This Date's Issues: 2179 ••
Johnson's Russia ListReturn
to CDI's Home Page I Return
to CDI's Library
15 May 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Yeltsin Warns NATO Against Expansion.
2.. Experts Debate Russia's Future at Columbia University's Harriman
3. RIA Novosti: YEGOR STROEV THINKS BORIS YELTSIN WILL RUN FOR
PRESIDENCY IN 2000.
4. Reuters: Yeltsin, Kiriyenko want Russia to tighten belt.
5. RFE/RL: Russia: Duma To Hold Hearings On Start II Treaty.
6. Rossiiskaya Gazeta: Vladimir Kuchernko, NO MORE EMPTY PROMISES.
7. RIA Novosti: LEBED KEEPS PAPERS ON JUNE '96 SCANDAL WITH MONEY
SMUGGLED OUT OF GOVERNMENT HOUSE.
8. Moscow Times: David McHugh, Duma Feels Deceived By Kremlin Hints.
9. IntellectualCapital.com: Richard Pipes, Russia's Designs on Georgia.
10. Sydney Morning Herald: Geoff Kitney, Clinton sounds bugle for new
11. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: S. Glotov, "Europe Will Take Care of Its Own
12. Itar-Tass: Duma Warns Threat of Regional Conflict in Russian South.
13. Reuters: Russia to tighten nuclear export controls.
14. Argumenty I Fakty: Lyudmila Pivovarova, "Split Expected in Communist
Party of the Russian Federation."
15. AP: Greg Myre: Coal Strikers Block Siberia Railway.
16. Itar-Tass: Stroyev Wants West To Respect Rights of Russians Abroad.
17. Sonia Winter (RFE/RL): Russia: U.S. Leans Away From Sanctions On Iran
Yeltsin Warns NATO Against Expansion
15 May 1998
LONDON -- (Reuters) Russian President Boris Yeltsin (pictured) warned NATO
in an interview published on Friday against inviting the Baltic states or
Ukraine to join the alliance.
Asked how Russia would react if Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania
were asked to join NATO, Yeltsin said he hoped Western powers would be
"realistic" enough not to do it.
"In NATO expansion, there is a red line for Russia which should not be
crossed," the Guardian newspaper quoted him as saying. "Otherwise, European
stability might not withstand the new tension."
Yeltsin also ducked the question of whether he would stand for
re-election in the year 2000. He has previously said he will not do so.
"There are enough difficult problems in the country. They have
priority," the Guardian quoted him as saying. "There are still two years to
go before the election so I wouldn't want to linger over this issue now."
The Russian president, in Britain for a Group of Eight summit over the
weekend, said he wanted to see a "Great Europe" including Russia.
Two months ago, in an interview with Russia's Interfax news agency, NATO
Secretary-General Javier Solana said Russia grudgingly accepted the planned
admission of former Warsaw Pact states Poland, Hungary and the Czech
But the idea that the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania --
on Russia's borders and Soviet republics until 1991 -- might also join was
quite a different matter.
[some text is missing
Experts Debate Russia's Future
13 May 1998
Columbia University's Harriman Institute.
Russia's economy grew 0.4 percent last year. That's the first expansion since
President Boris Yeltsin began to implement economic reforms in 1992, a year
after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The reforms have focused on transferring companies from state ownership to
private hands. But the move toward capitalism has caused many factories to
close and left millions of people without jobs. Those who still work often go
unpaid for months.
Jonathan Sanders, a Moscow correspondent for CBS, said a thriving shadow
economy has absorbed much of the shock suffered by ordinary Russians.
The shadow economy, which ranges from private businesses not officially
registered with the government to individuals who use their private cars as
informal taxis, accounts for almost 50 percent of Russia's economy, according
to some estimates.
Several of those gathered at Columbia's School of International and Public
Affairs pointed to numerous problems that continue to plague Russians. They
include pervasive corruption and the need for legal and tax reform.
Ericson said a bloated military and state sector, a weak banking system with
heavy debt and expensive social welfare services left over from the Soviet
period were absorbing funds that could be used to spark the economy.
``Russia equals capitalism without real capital,'' Ericson said.
Despite the problems, the necessary institutions for economic recovery have
emerged, including a strong central bank, privatization of state-owned
businesses and a stock market, said Professor Padma Desai, another economist
at the Harriman Institute.
YEGOR STROEV THINKS BORIS YELTSIN WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENCY IN 2000
PARIS, MAY 13 /RIA NOVOSTI'S CORRESPONDENTS VICTOR
BEZBREZHNY, VITALI DYMARSKI/ -- Boris Yeltsin will put forward
his candidature for the 2000 presidential elections -- this is
the opinion of Yegor Stroev, chairman of the Russian Federation
Council. "I don't know what Yeltsin's plans are, but I think
that he'll be a candidate for the 2000 presidential elections",
he told Russian and French journalists in Paris today. Yegor
Stroev is now on an official visit in France, heading the
delegation of the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly.
