This Date's Issues: 2524 • 2525
Johnson's Russia List
18 December 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Timothy Heritage, Attacks on Iraq strike blow to Russia.
2. Moscow Times editorial: Iraq Strikes May Carry High Price.
3. AFP: Outraged Russia bins nuclear disarmament treaty, recalls US
4. Murray Feshbach: Abortions per Wm. Mandel and reality.
5. Ray Finch: Russia’s Virtual Law Enforcement.
6. Cameron Sawyer: The spirit of Thomas Jefferson in Russia.
7. Kennan Institute meeting report on Donald Jensen talk on Russia's
Economic Crisis and the Ruling Elite.
8. Argumenty i Fakty: Journal Urges Luzhkov, Primakov To Join Forces.
9. Alex Elder: From Dzerzhinsky to Iraq.
10. Reuters: Yeltsin praises Russian strategic rocket forces.
11. Moscow Times: Andrei Zolotov Jr., LDPR Asks Lewinsky to Rein In
12. Reuters: U.S. Gets Down to Business with Russian Gov't.]
ANALYSIS-Attacks on Iraq strike blow to Russia
By Timothy Heritage
MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. and British missile strikes against Iraq
have dealt a deep blow to Russia's prestige, set back its diplomatic efforts
to end the crisis and brought unwelcome economic complications.
To add to the pain, Moscow's ability to respond with anything but the fierce
rhetoric it unleashed on Thursday is strictly limited by its economic and
political problems and its diminished world role since the Soviet Union
collapsed in 1991.
By refusing to seek approval from the U.N. Security Council, Washington also
gave Russia no chance to use its veto as one of five permanent members and
belittled the one international organisation in which Moscow still has
``Last night Russia fell into line with other countries whose opinion does not
have to be considered,'' Boris Berezovsky, a controversial Russian tycoon
turned politician, told Interfax news agency.
``The worst thing Russia can do now is to try to act out a role it cannot
play...That would only humiliate Russia more. We can be a great and powerful
state only when we learn to solve our own problems.''
Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov acknowledged the situation in a radio
interview. He accepted Russia's hands were tied by its economic crisis, which
has forced the government to seek urgent loans from the International Monetary
The strikes have wiped out what had seemed a growing likelihood that the
opposition-dominated State Duma, the lower house of parliament, would soon
ratify the long-delayed START-2 nuclear arms reduction accord with the United
The Duma put paid to those hopes by unleashing a fierce condemnation of
Britain and the United States which augurs badly for cooperation with these
countries in the immediate future.
The missile strikes also dented Russia's hopes that U.N. sanctions on Iraq
will be lifted soon, a move that Moscow hopes would increase Baghdad's chances
of repaying Soviet-era debts.
In another potential economic blow, Communists and nationalists in the Duma
immediately demanded an increase in defence spending. This could threaten the
government's hopes of pushing through a tight 1999 budget to satisfy the IMF.
Russia's energy sector, an important source of foreign currency, also reacted
with dismay by saying opportunities to develop energy projects in the area had
``Right now LUKoil has a big project which we can develop (in Iraq) after the
lifting of sanctions, the West Qurna field,'' said a spokesman for LUKoil,
Russia's biggest oil company.
``This latest aggravation sets this back, so of course we don't welcome it,''
The missile attacks, described as the start of a punitive campaign to wreck
Iraq's weapons programmes, were a particularly bitter blow for Russia because
it had just launched new efforts to negotiate an end to Iraq's standoff with
Moscow's hopes of progress -- and regaining the influence it enjoyed on the
world stage in Soviet days -- had been lifted by visits this month by Iraqi
Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz and Richard Butler, head of the U.N. team
checking Iraq's compliance with resolutions on destroying its weapons of mass
Russian leaders were indignant on Thursday that, in their opinion, Butler
misled them by giving them the impression he was optimistic about the
situation in Iraq. He delivered a report to the U.N. this week painting a much
Yeltsin's anger was heightened by the fact he found out about the planned
attacks during a telephone conversation with French President Jacques Chirac.
On Thursday he spoke by telephone to Chinese President Jiang Zemin, whose
country also opposes the missile strikes, but pointedly did not speak to U.S.
President Bill Clinton.
``It is a defeat for Russian diplomacy,'' Alexander Lebed, a former Kremlin
security aide who is now a regional governor and a likely presidential
challenger, said of the missile strikes.
Russia has few realistic options for making a significant response. Ivanov
outlined one move Russia plans to make, saying the government would go to the
U.N. Security Council to demand an immediate halt to the attacks. He also
called for Butler to be replaced.
Russia might consider taking a firmer line on issues in the Balkans on which
it disagrees with Washington or NATO, or review its relationship with the
U.S.-dominated military alliance, which plans to open a military liaison
mission in Moscow soon.
