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Johnson's Russia List
27 December 1998
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Boston Globe: Adam Pertman, Shift seen in languages studied in US.
German, Russian losing out.
2. Chuck Spinney: Can Russia Be Saved?
3. Nat Hooper: Re 2532- MT/Christmas.
4. Vadim Korneev: R: 2532-DeMott/Poverty.
5. Moscow Times: Andrei Zolotov Jr., Patriarch Criticizes Rich Priests.
6. Washington Post editorial: Russia's Discontent.
7. Michael Kagalenko: Danzer on Keywords.
8. Reuters: Yeltsin praises Primakov after tax breakthrough.
9. Obshchaya Gazeta: Aleksey Tarasov, "Governor Puts Police Out to
Pasture. New Election Technologies From General Lebed." (Lebed
Anticorruption Actions Assessed).
10. AP: Official: Russia Won't Go Hungry.
11. AP: Russia: Arms Exports To Grow 20 Pct.
12. Moscow Times: Melissa Akin, Kiriyenko Answers All Comers on
December 26, 1998
[for personal use only]
Shift seen in languages studied in US
German, Russian losing out
By Adam Pertman, Globe Staff, 12/26/98
Ten years ago, 352 students at Boston University signed up to learn
last year, the number had nose-dived to 140. At Williams College, the
comparable enrollments have plummeted from 149 to 50 over the last decade.
Nationwide, at schools large and small, the picture's the same. And, as the
study of Spanish outdistances all contenders, Slavic languages are not the
only ones to suffer.
French remains second in popularity, but every year significantly fewer
students are opting for it. German is taking an even bigger hit, leading some
colleges and universities to drop staff and courses in a subject for which
enrollment historically has wavered very little.
For reasons ranging from the end of the Cold War to the globalization of the
American economy, from an extraordinary wave of Hispanic immigration to the
advent of the Internet, the study of foreign languages in this country is
The metamorphosis, which experts describe as historic, provides far more
a window into the shifting linguistic interests of high school graduates.
Rather, it offers insights into ways in which disparate events can conspire to
alter a nation's behavior - even as they reflect some of the fundamental
changes that the nation is undergoing.
''This was not intentional, this was not purposeful, this is just how things
are falling,'' said Carol Saivetz, a specialist in Russian foreign policy at
Harvard University and executive director of the American Association for the
Advancement of Slavic Studies. ''But I think, nevertheless, that the changes
are happening in important, revealing ways ... some good, some not good at
The up side, many scholars agreed, is that a wider range of languages is now
With the rise of Asia as a global economic and political player, steadily
growing numbers of American students are learning Chinese and Korean. At the
same time, media attention to some international hot-spots - combined with
heightened interest by students of specific ethnicities - has led to higher
enrollment for courses in Arabic, some African dialects, Hindi and,
The most-recent study of foreign-language enrollments, by the New York-based
Modern Language Association, showed a 13.5 percent jump in students taking
Spanish at US institutions of higher education from 1990 to 1995. During the
same period, the study of Russian fell 44.6 percent, German dropped by 27.8
percent, and French by 24.6 percent.
College officials around the country, in interviews with the Globe last
said those trends have not changed.
''Absolutely, and they're going to continue in the same direction,'' said
Harlan Sturm, acting chair of the French and Italian departments at the
University of Massachusetts in Amherst. The school closed its Slavic
department three years ago, like many colleges in the 1990s, because of
falling enrollments in Russian and other Eastern European languages that
scholars tie directly to the end of the Cold War.
''I think it's a natural consequence of what's happening in the United
States,'' said Jerry Sheehan, the associate dean at the Fletcher School of Law
and Diplomacy at Tufts University. ''Spanish is becoming the second language
... and interest in the others is declining as a result.''
Scholars said it was the declines, rather than the ascents, that troubled
As academics, they worried that diminished attention to the French and
languages is just the most obvious indicator of waning interest in - and in
the understanding of - European nations that helped shape American history.
And they voiced regret that fewer students will experience the richness of
reading books and otherwise drawing from historically important Western
cultures. ''They're growing in the new languages they are taking, but the
students are really missing something in the areas left behind ... and I think
we all lose something intangible, as a society, as a result,'' said Dorothy
Kelly, chair of the modern languages department at BU.
More broadly, those interviewed expressed concern that the new pattern of
language study underscores and reinforces two other trends: a move in American
academia away from liberal arts education toward more-practical schooling
where, for instance, students prefer Chinese to French because they believe it
will improve their job prospects; and an acceleration of many Americans'
belief that it does not matter what languages they learn because English is
the only one they need.