To Yegor Stroev, results of the 2000 election will "depend
not on today's condition of Russia but on its condition at the
moment of voting". "I've never been mistaken", assured the
speaker of the Federation Council.
Asked about possible constitutional justification of Boris
Yeltsin's nomination for a third presidential term, Yegor Stroev
said that "in Russia a juridical norm can always be found, more
so that the Constitution was adopted after Yeltsin had been
elected for his first term".
As regards prospects for the new Russian government, Yegor
Stroev said that the situation is now hard and "these prospects
depend not on one concrete person but on the degree of
complexity facing the cabinet of ministers". In Stroev's view,
in the present conditions it is possible to preserve the
government, hence stability in Russia, through adoption of a
national programme for emergence from crisis, providing for not
only economic steps but also changes to be made in the state
structure. Yegor Stroev said that for the first time in the
government make-up a block will be formed which will specially
focus on industry. He thinks the unrest, which the opposition
promised for autumn, "will pass calmly, without particular
upheavals", if the programme is wisely implemented "at consent
of all society, rather than a narrow group".
Regarding the election campaign under way in the
Krasnoyarsk Territory, Yegor Stroev said that he "quietly looks
at the prospect of Alexander Lebed's possible election as
governor and entering the Federation Council". The Federation
Council is "unique, non-party and quietly stomached Rutskoi and
Starodubtsev", Yegor Stroev said.
Yeltsin, Kiriyenko want Russia to tighten belt
By Andrei Khalip
MOSCOW, May 14 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin met Prime Minister Sergei
Kiriyenko on Thursday to discuss how to help Russia to live within its means,
and later signed a decree stepping up discipline in shaky state finances.
Yeltsin's move came as Russia faced western pressure to tighten its belt
demands for cash from coal miners losing patience over huge wage arrears.
Interfax news agency quoted Yeltsin's press secretary Sergei
saying Kiriyenko, approved by parliament on April 24, had outlined to Yeltsin
his intention to keep government expenses strictly within real revenues.
``The president fully supported this point of view,'' Interfax said.
decree, signed after the meeting, said state expenses must be backed by solid
Before meeting Yeltsin, Kiriyenko told his ministers that none of them
expect special privileges in tough spending curbs.
``Unfortunately...many departments and political forces seem to have an
unclear, double morality, an understanding that the budget is only for
others,'' he said in televised comments during a cabinet session before the
After a decade of steep decline Russia saw its first modest growth in gross
domestic product last year.
Yeltsin, who sacked the previous government in March, has made clear he
the new cabinet to ensure that this growth continued.
Financial turmoil in Asia and falling oil prices together with a lack of
progress in boosting tax revenues have made this task extremely difficult.
The benchmark Russian Trading System (RTS) share index fell more than five
percent on Thursday to a 16-month low. Dealers said this was due to domestic
and Asian economic worries and global market jitters over violence in
A senior visiting U.S. official stressed the need for prudent economic
management in Russia to keep reforms on track, and called the present
situation ``an important moment of challenge.''
``Careful economic management is going to be required in Russia in the
just ahead,'' said U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, referring
to the latest tremors from Asia's financial crisis.
Asia's problems were expected to figure high on the agenda of this
meeting of leaders from the Group of Eight industrial nations in Birmingham,
England, which Yeltsin will attend.
Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov said Russia's economy was ready to
the effects of global market turmoil this year and no financial crisis or
rouble devaluation was expected.
His optimism was overshadowed by protests by hundreds of angry coal
the northern city of Vorkuta, who locked up their bosses and the mayor for a
second day demanding overdue wages.
Several dozen miners in and around Vorkuta were on hunger strike to draw
attention to their plight, and others blocked an important railway line
between Moscow and Vorkuta.
Local trade unions issued a statement saying the government and the
had failed to meet promises to end wage arrears. They said the miners would
demand their resignation as well as the re-nationalisation of the coal
The government has promised to act soon, but Yeltsin's latest decree would
make it hard for the authorities to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars
owed to miners.
Russia: Duma To Hold Hearings On Start II Treaty
Moscow, 14 May 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Russian news agencies report that the
State Duma will hold closed hearings on the Start II nuclear disarmament
treaty. The Duma, however, today rejected setting up a special
commission to pilot the treaty through parliament.
Duma Chairman Gennady Seleznyov said the lower house will hold what he
called "a very responsible" hearing later this month which may decide
the fate of the treaty. Seleznyov said that the defense minister, the
foreign minister, and the atomic energy minister will all attend the
session. He warned, however, that the government has not allocated any
funds to implement any possible reduction in Russia's nuclear arsenal.
Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said today that Russia considers
the proliferation of nuclear weapons, especially in the countries of the
"near abroad," as a serious threat to national security. He said special
export control units will be set up in every company working in the
missile or nuclear fields.
