This Date's Issues: 3015•
to CDI's Home Page I Return
to CDI's Library
Johnson's Russia List
14 January 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. RFE/RL: Paul Goble, Why Don't Russians Rebel?
2. Newsweek: George Will, The Primacy of Culture.
3. Washington DC: T. Bruni Art Exhibit - Caviar/Open Bar Friday Jan. 15.
(DJ: I hope to get to this event.)
4. AP: Russia Attacks New U.S. Sanctions.
5. Reuters: Creditors Unlikely to Push Russia to Bankruptcy.
6. Moscow Times: Russia Says Western Food Aid Delayed by at Least One
7. Moscow Times: Melissa Akin, Left Says Split Will Broaden Appeal.
8. Boston Globe: Martha Brill Olcott, US gives up on democracy.
9.Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) job
10. Bob Broedel: Znachki.
11. Jamestown Foundation Monitor: DOES YELTSIN SEE RUSSIA-BELARUS
UNION AS A WAY TO STAY IN THE GAME? and RUSSIAN WOLF TO GUARD SHEEP?
12. A note from Matthew Fisher.
13. Itar-Tass: Number of Russian Credit Organizations Declining.
14. Interfax: Central Bank Issues Money Supply Figures.
15. Interfax: IMF Official Denies Responsibility For Russian Crisis.
16. RFE/RL: Matt Frost, Russia: Economists Head For Tough Talks In
Russia: Analysis From Washington -- Why Don't Russians Rebel?
By Paul Goble
Washington, 13 January 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's enormous economic and
political difficulties over the past several years have prompted many there
and elsewhere to ask -- why don't more Russians go on strike or engage in
A new U.S. Information Agency report, "Who Protests in Russia," both reports
how few Russians have taken part in such protests and provides at least part
of the answer as to why.
Based on extensive polling in Russia over the last few years, the report
that only seven percent of Russians claim that they have taken part in any
political rally or demonstration, and only four percent have gone on strike.
The report further suggests that the number of Russians prepared to engage in
such protests has been declining.
And it explains these figures by suggesting that overwhelming majorities of
Russians do not take part in such protests because they do not believe that
either economic actions or political demonstrations will in the end do them
But the report's focus on those who do protest calls attention to three
factors which could mean that this trend will be reversed, leading more
Russians to take part in strikes and demonstrations over the next few years,
and thus, to challenge existing power relations in Russian economic and
First, as the report shows, those Russians who feel personally desperate,
have not been paid for extensive periods and who lack alternative sources of
support are far more likely to protest than those who do not.
Up to now, many Russians have refrained from doing so either because they did
not think protests would work, because they still felt they had something to
lose, or because they could turn to family and friends for support.
But if conditions deteriorate, as now seems likely, and if people learn
strike actions or public protests, then ever more Russians will fall into this
"personal desperation" and thus, may take to the streets.
Second, according to the USIA report, Russians who are members of a trade
union or are active supporters of one or another political party are far more
likely to participate in demonstrations than those who do not.
Over the last three years, the presence of a trade union in a workplace "more
than doubles" the likelihood that those employed there will participate in
strikes or other forms of protest.
And during the same period, those who report "a great deal" of interest in
politics are almost eight times as likely to participate in strikes or
protests than those who say they have "no interest at all."
On the one hand, this pattern suggests that strikes may become more
political parties try to use trade unions in order to reach more voters. So
far that has not happened very often. Thus, the report notes that only six
percent of employed Russians now say that a member of the Russian Communist
Party member has asked them to join a protest.
And, on the other, it implies that as more Russians focus on politics during
the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, an increasing number of
them are likely to participate in public demonstrations.
That will be particularly likely, the USIA study suggests, if Russian
political parties run campaigns that seek to identify who is to blame for
Russia's current predicament. That is because Russians who think they know
"who is to blame" are far more likely to protest than those who do not.
Moreover, because of the overlap, the USIA polls found that between those who
protest for economic reasons and those who do so for political ones, any
increase in economic protests could spark an increase in political protests,
and vice versa.
And third, as the USIA report notes, the roughly 7.5 million Russians who
participated in protests over the last several years may see their numbers
grow if additional Russians working in jobs they consider strategically
important are able to successfully challenge the authorities and win
concessions or at least back pay.
Consequently, as the Russian government and Russian firms attempt to live up
to their promises to pay back wages, workers who have not yet received them
may seek to use strikes to catch up with those who have. And that in turn
could lead to an explosive cycle that the authorities might find difficult to
None of this is to say that Russia is about to face a tidal wave of strikes
and political demonstrations. Rather it is to note that the passivity many
Russians have displayed up to now is the product of specific experiences and
calculations, just as much as it reflects some underlying national culture.
