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Johnson's Russia List
3 October 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Russia's premier says kitchen gardens key for food.
2. Reuters: U.S. not yet reassured on Russia, Albright says.
3. Sovetskaya Rossiya: Central Russian Strike Council Issues Statement.
4. Mark Scheuer: Response to Simes/Saunders.
5. Victor Kalashnikov: Russian Reforms.
6. Stephen Blank: Military/relief effort.
7. Ira Straus: How to stop losing Russia: A few prescriptions.
8. Roman Serbyn: ARA and the Soviet Famine of 1921-1923.
9. Intefax: Sources Say US Considering Canceling ABM Treaty.
10. RFE/RL: Robert Lyle, Russia: Implementation Botched A Good Reform
Plan, IMF Says.
11. Itar-Tass: Poll Shows Most Russians Oppose Printing Money.]
Russia's premier says kitchen gardens key for food
MOSCOW, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Russians digging their backyard kitchen gardens
would play a major role in ensuring adequate food supplies at a time of
economic crisis, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said on Friday.
He suggested to a congress of regional leaders the revival of Soviet-era
cooperatives to manage produce from private plots.
"The government is taking a...series of measures to prevent a deterioration in
the supply of produce to the population under these difficult conditions," he
said, telling the regional leaders they could play a role at a local level.
"A big role here is played by the kitchen gardens owned by householders,"
Primakov said. "To bring order to the sale of this produce...we must revive
Such cooperatives sprang up as private plots became a mainstay of the Soviet
economy, filling the huge gap left by the woefully inefficient kolkhoz state
farms that took up most of the agricultural land in the world's biggest
Cooperatives, often run by factories or other local groups, were intended to
channel output from private plots into shops and markets, bringing buyers and
sellers together, but in reality most failed.
Last year, Primakov said, "dacha" gardens owned by city dwellers and private
plots of the rural population provided more than 80 percent of all the
potatoes and vegetables grown in Russia and about a third of all meat and
Russia faces a poor harvest this year, with the total grain crop expected to
be some 40 percent down on last year at around 50 million tonnes. RIA news
agency quoted sources at the Agricultural Ministry as saying it planned to
import an extra four million tonnes of grain as an emergency reserve.
During the perestroika (restructuring) period of the 1980s, the cooperative
system was seen by Soviet leaders as a way of benefitting from the incentives
offered by the market economy while guarding against unfettered capitalism.
Primakov, whose coalition of liberals and leftists is still struggling to
agree a strategy to haul Russia out of economic crisis, has said market
reforms must be tempered with new state controls to spread society's wealth
U.S. not yet reassured on Russia, Albright says
By Michael Conlon
CHICAGO, Oct 2 (Reuters) - The United States is not yet reassured that
Russia's new government has a cogent economic plan for the country and
believes the crisis there will not soon abate, Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright said on Friday.
``I cannot yet say we are reassured.... So we cannot say with confidence that
Russia will emerge from its difficulties anytime soon,'' she said in a speech
some officials described as the most comprehensive review of U.S. policy
toward Russia since the economic crisis.
Albright, speaking to the U.S.-Russia Business Council, also said ``the best
way to help Russia now is not necessarily to send more money.''
``More big bailouts are not by themselves going to restore investor confidence
in Russia.... In the long run, the gap between Russia's needs and its
resources must be met not by foreign bailouts but by foreign investment,'' she
Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, formerly foreign minister, was appointed
recently as a compromise candidate to lead a new government after the
spreading Asian economic crisis sent Russia's fledgling capitalist economy
into a tailspin.
On Thursday, Primakov announced that no new economic strategy had been
finalised after a newspaper ran what it said was the economic plan drawn up by
Communist First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov.
Liberals branded the scheme a return to a command economy which risked
reigniting runaway inflation.
Albright told the council: ``We have heard a lot of talk in recent days about
printing new money, indexing wages, imposing price and capital controls and
restoring state management of parts of the economy.''
``We can only wonder if some members of Primakov's team understand the basic
arithmetic of the global economy,'' she said.
In response to questions from the business and investment leaders in the
audience, Albright called Primakov a ``very realistic, pragmatic defender of
Russian national interests,'' who wants to develop a market economy that will
``I think he is trying to find people who will do that and it is clearly not
an easy job,'' she said.
``Our initial reaction to the direction in which he is going has not been
particularly positive; so I think it is important to get messages to him....
We need to show that we have no desire to patronise or dominate or have any
kind of demeaning relationship with Russia...'' she added.
``I think he needs to hear publicly, kind of what I said here... that we're
there; we want to help but we can't do anything if you don't do anything.