''My greatest fear is that this is all part of an Americanization that leads
to isolationism of a kind,'' said Michael Holquist, a professor of Slavic
languages and literature at Yale University. ''The underlying assumption is
that we know the world because we can read about it in the English language
... and that locks out an awful lot of information.''
The proliferation of the Internet, by all accounts, has fueled this
since English is the computer world's basic language. But Holquist and others
said Americans in business, government, and other fields - while finding it
easier to communicate - will be hurt by their lack of fluency in foreign
languages, because they will not be able to grasp the subtleties of other
Though the idea may be counterintuitive, the rapid rise in Spanish
actually reflects this notion of growing American linguistic nationalism.
Analysts say that is because many students taking Spanish are doing so as a
result of looking inward, essentially training themselves to live in a country
with a burgeoning Hispanic population, rather than reaching out to learn the
languages of other nations.
And this seems to be a fast-moving train, with no stops in sight as
move toward becoming the largest minority group in the country by 2008.
Elementary and secondary schools are responding by adding more Spanish classes
each year, presumably creating a feeder system weighted toward that language
for colleges and universities.
The Center for Applied Linguistics, a Washington, D.C.-based organization
tracks language studies from kindergarten through 12th grade, recently
completed a report showing that the number of public and private schools
teaching Spanish has risen from 68 percent to 79 percent in the last decade.
At the same time, schools offering Japanese rose from none to 3 percent;
French dropped from 41 percent to 27 percent; German from 10 percent to 5
percent; and Latin from 12 percent to 3 percent.
Clearly, the reconfiguration of language studies reflects the American
perception of, and response to, a changing world in which both Western and
Eastern Europe play diminishing roles. But some of the scholars interviewed -
pointing to Asia's economic crisis, Europe's new confederation into a monetary
union, and the persistent instability in Russia - warned that such views could
turn out to be shortsighted.
''It's a tragedy beyond just the self interest of people who teach these
languages to fewer and fewer students,'' said Saivetz, the Russia expert at
''My fear is a major cataclysm and people will say the field didn't warn us.
But that next generation of scholars just isn't going to be there,'' she
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998
From: Chuck Spinney <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Can Russia Be Saved?
Re: JRL #2525, December 15, 1998
Allison Abrams, "Criminal Communism" to "Criminal Capitalism," describes
a talk to Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, Washington DC, by
David Satter, a Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, and Visiting Scholar,
School for Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.
Satter said lawlessness is undermining Russia's transformation from
Communism into a representative democracy with a market economy. He argued
that Russia's economic crisis has its roots in a moral crisis, and that
"when the time came to create a new democratic society in Russia, the
failure of both the West and Russia to understand the true nature of
communism -- its denial of universal morality -- led instead to the rise of
a criminal state."
While I agree that lawlessness in Russia goes to the heart of that
country's problems. I do not think blaming it all on the true nature of
communism (or abstractions like a denial of universal morality) accounts
for the depth of the lawlessness pervading contemporary Russian society.
Moreover, adherence to such a belief could induce one to make the same
logical error that the Communists made: namely that a wise elite can have
the omniscience to apply a top-down "argument from design" to solve social
problems which are driven by bottom-up evolutionary phenomena.
Lawlessness and the rule of brute force had a long-standing history in
Russia before the Communists took over and established the Soviet Union.
Its roots lie in the arbitrary diktat and despotic powers of the Czar (who
was answerable only to God, which was also a universal moral pretension).
Russia did not go through the moderating influence of feudal era like other
The peculiar European institution of Feudalism may have been essential to
the emergence of our modern law-based society, which is grounded on
individual rights and free market economics. Feudalism emerged with the
establishment of the legal principle of reciprocal responsibility and
obligation between the King and the barons. While the reciprocal legal
bonds existed initially for the benefit of a very small elite, they
established an interactive (two-way) legal principle that was very
different from the one-way principle embodied in the unlimited power of a
King or Czar.
Over time, the principle of reciprocity gradually spread to larger and
larger segments of society, and the vast edifice of common law evolved in
response to the growing complexity of these reciprocal relationships. In
contrast to the rigidity of a codified law designed by a scholarly or
political elite, common law is a mutable concept that builds up on a case
by case basis. It grounds its essence on precedent but permits continuous
adaptation by resolving conflicts in accordance with changing conditions.
The restrictions imposed by the idea of reciprocity provide the environment
for evolving instrumentalities to protect individual rights, like contracts
or property rights, while maintaining a coherent societal interaction at
the macroscopic level of organization.
The point central to the question of a law-based society is that it took
hundreds of years for the body of common law to emerge out of the give and
take of a continuous intercourse among those being restrained by its
prohibitions. In 1400, no one could predict with certainty where the
Common Law was headed, although one could be sure some of its precedents
would carry forward into the distant future. In its totality, the body of
common law is therefore an unpredictable evolutionary synthesis of chance
and necessity, shaped by trial-and-error in a continuous competition among
millions participants over an extended period of time. .
