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Johnson's Russia List


March 25, 1999    
This Date's Issues: 3109 3110   

Johnson's Russia List
"The bible of serious Russia watchers"
25 March 1999

[Note from David Johnson:
Today is my birthday.
1. Reuters: Angry Russia rebuffs NATO over Kosovo bombing.
2. Reuters: Text of Yeltsin statement after start of bombing.
3. Itar-Tass: Lebed Praises PRIMAKOV'S Decision to Interrupt Visit.
4. Reuters: U.S. sanguine about Russian anger.
5. Statement in Washington Post: Russia: A Friend In Need.
6. The Journal of Commerce: John Helmer, PRIMAKOV TRIES SKY-WRITING.
8. Jerry F. Hough: Primakov's economic policy.

11. Moscow Times: Sarah Karush, Kremlin Loses Control of Election Panel.
12. Bill Mandel: Kosovo.
13. Itar-Tass: Otechestvo to Agree with Other Parties on Stabilisation.
14. Reuters: Peter Graff, Russia's campaigning top Communist.


Angry Russia rebuffs NATO over Kosovo bombing
By Janet McEvoy

BRUSSELS, March 24 (Reuters) - Russia's ambassador to NATO informed the
alliance on Wednesday that military cooperation was suspended and Moscow's
top military representative was being recalled in protest at NATO air
strikes against Yugoslavia. 

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak informed NATO Secretary General Javier Solana of
the decision at a late-night meeting at alliance headquarters, stressing
that he himself would remain in his capacity of ambassador to NATO and

"The chief military representative is being recalled. We suspend our
participation in partnership for peace. We also suspend our work on
individual partnership," Kislyak said. 

He spoke briefly to reporters after Solana saw him to the door of NATO's
Brussels headquarters with a handshake. 

General Viktor Zavarzin, top military representative on the Russia-NATO
Permanent Joint Committee, did not attend the meeting with Solana. He and
his staff were expected to return to Moscow shortly. 

Diplomatic sources said NATO had fully expected a Russian gesture in
reaction to the bombing of Yugoslav military targets. 

Moscow backs Western political moves to persuade its fellow Slavs in
Belgrade to accept a peace deal for Kosovo but had strenuously opposed any
use of force by NATO. 

One NATO diplomat told Reuters he believed the Russian move might be only
temporary given the importance Moscow attaches to ties with the 19-member

Kislyak said Moscow was also suspending negotiations on opening NATO
military missions in Russia, a project already delayed for months
apparently by political differences. 

A NATO official declined to comment on Solana's reaction to the withdrawal.
But he stressed that NATO did not expect Russia to lend direct military
assistance to Yugoslavia. 

The western alliance's former Cold War foe was accorded a special
partnership deal in 1997 aimed at bringing it closer to the European
security fold. The deal was also designed to allay Russia fears about
NATO's eastward expansion to include former Warsaw Pact allies Poland,
Hungary and the Czech Republic. 


Text of Yeltsin statement after start of bombing

MOSCOW, March 24 (Reuters) - Following is a Reuters translation of the text
of a statement issued by Russian President Boris Yeltsin after NATO bombing
of Yugoslavia began on Wednesday: 

In Russia there is deep shock at the military actions of NATO against
sovereign Yugoslavia, which is nothing other than naked aggression. 

Only the Security Council of the United Nations has the right to take
decisions regarding measures, including military measures, needed for the
support or establishment of international peace and security. 

Such decisions regarding Yugoslavia have not been taken by the Security
Council. This violates not only the UN charter, but also the Founding Act
of mutual relations, cooperation and security between Russia and NATO. 

A dangerous precedent has been set creating a policy of diktat through
force, placing in jeopardy the entire contemporary framework of
international law. 

In fact, we speak of an attempt by NATO to enter the 21st century in the
uniform of a world policeman. Russia will never agree to this. 

The UN Security Council should consider this increasingly troubled
situation and call for an immediate halt to the military activity of NATO. 

For its part, the leadership of the Russian Federation is reexamining its
mutual relations with NATO as an organisation that displays a lack of
respect for the fundamental underpinnings of the system of the
international community. 

As President and Commander in Chief I have already given the following

Cut off the visit of Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov to the United States 

Request an urgent session of the United Nations Security Council and call
for an immediate halt to NATO military activity 

Recall to Moscow the Russian Federation's chief military representative to

Call a halt to our participation in the Partnership for Peace programme and
the activities of the Russia-NATO partnership programme 

Postpone negotiations on the opening of a NATO military mission in Moscow 

I have already called on U.S. President Bill Clinton, and I call on other
heads of state of NATO member countries as well, to immediately put an end
to this military adventurism which threatens the lives of peaceful
civilians and to explode the situation in the Balkans. 

Solving the situation in Kosovo, like the resolution of other similar
problems, is possible only through negotiations. The faster (negotiations)
are begun, the more possibilities there will be for the international
community to find a political solution. 

Russia is ready to further cooperate closely with other members of the
Contact Group in the name of reaching this goal. 