And thus, it is to suggest that as in the past, the quiescence the Russians
now display could end more quickly and explosively than many observers now
January 18, 1999
[for personal use only]
The Primacy of Culture
Conservatives say of compassion what liberals say of passion: it should be
By George F. Will
Progress has become puzzling. When history was thought to be cyclical,
progress seemed impossible. However, a few centuries ago there was an
outbreak of cheerfulness: progress seemed not only possible but inevitable.
At least it would be if governments applied social learning, which is
cumulative, through wise policies.
But recently the prerequisites of progress have become less clear.
Consider the United States, which is flourishing, and Russia, which is
(literally) sickening. The trajectories of both nations underscore the
importance of culture—customs, mores, traditions, values, institutionalized
ideas—rather than just legal institutions and economic policies as agents
Russia is remarkably resistant to progress, material and moral. Its
imploding economy is now smaller than Denmark's, and public health is
calamitous. Demographer Murray Feshbach reports in The Atlantic Monthly
that radioactive and chemical contamination is rife. Russia's government
reports that 76.5 percent of the children in one town are mentally retarded
because of lead emissions, which nationwide are 50 times those in the
European Union. Tuberculosis is widespread, and even basic pharmaceuticals
are scarce. Some analysts expect mortality from this disease to increase
70-fold in the next few years—90-fold among children—and to exceed Russia's
toll for heart disease and cancer.
AIDS and other infectious diseases (there has been a 30-fold increase in
syphilis cases among girls 14 and younger), parasitic diseases,
malnutrition, alcohol and violence continue to produce a horrifying anomaly
in the industrial age: declining adult life expectancy. In America, says
Feshbach, 83 percent of 16-year-old males will live to the age of 60. Only
54 percent will in Russia. One hundred years ago in European Russia the
figure was 56 percent.
Can Russia take heart from Western Europe's—and America's—rapid progress
from 19th-century conditions that today seem astonishingly primitive? Not
Charles Dickens was, and still is, criticized for the number of
children's deaths in his novels. Well. Dickens's biographer Peter Ackroyd
notes that in 1839 almost half of London's funerals were for children under
10. The average age of death in London was 27—22 in the working class.
London's air reeked of the putrescence of decomposing bodies erupting
through the surface of overcrowded graveyards, and the stench of human
excrement. It puddled in gutters in the middle of muddy streets, and in
"cess lakes" scattered through congested neighborhoods, such as the one
where 2,850 people lived in 95 dilapidated houses. Families of eight in a
single room were not unusual. Brown water, for washing and cooking, came
unfiltered from the Thames. In November and December 1847 half a million of
London's 2.1 million residents had typhus fever.
In late-19th-century France, milk, when not diluted by polluted water,
was cut by plaster, lime, chalk, white lead and dried ground brains,
according to historian Eugen Weber. In "France: Fin de Siecle" he writes
that even among the middle and upper classes, "washing was rare and bathing
rarer," partly because of the cost of getting water above ground floors.
Those who could afford to, bathed once a month. Toothbrushes were rarer
than watches. Outside Paris, living was less refined. Rennes (population
70,000) had 30 tubs and two homes with private bathrooms. Clothes were
cleaned rarely and people who wore underwear changed it rarely. "No wonder
pretty ladies carried posies," writes Weber of the days before deodorants.
Material betterment came in a rush, produced by economic and moral
advances that were related in complex wa ys. However, as early as 1800 the
economic welfare of Western Europe and North America was improving much
faster than that of Eastern Europe, Russia or Latin America. The reason,
argues Christopher DeMuth, head of the American Enterprise Institute, can
be put in one word: culture.
Much meaning must be unpacked from that word, but the conclusion is: The
spread of democracy, free markets, technology and information is not enough
to rescue Russia, and many other nations, from the consequences of their
cultural deficits. Such deficits, although not incurable, are intractable.
Representative and limited government, freedoms of press, association and
religion, all protected by an independent judiciary—these are necessary for
rapid, sustained material and moral progress. But they are not sufficient.
DeMuth argues that any culture is the product of lengthy social
evolution, and its "gross and essential characteristics" cannot be
successfully modified by government interventions. However, the history of
19th-century Britain and America is replete with examples of social
movements, often religious, that improved marriage, child rearing and
schooling practices and promoted temperance, all of which contributed to
In 1990 Herb Stein, drawing on 50 years' experience making and analyzing
economic policy, told some visiting—and probably perplexed—Russians that
"the basic reason for our prosperity is that 120 million Americans get up
in the morning and go to work to do the best they can for themselves and
their families and previous millions did the same thing for two centuries."