In contrast to their western brethren, Russia's nobility was always far
more dependent on the caprice and arbitrary power of Czar for its
well-being. It is well-established that the notion of reciprocal
obligation was much less developed in Russia under the Czars than in the
West. Consequently, common law (and the cultural norms that flow out of
it, like respect for the individual or property rights and, ultimately, the
moral ideal of representative government) never really evolved in the
To be sure, Communism extended and deepened the arbitrary character of
Russian "law," and many observers, like the Mr. Satter, are now blaming the
current lawlessness in Russia on the amoral legacy of communism. But this
view, while partially true, vastly oversimplifies and misses the extent to
which a culture is the synthesis of a much richer historical tapestry.
The rule of law, as we know it in the west, is in substantial part a
consequence of evolutionary phenomena, like those that drove the mutation
of feudalism into republican democracy, which was by no means an inevitable
outcome. That history is now rooted deeply in the cultural DNA of our
market-based societies. The Russian concept of law is also a product of
evolutionary forces, albeit very different ones from those in the west.
The idea that intellectuals (be they Russian or Western) have the
omniscience to map our "rule-of-law" DNA into a capitalist market system
for Russia is dangerously flawed and doomed to fail for the same reason
that communism failed: namely, the irreconcilable contradiction that comes
from applying a top-down all-knowing "argument from design" to a process
that is fundamentally an unpredictable, bottom-up, historically-based,
self-organizing, phenomenon. Indeed, perhaps the best evidence of the
power of self-organizing cultural phenomena to overwhelm an "argument from
design" can be found in the rapid rise of the Russian mafia.
Satter may be correct when he concludes that the absence of legal and moral
rules prepared the way for the creation of a criminal state in Russia. He
may be correct that Russia has no hope of saving itself without the rule of
law. But his conclusions (at least those stated by Ms. Abrams) beg the
question: Where do the laws come from?
By blaming the rampant criminality on amorality of communism, it is easy to
introduce ideological blinders that oversimplify the deeper evolutionary
nature of a momentous crisis for which there may be no solution other than
the natural course of events toward dissolution into smaller, more viable
cultural units. Perhaps the West can find ways to ease the suffering of
the Russian people, but to assume we design a solution based on our notion
of universal moral principles is the height of arrogance.
Archive of past commentaries or reports can be found at
Left Menu, Scroll Down to "Archived Digests"
Go to "CSpinney Comments"
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998
From: email@example.com (Nat Hooper)
Subject: Re: 2532- MT/Christmas
In their December 25 editorial, THE MOSCOW TIMES noted:
"...now is the time when Russia needs help. For Russia's poor, this will be
a cold and desperate winter. "
But I wish they had mentioned that there are many of us who want to help
but are frustrated by Russian laws and rampant corruption in Russian
officialdom. For example:
An alaskan shipment of clothing to a desperate Russian community across the
Bering straights was turned away because there was no certificate of dry
Food and medicines, carried in by individuals is confiscated by Russian
Customs officials and shortly appears on the black market.
Money mailed to individuals never gets there.
And then there are the multi-million dollar swindles by unscrupulous men
with friends in high places.
Until these and so many more examples of amoral and uncaring government are
disposed of, I don't see where the Russian people have a chance.
I'm not throwing rocks at the Russian government from the high ground; my
government is not representative of the people either.
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998
From: "Vadim Korneev" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 2532-DeMott/Poverty
42 million Russians below poverty line? This figure is obtained in a double
First, it's doubtful that even $100/mo will provide living, which could be
considered as a living above the poverty line. Second, more people are below
the poverty line announced by the Russian government.
I will give some figures.
Professor in Scientific Research Institute of Mathematics and Mechanics
at the St. Petersburg State University gets 500 rubles/mo. The institute is
situated in Petrdvorets, famous place 25km from St. Petersburg. Round trip
railroad tickets to this place are 32 rubles. So, the salary allows to
professor to visit the institute 15 times per month, if he does not buy food
and anything else. But he still has to pay expenses for maintenance of his
apartment, independently whether it is a private property or not. Some
prices from the letter of the wife of my Russian friend dated 12.04.98:
vegetable oil- 20-25 ru for 0.5 liter,
sugar - 10 ru per 1kg,
bananas - 12 ru per 1kg,
codfish - 28 ru per 1kg,
apples - 20 ru per 1kg.
