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Johnson's Russia List
2 November 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Russia PM to seek support for economy plan.
2. Radical Statistics: Ray Thomas, THE RUSSIAN MORTALITY CRISIS.
3. Los Angeles Times: Maura Reynolds, Communists Stumble in Effort to Fill
Russian Power Void.
4. Washington Post: Thomas Lippman, Turmoil, Drift in Russia Prompt U.S.
Policy Shift. Flexibility, Recognition of Limits Mark New Approach.
5. The Sunday Times (UK): Mark Franchetti, Moscow to offer Yeltsin golden
handshake or order of the iron boot.
6. St. Petersburg Times: Brian Whitmore, It's a Psychological Crisis, Not
a Financial One. (Views of psychologist Lev Shcheglov).
7. Washington Post: Walter Pincus, $525 Million for Russian Nonproliferation
Deals Added to Bill.
8. Kennan Institute event: "Lenin's Rise: A Documentary."
9. Jerry Hough: Re 2455-Halloween issue.]
Russia PM to seek support for economy plan
By Gareth Jones
MOSCOW, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, rebuffed by the
International Monetary Fund, will this week seek the support of Russia's
parliament for his anti-crisis plans.
With ailing President Boris Yeltsin on holiday and looking more politically
isolated than ever, Primakov is now effectively in charge of the world's
largest country and is leading efforts to rebuild its shattered economy.
The former spymaster is likely to find the leftist-dominated State Duma lower
house more sympathetic than the International Monetary Fund to his plans to
revive domestic industry and shield the poor. Most Duma factions backed
Primakov in a confirmation vote on Sept. 11.
But Russian liberals, like the IMF and Western governments, are worried that
the current crisis might signal the end of post-Soviet Russia's experiments
with free market capitalism.
Primakov is expected to speak with parliamentary leaders Monday, two days
after his cabinet approved a program criticized by the IMF as a shift away
from the market economy.
An IMF mission left Moscow on Friday after 10 days of fruitless talks without
approving the release of $4.3 billion promised in June to the previous
The government sorely needs the money to help meet international debt
commitments and to pay off huge wage and pension arrears owed to its own
Russia faces $17 billion in external debt repayments next year and is still
struggling to work out how to repay billions of dollars of domestic debt.
Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov was quoted by RIA news agency on Sunday as
saying Russia had managed to pay all wages owed in October to state sector
employees including the army.
But he conceded that the state had topped up its coffers by printing money --
a move that risks sparking runaway inflation.
``The amount of money printed was minimal,'' he said.
Zadornov said his ministry would present its draft budget for 1999 -- likely
to be tough -- to the cabinet on November 19.
On Saturday Primakov said he had still not given up on an agreement with the
IMF but also sounded a defiant note.
``Russia will not in any circumstances fall to its knees, everyone should be
firmly aware of that,'' he said.
Last week Primakov said Russia would not go begging for humanitarian aid but
would gladly accept offers of help. U.S. officials are already in Moscow to
discuss possible food aid.
His cabinet's anti-crisis plan, not expected to be published in full until
after Nov. 5, favors a sharp increase in the state's role in the economy.
Primakov said this included making sure payments were made from the budget,
that taxes were paid and that the shadow economy was stamped out.
``Especially when one is coming out a crisis situation ... there is an
especial need to strengthen the regulatory role of the state,'' Primakov told
``(But) without doubt, the market will remain,'' he added.
Former Kremlin aide and ex-finance minister Alexander Livshits, a liberal, was
``In Russia everybody is objectively tired of liberal reforms and the time has
come for an objective breathing space,'' he told Ekho Moskvy radio on Sunday,
predicting the pause would last at least six years.
Livshits called for a ``financial tsar'' to take charge of the central bank,
finance ministry and tax collection organs to ensure the state raised and
spent money efficiently.
Yeltsin, seen by the West until now as the main guarantor of Russian reforms,
is currently resting at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on his doctors' orders.
The Kremlin says Yeltsin, who is 67, is suffering from exhaustion and uneven
Kremlin aides acknowledge that Yeltsin has surrendered day-to-day management
of the country to Primakov but say he retains control of Russia's still
formidable nuclear arsenal.
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 1998 22:52:11 -0000
Subject: THE RUSSIAN MORTALITY CRISIS
From: Ray Thomas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: Russian-Studies list <email@example.com>
THE RUSSIAN MORTALITY CRISIS
by Ray Thomas
The average male expectancy of life in Russia declined from 65 years in 1986
to 57.5 years in 1994. A fall of this magnitude must be unprecedented in
world history for any country capable of maintaining a statistical system
capable of measuring such a decline with any accuracy. Irrespective of
matters of accuracy a decline of such magnitude must also be unprecedented
in that it was not the product of famine or from some kind of plague. The
only major epidemic suffered by Russia in this period has been the outbreak
Russian pundits and journalists reports put the decline down to
demoralisation. Millions of men in Russia have lost their work and their
purpose in life. The ILO unemployment rate is only 10%, but that conceals
massive underemployment and massive wage arrears.