There is a limited amount to what the United States or any of your business
people can do,'' she said.
``Another part of my message ...is that American business is there to stay
...for the long haul.''
In her speech, Albright said she is ``deeply concerned about what is happening
in Russia'' and ``will not downplay Russia's present crisis or suggest Russian
reformers have made all the right choices. It is a troubling fact that many
Russians have come to equate reform with theft.''
But she also advised the international community to ``be patient with the
workings of the democratic process in Russia.''
And she acknowledged that ``under the best circumstances, there will be
compromises between economic orthodoxy and political reality'' as pragmatic
politicians build consensus for policies that ``cause short-term pain.''
Central Russian Strike Council Issues Statement
1 October 1998
[translation for personal use only]
Statement by the Central Russian Strike Movement Coordinating
Council: "Ring of Anger"
We, representatives of labor collectives, parties, movements, and
organizations of Russia's central regions, state that the continued delay
in removing the Yeltsin regime from power is fatal to the RussianFederation.
Not one honest citizen, worker, or patriot should stand on the
sidelines of the struggle to save the Motherland.
Having formed the Central Russian Strike Movement Coordinating
Council, we have defined its objective as the removal of the anti-people
Yeltsin regime from power. To achieve this it is necessary to hold a
nationwide political strike./The Coordinating Council is responsible for:
coordinating regional protest actions to protect the rights of
working people, pensioners, students, children, and young people and
Russia's national and state interests;
facilitating the formation of legal organs of working people's power in
the center and in the provinces./ [passage within slantlines published in
boldface]The Central Russian Strike Movement Coordinating Council will in no
circumstances supplant existing protest action headquarters. Its task is to
unite uncoordinated forces and actions, making it possible to increase
severalfold their effectiveness, strength, and positive impact at all
levels of the executive and legislative branches and on leaders and
managers of enterprises and organizations in the national economic complex.
In conditions of economic ruin, the flouting of all human rights,
poverty, and the lack of rights among the vast majority of the Russian
population, we, having united, must banish from the mass public
consciousness hopelessness, pessimism, indifference, and submissiveness to
fate and return to the people, in accordance with the country's
Constitution, their right to be the only source of power in the Russian
Federation.On 7 October 1998, the day of the nationwide protest action, we
everybody to go out onto the streets with the resolute demand, that is
common to the [whole] country, for the president's resignation and for a
change of socioeconomic policy.
Representatives of the oblasts of Russia's historical center have
agreed to hold demonstrations and rallies 7 October in cities, towns,
settlements, and rural population centers culminating in the blockading of
local administrations, legislative organs of power, and the president's
regional representatives. The aim of the blockade is to force the local
authorities to demand the president's resignation and to make him realize
that this demand comes from the entire people and must be met
unconditionally. Another, no less important, point of our demands is
constitutional amendments. The blockade will not be lifted until we are
certain that the appropriate telephone messages, faxes, and electronic mail
messages bearing the signatures of top officials and presidential
representatives have been sent to the Kremlin.
In the event that Yeltsin and his entourage do not heed our demands,
conveyed to him via local organs of power, the simultaneous blocking of
main road and railroad routes leading to Moscow for not less than three
hours will begin at 1100 hours on 8 October.
If not even this galvanizes the person chiefly responsible for our
misfortunes, at 1100 hours on 9 October roads and railroads will be blocked
for 24 hours or more until our demands have been met in full.
We urge Moscow's working people to support and join us. Only joint
action will help to resolve in the fastest possible way all our society's
conflicts and crises that have come to a head like an abscess.
We urge all regions bordering the capital to send their own
representatives 7 October to participate in protest actions with Moscow's
We warn those who are fond of provocations and adventures that the
people have woken up and wised up. Think of the consequences of your
possible anti-people actions. The people are organized and are fully aware
of their responsibility for the peaceful outcome of events. In accordance
with all world-wide and Russian laws they are campaigning for their right
to exist. Do not have this sin on your conscience, do not subject people
to ordeals, for whose consequences you will have to answer with the full
rigor of the law.
We also urge all Russian citizens to take part in actions to mark the
fifth anniversary of the day when the Yeltsin regime shot up the Russian
Supreme Soviet and thereby to express their attitude to this crime, which
is central to the work of the commission to remove Yeltsin from power in
the State Duma.
[Signed] Strike Movement Coordinating Council: Vladimir, Ivanovo,
Kostroma, Smolensk, and Tula Oblasts' Protest Action Headquarters,
Yaroslavl Coordinating Council, Kaluga regional branch of the NPSR [Free
Russia People's Party OR People's Patriotic Union of Russia], For Russia's
Revival (Moscow) movement, Sverdlovsk Oblast branch of the Russian
Communist Workers' Party, Robbed People's Movement (Tver).