The United States has expressed concern that Russian civil nuclear
contracts in Iran and India could lead to the proliferation of sensitive
The U.S. Senate in January 1996 approved Start II, which provides for a
two-thirds reduction in nuclear arsenals. U.S. President Bill Clinton is
expected to discuss disarmament issues with President Boris Yeltsin on
the sidelines of this weekend's G7 plus Russia summit in Birmingham,
Also today, Prime Minister Sergei Kirienko is expected to meet with
Yeltsin at the president's Gorky-9 residence to discuss cabinet
appointments and budget controls.
Kirienko will present a plan approved by his cabinet earlier today to
ban any additional spending this year unless an alternative revenue
source is found. Kirienko said last week that 26 percent of Russia's
1998 budget was not backed by revenues.
>From RIA Novosti
May 15, 1998
NO MORE EMPTY PROMISES
By Vladimir KUCHERENKO
The Russian Government yesterday met to discuss a sticky
issue: it tried to find a way to suspend laws for which there
are no allocations in this year's budget.
Opening the meeting, Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko said
that these efforts were a major part of his Cabinet's
programme. The first two steps have already been taken: on May
13 the Government passed a resolution that no decision by any
federal ministry or request by any regional authority will be
approved if it requires additional budget expenditures.
President Yeltsin has signed a similar decree.
All these measures aim to prevent unrealistic government
projects and maintain financial stability. The President and
Prime Minister have done their bit, now it's for the parliament
to take the next step.
The Finance Ministry has proposed submitting to the State
Duma a draft law on the implementation of federal laws for
which there are no budget funds. The document demands that all
laws that diminish revenues and create new social benefits
should be suspended until the adoption of next year's budget.
The main target of the proposed legislation is social laws.
When they discuss next year's budget, lawmakers should
decide at whose expense they will finance new laws, the defence
sector or space exploration or science. The kernel of the
matter is that the budget plan adopted by the Government for
the next three years does not envisage any significant growth
in revenues. The draft law also requires that the existing
social programmes receive just what they must from the federal
budget and not a kopeck more.
It is a tough plan: no law should be passed without
indicating the sources of financing it or if it may increase
the budget deficit. Any change in the tax legislation should be
made before the next year's budget is approved. The same
standards are set for the country's "second" budget, the
so-called state extrabudgetary funds. Any increase in payments
out of these funds, especially pensions, should be made before
the budgets of these funds for the next year are approved. In
any case, should a contradiction arise between any law and the
budget law, the latter will prevail.
The spirit of the draft law raised no objections at the
meeting, but not its letter. Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin
believes that the draft law falls foul of Article 55 of the
Russian Constitution, which forbids anyone to deprive citizens
of the rights granted to them. These rights include all social
benefits established by laws and now slated for abolition. So,
Mr. Stepashin argues, the Constitution need be amended to
stabilise the country's finances.
Prime Minister Kiriyenko agreed and instructed the Finance
Ministry to discuss the issue with Constitutional Court experts
in order to avoid any violations of the Constitution. He
believes, however, that the passing of unrealistic social laws
and impracticable benefits constitutes a far more flagrant
violation of civil rights.
All participants in the discussion agreed that the draft
law as it was proposed by the Finance Ministry was impossible
to enact, because it would have been necessary to list all laws
that would have to be suspended until the end of this financial
year. Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Mikhailov even proposed
re-naming the bill, calling it a law on the implementation of
non-working provisions of federal laws. It is no secret, for
example, that almost 10 provisions of the Law on the Status of
Servicemen have never been enforced.
Passed in principle, the draft law has yet to be thrashed
out by government lawyers. It is clear, however, that it won't
be easy to push it through parliament.
LEBED KEEPS PAPERS ON JUNE '96 SCANDAL WITH MONEY
SMUGGLED OUT OF GOVERNMENT HOUSE
KRASNOYARSK, MAY 13 (from RIA Novosti's Boris Ivanov) -
Alexander Lebed keeps in store all papers pertaining to an
alleged attempt to smuggle a large sum in US dollars out of the
federal government premises on the presidential campaign of June
1996, he announced during television debates with Valeri Zubov,
his gubernatorial rival for Siberia's Krasnoyarsk Territory.
Despite the post of federal Security Council Secretary
Lebed was then occupying, and "with all his toughness", Lebed
could not bring the affair to an end, incumbent Zubov
caustically replied to this remark--to which the gubernatorial
hopeful answered that the crime was evident, and reminded that
he had been pestering the Prosecutor-General for resolute moves
throughout the four months he was at the Security Council helm.
"No measures were ever taken. The matter was shelved for another
four months, and then the proceedings stopped in absence of
corpus delicti. But it isn't too late, and we shall be looking
into this dollar affair," Lebed said heavily.
May 15, 1998
Duma Feels Deceived By Kremlin Hints
By David McHugh
Only a month after President Boris Yeltsin hinted that he would reward
State Duma deputies financially for approving his nominee for prime
minister, legislators are complaining that the Kremlin has cut back on
Perhaps they should have got the deal in writing. Sergei Kiriyenko was
confirmed last month as prime minister, but Monday, when Communist Duma
Deputy Yury Voronin needed a government car to get to an important
meeting, he was told the Duma motor pool was short of money and
therefore literally out of gas.
