
opportunities and a backlash. 
Russia has been so lost in its self-righteous indignation that it has
done little to develop a new relationship with the expanded NATO. The
pickings may seem easy in Iraq and Iran but instability in the Islamic world
will hurt Russia as badly as anyone. 
And the West will eventually grow tired of a Russia that opposes simply
for the sake of opposing and which is an unreliable partner. 
If it is to define a new role for itself, Russia should brush the chip
off its shoulder. 


Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 
For the Hindustan Times
From: Fred Weir in Moscow

MOSCOW (HT) -- Answering questions from around the world in
his first-ever Internet press conference, President Boris Yeltsin
slammed India for testing nuclear weapons, insisted he is in fine
physical shape, ruled out a woman president for Russia and
sneered at his predecessor and arch-rival Mikhail Gorbachev.
"India is a friendly country, we have very good relations
with it and the test of nuclear weapons was a surprise to us,"
Mr. Yeltsin said in response to an e-mailed query from a
fellow Russian.
"Of course my Foreign Ministry expressed protest. . . and
on my visit to India I will do my best to resolve the problem,"
Mr. Yeltsin said.
The Russian President is tentatively scheduled to visit
India this Fall. His government has expressed hope that Delhi can
be induced to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation and
Comprehensive Test Ban treaties.
"The future belongs not to nuclear weapons," Mr. Yeltsin
said. "In the final analysis we will eliminate nuclear weapons."
The Internet chat with Mr. Yeltsin Tuesday was hosted by
MSNBC, a global computer news agency, and "watched" by over 4,000
participants from around the globe.
The discussion was conducted in English -- a language Mr.
Yeltsin does not speak -- and later translated into Russian and
posted on the President's website for the benefit of Russia's
estimated 100,000 Internet users.
Only a few of the almost 2,000 questions, e-mailed to the
Kremlin in advance, were answered by Mr. Yeltsin during the 30
minute chat.
In response to an inquiry about his health, Mr. Yeltsin said
that he has fully recovered from his heart bypass operation a
year and a half ago, and is now working as hard as ever.
"I must tell you I feel well today," Mr. Yeltsin said. "I
woke up at 4 a.m., and I have been working intensively. I still
have a very long day ahead of me, and it does not affect either
my appearance nor my energy. I am in good health."
Asked about his daughter's reputed influence in Kremlin
circles, and whether she might be put forward as a presidential
candidate at the next elections in 2000, Mr. Yeltsin was blunt.
"Our society is not prepared for (a woman leader), not for
my daughter or any other woman at this time," he said.
On his own intentions for the next presidential elections,
Mr. Yeltsin offered a teasing comment.
"As for the Presidency, for the year 2000 we still have 2
years. We'll see," he said.
A question about the man he defeated and displaced, former
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, drew a brief burst of derision.
"Yesterday I thought about him," Mr. Yeltsin said. "Today I
don't think about him at all."


Date: Russian President Boris Yeltsin 5-12-98
Chris Donohue (MSNBC)

Yeltsin Opening Words:
Good day, citizens of the Internet! Hello, dear friends! This is my 
first live Internet experience. In the next half hour, I will try to 
answer many of your questions. But I can't answer all the questions, 
because millions are taking part.
I think that you will ask me about the G-8 summit in Birmingham, and 
about how we live here in Russia, and what kind of problems we have. 
In general, you are free to approach me. And how I respond depends on 

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
Building a strong economy means controlling crime. How can Russia 
ever fight crime when it doesn't pay its militia (police) properly?
Ronald Marks
Toronto, Canada

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
In comparison with a developing country, salaries in Russia are 
definitely lower, and not only in for the police, but for teachers, 
doctors and others. But this does not mean that teachers do not 
educate and doctors do not cure and police do not do their jobs. No.
I can give you an example: last year the number of crimes in Russian 
decreased by 17% .. and of course I think that in the future, 
reducing the number of crimes will continue.
Most importantly for us, however, is to expose the reasons, 
constantly expose the reasons for crime.
It so happens that for example in the economics sphere, there were 
command politics in the economy, that there was a situation when 
someone commanded something, he was in a position to have privileges, 
which used and used again to bribe [other people]. This is economic 
Therefore we put in place an anti-corruption system, and the program, 
which, I'm confident, will be more reliable in reducing the number of 
economic crimes.
Of course I must say that it is very important to have competition 
supported by government legislation. Now we are using the approach. 
It is important, for example, that we have the financing for a system 
of self government.
All these measures are not connected to the salary of the police, but 
they concern stopping crime.

