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Johnson's Russia List
11 November 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Signs of movement appear on strategic arms pact.
2. AFP: Maslyukov Links START 2 Passage with Future Western Loans.
3. Moscow Times: Leonid Bershidsky and Chloe Arnold, Cabinet Non-Plan
Plays Well At Duma.
4. The Guardian: James Meek, UN sounds food alarm as Russian winter bites.
5. Moscow Tribune: Dmitry Polikarpov, Media-MOST Plugs Yavlinsky for
6. Interfax: Zhirinovskiy Terms Communists 'Bolshevik Scum.'
7. Itar-Tass: Czech President Believes Russian Democracy Irreversible.
8. Journal of Commerce editorial: Exasperation with Russia.
9. Stanislav Menshikov: CNN News Reports about Russia.
10. Jacob Kipp: Russian North.
11. Janine Wedel: New book COLLISION AND COLLUSION.
12. Sarah Miller: Re 2469-Saivetz/Caspian Pipelines.
13. Carol Saivetz: full text of NYT letter on Caspian pipelines.
14. Ludmila Foster: Kamchatka report.
15. Nathan Stowell: Re Ms Blundy's language corruption piece.
16. AP: Russia PM Opposes Ban on Communists.
17. Interfax: Nemtsov Says IMF Cannot Save Russia, Ukraine.
18. Moscow Times editorial: Who Will Food Aid Be Feeding?
19. Interfax: Chubays: Russian Communist Party 'Deserves To Be Banned.']
Signs of movement appear on strategic arms pact
By Patrick Worsnip
MOSCOW, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Signs of movement on Russia's long-stalled START-2
strategic arms treaty with the United States appeared on Tuesday after the new
compromise government called on parliament finally to ratify the pact.
Although some deputies in the State Duma said there was as yet no majority in
favour of ratifying the 1993 treaty, one spoke of ``essential progress'' and
another said the issue was becoming ``soluble,'' Russian news agencies
START-2 slashes the two countries' Cold War nuclear arsenals by up to two
thirds to no more than 3,500 warheads each by 2007.
The U.S. Senate has ratified the treaty, but despite repeated pleas by the
Kremlin the Duma has held back, concerned by U.S. plans to develop missile
defences, by NATO expansion, and by the cost of scrapping missiles eliminated
by the pact.
Deputies quoted by Russian agencies said government leaders told the Duma that
ratifying START-2 would help Moscow's quest for Western help in emerging from
economic crisis, including in talks with the U.S.-influenced International
After a closed Duma session heard speeches on START-2 from First Deputy Prime
Minister Yuri Maslyukov and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, house speaker
Gennady Seleznyov said that ``these were essentially the last parliamentary
hearings'' on the issue.
Seleznyov told a news conference it was no longer a strategic question, but an
economic question of whether the cash-strapped government could afford to
dismantle old missiles and build a small number of new ones.
``The government said it will give us all the financial accounting on this
subject and will explain how the new type of arms will be financed,'' he said.
Seleznyov's deputy, Vladimir Ryzhkov, told reporters that four parliamentary
committees would prepare all necessary documentation on START-2 over the next
10 days, together with proposals for further action.
Neverthless, a number of deputies in the Duma opposed the government's appeal,
including Communist Albert Makashov, who attracted attention last month with a
speech widely seen as anti-semitic, Russian agencies said.
RIA news agency quoted Ryzhkov as saying that ``so far this treaty lacks the
agreement of a majority of deputies, but there is essential progress in this
It quoted another deputy, Alexei Mitrofanov of the ultra-nationalist Liberal
Democratic Party, as saying the solution could be to approve the treaty with
These would permit Russia to back out of the pact if the United States
developed a nationwide missile defence system, as some Republican members of
Congress have demanded, Mitrofanov was quoted as saying.
Opposition to ratifying START has long centred on the opposition Communists,
but Russian analysts said the situation had changed since a compromise
government including Communists was formed in September by Prime Minister
Differences between the government and parliament ``used to have a political,
circumstantial nature,'' Yuri Sutyagin of the USA and Canada Institute told
Itar-Tass news agency, alluding to Duma hostility to President Boris Yeltsin,
who signed START-2.
Now, with Yeltsin partially sidelined by the formation of Primakov's
government, ``the government and the State Duma are beginning to work
together,'' Sutyagin said.
Agency reports quoted Maslyukov, himself a Communist, as telling the Duma that
in addition to ratifying START-2, efforts should be intensified to close a
further START-3 deal.
Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton have agreed to open negotiations on
START-3 -- which would cut warheads by another third or half -- as soon as
START-2 comes into force.
The reports also quoted Maslyukov as saying work should proceed to build a new
Topol-M missile, known to NATO as the SS-27, to replace some of the ageing
rockets to be scrapped.