Still our professor can survive, but it is not a poverty,it is a life for
survival and what about other people. The wife of my friend worked and works
(the real meaning of this word has considerably changed) in a position of
senior engineer at the formerly big
enterprise "Krasnaia Zaria", which produced a variety of products from
telephones to much more sophisticated connection and control devices. Her
salary was approximately 60% of the salary of "the professor". Now it is
difficult to say anything about her salary, because she has not been
receiving salary for 5 months. In summer she worked for "Luna-park" coming
every summer from Czech
Republic and made some money for living. Under the Soviet power these
"professor" and "senior engineer" were, we can imagine , in the upper half of
the middle class, i.e., they lived a little bit better, than vast majority of
Russian people. It may be a right guess that they are still in the same
place of financial hierarchy of Russian people.
The people, for whom creation of a free market system in Russia in such a
situation is an urgent problem seem to be dangerously crasy. Or they will
obtain for the result
a military communism or the like, or more millions of Russians by their wish
are assumed to die out. I will be happy, if I exaggerate. I suggest for a
holiday's fan an imaginary experiment. Suppose, at removing Gorbachev and
communists from the power, we somehow removed
all Russians from Russia and replaced them with Americans (or, say, Germans) ,
so that all Americans are in Russia. Given that the territory
of Russia is huge, that, probably, more than half of it is very low populated
areas with extremely difficult climate conditions, that most Russian
houses outside cities are wooden and without canalization, that the density
of roads is probably 20 or more times lower, than in the USA or Western
Europe, that in computer industry, as in many others Russia is behind 30-40
years, and etc., etc.,- how many years it would take to create in Russia a
bearable for Americans life. Suppose also, that before coming to Russia the
Americans had been made
equal in money posessions and faced privatization of the former USSR
Would Americans had followed the Chubais-Gaidar privatization? Would have
been there a fan similar to that we see now?
December 25, 1998
Patriarch Criticizes Rich Priests
By Andrei Zolotov Jr.
In an unusually frank account of Russian church life, Patriarch Alexy II
scolded priests this week for "assuming the lifestyle of New Russians" by
driving expensive cars and sporting mobile telephones in front of impoverished
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, who spoke Wednesday at the annual
meeting of the Moscow Diocese, stressed the need for more social outreach,
something that has remained at the bottom of most parishes' list of
The full text of the patriarch's annual report, which usually names
transgressors and includes a great deal of criticism, has traditionally been a
guarded internal document. But even the excerpts of the text released by the
Moscow Patriarchate were unusually strong. In most documents made public in
the past the Church has painted a far rosier picture.
In another departure from past practices, Alexy II called for greater
and transparency in Church affairs in the face of what he called an anti-
The patriarch attributed the problems in the Church in part to the
the time" and the domination of "ethically negative values" in society such as
greed, lies and personal ambitions.
Part of the clergy, he said, has attempted to imitate the lifestyle of New
Russians, which generates resentment on the part of people struggling to make
"One has to realize that a mass transformation of consciousness is taking
place among simple impoverished people," his report said. "They see that they
are not needed by anybody: Neither the state nor the society is taking care of
them, and now the Church too shows that the rich and not the poor are closer
The annual meeting, at which deans of churches and heads of parish councils
are present, is a major event in the life of each diocese, but Moscow's
meeting is particularly important because of the patriarch's report. In his
report, the patriarch, who also is the capital's bishop, outlines the main
policies of the Russian Orthodox Church hierarchy.
The call for greater openness marked a noticeable change in policy.
"We should speak sincerely and truthfully about all problems that exist
in our church life without waiting for these issues to be raised and
interpreted by others, including our ill-wishers," the patriarch said.
The Church was involved in several high-profile conflicts this year that
extensive critical coverage in the media. The Patriarchate also has faced
rumors that Alexy II's health was in decline and that he was increasingly
isolated by his entourage.
In one of the well-publicized conflicts, a reformist Moscow community was
virtually disbanded and kicked out of its church, while its popular leader,
Priest Georgy Kochetkov, was suspended by the patriarch.
In Yekaterinburg, a conservative bishop was accused of burning books by
several prominent Orthodox theologians, though he denied the allegations.
Also in Moscow, Hegumen Martiri Bagin, who led a parish sponsored by
Inkombank, was removed for disobedience and unsanctioned appropriation of real
estate. But due to the secretive manner on the part of the Patriarchate, the
removal was portrayed by Bagin's supporters as a clamp down on dissent.
In Wednesday's report, the patriarch said the need for money has caused some
parishes to have "business contacts with representatives of private companies,
banks and the shadow economy, who are interested in legalizing their business
through the Church. Should one say how much this does not correspond with
He also said some clergymen have attempted to use their relations with big
business and "quasi-political circles" to exert pressure on him, but were
However, the patriarch's report continued the Church's attack on the liberal
religious radio station Sofia, which has been accused of undermining the
Church by ungrounded criticism of the hierarchy and propagation of Western
Alexy II scolded priests for not doing more to help Russians in need.