This decline has not yet been the subject of investigation by social
scientists. But Professor Martin McKee gave a paper in September that
dealt with the medical aspects (as part of a programme of public seminars
held by the International Centre for Health & Society at UCL). McKee is
the leader of a research group at the European Centre on Health of Societies
at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine which has reported
extensively on Russia's mortality experience - which is parallel to that of
many other former soviet countries. A copy of McKee's references is given
at the end of this article.
There were only two items of good news in McKee's lecture. One was that
the team did not find anything wrong with the statistics. Any major errors
or fiddling, McKee argued would reveal inconsistencies. But no
inconsistencies were found.
The other positive point was that there was a sharp rise in the male
expectation of life of nearly three years over the period 1984 to 1987.
This is attributed to Gorbachov's anti-alcohol campaign and the vigilance of
the KGB in regulating the market for alcohol. After 1987, illicit brewing
of alcohol is believed to have become widespread and much of it is said to
be of such poor quality as to be a special danger to health.
Commentators in and outside Russia have long attributed that low male
expectation of life to drinking vodka. Russian sources estimate that
Russian men drink nine times as much as Russian women, and this must go some
way to explaining the large difference between the expectation of life for
men and for women. Russian women have an expectation of life ten years
greater than that for men - a difference greater than that in any other
country in the world.
But relating consumption of alcohol to the statistics on cause of death is
another matter. If alcohol is the cause, it is well disguised. The
number of deaths from accidents, injuries, drownings, murders and suicide
are all high - but alcohol is not included in the statistics as a
contributory factor for these categories. The big medical puzzle, as
McKee explained, is that the major cause of death among men is diseases of
the circulatory system including heart disease - that are not usually
associated with heavy alcohol consumption.
The theory developed by McKee's team is that the pattern of drinking in
Russia is different from that in other countries. High alcohol consumption
in the west is usually associated with regular drinking. But in Russia,
McKee asserted. The pattern is one of binge drinking. The Russians do not
sip wine with every meal, but on the occasion gulp down lots of vodka.
The statistical evidence supporting this conclusion flashed on the screen in
a chart showing deaths by day of week. The peak day for deaths is Sunday.
The number of deaths per day declines through the week until Thursday, and
then starts to climb again.
Another chart, presumably from the Walberg article cited below, showed a
close correlation between the rate of labour turnover and the increase in
the death rate over the period 1987 to 1994. I suspect that this chart
is just the beginning of the important story. Bingeing on vodka may be
part of the Russian male soul, but a large increase in bingeing that may
help to explain the massive increase in the death rate over the period 1987
to 1994 has to be attributed to social and economic factors.
The obvious sets of factors are the economic disasters associated with the
transition to capitalism. Russia has suffered from all the problems of
Thatcherism writ large. Privatisation there has produced what was
described a few years ago as a million millionaires and 149 millions living
in poverty. The economic crisis of 1998 seems likely to give a new lease
of life to that description.
Martin McKee's suggested reading -
Leon D, Chenet L, Shkolnikov VM, Zakharov S, Shapiro J, Rakhmanova G,
Vassin S, McKee M. Huge variation in Russian mortality rates 1984-1994:
artefact, alcohol, or what? Lancet 1997; 350: 383-8.
McKee M, Zatoqski W. How the cardiovascular burden of illness is changing in
Eastern Europe. Evidence-based Cardiovascular Medicine 1998; 2: 39-41.
McKee M, Bobak M, Rose R, Shkolnikov V, Chenet L, Leon D. Patterns of
smoking in Russia. Tobacco Control 1998; 7: 22-26.
Chenet L, Leon D, McKee M, Vassin S. Death from alcohol and violence in
Moscow: Socio-economic determinants. Eur J Population 1998; 14: 19-37.
Walberg P, McKee M, Shkolnikov V, Chenet L, Leon DA. Economic change, crime,
and mortality crisis in Russia: a regional analysis. BMJ 1998; 317: 312-8.
McKee M, Britton A. The positive relationship between alcohol and heart
disease in eastern Europe: potential physiological mechanisms. Roy Soc Med
1998; 91: 402-7.
Los Angeles Times
November 1, 1998
[for personal use only]
Communists Stumble in Effort to Fill Russian Power Void
Politics: Party faces pressure from internal competing ideologies, external
political rivals. Absence of consistent central doctrine fosters divisions.