We invite representatives of all Russian regions to participate in our
Coordinating Council.Coordinating Council Chairman -- A.V. Vorobyev.
Contact telephone numbers in Yaroslavl: (0852) 25-54-55 (picket -- 24
hours), 30-56-83 -- telephone/fax, 30-47-98.
Date: Fri, 02 Oct 1998
From: "Mark Scheuer" <MARK.A.SCHEUER@cpmx.saic.com>
Subject: Response to Simes/Saunders
I was quite puzzled while reading Mr. Simes and Mr. Saunders sadly partisan
criticism of the Clinton administration's Russia policy. When I began
reading the article, I hoped that the authors had truly found a new angle of
analyzing the latest fad question, "Who lost Russia". Yet, the further I
read, I was disappointed to see they fell back on what seems to be an
ancient criticism of Clinton's policy: Clinton focused policy too much on
Yeltsin and too little on alternatives. The part that puzzled me, however,
was that Simes and Saunders charged right into defending that criticism with
the most dubious of evidence.
I don't think any Russia observer would question the morality of supporting
a president who ran roughshod over the Congress of People's Deputies, the
Duma, Chechnya, the Constitution, etc. The United States failed to indicate
much displeasure with these abominations. The authors criticize the Clinton
administration for thinking that the only alternative to Yeltsin and his
posse was were the communists and nationalists, and suggest there was an
alternative. Glaringly, however, the authors cite evidence that, when deftly
examined, hurts their argument.
The authors see the Yabloko party as one that should have received greater
support from the administration while brushing off the communist/nationalist
parties' dominance of the Duma. Combined the KPRF and LDPR hold 181 of the
450 seats, while the authors' alternative party of choice holds a mere 45. I
was amazed that the authors defended Yabloko as serious alternative in light
of the dismal representation of Yabloko in the Duma. Surely they are not
implying that had the United States favored Yabloko earlier in the game,
that Yabloko would have a greater percentage of Duma seats? Further, the
only party with significant representation in the Duma that could be
considered reform-minded, and thus theoretically a potential ally of Yabloko
is NDR, which retains 67 seats in the Duma. However, what is the likelihood
of NDR being a steady opponent of a Yeltsin government that was headed by
NDR's leader for 5 years?
Simes and Saunders then take on the task of finding alternative presidential
candidates. The easy discard is the communist. So they suggest Moscow Mayor
Luzhkov. I lived in Moscow as the city was revving up for the 850th
birthday. Not a single Russian I knew believed the money spent on new roads,
flashy signs, or the Christ the Savior Church was legitimate money. Maybe
it's a rumor that Luzhkov had an under-the-table agreement w/ various
unsavory Moscow persons that they could operate unhindered as long as they
funded Luzhkov's revitalization of Moscow, but it's a damn popular one. Is
that the kind of character the United States should be supporting? Let's
move on to the next suggestion: Aleksander Lebed. This is the same gentleman
who failed to include Judaism as one of the legitimate religions in Russia.
This is the same man who registers a big zero on the economic training and
democratic principles scale. Hmmm. How about the authors' suggestion of
Gregori Yavlinski. I don't imagine that US leaders are so egoistic that they
can't imagine anyone being more democratic than their horse-Boris Yeltsin.
However, in the general presidential election, Yavlinski placed far behind,
Yeltsin, Zyuganov, and Lebed, garnering a mere 7%. This is a pretty horse
(i.e. he says the things we want to hear) but he can't carry water. Here's
another point against Yavlinski: he was just in the hospital with heart
problems. Think the Russian people are going to back another candidate who
might disappear on them for 8 months?
Throughout the Clinton-era, conservative critics have suggested that the
administration was on the wrong track supporting a man who had lost sight of
democratic goals. It was a legitimate complaint. However, the argument
usually stopped there because those same critics saw that the alternatives
were either worse or far too unpopular to make a serious impact. The
Simes/Saunders article ended smugly, predicting that no one in Russia is
going to be asking for the Clinton administration's advice anytime soon. My
response, too, will end smugly: if conservatives are going to enjoy the
privileges of attacking the incumbent administration, they're going to have
to get their facts straight and a hefty dose of logic.