"Every year I call on deans and heads of parish councils with the request to
activate charity activities at the parish level, but unfortunately my words
are not heard by everybody," the patriarch's report said.
He addressed criticism that the Church has found money for rebuilding and
restoring churches but not for helping the poor.
"Modern life demands new approaches," the patriarch's report said. "Although
with difficulty we have found resources to restore churches and gild
iconostases, now we need to find them [resources] for other no less important
types of church activities."
Alexy II urged parishes to cooperate in funding social projects. "What one
parish cannot do, two or three will be able to."
He stressed the importance of increasing the clergy's educational and
spiritual level. He pointed to the danger of priests abusing their power of
confessor by demanding total obedience from their flock, turning people into
"robots" and church communities into "sects."
The report also included statistical data on the Russian Orthodox Church,
which claims jurisdiction over all of the former Soviet Union except for
Georgia and owns property in Europe, Northern America and Israel.
The Church has 151 active bishops in 127 dioceses. About 19,700 clergymen
serve in more than 19,000 parishes. Of 478 monasteries and convents, 299 are
on the territory of the Russian Federation.
In Moscow, the Church has title to 428 churches and 39 chapels, with 539
priests and 206 deacons, which is 72 more clergymen than in 1997.
December 27, 1998
WHILE THE BOMBS fell on Iraq, there was some anxiety that American attacks
were souring U.S. relations with Russia, a critic of the bombing and a
longtime patron of the Baghdad regime. The apprehension did not stop the
United States from proceeding with the strikes. But it did prompt concern
about whether Russian nationalists would respond by restricting cooperation
with Washington on other fronts. In fact, the bombing did further delay the
Russian Duma's ratification of the START II nuclear arms reduction treaty.
The delay is a serious matter. The treaty is much in the American interest.
Still, to have accepted a Russian linkage of arms control to an end of
airstrikes would have been a mistake. For arms reduction is much in the
Russian interest too -- to strengthen security and stability and to reduce the
economic burden. Diminishing the Iraqi threat is also demonstrably in the
Russian interest, reluctant as Moscow is to admit it.
Post-Cold War American policy toward Russia is in an awkward phase.
Professions of partnership fill the air. But while Russia, in its agonized
transition from communism, is a partner in some general sense and in a
preferred future, it is also a profoundly impaired country unable to shoulder
anywhere near the full burden of a partnership of equals.
Certainly there is reason for Americans to be tactful and not rub a proud
nation's nose in its current humiliation. But there is parallel reason for
Russians not to ignore the realities on the ground. If circumstances call for
discretion on America's part, they call for realism on Russia's. That is not
what has been consistently on view in Moscow.
It is not that Russia, any more than other critics of the bombing, has a
better idea for how to handle Saddam Hussein's ambitions and weapons. On the
contrary, Russia speaks for a diplomacy that has been tried for years and
found wanting, a casualty of Saddam Hussein's defiance. This being so, it
would be surprising if there were not some anxiety in Moscow that resistance
to American policy at various points was souring Russia's relations with the
Surely, Russia can be no less determined than America to cultivate the full
range of business between the two countries. That includes their common
interest in arms control: in Iraq; in Iran, a country close to becoming a
nuclear protege of Russia; and in the United States and Russia as well.
Indeed, the time may come when Americans can no longer prudently limit
strategic arms reductions to the hesitant lesser measures dictated by a felt
requirement to stay in step with Moscow. The United States must serve the
American interest in reshaping a sensible nuclear posture, even if Russia
From: "Michael B. Kagalenko" <email@example.com>
Subject: Danzer on Keywords
Date: Sat, 26 Dec 1998
John Danzer makes some good points, particularly about much of the press
about Russia being repetitive. In my opinion, discussions between
JRL contributors tend to be the most interesting part of JRL. My
own keywords for paring down the volume include "Jerry Hough" and
> For the first year I must have read all of it every
> single day. This was probably necessary because I was learning
> about Russia.
I feel I must seriously caution about thinking that that the year of
reading JRL is enough to learn about Russia. In particular,
> the abilities of Jesse Jackson. He also seems to be the only
> candidate for whatever the non-elected leader of Russia will
> finally be called. Pay close attention to his hints that he isn't
> thinking about the 2000 election. He knows he can't be elected.=20
> His strategy is that things will eventually become un-bear-able at
> which time his talents will be the only solution.=20
I bet Mr.Danzer is mistaken. I am even willing to put my money where my
mouth is, and buy him a dinner if he is right about the abolition
of democracy. Would he do the same and buy _me_ a dinner if the next
leader of Russia is elected ?