By MAURA REYNOLDS
MOSCOW--The panorama is impressive: wave after wave of Russians carrying red
flags, marching to martial music, chanting in unison and demanding a return to
The Communist Party remains this nation's most powerful political
movement and the only one with a nationwide network capable of drawing
hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets.
Yet with President Boris N. Yeltsin sidelined by health problems, and the
political struggle to succeed him already underway, the Communists are far
from poised to take over.
To the contrary, although support for the Communist Party is broad, it is
also shallow. And more and more, there are signs that it may drain off to
other movements--especially an eclectic bloc coalescing around Moscow Mayor
Yuri M. Luzhkov.
"The position of the Communists is not as strong as it appears," said
Andrei Ryabov, an analyst with the Moscow-based Gorbachev Foundation. "Their
bloc has begun to fragment."
To be sure, the Communists still get far more support in polls than any
other political party--about 25% of respondents nationwide. And they scored an
important victory when Communists in parliament went eyeball to eyeball with
Yeltsin in September and forced him to give up his nomination of Viktor S.
Chernomyrdin for prime minister. Only last April, Yeltsin won a similar
showdown over the naming of Sergei V. Kiriyenko, who was ousted as premier in
But the Communist Party is facing pressures from inside and outside.
Internally, the party is beset by a crisis of vision. Externally, it is being
challenged by political rivals vying for its core constituency.
Consider Nikolai Orlov, a member of that constituency. The 71-year-old
retired bus driver trudged with more than 50,000 others to the Kremlin last
month, carrying a red flag he made himself by stapling a rectangle of cotton
cloth to a broomstick.
He looked for all the world like a Communist true believer. But he's not.
His flag was red, he said, not because he supports the Communists but because
it was the only color cloth he had at home.
"I was a Communist once," he said, "but that was a long time ago."
Orlov still talks of the proletariat and the glory of labor, but he said
he's unimpressed by the tired formulas he hears from Communist leader Gennady
A. Zyuganov. "If the election were today, I would gladly vote for Luzhkov."
So would a growing number of others. In fact, the same day Yeltsin was
forced to abandon a long-planned trip to Austria last week because of ill
health, a group of political parties--including some allied with the
Communists--signed a pact to formally create a left-center coalition. They
named Luzhkov as their preferred candidate for president in the next
Luzhkov, meanwhile, gave a speech outlining his idea of what such a bloc
would stand for--ideas that many latter-day Communists could accept.
"We should work and consume in accordance with the principles of
liberalism," Luzhkov said, "while social security should be based on the
principles of socialism."
The West still tends to see the Communist Party as an ideology-driven
monolith of pensioners and apparatchiks nostalgic for the Soviet past. Alarms
were raised when the Communists won a strong victory in 1995 parliamentary
elections and formed a coalition with smaller nationalist and socialist
parties to control a majority in the Duma, parliament's lower house.
But few Communists spend much time these days thinking about Karl Marx or
class struggle or abolishing private property--a change even the faction's
ideology chief acknowledges.
"Our country and social structure have changed, and the ideology of the
party has changed accordingly," said Alexander A. Kravets, the ideologist, who
also represents the Siberian city of Omsk in the Duma. "Today, the ideology of
the Communist Party reflects the interests of the majority of our compatriots
who have been left without any property . . . but also the interests of
property owners who realize full well that without a strong Russia, their
hopes and aspirations will never come true."
In other words, despite everything Marx wrote about class conflict,
Russia's Communists today are, in effect, claiming to represent both the
proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
And that's far from the only contradiction troubling the party.
Perhaps the most obvious one is that they are no longer clearly the
opposition. In recent weeks, several Communists and hard-liners have joined
the Cabinet of the new prime minister, Yevgeny M. Primakov. First Deputy Prime
Minister Yuri D. Maslyukov, a Communist, has taken over the new government's
As a result, the Communists are limited to complaining about the
soon as they take aim at his aides, fellow party members are in the line of
Perhaps most damaging, the party's rank and file is weakening. Every year
more of its staunch elderly supporters pass away, and there are growing
political divisions among remaining members.
In fact, in the absence of a consistent central doctrine, the party has
become an unstable amalgam of competing ideologies.
Some members are Soviet revanchists who want to throw out the market
economy and rebuild the collapsed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Others
are Russian nationalists who blame the West for ruining the country and seek
to rescue the defiled Slavic soul. And some are rabid racists, blaming
conspiracies of Jews and dark-skinned people for the country's woes.
Still others are moderates, similar to East European social democrats,
who seek to rebuild the welfare state but on the basis of a market economy.
Maslyukov, now the highest-ranking Communist in the government, is considered
the most prominent of these.