Voronin, who lives in a far-off suburb about an hour's drive west of
town and doesn't have easy access to public transport, managed to obtain
a car after a half-hour's badgering by his staff. But Wednesday he took
the Duma floor to lodge an official complaint to Speaker Gennady
He continued his protest by quitting the committee set up to deal with
the proposed tax code. Other deputies sympathized.
"Maybe it's an exaggerated response on the part of Yury Mihailovich
[Voronin], but he is absolutely right," Deputy Speaker Nikolai Ryzhkov
said. "Parliament is not a commercial structure, it's not a street
kiosk. We need normal circumstances for legislative work."
It's not the first time there have been interruptions in Duma services
due to shaky financial support. Speaker Seleznyov has complained about
the problem from time to time, and there have been two other recent
interruptions in transport services, the Kommersant Daily newspaper
Deputies were sent a letter Friday last week informing them of a
temporary lack of transport due to the lower house of parliament's shaky
finances, though apparently Voronin missed it. Most rank and file
deputies don't rely on official cars, but are bussed between their
apartments and the Duma building on Okhotny Ryad near the Kremlin.
The financial crunch must be a disappointment to deputies. On April 14,
at the height of the fight with the Duma over Kiriyenko's confirmation,
Yeltsin suggested that the top Kremlin official in charge of providing
housing and accommodation to officials would "address the questions" of
deputies after the vote. The televised hint was widely interpreted as a
prom ise of largess. Kiriyenko was duly approved on April 24 with 251
votes, 25 more than needed.
Alexander Shokhin, head of the Our Home Is Russia faction, said the real
issue was not the gas shortage for the Duma motor pool but why Yeltsin
is apparently not reporting to the Duma about unilateral cuts in the
budget -- something the president promised to do as part of the
compromise that resulted in passage of the budget in March.
Shokhin cited Kiriyenko's statement last week in a newspaper interview
that the government could not pay for 26 percent of its budget
obligations in all areas.
The final budget language permitted Yeltsin to make cuts across the
board, so long as he informed the Duma and the mass media within three
days. Shokhin noted drily that the Kremlin at least kept half the
promise. "The news media was notified on the first day, but the Duma so
far has received nothing," he said.
Russia's Designs on Georgia
by Richard Pipes
May 14, 1998
As is generally known, Russia has had great difficulty adjusting to the
fact that its empire, built by conquest over centuries, disappeared in
1991, depriving it of rich borderlands and nearly half its population.
The difficulty is in no small measure psychological for the Russians
have always derived great pride from the fact that their state was the
largest in the world. Regaining status as a global power, in their mind,
entails regaining, in one way or another, the separated borderlands.
Pipelines and power politics
These psychological factors are reinforced by economic interests which
are especially intense in the region of the Caspian Sea where immense
reserves of oil and gas have been discovered. Moscow seems to have
reconciled itself, at least for now, to the loss of these energy
resources to the republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
But it insists that the pipelines from this region run through its
territory for loading on tankers at the port city of Novorossiisk on the
This proposal has met with stiff resistance from some foreign
governments and the international energy consortia. There is fear that
in the event of a crisis, Russia would turn off the pipeline taps. The
Turks do not wish a steady stream of tankers, liable to accidents and
spills, to pass through the vulnerable Straits. An alternative route
crosses Iran, but this is staunchly opposed by the United States on
Hence, the preferred routes projected for full development early in the
next century run from Azerbaijan either to the Black Sea port of Supsa
and from there to northern Turkey, or else entirely overland to northern
Turkey, each terminating at the eastern Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.
Both will traverse Georgia. Moscow adamantly opposes such routes and
resorts to its traditional strong-arm methods against Georgia to force
These methods take two forms. One is physically to eliminate Georgia's
president, Eduard Shevardnadze, and replace him with someone more
pliable. Two attempts have been made on Shevardnadze's life since he had
been elected president -- one in 1995, the other this year -- each of
which he fortunately survived. They were professionally organized, and
the would-be assassins fled to Russia with the help of Russian air units
stationed on Georgian soil. When he returned from a visit to Turkey in
April, Shevardnadze's Georgian military jets failed to accompany his
plane, as planned. It turned out that they were stationed at a Russian
air base, unable to fly because sand had been placed in their engines.
While the Georgians do not officially blame the Russians for
masterminding these acts of terror and sabotage, they come close to
doing so unofficially.
Russia also uses political pressure to restore its influence over
Georgia. Shortly after Georgia had gained independence, a small minority
nation, the Abkhaz, who occupy most of Georgia's Black Sea littoral,
rebelled, claiming independence. Moscow promptly took advantage of this
uprising by arming the Abkhaz and having its troops stand by while the
Abkhaz massacred and expelled some 200,000 Georgian residents. The
Abkhaz recently have put the world on notice that unless their claim to
independence is recognized, they will disable any oil pipeline running
across or near their territory. Such threats and the fear of instability
in Georgia are delaying plans for the construction of the projected
The Georgians are doing their best to shake off Russian domination and
force the withdrawal of 15,000 Russian troops stationed on their soil,
but theirs is a small country confronting a mighty neighbor. They are
forming economic and even military alliances with Turkey and Azerbaijan.