Maslyukov Links START 2 Passage with Future Western Loans
MOSCOW, Nov. 10, 1998 -- (Agence France Presse) First Deputy Prime Minister
Yury Maslyukov urged Russia's opposition-led parliament Tuesday to ratify the
START 2 nuclear disarmament treaty quickly in order to improve Moscow's
battered image in the West.
"Maslyukov said our future economic position should improve should START 2 be
ratified," said Aleksander Shokhin of the centrist Our Home Is Russia faction
after attending a parliament session in which Maslyukov unveiled elements of
his economic revitalization program.
"He urged us to pass START," added Russia's Regions leader Oleg Morozov.
The START 2 agreement, ratified in 1996 by the U.S. Senate, provides for the
number of American warheads to be cut to 3,500 and Russia's stock to 3,000
while also forcing the Kremlin to eliminate its heavy multiple-warhead
But Communists and their national allies in parliament have refused to pick up
Shokhin said Maslyukov urged parliament leaders to approve the treaty, hinting
such a step may ease the way for Western credits that could help plug holes in
Russia's vast budget deficit.
Maslyukov's words however were not warmly received by most nationalist
deputies, some lawmakers who attended the session said.
November 11, 1998
Cabinet Non-Plan Plays Well At Duma
By Leonid Bershidsky and Chloe Arnold
Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Tuesday won broad support in the State Duma
both for his anti-crisis economic plan and his government's 1999 budget -
without actually showing either to anybody.
Tuesday was the day First Deputy Prime Minister Yury Maslyukov had said the
government would publish a final version of its long-awaited economic program.
This program has failed to appear on numerous promised occasions during the
Cabinet's two months in power, and this week was true to form: Instead of
unveiling the program, Primakov, Maslyukov and other top government and
Central Bank officials addressed the Duma in a session that was closed to the
Afterward, legislators said the government had talked in the most general of
terms about things it had already advocated publicly for weeks - like printing
some rubles (but not too many), paying back holders of frozen treasury bills
(but not too generously) and involving the state in the economy (but not too
"Primakov is a Communist, Maslyukov is a Communist, and Communists like to
make out as if they know something others don't," was the way ultranationalist
Vladimir Zhirinovsky explained the secrecy.
"It was very useful," was all Primakov would say to journalists as he emerged
from the meeting.
Instead of a concrete program and a draft budget, deputies were shown several
budget options for 1999.
"If it does not work out this way, we will do it another way," was how
Agrarian faction leader Nikolai Kharitonov summed up Maslyukov's presentation
on the budgets.
Some legislators were disappointed that the entire government lineup showed up
in the lower house of parliament nearly three months into an economic crisis
without a single bill to discuss.
But Alexander Shokhin, leader of the centrist Our Home Is Russia faction, saw
significance in even that. Shokhin said the government's presentation was in
the great tradition of the Soviet economic super-ministry Gosplan, which in
its heyday occupied the building that now houses the Duma.
In the days of Gosplan - the central-planning agency Maslyukov headed under
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev - all economic programs and forecasts
contained an optimistic, a pessimistic and a middle-of-the-road scenario.
Despite the vague nature of the government's presentation to parliament - or
perhaps thanks to it - Primakov's government got a much more friendly
reception than its predecessors under Viktor Chernomyrdin and Sergei Kiriyenko
were usually accorded.
"There is understanding among deputies, there is no angry reaction to
[government members'] speeches," Kharitonov said. "I think everybody is
concerned with finding a constructive way to work."
Shokhin had a different explanation, arguing that everyone was so friendly
only because the government has not yet asked the Duma to approve any specific
"While there are no bills, there is no resistance," he said.
Maslyukov said the government would look at an early draft of the 1999 budget
Nov. 17. Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov, for his part, said the Duma would
only see a draft 1999 budget Dec. 1 - and then only if the government reaches
a deal with foreign investors on restructuring Russia's defaulted domestic
Zadornov was quoted by Interfax as saying that until the government knows how
much it will have to pay out to the holders of billions of dollars in frozen
treasury bills, a budget would make no sense.
Shokhin made a similar point, noting that talks with Russia's Paris Club and
London Club creditors were needed to determine how much Russia would spend on
foreign debt servicing next year. Since there have been no such talks yet,
Shokhin predicted the budget would not be passed by the end of this year even
in its initial reading, and that final approval was only realistic by the
middle of next year.
"The government is still undecided on basic things like tax rates or T-bill
restructuring strategies," Shokhin said. "We will not know until the last
moment what kind of policy, and specifically what [monetary] policy, will be
Kharitonov said one of the budget options called for printing 100 billion
rubles next year. Other options were less reliant on new ruble emissions. But
the government would not say what its specific money-printing plans were.
Communists praised the government for its avowed determination to give the
state a bigger role in running the economy.
Liberal deputies, on the other hand, noted that the optimistic version of the
1999 budget was based on a 2 percent budget surplus. Maslyukov, courting those
lawmakers who argue Russia needs a balanced national budget, hastened to say
after the Duma session that this was "the main option" in the Cabinet's eyes,
according to Interfax.
