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Johnson's Russia List
18 June 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Adam Tanner, Chubais, Russia's political phoenix,
2. Financial Times (UK): John Thornhill, Recall for Chubais in
bid to encourage investors.
3. Reuters: Philippa Fletcher, Tsar burial controversy blamed on
4. Stephen Shenfield: Limonov.
5. Mark Ames: Limonov.
6. Moscow Times editorial: State Must Crack Whip On Oligarchs.
7. Moscow Times: Andrei Piontkovsky, SEASON OF DISCONTENT:
NATO, Russia Risk Repeating Old Mistakes.
8. The Independent (UK): Phil Reeves, Shy governor is contender for
Kremlin. (Dmitry Ayatskov of Saratov).
9. Christian Science Monitor: Judith Matloff, Russia May Raise Walls
10. Itar-Tass: Russian Communists Do Not Back Allies Against 'Third
11. Tokyo Asagumo: Japanes National Institute of Defense Studies
Analyst on Russian Regions.
12. RIA Novosti: RUSSIAN INDUSTRIAL POLICY WILL BE PURSUED IN TWO
STAGES, SAYS FIRST DEPUTY ECONOMICS MINISTER.
13. Interfax: Democratic Union Leader Wants Yeltsin Reelected in 2000.]
Chubais, Russia's political phoenix, rises again
By Adam Tanner
MOSCOW, June 17 (Reuters) - Anatoly Chubais, named Russia's chief negotiator
to world financial institutions on Wednesday with status of deputy prime
minister, is the leading and most enduring free-market reformer of the post-
Part of the original team of whizz kids plotting out the road to capitalism
after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, he has proved himself a phoenix
of Russian politics, rising after every fall.
On Wednesday, Russian President Boris Yeltsin named Chubais his special
representative to negotiate with international financial bodies. It was the
third time the economist has joined Yeltsin's government team.
A Kremlin statement said Chubais, who heads electricity monopoly United Energy
Systems, would coordinate Russia's dealings with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
The new post brings Chubais to the forefront of an area vital to the Russian
economy. But the burden of sometimes overwhelming responsibility is hardly new
to the 43-year-old.
Chubais's latest fall from grace started in November when he lost his job as
finance minister after revelations that he was one of several who had taken
$90,000 each to write a scholarly tome on privatisation. The book has yet to
His image as an honest, uncompromising political fighter was badly tarnished,
but he retained his post as first deputy prime minister until March.
In 1996, Chubais was removed from the same post as first deputy premier, where
he had been the last survivor from the original team in charge of Russian
reforms since 1992.
Long a favourite whipping-boy of the anti-reform majority in the lower house
of parliament, Chubais authored the country's privatisation programme that
turned most Soviet state assets into private hands.
His youthful, dapper appearance and aggressive, modern style has often grated
with older-style government officials. Chubais was a pioneer, for example, in
bringing a laptop computer to government meetings and doing his own research
on the Internet.
Such attributes have helped make him a favourite of Western investors, who
have looked to the economist to help Russia ride through recent financial
As often in his career, the red-haired Chubais takes over his latest job
during a time of crisis. Foreign investors, wary of emerging markets against a
background of continued Asian problems, remain very worried about Russia's
public finances, given mounting debt servicing costs and poor tax collection.
An International Monetary Fund delegation is due to hold talks in Moscow next
week on possible extra help for Russia as it grapples with its financial
Chubais was already involved last month by travelling to Washington at the
height of Russia's financial crisis for talks with U.S. treasury officials,
the IMF and World Bank.
Political sources said the new rank of deputy prime minister would give
Chubais the political weight his new role required, but would not mean he
would sit in Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko's cabinet.
In late April, the reformer was appointed on Thursday to head Russia's vast
electricity monopoly, and he is expected to keep the position alongside his
The UES job is also important for Russian development as the electricity giant
is an lifeline of the economy, with its debts from private companies, schools,
hospitals and barracks part of the web of debts strangling the post-communist
Chubais first joined the government in 1992, and he doggedly pushed through
Russia's "sale of the century" privatisation campaign, hailed by the West as a
rare tangible manifestation of market reforms and condemned by the opposition
as selling off the motherland on the cheap.
His first great fall came in January 1996. After landslide gains for the
Communists in parliamentary elections, Yeltsin sacked him, saying: "Chubais is
to blame for everything."
Chubais's comeback started within a month, when he helped mastermind an almost
miraculous election comeback for the ailing president. He was then named
Kremlin chief-of-staff after Yeltsin's comfortable victory over his Communist
Financial Times (UK)
18 June 1998
[for personal use only]
RUSSIA: Recall for Chubais in bid to encourage investors
By John Thornhill in Moscow
President Boris Yeltsin on Wednesday entrusted Anatoly Chubais with
special responsibility for co-ordinating Russia's relations with
international financial institutions ahead of critical talks with the
International Monetary Fund next week.