Yeltsin is also likely to face pressure from the Duma unilaterally to abandon
the U.N. sanctions against Iraq.
He might be tempted into a strong reaction to appease his Communist and
nationalist foes and reassert his authority, dented by Russia's economic
crisis and his poor health.
But Russia can ill afford to take radical steps.
It does not want to appear weak before the United States but relations with
Washington are still important, especially when Moscow is seeking new
``It would be possible to establish an air bridge to Iraq to provide it with
anti-aircract equipment but I would be very surprised if Russia did that,''
Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer told Reuters.
``The Duma will probably adopt a resolution calling for Russia to abandon
sanctions against Iraq but it will be non-binding. There will be a lot of
anti-U.S. and anti-British rhetoric but no firm action,'' he said. ``Russia
just can't afford it.''
December 18, 1998
EDITORIAL: Iraq Strikes May Carry High Price
It finally happened. After 14 months of cat and mouse between Iraqi officials
and UN weapons inspectors, bombs and missiles are falling on Iraq, which has
been accused of blocking the search for weapons of mass destruction. Reaction,
for and against, is pouring in from all over. But with the decision made and
the weapons launched, it's as well to wait - a few hours or days at least - to
see what results are achieved. It's hard, however, to keep one's hopes high.
The goals expressed by the United States and Britain are admirable.
Diminishing Saddam Hussein's capabilities, potential or actual, to use
nuclear, germ or poison gas weapons would safeguard almost everyone in the
equation: the Iraqi people, Iraq's Middle East neighbors and the Western
powers. Unlike other obnoxious authoritarian leaders with deadly toys, Saddam
has used such weapons, deploying chemical weapons against Kurds in Iraq and
Iranian troops in the Iran-Iraq war, and launching missiles against Israeli
civilians in 1991.
What's not at all clear is that the limited air war launched by the narrow
coalition of two Western countries has a creditable chance of achieving this.
Air wars are doubtful enterprises. Even massive bombing campaigns - like the
one launched against the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War and the one
against Iraq in the Gulf War in 1991 - sometimes have indecisive results,
despite the thousands of tons of high explosives dropped. Despite 43 days of
bombing, the 1991 operation required a land assault by more than half a
million troops to achieve a limited capitulation.
And there is the abandonment of diplomatic means of containing Iraq's weapons
programs, based on the agreements that ended the Gulf War. The United Nations'
inspection regime may be gone for good, reducing the United States and its
now-fractured coalition to using external methods of limited effectiveness,
such as embargoes and economic sanctions.
There are also new questions raised about Russia's relationship with the rest
of the world. START II, the arms limitation treaty pushed to the verge of
passage by the government after six years of foot dragging, is suddenly, once
again, a distant prospect. The Communists - or at least the less responsible
among them - may find new fodder for their xenophobic, authoritarian and anti-
Semitic pronouncements. Russia's cooperation with NATO, attempts to find a
solution to the violence in Kosovo, and the prospects for confining Russian
help for Iran's nuclear program to civilian purposes only - all these goals
are potentially threatened. These are sobering thoughts indeed, and ones we
hope figure in the calculations of the political and military leaders in
Washington and London.
Outraged Russia bins nuclear disarmament treaty, recalls US ambassador
MOSCOW, Dec 18 (AFP) - Russia reacted with outrage Thursday at US-led strikes
against Iraq, recalling its ambassador from Washington and demanding that
chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler be sacked.
And communist lawmakers dumped ratification of a key nuclear disarmament
President Boris Yeltsin rushed to the Kremlin only hours after Russia's
campaign to avert attacks against its Middle East partner unravelled when a
heavy missile barrage poured down on Baghdad.
"Such a development, which Russia has repeatedly spoken out against, evokes
our most serious concern, a feeling of indignation and deep anxiety," Yeltsin
added in a statement.
"Russia demands an immediate end to military intervention," the communique
continued, although British warplanes were late Thursday carrying out further
bombing missions in Iraq.
And Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, in a phone call to US Vice
President Al Gore, called for an immediate halt to the military action in
Iraq, Russian news agencies reported.
The Russian military also warned that Moscow could review its relations with
NATO following US-British air strikes against Iraq. Senior defence ministry
official General Leonid Ivashov said "Russia reserves the right to correct its
relations with NATO," the ITAR-TASS news agency said.
The rift deepened Thursday night with the decision by Russia to recall its
ambassador in the United States.
In Washington, the State Department said Russia had recalled its ambassador
Yuli Vorontsov, following the attacks on Iraq.
"We've been informally notified that the Russian ambassador is being recalled
"The Russians have told us and we certainly agree, that it is important that
we continue to maintain close consultation and cooperation and we're going to
continue to work with them on a range of issues," State Department spokesman
James Foley said.
Vorontsov has been in Washington since 1994.