They receive a certain amount of support from Washington, but the
distracted Clinton administration shows little decisiveness in
confronting Russian expansionism in the Caucasus or in any other part of
what used to be the Soviet Union.
This does not bode well for the future of a region that has some of the
most valuable energy resources in the world.
Richard Pipes is a professor of history and has previously served as
director of Russian studies at Harvard University. He is a contributing
editor of IntellectualCapital.com.
Sydney morning herald
May 15, 1998
[for personal use only]
Clinton sounds bugle for new Russian revolution
By GEOFF KITNEY, Herald Correspondent in Berlin
In the place where two presidents of the United States made clarion
calls for the end of Soviet communism and the reunification of eastern
and western Europe, President Bill Clinton has called on Western powers
to help ensure the success of the "new Russian revolution".
Calling it "the opportunity of generations" and "a magic moment in
history", Mr Clinton said the 1,000-year-old dream of a free, peaceful
and united continental Europe embracing Russia and offering the hope of
a peaceful world was within reach for the first time.
Not far from the Schau-spielhaus in which Mr Clinton delivered his
speech, presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan made landmark
speeches focusing on the Soviet Union. Similarly, Russia was Mr
Clinton's major focus.
However, more than eight years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the
collapse of communism his pitch was to the world to help Russia grow
stronger rather than try to weaken it.
"Russia is literally reincarnating itself, using the tools of openness
and reform to strengthen new freedom and restrain those who abuse them,"
"We must support this Russian revolution."
White House officials said Mr Clinton's speech, overshadowed by nuclear
tests in India this week, was a rallying call to European leaders to
grab the opportunity for new, stable strategic foundations for Europe.
Mr Clinton said the post-Cold War structure of Europe was now taking
firm shape, with the creation of the single European currency, the
decision to expand NATO to include former Eastern Bloc countries and the
inclusion of Russia in the major forum of Western leaders, the former
Group of Seven.
However, there were threats to the chance of a new era of peace and
security, including right-wing extremism and ultra-nationalism, he said.
Referring to India's nuclear tests, Mr Clinton said major Western powers
needed to work together to deal with threats to security, including the
spread of weapons of mass destruction, ethnic violence and regional
He gave a prod to European leaders over their decision earlier this year
not to invite Turkey, a NATO member, to take part in talks about joining
the European Union and the single currency. The decision has increased
tensions between Turkey and Greece, which is already an EU member.
Mr Clinton praised Chancellor Helmut Kohl for helping bring about German
reunification and for leading the way in trying to bring Russia into the
fold of Western democracy.
Primakov Draws 'Red Line' Limit for NATO
12 May 1998
[translation for personal use only]
Report by S. Glotov, Russian Federation State Duma deputy and
deputy chairman of the Anti-NATO Commission: "Europe Will Take Care
of Its Own Security"
The international conference "A New Security Architecture in Europe"
held in Moscow ended with a 90- minute conversation between European
parliamentarians and Russian Federation Foreign Minister Yevgeniy Primakov.
The conference was organized by the Anti-NATO Commission in the State Duma
(Sergey Baburin is chairman), the Russian Foreign Ministry, and Yu. Luzhkov
and Yu. Petrov's Russian Movement for New Socialism.
The first day of the conference was held in the State Duma, with
reports delivered by the following: G. Seleznev, chairman of the Russian
parliament [as published]; J. Petersen (Norway), one of the leaders of the
North Atlantic parliamentary assembly; Colonel General A. Manilov, deputy
chief of the Russian Army General Staff; D. Ryurikov, advisor to the
Federation Council Chairman; parliamentary deputies from Hungary, the Czech
Republic, Poland, the Baltic countries, Britain, and France; and Russian
and foreign experts.
The second day of the international conference was held under the
patronage of the Moscow Mayor's Office, leaders of the Russian Movement for
New Socialism, and activists from the Russian National Union.
In just two days, the conference was addressed by 60 delegates from 19
countries, which in itself is evidence of the high level of the event.
The majority of speakers were opposed to the eastward expansion of the
NATO military-political bloc. Alternative ways of strengthening European
security were proposed in this connection. They included strengthening the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and UN military
structures and giving a boost to the Council of Europe and other
international organizations. The idea was clearly expressed that, in a
unipolar world, overintense U.S. military activity poses a threat to peace
in Europe. Moreover, the United States is looking increasingly like "the
world gendarme in Europe," even though Europe is perfectly capable of
looking after its own security.