Shokhin said, however, that if the government decides to push a balanced
budget through the Duma, that would involve spending cuts, and "the left wing
will start voicing doubts and distancing itself from the Cabinet."
11 November 1998
[for personal use only]
UN sounds food alarm as Russian winter bites
Experts argue the country is not short of food, but lacks cash to buy it from
By James Meek in Moscow
Isolated regions of Russia could run out of food this winter, a United
Nations' agency warned yesterday as efforts to push surplus Western farm
produce Moscow's way gathered pace.
The Rome-based United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency said areas of the
far north and north-east, which are partly cut off from the rest of the
country as seas and rivers freeze, faced a risk of 'erratic food supplies'.
It linked the crisis to the country's disastrous harvest, which has been known
of for months. Most Russia-based experts, however, argue that the country is
not short of food, but simply lacks cash in circulation, and a banking system
capable of buying and moving food to where it is needed.
This summer was one of the harshest the grain belt has known. In wheat fields
from the northern Caucasus to central Siberia, farmers watched in despair as
crops shrivelled in the heat.
But Andrei Sizov, an analyst with the Russian agricultural consultancy
Sovecon, said that despite the appalling harvest, Russian farmers had exported
a record 190,000 tonnes of grain in September. The real problem, he said, was
the banking crisis, which froze the accounts of big Russian grain buyers just
when they were about to conclude deals with the farmers.
The government is accepting more than 3 million tonnes of emergency food aid
from the United States, and considering an offer of almost 2 million tons of
grain and meat from the European Union, not because Russia is desperately
short of home-grown food, but because the government is short of cash - and
food, rather than money, is all the West is prepared to give.
The International Monetary Fund suspended payouts of a long-term $22.6 billion
( £13.5 billion ) loan after the August 17 financial collapse in Russia.
"Obviously we can't give money; we're giving food," said Bertrand Soret,
spokesman for the European Commission office in Moscow. "We want to retain
some kind of control over the use of this assistance, and if you give money
it's harder to control."
Mr Sizov said the food priorities for the government were not so much the
population at large as its two most miserable institutions - its conscript
army and over-crowded prison system, both utterly dependent on Moscow for
food. Russia's jails hold more than a million people.
"It's necessary to feed the army and the prisons. That's the reality. That's
where the bread will go," he said.
But other social groups are desperately short of money to buy food and do not
always have the means to grow their own, such as the elderly, the disabled,
single parents and families with many children.
The International Red Cross points out that these groups were the main victims
of the free market and the barter economy, long before the financial crisis
and the bad harvest.
Caroline Hurford, the ICRC's spokeswoman in Moscow, said the much-vaunted
economic stabilisation of late 1997 and early 1998 had done nothing to prevent
millions sliding deeper into poverty.
The ICRC confirmed that the problem was lack of money. "Assessments showed we
could buy food parcels locally," Ms Hurford said. "The Red Cross is buying all
its food parcels in Russia."
A sign of how much Russia has changed since Soviet times is that even though
it cannot afford to buy the food its own farmers produce, the government has
made no attempt to nationalise it. It was confiscation of food for the cities,
without regard for whether the peasants had anything to eat, which contributed
to the terrible pre-war Soviet famines.
November 10, 1998
Media-MOST Plugs Yavlinsky for President
By Dmitry Polikarpov
Media-MOST, the television and print media holding company, has decided to
throw its weight behind Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of the liberal Yabloko
bloc, when he runs for president in the year 2000.
Igor Malashenko, Media-MOST's deputy board chairman, left for the U.S. last
week to persuade the American political elite to place their bets on Yavlinsky
in the upcoming presidential race.
"I want to explain [to the U.S.] that in Russia all the main candidates have
made false starts, while Yavlinsky has been working on a systematic basis
since 1996. He is the only candidate who has a clear program and his own
team." Malashenko said in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta on Wednesday.
"The system has ceased to be bipolar. The situation has changed and Grigory
Alekseyevich Yavlinsky, who had no chances in 1996, now has a real chance [of
being elected]," Malashenko said.
Malashenko, who was part of President Yeltsin's election team in 1996, is
considered one of Russia's most experienced campaigners. He refused Yeltsin's
offer to become chief of the Kremlin administration two years ago, preferring
to continue with own career as a media tycoon.
In an interview last month, Malashenko speculated that he may be planning to
launch a political career of his own after the forthcoming presidential polls.
Media-MOST, run by Vladimir Gusinsky, includes the NTV television channel,
Moscow Echo radio, the daily Sevodnya and the magazines Itogi, Sem Dney and
Caravan Istorii. The group was seriously affected by the financial crisis,
losing some 70 percent of its advertisers, which may prompt Gusinsky to
sacrifice some of his publications in order to keep NTV afloat.