Mr Chubais's appointment marks a rapid return to favour for Russia's
best-known and most controversial reformer after he was sacked as first
deputy prime minister in March.
The appointment of Mr Chubais is clearly designed to regain the
confidence of international investors, who have been deserting Russia
following the financial turmoil in Asia.
The appointment came as international capital markets were rife with
rumours that Russia was gearing up for a large foreign borrowing
programme this week. Market sources suggested Chase Manhattan, J.P.
Morgan and Goldman Sachs had been softening up the market for a 30-year
eurobond of up to $2bn. The Russian government has said it will raise
extra funds abroad to restructure its expensive domestic debt but has
not yet awarded any mandates. The finance ministry on Wednesday
cancelled two of three domestic debt auctions, saying it was not
prepared to borrow at excessively high rates.
One government official said Mr Chubais's role would be to co-ordinate
the financial branches of government - which have appeared to be working
at odds with each other at times during the latest crisis - and to
communicate a clear message more effectively. "It is very good for the
reformers in the government and for the country as a whole," he said.
"But the fact that Chubais has had to return highlights the problem of
the organisation of work within the government."
Mr Chubais will assume the lead role in negotiating with the IMF over
additional financial support. The IMF is already backing Russia with a
$9.2bn support loan.
But several parliamentary leaders strongly criticised Mr Chubais's
appointment because of his past involvement in Russia's controversial
privatisation programme and his tough "sado-monetarist" policies while
in charge of the economy.
Pyotr Rodionov, deputy chairman of Gazprom, the gas monopoly, also
questioned Mr Chubais's new role. "I think those people who consulted
with the president before this decision were a little confused in their
assessment of the business qualities of Anatoly Borisovich," he said.
Mr Chubais has been given the rank of a deputy prime minister but will
not formally join the government. He will also retain his job as head of
Unified Energy Systems, the electricity monopoly.
Tsar burial controversy blamed on Russia's past
By Philippa Fletcher
MOSCOW, June 17 (Reuters) - Russia will grant a ``reverential'' funeral for
its last tsar next month despite fierce controversy that reflects the
country's totalitarian past, an official said on Wednesday.
The planned burial of the remains of Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra and three
of their five children on July 17 has been embroiled in problems since its
inception, and arrangements have been scaled down significantly.
Viktor Aksyuchits, an aide to Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov who heads
the government commission organising the funeral, expressed regret over the
difficulties, which include a public row among surviving relatives of the
``Of course it would be desirable that this event was on as big a scale as
possible but the way it will be reflects the state of our society, the
country, the moral and spiritual state of its citizens,'' he said.
``It's clear we haven't completely cured ourselves of many decades of
totalitarianism, but the act of the funeral itself is more important than what
form it takes. The main thing is that the funeral is not so pompous but
reverential and pious.''
Nicholas II, his wife, children and family servants were shot by the
Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg in the Urals in July 1918, the year after the tsar
was toppled in the Russian Revolution.
Their bones, discovered in 1991, have been subjected to exhaustive tests to
prove their authenticity. But Patriarch Alexiy II, head of the Russian
Orthodox Church, has refused to officiate at the funeral because of doubts
about whether they really belonged to the imperial family.
President Boris Yeltsin, who initially took charge of the funeral arrangements
in a bid to present himself as a force for reconciliation, will also not
attend, say officials.
The arrangements have since been scaled back, partly over the political
sensitivity of the event and partly because of the economic crisis which has
cut available funds.
Aksyuchits said the government did not regret its decision to bury the remains
on the 80th anniversary of the imperial family's murder.
``This event allows all the country's citizens to remember their history and
their civic, moral and religious duty,'' he said.
Popular Russian daily Moskovsky Komsomolets called it ``the 20th century's
strangest funeral,'' citing the absence of president and patriarch and rows
between the relatives over who will attend.
It also noted that a shortage of funds meant the coffins had not been paid for
and memorial plaques had to be made of wood rather than marble.
``The likelihood is that Russia will never again bury a tsar.