It is hard to gauge which of the groups is the strongest, but it's clear
that the interests of the moderates and the radicals are diverging.
The party denies any fragmentation.
"There is no ideological split in the party today and there never has
been one," said Kravets, the ideology chief. "What we have is constructive
discussion about the optimum ways of solving the problems confronting Russia
Some of those discussions are over the emerging left-center bloc. Since
the concept was floated shortly after Primakov was selected as prime minister,
politicians of many stripes have jumped on the bandwagon. They include
prominent Communists such as Gennady N. Seleznyov, speaker of the Duma.
For Communists to break ranks in such an open fashion would once have
been unthinkable. And it is a measure of how hard Zyuganov is working to hold
the party together that, despite being the Communists' all-but-declared
candidate for president, he has said the party would consider supporting
someone else on the left-center.
The left-center man of the moment is Luzhkov--the bald, cherub-faced
mayor of Moscow who belongs to no party but runs a powerful political machine
admired by Russian hard-liners and liberals alike.
As soon as Luzhkov acknowledged interest in the presidency, his ratings
jumped in several polls, from about 12% to 17%. Perhaps most significantly,
35% of respondents who identified themselves as Zyuganov supporters told the
Public Opinion Foundation that they welcomed Luzhkov's move to enter the race.
Zyuganov still beats Luzhkov in key polls, but only barely. The momentum
appears to be in Luzhkov's favor.
Russia's next scheduled parliamentary elections are still more than a
year away and the next presidential ballot not until June 2000. But with
Yeltsin's health on the skids, talk is growing that they may come earlier.
Indeed, the current economic and political crisis has handed the
Communists their best chance in years of regaining the political initiative.
But for a party that should be riding high, they keep stumbling.
A big protest outside the Kremlin last month provides one small example.
Originally, Communists and trade unions planned separate rallies. But the
Communists canceled theirs at the last minute and joined the unions; with many
Communists also members of trade unions, the party leadership could not be
sure their separate rally would draw enough people.
Galina V. Starovoitova, a liberal parliament deputy, said the Communists'
political fortunes may ride on whether they can turn the current crisis to
"In a stable country they have no chance of regaining power," she said.
"This is their last chance, and they know it."
1 November 1998
[for personal use only]
Turmoil, Drift in Russia Prompt U.S. Policy Shift
Flexibility, Recognition of Limits Mark New Approach
By Thomas W. Lippman
Chastened by economic turmoil and political drift in Russia, the Clinton
administration has retreated from six years of undivided support for
free-market reforms and their sponsors in favor of a flexible policy that
senior officials say emphasizes Russia's responsibility for its own fate.
The shift in the U.S. approach, expressed by President Clinton during a
Moscow summit in September, has become evident in recent weeks since the
selection of Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov. In public comments and
private meetings with concerned bankers and business executives, senior
administration officials have spelled out in frank language the failures of
free-market programs in Russia and the limits of Washington's ability to
ensure their success.
In practical terms, officials said, the administration is trying to work
around the chaos in Moscow by continuing bilateral programs -- such as
nuclear weapons safety cooperation -- on a nonpolitical basis, dealing with
long-familiar technocrats in key ministries.
The administration has refrained from proposing an economic plan of its
own, while warning the Russians, publicly and privately, that a return to
government control of the economy, currency restrictions, limits on foreign
investment and subsidies for obsolete industries would bring disaster.
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and other senior officials have
emphasized that the decision is
Moscow's to make, as doubts about Russia's future are heard more often from
U.S. officials than at any time since President Boris Yeltsin's 1996
reelection. Washington no longer assumes that free-market reformers will
prevail over opposition political forces now accepted by the United States
Yesterday, Russia's government approved an economic plan centered on the
increased printing of rubles, tax cuts, bank rescues and intensified state
intervention in the battered economy -- a plan that seems likely to
reinforce U.S. doubts.
"They have to heal themselves," Albright said in an interview before
yesterday's economic plan was announced. "If there's anything we have seen
in the last four or five years, it's that to some extent they drew some of
the wrong lessons about what a market economy is supposed to be." It is not
up to Washington to write a prescription, she said, adding, "They have to
understand the problem themselves."
Albright detailed the new U.S. approach in an Oct. 2 speech in Chicago
that was billed as a major policy address but drew little media attention at
the time. "The policies we would like the Russian government to pursue have
to be worked out democratically, with the support and understanding of the
Russian people, or they will fail," she said.
"We cannot say with confidence that Russia will emerge from its
difficulties any time soon," Albright said. "Nor should we assume the worst,
for there are still plenty of people in Russia who will fight against
turning back the clock."