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
What measures are you and your administration taking to insure
that Russian Nuclear Weaponry and Devices are properly
disposed of?
Also how can the world feel safe when accusations of Russian
Military personnel are selling Nuclear materials to various
clients outside of the country?

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
This is not the first time I have to answer these or similar 
questions, but I must tell you that, more often than not, the 
questions and the presence here.... I reject categorically that we 
have either the sale of nuclear weapons or that we encourage nuclear 
You can remember the German case that we sold plutonium to them. It 
was not confirmed with Iran.

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
Swedish: Questions about the Russian Agriculture system still being 
owned by the State.

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
I beg your pardon, but the way to ask your question is not correct. 
The agriculture use in Russia.. the State property long ago was 
transferred to the user.
The problem is to ensure the rights of the actual user.. and that.. 
the research to ensure the rights for private property...
Unfortunately, there is no legal guarantee of private property in the 
Russian Constitution, and I must encourage it to be adopted. But, of 
course, the State Duma has the biggest role here.

Host Michael says:
We are from the USA. My husband and I would like to know if Mr. 
Yeltsin and Mr. Clinton are friends. Does Mr. Yeltsin have friends 
among other world leaders? Do you ever hope to see each other 

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
You of course heard about our meeting with State leaders of G7, an 
informal meeting with Helmut Kohl, Mr. Hakimoto. And I must tell you 
that, at the end of those meetings, we became good friends. So 
therefore, all leaders ... we are all friends. We are all friends .. 
and also with Bill Clinton. From the viewpoint of time we have been 
friends for more times than with [the other leaders].

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
joecurious says:
Mr President, you mentioned your daughter as a presidential candidate 
awhile ago. Do you really believe Russia is ready for a woman 

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
First...I never spoke about that. Never. Second.. our society is not 
prepared for [it], not for my daughter or any other woman at this 

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
Elizabeth from Ireland says, You have wonderful hair....Irish have 
wonderful hair ...Do you have any relatives in Ireland?

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
I am from the Urals, where there is a connecting line between Europe 
and Asia. In fact, I know that these people from Urals have never 
reached [Ireland], so that is excluded.. absolutely. I think there is 
a similarity probably.. I wouldn't say that it would attract 
everyone's attention. I am taking care of my hair. The women in my 
family are always looking after me.

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
Victor_Krasin Hello, Boris Nicolaevich! I've a question about India 
and its nuclear program. Are you about to associate with other Big 
Powers to block India's nuclear plans? Thank you, Victor Krasin - 

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
I think that we put forward the initiative to reduce nuclear 
armament.. and after that we signed with Bill Clinton the Strategic 
Arms Reduction Treaty (START), and I think in the very near future 
will be a ratification of this Treaty [in the Duma]. It will provide 
for further reduction in strategic nuclear weapons.. approximately 2-
3 times.
We not only support but we put forward this initiative and we try to 
drag others to the floor of this initiative as well.. and we are 
trying to push our Parliament.
India is friendly country.. we have very good relations with it and 
it was a surprise to us. A test of nuclear weapons. Of course my 
Foreign Ministry expressed protest that we can not decrease 
categorically the nuclear tests.. and on my visit to India.. I will 
do my best to resolve the problem with India.

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
Questions...Robert ...from Netherlands....What is your attitude on 

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
Never in my life I've smoked! I never tried to smoke at all. I feel 
bad when someone or my friend is smoking close to me. They know about 
that and they try not to smoke when they are near me. I cannot stand 
And I think for society, we shouldn't buy [cigarettes].

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
Mr. Yeltsin. It seems almost impolite not to ask this question: What 
do your doctors say about your health?

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
You know that these questions. I am trying to prove that I am in good 
shape. There was an operation 1.5 yrs ago, but now, according to a 
team of medical workers, including American, German doctors, I am in 
GOOD health.
Therefore, let us try to prove to each other who is in better health!
But I must tell you that I feel well today. I've been working from 
5am. I woke up at 4am, and I have been working intensively. I still 
have a very long day ahead of me, and it does not effect either my 
appearance nor my energy. I am in good health.