A State Department official, asked how long the ambassador might be away, said
a recall "implies a certain period of absence". Apparently seeking to downplay
the development, he said "the ambassador goes back and consults and then he
Russian defence sources cited by Interfax said late Thursday that certain
military units had upgraded their state of readiness, but it remained unclear
what units were affected by the order.
Briefing deputies over the air strikes, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov lambasted
chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler, saying he bore "personal
responsibility for the development of events.
"That is why we are going to insist that he is replaced by more professional
and experienced specialists."
Ivanov said Butler's report to the UN Security Council, which accused Baghdad
of frustrating efforts to eliminate its weapons of mass destruction, had
"served as a pretext" for the air strikes, which continued Thursday.
"We think this is a shocking development," said Prime Minister Yevgeny
Primakov, an Arabist with close personal ties to Iraq leaders. The
"unprovoked" attacks would "rest on the US administration's conscience."
Primakov "strongly rejected the arguments" put forward by Washington, saying
Russia viewed the strikes as a "gross violation of UN Security Council
resolutions, of the UN Charter and the universally acknowledged principles of
The State Duma opened its session with a moment of silence, while some
lawmakers picketed the US and British embassies before returning to the lower
house of parliament to overwhelmingly approve a non-binding resolution
condemning the strikes.
Gennady Zyuganov called the Tomahawk cruise missiles attack "an act of world
terrorism," saying his Communist Party and its allies, who compose the Duma's
majority, would vote down moves to put ratification of the much-delayed START
II nuclear arms disarmament treaty on the day's agenda.
Approved by the US Senate in 1996, the treaty has never reached the Duma floor
for a vote despite strong pressure from Washington and the Kremlin for
deputies to agree to radical nuclear arms cuts.
Communists had said they might support START II this year in exchange for a
big boost to Russian defense spending in the 1999 budget. But the deputies'
mood had clearly changed by Thursday morning as lawmakers took turns at the
podium to denounce Washington and its western allies.
"Clinton is an international bandit," said ultra-nationalist Vladimir
Zhirinovsky. "The strikes against Iraq are just the start. We will be next."
Former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev likewise condemned the attacks on
Baghdad, calling the US intervention a "blow to the United Nations
Earlier, Ivanov had hinted darkly that US President Bill Clinton had ordered
the attack to avoid impeachment hearings linked to his affair with White House
intern Monica Lewinsky.
Stressing that Iraq has strictly complied with all UN resolutions on weapons
inspections, Ivanov said: "This makes us seriously wonder about the true
causes behind this attack."
Russia had prided itself on helping Iraq dodge military retaliation from the
United States, and was also seeking an end to oil export sanctions against
Iraq so that it could receive millions of dollars in overdue payments for
weapons it had supplied to Baghdad.
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998
From: Murray FESHBACH <FESHBACH@gunet.georgetown.edu>
Subject: Abortions per Wm. Mandel and reality
I will make a brief response to the erroneous item by William Mandel in the
JRL regarding abortions, their number and sources.
Mandel first indicates that he believes that the number of abortions and
their prevalence rate is exaggerated by the west, be they analysts,
demographers, or whatever. Then he indicates that in his book of many
years ago, he has 16 footnotes supporting his point of view.
First, if he wishes to come to my office I can show his 116 sources, if not
216 to the contrary that there are of have been few abortions in that
For Russia alone, according to the latest official (not always the best,
but still one has to use it) State Report on the Health Status of the
Population of the Russian Federation in 1996, Moscow 1997), the absolute
number of abortions decreased from 4,454,000 in 1985 to 2,638,000 in 1996.
Or put another way, it dropped by half per women of fertile age (16 to 49
years of age) from 121 to 69. (page 91). However, as a ratio of the number
of artificially induced, and officially recorded number of abortion to the
number of live and still births, it increased over the same period from
184.2 up to 200.7. The latter figure means that of every 3 conceptions, 2
were aborted. However, as a cause of maternal mortality, abortions have
dropped from just below 40 percent (39.8 percent) in 1985 to not quite
one-quarter of all cases of maternal mortality (23.3 percent). Success
without a question–nonetheless, maternal mortality in the Russian
Federation remains 7 to 10 times higher than in the western developed
These numbers do not include spontaneous abortions, i.e., miscarriages, a
very important figure but hard to record, hard to find if recorded, or the
percentage share of the number of live births. If over 15 percent it
signals an important marker about chromosomal aberrations, and the gene
pool of the country.
Simultaneously, the total fertility rate (TFR) has declined to a very, very
low rate of 1.281 in 1996, down from 2,111 in 1985/86 (Demographic Yearbook
of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 1997, , meaning that unless the number
of abortions had increased dramatically (which they did not) then there
were many less actual number of conceptions as the number of 20-29 year old
females declined. Putting aside for the moment the possibility that
spontaneous abortions increased to an incredible proportion, it is among
this age group that two-thirds or more births by age group take place.