Date: Fri, 02 Oct 1998
From: email@example.com (Victor Kalashnikov)
Subject: Russian Reforms
1. On the 1 October the responsibility zone of the US
troops in Europe must have been extended, according to
the Unified Command Plan, over Moldavia, Belorussia,
Ukraine, and the three Transcaucasian republics. I phoned
to Pentagon and they said this was a 'matter of strategic
2. Evaluating yet another 'reform program' in Russia does
not make much sense without looking at which particular
groups have initiated it and are now going to benefit from
its implementation. The program text as such is an ordinary
blablabla to envelope the real thing. The latter is the way of
how private $ savings will migrate in Russia when all the
foreign currency restrictions come into force. The core of
the new government consists of people with strong
financial affiliations, or with private banks of their own.
We're just heading into another wealth redistribution in
3. The 'Who Lost Russia?' campaign can and will not
conceal the fact that particular people/teams have made
tremendous gains from all the 'market reform support'
programs. Hundreds of millions of dollars from US budget
have been appropriated under various correct-sounding
slogans. 'Reform supporting in Russia' has become a quite
lucrative business during latest years with a number of
people jumping to $-millionaires through government-
It always was a two-side business, indeed. Russian
'reformers' could never have been converted themselves
from mediocre Party/Comsomol villains to 'the new
reformist elite' if they've not been relied on well-funded
partnerships with abroad. Some JRL contributors were right
suggesting that the choice of particular individuals in Russia
to play 'reformers' was either purely incidental or motivated
through joint embezzlement calculations.
The 'advisors' were very often engaged into murky deals
together with their Russian protİgİs. Oil export quotas and
GKO-gambling were the major motives. The smartest of all
the advisors (he's preaching somewhere else now) has
frequently been seen in company with Russian officers
engaged into pushing of hardware to various sun-plagued
The ominous re-export of billions of dollars out from Russia
has usually been a JV-business. Western banks were ready
to explain to Russian partners how to cheat particular
Western governments to get credits, guarantees, to
establish tax-evading schemes etc. The real problem now is
that this kind of cooperation with Russia will foster semi-
legal financial activities in the West.
Date: Fri, 02 Oct 1998
From: "Blank, Stephen J. Dr." <BlankS@awc.carlisle.army.mil>
Subject: 2 issues
I'd like to write on two issues one, Kim Zisk's paper which I read in the
original Harvard form and here in its revised one and on what can be done
for Russia along the lines suggested by Jerry Hough.
1. With regard to Zisk's paper, like Dale Herspring, I agree that it is
most unlikely that the militaries (and we should always use them in plural
in the domestic context) can unite around a national figure and either on
their own act to install a regime or oust one. However, whenever the
specter of a Latin American golpe is raised this is the wrong question.
Both at the central level and even more at the local level -- and here I
agree with Dale's reservations about Kim's paper-- a sufficiently powerful
politician or one, who like many local governors, has established close
relationships of patronage and mutual dependence, can create his own armed
force and use it to effectively, if not de jure move a large distance out
from under Moscow's shadow. More specifically, there are numerous and
growing instances of local militaries and governments acting in conjunction
to provide sustenance and food for soldiers at the price of doing labor for
governors and generals and maintaining public order. Much of this web of
mutual dependence harkens back to the Tsarist regimental economy, a system
whereby governors and military commanders in the localities exchanged favors
and maintained each other' men because the center could not afford to
provision the peripheries and because it also lacked adequate enforcement
mechanisms from the center. The collapse of central controls today in both
the economic and enforcement spheres has brought this system back into
being. The price of it is the local politicization of armed forces and the
reign of lawlessness, proizvol and dedovshchina in the armed forces where
soldiers are regarded as little more than serfs and abused, as we all know,
in truly terrifying ways. In this regard local forces can effectively
contribute to a de facto erosion of the center's effective authority, the
legitimate authority of any government in Moscow and to the spreading and
general anomie--normlessness that we find now.
2)This brings me to the second point raised by Hough. Despite the nonsense
being stated by our leadership e.g. Sestanovich's congressional testimony
that there are no signs of famine (and he is hardly alone in this
fatuousness), the facts are that Russia is experiencing already an epidemic
or breakdown of public health and massive ecological poisoning of its
environment in all its dimensions. Feshbach's work is clear on this point.
What then can be done? Obviously some non-partisan figure with vision,
executive and organizing ability, and access to cash and supplies should
organize an ARA Hoover type of non-partisan relief effort touring grain to
Russia (and it would also help subsidize our agriculture which is in a bad
way) and to build turnkey hospitals, provide medical supplies as needed,
train medical personnel, and assist in environmental cleanup. This is not
an issue of supporting Chubais, Primakov or anyone else, but of working with
local administrations on a non-partisan basis insofar as it could be done,
and Hoover succeeded, so it is possible. The program would last quite a
while but should not be a takeover of the Russian systems, rather training,
provision of supplies, and the dissemination of information how to combat
these assorted crises are needed. If we build hospitals we can then let the
newly trained personnel run them. If this program succeeds it will not be
a panacea, but it might allow Russia to return to a level of basic provision
of health for its citizens , a level from which, given peace, and progress,
it can then move forward and rejoin the post-industrial world's standards.