Those who have set off on this military adventure bear complete
resposibility before their own peoples and the world community for the
grave consequences to international stability. 

In the event the military conflict worsens, Russia retains the right to
take adequate measures, including military ones, to defend itself and the
overall security of Europe. 


Lebed Praises PRIMAKOV'S Decision to Interrupt Visit.

KRASNOYARSK, MARCH 24 (Itar-Tass) - Krasnoyarsk Territorial Governor
Alexander Lebed described Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's decision to
interrupt his visit to the United States due to the deteriorating situation
on the Balkans as a "resolute step". He made this statement to journalists
here on Wednesday. 

Lebed said that the U.S. president had already "dealt blows on Sudan and
Iraq with impunity" and apparently wants to mark NATO's 50th anniversary by
a demonstration of strength, which is to prove this organisation's
greatness. However, the governor is sure that the "Serbs will bring down
some enemy planes to the sinful earth and the picture may then change


U.S. sanguine about Russian anger
By Jonathan Wright

WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) - The United States said on Wednesday it
expected Russia to continue cooperation with Washington despite
disagreements over NATO attacks on Kosovo. 

Russia suspended cooperation with NATO on Wednesday, shortly after the
attacks began, and called a meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York. 

Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov turned back en route to Washington
on Tuesday when he heard that NATO air strikes were imminent and the
Kremlin said on Wednesday that President Boris Yeltsin was ``deeply

The United States was ready for a strong reaction from Russia and U.S.
State Department spokesman James Rubin said Washington thought it could
contain the damage. 

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was to speak to Russian Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov on Wednesday, for the second time in less than 24
hours, he added. President Bill Clinton spoke to Yeltsin earlier, the White
House said. 

``We believe that President Yeltsin, Prime Minister Primakov and Foreign
Minister Ivanov see the value of keeping the relationship on track and not
letting someone like (Yugoslav President Slobodan) Milosevic derail
everything that's at stake,'' Rubin said. 

``There are forces in Russia that oppose better relations between us and
the United States and that they will try to exploit our differences over
the use of force in Kosovo. 

``But at the end of the day, we believe that the relationship we have with
Russia is important enough to them and important to us that we can work our
way through these differences,'' he added. 

Defence Secretary William Cohen, at a news conference on the air strikes,
said he hoped Primakov would soon set a new date for his visit and that the
tensions would dissipate. 

``We understand and they understand that we have overriding interests with
our two countries, and we intend to pursue these with them as quickly as we
can. So we watch it very closely and we stay in communication,'' he added. 

Rubin noted that U.S. and Russian officials have kept working through the
crisis on an agreement for the disposal of excess Russian highly enriched

U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Russian Minister of Atomic Energy
Yevgeny Adamov will sign the agreement in a private ceremony on Wednesday,
the Energy Department said. 

``So on that critical issue of arms control and disarmament, we're
continuing to work with the Russians,'' Rubin said. 

The State Department spokesman said it would be difficult to manage the
differences with Russia but the United States had to do what it felt was

``We do not have any illusions about how easy that will be but it's
something we're determined to do because we believe that we should not let
Russia's opposition stand in the way of what we think is the right thing to
do,'' he said. 

Similar disagreements have arisen in the past over U.S. and British attacks
on Iraq. But the relationship between Russia and the Serbs is stronger and
domestic opposition to the NATO attacks is more vociferous than in the case
of Iraq. 

The United States and its allies tried to carry Russia along in their
mediation between Belgrade and the ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo. 

The strategy worked for several months but U.S. officials have indicated
they were losing patience with Russia's reluctance to back diplomacy with
the threat of force. 

Russia and the United States have a long list of bilateral disputes. Russia
opposes U.S. plans to spend more on missile defence research while
Washington is critical of Russian cooperation with Iran's nuclear programme. 

The main objective of Primakov's aborted visit was to secure more funding
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is heavily influenced by
the United States. 

U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin on Wednesday said Russian objections
to the NATO bombing would not derail Russia's debt negotiations with the IMF. 


Statement appearing in
Washington Post
March 24, 1999

Russia: A Friend In Need

Even though Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov was unable to visit
Washington this week, we, a coalition of scholars, business people and 
friends of Russia, welcome him for a constructive dialogue with our
Support for Primakov’s reforms is critical now to avert an economic and 
security disaster that threatens to reach our shores.

While American continues to enjoy a run of unprecedented prosperity, these are
desperate times in Russia. Nearly two-thirds of the population live below
the poverty level. If Russia disintegrates, the world faces a contagion of
instability, starvation, and armed struggle stretching from the borders of
NATO countries to China, North Korea and the Sea of Japan.

We believe the U.S. government should re-invent its policy toward Russia. 
Stop encouraging the intransigence of the IMF in denying desperately needed
loans. Give a clear signal that we are ready to cooperate with Primakov’s 
government in rooting out the oligarchy and the corruption it breeds.

We believe the U.S. Congress should reject the canard of “a weaker Russia is
better for us.” Russia is already dangerously weak.