Yeltsin praises Primakov after tax breakthrough
By Andrei Khalip
MOSCOW, Dec 26 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin voiced full support for his
Prime Minister on Saturday, saying Yevgeny Primakov was the right man to haul
Russia out of its economic abyss.
Yeltsin paid particular tribute to Primakov's pragmatic streak.
Primakov said earlier he had reached a compromise with influential regional
chiefs in a row over taxes, which nearly stalled passage of the 1999 budget,
seen as key to securing much-needed foreign aid.
``He is the strongest premier, the most reliable one, supported by the
president, government, the State Duma (lower parliament house) and regional
authorities,'' Yeltsin said in an interview with the main state television
``He has this special sense from his previous diplomatic job. He uses it
to find compromise in all kinds of situations. I cannot but help admire this
ability of his,'' he said.
Yeltsin said the main result of a turbulent year was that Russia managed to
remain politically stable. The former foreign minister's confirmation as
premier by the conservative Duma in September was the best example of this
stability, he said.
Yeltsin appointed Primakov -- a former intelligence chief and Middle East
specialist during the Soviet era -- as a compromise premier to appease
Communist opposition in the Duma after the chamber twice rejected more reform-
minded veteran premier Viktor Chernomyrdin.
Primakov indeed managed to demonstrate his ``special sense'' this week. The
draft budget, despite being relatively monetarist and tough, met little
resistance in the Duma which used to brush off similar attempts by previous
and more openly reformist cabinets.
``There is no collision of interests here (between cabinet and
Primakov said before a government meeting on Saturday. ``The budget is the
victory of common sense, of compromise, of the line guided by the government,
the Duma and the Federation Council (upper house) to drive the country out of
the difficult situation.''
Russia is pinning its hopes on the budget as means to persuade the
International Monetary Fund, which insists on a continuation of market reforms
and a better tax collection, to unfreeze new tranches of an agreed multi-
billion dollar loan.
The IMF's approval of the budget would also help Russia's case in talks with
foreign commercial and official creditors on restructuring of its huge debt.
At the first budget reading on Thursday, Primakov had to threaten his
resignation to force the Duma to pass the austerity draft and persuade the
leaders of Russia's 89 regions from the upper house of parliament not to drag
Senators disagreed with the way tax revenues would be shared between them
the federal government next year. On Saturday Primakov said the government and
parliament had managed to find ``a possible balance of interest in sharing tax
Yeltsin, whose grip on power has become firmer recently after a period of
health problems, on Saturday again ruled out early presidential election
before his term expires in 2000 and said he remained the guarantor of the
Referring to recent anti-Semitic and xenophobic statements by a number of
politicians, Yeltsin said: ``I am readying a mighty offensive on the extremism
front.'' He said a proper anti-extremism law was urgently needed.
In an apparent riposte to Communist demands for a reintroduction of media
censorhsip, Yeltsin vowed to defend media freedoms and lashed out at unnamed
``certain people'' who he said should ``behave themselves'' in dealing with
Meanwhile Russia's ambassador to Britain, Yuri Fokin, who was recalled last
week over U.S.-British air strikes against Iraq, returned to London on
Saturday, ending the worst setback in relations between Russia and the West
for years. Moscow's man in Washington returned there earlier this week.
Yeltsin also repeated that Russia was strongly opposed to air strikes
Iraq and that its main international principle was that of a ``multi-polar
world,'' where ``one or two countries do not command the rest.''
Lebed Anticorruption Actions Assessed
Obshchaya Gazeta, No. 48
December 3-9, 1998
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Aleksey Tarasov: "Governor Puts Police Out to Pasture.
New Election Technologies From General Lebed"
Krasnoyarsk--Policemen of Krasnoyarsk Kray have been switched to
"autonomous financing." The kray"s governor, Aleksandr Lebed,
unleashing a campaign against embezzlement, promised to leave for the needs
of the kray police the amounts it has returned from large thefts. This
will be at first. Afterwards, some of the money that is recovered will
still be turned over to the kray treasury.
In recent months the OBEP [Department for Combating Economic Crimes]
staff (which previously had 350 workers) has been increased 1.5-fold.
There are legends about the group of 140 law enforcers working on
instructions from the governor, who verify budget expenditures in the
rayons and answer directly to the chief of the UVD [internal affairs
directorate]. There have been dozens of scandalous affairs, money running
into many millions, arrests of bureaucrats. The unprecedented activity of
Krasnoyarsk law and order agencies is producing more and more surprises in
the fight against bribery, especially in the former kray administration.