Which is why DeMuth believes that, in spite of the current talk about
compassion as the saving social value, and all the recommendations of a
feminized conservatism, "the hard, competitive, masculine
virtues—assertiveness, willingness to take risk, stoicism, cussed
determination to prevail—are receiving much less attention than they should."
"Conservatives," says DeMuth, "should not be afraid to say of compassion
what liberals say of passion: that it should be kept largely a private
matter." And there is another lesson to be drawn, one pertinent to the
current unpleasantness in Washington:
Government cannot revise culture, wholesale, but government has—it
cannot help but have—cultural consequences. Thus those people who say
government should be judged solely by its laws and economic policies, and
not at all by its embodiment of morality and its example of personal
conduct, do not understand the primacy of culture as a determinant of
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1999
From: "Heinrich Tann" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Washington DC: T. Bruni Art Exhibit - Caviar/Open Bar Friday Jan. 15
The Kirov Academy of Ballet
Oleg & Yelena Vinogradov
and The Eurasian Center
present a Russian Art Exhibition
And Celebration of the old Russian New Year
The Magic of Russian Ballet and Opera Stage Designs
Friday, January 15
at The Kirov Ballet Academy
4301 Harewood Rd., NE Washington, DC
7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.
Open Bar, Russian Caviar and hors d'oevres
If you mention that you are a FRIEND OF THE CENTER
the donation is $10 per person
(No reservations required, tickets available at the door)
You are welcomed to invite friends.
Please join us for the Magic Designs of Russian Ballet and Opera by
Tatiana Bruni. She hails from the legendary generation of artists from
the "Silver Century" and has worked in partnership with Shostakovich and
Balanchine. Bruni has made stage designs for over 80 performances for
ballet and opera for the Kirov Ballet in St. Petersburg.
Bruni's art is prominently displayed in the Russian National Museum, the
Museum of Theatrical Art in St. Petersburg, the Guggenheim, and the
Museum of Modern Art in New York. At 96 years old, she currently lives
in St. Petersburg. She is the last of the surviving artists of the
Silver Century, graced by Picasso, Chagall, Kandinsky,Ballanchine.
Please join us for what will be a truly memorable event in 1999.
The Academy is located at North Capitol and Taylor Road NE, next to
Catholic University. From Union Station, go straight up North Capitol
until it crosses Michigan Avenue NE, go straight and pass two exits on
the right, at your first light take a right on Taylor Avenue and it is
immediately on the other side of the street, with large classical
columns. For better directions consult your map or call (202) 832-1087
Russia Attacks New U.S. Sanctions
January 13, 1999
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia harshly denounced the United States on Wednesday for
imposing sanctions on three Russian scientific institutions accused of helping
Iran's weapons program, and warned that the move would hurt already testy
relations with Washington.
``Any attempts to speak to us in the language of sanctions and pressure are
absolutely unacceptable,'' the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
``The U.S. action can only complicate the Russian-American relations.
Naturally, they will not go unanswered.''
Russia's rancor over last month's U.S. raids on Iraq is still fresh --
U.S. sanctions, which topped Russian television news Wednesday, drew more
angry responses from throughout the government hierarchy, up to Prime Minister
``Using force and exerting sanctions against our organizations is
counterproductive for Russian-American relations, which we consider very
important,'' Primakov told reporters. He promised that the government would
react after a more detailed study of the U.S. decision.
U.S. National Security adviser Sandy Berger announced the economic sanctions
in Washington on Tuesday, banning U.S. exports to the institutions and ruling
out any U.S. government assistance or procurement contracts with them.
The three institutions affected are the Moscow Aviation Institute, the
Mendeleyev Chemical Technical University and the Scientific Research and
Design Institute of Power and Technology. The United States accused them of
failing to prevent leaks of nuclear and missile technologies to Iran, although
it did not specify the charges.
Russian officials denied that the institutions, which have several contracts
with U.S. firms, had anything to do with smuggling weapons technologies to
Last July, the U.S. administration similarly punished seven other Russian
institutions, accused of selling sensitive weapons technology to Iran, Libya
and North Korea.
That time reaction in Moscow was relatively low-key. This time, emotions are
``Americans keep finding new areas for confrontation and that spells no good
for Russian-American relations,'' said Gennady Seleznyov, the speaker of the
parliament's lower house, the State Duma.
The December raids on Iraq prompted the Communist-dominated Duma to put off
the ratification debate on the long-delayed START II arms reduction treaty
with the United States. It's now set for March, and neither Seleznyov nor
other lawmakers would say whether the sanctions would affect it.
Ominous rhetoric aside, Russia can do little in response to the U.S.