It's the last burial of the last emperor, even if he had abdicated. But we
were unable to bury even the last one on the appropriate level,'' the paper
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998
From: Stephen Shenfield <Stephen_Shenfield@Brown.edu>
>Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998
>From: "William K. Wolf" <Wolf.firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re Limonov in the eXile
Thank you for including Limonov's piece. I found it of real value for my
research into the rise of fascism in Russia. As chairman of the National
Bolshevik Party, Limonov is a political figure of some (albeit not very
great) political significance. For instance, the NBP are active among
student activists, they have been suspected of various acts of terrorism
etc.. It is important for those following Russian affairs to have some idea
of the thinking, attitudes and feelings of such people, however rude,
racist or incoherent they may be. Even the swearing is by no means
superfluous: it is necessary to convey the intensity of Limonov's feeling.
Those who read Russian culture listserves may already be familiar with all
this, but many of your subscribers do not read them.
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 1998
From: "Mark Ames" <email@example.com>
The following is a letter I sent to William Wolf of OSU in response to his
request to ban Edward Limonov from the Johnson's List.
Dear Mr. Wolf,
I read your attack on Limonov and thought you might like to know why
Limonov was posted. He is, after Solzhenitsyn, perhaps the best-known
living writer in Russia. He is far more loathed than Solzhenitsyn, but in
many ways more relevant. His political party, the National-Bolshevik Party,
which is based on ideologies combining far-left and far-right revolutionary
theories from the 20s and 30s, claims a few thousand members scattered
throughout a number of regions in Russia, mostly with young people. His
influence is considered valid by the radical opposition; evidence of this
comes from last autumn's alliance formed between the National-Bolsheviks,
Viktor Anpilov's radical-left Trudovaya Rossiya party, and
Stanislav Terekhov's Officer's Union party, who will participate together
under one political
bloc in the upcoming Duma elections in 1999. In the last
elections, Anpilov's party came within a hair of making the 5 percent
barrier, outpolling even Gaidar's Democratic Choice, while Limonov served
as a Duma deputy from 1993 to 1995. It is thought that the
Limonov-Anpilov-Terekhov bloc has a very good chance of making the list
this time around, as people defect from Liberal Democratic Party and the
As a writer, Limonov is one of the most widely-read living Russian writers.
His works have been translated into over 20 languages, including Hebrew,
Estonian, and Japanese. His works are taught in graduate seminars in
Western European universities, and his first novel, Eto Ya, Editchka, which
was banned for 15 years in Russia, sold over 500,000 copies when it was
first published here in late 1991. This year, he has published a large
non-fiction work in Russian, and will begin issuing his collected works of
prose and poetry in a multi-volume set.
You ask why David Johnson published Limonov's piece? Because he is
relevant, that is why. His style and views may be offensive and repulsive;
Limonov insisted to me, when he first started writing for our paper, that
he write in his distinctly Russified-English (he hasn't lived in America
1980) in order to capture his authentic voice. I think that to knowingly
publish articles with grammatical errors is a bold, even avant-garde
move that no other pretentious writer in the world would have the nerve to
do, and I don't think that this very authenticity, or lack of "civility,"
should be a cause to censor him from the Johnson List, even if a few
middlebrow-types get quesy.
The Johnson List, as I understand it, is a forum for scholars, journalists,
and various Russophiles/Russophobes to learn as much about what is
currently going on in Russia as possible. For tips on how to carry on
"civil" discussions, go to a Miss Manners board; if you only want to read
those opinions that don't upset you, then skip over any Johnson List
article datelined "the eXile". Otherwise, I think it would be absurd to
deprive readers the right to read what the "radical opposition" thinks
about today's state of things.
June 18, 1998
EDITORIAL: State Must Crack Whip On Oligarchs
Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko is in grave danger of turning into a
bigger stooge for Russia's financial oligarchs than his predecessor.
At a closed meeting Tuesday evening, he met a group of arbitrarily
selected financiers to secure their support for a package of anti-crisis
It is not clear what emerged from that meeting except the proposal that
Anatoly Chubais get some special role as an interface between Russia and
international financial institutions.
The merits of that proposal are moot: Chubais already has a crucial job
running Unified Energy Systems, one of the country's biggest companies,
and the decision to bring him back into the government only two months
after he left looks like panic. After all, Chubais is not a talisman for
placating the International Monetary Fund.
But much worse than the specific results of the meeting is its
symbolism. Kiriyenko's appointment raised hopes that he would shake off
the corrupt tentacles of financial oligarchy that suffocated the
previous government of Viktor Chernomyrdin.
Yet Kiriyenko is now turning to the financiers for support in drafting a
crucial economic plan.
How does it make sense to "ask" for the support of Gazprom and Unified
Energy Systems? The state, after all, has controlling stakes in both
companies and should be able to sack both Gazprom's Rem Vyakhirev and
Chubais if it sees fit.
As for the other business leaders, one can only speculate on the price
that Kiriyenko is being forced to pay for their support.