In the current economic situation, the upcoming Duma and presidential
campaigns are the only chance for the media to survive, and Media-MOST is
apparently trying to establish itself as a key player in the two races.
Yavlinsky is likely to become a significant figure in helping Media-MOST
attract investments from abroad.
"Americans play a very significant role in what is going on inside Russia. But
since they usually act on the basis of certain extremely simplified
stereotypes, they quite often make mistakes. I will try to help them avoid
making wrong bids," Malashenko said.
NTV and Itogi apparently started to campaign for Yavlinsky after he returned
from Germany last month where he underwent heart surgery.
"After one month of absence Grigory Yavlinsky returned to the Russian
political scene as a different man," the Itogi weekly magazine wrote earlier
this week, referring to Yavlinsky's apparent readiness to assume political
responsibility for what is going on in Russia.
"Yavlinsky is the only candidate who understands the interests of Russia's
embattled middle class and it's quite natural for a publication of our type to
support him," said Sergei Parkhomenko, Itogi editor-in-chief. "Another
question is whether his chances have improved enough to really make him a
Malashenko has also noticed the change in Yavlinsky.
"When I first talked to Yavlinsky back in 1993, I couldn't get rid of my
suspicion that he himself didn't believe that he would ever become president.
But when he came out of hospital ... he realized that the stakes were high,
and if the stakes had to be placed, then only for the presidency of Russia,"
Yavlinsky himself has made no official comments on his relations with Media-
MOST, but his press service in the Duma said on Thursday that Malashenko's
visit to US was a "voluntary initiative by the company."
"Yavlinsky hasn't empowered Media-MOST to campaign for him," said Yabloko's
spokesperson Yevgenia Dillendorf.
The Russian press said on Thursday that Media-MOST was using Yavlinsky's image
to boost the company's troubled finances.
"Media-MOST sells Yavlinsky," Kommersant Daily wrote, saying that the group
may use the Yabloko leader as an "attractive trade mark."
Kommersant added that Media-MOST may later switch to any other politician "who
may guarantee the company big money."
Zhirinovskiy Terms Communists 'Bolshevik Scum'
Moscow, Nov 7 (Interfax)--Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, the chairman of the
ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia [LDPR], has said he
will not celebrate the Day of the October Socialist Revolution.
"There are two 'happy' days on the calendar," he told reporters
Saturday. "November 7 marks the end of the Russian Empire, and June 12
marks the end of our second empire, the Soviet Union. How drugged should
our people be to celebrate the collapse of their country twice a year?"
The socialist revolution in 1917 was "a state crime," Zhirinovskiy
said. The LDPR group in the Duma long ago prepared a bill to declare the
1917 revolution and all its consequences to be illegal, he said.
Zhirinovskiy called the Communist Party of Russia "Bolshevik scum led
by (Communist Party Chairman Gennadiy) Zyuganov." On November 6 of every
year they lay a wreath at the Lenin Mausoleum, "at the tomb of the man who
deprived us of a great country to live in," he said.
The Communists must be held accountable for "the events of October
1917, July 12, 1990, August 1991, December 1991, October 1993 and August
1998," Zhirinovskiy said.
"Just three months ago, their (the Communists') Komsomol member
[former Prime Minister Sergei] Kiriyenko, this bastard son of the Communist
Party, threw our country ten years back," he said. "If the Communists want
to deny their responsibility for the past eight years, they should not.
"We know the story of the present incumbents. All of them were in
this dreadful party [the Communist Party of the USSR], including [former
Prime Ministers] Silayev, Gaidar, Chernomyrdin, Kiriyenko and [present
Prime Minister Yevgeny] Primakov," Zhirinovsky said. "Don't tell us this is
a new government."
The time will come when November 7 is declared a day "to remember the
victims of all revolutions, reforms and perestroykas," Zhirinovskiy said.
"The October revolution brought about civil war in which 7 million of
Russia's best sons were killed."
Czech President Believes Russian Democracy Irreversible
Prague, November 8 (Itar-Tass) -- Czech President Vaclav Havel said he
believes that democratic processes in Russia are irreversible.
He said he was confident that reforms started in 1991 will becompleted.
Havel told journalists during his visit to Slovakia on Saturday [7
November] that it is hard to restore totalitarianism where people have once
The financial and economic crisis in Russia is a result of moving
along a very painful path towards democracy and freedom, he said.
Havel stressed the need for the international community to continue to
provide aid to Russia, saying that it should be distributed under strict
international control to make sure it does not fall into the hands of
Journal of Commerce
11 November 1998
[for personal use only]
Exasperation with Russia
The West's exasperation with Russia is showing.
Two senior Clinton administration officials delivered blunt messages in recent
days that American patience with Russia's flailing reform efforts has worn out
and that it is on its own. Reform has lost out to cronyism and politics. U.S.
financial aid is on hold until Moscow shows it's willing to take serious
structural steps to promote growth, they said.