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
The Communists in this country, they put forward this question 
during the election, but I don't think that you are Communists. I 
have full respect for you. You just want to know the truth, and I am 
telling you the truth. I am in good health. We don't know what will 
happen in our lives, but now I am in good health. In the future I 
don't know.
As for the Presidency, for the year 2000 we still have 2 years. We'll 

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
I can agree with your assessment of Internet as one of the major 
industries. The Internet is becoming major industry. Leading 
countries are competing electronically. Where does Russia stand? I 
must tell you that, Russia has a few "reserves." We have a 
lot of "things" for Internet development for the future
and we will stay this way. We will develop this area of course. 
Probably, I will change some things. I will use the Web's potential. 
I think that the Internet development is a normal process for an 
information society, and we are preparing for that.
The future belongs not to nuclear weapons. In the final analysis we 
will eliminate nuclear weapons. On the Internet there will be stiff 
competition, between Internet cultures, and each State.. and each 
State is making its own Constitution and Russia is a full participant 
in the process.

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
Caracas, Venezuela. Mr. Yeltsin, What do you think about Gorbachev 
yesterday and today?

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
Yesterday, I thought about him.
Today I don't think about him at all.

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
kitty says:
President Yeltsin - what do you think of the American media and its 
treatment of its own president - especially when they ask personal 
questions in the presence of foreign dignitaries?

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
A few years ago, it was very unusual. And psychologically, we could 
not cope with such a situation. But little by little, our work 
together with the mass media, we have created a normal relationship. 
After the adoption of the "Law on Mass Media," the mass media 
has such a freedom that we don't have any limitations for what 
questions can and cannot be asked. You can ask any question, you can 
do the same and ask any question.
You can ask questions in mass media and you can test in who will be 
more sincere in answering questions!

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
I was raised with the threat of Nuclear invasion in the 60-70s, I'd 
like to thank you for making this world a safer place to live in.

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
This is the last question I am thankful to you. If other visitors in 
this country will have the same attitude, it would be easier to work 
for making the world a safer place to live. That's why I am thankful 
for you. And in the future I will continue to pursue my course, my 
course of reform and developing the market economy.

Host Chris_MSNBC says:
Mr. Yeltsin's closing words...

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
I can only express my regret that we have such a limited time. Of 
course it is not possible to answer all of the questions. But the 
ones that I was asked, I answered directly and it is very important. 
I like this form of communication, the Internet, and in the future, 
if you have such a wish, let us together coordinate with each other, 
and we can organize another chat. Probably in 2-3 months time. I am 

Host Boris_Yeltsin says:
Thank you very much for your attention!


Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 
From: (John Helmer)

The Moscow Tribune, May 13, 1998
John Helmer

If some Russian election pundits are right, the voters of Krasnoyarsk are
a mirror of the Russian electorate as a whole. And if that's true,
both President Boris Yeltsin and the Communist Party are in serious
trouble from Alexander Lebed.

The danger is that with 45% of the Krasnoyarsk vote in the first round,
and possibly a majority in the second round, Lebed can vault into position as 
the front-runner for the next presidential election, galvanizing most of the 
resentment and opposition in the country.

The second round is scheduled for May 17, and for the time being, Communist
voters are getting contradictory signals. The regional party comnmittee has
urged them to stay at home, rather than help Lebed defeat the incumbent, 
Valery Zubov. The Central Committee in Moscow has overruled that advice,
urging the communists to vote for Zubov.

In both the 1995 Duma election, and in the first round of the 1996 
presidential poll, Krasnoyarsk voters turned out in almost exactly the
same proportion as the national figure. In 1995 their vote for
communist and nationalist candidates to the Duma reached 54%; the Russia-wide
vote was 53%. 

In the June 1996 presidential vote, Yeltsin drew almost exactly
the same vote in Krasnoyarsk as he did in the country as a whole, 35%.

Gennady Zyuganov, the Communist candidate, drew 29% of the Krasnoyarsk
vote, a little less than his national total. Lebed polled the same 14%;
while Yabloko's Grigory Yavlinsky and Vladimir Zhirinovsky got 2 to 3%
more votes in Krasnoyarsk than in the national total.

In the second round of the 1996 presidential election, Yeltsin and Zyuganov
polled almost identically in Krasnoyarsk as they did across Russia -- 54%
to 40%.

What is worrying the Kremlin and the Communists now is whether Lebed's rise
in Krasnoyarsk portends an unstoppable run to replace them both.