By the way, there never was a "Gosstat" It was either TsUnkhu, TsSU or
Goskomstat over the entire Soviet/Russian period. For a period of time, it
was even part of Gosplan, but again never "Gosstat.".
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998
From: ray finch <email@example.com> )
Subject: virtual law enforcement
Russia’s Virtual Law Enforcement
As the weather grows colder and darker here in Moscow, one
understands the Russian inclination to drink and distort the painful
reality into something less abrasive. For those like myself who
haven’t yet developed a taste for vodka, watching TV provides a
gentler form of escape. Of late, however, the tube has failed to
bring much comfort. In fact, the TV’s distortion often makes the
reality even grimmer. For instance, this past week’s television
coverage regarding Russia’s law enforcement system had me reaching for
On Saturday (Dec 12), special forces from Russia’s Internal Ministry
and the Federal Security Service (FSB) conducted a mission to free a
French hostage, who had been held in Chechnya for the past 11 months.
(Recall, that the week prior, four other foreign hostages had been
murdered in what was rumored to be a botched rescue operation.)
Fortunately (or not), the rescue team brought a video camera along
with them to film the operation, which was replayed again and again
over the weekend.
In the film one sees the uniformed special forces firing into what
appears to be the kidnapper’s car as another member of the team
protects the French hostage and urges him out of the field of fire.
I’m not an expert in ballistics nor do I have experience in K&R
(kidnap and ransom), but the whole affair had an unreal air to it.
The gunfire ricocheting off the back of the car looked like fireworks,
and though three Chechens were reportedly killed, the Russian side did
not appear to be receiving any fire. Returning to Moscow Saturday
evening, the individual in charge of the operation was all smiles as
he described their exploits. Not only did they save the hostage
unharmed (purportedly without paying any ransom), but they were able
to kill three of the kidnappers, while only two of the Russian
soldiers were slightly injured. No dead bodies were shown. (Chechen
officials had a different spin as to how and why the French hostage
Another story which broke over the weekend dealt with the
heavy-handed methods used by the Russian tax police in getting one of
the Russian TV advertising executives to pay his full share of taxes.
Watching the report, I couldn’t help buy think of those
leather-jacketed types during the Russian civil war who would
appropriate property when necessary. The TV tape showed these masked
defenders of fiscal rectitude entering the offices of the advertising
executive, showing some of the booty they uncovered and a scene where
they are carrying off the office safe. According to a later press
report, while conducting the search of the executive’s office, the tax
police uncovered his liquor cabinet and proceeded in good Russian
fashion to dispose of this evidence.
Monday evening (14 Dec), there was a holiday concert that
commemorated the 10 years of service for the organization within the
MVD entrusted to combat organized crime. The event had an Orwellian
air to it, not helped by the fact that the lip-singing entertainers
were off synch. While the purpose of the concert was to pay tribute
to those involved in the fight against organized crime, the overall
effect was unsettling. (This sense of uneasiness was not helped by
the knowledge that one of Russia’s most notorious crime bosses had
just returned to Moscow as a free man, having been found not guilty by
a jury in Switzerland. It was reported that the Russian prosecutor
was not likely to press charges against this individual since they had
"found a certain working relationship.") That the law enforcement
authorities would have the gumption to stage a canned concert to
celebrate their victories within the realm of organized crime bordered
on the obscene. Not unlike some madam holding a prayer revival
dedicated to chastity.
Walking the streets of Moscow, reading the newspapers and watching
TV, one sees all the attributes of an effective law enforcement system
(police uniforms, patrol cars, armed guards, police stations, prisons,
court rooms etc…). However, just as the Russian economy is largely
lacking the essential element of production, so Russia’s law
enforcement has little to do with upholding the law. Like everything
else, both law enforcement and the law have been privatized and are
now looked upon as just another tool for making money. Those already
with money can buy as much of both as they want. The simple
individual, who has never counted for much in this part of the world,
does not look at the law or its appointed representatives as his
friends, but something to avoid whenever possible.
To understand law enforcement today within Russia one must dispel the
notion that the governmental security agencies (the local police or
militsia, the MVD, Ministry of Internal Affairs, the FSB, Federal
Security Service etc…) are the "good guys," standing on the side of
the law and protecting the interests of the state. A Russian law
enforcement uniform is just that. In most cases it represents no more
than the narrow selfish interests of the particular individual, squad
car, or precinct. With the failure of the state to provide for its
defenders and the prevalent corruption at every level, government
security has devolved into a privatized, moneymaking business. A more
accurate description would be to label the various governmental
security agencies as competing clans, fighting for a greater share of
the security market.