And earlier a mission from the International Monetary Fund left Moscow after
reviewing the latest crisis plans, conveying private if unmistakable
dissatisfaction. They said the efforts constitute steps away from a market
economy, not toward one. Needless to say, Russia didn't get approval for a
promised $4.3 billion injection of aid.
The frustration is understandable. Seven years after the Soviet Union passed
into history, Russia is in chaos. Its economy is in tatters; it has defaulted
on its debts, devalued its currency and seen foreign investment flee. Its
president, Boris Yeltsin, is ill and out of touch. "Crony-capitalism" wheeling
and dealing is rampant.
Add to this a sharp drop in the price of oil, one of Russia's resources, and
the worst harvest in 50 years and the breathtakingly vast dimensions of the
problem become clear.
And the persistent inability of the Russian government to rise above politics
and greed and deal with the challenge only compounds matters. The latest
package of plans, while advanced as a "centrist program . . . on the way
toward a market economy," calls for a tighter state grip on the economy and
the ruble, tax breaks for industry and the printing of more money.
So the tough stands by Washington and the IMF are understandable and
unavoidable. No one can keep pumping funds into a system that's full of leaks
that aren't being repaired. And Russian reform is ultimately up to the
But at the same time the West can't give up on Russia. It must still somehow
encourage the big nation to become a functioning part of the global economy.
The alternative is that the situation will continue to deteriorate and Russia
could fall back into the old economic ways of its Soviet past, or worse. The
anxiety isn't calmed by Moscow's nuclear arsenal.
No one should have expected a smooth performance from a land that popped
suddenly into the late 20th century after centuries of feudalism and 75 years
of communism. The transition is immense.
The failures to date make it all the more difficult. They leave Russians with
the impression that capitalism has failed them when if fact they've yet to
experience true capitalism.
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998
From: Stanislav Menshikov <firstname.lastname@example.org> (
Subject: CNN News Reports about Russia
For some reason, of late CNN International has been indulging in
disinformation in its news stories about Russia.
Last Sunday, November 8, it ran pictures from Moscow showing bare shop
shelves. Since I was away in the US for the last three weeks and was not
exactly sure of my facts, I immediately called relatives in Moscow who
assured me that there were plenty of goods in the shops and that shelves
were certainly not bare. They were indignant when I told them I just saw the
pictures with my own eyes on the CNN evening news (9:00 PM Moscow time).
"Those guys are certainly lying", responded a relative who is a medical
psychologist, single, relatively low paid and does her own shopping.
Tonight, Tuesday, November 9, on the same program, Jonathan Mann started a
Russian story with "Things are changing from bad to worse in Russia". He
went on to say that the government had announced on Monday that it was
nationalizing the country's largest savings bank and also some other private
banks. However, no such things happened either on Monday or Tuesday or
before that. The largest savings bank in Russia, Sberbank, does need to be
nationalized since its majority stock of shares belongs to the
government-owned Russian Central Bank for many years.
Then, immediately after that annoubcement, a CNN reporter from Moscow came
in with a story about Russian consumers preferring expensive Japanese
television sets to the much cheaper Russian-made ones because the latter
were allegedly only black and white. The pictures he subsequently displayed
were of a second-rate TV factory (probably a repair shop) were the TV
screens were certainly in color for everyone to see, not black and white.
Incidentally, one of my friends has just bought a Russian made TV set
(color, of course) and a Russian made washing machine because they were
cheaper and (at least, the machine) easier in operation. So much for
"unwanted" goods "cranked up" in Russian factories (the words in quotation
marks used here are quotes from Mr. Mann).
There are so many really dismal scenes in Russia to show on CNN,
particularly in the provinces, but apparently CNN reporters have become so
lazy and so sure that they can easily get away with false information and
untrue stories which their editors do not take the trouble to check.
Incidentally, few Russians ever watch CNN because it needs special equipment
to watch. But in Holland where I stay a large part of the year, I have been
approached by many local residents who say they do not believe CNN reports
on Russia because local TV channels give a more balanced picture.
Does CNN really want to spoil its reputation so much by running such
low-class stuff? And what is the purpose?
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998
From: "Jacob Kipp" <KIPPJ@LEAV-EMH1.ARMY.MIL>
Subject: Russian North
All those interested in the Russian North will want to get copies of "The
Rusisan North: The Rose, Eviolution, and Current Condition of State
Settlement," by Pekka Kauppala (Helsinki: Finnish Institute for Rusisan and
East European Studies, 1998). This is a excellent overview of the region
and is the second study in the Institute's "Studies on the Northern
Dimension. The study covers the area from Kola-Murmansk to Taymyr Autonomous
Okrug. Excellent analysis and supporting maps and charts on population,
transport, oil and gas deposits, energy infrastructure, mineral deposits,
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998
From: Janine Wedel <email@example.com>
Subject: New book: COLLISION AND COLLUSION
COLLISION AND COLLUSION: The Strange Case of Western
Aid to Eastern Europe 1989-1998 by Janine R. Wedel
has just been published by St. Martin's Press.