As concerns the current kray authorities, there are no cases involving
The dependency of the police"s wellbeing on the performance of
their professional duties reminds one of the policies of feudalism of the
deep past when the employees exacted their own payment from the
master"s subjects. Strangely, many "enforcement workers" today regard
the belief that law enforcement agencies must be supported exclusively by
the state as a prejudice.
For example, during 1994-95 the UOP under the kray UVD received from
the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant R800 million in sponsorship aid. Even the
UOP building itself was erected with "philanthropic" money from the
Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant. And since "you should dance with the girl you
came with," the aluminum barons helped the fighters against organized crime
in the hope of mutual understanding. This investment project was perhaps
the most successful for the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant. Several times the
very lives of its leaders were hanging by a string, and only support from
law enforcers saved them from a sad outcome. For reference: In internal
MVD documents the chairman of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant board of
directors, Anatoliy Bykov, was listed, according to operational
information, as the leader of an organized crime group whose members are
suspected (were suspected) of dozens of murders.
Incidentally, everyone knows what the state did to disenfranchise its
enforcement structures: The police look for additional support from those
they are legally obliged to protect or, conversely, to apprehend and put in
jail. There is nothing new in this. In recent years sponsorship aid for
the Krasnoyarsk police has become a regular thing--only it has been through
the kray "Law and Order" fund. Its former chief was recently arrested,
and...let out of the slammer early because he preferred to return R710,000
to the budget. No charges were brought against him but the case was not
closed either. It is interesting that in Lebed"s administration he
held the post of chief of the department for interaction with political
parties and public associations. There is your battle for clean
government. Another businessman involved in this same case of theft of
budget money--general director of the AO [joint-stock company] Severinvest,
Yuriy Alekseyev--is not yet ready to share his gains, and therefore he is
in prison. In the words of the chief of the kray UVD, Boris Petrunin,
Severinvest alone cost the budget R8 million.
The series of Krasnoyarsk arrests and detainments (three former deputy
governors in charge of the financial and economic block, the head of the
Ministry of Finance KRU [Control and Auditing Administration] for the kray,
the former head and now technical director of Vodokanal, and well-known
businessmen) did not become a scandal. The general ordered an
investigation, directing all enforcement structures to search for budget
money and those guilty of stealing it. As early as last summer, Lebed
ordered the chiefs of the kray UVD and the Siberian UVD for transportation,
the Krasnoyarsk customs, the UFSNP [Federal Tax Police Service
Administration], the UFSB [Federal Security Service Administration], and
the kray procurator, "to create a joint operational investigation group for
discovering and documenting--with subsequent filing of criminal charges
(author"s emphasis--A.T.)--facts related to corruption, theft of
budget money, and concealment of the revenue part of the federal and kray
And here is what the kray"s first deputy procurator, Yuriy
Antipov, said at the summer collegium in the procuracy: "The operational
investigation services are clearly not working hard enough. They are
unprofessional and sometimes immoral, if not worse. Only now, with the
arrival of a new team, have we received from the kray administration, as
from a horn of plenty, materials about the machinations of high-level
bureaucrats." Following this confession, Antipov announced that charges
had been filed, within whose framework the former first deputy governor,
Vladimir Kuzmin, and the former deputy governor, Valentin Cherezov, have
now been arrested.
In this connection there is another quotation which I consider to be a
key one. One of the points of the "recommendations for the complex of
urgent tasks for controlling the kray"s economy," made by the
Institute for Strategic Development and National Security especially for
Lebed back in June, reads: "It is necessary before the end for the first
100 days of the governor"s term to make public the most egregious
results of the audit of the preceding kray administration"s activity.
If this is not done, in the eyes of the voters Lebed"s actions will
look like forgiveness of the embezzlers...and will probably aggravate the
problems of voter support as early as the fall of 1998."
It is obvious that such advice is given because there is a social
order to unmask the embezzlers. Another thing is also clear: It is
possible to dig up much that is interesting in the activity of the former
authorities. Therefore only a politician who absolutely does not accept
populism would fail to take advantage of this chance. And there is no such
Recently when speaking about a series of arrests of high-ranking state
employees, the governor stated: "The process has been somewhat drawn out.
The rogues are well situated and it is hard to hunt them down. They scream
that these are political actions, settling of political scores, and they
are complaining to all possible levels, moving in waves through all kinds
of commissions. But these commissions are not without sin either--they
have been caught red-handed by the boys from the Ministry of Finance"
(Lebed has in mind the head auditor-controller of the Ministry of Finance
KRU for the kray, Valeriy Petrov).