Not according to Victor Peshkov, secretary of the Communist Party's Central 
Committee in charge of election campaigns. He says the 13% vote for 
Pyotr Romanov, the Communist candidate in Krasnoyarsk, was only a modest
decline from the 19% which the Communist Party polled in the last
Duma election. "That's understandable," Peshkov claims, "because the party 
has a higher rating than its individual representative." This result
can't be translated into a presidential vote, he warned, "because
presidential elections are elections of a different level."

"As far as I can judge at this point, nobody has analyzed who Lebed's 
voters were. All the judgements that are made are just the guesses of 

Boris Makarenko, deputy chief of the Center of Political Technologies,
a Kremlin campaign advisor, says he is skeptical of the view that
Krasnoyarsk is a mirror of the next presidential election. "Sometimes you 
get similar results on party lists. But in general, presidential, 
parliamentary and governor's elections are all very different."

According to Makarenko, Zyuganov and the Communist Party would do much 
better in drawing traditional supporters and protest votes in the
presidential race than Romanov's 13% suggests. "Lebed managed to consolidate 
protest voters and the periphery of the Communist electorate. But at the 
same time he managed to get support of the countryside, and this is not a 
protest electorate. These were elections for a person. This is not the 
same as voting for a party."

Makarenko predicts that even with a minimal number of Communists switching
to Lebed in the second round, Lebed is likely to win. "It's hard [for
Zubov] to overcome the 9% difference [in the first round], and the momentum
of Lebed's victory in the first round is working for him."

"The best Zubov can hope for is that in Krasnoyarsk city, where his support is
concentrated and where he was ahead of Lebed, the turnover will be higher than
in the first round."

Speaking just after Lebed's first-round victory, Mikhail Yuriev, a leader of
the Yabloko faction in the Duma, claimed Lebed has a zero chance of moving 
from Krasnoyarsk to the Kremlin. That conviction, he said, was based on the 
belief that Yeltsin will not run again, and will pick Yavlinsky as his 

"There are very few people with the potential to be elected president
in Yeltsin's place, even if they have the support of the government 
apparat. Even fewer, if any, can be elected without the support of
the apparat."

Yavlinsky has been more popular in Krasnoyarsk than countrywide. If if
Yeltsin threw him full support, he would probably fare better in a contest
with Lebed than if Yeltsin remains and runs again. At this stage, noone
can predict in a three-way race between Zyuganov, Yavlinsky and Lebed,
who would come third and drop out.

Mikhail Gorbachev's endorsement this week for Krasnoyarsk voters to back Lebed
won't make much difference. In 1996 Gorbachev got just 0.6% of the Krasnoyarsk
vote, compared with 0.5% of the all-Russia vote.


ALEXANDER KONOVALOV/ -- The earliest possible ratification of
the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-II) is necessary and
advisable from the military, political and economic standpoints.
The above view was expressed by leading experts of the
Federation Council, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of
Defence of Russia at today's round-table conference on "The
Prospects for Ratification of the START-II Treaty."
According to expert assessments, the State Duma should
ratify the treaty as early as possible, because in the absence
of a real military threat to Russia, it is fully consonant with
the concept of this country's security approved by the
President, ensuring performance by the Russian armed forces of
their mission Number One: nuclear deterrence through an ability
to do a guaranteed irreparable damage any time to any
As Russian experts pointed out, ratification of the
START-II Treaty is of enormous political significance, too, as
it consolidates Russia's nuclear status comparable to the US
status along the principle of "strategic offensive arms
reasonable sufficiency." 
In addition to this, it was indicated at the round-table
conference that the START-II Treaty's ratification will open the
way for a start to full-scale talks on the conclusion a
START-III Treaty between Russia and the United States.
Marshalling arguments in favour of the document's
ratification, Russian experts referred to the agreement reached
in Helsinki in March 1997 between the Presidents of Russia and
the United States on extending the time-limit for compliance
with the START-II Treaty to December 31, 2007, as well as the
package of documents signed by the Russian Foreign Minister and
the US Secretary of State in New York in September 1997 legally
finalising the agreement and, in the first place, the protocol
of the differentiation of ABM systems. 