A brief description of the book follows:
When the Communist East Bloc collapsed and the Soviet
Union itself fell apart, the West promised billions of
dollars in aid. But a raft of ill-conceived aid programs,
fly-in-fly-out consultants, and reforms financed by
Western taxpayers did little to help the nations of the
region reconstruct themselves as democratic, free-market
states. COLLISION AND COLLUSION is the first book to
explain where the Western dollares went, why Western
nations did so little to help, and why their plans so
often backfired. COLLISION AND COLLUSION takes a hard,
behind-the-scenes look at aid efforts, first in Central
Europe, then in Russia and Ukraine. The book shows the
slick "trans-actors" who played all sides and the globe-
trotting "econolobbyists" who made grandiose promises.
It exposes how HARVARD's best and brightest, entrusted
with millions of aid dollars, colluded with a Russian
clan to create a system of tycoon capitalism that will
plague the Russian people for decades -- and which is
widely blamed on the West. COLLISION AND COLLUSION
tells the tortuous tale of how Western donors, who set
out to build democracy, instead often rekindled
corruption, communist legacies, and anticapitalist
COLLISION AND COLLUSION can be ordered from
St. Martin's Press, New York (1-800-221-7945).
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998
From: Sarah Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 2469-Saivetz/Caspian Pipelines
I am afraid that I missed the November 8 article in the NYT, but I
would like to add a note to Carol Saivetz's comments in JRL 2469. While
it is clear that the mulitple pipeline approach is the best means for
exploiting the Caspian and Central Asian oil reserves, and Saivetz is
right to note that multiple pipelines will bring stability in the Caspian,
it seems that feasibility is not simply a matter of economics. The ethnic
issues involved in constructing a Baku-Ceyhan pipeline are central to
Caspian security, as is the simple truth that everyone wants a piece of
the economic prosperity that pipelines bring. Russia has pushed for it's
Black Sea Port Novorossisk to be the main recipient of Caspian oil, Turkey
wants Ceyhan, and Georgia wants to keep oil flowing through Supsa. The
recent Russian-Kazak deal whereby Tengiz oil would head to the Russian
port might quell some of Russia's balking at the Ceyhan line, but it
certainly won't clear up the ethnic issues constraining the Baku-Ceyhan
line or the political/legal issues surrounding more trans-Caspian lines.
The legal rights to the Caspian continue to complicate pipeline
construction, while Turkish-Iranian relations don't seem ready to support
major economic ventures. So, while all of the countries involved would
agree that the economic benefits of getting the oil to market support
mulitiple pipelines, it isn't just economic feasibility that prevents it
from actually happening.
Just a thought.
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998
From: Carol Saivetz <email@example.com>
Subject: full text of NYT letter
To the Editor:
In light of the economic realities outlined in "On Piping Out
Caspian Oil, US insists the Cheaper,Shorter Route Isn't Better," the US
must rethink its geopolitical objectives and its policies for the Caspian
First, the Clinton Administration must underscore that it is
committed to the sovereignty and indpedence of the three new Caspian
lottoral states. This means helping them exploit and profit from their
vast reserves of oil and natural gas, bu pushing for multiple export
Second, the US, in order to avoid undue conflict with Russia, must
keep Russia in the game. The Russian company LUKoil is already involved
in many of the deals and Turkey has invited LUKoil to participate in
Baku-Ceyhan. Officials in Moscow must view this and the Caspian Pipeline
Consortium's pipeline from Tengiz, Kazakstan to Novorossisk as Russia's
stake in the new "great game." Moscow must also be persuaded that, given
this stake in the region, its interests are best served by stability in
Third, the US must reevaluate its attempts to exclude Iran. Even
as we persuade Russia that it has a stake in Caspian developments, we must
be careful not to foreclose other routes that enhance the econoomic
independence of Azerbaijan, Kazakstan, and Turkmenistan. As export route
via Iran would be ecnomically viable and if it were to continue to Turkey,
it would serve Ankara's long-term interests as well.
The objectives can be achieved only by remaining committed to a
policy of multiple pipelines. If and when Baku-Ceyhan becomes
economically feasible, it can complement a network of already existing
pipelines that have laid the framework for a stable and prosperous Caspian
Carol R. Saivetz
Davis Center for Russian Studies
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998
From: "Ludmila A. Foster" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Kamchatka report
David: The frightening AFP report (JRL 2469) about the miseries in the
Arctic region brings home even stronger the terrible inequities that
exist in Russia between the few superrich "oligarchs" and the rest of
the population. Listing the various privations, the report says that in
Kamchatka the military has not been receiving their pay: the army is
owed $20 million, the border guards - $3 million, and the police - $1
million. That is $24 million dollars that the "defenders of law and
order" have been robbed of. On the other hand, I recently saw (also on
JRL) that one of the "oligarchs," Boris Berezovsky, has purchased
himself a villa in Nice for $70 million. Why doesn't someone give him
the idea to sell that villa and to donate those $24 million to the
country that made his fabulous wealth possible in the first place? He
would still have $46 million left over (according to my best Harvard
arithmetic) and the chances of a hungry mutiny will be somewhat abated.