Given the fact that Indonesia too is on the brink of starvation and
Washington here too seems asleep at the wheel, I see little hope for an
initiative form within the government or Congress, but maybe someone like
George Soros or some foundations might push this idea.
From: IRASTRAUS@aol.com (Ira Straus)
Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998
Subject: How not to lose Russia
How to stop losing Russia:
A few prescriptions
1. Keep a good high ratio of aid to advice. When giving advice, dignify it
with a sufficient surplus of aid. Never give more advice than the aid will
Don't sound insolent with advice. Give advice firmly when you know what you're
talking about, not just in theory but on the ground. Give advice
hypothetically when you're not sure if the theory fits the conditions on the
Make sure you end up with public credit for the aid, not public responsibility
for the country's overall economic policies -- not unless you're willing to
make a big enough investment and play a big enough implementing role as to be
able to control holistically the consequences of the policies.
Give the aid in a form that is received and perceived by the ordinary people;
don't give primarily to invisible technical funds. Keep a close watch on how
it is disbursed -- in this sense, supervise more closely. When feasible, set
up a Western-manned distribution system.
2. Be careful not to exploit the Westernizing elites. If they are vulnerable
in their admiration of the West, don't take advantage of them diplomatically.
Or ideologically. Or geopolitically. Don't abuse their trust.
a. Don't take advantage of the Westernizers diplomatically, no matter how much
they lay themselves open to this. Instead, work out viable deals which are a
credit to them as well as to the West. If they voluntarily give up unjust
positions of strength without quid pro quo, then give them due thanks, and
voluntarily give them a quid pro quo, e.g., economic help, or support for
their valid interests in the areas from which they are withdrawing militarily.
Do entente, not just more detente. Don't just ask the democratizing regime to
yield to Western geopolitical interests; also support the democratizing regime
in a visible way in its valid geopolitical interests where these are not in
conflict with Western interests, e.g. in Central Asia and Afghanistan, where
Russian influence since 1991 has for the most part been an Occidental,
b. Be wary of the weakness of the Westernizers for Western advice and Western
ideology: it can lure the West into overconfidence by a flattery from the East
that is sincerely given but none the less naive, and it can lure the East into
terrible mistakes by following advice carelessly given by a West that knows
little about the actual problems and doesn't suffer the consequences of its
Don't get on an ideological hobbyhorse and give them advice about how to
produce an economic miracle by laissez-faire policies, but admit that we don't
know enough about their society and how to transform it. Give them careful
advice in matters on which we have competence, and encourage them to have the
confidence to develop their own plan to confront the full scale of the
problems of their country as only they can know it and confront it.
c. If Westernizers are weak, vulnerable, or isolated in their own countries,
and if they respond to this weakness by relying too heavily on the West, then
try to validate their faith in the West by being a good partner, but at the
same time counsel them against excessive reliance on the West. Caution against
total unreserved trust in the West, as if it were free from the pressures of
short-term selfish interests. If they want the West to play a tutelary role or
a role as guarantor, be open with them about how hard they will have to work
to persuade the West to play such a role, and how they will have to be
prepared to fill in themselves when the West falls short.
3. When preparing aid programs, don't do it in the spirit of traditional
foreign aid to the Third World or structural adjustment programs. Do it in the
spirit of the Marshall Plan, which is not primarily a question of the quantity
of aid as the style and the vision. The Marshall Plan model means: do it with
real vision and serious planning for transformation and integration with the
4. Make a consistent effort at strategic integration of the country with the
West, as was done with Germany after 1945, not a half-hearted occasional
effort at diplomatic integration coupled with military isolation, as was done
with Weimar Germany.
Foster and husband the popular sympathy in Russia for the West, for this is
our most precious asset, the one on which everything else depends. The speed
of the transition, the degree of regulation of the market -- all of that is,
in a sense, really not our business; what is important for us is a Russia that
is our friend in global affairs.
5. Finance the development of a democratic civil society, by financing
independent newspapers of a moderate and democratic character, and financing
the growth of political parties of a moderate and democratic character.