If the government is to get out of the hole it is in, it must not kowtow
to the financial oligarchs. Taxes must be squeezed out of them.
Privatization must be kept out of their clutches. And the government
must ignore pressure for a ruble devaluation. Kiriyenko's cabal with the
financiers is deeply offensive to all the other groups in Russia --
trade unions, pensioners, regional leaders -- whose voice should be
heard just as loudly.
The ultimate oligarch Boris Berezovsky hinted darkly Wednesday that the
financiers believe they have the power to destroy the government.
But Kiriyenko is the prime minister of Russia, chosen by its elected
president and duly approved under the constitution by the State Duma. He
has no reason to go on bended knee to a motley band of financiers.
All leaders will from time to time consult "big business." But what
Kiriyenko has done is much more sinister. He is taking advice from a
closed gang of financiers who have a track record of using their media
and their money for their own political ends.
June 18, 1998
SEASON OF DISCONTENT: NATO, Russia Risk Repeating Old Mistakes
By Andrei Piontkovsky
Special to The Moscow Times
More than a year has passed since the signing in Paris of the
Russia-NATO Founding Act. The path toward this agreement was not a
simple one. The Russian political class has not suffered lightly the
shift in its geopolitical bearings these past years. The growing feeling
that it was being isolated was much enhanced by the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization's expansion to the east.
But during the serious negotiations with NATO that began at the end of
December 1996, after several years had been lost on fruitless rhetoric,
it was senseless to discuss metaphysical questions and our geopolitical
It was necessary to address more tedious and concrete matters and firmly
put before our negotiating partners our security concerns in terms of
the number and stationing of missiles, tanks, planes, soldiers and so
It was necessary to put these questions in the professional language of
military experts, who analyze potential security threats not on the
level of current intentions, but on the level of potential military
possibilities. The West understands this language well. It is precisely
in this language that at one time it formulated its claims toward the
Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, insisting on concluding an agreement
on conventional forces in Europe.
In this reference system -- in which the object of discussion was not
the membership of Poland or the Czech Republic in NATO, but the security
of our Western borders and interrelations with NATO on the whole --
Russia's negotiating position was logical and convincing. It made it
possible to demonstrate the absurdity of speculations on the possible
stationing of tactical nuclear weapons on the territories of potential
new members of the alliance. As a result, the renowned formula of "three
no's" -- no intention, no plan, and no reason -- was put forward, in
which the third element, "no reason," had the most resonance.
The Founding Act minimized the negative consequences for Russia of
enlarging the alliance, preventing relations from sliding to a new Cold
War. Russia and the West now have a window of opportunity, giving them a
chance during the next four or five years to fill the formal structures
provided for by the Paris agreement with real substance.
Unfortunately, the past year has been lost rather than taken advantage
of. Having forgotten the lessons of the previous crisis, Moscow and
Brussels are repeating old mistakes.
Moscow is putting at the center of its relations with NATO the possible
membership of the Baltic countries in the alliance, and is once again
backing itself into a corner, as was the case during the first wave of
enlargement. NATO-Russian relations on the whole and the changes in the
nature of the Transatlantic alliance itself are questions that are far
more important for Russia's security than membership in NATO of one or
During negotiations for the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty in
Vienna, NATO countries fought to keep every superfluous tank, every
superfluous gun, not understanding that given their four-to-one
conventional superiority over Russia, they could meet Russia's wishes
even further than Russia itself suggests. To change the perceptions of
Russian defense planners is much more important for NATO than keeping
huge arsenals of obsolete weaponry stored for an eventual World War III,
the possibility of which ended in November 1989.
'Patriots' Warn Against Backing Lebed Versus Yeltsin
16 June 1998
[translation for personal use only]
Appeal by the "Patriotic News Bureau" signed by Sovetskaya
Rossiya chief editor Valentin Chikin and Zavtra chief editor
Aleksandr Prokhanov: "Of the Two Evils... Neither Is Lesser"
Lebed's victory in the Krasnoyarsk election and the threat of Russia's
territorial disintegration that stems from him are prompting certain
patriotic circles to seek a coalition with the current regime and support
it against the "third force." This is precisely what A.I. Podberezkin
[cochairman of the People's Patriotic Union of Russia] is calling for,
propounding Yeltsin as, in his opinion, the lesser and more comprehensible
evil. This trend, fostered by the "systemic opposition," within which
stable and well-tested relations with the authorities have been
established, could be fatal to the entire patriotic movement. In the
people's eyes the current regime is synonymous with a national catastrophe,
and any cooperation with it deprives the "cooperators" of the last vestiges
of the voters' support and diverts the protest forces from patriots and
Communists to that same Lebed. As has, incidentally, already occurred in
On the other hand, the bitter struggle against the Yeltsin regime and
the breaking of that odious regime cannot be bought at such a high price as
Russia's disintegration. And the calls to endorse Lebed, the Kremlin's
enemy, that can be sensed in the speeches by some Krasnoyarsk Communists
should not become part of the patriotic strategy.