We appeal to the American people to show magnanimity to the World War II
ally that sacrificed tens of millions of lives to help secure our freedom.

Abraham Brumberg, Former Editor, Problems of Communism
James K. Galbraith, Professor, U. Of Texas at Austin and Chair of Economists
Allied for Arms Reduction (ECAAR)
Reverend Dmitry Grigorieff, Professor Emeritus, Georgetown U., Dean
Emeritus, St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Washington
Dr. Michael Hudson, President, Institute for the Study of Long-Term Economic
Trends (ISLET)
Michael D. Intriligator, Professor of Economics, Political Science and Policy
Studies, UCLA
Richard D. Jacobs, President and CEO of Newstar, Inc., an international
investment and advisory company in Washington and Moscow
C. William Kauffman, Professor of Aerospace Engineering, U. Of Michigan
Rida von Lulsdorff, Operation Helping Hand, Middleburg, VA
Marshall Pomer, President, Macroeconomic Policy Institute
John Simmons, Ph.D., President, Participation Associates, Chicago
Janine R. Wedel, Associate Research Professor, George Washington U.
Dr. Michael Zarechnak, Professor Emeritus, Georgetown U.

The Russian American Goodwill Association (RAGA)
1332 Vermont Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20005
202-319-8070 and
Please join RAGA President W. George Krasnow on Saturday, March 27 at 1:00
PM in the main lobby of the Mayflower Hotel for our first membership drive 
and an update on U.S.-Russia relations.


Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 
From: (John Helmer) 

To come in The Journal of Commerce:
John Helmer

On board the Russian government jet, high above the Atlantic Ocean,
Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov made a split-second decision on
Tuesday to cancel his trip to Washington, ordering his pilot to head back 
to Moscow.

According to the official versions in Moscow and Washington, Primakov had
telephoned Vice President Al Gore, and asked him for an assurance that the 
United States would delay bomb and missile attacks on Serbia, at least while
Primakov was conducting negotiations in Washington with the U.S.
Administration, and with the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F.).

When Gore said he couldn't give that assurance, Primakov said he
wouldn't be coming.

But is that the real meaning of the sign Primakov made in the sky?

In Moscow there is a more convincing interpretation of what
really motivated the cancellation of the Primakov visit. This reflects how
unstable relations currently are between the Prime Minister and Russia's
ailing, fearful, and paranoid president, Boris Yeltsin.

According to this interpretation, Yeltsin is desperate to find
a way to remove Primakov from office. The President, who is suffering
from chronic symptoms of heart failure, thinks Primakov is 
encouraging the state prosecutor's office to find evidence of corruption 
involving the President's closest aide, Pavel Borodin, manager of the 
presidential business administration. That is the agency which runs hundreds 
of millions of dollars' worth of properties, perquisites, and patronage. 
Borodin, according to disclosures from the Procurator-General Yury Skuratov 
and from his allies in parliament, allegedly arranged lucrative construction 
deals that helped enrich Yeltsin's family.

Another leak from parliament claims the prosector's office is on to the 
trail of more than $230 million diverted from I.M.F.disbursements to Russia 
last July, which ended up in the account of an Australian company in which 
the President's daughter, Tatiana Dyachenko, has a stake.

After failing to block the investigators' trail by trying to force 
Skuratov to resign, Yeltsin last week sacked his chief of staff for 
being ineffectual. But the real target for Yeltsin appears to be 

The President has already hinted that he needs a big enough justification 
to make that move, which could trigger unpredictable resistance to the 
Kremlin from both chambers of parliament. A week ago, at their last meeting, 
Yeltsin asked Primakov if he needed his help convincing the I.M.F. to 
resume loans to Russia. Not yet, Primakov replied, aware that 
Yeltsin meant something much less helpful.

Had Primakov gone to Washington, and returned without U.S.backing or an 
I.M.F. agreement for a bailout loan, Yeltsin might have been able to cut 
him down. By circling in the sky and returning to Moscow, Primakov has 
frustrated Yeltsin, and bought himself, and the criminal investigators, 
more time.

And what exactly did the Clinton Administration contribute to about-turn? 
Was the timing of the attack on Serbia a higher priority
for the White House than dealing with Primakov? Would a delay of 48 hours
in the air strike plan made such a difference it was unthinkable to grant
Primakov his request?

On this point, Russian interpreters of the mood in Washington believe
that Primakov enjoys little goodwill, and even less favor. Had the Prime
Minister agreed to the I.M.F.'s demands for spending and deficit reductions,
leaving no obvious reason for not resuming I.M.F. lending, the Clinton
Administration was loath to send Primakov back to Moscow with a success.
There are Administration officials who would do almost anything,
and consider almost anyone, to get rid of Primakov.

Former Prime Minister Victor Chernomyrdin was in Washington recently, and
he has been saying volubly ever since that if he had remained in power none
of the trouble Russia has encountered since last year's financial crash
would have happened.