It's not enough just to hold conferences on "civil society" or send
consultants to provide "technical assistance" and advice: substantive aid is
needed in order to counterbalance the resources and advantages held by the
long-entrenched, deep-rooted authoritarian structures in the country. Without
real aid, the advice on following pure democratic procedures can become
gratuitous, or even a kind of advice on how to lose the country back to the
Don't leave the newspapers to sell themselves to some oligarch in order to
save their financial skins. Don't leave the democrats to have to turn to the
oligarchs in order to finance a 1996-style campaign and have a chance of
holding off a much-better-organized Communist Party. Better to finance them
internationally, despite all the nationalist complaints, than to leave them to
even more deeply corrupting and discrediting ways of financing themselves.
At this moment, we need to protect the free press and media. A free, if often
flawed, press is one of the great achievements of Russian democratization. It
is in danger from the economic crisis, and might soon be in even greater
danger from a new statism. If we are going to hold off on economic aid at this
time and adopt a "wait and see" about Primakov, then let's move ahead where we
can -- by helping to preserve and further build a free and independent press
and civil society.
The lack of honest independent financing has been the worst lack of the
Russian media. It has had to rely on sources of income which are far more
corrupting than the advertising found in Western media -- e.g., oligarchs, and
price breaks and subsidies from the state. Fortunately these sources have
become somewhat diverse; but now they are in danger of drying up in face of
the economic crisis. Even the newspaper owned by Berezovsky has started having
wage arrears! The West could at a small cost set up an appropriate independent
agency with funds adequate to serve as a full reserve of financing for the
entire Russian media in its periods of need.
6. If the economics of budget-cutting and laissez-faire transition risk
shutting down Russia's tremendous cultural and scientific facilities, and
dislocating most of its intellectual class or else dismissing it from
intellectual work altogether, then either change the economic policy, or else
finance these classes outright.
The intellectual class is the mainstay of support for Westernization. It risks
being lost -- lost to unemployment or disappearance into the class of lumpen
poor; lost to dislocation, disorganization, and dispersion from its former
structuring, as its institutes collapse or change to profitable side-work
outside of their true specialization; lost to alienation and nationalist
reaction; and in the case of military-scientific secrets, lost to the highest
bidders among foreign powers and terrorists, or to those who are most skilled
in playing upon the sense of disillusionment. George Soros has had the good
sense to finance portions of this class, on what for him is a substantial
scale; the official West has followed suit, but on as yet an inadequate scale.
7. Russia isn't decisively lost yet. We're losing it fast, but there's
probably several years to go before a decisive turn to an anti-Western regime.
We need a full-service program to salvage the chances that it won't be lost --
all the measures described above, and then some.
8. If Russia does come to be decisively lost and we have to fight a second
cold war, then let's gear up fight it intelligently -- to win it quickly, win
it without ruin, and win the peace afterwards.
a. Prepare for expanding NATO rapidly, as a strategic matter not a welfare
program. This means: make plans for including in NATO the most vulnerable,
unsteady and unreliable countries around Russia's neighborhood. Make reforms
and preparations in NATO so that NATO can include all these countries without
being weakened or watered down by their presence, probably by (i) adaptating
the administrative-command structure for a more variegated regime of
information-sharing and secrets-protection, and (ii) adapting the political
structure for decision-making without right or pretense of unit veto powers.
a'. At the same time, make preparations for including in NATO a future Russia
that gives up and turns back to a pro-Western orientation, so that we can win
the peace this time. The same measures (i) and (ii), described in (a) above,
would serve this purpose; all that needs to be added is (iii) declaring that
NATO is thereby adapting to being ready for a Western-oriented Russia to join,
and is open for Russia to join as soon as Russia is ready to decide to do so
and return to a perspective of being a part of the West on the world scale.
b. Do the work of helping the new allies recover and stabilize economically,
and do it as an urgent, pragmatic strategic program (otherwise known as "the
Marshall Plan"), not an exercise in economic theory.
b'. At the same time, declare this pragmatic economic recovery program to be
open to Russia if and when it comes back to being on our side. Wholesale, not
9. A final piece of advice: Get ready to do it right the second time around.
For those who think it's too late and Russia is already lost, it's not a
moment too soon to start preparing for the next round. Our worst mistake is
that we didn't make any serious preparations for doing it right with Russia
this time around.
With Germany, we did it wrong the first time, and paid the price in a second
world war; only the second time around did we do it right. If we can't get it
right the first time with Russia, we had better be ready to do it right the
second time. We'll be lucky to get a second chance at all; the odds on the
world surviving a second cold war are not very good, not much better it would
have been if the Nazis had started out with nuclear weapons.