The collapse of a state is not a pleasant sight. The current Russian
government now appears increasingly unable to perform the most basic
functions of a state (defense, education, providing health care,
pensions etc…). Despite (or maybe because of) all the endless
rhetoric, the prevalent philosophy, the guiding principle within the
corridors of Russia’s political power since the collapse of the USSR
has been "each man for himself." The ship is going down and those in
positions of authority seem most intent on finding their piece of a
lifeboat. Though it has constructed a number of elaborate facades of
a democratic state, Russia has merely moved from a
communist-kleptocracy to a more modern, but certainly, no less
Yesterday, the chief of the Russian MVD took part in a G-8
teleconference dedicated to fighting organized crime. There was the
same earnestness on the Russian side that I observed during the many
conferences (prior to 17 August) dedicated to investing money in the
emerging Russian market. However, just as investing in a pyramid
scheme carries certain risks, so trusting Russian law enforcement
officials with valuable criminal intelligence might not be a wise
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998
From: "Cameron F. Sawyer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: The spirit of Thomas Jefferson in Russia
Some of Lebed's comments in the interview reprinted in Johnson's List today:
[Lebed] "The pride and self-confidence of the people must be restored, and
conditions must be created in which the results of their work will be
protected, their hands will be untied, and they will be able to construct
alone their life." [Georgieva] In other words, you are saying that we
finally must learn to work for ourselves?
[Lebed] "Absolutely, only for ourselves. We must not be afraid of the
word "my." This concept is deeply inherent in every man from his birth.
We must not be afraid of the word "interest." Man must be interested in
working and profiting from his work. Therefore, one of the basic goals is
to create a powerful middle class. Every country that wants guarantees
against revolutions, disturbances, shocks, conflicts, and wars must make
sure that its social structure is based on a powerful class of owners- big,
small, and medium-size owners. Owners do not need revolutions."
This is the basic philosophical outlook of liberal capitalism, and sounds a
lot like the Scottish Enlightenment, and Adam Smith, and might well be the
words of one our own Founding Fathers from 200+ years ago. Inasmuch as
Lebed is one of the least progressive figures on the Russian political
scene - enormously popular in the depressed provinces of Russia - I think
this shows the remarkably deep roots which capitalism has put down in
Russia. And not just capitalism's practical aspects, but its philosophical
ones as well. Inasmuch as this is being said by such a figure and at such
a time in Russia, I think this is very encouraging. This may also support
the idea that there is more consensus than some people think on the basic
direction of the country.
Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies
Russia's Economic Crisis and the Ruling Elite
The current crisis in Russia is a systemic collapse not a sign of renewal,
remarked Donald Jensen at a Kennan Institute lecture on 16 November 1998.
Jensen, Associate Director of Broadcasting, Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty, Prague, noted that Russia needs good governance, the rule of law,
and the values of good citizenship.
Jensen gave both proximate and larger causes for the crisis. According to
Jensen, the proximate causes are: financial aspects such as the decline in
oil prices and other commodities and continued poor tax collection; the
confidence problem brought by the Asian financial difficulty and the misuse
of the IMF's July 1998 loan installment; and the political results of
Yeltsin's erratic leadership, health problems, and the personality-driven
policy making of the past few years.
One of the broader causes for the current crisis is the failure to
implement sustainable economic reform policies that had adequate domestic
support. The recent policies emphasizing macroeconomic stabilization and
control of inflation have not worked. The stabilization that had been the
center of Russian economic achieve-ment is now gone. The speed at which the
crisis unfolded indicates the broader problem of how Russia was trying to
govern itself and implement reform.
The Russian state has become even weaker and is unable to implement many
policies or stop capital flow outward. The result, Jensen stipulated, is a
fragmentation of power, from the center to the regions and from the
so-called official government institutions to interest groups and
quasi-state institutions. This fragmentation--sharpened by the impending
presidential succession struggle--is the fundamental problem confronting
Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and any future Russian president.
Jensen then turned to a discussion of Primakov and the role of the
oligarchs. According to the speaker, Primakov's government, with its
representatives from industrial, regional, financial, and social groups,
constitutes an elite consensus that seeks to keep Russia away from the
political, social, and economic abyss and somehow hold out hope for a
future government and presidential administration by buying domestic
stability and managing the decline.
Primakov is thus far managing to balance the main interest groups in the
society, much as Yeltsin did. The problem, Jensen noted, is that Primakov
lacks the legitimacy that Yeltsin had as an elected president. If he begins
to act in a more "presidential" manner, he risks losing credibility as a
neutral arbiter--which is his appeal right now.
The fundamental truth in current Russian politics goes beyond the
oligarchs, Jensen noted. Elites govern the country. Much of politics is
informal not formal--formally portrayed in constitutions and laws. Power is
highly personalized and often money is the currency of political power. The
distinction between public and private power is blurred. This, combined
with weak institutions, creates a system ripe for the influence of strong
The oligarchs are rearranging themselves because, Jensen noted, the system
is fundamentally elitist and arguably anti-democratic. There are no
intermediating government institutions to balance the demands for a civil
society as the West understands it. Some oligarchs such as natural resource
exporters like Gazprom and Lukoil are better positioned economically to
take advantage of the current situation than others.