We should not promote the fostering of a "parallel" Center, which is
developing rapidly around Lebed, to spite Moscow. We should not become
pawns in the struggle between the two anti-Russian "idols" -- Yeltsin and
Lebed -- a struggle echoing the clash between Gorbachev and Yeltsin that
culminated in the collapse of the USSR, but should create our own Center
and concentrate in it all "centralist" forces that care about the country's
The CPRF [Communist Party of the Russian Federation] is a pan- Russian
force that perceives itself on the scale of the entire country. Patriotic
organizations of traditional orientation, ruling out various "Republics of
Rus" or "Uralian" or "Far Eastern Republics." Patriotic governors who are
not infected by the germ of separatism, "natural monopolies" that connect
the territory with their pipes and railroads. The Orthodox Church -- the
guardian of pan-Russian values. Politicians and cultural figures for whom
a single and indivisible Russia is not a tribute to fashion but a
deep-seated ideological goal. A permanent alliance based on Russia's
deep-seated national interests could become a prototype for a future
political alliance in the 1999 and 2000 elections.
The Independent (UK)
18 June 1998
[for personal use only]
Shy governor is contender for Kremlin
By Phil Reeves in Saratov
DMITRY Ayatskov is, in fact, a shy man. But you wouldn't know it from
his ostentatious New Age office, with its plant-lined conservatory,
full-length azure velvet curtains, and entry sign bearing the single,
potent, word: "Governor" (in gold letters, naturally).
You wouldn't know it from some of his pastimes - riding his pet camel at
the official residence and visiting his menagerie, which includes two
bears, 10 horses, several reindeer, and a pair of donkeys called Mikhail
and Raisa, after two ill-starred predecessors from Russia's ruling
Nor would you guess from the bustling manner in which the governor, a
bronzed, portly 47-year-old, goes about his business. When he wants to
cross his fiefdom in a hurry, he climbs aboard his personal helicopter,
dropping in uninvited on hamlets and farms en route.
But Mr Ayatskov is shy. His name has been mentioned among the Moscow
cognoscenti as a potential contender for the Kremlin, when (and if)
Boris Yeltsin leaves office in 2000. Last month, he inched further into
the limelight when the President took him to the G8 summit in Birmingham
and introduced him to Bill Clinton as "the next Russian president". The
Kremlin later said he was joking.
Yet put such matters to the governor himself, and he becomes a picture
of diffidence: "I can't say whether I want to be president or not," he
said, smiling opaquely as he sat in front of a signed portrait of Mr
Yeltsin and a statuette of Big Ben. "I have first to prove to Russians
that reforms here can be developed. After that I will have the moral
right to seek a higher position."
Such reservations have not deterred him from preparing plans to launch a
new, unnamed pro-reform political party, a move that would place him
even more firmly on the national political landscape.
"At the moment, Russia has no strong parties, just fragments - including
the Communists. It is not like America, where you have the Republicans
and Democrats," he said. "Here we're building a new ideology that can
"Here" is Saratov, a region the size of Belgium on the banks of the
River Volga, 500 miles south-east of Moscow. Just over two years ago,
Boris Yeltsin appointed Mr Ayatskov as its governor, sacking the
previous incumbent for incompetence. Saratov, a former Soviet military
production centre closed to outsiders until 1991, was considered by the
Kremlin as largely hostile "red belt" territory, a view that was
confirmed when it voted Communist in the 1996 presidential elections.
Within three months, however, Mr Ayatskov had changed the political map.
He annihilated a Communist opponent in gubernatorial elections in
September 1996, winning 80 per cent of the vote. Thus a region that
arose around a 16th- century fortress to protect Russia from the
remnants of the Golden Horde is once again on Moscow's side.
Mr Ayatskov reinforced his place in the President's good books in
November when Saratov passed a law liberalising the sale of land. Mr
Yeltsin has been battling for federal land reform laws, but has met
determined resistance in the Communist-dominated lower house of
parliament. So far, Saratov has gained little, but the move was of great
symbolic importance and was warmly applauded within the Kremlin.
But Mr Ayatskov's rise also owes much to a ruthless streak. "He doesn't
brook much opposition," said one Western businessman. "He is not above
closing down their media."