Facing its worst economic crisis since the 1991 Soviet collapse, it is now
waiting for U.S. food aid, negotiated last fall, to help get through the long
winter. It is also courting Washington to back its plea for the International
Monetary Fund to release vitally needed new loans.
Pavel Sarkisov, the head of the Mendeleyev Chemical Technical University,
he and the head of the Moscow Aviation Institute had jointly appealed to U.S.
officials to come and see that they had no forbidden contacts with Iran.
He acknowledged that several Iranian students studied in his university and
one of his professors went on a trip to Iran two years ago, but said their
activities had nothing to do with the nuclear sector.
Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev insisted that the three institutions had no
weapons technology to transfer, and Education Minister Vladimir Filippov
assailed the U.S. move as an attempt to prevent ``most advanced Russian
technologies from reaching the world market.''
Russia's Foreign Ministry said that Russia would raise this issue during
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's visit to Moscow, set for Jan. 25-27.
Creditors Unlikely to Push Russia to Bankruptcy
MOSCOW, Jan. 13, 1999 -- (Reuters) Russia has effectively defaulted on former
Soviet debt to the London Club of bank creditors, but analysts on Tuesday saw
little chance banks would push the country into bankruptcy.
They said the prospect was ultimately for protracted talks and probably a
fundamental renegotiation of the debt, despite the fact that seven years of
talks on a prior restructuring ended only in 1997.
Creditors were given two options after Russia missed a December repayment:
demand all loans back immediately, known as acceleration, or reserve that
option for the future and hold more talks. The deadline to decide was set at
"Rationally, there is no point in accelerating the process as there is
to be gained," said Philip Poole, head of emerging market debt and equity
research at ING Barings.
He said the Soviet debt, known as PRINs and IANs, was a liability of trade
bank Vneshekonombank, which had few assets that could be seized if creditors
decided to press the default.
The missed December payment was on Soviet debt, taken on by Russia after the
breakup of the Soviet Union and restructured into principal notes called PRINs
(RUSPRIN=RR) and interest arrears notes, IANs (RUSIAN=RR).
Instead of half cash and half new IANs as under an agreed schedule, Russia
offered to make a payment using only new IANs.
Bank of America, the restructuring agent, was forced to announce a default
after only 72 percent of creditors accepted the offer rather than the required
Russia itself said only 70 percent approval was needed because the
restructuring constituted only a minor change.
"Russia managed to stay in the last restructure agreement no more than a
It makes more sense for Russia and creditors to move to that type of long-
lasting solution," Poole said, referring to negotiations about a fundamental
Other analysts also saw this as desirable and saw the Russian offer of
notes as a piecemeal solution to a larger problem that would extend beyond the
one missed payment.
"The desire of people is for the Russians to come and put their cards on the
table because from that point there is more certainty in the market," said
Parvoleta Shtereva, fixed income strategist at Moscow-based finance house MFK
"Every six months Russia is due to pay something and every six months it is
'Shall they pay or not?' and it all becomes an unbelievably casual arrangement
depending on how much money is in the coffers," said Merrill Lynch analyst
"It is clear they cannot pay now. What is also clear is that they need to
agree a schedule of payments and then meet it. They will end up having to talk
much more fundamentally about restructuring the PRINs and IANs."
Bank of America's letter to creditors said Russia had told a creditors'
committee of the London Club it intended to hold more talks on the debt later
this month with a view to regularizing its relations with its creditors as
soon as possible.
Analysts said a revamp of the former Soviet debt could again take years and
may also lead to a cut in the amount outstanding, a precedent set by Latin
American nations and Poland.
The result could be a type of Brady bond scheme, also a widely used
restructuring tool for other heavily indebted nations.
January 14, 1999
Russia Says Western Food Aid Delayed by at Least One Month
The Russian government, which had expected to secure millions of tons of
foreign food aid this month, will have to wait at least until February, a top
official said Wednesday.
A spokesman for Gennady Kulik, deputy prime minister in charge of
was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying Russia will get shipments from the United
States and the European Union no sooner than mid-February because the Western
sides had not yet held tenders for suppliers. He said it would take three
weeks to hold the tenders.
The spokesman added that "certain formalities" concerning the shipment of
aid to Russia also have not been sorted out.
Russia held a closed tender last month to decide which companies would
distribute the aid.
Ironically, it might have been that tender that caused the delay,
expert Leonid Kholod said.
"There was a long argument about the terms, and then [the foreigners] were
unhappy that there was no [open] tender," he said.
Expectations of an early arrival of the aid has depressed the local market,
"Farmers either slashed production, expecting low prices, or stopped
all together," he said.