Many of the conference participants were looking forward to the
meeting with Yevgeniy Primakov. They were not disappointed in their
expectations. The minister gave a fairly detailed account of Russia's
negative views on the expansion of NATO. As he stressed, Foreign Ministry
archive documents clearly show that the USSR and Russia were given repeated
assurances in 1990-1992 that NATO would not expand. These assurances were
given, in particular, by Francois Mitterrand (France), Helmut Kohl
(Germany), John Major (Britain), and James Baker (the United States)
primarily in order to secure our agreement to the reunification of Germany.
These promises were subsequently forgotten and the course was set for
creating the NATO of a centrist Europe [sozdaniye nato tsentristskoy
According to the minister, it was hard even to reach agreement on the
contents of the Founding Act between Russia and NATO. It required seven
meetings with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana (35 hours of talks) and
12 meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to minimize the
consequences of the uninspired Foreign Ministry and state position with
regard to NATO in 1992- 1995.
As we know, there is now agreement between the Russian Federation and
NATO not to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members of the
alliance (Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, and others) or to develop
the military infrastructure for this purpose. Military subunits must not
be moved on a threatening scale. But all this, of course, is of little
comfort when faced with an expanding NATO.
According to Yevgeniy Primakov, there is a "red line" which Russia
cannot allow NATO to cross. That "red line" is the acceptance of Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania into the military bloc. If these states were
accepted, the Russian Federation's reaction would have to be appropriately
harsh and its relations with NATO radically reviewed.
Naturally, not only the subject of NATO but European security as a
whole concerned the participants in the discussion with the Russian foreign
Our colleagues -- deputies from the Baltic countries A. Medalinskas
(Lithuania) and I. Edvins (Latvia) -- questioned Yevgeniy Maksimovich in
detail about Russian "sanctions" against Latvia. The minister explained
that no one has introduced any sanctions yet, in the hope that Latvian
deputies and the Latvian authorities will show good sense. They must
change Latvian legislation on citizenship so that the republic's 700,000
Russian- speaking inhabitants (28 percent of the total population) are not
treated as second-class citizens. At present, only a handful of regions of
Russia (Kurgan, Saratov, Samara, and a number of others) and some private
organizations and citizens are taking part in the boycott of Latvian goods,
but, if there is no change in the human rights situation, Russian state
bodies and organizations will also become involved. The Russian Federation
State Duma is known to be calling for precisely this.
It was gratifying to see I. Edvins, chairman of the Latvian Saeima
European Affairs Commission, trying to find out from Yevgeniy Primakov
exactly what the Latvian side needs to do in order to soften Russia's
stance. Perhaps Latvian deputies really have begun to realize that new
forms of apartheid at the end of the 20th century are unacceptable. Time
will tell whether this is true.
Duma Warns Threat of Regional Conflict in Russian South
Moscow, May 12 (Itar-Tass) -- A threat of a serious regional conflict
is possible in southern Russia, head of the Duma international committee
Vladimir Lukin told Itar-Tass on Tuesday [12 May] when commenting on Boris
Yeltsin's speech at the Foreign Ministry.
"I think that the Caspian problem can also pose a threat to our
country under certain unfavorable circumstances," he noted.
A nuclear war threat is "unlikely but it has not disappeared. Recent
nuclear tests in an Asian country are a proof to that," Lukin said.
A threat of a conventional war in Europe is unlikely as well, "but I
cannot say it has disappeared," Lukin said. "Many old threats are really
gone, but new threats have appeared, including those in the East, where
they are possible under certain circumstances."
As for the multipolar world as a factor of the modern international
relations, Lukin agrees with Yeltsin that a swift progress towards the
multipolar world will not automatically ruin security threats. "The
admission of the multipolar world by the leading countries does not give a
guarantee from a war," Lukin said. It is important to take into account the
balance of interests of multipolar countries, he noted.
Russia shall strive for that and the overcoming of its own economic
crisis, the parliament member said. "We shall carry out such a foreign
policy to be maximum cheap and maximum efficient in places which are the
most important and delicate for us," he noted.
Lukin is perplexed by the fact that staffers of the Duma international
committee were not invited to attend the president's meeting at the Foreign
Ministry. "The committee is very much surprised at that," he said. The
committee always invites representatives of the executive authorities,
including high-ranking officials from the Foreign Ministry, to its most
important meetings. "Such facts do not become our executive power," Lukin
FOCUS-Russia to tighten nuclear export controls
MOSCOW, May 14 (Reuters) - Russia will tighten export controls on missile and
nuclear technologies by setting up specialist monitoring units in the
companies concerned, the Kremlin said on Thursday.
The move was presented as part of a policy promoted by President Boris Yeltsin
to improve regulation of trade in goods that could have military uses.
Officials declined to connect the announcement to the nuclear weapons tests
carried out this week by India, long one of Moscow's closest allies.
``The proliferation of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction,
of technologies for producing them and the means of delivery, especially in
countries adjacent and near to Russia, are considered a serious threat to
Russia's security,'' press secretary Sergei Yastrzhembsky told Itar-Tass news
A spokeswoman confirmed the remarks. The Kremlin declined, however, to say
whether the Indian test blast, which Russia has joined other powers in
condemning, had prompted the statement.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin, asked about the new controls,
said he was not aware of any link to India.