In March, he made news by supporting plans to open Russia's first legal
brothel since 1917. The following month, he was in the papers announcing
that he wanted his civil servants to ride bicycles. By April, he had
raised his profile to such an extent that he was being mentioned as a
possible prime minister - should parliament go ahead with its threat to
reject Sergei Kiriyenko (in the end, it didn't). Not bad for a local boy
from a region with a population of only 2.7 million.
Economics have helped. In the past 18 months, Saratov has risen from
69th to 10th in the table of "investor-attractive" regions in Russia.
Plans are afoot for a new international airport and business centre;
Bosch, Swiss Transrail, and Hyundai have arrived.
Russian politics is unpredictable and tough. To succeed you need money,
guts and friends (and shares) in the Moscow media. There will be plenty
of competition for Mr Yeltsin's job from other regional heavyweights.
But there has long been speculation that a little-known candidate may
soon emerge from the leaders of Russia's 89 regions and republics. While
he plays down a presidential bid in 2000, Mr Ayatskov also doesn't rule
one out. If the circumstances require, he would - as a "patriot" - be
ready to "defend" his country from a return to its Communist past. This
is a man to watch.
Christian Science Monitor
JUNE 17, 1998
Russia May Raise Walls To Adoption
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Elvira Letunovskaya has preserved her lively giggle and quick mind
despite living her eight years in harsh conditions that could drive
another to despair. The bubbly girl was handed over to one of Russia's
state orphanages by her birth parents who, like many Russians, were
embarrassed by what Western doctors might diagnose as a mild case of
The staff at the Baby House in Moscow has labeled Elvira, unable to walk
without assistance, mentally retarded. This means that she is denied
toys and education, fed unpalatable gruel, and sometimes drugged into
inactivity. Now, she has reached the age to be transferred to a mental
institution, where child advocates say young inmates are often left
naked and abused.
The good news for Elvira is that an American family from Oklahoma is
seeking to adopt her. But the Russian system may defeat this outcome.
Inefficiency and corruption by custodians of orphans make potential
adoptions by foreigners difficult.
And legislation, nearing final approval, will raise more barriers.
"Children like Elvira will be lost if they are not adopted," says Sarah
Philps, a trustee of the British charity Action for Russia's Children.
"They'd have normal lives if they lived in England or America." The
chances for local adoption of children like Elvira are virtually nil.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union seven years ago, Russia has
become a big supplier of white babies to America. The number soared to
around 3,000 last year from just a few hundred in 1992.
Some 600,000 orphans live in Russian children's homes, where the death
rate during the first year of life is five-fold that of other infants.
Children's rights groups say it is not easy to get children with
disabilities out of institutions, which still embrace an old Soviet view
that they should be held out of the public eye. Some children's
advocates claim that some institutions even encourage parents to hand
over such children so that the homes' authorities can pocket the state
subsidies paid for each child.
Bureaucracy or wrangling by Education Ministry officials holds up many
adoptions. Agonizing delays often come while officials wait for bribes
that have reached $45,000 or higher. Those who cannot pay the exorbitant
fees are priced out of the market - including many would-be Russian
Citing this corruption, which Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov likened
to a "slave trade," legislators voted overwhelmingly this month to
tighten regulations on foreign adoptions. They are radically watered
down from an earlier version which would have created a virtual
moratorium on foreign adoptions until Russia signed treaties with
If approved by President Boris Yeltsin, as expected, the latest version
stipulates that Russian children keep their citizenship until age 18,
which could cause naturalization problems in countries which do not
allow dual citizenship. It is also sufficiently vague on the use of
"representatives" to help a family adopt, which has raised fears by
adoption advocates that bureaucrats could block a case.
Concern over Russia's birthrate
Some nationalist legislators seem more concerned with Russia's
diminishing birthrate than with children's welfare.
Nina Krivelskaya, a deputy of ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party,
recently declared, "Healthy children are a guarantee of the demographic
security of the Russian Federation. The healthy gene pool must be left
Nationalists have seized upon two cases of abuse of Russian children by
American adoptive parents last year. A woman in Colorado was convicted
of murdering a 2-year-old in her care, while a Phoenix, Ariz., couple
was denied custody for a while after being charged with neglect for
hitting two 4-year-olds on a flight from Moscow to New York.
Falling number of adoptions
Adoption agencies such as Cradle of Hope, based outside Washington,
argue that such politicians are not thinking about the best interests of
the country's orphans, one-third of whom live in institutions.
They say that with the number of adoptions in Russia falling - they
nearly halved from 13,942 in 1992 to 8,799 in 1996 - foreign adoptions
should be encouraged. (About 80 American adoption agencies operate in
"There is a huge need for these kids to find decent homes. They have no
hope, they have no future. If they are adopted, they have a chance,"
says Cradle of Hope's executive director Linda Perilstein.