That's Chernomyrdin's little piece of sky-writing. Whether Yeltsin
will take any notice, and whether the Clinton Administration wishes he did, 
won't matter, so long as Primakov continues to entrench himself as
the most popular prime minister in recent Russian history. That's the ground
on which, following his mid-air decision, Primakov has landed.


Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 
From: Patrick Armstrong <>

Prof Hanson's outline (JRL 3100) which
distinguishes between those post communist
countries which are making a go of reform and
those which are not suggests a very simple
explanatory hypothesis.

Vladimir Popov has convincingly argued that the
two biggest determinants of economic reform
success in a given post communist country are 1)
the initial distortions of the country's economy
and 2) the strength of its institutions today. In
this respect, Poland is less distorted and has
stronger institutions than Russia; Russia is a
little less distorted than Ukraine but has equally
weak institutions and so on.

Countries became communist in two "generations" --
post First World War (the "first generation" --
Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan et al) and post Second
World War (the "second generation" -- Estonia,
Poland et al). Those in the first generation have
greater "Popovian" distortions simply because they
spent more time under the Stalinist economic
system. They are also more prone to have weak
institutions today because the long CP supremacy
was able to more thoroughly weaken alternative
sources of institutional power and authority (cf
Church in Poland and Church in Russia).

Prof Hanson's list fits very well with Prof
Popov's. To my mind, what we see today can be very
simply expressed:

Only countries from the group of second-generation
communist states are doing well; none of the
first-generation is.

Patrick Armstrong
Dept of National Defence Canada
Diplomat in Moscow 1993-1996


Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <>
Subject: Primakov's economic policy 

I hope that some of your more knowledgeable economists will 
contribute their views on what the nature of Primakov's economic policy 
has been. I have long had the feeling that it was shock therapy 
disguised with left-wing rhetoric, but even I was surprised by Edwin 
Dolan's figures on the tightness of money supply. It is precisely the 
opposite of what the academics with whom he was supposed to be associated 
were advocating last fall. Have the Abalkins of this world fallen 
silent out of friendship or is there a strategy and scenario?

In my last contribution I raised again the virtues of the American
World War II model. Weeks reproached me that that model came in wartime. 
True, but surely a model that worked in war could work in peace. I just 
read Kevin Phillips' great new book, The Cousins' Wars about the English 
Civil War, the American revolution, and the US Civil War. He explains 
why the US Civil War ushered in such a period of great American 
development. The traditional Marxist interpretation--the bourgeoisie 
got rid of the retarding southern feudal class--never made sense. The 
southern feudal class remained in place, and the emancipation of the 
slaves simply meant they were counted as a whole person in representation, 
not three-fifths of a person. Hence the South was strengthened 
politically. Phillips argues that the reason was the 
impact of the war in building a state in Washington, D. C. A military 
was created for the first time and with it a whole system of procurement 
and taxation to support it. Much of this remained after the war and 
played a major role in the growth. This hardly would have surprised 
Aleksandr Gershchenkron, and surely the Asian model proves that one does 
not need a war to do what is right in early stages of capitalist 

It just seems unbelievable that Americans convince themselves 
that things are getting worse in Russia, but that it is okay if nothing 
improves. That is "stability." The only thing more unbelievable is 
the combination of the spate of stories about growing anti-Semitism with 
the spate of stories about how Primakov, a Jew, is going to be elected 
president. Does anyone really believe that an election with right-wing 
candidates like Primakov, Luzhkov, Yavlinsky, and God knows who else is 
not going to split the vote on the right and ensure that Lebed and 
Zyuganov are in the runoff? 

But, to repeat, can some economist--perhaps the Keynesian 
Menshikov--explain the economic policy being followed and the logic 
behind it?


Jamestown Foundation Monitor
24 March 1999

Ilyukhin, the radical communist who heads the State Duma's security
committee, claimed that he has evidence that part of the US$4.8 billion
credit extended to Russia by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last
summer was "distributed, with the participation of the president, among
Yeltsin's nearest top associates and most trusted officials." In a statement
distributed to the media, Ilyukhin said that US$235 million from the credit
went to an Australian company in which Tatyana Dyachenko, Yeltsin's daughter
and image adviser, has a 25 percent stake. Ilyukhin offered no proof for his

Russian media have also given attention to a recent article in "Newsweek"
concerning the scandal surrounding FIMACO, the Isle of Jersey-based company
which reportedly managed billions of dollars of Russia's hard currency
reserves. The U.S. magazine moved the controversy forward somewhat by
quoting an unnamed former Russian Central Bank official as saying that in
1993, US$500 million of the first US$800 million installment of the IMF's
first loan to Russia was sent to FIMACO. The official said the money was
returned after six months. The magazine also reported that Russian
officials, including top Central Bank officials, made profits by investing
hard currency reserves in Russia's treasury bill markets, and that part of
these profits in 1996 were then used in Yeltsin's presidential campaign
(Newsweek, March 29).