Yury Gnatovsky, an analyst with the OGO trading company, was more optimistic
about the delay in aid, saying it was in the spring and not in the winter that
the need for food would be most acute.
"If you have three loaves of bread, you'd rather have a fourth one later
sooner," he said.
January 14, 1999
Left Says Split Will Broaden Appeal
By Melissa Akin
Communists in the State Duma said Wednesday that a decision by
split from the dominant Communist Party of Russia wouldn't hurt the left, but
would spread its appeal in the 1999 parliamentary elections.
"There are certain voters who just won't vote for the Communist Party," said
Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin, a leader of the no-compromise wing of the party. "They
are in favor of Russia's revival, but not along party lines."
Ilyukhin announced Tuesday he and like-minded deputies will campaign under a
different banner - that of the Movement in Support of the Army, which Ilyukhin
The move acknowledges a long-simmering split in Communist ranks between
moderates who tacitly cooperate with the Kremlin on some issues, and hard-line
deputies like Ilyukhin and General Albert Makashov. But Ilyukhin said he
wasn't turning on Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, just giving voters
another option to broaden the left's opposition appeal.
Ilyukhin said his group would pursue a common program with the Communists,
while tapping into discontent in the underfunded military and other groups
such as Cossacks who are broadly described as nationalists but may object to
the Communist label.
Ilyukhin and Makashov have caused controversy by blaming Russia's
Jews - statements that have not been repudiated by party leadership.
Some observers think separating such so-called national patriots off from
main Communist Party, or KPRF, could help the party appeal to voters turned
off by such statements.
Another opposition deputy, influential nationalist Alexei Podberyozkin, has
also decided to run separately from the Communists under the aegis of his
spiritual heritage organization rather than the Communist party, his spokesman
Podberyozkin has been an ideological adviser to Zyuganov and helped him
formulate the KPRF platform which synthesizes communist and nationalist
Spokesmen for both Ilyukhin and Podberyozkin said the two might also
cooperation agreement and are busy searching for other allies. They would need
to get 5 percent of the vote to share in the Duma seats distributed according
to party-list voting. The other half are filled by deputies elected from
Zyuganov, speaking at a news conference in the Duma on Tuesday, said the
decision to form a national-patriotic bloc was part of a strategy under which
the left would campaign under three separate groupings that would share a
"single, agreed-upon agenda."
Observers describe the three separate groupings as the Communists under
Zyuganov, the national-patriots to their right under Ilyukhin, and a more
moderate group of leftists that has yet to formally coalesce but which would
probably include people like Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov, a moderate
The cooperative, three-column configuration would let Zyuganov manage the
split and keep it from turning into a full-fledged schism.
Zyuganov has annoyed some on the far left by calling for an alliance with
populist Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov - even though Luzhkov has so far spurned
Nevertheless, Zyuganov hinted again at an alliance, calling for "dialogue
the patriotic forces in the state beginning with Luzhkov and ending with the
heads of the administration of the remotest part of Kamchatka."
13 January 1999
[for personal use only]
US gives up on democracy
By Martha Brill Olcott
Martha Brill Olcott is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace and author of ''Kazazhstan: A Faint-Hearted Democracy.''
Is the United States government really interested in supporting democracy
around the world? The answer is no if you look at the Kazakhstan elections
held on Sunday.
The victor has never been in doubt. The newly reelected president,
Nursultan Nazarbayev, finds election-rigging easier than political reform.
US leaders are content to let him off with a scolding. The Clinton
administration says our influence in Kazakhstan is limited and our
interests in Central Asia are long-term. The Caspian Sea energy reserves
are to meet 21st century needs, and the hope is that by the time big oil
comes gushing - in 10 to 15 years - the next generation will have created a
more democratic environment.
This thinking is dangerously flawed. The claim of limited influence is
disingenuous. Kazakhstan's need for direct foreign investment makes the
country ripe for US advice and assistance. The country's economic reform
program already strongly reflects US preferences, and Russia's crisis will
only strengthen the potential US role.
The truth is, senior administration officials don't believe that
political reform really matters in Kazakhstan. To them, democracy-building
is less important than maintaining short-term stability. Eight more years
of Nazarbayev seems a good way to get that.
The administration accepts the official Kazakh government line that the
West should not expect too much too soon. We should expect more of
Kazakhstan if we want the state to survive and prosper. Look at the record.
President Nazarbayev barred all serious rivals from the ballot, squandering
his country's best opportunity to transfer power peacefully. The Kazakh
people will pay the price for this, and some later US administration may
face some unpleasant choices as well.