After years in which Clinton administration officials tended to view the
Russian parliament and Russian officials other than Yeltsin and his
free-market allies as inconvenient throwbacks, Albright's speech took a new
line suggesting that critics of unfettered Western-style capitalism must be
taken into account.
On Wednesday, Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers echoed that
view, saying in a meeting with Washington Post editors and reporters, "I
think all of us involved in supporting economic reform need to understand
always that we can't want reform and stability in a country more than its
people and its government."
In a speech in New York last Monday, Stephen Sestanovich, the State
Department's ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet republics, said
Russia "faces a daunting set of tasks" as it seeks to stabilize its economy
and restore investor confidence.
"If the government approaches these choices seriously, if the arithmetic
makes sense, we'll be able to help," he said. "If the numbers don't add up,
our help won't do any good." He said Clinton conveyed that message to the
Russians during his Moscow summit in early September, and that it was "the
bottom line" of Albright's speech.
Another senior official denied that such views meant that the
administration is distancing itself or disengaging from Russia. "We are
going to have a dialogue and stay engaged, but in the end we want it to be
clear that whatever strategy they pursue, it has to be their strategy," he said.
In Russia, opposition political leaders, economic nationalists,
communists in parliament and provincial officials combined to reject
Yeltsin's effort to bring back Viktor Chernomyrdin as prime minister, and
clamored for Russia to defy the International Monetary Fund by printing
rubles if necessary in order to pay back wages.
"We have heard a lot of talk in recent days," Albright said in Chicago,
"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 it is "a troubling fact that many Russians have come to equate
reform with theft" as opportunistic businessmen enriched themselves while
economic conditions deteriorated for most people.
Nevertheless, she said, the rejection of Chernomyrdin followed
constitutional rules, even in the midst of crisis. With Primakov as prime
minister and the Westernized reformers in eclipse, she said, "We need to be
patient with the workings of the democratic process in Russia. Under the
best circumstances, there will be compromises between economic orthodoxy and
political reality. After all, democracy is not rule by economist-kings. It
is a system that allows pragmatic politicians to build a consensus for
policies that cause short-term pain."
Speaking of Primakov, who was previously the foreign minister, Albright
said, "We have been able to advance our cooperation where our interests
converge and to manage our differences honestly and constructively. The
question now is whether that cooperation can continue."
Senior officials said that despite Yeltsin's political and physical
weakness and the increased political clout of reform opponents, bilateral
cooperation has been largely unaffected. "They are anxious to maintain their
technical and scientific strength, and willing to work with us," said Energy
Secretary Bill Richardson, who is going to Russia next month to visit
formerly closed "nuclear cities" where Washington has agreed to help develop
commercial alternatives to nuclear weapons production.
The administration is considering donations of food to Russia this
winter, and is planning to increase direct economic assistance to about $200
million from fiscal 1998's $130 million. Much of the money, officials said,
will be committed to small-business loans, credit unions and technical
training in regions outside Moscow, essentially circumventing the central
government, officials said.
To some analysts, the Clinton administration's repositioning on Russia is
only an overdue acknowledgment of reality.
"Washington now quite clearly, if somewhat reluctantly, sees Yeltsin as a
spent political force," said Arnold Horelick, a specialist at the Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, after a recent trip to Moscow. "His
decline, moreover, is accompanied by the departure of the liberal economists
to whom Washington and the West generally have looked to lead Russia's
reform. Along with them, this brand of liberal reform is also gone."
The Sunday Times (UK)
November 1, 1998
[for personal use only]
Moscow to offer Yeltsin golden handshake or order of the iron boot
AS Boris Yeltsin left a Moscow sanatorium for yet another rest in a secluded
Black Sea resort last week, his opponents were sitting down in the Russian
capital to talk about his redundancy package, writes Mark Franchetti.
The duma, the lower house of parliament, is working on a plan that could allow
the frail president to make a relatively graceful exit from Russian politics.
Initial details suggest he may be offered a state dacha, bodyguards, a
generous pension, full social and medical benefits, an honorary seat in the
upper house of parliament and immunity from prosecution - a sheltered
retirement not unlike that of General Augusto Pinochet, the former Chilean
dictator. If Yeltsin has to be forced out he will get none of these benefits.
With impeachment proceedings gathering momentum, Yeltsin's choice was becoming
clear. If he steps down before the end of his term in 2000, he will secure an
untroubled retirement. If he stubbornly stays in office, despite his physical
incapacity, he risks being ejected without any security for him or his family.
A parliamentary impeachment commission accuses Yeltsin of causing the Soviet
Union's collapse, shelling his own parliament in 1993 and starting the war in
the breakaway republic of Chechnya that cost 80,000 lives.