In a new cold war, we'll need to entice the Russians quickly into reverting to
trying a pro-Western tack again, before the world can get blown apart. The
best chance of enticing them will be, by making it absolutely clear to them
that we have finally got our minds into gear: that we have prepared our
economic institutions for providing real help and our strategic institutions
for doing real integration with them just as soon as the chance returns, and
in general, that we are ready to do it right from the word "go" the next time
10. Buy off your local Marshall Plan pharmacy shelf a good supply of "How not
to lose Russia" pills.
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 1998
From: Roman Serbyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: ARA and the Soviet Famine of 1921-1923
George Marquart (JRL#3296) is is concerned that Russia is descending into
the inferno of "famine and plague" and urges JRL members to come up with
solutions to avert this disaster. He is of course right to insist on the
failure of the way in which the West has been providing aid until now and
which was only stolen or wasted by the new robber barons of Russian economy.
Jerry Hough's reference to the ARA experience merits our full attention.
Hough writes (JRL2399 - 29 September 1998):
>The place to start is on the agricultural front. The analogy,
>which we in the Russian field should be talking about, is the ARA food
>program of 1921-1922. It was headed by Secretary of Commerce Herbert
>Hoover in the Harding Administration. It was conducted while Lenin was
>in power and suppressing democracy and the Church. The US did not
>recognize the Communist regime. Yet, the only conditionality was some
>control over distribution. Harding, a shrewd Ohio politician, no doubt
>was primarily interested in helping the Midwest farmers. Today the
>American farmers are in a terrible situation. The politics on the
>Republican side are easy because of the Harding-Hoover analogy, and both
>parties should be eager to court the farmers in an election year. If it
>were headed by a bipartisan team of people like Dole and Mitchell, it
>might allow both parties to claim credit.
How successful was the ARA program, and why was it so?
1) The program lasted two whole years (from the summer of 1921 to the
summer of 1923);
2) Over 10 million people were fed in Russia and another two million in
3) The program was successful because the ARA did not transfer its funds
and supplies to the Soviet authorities as Lenin wanted (and as Nansen did
for the League of Nations), but maintained FULL control of the distribution
4) The ARA organized its own distribution network in Russia and Ukraine,
using its own personnel in all administrative functions, hiring local
workforce mainly for clerical and menial work;
5) The operations were strictly suppervised, with very little loss of
materials from theft or mismanagement; all this is well recorded (the
Hoover archives are a worthy tribute to this relief effort);
6) This was perhaps the most efficient humanitarian relief effort that the
Americans had ever undertaken and yet it seems that the lessons from it
have been completely forgotten, when America had to deal with famine and
other relief efforts in more recent times.
7) The experience earned the American people genuine gratitude from
Russians and Ukrainians who were saved by the ARA.
Much of the charitable aid (food, medicine, etc) that has gone into the
post-Soviet republics has ended up on the black market, the eternal problem
being one of control of its distribution. To reach the needy population
the control must be exercised by the donating agencies and not left to the
local authorities. Is this meddling in internal affairs of a foreign
state? Is it incompatible with "national sovereignty"?
Perhaps its time that the Americans take a closer look at this page of
their history and apply the lessons to the presesnt situation.
Department of History
University of Quebec in Montreal
Sources Say US Considering Canceling ABM Treaty
Moscow, Sep 30 (Interfax) -- The United States is considering
unilaterally canceling the ABM Treaty on the limitation of anti-ballistic
missile systems, if Russia fails to agree to proposed changes to the
document, sources close to the Russian Defense Ministry told Interfax. The
ABM Treaty, signed by the USSR and the United States in 1972, bans the
creation of a nationwide anti-missile defense system and only permits
deployment of stationary land-based anti-missile systems in one strictly
limited area in the country. Russia, the legal successor to the USSR, can
deploy the systems in Moscow region. The authorized area for the United
States is the intercontinental ballistic missile base in Grand Forks, North
Dakota. The two countries must have no more than 100 launch systems and no
more than 100 strategic anti-missile systems each in these areas. The
United States is going to expand the system in order to cover the entire
territory of the country, the sources said. "Russia will never agree to
revise the ABM Treaty because this would mean breaking the strategic
balance," one of the sources said. Russia has information that the United
States may make unilateral decisions on changes to the treaty and then
place before Russia a fait accompli, the source said. The consequences of
such a move "are just impossible to predict," the source said. Nuclear
powers, "primarily China," and so-called "threshold countries" may feel
encouraged to develop their programs of strategic armaments, the source
said. Asked how Russia might react to such a decision, the source said
that "Russia will have no choice but to develop means against anti-missile
systems and supply them to its strategic forces." "The statement by
(former USSR President) Mikhail Gorbachev more than ten years ago about an
asymmetric response to star wars was not empty words," the source said.