What is Russia's future? Jensen discussed three possible scenarios. One is
a slow economic and political recovery focusing on the institutionalization
of democratic processes, repatriation of money from abroad, and reform of
the tax system. The second is continued degeneration and decline until
Russia somehow reaches equilibrium. Third would be an authoritarian variant
under a leader like Krasnoyarsk oblast governor and former National
Security Chief, Aleksandr Lebed, in an attempt to restore order under
authoritarian means. Jensen remarked that the second scenario is the most
The upcoming legislative and presidential elections will be accompanied by
a radical rewriting of the constitution in a way that diminishes the power
of the presidency and probably increases the power of the Duma and the
Council of Ministers, Jensen remarked. This is a systemic crisis of
governance as well as the exhaustion of the powers of a particular
president. The programs of the three leading presidential
candidates--Lebed, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, and Communist Party head
Genadii Zyuganov--are more assertive, nationalistic, and advocate a greater
state role in the economy.
The regime needs legitimacy, Jensen concluded. Russia has not just
undergone economic collapse. Building on a statement made by Alan
Greenspan, Jensen noted that culture matters, but so does good leadership
and good policy. Russia seems to lack all of the above.
"After the Fall: Primakov and the Oligarchs'" sponsored by the Kennan
Institute, was presented 16 November 1998 by Donald Jensen, Associate
Editor of Broadcasting, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Prague. Jodi Koehn
is Program Specialist, Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies.
Journal Urges Luzhkov, Primakov To Join Forces
Argumenty i Fakty, No 948
December 1998 (signed to press 15 Dec 98)
Article by Olga Kryshtanovskaya in the "Toward the Elections"
column, entitled: "Luzhkov + Primakov = ?" Passages between
slantlines published in boldface; subheadings as published
The political elite has been in a state of confusion for two months
already: who should have its support? The main choice is between Yuriy
Luzhkov and Yevgeniy Primakov.
To be called a centrist is trendy today, and many politicians are
trying this costume on. But in reality there is only one person at the
center of Russian political life -- Prime Minister Yevgeniy Primakov. He
enjoys the support of both the right and the left, and he is being
criticized both from the right and from the left. And everybody wants to
be on good terms with him.
Primakov has a solid basis of support. First of all, this is the
government itself which has been acting increasingly often as a single
team. This is the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Intelligence Service --
Primakov used to head them both. The prime minister is respected in the
scientific community, among journalists and international economists,
doctors, and state-oriented bankers.
Until recently economics was seen as Primakov's weak point. But now
we are witnessing positive changes in this respect too. Deputy Prime
Minister Yuriy Maslyukov has reached an agreement with directors, who
understand that they have the last chance of not only surviving but even
standing up on their two feet. Primakov's government is being backed by a
new class of Russian entrepreneurs. Speaking out for this class, well-known
entrepreneur Lev Chernyy has published a program for vigorously resolving
the crisis in the country. The program invites Primakov to rely on major
production capital, restore 200-250 banks and financial-industrial groups,
and authorize large-scale budgetary money printing. This sounds serious.
A new force is emerging behind Primakov, and it is not made up of
swindlers, oligarchs, or those who would try anything to take capital out
of the country. This is the force of the real economy, in other words, of
people who are used to and wish to work and have their roots in Russia.
We must admit, however, that Primakov has not yet attained a rating
sufficient to be elected. Whether his chances improve depends not only on
him but also on the stance of the regional elite, which to a considerable
degree controls elections in their territories.Luzhkov's system [subhead]
Many people view mayor Yuriy Luzhkov as candidate No 1 for presidency
2000. Luzhkov has only one serious weakness, and it is his international
image. But this can be rectified, especially since Sergey Yastrzhembskiy
has joined his team. Luzhkov has many more strong points. His success in
the capital is beyond doubt. His popularity in the regions has been
growing. He has gathered a strong team made up of three sections: the
Moscow government -- Shantsev, Nikolskiy, Resin and others; the
organizational committee of the Fatherland movement -- Kokoshin, Nikonov,
Rogozin, Isayev, Volskiy, Zatulin, and others; and some governors --
Lisitsyn, Ilyumzhinov, Yevdokimov, and others. The mayor's camp also
includes former Komsomol leaders Mishin, Kopyev, and Batanov, who have
their own levers of influence. Aleksandr Shokhin, leader of the Russia is
Our Home faction, is gravitating toward Luzhkov.
In addition to political support, the Moscow mayor enjoys the support
of big capital. First of all, this includes the prospering and extremely
closed Sistema company, run by Vladimir Yevtushenkov. Luzhkov's relations
with media tycoon Vladimir Gusinskiy have been mended. He has other
oligarchs on his side too. They may have lost their former clout but still
have considerable resources at their disposal.