>From RIA Novosti
May 12, 1998
By Vyacheslav NIKONOV, Politika Foundation

While Russians were celebrating May Day and Victory Day
holidays, the President and the Premier were forming the
country's new government, and it has at last got down to work
now. Judging by its composition and declared intentions, there
is the ground to presume that a third liberal revolution has
been accomplished at least in the personnel department. This
fact has also been confirmed by communist leader Gennady
Zyuganov who has called Sergei Kiriyenko's Cabinet a revised
version of "Gaidar's government with Chubais's teeth". This
description is as eloquent as it is inaccurate. The comparison
of the present Cabinet with that led by Yegor Gaidar reveals
not only similarities but also a number of indisputable
Yes, the new Cabinet is also determined to resolutely
uphold the principles of modern economics - call it a market
economy or any other way. But, to begin with, its composition
is cardinally different: it's much less academic. If there are
people with academic degrees in Kiriyenko's government, their
previous tenure has been either public service or concrete
economic work, rather than work at research institutes or
journals. The level of the new government's continuity with the
previous Cabinet (headed by Viktor Chernomyrdin) is higher by
the order of ten than that of the Gaidar government with its
predecessor. We now have a government of practitioners who have
been working under market conditions for seven years.
Second, the two governments have different tasks,
priorities and programs. Whereas Gaidar was introducing market
mechanisms through liberalisation and de-regulation of the
totally state-run economy, Kiriyenko sets forth the task of
enhancing the regulation of our economy which has in fact
become a market one (the European Union had unwillingly to
confirm this fact last week). The issue at hand is no change of
a course but a change in the basic circumstances and, as a
consequence of that, policy. In the early 90s Russia did not
have even any government bodies capable of exercising market
regulation, such as tax, anti-trust and other agencies. Now
such bodies are available and are perfectly capable of steering
market spontaneity to a course according with public interests.
For modern liberalism the world over state regulation is as
axiomatic as the unrestricted free enterprise was for the
classical liberalism of the end of the last and the beginning
of this century. From this point of view Kiriyenko`s program is
sooner neo-liberal than liberal in the traditional sense of the
Gaidar's and Kiriyenko's governments have largely
different foreign policy guidelines. The policy which was
embodied by Andrei Kozyrev was characterised by the following
in the wake of the West and emphasised cosmopolitism. The line
pursued by Yevgeny Primakov, who has survived in the new
government despite his outrageous victimization on the other
coast of the ocean, does not reject the value of Russia's
integration into the world economy, but lays a stronger accent
on its national interests and a multi-vector diplomacy.
Third, the constitutional environment for the government's
activities has radically changed since the beginning of this
decade. Gaidar had to deal with the anti-reform Congress of
People's Deputies, which, under the then Constitution, was the
supreme body of power which could cancel presidential decrees
and government resolutions by simple majority vote. It cannot
be said that the present State Duma is more in favour of
reforms, but it has incomparably fewer powers and possibilities
to stymie the pursuit of a normal economic policy than the
Congress. Kiriyenko's Cabinet has a freer hand, although at
present conditions full-fledged economic growth cannot be
created without rational laws adopted by parliament which would
not contradict one another.
By and large, in terms of a number of basic parameters and
starting conditions the new government is very different from
the one which was headed by Gaidar. Nor can it be called the
second edition of even last year's Chernomyrdin young reformers
Branch and corporate lobbyists, that is, the stooges and
promoters of the interests of natural monopolies and
financial-industrial groups, have practically disappeared from
the government corridors. Kiriyenko has succeeded in sticking
to the technocratic politics-free principle of government
formation. Representatives of Yabloko, Our Home Is Russia or
Russian regions factions have not been put on his government to
pacify Grigory Yavlinsky, Chernomyrdin or Oleg Morozov. The
leaders of these factions (Yavlinsky for one) would rather not
delegate their people to the Cabinet at all or delegate
different people, compared to whom Kiriyenko has chosen.
Lastly, the government has acquired a more efficient structure
in keeping with the proposals laid down in the President's
latest message concerning the administrative reform. The
federal bodies of power are now minus two first vice-premiers,
several vice-premiers, two ministries, six state committees,
three services and one commission. Our indisputable world
leadership in the number of vice-premiers, ministries and
departments has been shaken, and this has brought Russia a
small step closer to the managerial model of civilised
countries. If the ideas of the administrative reform continue
to be translated into life, this will also be a bad news for
the omnipotent White House (government) apparatus. Judging by
many things, it is the first time in Russia's recent history
that the largely inflated bureaucratic personnel can in fact be
Yeltsin would not have been Yeltsin if he has not
reproduce his favourite plan of "restraints and
counterbalances" in the new leadership. But whereas in the past
he counterbalanced the forces of powerful bureaucrats and
branch lobbyists, this time he has put "anti-oligarchs" and
"oligarchs" on the different sides of the scales. The
fledglings of Chubais's nest who are now led by Boris Nemtsov
have a newcomer who used to belong to the hostile four-bank
nest: Sergei Generalov has been appointed to the key post of
the Fuel and Energy Minister. Boris Berezovsky's promotion to
the CIS Executive Committee has been timed to Chubais's
appointment in the RAO Unified Energy Systems.
As for the new government allegedly "having Chubais's
teeth", I do not know if the new government has "Chubais's"
teeth or anyone else's teeth. But anyway, I like a government
which has teeth much more than a toothless mumbling government.