Meanwhile, Andrei Illarionov, a leading liberal economist, charged that
former Central Bank chief Sergei Dubinin, during his tenure, carried out a
premeditated policy to bankrupt the government of then Prime Minister Sergei
Kirienko. Illarionov noted that hard currency reserves sent to FIMACO were
used to buy Russian government securities. To make such purchases, the
reserves had to be converted into rubles, which, Illarionov said, meant they
were no longer reserves, by definition. Illarionov charged that the Central
Bank's policy was reminiscent of pyramid schemes such as MMM (the most
notorious of those which proliferated in Russia from 1992-1995) and would
fall under the criminal statute against fraud (Nezavisimaya gazeta, March 24).

Ilyukhin's charges and those by "Newsweek" were made just about the time
that Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov was heading toward Washington, where he
was scheduled to meet with U.S. Vice President Albert Gore and IMF Managing
Director Michel Camdessus. Camdessus was quoted today as saying that he
wanted to meet Primakov "as soon as possible," while an unnamed Fund
official was quoted as saying that Russia and the IMF had achieved
"progress" in their negotiations (Russian agencies, March 24). Primakov
reversed course in mid-flight yesterday due to the impending NATO action in
the former Yugoslavia. The "Newsweek" article also said that FIMACO was
originally set up in 1990 as a conduit for Soviet Communist Party money
which was being funneled out of the country, and cited a former KGB officer
as saying he had briefed Primakov, then a Politburo member, and Viktor
Gerashchenko--then, as now, the country's top banker--about such operations
(Newsweek, March 29).


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 58, Part I, 24 March 1999

the board of directors of the Krasnoyarsk Coal Company
(Krasugol) on 20 March, Fuel and Energy Minister Sergei
Generalov supported Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr
Lebed's new plan to save the company from bankruptcy,
"Kommersant-Daily" reported on 23 March. Board members also
elected Vladimir Bondarchenko, a former Krai level
official, as director of the company. The company's former
director was arrested last week on suspicion of
embezzlement. At the meeting, Lebed announced that he has
found the money to cover the company's 72 million ruble
($2.7 million) debt (see "RFE/RL Russian Federation
Report," 3 March 1999). According to the newspaper, a firm
controlled by Lebed's younger brother, Aleksei, who is the
president of the Republic of Khakassia, will supply the
funds. According to the older Lebed, the krai and federal
government officials will sign an agreement clearing up all
issues related to the company. JAC


Moscow Times
March 25, 1999 
Kremlin Loses Control of Election Panel 
By Sarah Karush
Staff Writer

In yet another sign of President Boris Yeltsin's growing political
isolation, the Kremlin lost control Wednesday of the influential Central
Election Committee, while a candidate put forward by the leftist Agrarian
Party became chairman. 

Alexander Veshnyakov, who previously served as the committee's secretary,
is a rules-abiding bureaucrat unlikely to tip the scales in favor of
anybody, said several political analysts. 

The position is of key importance as Russia gears up for parliamentary
elections in December and presidential elections next year. Under the
previous leadership, the committee had been accused of enforcing rules
inconsistently - and to the advantage of the Kremlin - even turning a blind
eye to fraud. 

Veshnyakov became the only candidate after Kremlin nominee Valentin Vlasov
unexpectedly withdrew his candidacy. Veshnyakov was approved unanimously
and Vlasov was elected deputy chairman. 

Vlasov, who previously served as Yeltsin's special envoy to Chechnya, where
he was held hostage for more than a year, said he was withdrawing his
candidacy so as "not to rock the boat," Interfax reported. 

"In the work of the Central Election Committee, unanimity is essential,"
the agency quoted him as saying. 

Analysts said Veshnyakov's election was a blow to the presidential
administration - but probably a boost for fair elections in Russia. 

"He's a pretty apolitical person and he pedantically follows the letter of
the law," said Andrei Beryozkin, an analyst with ESPAR-Atlantic Research
Institute. "The fact that the presidential administration doesn't have its
man in the post weakens its influence." 

"He's not the president's or the parliament's; he's a bureaucrat," said
Sergei Markov, director of the Institute of Political Studies. 

The chairman is chosen from and by the committee members - five of whom are
chosen by the president, five by the State Duma and five by the Federation
Council. The new members, appointed for a term of four years, were chosen
in the past two months, with the Kremlin announcing its appointees only
last week. 

Even before the candidates for the top post were announced, observers had
concluded that the race was lost for the Kremlin. Due to political
maneuvering in the Duma, few Kremlin allies ended up on the committee. 

Markov said Vlasov most likely withdrew his candidacy because he knew he
did not have enough votes and wanted to save face for the Kremlin, which is
still smarting from Yeltsin's failed attempt to fire Prosecutor General
Yury Skuratov. "He knew it would be better ... to create a productive
compromise than move toward confrontation," Markov said. 

Yeltsin's first deputy chief of staff, Oleg Sysuyev, who was present at the
meeting, said the Kremlin was satisfied with the result of the vote,
Interfax reported. 

"Vlasov's move says that he is a person who doesn't fight for a title, but
is concerned about affairs of state. This is a very correct step," the
agency quoted him as saying. 