The commission, though initially ridiculed, is rapidly gaining support. Last
week a poll showed that three-quarters of the Russian population favour
impeachment and only 16% are opposed. Yevgeny Primakov, the prime minister,
announced yesterday that "the nuclear briefcase is in the reliable hands of
the president," as he sought to convince the world that Yeltsin still matters.
"Yeltsin's time is up and nobody is frightened of him any more," said a
western diplomat. "He has become irrelevant. The choice is: you either go
gracefully and we'll take care of you or we'll come after you."
The renewed pressure came at the end of a week when even the Kremlin ceased to
pretend that Yeltsin was running the country. Aides had previously always
claimed he was "working on documents" whenever poor health grounded him at his
dacha outside Moscow.
Last week Oleg Sysuyev, the deputy head of administration, said Yeltsin would
announce a reduced role in his state-of-the-nation address to the upper house
of parliament early next year. There was no need for Yeltsin to interfere in
day-to-day economic affairs, he said.
The cabinet, however, seemed to be making a mess of the economy on its own.
The International Monetary Fund tore up an economic crisis plan proposed by
the government, calling it a "step back" from market reforms.
As his position weakens almost daily, Yeltsin is facing intense demands to
sign away some of the sweeping constitutional powers he granted himself in
1993. His feeble state of health makes wielding them inconceivable. Sensing
this, the duma is calling for a system that would strip Russian presidents of
the power to hire and fire governments and ministers without the duma's
consent. "In Russia we don't have a balance between the executive and
legislative branches," said Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Yeltsin's former spokesman.
"The president has too much power."
Not everybody, however, sees Yeltsin's ill-health as an impediment. "A sick
Yeltsin brings more stability than a healthy one," said Vyacheslav Nikonov, a
former Kremlin adviser. "In his present state, Yeltsin won't shell parliament
or change prime ministers back and forth. He may just give the government a
chance to work normally."
Until decisions on Yeltsin's future are finalised, this is the most that
Russia's deeply disillusioned people can hope for.
St. Petersburg Times
October 30, 1998
It's a Psychological Crisis, Not a Financial One
By Brian Whitmore
There's at least one person in Russia who thinks the crisis may not be such a
bad thing after all.
According to Lev Shcheglov, one of Russia's most renowned psychologists, what
his country needs right now is one good therapy session. And he hopes the
country's recent political and economic nose dive may be just the impetus
required to finally drive people - figuratively speaking - to the analyst's
Shcheglov, 52, is one of Russia's foremost experts on sexual psychology. But
lately his interest in the intimate problems of his compatriots has taken a
back seat to what he sees as a troubling unwillingness to face some even more
fundamental facts of life.
"Our basic problem as a society is that we are unhealthy psychologically,"
said the trim and distinguished-looking Shcheglov, who first achieved national
fame as a host of the first Russian television program to openly discuss
sexual problems. "This crisis is primarily a psychological crisis, and we need
to resolve this problem before we can even begin to address our financial,
economic or political problems."
Citing the Freudian concept of "catharsis" - a process by which an individual
survives a traumatic experience, gains insight and self-knowledge, and
ultimately grows - Shcheglov sees Russia's crisis as a valuable opportunity
"The crisis can be positive for our society," he said. "All around us is
betrayal, there is criminality throughout society. We need to say to ourselves
that we can no longer live this way. In our country this has never really
Shcheglov - a St. Petersburg native who will take his message on the campaign
trail as he runs for a legislative seat in local elections this December - has
long been accustomed to identifying his country's barriers and fighting to
break them down.
A trained psychologist who traditionally specializes in helping patients
address their sexual problems, in 1989 he helped to organize Russia's first
department of "sexology" - an interdisciplinary field that borrows from
psychology, biology and gynecology - under the umbrella of the faculty of
Social Medicine at the city's Maimonida State Medical Academy.
Shcheglov, who now chairs the department, has the rare ability to discuss
sexual issues in a manner that is both dignified and refreshingly matter-of-
fact, with an occasional dose of humor and irony thrown in.
"Sexual problems need to be addressed in a holistic way, taking into account
psychological, sociological and biological factors," said Shcheglov, whose
budding department is small - just 25 students - and a surprising aberration
for a country that long maintained silence when it came to bedroom issues.
"It's a paradox. On the one hand we're small, but on the other hand this is
the only place in the world where you can get a diploma in this field," he
said. "There's a good chance that one of our people will turn out to be a
super world-class specialist."
From 1992 to 1997, Shcheglov co-hosted "Adam's Apple," a groundbreaking
national television program that featured surprisingly frank discussions of
"We tried to strike a balance between being too serious and being vulgar and
the response was very positive. The show got very high ratings," said
Shcheglov, who continues to treat private patients in his St. Petersburg
"For men the most common problem is the inability to achieve an erection, and
for women it is the inability to achieve an orgasm," he said.