This is particularly true, she and other adoption advocates say, for
mentally or physically challenged children like Elvira, who are unlikely
to find homes in Russia where a stigma prevails about people with
Ms. Perilstein says the proposed amendments to the adoption law are
sufficiently vague so that foreign agencies can continue to do business
"I can't say adoption agencies are embracing this, but it's livable,"
Stricter regulations for trade in children is needed, says Viktor
Parshutkin, an adoption lawyer who has frequently spoken out against
But he stresses that political capital should not be made out of
isolated incidents of child abuse.
"Such tragedies are the exceptions," Parshutkin says. "The overwhelming
[number of] cases of Russian kids who are adopted by foreigners end up
with good families."
Russian Communists Do Not Back Allies Against 'Third Force'
Moscow, Jun 16 (Itar-Tass) -- Russian Communists did not back their
allies calling for opposing the so- called "third force" -- criminal
financial groups seeking power, and cooperating with the ruling party.
"The ruling party itself is becoming more and more criminal," said
Communist Party [of the Russian Federation -- CPRF] leader Gennadiy
Zyuganov who attended the 4th congress of the Dukhovnoye Naslediye
(Spiritual Heritage) movement.
A proposal to cooperate with government and combat "the third force"
came from Spiritual Heritage leader Aleksey Podberyozkin. He belongs to
the moderate opposition wing and was once regarded a close adviser to
According to Podberyozkin, a comprise with authorities is not only
possible but necessary because "the third force" is the major threat.
It seized real power leaving bits of its to the president, the Federal
Assembly and other state institutions, he said.
"The opposition should not be ashamed of such a compromise or turn it
into a covert bargain or, worse, into conspiracy; one should state that
this is done for the sake of preserving the state," the Spiritual Heritage
Podberyozkin called for beginning consultations between the president
and the government and the leadership of Russia's National Patriotic Union
which includes Spiritual Heritage.
A compromise against General Aleksandr Lebed in Krasnoyarsk, in
Podberyozkin's view, can serve as an example, although it materialized too
The CPRF leader who was present at the congress said the opposition is
ready to cooperate with authorities but only in regions, and only with
those who stand for state interests.
The situation in the country is visibly radicalized and a majority of
Spiritual Heritage members share "the more tough and demanding" position of
the Communists, Zyuganov said.
NIDS Analyst on Russian Regions
Tokyo Asagumo in Japanese
7 May 1998
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Yoshiaki Sakaguchi, chief researcher, Second Research
Office, Second Research Department, National Institute of Defense Studies.
Second article of "Russia at the Crossroads" subseries within series
"Reading the World: The Strategic Environment in the 21st Century
Current reforms in Russia center on strengthening pluralistic
democracy in politics and the buildup of a market economic mechanism in its
economy. These two pillars also constitute the global trend, and it is
difficult for Russia to avoid this trend.
Ever since the Gorbachev era, the Russian people have undergone
numerous elections including two elections to choose leaders in positions
of the highest authority. A system was established for the people to elect
parliamentarians in the lower house and regional governors who combined
membership in the upper house through direct elections. A system is being
developed for the people"s will to be reflected in the central
government as well as in the regional governments. Conservative patriotic
forces and ultranationalist forces coexist in Russia as powerful opposition
forces. However, these forces seek ruling power through elections. Both
those in power and the opposition are obliged to always respect the will of
the voters. Moreover, the present Communist Party does not necessarily
reject market economics completely, nor does it demand a U-turn to a
centralized planned economy. It contends that it is necessary to strengthen
state control to some extent in economic administration.
The Communist Party argues against the reformists concerning the issue
of the degree of the state"s role--whether it should be greater or
less in economic administration. The opposition in Russia today does not
attempt to eliminate reform itself. Their raison d"etre may be said to
be a correction of sometimes excessive reform policies and are an
affirmation of benefits for the people. The best example is the issue of
state subsidies. Whereas the government seeks a broad cutback in state
subsidies by introducing privatization and market economic reform, the
Communist Party calls for continuation of subsidies for industries facing
crises as a result of economic reforms.