Another variant: Vladimir Gusinsky sells the TV station and the
newspaper he recently purchased in Israel and donates the money to
Kamchatka. (Anyway, what can his mass media tell the Israelis that they
don't alrady know?) A third variant: Alexander Smolensky repatriates the
$110 million that the Central Bank gave him to stabilize his SBS-Agro
bank that he immediately sent to Western Europe. Shall I continue with
my suggestions? If anybody ever tells you that the "oligarchs" are
today's American "robber barons" in their accumulation of "primary
capital," please do point out all those Carnegie Libraries, the
Rickefeller or Ford Foundations, and their homes that were built in New
York, Ashville, San Francisco, etc. My sympathies are with those hungry,
cold and miserable soldiers, policemen, border guards out in the cold
and also with the CHILDREN of Kamchatka who have to do their homework by
candlelight (if they can afford the candles).
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998
From: "Nathan Stowell" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re Ms Blundy's language corruption piece
I agree that some journalists are certainly guilty of targeting their Russia
interest articles to a wider audience and hence neglecting accuracy, but I
think Ms. Blundy's piece should be defended. The article makes some
generaliztions, but on the other hand, anyone who has been here during the
past decade can easily point to a slew of American words which have arisen
in the Russian language. Just to carry the McDonalds example further, how
about cheeseburger, and sandwich. Or what about words like: keeler (killer),
kesh (cash), samit (summit), backsy (bucks), cheepsy (chips), frendy
(friends), and biznezmeny (businesmen). Would IT words count ? Maybe some
of the examples I provide were here for longer than ten years, but I think
the point of Ms. Bundy's article in this respect was relatively accurate.
English language, as the accepted international language, is very prevalent
here of late, and it would be strange if more Americansisms didn't show up
after perestroika, the break-up of the Soviet Union and influx of English
speaking foreignors. Obviously some, as in other countries, are distressed
Perhaps Ms. Blundy's translation of Chernomyrdin's remarks was not entirely
accurate, but the main point that gets across in her article is that
Chernomyrdin, among other notable recent Russian politicians (Yeltsin,
Gorbachev, Zyganov) is inarticulate. I would concur that this is a widely
held conception by Russians (at least those that I know).
I don't think that Ms Blundy's article was deserving of the attack it
received. Such attacks would be better reserved for articles such as those
that painted rosy pictures of oligarchs, young reformers, corruption,
Russia PM Opposes Ban on Communists
November 11, 1998
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov on Tuesday strongly
opposed mounting calls to ban the Communist Party for its failure to condemn a
member's outspoken anti-Semitism.
``My attitude to banning the Communist Party is sharply negative,'' Primakov
told reporters Tuesday. ``I believe that banning the party that has the
largest parliament faction may destabilize the situation.''
Several prominent businessmen and politicians called for banning the party
because it refused to censure Communist lawmaker Albert Makashov for remarks
last month in which the retired general blamed the country's problems on
``zhidy'' or ``yids,'' a slur against Jews.
Communists in parliament blocked a resolution last week condemning Makashov's
comments, and several of his Communist colleagues defended him in speeches
this weekend celebrating the 81st anniversary of the 1917 Russian revolution,
which brought the Communist Party to power.
Facing increasing opposition from the Communist-dominated parliament as the
economy began collapsing this fall, Primakov invited some prominent Communists
into his government, including First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov.
Boris Berezovsky, one of the country's richest and most powerful businessmen
whose Jewish origins have made him a favorite target of Russian anti-Semites,
continued to call for the ban Tuesday.
``They only call themselves Communists but, in fact, they are fascists,''
Berezovsky said Tuesday, according to the Interfax news agency. ``We must
convince society that the Communist Party is like a cancerous tumor that must
Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said Tuesday that it would be futile to try
to ban the party.
``The party stands for outlook and ideology, and you can't ban it by decree,
you can only fight it by using a better ideology,'' Zyuganov told reporters.
Any attempts to ban the party are ``bound to failure,'' he said.
Still, Zyuganov on Tuesday sought to play down the controversy, accusing his
opponents of ``being hysterical'' and turning ``poorly worded statements into
an ethnic conflict,'' Interfax reported.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov called Makashov's remarks ``repulsive'' but said
they hardly can serve as a reason for banning the party. ``The government
would like to do that, but has no power and will to do that.''
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, added his voice
Tuesday to those condemning Makashov's statements. The church is against
``instigating enmity on ethnic or religious grounds,'' he told reporters.