Therefore, like Primakov, Yuriy Luzhkov has a political team, and
organizational structure, financial possibilities, and the media -- that
is, everything necessary for a politician aspiring to get the state's toppost.
Everywhere the elite has that special ability of knowing "which way
the wind is blowing." Why choose between Luzhkov and Primakov? //The
answer is simple -- because only these two will ensure the succession of
power and property.//
Those who have not made up their minds yet will have difficulties in
finding their way. After all, there are no essential differences between
Luzhkov's and Primakov's positions. Both are state-minded people, and
neither feels nostalgic for the socialist past. Both have extensive
managerial experience. And they have similar economic platforms: an
alliance between the authorities and big capital and greater state control
over the economy, with market mechanisms intact. Both Luzhkov and Primakov
are pragmatists far removed from any form of political extremism.
//So would not it be more logical for them to agree and consolidate
their forces rather than offer up a choice between Primakov's center and
Luzhkov's system?// After all, if the country is brought to the brink of a
senseless choice between two centrists, the shadow of a third force --
dictatorship of whatever hue, whether right-wing or left-wing -- may emerge
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998
From: Alex Elder <email@example.com>
Subject: From Dzerzhinsky to Iraq
Last month I listened to Galina Starovoitova on Lubyanka Square where
she spoke at a public meeting honoring the victims of Soviet
repression. Now communists are trying to bring the statue of "Iron
Felix" - one of the most gruesome figures in the history of communist
terror - back to that square!
I wrote in my latest book RUBLES TO DOLLARS, recently published by
Prentice Hall, "Angry crowds pulled down statues of Lenin and other
communist saints. The former president of the Russian Exchange left
the crowd and called the Moscow city hall as men began tying ropes
around the neck of the statue of Dzerzhinsky - the founder of the KGB,
the Soviet secret police. He asked for a truck-mounted crane to yank
away the statue, whose violent fall could injure demonstrators. When
bureaucrats balked, he offered them money - and so, a belated hanging
of the founder of the KGB was paid for by a commodity trader!"
That man, Konstantin Borovoy, is now a member of the Russian Duma. A
friend called me from Moscow an hour ago and mentioned that Borovoy
was the only member of the Duma to vote against condemning the US
bombing of Iraq. Without him, the vote would have been unanimous.
It may pay to bet against the crowd but it sure requires a lot of
Yeltsin praises Russian strategic rocket forces
MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin -- outraged and outflanked
by U.S. missile strikes against Iraq -- praised his own Strategic Rocket
Forces on Thursday, saying they gave Russia the status of a great nuclear
``The Strategic Rocket Forces are the pride and national property of the
Fatherland,'' Yeltsin said in a message to troops issued by the Kremlin to
mark ``Strategic Rocket Forces Day.''
``As the main component of our strategic nuclear forces, the Missile Forces
give Russia the status of a great nuclear power,'' the president said in the
Yeltsin made no mention of British and U.S. non-nuclear missile strikes on
Iraq on Thursday.
But he said Russia's nuclear forces had guaranteed strategic parity in the
world -- a view not shared by Russian and foreign defence experts who say
Moscow limps in a distant second to the United States in the post-Cold War
Russia is rejigging and shrinking its armed forces to reflect the country's
meagre finances as well as the strategic balance since the Berlin Wall fell
nearly a decade ago.
But Russian officials said the strikes on Iraq would make it all but
impossible for parliament to ratify soon the 1993 Start-2 arms reduction
treaty which would have formally committed it to substantial missile
Until Thursday government officials had said they hoped to see the treaty
ratified in coming weeks or months.
The Kremlin wants its combined land, sea and air nuclear units to be brought
under a single command with state-of-the-art Topol-M missiles and to remain an
umbrella for the slimmed-down but more mobile conventional armed forces.
Russia's overall Strategic Nuclear Forces have weapons based on submarines, on
land and on long-range aircraft. The Strategic Rocket Forces control the land-
based ballistic missiles in silos and on mobile launchers.
December 18, 1998
LDPR Asks Lewinsky to Rein In Clinton
By Andrei Zolotov Jr.
The ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, known for its close
ties to Saddam Hussein, verbal abuse of the United States and the eccentric
characters among its members, was bound to come up with some strong reaction
to the bombing of Baghdad. And it did.
An LDPR parliament deputy officially proposed that Russia appeal to the sole
person capable of resolving the Iraq crisis: Monica Lewinsky.
LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who has visited Saddam several times, led a
small protest rally outside the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. LDPR protesters also
rallied outside the British Embassy.
The party also said one of its State Duma members was wounded in Baghdad
during the strikes early Thursday.
When the Duma discussed an official resolution condemning the attack, Deputy
Alexander Filatov, 31, proposed an amendment: "The State Duma appeals to Ms.