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan boosters have paid for an advertising blitz in
major US newspapers. The ads hide the truth: Kazakhstan's press is less
free today than it was seven years ago, and rights of assembly and free
association are more restricted. Privatization has occurred, but the
transfer of property from state to private hands has created ever growing
gulfs between the privileged few and the poverty-stricken masses. The
social needs of the population are shifting from the public to the private
sector, so that treatment facilities are being shut down despite
near-epidemic incidences of tuberculosis and other contagious diseases.
Layers of corruption insulate the governors from the governed.
No wonder President Nazarbayev removed his only real opponents. Now he
has the time to solidify control by the current ruling elite. And
Nazarbayev seems ever more imperial than presidential. The president
already has two palaces and two vacation retreats, while over 90 percent of
the population lives on less than $100 per month. The Kazakh leader even
has pretentions to influence affairs in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, as shown by
last summer's marriage of his daughter to the son of that country's
president. To a Central Asian audience, the match had clear dynastic
overtones and led to a flurry of rumors that President Nazarbayev would
soon declare himself king, or at least president for life.
While the population grows increasingly more disaffected, there is little
that they can do. Many who can have left the country, including more than 1
million Russians. The lingering economic crisis and deteriorating education
system means that most young Kazakhs, who live in the countryside, will
find the regime's trumpeted advantages of independence to be little more
than hollow words. For the next few years at least, global financial crises
and low oil prices seem certain to mean new hardships for Kazakhstan's
Yet US policy makers offer optimistic prescriptions that the next
generation of leaders are likely to be more democratic than the men they
replace. Why would the next election be any better when a free and fair
process would almost certainly lead to a vote of no confidence against the
current regime? The Kazakhstan's governing elite won't be asking the United
States for a civics lesson any time soon. But one day, they may be asking
for fire power to help retain control - and stability.
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999
From: Anita Seth <email@example.com>
Subject: job announcement
The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), a small
non-profit organization located outside of Washington DC, is seeking a
coordinator for its global outreach program. IEER provides the public and
policy-makers with sound technical information on nuclear weapons, energy
and other environmental issues. Our work has focused primarily on the health
and environmental effects of nuclear weapons production and testing,
clean-up of contaminated sites, disarmament, radiation and health, and sound
IEER's global program includes publication of a quarterly newsletter in
English, Russian, French, and Chinese; development of outreach materials; a
fellows program that brings foreign researchers and activists to the United
States; and work with coalitions of grassroots groups and NGOs both within
the US and internationally (with a particular focus on Russia). The global
outreach coordinator is responsible for overseeing this international work,
including research, writing, and editing for the newsletter and other IEER
publications. The position involves some international travel.
Applicants should have excellent English writing and speaking skills, strong
organizational skills, experience living abroad and/or working
internationally, previous experience with non-profit work, and computer
skills (including Internet experience). Knowledge of nuclear issues and
working knowledge of Russian are highly desirable (knowledge of other
languages is a plus).
Salary: $25,000-$35,000 (could be higher for exceptionally qualified
Benefits: health and dental insurance, 4 weeks annual leave, retirement
benefits after 1st year
Applicants should be available no later than June 1 and preferably by April
To apply, send letter, resume, and three references by February 10 to:
Anita Seth · IEER · 6935 Laurel Avenue, Suite 204 · Takoma Park, MD 20912
For more information about IEER, please see our web site at
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999
From: Bob Broedel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Was there anything published about those badges (znachki) that were
traded among Soviet children and adults? I am not referring to
military awards, hero of labor awards, etc. that had to be earned.
Are there any books about znachki? A periodical for collectors?
Are there any directories, encyclopedias, buyers guides, catalogs,
etc. with complete listing of them? Articles about them? An
organization that relates to them?
Any information about this would be very much appreciated.
Sincerely, Bob Broedel, Tallahassee. email@example.com
Jamestown Foundation Monitor
13 January 1999
DOES YELTSIN SEE RUSSIA-BELARUS UNION AS A WAY TO STAY IN THE GAME? The idea
that President Boris Yeltsin may be thinking about the proposed merger of
Russia and Belarus as a way of extending his political career is gaining
currency. Last fall, Russia's Constitutional Court ended speculation that
Yeltsin could serve another presidential term. Yeltsin's argument had been
that his first election in 1991 was as president of the Soviet Union, and
therefore did not count as a term as president of the Russian Federation.
The court, however, ruled that Yeltsin was indeed in his second term as
president of the country and was thus proscribed by the constitution from
running again. In December, Yeltsin met with Belarus President Aleksandr
Lukashenka in Moscow, after which some Russian government officials said
that the two countries would have a single budget and currency by the year
2000. On January 10, Ivan Rybkin, Yeltsin's personal representative for
relations between the counties of the Commonwealth of Independent States,
said that Yeltsin would be a "realistic candidate" to head a unified
Russian-Belarusan state. Russian news agencies quoted Rybkin as saying that
"the experience of people like Boris Yeltsin" was irreplaceable.