Changing sexual mores in Russian society have dramatically narrowed the gender
gap in his regular clientele, Shcheglov said. When he first began practicing
in the 1970s, he said, he saw just one female patient for every 15 men. The
ratio now is virtually even.
"We used to teach our children that sex is for men and love is for women, but
this is changing," he said. "Now men are paying more attention to love and
women aren't afraid to admit that they want sex."
The current chaos in Russia, Shcheglov said, is likewise egalitarian. "As a
psychologist, I can say that we are all in some way responsible for this
crisis," he said. "Today we have a great opportunity to change, but if this
doesn't happen then we'll be in a sorry state for at least another 10 years.
We need to reject all kinds of dishonest behavior; our self-consciousness
needs to awaken. If this doesn't happen, there'll be a catastrophe."
As a code of behavior, Shcheglov advocates what he calls "balanced
individualism," a concept he summarized in the phrase, "If I don't think about
myself, then who will? If I don't think about others, then who am I?"
And as for thinking about others - what does Russia's foremost sex expert
think about America's newest potency enhancer, Viagra?
"When someone breaks a leg, it is logical to have a crutch, but the crutch
should not replace the leg. The same principle should apply with Viagra - it
should be used as a short-term crutch for people who are having problems. But
to take a pill every time you want to have an erection is simply idiocy."
1 November 1998
[for personal use only]
$525 Million for Russian Nonproliferation Deals Added to Bill
By Walter Pincus
In the final days of Congress, Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) and a bipartisan
group of senators and representatives slipped $525 million into the massive
year-end spending bill to support two faltering nonproliferation programs
designed to reduce Russian stocks of plutonium and highly enriched uranium
taken from the dismantling of nuclear weapons.
Domenici, who helped formulate what became an agreement at the Clinton-Yeltsin
summit in July to reduce Russian and U.S. plutonium stocks by 50 tons,
arranged for $200 million in the bill so that U.S. negotiators would "have
something to put on the table" as they work out arrangements for that program,
a Senate aide said last week.
The remaining $325 million is to provide funds to keep afloat a bottlenecked
agreement under which Russia sells to foreign buyers natural uranium
reprocessed from the highly enriched uranium taken from its dismantled nuclear
weapons. The money in the bill would pay for the U.S. purchase of low-grade
uranium reprocessed last year and this year. But the funding is contingent on
Russia arranging with a consortium of French, Canadian and German companies to
buy the reprocessed uranium output for the following 10 years.
Energy Undersecretary Ernest J. Moniz said the last-minute money "is going to
keep us on track" with the uranium program and "accelerate" discussions on the
The uranium program, part of a 20-year agreement signed in 1994, calls for the
United States to reprocess weapons grade, highly enriched uranium accumulated
as Russia dismantles its older tactical and strategic nuclear weapons under
earlier treaties and agreements. The fissionable material is shipped to the
United States, where it is reprocessed and turned into low-grade uranium
usable in atomic power plants. Two-thirds of that uranium is for sale on the
open market, and Russia retains the remainder to use at home or sell on its
When the Energy Department earlier this year sold its reprocessing capability
and some low-grade uranium stocks to a newly established private company, the
United States Enrichment Corp. (USEC), the Russian deal faltered because the
world price of low-grade uranium collapsed. Early last month, Russian
officials said they were going to have to end the agreement because Western
companies had refused to sign the long-term purchase agreement needed to
solidify the deal.
In last-minute negotiations, U.S and Russian officials agreed on a $200
million U.S. loan to pay for the initial output of low-grade uranium. Domenici
and Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), however, thought the loan program would not
work and instead won congressional acceptance of the $325 million outright
purchase of the initial two-year output.
Moniz said the uranium would be held for future resale when the world market
recovers. "The agreement," he said, "resolved the uranium component of the
program" so that highly enriched uranium shipments from Russia to the United
States can continue.
Meanwhile, Moniz said, Russian officials recently met in Paris with
representatives of the three Western countries, and negotiations are underway
to work out details of a 10-year purchase program.
The plutonium program has been a pet project for Domenici, whose home state
contains the Los Alamos National Laboratory, birthplace of the atomic bomb,
and Sandia National Laboratory, where other nuclear weapons programs have been
developed. As chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and head of the Senate
Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development, Domenici has the
political clout to achieve deals such as the uranium and plutonium money.
He also has influenced the White House on these programs, traveling to Russia
in July with President Clinton to push conclusion of the plutonium agreement.
When the first negotiations with the Russians on implementation were set for
early last month, Domenici moved to add the $200 million to the funding bill
"to convince the Russians we were serious."