Lewinsky to undertake corresponding measures to restrain the emotions of Bill
The Duma, parliament's lower house, voted to consider the amendment, but the
wording was changed when the resolution's final text was drafted.
In the end, that section of the resolution did not mention Lewinsky by name
and condemned "U.S. inclination to resolve its purely internal problems,
sometimes of a quite special nature, through such means," Filatov said by
The resolution was overwhelmingly passed by the Duma.
"I understand it was probably offensive," Filatov said of his proposal. His
goal was to "deliberately aggravate" the case to show what he sees as a major
reason for the attack: diverting domestic and international attention from
impeachment proceedings against Clinton.
LDPR Deputy Vladimir Kostyutkin - a former KGB officer who served as a
bodyguard for Leonid Brezhnev - was injured when his car was overturned by a
wave of explosions during the airstrikes, Filatov said, adding that some
Russian businessmen were in the car with him.
Kostyutkin has spent a lot of time in Baghdad recently. "He practically lives
there," another prominent LDPR deputy, Alexei Mitrofanov, was quoted by
Reuters as saying.
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Kostyutkin was on a private business trip to
Iraq and his wounds were not serious, Itar-Tass reported.
U.S. Gets Down to Business with Russian Gov't
MOSCOW, Dec. 17, 1998 -- (Reuters) Just weeks after firing a warning shot
across the bow of Russia's latest government over fears it might abandon
economic reforms, the United States is getting down to business as usual with
the new rulers in Moscow.
While U.S. officials have not given a formal thumbs-up to the policies of
Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, they now say his administration is on an
upward "learning curve" as it grapples with Russia's worst economic crisis in
Primakov has made some shrewd moves to regain American confidence, but U.S.
officials say privately that Washington's main motivation is that it simply
cannot afford to let the world's second nuclear power sink into economic
"It's just too dangerous, with a country that size," one official said.
The two countries are going ahead with plans to convene in March a regular
meeting of a joint cooperation commission that was run for years by U.S. Vice
President Al Gore and former Russian Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin. It
will now be headed by Gore and Primakov.
Before that, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright plans to visit Moscow
in January and hopes to kick off a new round of nuclear disarmament talks.
Only six weeks ago, Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott slammed the
policies of the Primakov government, which includes Communists, and warned
Russia it would get no help from international lenders until it put its
economic house in order.
In a speech at Stanford University in California, he charged that Moscow was
"prepared to abandon a stable currency, a viable exchange rate and a sound
monetary policy" and had "neither a realistic budget nor a credible system for
There was none of that sort of language, at least not in public, when Talbott,
Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and other top U.S. officials
visited Moscow last week for a closer look at Primakov's plans.
Despite much talk in recent weeks of boosting the state role in the economy
and printing money to pay off wages, the 1999 budget sent to parliament last
week is fairly tight, although economists question whether its revenue targets
Although the U.S. team withheld comment on the document itself, one official
said the Russians did now "share what are clearly key objectives -- a stable
currency, a banking system that works, a budget that is sustainable."
Another said that in the three months they had been in office, all members of
Primakov's government, a compromise group of politicians of various political
hues, "have been going up a learning curve about how to match policies and
A key objective for Russia is to win a resumption of loans from the
International Monetary Fund that were suspended after an economic crash in
August that included a slump in the ruble and a freeze on debt and bond
First Deputy Prime Minister Yury Maslyukov, a Communist, said on Monday he was
optimistic that the IMF, in which the United States has a major voice, would
resume credits in January or February. Some Western economists believe he is
In his dealings with the West, Primakov has played heavily on the fact --
acknowledged by U.S. officials -- that his administration has better relations
than any previous one with the recalcitrant Duma, the lower house of
In the past, the Communist-dominated Duma has blocked measures ranging from
the START 2 strategic arms treaty to land privatization, largely because of
its hostility to President Boris Yeltsin. But it has been easier on Primakov's
government, whose appointment was widely seen as a defeat for Yeltsin.
Though only vaguely related to Russia's economic woes, START 2 has become a
symbol of Primakov's ability to bend the Duma to his will and win credibility
Primakov and Maslyukov have mounted a major campaign, against continuing
resistance from some Communist deputies, to get the Duma to ratify the 1993
treaty which cuts U.S. and Russian strategic arsenals by up to two thirds.
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, a veteran career diplomat who goes down well in
Western capitals, has taken on the task of polishing Russia's image abroad and
on Wednesday published a paean of praise to U.S.-Russian partnership on the
Writing in the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Ivanov glossed over differences
including a major dispute over alleged Russian arms proliferation to Iran,
calling them "an entirely normal phenomenon which should not be dramatized."
"Now, when a common global enemy has appeared in the shape of a world economic
crisis, cooperation and the rejection of wait-and-see tactics are especially
relevant," he wrote of the two countries' economic ties.
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