Veshnyakov's election is seen as a step away from the Kremlin, compared to
the previous leadership of the commission. Under chairman Nikolai Ryabov,
presidential elections in 1996 and the consitutional plebiscite in 1993
were marred by allegations of fraud, though none was ever proven. 

After the 1996 elections, Ryabov was appointed ambassador to the Czech
Republic, and Alexander Ivanchenko took his place. While Ivanchenko was
seen as less of a Kremlin puppet than Ryabov, he has been criticized for
failing to be as vocal as he could have been about election controversies
in the regions. 


Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 
From: Bill Mandel <> 
Subject: Kosovo

Slava Velikomu Primakovu! Except for Eglund in the Sun, the 
U.S. media don't get it or don't want to get it. Primakov 
has taken the most dramatic possible nonmilitary step to say 
what a great deal of the world has been waiting for: that 
the U.S. cannot run the world. When is the last time any 
prime minister has turned his plane around in mid-ocean to 
signal total rejection of the policy of the country he was 
en route to visit?
Primakov has said that if the price of the IMF money is 
subservience, Washington, which determines IMF policy, can 
take that money and shove it.
There is a second consideration, which is why I mention 
Eglund. If the U.S. and its military arm, NATO, which has 
replaced the UN thanks to Washington's policies, is able to 
intervene in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, 
Yugoslavia, the precedent exists for a Desert Storm to 
isolate Moscow from the rest of the Russia, and prop up 
Yeltsin or whoever Clinton wants.The result would be 
dismemberment of Russia, as Brzezinski desires. Gen Rokhlin 
warned against that and he was assassinated.
All this is not yet the Cuba Missile Crisis, but it is 
the closest since 1962. It's time for Americans to take a 
hard look at where present policy is leading us.


Otechestvo to Agree with Other Parties on Stabilisation.

MOSCOW, March 25 (Itar-Tass) - "There are three political forces in the
country now, which determine the political atmosphere: the Communist Party
of the Russian Federation (CPRF), the "Yabloko" and the "Otechestvo"
(Fatherland) parties," leader of the all-Russian political and public
organisation Otechestvo Yury Luzhkov stated here on Wednesday. 

"We would like to propose that these three political structures, which are
supported by more than 50 per cent of the population of Russia, agree on
the ensuring of stability in society," he pointed out. 

At Wednesday's news conference, following a meeting of the political
council of the Otechestvo party, he informed that a draft of an accord
between the CPRF, Yabloko and Otechestvo had been preliminarily discussed. 

"For the time being, the issue is not completely ready for publication as
this is a very serious document," Yury Luzhkov said. 

"We count that we will be able to agree on a concord with these structures
so as to ensure conditions for the stable development of society," the
Otechestvo leader noted. 

He informed that the second congress of the all-Russian political
organisation Otechestvo would be convened on April 24 in the city of


Russia's campaigning top Communist
By Peter Graff

IZHEVSK, Russia, March 25 (Reuters) - Gennady Zyuganov is on a roll. 

President Boris Yeltsin is ``the guarantor of corruption, destruction, drug
mania and banditry in our country.'' 

The news media are ``an electronic Gestapo,'' ``a weapon of mass

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright -- ``Madame War'' he calls her
-- ``brings shame on all the women of the world.'' 

It is all part of a working day's invective from the head of Russia's
resurgent Communist Party. And what a working day. 

>From beneath a huge portrait of Lenin, Zyuganov rattles off figures and
slogans, pausing only for quick sips of water. 

He accepts written questions from the audience and barely finishes
answering one before reading the next. 

On a day of barnstorming through Izhevsk, an industrial town in central
Russia, Zyuganov delivered four speeches, speaking in all for some seven
hours without notes. 

The next day he was up at dawn for an hour's drive to a nuclear missile
factory, handshakes at a collective farm, a rally outside the birthplace of
composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky, a drive back for a news conference and a
three-hour flight to Moscow, economy class in a dingy turbo-prop. 

The former mathematics teacher has all the energy a politician could want.
But questions still remain about whether he has the charisma or judgement
to win Russia's biggest prize -- the presidency. And what sort of a leader
he will make if he does. 


Zyuganov's surprisingly polished speeches in Izhevsk -- backing candidates
in a local poll -- were rehearsals for two national showdowns: a
parliamentary election that must be held before December and a presidential
poll next year, when Yeltsin must step down. 

It is a millennial moment in Russia. If all goes according to plan, it will
be the first time in the country's 1,000-year history that Russians elect a
new leader through the ballot box. 

Last year's economic crisis saw a near-total political wipe-out for the
``young reformers'' in power at the time -- and brought senior cabinet
posts at last for Zyuganov's Communists. 

But despite coming closer than ever to the reins of power, Zyuganov remains
a hostile political outsider, deeply mistrustful of and mistrusted by
Moscow's political elite. 

Having spent years describing the entire post-Soviet reform effort as
corrupt, incompetent and doomed, Communists saw last August's financial
meltdown as a vindication. 