Under present world conditions, where the economies of the various
nations have become highly interdependent, it is impossible for Russia to
survive alone. No political force can adopt an extreme policy which rejects
interdependence. For example, even the forces which criticized the early
Yeltsin administration"s foreign policy as servile to the West cannot
adopt a foreign policy of detachment from the United States and European
A successful case of reform seen thus far is the fact that elections
based on democracy are taking root in Russia where both the ruling party
and the opposition are compelled to pursue a realistic policy of meeting
the demands of the people. Moreover, an international environment of
deep-rooted mutual dependence has narrowed policy options between the
political forces in Russia. For example, even assuming that the Communist
Party wins ruling power, its range of policy options would be narrow, and
there would probably be little difference from the previous administration
concerning either domestic or foreign affairs.
The present period of major reforms will probably shatter the
historical cycle of the past, and reforms will advance without disruption.
It will therefore be necessary to consider the future threat arising from a
Russia in which reforms have progressed. This threat will be due to the
autonomy of Russia"s regions. Regional power has emerged in Russia
today as a major player for the first time in Russian history. It has
resulted from the weakening of the centralized government system since
Perestroyka. Regional economic sovereignty has expanded amid the reform of
the federated system in Russia as confederated states. Moscow is no longer
able to control the regions through taxation. It will result in a fiscal
deficit for the central government and create serious problems. For
example, there are concerns that the deficit in defense costs will strain
the military budget and that there will be arms proliferation by some
military quarters in selling arms illegally for monetary gains. It is also
possible that the strengthening of regional economic sovereignty will be
accompanied by expanded regional authority vis-a-vis foreign economic
relations, and that arms and military technology will be disseminated from
the regions where the munitions industries are concentrated. This is an
example which indicates that the progress of reform in Russia and the
growth of regional power vis-a-vis Moscow are not necessarily conducive to
the national security of other nations.
Russia is a federated state comprised of diverse regions, and it is
necessary to recognize that it is the regions, rather than Moscow, which
will have a major impact on Russia"s future course.
[Description of source: Tokyo Asagumo in Japanese--weekly newspaper on
RUSSIAN INDUSTRIAL POLICY WILL BE PURSUED IN TWO STAGES,
SAYS FIRST DEPUTY ECONOMICS MINISTER
//MOSCOW, JUNE 17, 1998 /RIA NOVOSTI/--
Russian industrial policy will be implemented in two
stages, Andrei Svinarenko, First Deputy Economics Minister, told
parliamentary hearings in the State Duma yesterday on industrial
According to him, the paramount objective of the first
stage (1997-1998) is to create financial and institutional
pre-conditions for technological refitting of industries and
processes into potentially competitive ones both on the domestic
and world markets.
At the second stage (1999-2000) it is planned to ensure a
strong growth of industrial production. As a result of a
favourable investment climate enterprises will be able more
vigorously to invest their resources into fixed assets to
modernise, re-build and expand production on a new technological
Concurrently, measures will be taken to remove
disproportions between scientific, technological, innovation and
investment policies, said the Deputy Minister.
Modernisation of production facilities will be done
predominantly by Russian machine builders.
Wide use will be made of effective technologies, which will
create a base for a policy of resource saving. At the same time,
consumer demand will expand as a result of a steady growth of
incomes, renewal of fixed assets and an increase in jobs.
Commenting on inducements for investment activity,
Svinarenko said that due to the currently taut state budget and
the government's large debt obligations, state investments will
in the main be used to support the most promising and high
technology projects and sectors of the defence complex.
Implementation of the development budget will, on a tender
basis, stimulate investments in the form of stakes or state
The proportion of state funds in the overall volume of
investment in the next five years will not exceed 15 per cent.
In the overall volume of investment the share of direct
foreign investments in the next five years will not exceed 10
In the medium-term prospective, the most significant will
be financing investments out of domestic enterprises' own funds,
stressed the First Deputy Economics Minister.
Democratic Union Leader Wants Yeltsin Reelected in 2000
Moscow, June 13 (Interfax)--President Boris Yeltsin should be
re-elected in the year 2000, leader of Russia's Democratic Union Valeriya
Novodvorskaya said, speaking as a guest at an emergency congress of
Russia's Democratic Choice party in Moscow Saturday.
In regard to candidates for the 2004 presidential polls, she said "we
have brought up two fine contenders for the presidency--Yegor Gaydar and
Anatoliy Chubays." It is the ratings of these two men rather than those of
"Yabloko movement leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy that should be shown in the
weekly Itogi program on the NTV channel," Novodvorskaya said.
"Russia has two ways it could follow: one toward the West, and the
other toward the grave," she said, drawing applause from the audience for
her remark addressed to Russia's Democratic Choice leader Gaidar and
Chairman of Russia's United Energy Systems Chubais, who are chairing the
Describing the current situation, Novodvorskaya said the Congress of
Russia's Democratic Choice was under way in a city whose mayor "is an
outright nationalist and a Nazi." That remark drew applause from part of