``The government has already issued a resolution tightening control over the
export of dual-purpose technologies,'' he noted, referring to civilian
technology, such as nuclear power reactors, which could have military uses.
Yeltsin told Russian diplomats in a keynote foreign policy speech on Tuesday:
``It is important to stick to the proper balance between the interests of
national security and real economic potential.''
He added: ``This can be achieved through tight and uncompromising control of
the movement of dangerous materials and technologies both abroad and in our
Yastrzhembsky said that, under the new order, special export control units
would be set up in every company working in the missile or nuclear fields as
part of an overall national security strategy approved by Yeltsin last
The collapse of the Soviet superpower impoverished thousands of weapons
scientists and military and industrial personnel with access to sensitive
technology, creating temptations to offer expertise or material to high-paying
But Moscow has repeatedly denied recent allegations by Israel and the United
States that Russian nuclear and missile technology is discreetly finding its
way to Iran, where Russia is helping build a nuclear power station.
Soviet engineers worked with India in developing civilian nuclear facilities
although Moscow, as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has
always strenuously denied providing any military nuclear technology to New
Russian Paper Views Possible Split in Communist Party
Argumenty I Fakty, No. 20
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Lyudmila Pivovarova in the "Under the Carpet" column
entitled "Split Expected in Communist Party of the Russian
We have learned that the forthcoming plenum of the Communist Party of
the Russian Federation [CPRF] Central Committee may adopt a resolution on
forming a Leninist- Stalinist platform in the CPRF. The initiative comes
from a group of Communists close to the party leadership. In their
opinion, since the fourth CPRF congress, the party leadership "has become
increasingly influenced by national-reformist and religious- democratic
views and has departed further from Leninist principles of party building.
A pernicious trend in which the tasks of the CPRF are reduced to 'getting
into office' has also started to emerge."
If the resolution is adopted, one of the consequences may be a
division of the posts of chairman of the Central Committee, head of the
faction in the Duma and chairman of the People's Patriotic Union of Russia.
In fact, the target of the resolution is Gennadiy Zyuganov, the CPRF
leader who currently holds all three posts. And that is "just for
starters." It is possible that there will be an attempt to elect a new
Communist leader at the next congress. Discontent with his performance has
been growing for a long time. Zyuganov stands accused of creating an
"apparatus faction" with a monopoly on influencing regional party
organizations and of actions intended to cause a split in order to destroy
the left wing of the party.
And that is not likely to be all. There has long been talk in CPRF
ranks of a possible split in the party into several components. It looks as
is there is good reason for such talk. It has emerged that in the very
near future there may be an attempt to irritate the orthodox Leninists by
setting up an opposing wing, which may be called the "Social Democratic
Platform in the CPRF."
Coal Strikers Block Siberia Railway
By Greg Myre
May 15, 1998
MOSCOW (AP) -- About 1,000 striking coal miners stood on the tracks of the
Trans-Siberian railway today and blocked more than 50 trains, one of
several protests by restive miners demanding back pay.
Dozens of mines in Russia and neighboring Ukraine have been shut down since
last week, when miners went on strike to demand wages that are up to six
Meanwhile, Communists in Russia's parliament demanded that Prime Minister
Sergei Kiriyenko appear before the legislature to explain what the
government was doing to solve the chronic problem.
Kiriyenko did not show up immediately, but Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister
Alexander Yevtushenko told lawmakers the government was working to ease
tensions and pay off wage arrears. He put the overall wage debt at $600
In the central Siberian town of Anzhero-Sudzhensk, miners blocked the
Trans-Siberian railway, joined by several hundred municipal and state
workers who also have gone months without pay. By afternoon, 50 passenger
and freight trains were backed up outside the town.
``We have cut off the Trans-Siberian (railway) because our demands have
not been met,'' the strikers said in a statement that also demanded a
meeting with the regional governor, Aman Tuleyev.
The railway, which runs thousands of miles from Moscow to the country's
east coast, passes through the center of Anzhero-Sudzhensk.
A similar protest occurred in the northern town of Inta, where strikers
again blockaded a rail line today after allowing several trains to pass
overnight, Russian news agencies reported.
Farther north in Vorkuta, angry miners have barricaded their bosses inside
their offices and say they will not be allowed out until workers are paid.
Many of the mines in Russia and Ukraine are unprofitable and rely on
government subsidies to remain open.
Yevtushenko, the deputy energy minister, said there were 240 money-losing
coal mines in Russia, and 140 were to be closed over the next six years.
Russian and Ukrainian governments had been reluctant to shut mines because
there are few jobs available in the stagnant economies of the two countries.
Stroyev Wants West To Respect Rights of Russians Abroad
PARIS, May 13 (Itar-Tass) - Russian upper house speaker Yegor Stroyev
on Wednesday urged the West to pay more attention to the rights of Russian
diasporas "as intensively as it is done regarding other nations."