//MAY 12, 1998 /RIA NOVOSTI/--
##The real rate of unemployment in Russia "is at least
twice as high as its natural level," Mikhail Shmakov, chairman
of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia, said in
his presentation at the conference entitled The Social
Priorities and Mechanisms of Economic Transformation in Russia,
which was organised by the Federation and the Russian Academy of
sciences. The conference is attended by some 500 representatives
of the local trade union organisations, officials of Moscow's
government and academics. The two-day conference is to focus on
the discussion of a broad range of economic and social problems.
"One should bear in mind that unemployment implies not only
social costs for those who lost their jobs and their families,
but also inflicts economic damage to society," Mikhail Shmakov
stressed in his presentation. In Russia, such annual economic
damage is put at 120 billion roubles, i.e. 15 percent of the
GDP, the trade union leader added.
Yury Roslyak, first vice-premier of the government of
Moscow, delivered a report at a plenary session of the
conference in which he described the current social policy in
Russia as 'a policy lacking clearly defined objectives' which
leads to a situation where the numerous Russian unemployed 'are
capable of producing goods that are currently imported from
foreign countries'. Roslyak cited the World Bank's data
indicating to a close link between the degree of trust to the
establishment and the rate of economic development. According to
the said data, in the countries with a high degree of the public
trust, the GDP growth rate is equal to 2 to 3 percent per year,
while in the countries with a low degree of trust the GDP
declines at 1 percent a year. A similar link may be traced with
regard to investments. In the countries with a high degree of
public trust in the establishment investments annually account
for 18 percent of their GDP. 
Leonid Abalkin, director of the Economics Institute of the
Russian Academy of Sciences, called for scrapping the 'concept
of opposing social and economic effectiveness'. 


Date: Tue, 12 May 1998
For the Hindustan Times
From: Fred Weir in Moscow

MOSCOW (HT May 12) -- In a rare criticism of an old friend,
Russian President Boris Yeltsin said Tuesday that India has
failed Russia by carrying out underground nuclear weapons tests.
"India let us down with its nuclear explosion," the official
ITAR-Tass quoted Mr. Yeltsin as saying during a meeting at the
Russian Foreign Ministry. "But I think that by working in a
diplomatic way, by visits, we must secure a turnaround in their
Kremlin press spokesman Sergei Yastrzhemsky toughened that
statement later, telling journalists that India's unilateral
decision to test nuclear devices is a major setback for hopes of
global non-proliferation.
"We are very displeased by actions of this sort," Mr.
Yastrzhemsky said. "We think that India sooner or later -- better
sooner than later -- will have to join the international
convention on the comprehensive nuclear test ban."
But despite the tone of Russian statements, there was no
indication that Moscow was considering joining any move toward
declaring sanctions or isolating India over the tests.
A Russian foreign ministry spokesman, contacted by the
Hindustan Times, said that Moscow believed that positive measures
could now be used to persuade India to join the nuclear non-
proliferation treaty and the comprehensive test ban treaty.
"We are of course very disappointed by India's decision to
test nuclear weapons, and we are fearful there could now be a
chain reaction of similar testing among other South Asian nuclear
threshhold states," said Valery Nesterushkin, the Russian foriegn
ministry press spokesman.
"But it is extremely important to continue and step up the
process of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. We must seek
diplomatic engagement."
Russia's ministry of atomic energy also deplored the tests
and insisted there had been no nuclear technology transfer from
Russia to India.
But deputy minister of atomic energy, Viktor Mikhailov, said
he hoped contract negotiation to build a Russian light-water
nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu will continue
without hindrance, despite the tests.
``Our contacts with India have very deep roots and the
struggle in the world market for construction of nuclear electric
stations is very stiff, so I hope that the leadership of the
country will reserve this market for us," Mr. Mikhailov said.