The new economic policy team, led by Communist First Deputy Prime Minister
Yuri Maslyukov, has tamed inflation, so far defying the ousted reformers'
predictions of disaster. 

``It is now clear to all the world that the (Yeltsin) regime is suffering a
shattering defeat,'' Zyuganov wrote in his latest pamphlet, titled ``When
the fatherland is in danger.'' 

``The experience of our struggle will go into the annals of world national
liberation movements alongside that of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King
and the Palestinian Intifada.'' 


Zyuganov is easy to under estimate. 

Other leading Communists, such as Maslyukov or State Duma Speaker Gennady
Seleznyov, are widely seen as less divisive. 

Seleznyov has a dry wit that often seems more appealing on television than
the dour and strident tones of the party leader. 

But if Zyuganov's zeal comes across poorly on the small screen, it can make
him a stirring speaker on the stump. 

He movingly tells the story of his own travels across a country where
millions of people have been driven to despair and poverty by failed and
corrupted reforms. 

It is a basic, resonant message in provinces fed up with the capital's
insular political infighting. 

It has also helped Zyuganov maintain by far the country's most extensive,
loyal and active grass roots party aparatus. Indeed, Zyuganov's Communist
Party is arguably Russia's only fully-formed nationwide political machine. 

Listening to Zyuganov in the spring morning chill, an elderly woman swoons,
showing a mouthful of gold teeth. 

``He's handsome. So handsome. What a fine man.'' 

It seems an improbable description. Zyuganov is, after all, a burly,
balding, jowly redhead with a tendency to scowl. But as he woos a crowd
with his impassioned bass voice, smartly dressed in a fur hat and leather
coat, he appears, if not handsome exactly, then certainly striking. 

His crowd is ready to follow. But where? 


Amid his rhetoric, it can be difficult to pinpoint precisely what the
Communist leader stands for. 

His economic views at times correspond with those of west European social
democrats, broadly favouring increased social spending and a strong state
sector in a mixed economy. 

The evidence so far suggests that like left-leaning parties in France,
Britain and Germany, the Communists may move closer to the economic centre
as they gain more power. 

Zyuganov has ditched other planks of traditional Communism, such as the
Soviet Union's official atheism. 

``Jesus Christ,'' he says to applause, ``was the first Communist.'' 

But by far the most controversial element in his ideology is ethnic Russian
nationalism. A wing of his party is openly anti-Semitic, and Zyuganov has
avoided a split with it. 

In a statement released last year, he said he had nothing against Jews as
such, but ``Zionists'' -- long a favourite target of Soviet anti-Jewish
propaganda -- were plotting in secret to take over the world. 

Zyuganov tells his Izhevsk audiences that he disapproves of overtly
anti-Jewish statements by Albert Makashov, a top member of the Communist
Party's caucus in parliament. 

``Friendship between peoples is fundamental. It is our alphabet,'' he says. 

But he also says ethnic Russians make up 80 percent of the country's
population, and ``non-Russians'' -- a phrase most take to mean Jews -- are
over-represented in government, in business and on television. 

He closes his talk on the subject with an ominous joke. Former prime
minister Viktor Chernomyrdin visits Nursultan Nazarbayev, president of
Kazakhstan, a republic with a large ethnic Russian population. 

``Chernomyrdin asks: 'Where are the Russians in your cabinet?' Says
Nazarbayev: 'Where are the Russians in yours?''' 

There are clearly those within Zyuganov's party who are uncomfortable with
this tendency toward ethnic chauvinism. Seleznyov, the parliament speaker,
was the only Communist to vote in favour of a motion to censure Makashov. 

But so far the issue has failed to create a full-blown split in Communist
Party ranks, defying some pundits who thought one might be inevitable. 

It is not the first time, nor is it likely to be the last, that somebody
under estimates Gennady Zyuganov. 