The United States will need six years after bowing out of the ABM Treaty to
deploy the new system, the source said. Pentagon experts believe that the
new system will be able to intercept from 300 to 350 Russian strategic
missiles, the source said. U.S. military experts estimate that Russia will
be able to maintain only 600-700 nuclear warheads by the years 2007-2010,
the source said. However, "all these estimates and the statements by some
people in the Pentagon that the United States is able to destroy up to 450
strategic missiles with the use of conventional air defense means are
doubtful," the source said.
Russia: Implementation Botched A Good Reform Plan, IMF Says
By Robert Lyle
Washington, 2 October 1998 (RFE/RL) -- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Managing Director Michel Camdessus minces no words when he talks about what
went wrong in Russia and whose fault it was.
The economic reform plan and strategy Russia worked out with the IMF were
fine, Camdessus told reporters in Washington Thursday. It was Russia's
implementation that was poor.
Implementation of such fundamental reforms requires broad political support,
he said, not only from everyone in the government itself, but from the Duma
and even from the regional governments. Indeed, said Camdessus, the more
difficult the reforms, the more indispensable is this broad political support.
Camdessus said it also requires a certain administrative strength to carry out
reforms and Russia was particularly weak in this area. It couldn't collect
taxes, it couldn't control expenditures, it couldn't supervise banks. Even
when the strategy is good, it will fail if the means of implementation are
Added to those fundamental weaknesses, said Camdessus, was the fact that
instead of correcting its economic problems, Russia turned to heavy borrowing
to pay for government operations. That's one lesson the new government must
learn. Said Camdessus: "borrowing to avoid fundamental budgetary adjustment
and reform is a recipe for disaster."
Camdessus ticked off his list of Russia's faults when he was asked about the
comments of former Russian tax chief Boris Fyodorov Wednesday. Fyodorov
complained to a group of western correspondents that "the IMF was pretending
that it was seeing a lot of reforms in Russia (and) Russia was pretending to
Camdessus laughed when told of Fyodorov's comment. "Well," he said, "there are
many things to say about Russia, about the past."
The IMF managing director said that for the future, the new government in
Russia must have a "clear strategy, clear vision" of what is needed and how it
will be implemented. Then it must show it to the public and win popular
support for it.
That has not happened yet, said Camdessus, and even though there are
"suspicions" about what the new government's real plans are, no policy
statements have yet been issued.
What the IMF and the rest of the global financial community is waiting for,
said Camdessus, is a statement that Moscow will take every possible step to
reestablish a good working economic and financial climate in the country, will
patch up the damage it has done with its creditors, especially demonstrating
that it will not be tempted again to take unilateral actions.
That was a reference to the previous Russian government's imposition of a
90-day moratorium on debt repayments and a forced rescheduling of those debts,
a move that was strongly criticized.
Camdessus said Russia's new government must also recognize that it has been
incapable of collecting revenues to pay for the core responsibilities of the
state -- defense and the payment of wages and salaries of government employees
-- and do something about it.
They must also have a credible proposal for restructuring the banking system,
which has effectively collapsed, and endorse continued broad structural
reforms, said Camdessus.
While Moscow's official economic recovery plan has not been announced,
Camdessus acknowledged that some public statements have indicated Moscow may
be considering a number of actions, such as printing more rubles to pay off
bills, that could make Russia's financial situation only worse.
The new leaders must demonstrate that they are convinced that inflation is in
no way conducive to growth and that going to the printing press to turn out
unsupported rubles, can never be a solution to the problems of any country, he
Camdessus expects to meet with several new Russian ministers over the next few
days in the continued lead-up to next week's annual meetings of the fund and
the World Bank. Sources in Washington say that Moscow's new ministers of
Economy, Finance and Energy are, at the moment, penciled in to attend the
IMF/World Bank meetings.
Camdessus' assessment was echoed by U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
Speaking to a New York economic conference, Rubin said the IMF-led reform
package was a good one, but that it fell apart because of what Russian
officials did -- or didn't do.
Poll Shows Most Russians Oppose Printing Money
MOSCOW, October 1 (Itar-Tass) -- Most people in Russia are against an
additional printing of money in the country, according to an opinion poll
taken at the end of September by the Mneniye opinion polling service.
As many as 30.7 percent of respondents described the printing of money
as "undesirable" and 20.8 percent said categorically that this should not
be done under any circumstances.
Asked whether the government needs to print money to repay wage and
pension arrears, only 10.3 percent of people said it should do so, while
26,5 percent of respondents out of 520 people, representing various social
and age groups, hardly knew what to say about the issue which worries the
authorities and is uppermost in the minds of the population.