In a political prognosis for 1999 published yesterday, Vyacheslav Nikonov,
president of the Politika Foundation, wrote that "no political
considerations or enemy intrigues will make Yeltsin step down if he does not
want to." Yeltsin is interested in a union with Belarus precisely for this
reason, Nikonov wrote, adding that while the Russian head of state "does not
stand a chance" of winning a popular election for the post of a Union
president, the person to fill the post could end up being chosen by the
countries' respective presidents. According to Nikonov, who was an important
member of Yeltsin's re-election campaign team in 1996, "we can expect a
great deal of activity on the Belarusan direction in the coming year" (Trud,
RUSSIAN WOLF TO GUARD SHEEP? The United Nations General Secretary's
spokesman, Fred Eckhard, announced yesterday the appointment of Russian
diplomat Yuli Vorontsov to the post of UN Deputy Secretary General.
Vorontsov is now ending a tour of duty as Russia's ambassador to the United
States. In his new post at the UN, the veteran Soviet diplomat will be
responsible for peacekeeping issues and negotiations toward the settlement
of conflict situations (AFP cited by Russian agencies, January 12).
The UN has thus far played a minimal role in conflict resolution among CIS
countries. UN envoys have, on the whole, tended to defer to Russian and
Iranian leadership in Tajikistan and to Russian and Abkhaz interests in
Georgia. Russian policy has been a major factor in fueling and exploiting
conflicts in CIS countries, and is directed at keeping the pot simmering in
Karabakh, Abkhazia, North Ossetia and Transdniester. The appointment of
Vorontsov promises, at best, to perpetuate the UN's self-imposed irrelevance
to conflict resolution in CIS countries, and, at worst, to aid Moscow's
lobbying--thus far unsuccessful--for international acceptance of a Russian
special role in CIS peacekeeping and security arrangements.
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999
From: Matthew Fisher <R_MatthewFisher@compuserve.com>
Subject: a note from M. Fisher
I see where you ran my Moscow farewell. What I didn't tell readers is that
I like Moscow so much that I'm keeping my apartment there and hope to make
All the best, Matthew
Number of Russian Credit Organizations Declining
NMoscow, January 12 (ITAR-TASS)--The overall number of credit
organizations in Russia dropped by 221 (13 percent) in 1998--from 1,697 to
1,476, an official report of the Central Bank received by Prime Tass says.
In December 1998, the number of Russia's credit organizations dropped by20.
The number of offices of the credit organizations reduced by 30 per
cent (1,900) within a year--from 6,353 to 4,453. The number of offices of
the Sberbank (Savings Bank) decreased by 4 percent (76)-- from 1,928 to
1,852. The number of foreign offices of Russian banks dropped from ten to
six, including from four to two in the CIS member-countries.
A total of 22.7 percent (335) of all Russian credit organizations had
charter capitals of 5-10 million rubles by January 1, 1998, 16.6 percent
(245) of credit organizations had a charter capital of 10-20 million
rubles, 14.8 percent (219) had a charter capital of 2-5 million rubles,
14.4 percent (213) had a charter capital of 20-40 million rubles, 13.6
percent (201) had a charter capital of over 40 million rubles, 11.7 percent
(173) had a charter capital of 500,000- 2 million rubles, and 6.1 percent
(90) had a charter capital of up to 500,000 rubles.
Central Bank Issues Money Supply Figures
MOSCOW, Jan 12 (Interfax-FIA) - Money supply in Russia reached 207.3
billion rubles on January 5, 1999, up from 199 billion rubles on December
28 1998, the Central Bank's Department for foreign and public relations
reported on Tuesday.
IMF Official Denies Responsibility For Russian Crisis
Moscow, Jan 12 (Interfax-FIA) -- John Odling-Smee, the director of the
International Monetary Fund's (IMF's) European II Department thinks Russia
needs a more effective state government system.
In a statement Odling-Smee denies Western press reports which blame
the IMF for failure to understand "that the state has a special role to
play in Russia's transition," and that "the IMF's emphasis on market
reforms had landed Russia in a crisis deeper than any other the country
The statement goes on to say that "a year ago, the Managing Director
of the IMF, Michel Camdessus quoted with approval the words of President
Yeltsin who had said that the state 'interferes in the economy where it
shouldn't; while where it should, it does nothing.'"