Date: Wed, 24 Mar 1999 
From: (Renfrey Clarke) 
Subject: AIDS in Russia

#By Renfrey Clarke
#MOSCOW - In cities and towns throughout Russia, repressive
official policies have helped create a huge pool of narcotics
users infected with the HIV virus.
#The infection is now poised to spread swiftly among young people
who are sexually active, but to whom prudish authorities deny
proper sex education. Millions may die.
#This holocaust is looming even though HIV had a late start in
the Soviet Union, and officials had time to study Western
experience and devise effective counter-measures. The virus was
not recorded in the USSR until 1987 - six years after it was
first identified in the US, and at a time when its nature was
already well understood. But the Soviet and Russian authorities
blew their chance to keep the infection tightly controlled.
#The first HIV victims in the USSR were mostly hospital patients,
many of them children, infected through the re-use of syringes
and through transfusions of contaminated blood. These dangers
were eventually minimised, though not ended. But no effective
moves were made in the early 1990s to stop sexual transmission of
the disease.
#Health officials, suffering from a hangover of Soviet-era sexual
prudery, did little to spread the word that condoms provided good
protection against the virus. The efforts at HIV control that
were mounted were focused largely on prostitutes and male
homosexuals, stigmatising the infection and creating a false
belief that the wider population was not at risk.
Parliamentarians, convinced that the blame lay with foreigners,
passed a law compelling applicants for long-term Russian visas to
prove they were free of the virus. Not surprisingly, the number
of confirmed cases of HIV infection grew steadily, from a few
hundred to several thousand.
#As late as 1995, the rate of infection in Russia remained low
compared to many Western countries, and mass education campaigns
might have stopped it growing further. But in that year, two of
the plagues of post-Soviet Russia came together - and HIV took
off in a big way.
#Illegal drug use had become commonplace in Russia by the mid-
1990s. ``Among my acquaintances, every second student has tried
some kind of narcotic at least once,'' a young journalist wrote
in the Moscow daily <I>Nezavisimaya Gazeta<D> in 1997. ``One in
ten uses it regularly.''
#Usually without the money for high-grade drugs, Russian users
improvised, developing habits that would be viewed as suicidal in
the West. Today a typical ``hit'' consists of cheap boiled opium,
mixed with chemicals such as veterinary anaesthetics. This mix is
often shared between users, each dipping a needle in the brew.
Frequently, narcotics when bought are already in this form - and
thick with bacteria and viruses. The drugs may well have been
``purified'' using a process that involves human blood,
considered to remove toxins as it coagulates.
#Of Russians diagnosed as HIV-positive between 1987 and 1995,
only 0.3 per cent were injecting illegal drugs. But among new HIV
sufferers registered in 1996, the proportion was already 60 per
cent. In 1997, official figures attest, the figure was almost 90
per cent.
#Taking wing on the drug epidemic, HIV was soaring to new
heights. By late in 1998, the English-language <I>Moscow
Tribune<D> reported, more than 10,000 people in Russia were
registered as infected, up by 40 per cent on the 1997 figure.
``Experts claim the real level of infection may be up to five or
six times this amount,'' the paper stated.
#The developing catastrophe with narcotics and HIV did little to
change the thinking of Russian legislators and law enforcement
chiefs. These people still regarded illegal drug use as they had
in Soviet times - first and foremost, as a crime to be punished.
In April 1998 new drug legislation was introduced. Doctors trying
to slow the spread of HIV found that if they taught addicts how
to take drugs safely, they would themselves be open to
prosecution. Handing out clean syringes was also an offence. Non-
state clinics were banned from treating drug addicts who agreed
to receive treatment rather than go to prison, even though the
state health system had few resources with which to help such
#Armed with expanded powers to detain and test drug users - or
anyone they thought looked like a drug user - Russian police
stepped up their arrests. No meaningful distinction was made in
the new law between dealers, addicts and casual users. People
could be jailed for seven years for possessing quantities of
heroin too small to see with the naked eye.
#Narcotics use nevertheless continued to spread. A United Nations
report late in 1997 estimated that Russia had 350,000 regular
users; little more than a year later, the English-language
<I>Moscow Times<D> was citing a figure of a million. Hundreds of
thousands of these people, it seems certain, will sooner or later
contract HIV.
#If HIV in Russia were to remain mostly an affliction of illegal
drug users, the growth in the number of its victims would slow
relatively soon; in any society, most people are happy to abstain
from shooting up. Abstaining from sex, however, is different.
#Spread during its first years in Russia mainly through sexual
contact, HIV now seems destined to return to its old vector - but
on a vastly bigger scale. Illegal drug users tend also to be
highly active sexually. And among young Russians in general,
there are alarmingly few barriers to sexually transmitted
diseases being passed on freely.
#In Russia, safe sex has never been widely understood, much less
practised. Proof of this is to be found in the incidence of
syphilis. Though this disease is now rare in the West, recorded
cases among 15 to 17-year-olds in Russia multiplied by a factor
of almost 70 between 1990 and 1996, to the near-epidemic level of
389.9 per 100,000.
#Young people in Russia are no more suicidal than in most
countries, and are unlikely to ignore information on safe sex
practices if it is given in open, uncondescending fashion. But
the chances of the latter seem remote.
#``Under pressure from social conservatives and the Russian
Orthodox Church,'' the <I>Moscow Times<D> reported on February 2,
``the Education Ministry has dropped plans to introduce sex
education classes nationwide.'' A program of training teachers as
sex educators remains underway. But a senior education official
told the paper's reporter: ``We are not [proposing] using the
word condom even once in our schools.''
#For Russians who contract HIV, the long-term chances of
surviving are close to nil. The state health system cannot help.
The 1998 budget assigned the equivalent of only US$8 million for
the fight against AIDS, and by December only about 5 per cent of
this sum had been disbursed. Full Western-style treatment for HIV
costs at least US$20,000 a year, more than 20 times the average
Russian income.
#The victims of AIDS in Russia in the coming years will certainly
number in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions. Most of
these people will be young, many of them children. Their deaths
will be a steep price to pay for the hypocrisy of the old system,
given lethal force by the barbarities of the new.



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