Lebed regularly plays the kray against its "neighbor beyond the
Urals"--Moscow. And in Krasnoyarsk almost all today"s events on the
front of the battle against corruption are seen through the prism of the
opposition of forces located far away from the kray. A couple of days ago
the well-known capital advocate bureau came to the defense of the most
eminent arrestee, Kuzmin. The appearance of its representative was
accompanied by numerous commentaries in Krasnoyarsk. They say the
high-class advocate was provided to Kuzmin at the request of the
capital"s mayor, Yuriy Luzhkov. This version is deceptive in its
simplicity: It is no secret that there is not much warmth between Luzhkov
and Lebed, and Luzhkov should be interested in the failure of Lebed"s
anticorruption campaign (previously Lebed stated that Luzhkov gave $2
million to Moscow journalists to discredit him).
All this would be ridiculous if the currently practiced methods of
fighting against corruption did not corrupt the law enforcers. They are
crudely and plainly shown the degrading role assigned to them by the state
authorities. So a difficult choice has again been presented to public
opinion. And it is again divided with respect to the "enemies of the
people." Some consider them corrupt while others consider them victims of
Official: Russia Won't Go Hungry
December 26, 1998
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia will not go hungry in 1999, and there will be no food
shortages in spite of Russia's agricultural crisis, a top Russian official
said in an interview published Saturday.
Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Kulik said that the government had taken
measures to ensure there would not be food shortages in 1999. Its primary task
is to keep the food market running at the same level as in 1998, he said.
``We're depending in part on growth in domestic production -- for
poultry,'' he said.
The government has cut import taxes on meat, poultry feed and other products
to keep up food supplies, Kulik said. He added that plans were being developed
to support domestic producers, including citizens who grow food on garden
But Kulik painted a grim picture of decline in the agricultural sector.
of agricultural products haven't kept pace with the steeply rising prices of
feed, energy and manure. Farmers have been forced to cut back production,
leading to shortages of domestically produced food including meat.
He said that the financial crisis that erupted in August when the government
defaulted on short-term debts and the ruble's value plummeted, had only
accelerated the nation's food-production troubles. The cost of Russia's
tremendous dependence on imported food skyrocketed.
``If in 1990 we had about half a cow per person, now we have one-quarter
number,'' Kulik told the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
Russia: Arms Exports To Grow 20 Pct
December 25, 1998
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's arms exports in 1999 will be 20 percent higher than
this year, the minister of economy said Friday, according to the Interfax news
Economy Minister Andrei Shapovalyants said the government would provide
guarantees to ``reliable and solvent'' arms-export companies, and that
negotiations had already been conducted with India, China and other countries.
Although well down from Soviet levels, Russia is one of the world's top four
arms exporters, supplying relatively inexpensive weapons with a reputation for
With the Russian economy in crisis, arms exports are among the country's few
steady sources of hard currency and one of the few sectors where Russian
industry continues to operate efficiently.
An official from Rosvooruzheniye, the state arms exporter, said in August
Russia hoped to export about dlrs 3.5 billion of weapons this year and hoped
to increase that figure to dlrs 8 billion by 2005.
December 25, 1998
Kiriyenko Answers All Comers on Web
By Melissa Akin
Internet novice Sergei Kiriyenko complained about his service provider, got
flamed by a guy named Dmitry and defended his decision to devalue the ruble,
all during a conference Thursday on the World Wide Web.
The former prime minister met the online public to inaugurate the web
his new political movement, Novaya Sila, which he is touting as the party of
the "silent majority" of "economically independent" people. Novaya Sila,
founded several weeks ago, is focused on policy, not leaders, says Kiriyenko.
Its web address is http://www.kirienko.ru.
Kiriyenko's former deputy, Boris Nemtsov, who opened a site at
http://www.nemtsov.ru when he was still a Kremlin favorite, recently changed
it to a promotion for his new Rossia Molodaya political movement.
An advocate of market reform, Kiriyenko was an obscure energy minister when
President Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly chose him to become prime minister in
March. He lasted five months until being fired after the Aug. 17 decision to
devalue the ruble and default on some government debt.
Sitting in a conference room at RIA Novosti news agency, Kiriyenko responded
to questions - mostly polite - about the economy, science and his plans to run
for office, ending each answer with a call to unite and asking people to click
on their mouse buttons to join the movement."
He said he often had trouble dialing up his provider in the evenings, and
admitted he had only three months' Internet experience, mostly with online
newspapers. And he was introduced to a favorite custom of electronic
playground bullies, the flame, or angry missive.
One man who identified himself as Dmitry asked: "If Kiriyenko alone could
destroy everything in Russia, what can a whole movement of his followers do?"
"It's absolutely your right to think that way," Kiriyenko responded. "But if
you really think everything in the country was normal and we ruined it in one
day, I feel sorry for you. You have a pretty poor understanding of what's
going on in Russia."