Financial Times (UK)
13 May 1998
[for personal use only]
KIRIYENKO: The mockery turns to approval
The hope is his cabinet will be the most effective since Russia's market
changes began, writes Chrystia Freeland

When President Boris Yeltsin of Russia first announced that baby-faced
Sergei Kiriyenko, 35, would lead his new government, the world's initial
response was astonishment. The New Yorker magazine captured the mood with a
cartoon of a little boy announcing proudly into his toy telephone: "Yes,
Boris Nikolaevich, I would be honoured to join the cabinet".
But as Mr Kiriyenko weathered a fraught confirmation battle with the
parliament in April, then assembled his cabinet, the mockery has turned to
approval. Russian reformers and western economists like the ministerial team
Mr Kiriyenko has chosen. Some even dare to hope the new cabinet will be
Russia's most effective and progressive government since those led by Yegor
Gaidar at the outset of Russia's market transformation.
"So far, so good," concluded Christopher Granville, chief strategist at
Fleming UCB, a Moscow-based investment bank. "The new government is lucid,
has a clear grasp of the problems it will face, and the individual members
seem of high quality."
Itogi, an influential Russian news magazine, was bolder, describing the
new cabinet as "a government with the policies of Yegor Gaidar and the teeth
of Anatoly Chubais [the reform guru sacked by Mr Yeltsin last month]".
Mr Kiriyenko, expected to put the finishing touches to his cabinet this
week, has chosen his ministers in his own image: young, provincial and with
business experience in Russia's fledgling market economy. Victor Semyenov,
40, the new agriculture minister, has made a fortune selling beef to
McDonald's. Victor Khristenko, 41, one of a troika of deputy prime
ministers, is a former businessman from Cheliabinsk, in the Urals.
The new government's supporters hope it will be more effective than the
often squabbling and slow-moving team led by Victor Chernomyrdin, the
outgoing prime minister sacked by Mr Yeltsin in March.
"The Chernomyrdin government sought compromise," Mr Chubais said in a
recent interview with the magazine Novoe Vremya. "But now, the president has
chosen conflict. That means we have the chance to form a government able to
take the steps vital for the economy and the country, even if they do not
please the opposition and Berezovsky [a powerful magnate and recently
appointed government official.]"
Mr Granville agreed, pointing out that the new government, in contrast to
Mr Chernomyrdin's battle-scarred team, is largely free of the sins,
controversial friendships and political animosities the previous cabinet
accumulated during the turbulent economic transition of the past few years.
"They've brought in fresh talent, not burdened by battles with the
oligarchs," he said, referring to the bruising bankers' war which helped
discredit the old government.
Over the past few days, Mr Kiriyenko and his cabinet have given some
credence to these hopeful predictions. In a sign that the new government
intended to confront Russia's troubled fiscal situation directly, Mr
Kiriyenko announced last week the state was unable to pay more than a
quarter of its financial obligations. "We must tell the people honestly that
Russia is quite a poor country," he declared.
His ministers took up the baton over the weekend, reiterating government
plans to sack more than 200,000 civil servants. When this was first publicly
floated in the FT in March, it earned its author, Alexei Kudrin, the highly
respected deputy minister of finance, scathing censure from the Kremlin. But
now the new cabinet is in place, the government seems unafraid to admit its
painful reform plans.
Not everyone is convinced the Kiriyenko team will act on its tough
rhetoric. Some Russian analysts doubt the new premier has the long-range
vision to reform Russia's crony capitalism or cope with its economic
dependence on oil exports, the price of which is falling. Others wonder how
long the new team will avoid being entangled in the corporate web which
ultimately immobilised the old cabinet.
In the short term, Mr Kiriyenko's biggest challenge will be to keep the
attention of Russia's sometimes erratic president. When he acts, Mr Yeltsin
is almost always an ally of reform.
But as he ages, he seems increasingly inclined to alternate bursts of
frantic political activity and prolonged professional hibernation. That
would be fatal for Mr Kiriyenko, who will need his backing to cut through
Russia's huge bureaucracy and duel with its powerful regional chieftains.
The presidential race in 2000 draws closer. If Mr Kiriyenko cannot
deliver a prospering economy to the next president, the Kremlin's new master
could choose to abandon the market course.


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