If the Russians needed any additional signs of U.S. interest in the programs,
they will get it this month. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson plans to visit
Moscow and then tour Russian nuclear laboratories that are receiving
substantial U.S. financial support. Later this month, Domenici is going to
Russia with Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and former senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.)
to visit both nuclear laboratories and nuclear weapons disposal sites.
The more than $400 million-a-year Nunn-Lugar program finances a variety of
nuclear dismantling and safety programs in Russia. Former defense secretary
William J. Perry, a supporter of the dismantling program during the first term
of the Clinton administration, will accompany the senators on their trip.
Date: Fri, 30 Oct 1998
From: "JOSEPH DRESEN" <DRESENJO@WWIC.SI.EDU> m>)
Subject: Kennan Institute event announcement
Cosponsored by the Washington Office of the Congress of Russian
Americans and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.
"Lenin's Rise: A Documentary" (in Russian)
Directed by Gen. Dmitri Volkogonov
Introduced by Olga Volkogonova, Visiting Fullbright Scholar, George
Washington University; Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy and
Methodology of Sciences, Moscow State University; and former USIA Regional
Exchange Scholar, Kennan Institute
Thursday, November 5
6:00 * 8:00 p.m.
Auditorium, 6th Floor
Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center
One Woodrow Wilson Plaza
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
No R.S.V.P is necessary, event is open to the public.
Please note that seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Please call the morning of the event to confirm at (202) 691-4100
For a map showing our location, please visit our web site:
Date: Sun, 1 Nov 1998
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 2455-Halloween issue
Your no. 2455 was a fine Halloween issue. The trouble is I
can't figure out what are just costumes and what are real monsters. All
the speculation about Primakov as president and Yavlinsky as premier
squares very nicely with the fact that Primakov seems to have a Yabloko
program of left-wing or centrist rhetoric, but an obsession with macroeconomic
measures and a policy that seems to the right of Gaidar. On the
surface, what has happened other than the end of the Western-subsidized good
life for the big cities and more shock therapy? What a plan: 30 percent
inflation, lower taxes, more tax collection, no price controls, no agricultural
reform, no structural changes, no rationing to protect the poor (but
there is enough grain so they can eat bread with their potatoes), state
regulation, and subsidies. It balances only if the subsidies of
unspecified size are actually being cut and the economy is less regulated
than under Yeltsin. But surely it does not balance and makes no sense.
It is what one would expect from Zadornov. The key question is
whether it is true, as Zyuganov seems to imply that Yeltsin has imposed
Zadornov and that therefore the removal of Yeltsin is the only
solution? If I had to bet, I think that is the right answer. Or is
Primakov simply too much a part of the Gorbachev de facto shock therapy
mentality and suspicion of institutions? There is a lot of Halloween fog.
The Russian commentators have not been giving reasonable election
scenarios. I would have thought that the right and right-center (Primakov,
Yavlinsky, Luzhkov, etc.) are surely going to split the vote and not reach the
runoff. Even if they unite, they probably will not reach the runoff.
Who is Moscow going to support in a Lebed-Zyuganov runoff? I guess the
workers will go Lebed and the educated will probably vote Zyuganov as the most
democratic, safer candidate of the two. Maybe Zyuganov and Luzhkov will
unite at this stage and bring the big cities behind him. But it seems
late in the game and unlikely.
But the Moscow "democrats" are making analyses and strategies that
lead to a Lebed victory with no commitments and restraints on him at a time
they are fantasizing about some constitutional changes and a weaker
president. Yeltsin either by imposing Zadornov or not forcing his removal is
almost surely forcing his own removal if he survives. Who in the Yeltsin
entourage is recommending this suicidal policy to him? If it is rational, it
can only be someone who thinks he will benefit from a quick Lebed
victory, and any such person might ponder Bukharin's benefit from helping
Stalin remove Trotsky. But probably this is just the kind of paralysis
in thinking and in will one always sees in the weeks preceding a November
1917. Maybe there simply comes a time when everyone wants, in Fromm's
term, "to escape from freedom." But one wishes it were not so.
And one wishes someone in the US government would do some thinking.
The Sunday Washington Post is beyond belief. The US policy is changing,
all actors proclaim in a long article. But, of course, any economic
policy to the left of Gaidar is a disaster and must be opposed. We
should offer an IMF loan to Russia if only they fire Zadornov and replace
him with someone like Glazyev who might have a workable policy. Maybe now
that the president with all his political judgment and skills can, after Wye
and the election, for the first time be brought into the policy toward Russia
that is likely to be a decisive factor in the historical evaluation of his
presidency. But, alas, I am too old to think there is any bag of candy
out there for us adults.