Stroyev, who chairs the Federation Council chamber of the parliament,
is in France on an official visit.
"The West keeping a lengthy silence on (infringement of) rights of the
Russian-speaking population overseas, including in the Baltic states,
creates a comfortless situation."
"Now, over 25 millions of Russians are living outside Russia, and we
would like to ask why their rights are not defended as intensively as it is
done regarding other nations."
Russia: U.S. Leans Away From Sanctions On Iran Deals
By Sonia Winter
Washington, 15 May 1998 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. officials are giving strong
signals that Russia's Gazprom and other companies involved in an
international consortium to develop Iran's energy sector will not be
penalized by Washington.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Martin Indyk
told a congressional committee Thursday that after months of deliberation,
the Administration is on the verge of reaching a decision about the
sanctions. It could come within days, he said.
The dilemma for the U.S. arose last September when the group of French,
Russian and Malaysian oil companies, led by France's Total, signed a deal
with Iran worth $2 billion to develop large gas reserves in the Persian Gulf.
A 1996 U.S. law calls for sanctions on foreign companies making major
investments in Iran's energy sector because of that country's support for
international terrorism and nuclear weapons program. But the law can be
Indyk emphasized that the purpose of the legislation is to encourage
international cooperation against states sponsoring terrorism. He said this
will be a factor in the sanctions decision, emphasizing that the U.S.
cannot fight terrorism alone and needs the cooperation of other countries.
He also noted that many European governments are vigorously opposed to the
Indyk commented in testimony before a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations
subcommittee. inquiring into U.S. policy towards Iran.
Committee chairman Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) said the sanctions
should be imposed. In view of Iran's terrorist activities, "it cannot
possibly be in U.S. interests to grant a waiver," he said.
Brownback and 11 other U.S. Senators, including Majority Speaker Trent Lott
(R-Mississippi) and Jesse Helms (R- North Carolina), chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee, last week sent a letter to President Bill
Clinton urging him to impose the sanctions. The measures would prohibit the
consortium companies from exporting to the U.S. and from getting major
loans from American banks.
Brownback brought a map to the hearing to demonstrate that Iran is pursuing
what he called "expansionist desires" in more than 21 countries.
He said he is particularly disturbed by Iran's growing economic and
ideological influence in some of the former Soviet republics.
Brownback said he has been to the Caucasus and last month visited
Uzbekistan and other places in the region. "I am very concerned about the
expansion of groups supported by Iran in Central Asia and the South
Caucasus in these weak, weak countries," he said.
Indyk agreed that Iran is still the leading supporter of terrorism in the
world. But he said there has been some improvement since President Mohammad
Khatami came to power a year ago.
As Indyk put it "the government of Iran has made an effort to reach out,
particularly to its neighbors ...and to try to turn a new page in their
He said the U.S. is hearing from the region that Iran's activity in support
of subversive groups in neighboring countries appears to be declining.
Indyk said Iran's relationship with the U.S. could also improve. "We
believe the prospects for change are there," he said.
But Indyk stressed that Khatami would have to reform Iran's domestic as
well as foreign policies and it is not yet clear how far he can go against
the conservative clergy that occupies key positions of power in the
military, police, security and intelligence forces.
Indyk said the U.S. remains deeply concerned about three basic areas --
Iran's human rights record, its continuing effort to train and equip
terrorist groups, and most of all Teheran's pursuit of long-range ballistic
missiles. He said one of the highest U.S. priorities is to block Iran's
ability to acquire the technology and materials necessary to develop
weapons of mass destruction and missile systems.
Indyk said in this regard the U.S. has made real progress with China and
Ukraine in restricting their nuclear cooperation with Iran.
He also praised Russia for taking some steps "to shut down the cooperation
Iran has received from Russian companies for its Shehab long-range missile
Indyk said President Boris Yeltsin has made what he called "strong, helpful
comments" on the need to enforce export controls to deter Russian companies
from selling missile technology to Iran.
Indyk said however, that the U.S. feels more needs to be done and will
continue to pursue this issue "with the greatest vigor" with the new
The White House has said President Bill Clinton will discuss Russia's
missile technology sales to Iran at a bilateral meeting with Yeltsin
scheduled for Sunday after a summit of leading industrial nations in the
English town of Birmingham.
At the hearing Thursday, Indyk summarized U.S. policy towards Iran, saying
: "our basic purpose is to persuade Iran that it cannot have it both ways:
it cannot benefit from participation in the international community while
at the same time going around threatening the interests of other states. It
cannot improve its relations and standing in the West and in the Middle
East while at the same time pursuing policies that threaten the peace and
stability of a vital region."
He said the U.S. will continue to press for strengthened international
cooperation to counter the threat of Iranian weapons of mass destruction,
terrorism and to address the human rights situation in Iran. These are
issues of fundamental import to the United States," Indyk said.