Russian prosecutors have been looking into Makashov's statements for more than
a month, but haven't announced any conclusions yet. Russia's constitution
forbids propaganda or public speech inciting racial or religious hatred.
However, Makashov enjoys immunity from prosecution as a lawmaker, and
Communists could try to block any attempt to waive his immunity.
President Boris Yeltsin banned the Communist Party for one year in the early
1990s, but the party remains the country's leading opposition group and has
the largest faction in parliament's lower house, the State Duma.
Nemtsov Says IMF Cannot Save Russia, Ukraine
KIEV, Nov 9 (Interfax)--The IMF cannot save Russia which is too big,
former Russian deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov stated at a Monday [9
November] news conference in Kiev.
"I will even risk to assume that the International Monetary Fund
cannot save Ukraine either," he said."Only we can save ourselves," Nemtsov
"The aid the IMF is rendering to East European countries is given
according to a fairly strange pattern. I find it absolutely wrong that IMF
experts impose their liberal proposals on the governments of some or other
countries. Though it is clear that the proposals will not be carried out,
the assistance is still given," he said.
"The IMF's relations with our countries should be different with the
governments themselves drawing programs which should be checked by experts,
including IMF experts. If such a program does not boil down only to
money-printing and the introduction of permits, IMF experts will be able to
decide about supporting some one or other country," Nemtsov said.
He said the crisis in the IMF as well as Russia and Ukraine broke out
because "programs were imposed which the authorities did not want to
November 11, 1998
EDITORIAL: Who Will Food Aid Be Feeding?
Russia has had a bad harvest this year and faces a grim winter, and there are
scattered reports - but as yet nothing definitive - that some rural areas may
suffer food shortages.
If such regions can be identified speedily, and food from Europe or America
can be delivered to them in a timely and accessible way, then the U.S. and
European food deals discussed in Moscow in recent days will be judged a
Particularly admirable are plans to steer some of the food to Russia's
horribly underfed prison populations.
Unfortunately, however, these aid deals have been poorly thought out and will
be even more poorly executed. They are being driven less to meet the needs of
a concrete hungry population than to serve the mutual interests of Russian,
U.S. and European lobbies.
The U.S. side, for example, has offered free grain and other foodstuffs. But
they are paying only to deliver it to Russia's borders, when the real
challenge will be figuring out where it needs to go and how to come up with
the money to get it there.
That challenge will be taken up by a few private companies that have already
been selected - without any competitive bidding process. That already smacks
of cronyism, and sets the tone for how this distribution will work.
Under U.S. law, U.S. aid is not supposed to be doled out to private structures
without competitive bidding. But the Department of Agriculture must think of
all of those American farmers, their silos packed with wheat, and so niceties
have been brushed aside and the deal has gone forward.
Chief among the companies selected to hand out the grain is Roskhleboprodukt,
which in 1992 oversaw a U.S. humanitarian aid distribution that has been
panned as riddled with graft. The top Russian official leading these talks is
Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Kulik, a man whose name has figured in past
corruption scandals. As authoritative a politician as Yabloko leader Grigory
Yavlinsky has publicly mentioned Kulik in connection with government
Yavlinsky's charges remain unsubstantiated. But they are also out there,
unanswered - the government is purportedly checking into Kulik's past - even
as U.S. officials are slapping Kulik on the back and toasting success, and
detailing a mere two Americans to monitor the distribution.
The United States could have brought in an organization with a proven track
record, such as a United Nations group or the Red Cross. Instead, a murky deal
has been rushed through that raises all sorts of questions, but leaves
insiders like Kulik and Roskhleboprodukt smiling.
Chubays: Russian Communist Party 'Deserves To Be Banned'
MOSCOW, Nov 8 (Interfax) -- The Russian Communist Party deserves to be
banned, Chairman of the Unified Energy Systems of Russia Anatoly Chubays, a
member of Russia's Democratic Choice Party said in an interview with the
TV-6 channel on Sunday [8 November].
It is necessary to seriously consider in legal terms how to ban the
Russian Communist Party after it disgraced itself on November 4 by actually
voicing solidarity with remarks by member of the communist faction in the
State Duma Albert Makashov, Chubays said.
Russians are being offered two central concepts from the communists
"Without Jews, save Russia" and "Beat journalists," he said.
Chubays added that "what happened was useful" because society has once
again seen for itself that the essence of the Russian Communists "has
remained the same as it was 20 and 50 years ago."
Chubays said the communists' chance to regain power in Russia is
"equal to nil," because society flatly rejects their ideas and economic
recommendations. He said that even the government with communists in its
ranks had ignored their proposals to nationalize property, abolish private
ownership, and ban the dollar in Russia.
Chubays holds communist leader Gennadiy Zyuganov primarily responsible
for the country's state debt, because it was Zyuganov who for the past
years "forced the government to enter into budget expenditures, not backed