Back at that time, "Camdessus noted that the Russian state needed to
make progress in promoting an efficient market economy through transparent
and effective regulatory, legal, and tax systems. This continues to be the
case," Odling-Smee writes.
He said that "the IMF has worked closely with several Russian
governments to work out practical ways of defining a role of the state that
can benefit the country." Successive governments, he said, "introduced
policies to remove unnecessary government regulations and controls,
strengthen the legal and tax system, and establish an arms-length
relationship between business and government." "They were not unreasonable
or unrealistic goals, and significant progress was made," Odling-Smeestated.
"In the end," he writes, "implementation has fallen far short of what
was needed. A key reason for this was the failure of the Russian political
establishment to take ownership of the reform agenda. President Yeltsin,
the Duma, regional governments, and portions of the federal executive all
failed to support measures that were unpopular," writes Odling-Smee. "It
is now up to the Russian government and people to find a solution to their
country's crisis. The IMF and the international community stand ready to
work with them if there is a willingness to address the problems directly,"
Russia: Economists Head For Tough Talks In Washington
By Matt Frost
Prague, 13 January 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Yury
Maslyukov is due to arrive in the United States today for talks which could
have serious consequences for Russia's economy.
Maslyukov is scheduled to meet with U.S. State Department officials,
leaders, and with International Monetary Fund head Michel Camdessus and World
Bank President James Wolfensohn.
Maslyukov is a Communist deputy appointed by Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov
to take overall charge of the Russian economy.
First Deputy Finance Minister Oleg Vyugin, Economics Minister Andrey
Shapovalyants and Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Tatyana Paramonova are
accompanying Maslyukov on his five-day visit. The Russian delegation is also
due to take part in the Third Russian-American Investment Symposium at Harvard
University. The symposium is dedicated to capital investment in Russia.
Maslyukov does have some recently passed tax incentives for foreigners in
oil sector to dangle before Western investors. But it appears more likely that
discussions with U.S. and international financial officials will focus on
Russian debt repayments and a possible resumption of IMF lending to Russia.
An IMF delegation visited Moscow late last year to hold talks on resuming a
$22.6 billion loan program. However, the talks broke down, ostensibly over
Moscow's inability to draw up a convincing 1999 budget program which would
satisfy IMF demands of continuing economic reforms combined with fiscal
At the time, Maslyukov's oft-stated intention to realign the Russian economy
along a more "socially-oriented" path and to give the green light to the
printing of rubles to cover the budget deficits met with a cool reception from
IMF officials. They feared Maslyukov's recipe for economic rejuvenation would
set off another round of hyper-inflation.
In order to free up the stalled IMF loans and appease Western creditors,
Maslyukov needs to make assurances on two fronts: that the ruble will retain
its value against the dollar; and that the government can pass a credible 1999
As far as the ruble is concerned, the government's printing of the
cover unpaid salaries and pensions has led to an increase in the money supply
and consequent downward pressure on the value of the ruble against the dollar.
Since the beginning of the year, the ruble has lost 10 percent of its value
against the dollar. Yesterday, the ruble rose for the first time this year,
gaining more than two percent against the dollar to close at an official rate
Maslyukov said yesterday that the government was confident that it would be
able to keep the ruble-dollar rate within a range that will not disrupt budget
With the upcoming talks with international lenders apparently in mind, he
quoted as saying that "the ruble's fall against the U.S. dollar will slow down
Officials said expectations of a speedy passage of this year's budget will
further bolster the currency. The Russian lower house of parliament is due to
hear a second reading of the budget next week, with a final reading slated for
the beginning of next month.
The IMF has previously criticized the budget's revenue projections as overly
optimistic, and passage of the budget's main targets is seen as a precondition
for progress in talks on fresh financial assistance to Russia.
Astonishingly, this year's draft budget takes for granted several
millions of dollars in debt relief which has not yet been agreed with
creditors. First deputy speaker of the Duma Vladimir Ryzhkov said yesterday
that he expects the 1999 budget to pass despite dozens of amendments proposed
by the government and deputies. But, in a note of warning, Ryzhkov said there
was a danger that some of the populist amendments, if passed, could ruin the
whole budget and threaten relations with the IMF.
Ryzhkov characterized demands by some deputies that Russia refuse to service
its foreign debt or pay its dues to international organizations in order to
reallocate the money to branches of industry as "absolutely insane."
It seems that Russia's first deputy prime minister faces a daunting task of
simultaneously keeping Western creditors at bay, restoring IMF loans, and
preventing an unruly parliament from wrecking his 1999 budget.
home phone: 301-588-3861
work phone: 202-332-0600 ext. 107
9039 Sligo Creek Parkway #1003
Silver Spring MD 20901
Web page for CDI Russia Weekly: