This Date's Issues: 3224 •
Johnson's Russia List
3 April 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Marcus Warren, Allies' action dashes hope
of US-Russia arms agreement.
2. The Guardian (UK): James Meek, Yeltsin attacks fraud crusader.
3. NTV: Prosecutor-General Names Corrupt in Yeltsin Letter.
4. AFP: Russia losing influence in 'near abroad': analysts.
5. Milton Kovner: JRL 3220/ Ira Straus/NATO and Russia.
6. USIA: AMB. VERSHBOW SPEECH ON U.S.-RUSSIAN RELATIONS.
7. PONARS: Celeste Wallander, "Russia, Kosovo, and Security Cooperation."
8. Radiostantsiya Ekho Moskvy: Russian 'Right Cause' Chiefs on
9. Moscow Times editorial: Will Mayor Push Aside
10. The Times (UK) letters: Russia's path to peace in
The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
3 April 1999
[for personal use only]
Allies' action dashes hope of US-Russia arms agreement
By Marcus Warren
HOPES that Russia would ratify Start II after years of hostility to
strategic arms limitation were destroyed yesterday by the fall-out from the
conflict in the Balkans. The Duma, the lower house of parliament, refused
even to consider a bill enabling the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty's
ratification, even though it had been due to debate the subject.
In recent weeks Russia has been closer to ratifying the treaty, which
reduces the number of warheads held by Moscow and Washington to 3,500 by
the year 2007, than at any time. Yevgeny Primakov, the prime minister,
redoubled efforts to persuade the communist and nationalist opposition in
the Duma to approve the treaty, arguing that it would strengthen his
bargaining position with the West over Russia's debt.
Senior ministers even protested that ratifying the treaty was still in
Russia's interests during last weekend's stormy parliamentary debate over
the Nato air strikes against Yugoslavia. But anti-Western feeling over the
Nato action appears to have ruled out any attempt to debate the treaty in
the near future.
Alexei Arbatov, deputy head of the Duma's defence committee, said: "From a
political point of view, it is impossible to consider the law while a war
is going on. It is clear that parliament will not consider it. The position
which Nato and the US are taking does not give cause for optimism. So now
we can consider that the Start II treaty has been put back for a long time."
The treaty was signed by Presidents Bush and Yeltsin in 1993 when
relations between Russia and America were warmer than they had been for
decades. It was ratified by the US Senate in 1996. Its many critics in
Russia complain that the treaty imposes obligations to cut the country's
nuclear arsenal which Moscow cannot afford. Hardline opponents are against
the very idea of any further disarmament. But realists inside the military
know that Russia is now so poor that it cannot support its current arsenal.
The Guardian (UK)
3 April 1999
[for personal use only]
Yeltsin attacks fraud crusader
Investigator suspended over sex video after delivering corruption report
By James Meek in Moscow
Boris Yeltsin issued a desperate and potentially illegal challenge to his
growing circle of opponents yesterday when he suspended Russia's top
investigative official, hours after receiving a report from him on
corruption within the elite.
For the second time this year the prosecutor-general, Yuri Skuratov, found
himself under attack from the Kremlin over an explicit secretly-filmed
video which allegedly showed him having sex with two prostitutes.
The lower house of parliament, the Duma, passed a resolution accusing the
Russian president of sacking Mr Skuratov because he had begun 'actively to
investigate cases of criminal corruption involving, among others, the very
highest state officials'.
Mr Skuratov, aged 46, called his suspension 'completely illegal'.
The future for Mr Yeltsin and his remaining associates looks increasingly
bleak as he begins the run-up to the presidential elections in mid-2000.
Until recently the main question-mark over his survival was his poor
health. Now he is in more robust condition, but his political authority has
never recovered from the financial crash of August 1998.
Recently he has been overshadowed by the prime minister, Yevgeny Primakov,
whose patriotism and peacemaking efforts in the Yugoslav crisis have
brought him an approval rating of 64 per cent in Russia. Mr Yeltsin's is
just 6 per cent.
Mr Skuratov has launched a series of investigations and raids which have
moved ever closer to the Yeltsin family, accused by the Russia media of
involvement in questionable business transactions.
Most damagingly, he has begun looking into contracts between the Yeltsin
administration and a Swiss company, Mabetex, which took part in a costly
reconstruction of the Kremlin in the mid-1990s.
On Thursday Mr Skuratov ordered a fresh raid on the company's Moscow
offices. That evening, Mr Skuratov told a television news programme that he
had just sent Mr Yeltsin a message about 'well-known' Russians who had
illegal stashes of capital in Swiss banks.
Hours later a criminal case relating to Mr Skuratov's alleged sexual
frolics was opened, which was used as the basis for Mr Yeltsin's decree
ordering his suspension. Yesterday morning Mr Skuratov's office was sealed,
his government phone lines cut and his bodyguard withdrawn.
At a press conference, the interior minister Sergei Stepashin and the head
of the former KGB, Vladimir Putin, denied trying to hamper anti-corruption
inquiries. But Mr Stepashin said he had told Mr Skuratov to 'stop getting
involved in politics'.
Under the constitution, only the upper house of parliament, the Federation
Council, can appoint or dismiss a prosecutor-general. It has already beaten
off one Kremlin attempt to drive Mr Skuratov from office - in February,
when extracts of the compromising video were shown on network television.
On that occasion, a humiliated Mr Yeltsin sacked the man thought to be
responsible for leaking the video, his chief-of-staff, Nikolai Bordyuzha.
This time Mr Yeltsin feels he is on safer ground. It is claimed that the
two prostitutes were paid $500 by a businessman who was under criminal
investigation by the prosecutor-general's department.
The first time the prosecutor-general was targeted by the Kremlin, he had
just sent parliament a letter detailing the mysterious filtering of
billions of dollars from the Russian central bank's hard currency reserves
through an unknown Channel Islands-registered company.
Details of the report he sent Mr Yeltsin on Thursday are unknown. Mr
Skuratov has said that the evidence came in part from information passed on
by Switzerland's federal prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, who came to Moscow
He also told the Interfax news agency yesterday that his message to Mr
Yeltsin did not mention specific names or sums of money, although he did
possess such information.
The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, said yesterday that he understood
there were 'about 20 names' on Mr Skuratov's list, holding a total of $40
billion (£24.8 billion) in Swiss banks - twice as much as Russia's debt to
One of Mr Skuratov's main lines of attack on the Kremlin has been through
the business dealings of the tycoon Boris Berezovsky, a former Yeltsin
intimate accused of shadowy business dealings.
In March Mr Yeltsin tried to distance himself from Mr Berezovsky by sacking
him from his post as executive secretary of the Commonwealth of Independent
Yesterday the businessman claimed his private plane had been refused
permission to enter Russian air space, stranding him in Kiev while CIS
leaders met in Moscow to endorse his dismissal and appoint a replacement,
Yuri Yarov. He said he had also lost his Kremlin pass and described what
was happening in Moscow as 'a madhouse'.
Use of the video has rebounded on Mr Yeltsin and the euphemism used by the
Russian media to describe the man in the video - 'a man resembling Yuri
Skuratov' - has become a catchphrase.
In a recent edition of Kukly, the Russian Spitting Image, a confused old
Yeltsin in a jumper meets a smarter, more energetic version of himself and
asks 'Who are you?'
'I'm a man who resembles a president,' the other replies.
'Then who am I?'
'You're a man who doesn't.'
Prosecutor-General Names Corrupt in Yeltsin Letter
April 1, 1999
[translation for personal use only]
[Presenter Tatyana Mitkova] The Russian
prosecutor-general received TV journalists for the first time since the
events related to his cancelled resignation. Those journalists were NTV
[Begin recording] [Correspondent Nikolay Nikolayev] Today we learnt that
the prosecutor-general had sent an appeal to President Boris Yeltsin.
This appeal contains conclusions and summaries Skuratov made after his
closed meeting with Swiss Prosecutor-General Carla del Ponte.
It looks like the appeal contains indisputable information that was
confirmed by the Swiss prosecutor-general during her visit to Russia. In
an exclusive interview to NTV Skuratov emphasized that his message to
Yeltsin really concerns certain Swiss bank accounts. Russian and Swiss
prosecutors agree that those accounts are fed with money belonging to
[Skuratov] The Swiss side has shown full understanding as regards our
on the issue. They don't need this dirty money, because they realize that
Russian gangsters will follow their dirty money. In that case Switzerland
may turn from a normal and prosperous country into God knows what.
[Correspondent] In his appeal Skuratov also recommends the president form a
governmental commission, which will control the process of returning the
money from Switzerland. Besides that, he suggests reinforcing the
prosecutor's office with employees from other Russian law-enforcement
bodies. Skuratov thinks that is needed in order to collect full data that
could confirm bank transactions carried out by the most notorious Russian
[Skuratov] Nobody possesses such information in full at the moment. But
I know is sufficient for us to start work in the way that I have described.
[Correspondent] Do you know the names of those people already?
[Skuratov] Definitely. We know many of those names.
[Correspondent] Are these really well-known people?
[Correspondent] Skuratov also said his office that day had finished the
investigation into the scandalous case of Golden Ada and its chief Andrey
Kozlenok. The defendant is currently studying the case. After that the
case will be sent to the court.
[Skuratov] Four people have been charged: [former Precious Metals Committee
Chairman Yevgeniy] Bychkov, [former head of the governmental
administration's financial department Igor] Moskovskikh, Kozlenok and
Fedorov. Not [former Deputy Prime Minister] Boris Fedorov, but another
Fedorov. As regards Boris Fedorov, we have issued an order refusing to
open a criminal case against him.
[Correspondent] Skuratov refused to comment today on how the defendants are
to each other in the case. But he said that Russian precious metals and
stones worth 87m dollars disappeared from the state treasury as a result
of a plot carried out by the defendants, including Bychkov.
Was Bychkov aware that the funds would not return to Russia?
[Skuratov] In my view he was.
[Correspondent] Apart from that, Skuratov did not hide that he wants to
relations with president and save his office from reshuffles. [end
Russia losing influence in 'near abroad': analysts
BAKU, April 2 (AFP) - Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan's possible withdrawal from a
Moscow-led collective security agreement signals the demise of Russian
authority along its southern border, analysts said Friday.
Azerbaijan's President Heydar Aliyev and his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov
have indicated they may pull out of a unified security treaty at the summit
of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on Friday.
The security arrangement, which provides for a unified military response
should any one member be invaded by an outside force, is expected to be
extended by the other heads of state.
Azerbaijan joined the security alliance in September 1993. However, its
parliament never ratified the agreement and Baku remains only a formal
member, not participating in any military activities.
Both Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan have turned up the rhetoric in recent months
in criticizing the agreement and have threatened to pull out, claiming that
the Moscow-dominated pact does not meet their own security needs.
Azerbaijan objects to Russian bases being located in its arch-enemy Armenia,
with whom it fought a six-year war over the breakaway region of
Uzbekistan, although it has never clearly stated its reasons for pulling out
of the pact, likewise criticizes the presence of some 30,000 Russian soldiers
in regional rival Tajikistan.
"It is clear that Russia's influence in the region is diminishing rapidly,"
said Oksana Antonenko of the London-based International Institute for
Some experts warn that it may be nevertheless too soon to predict Moscow's
complete retreat from its southern "near abroad", since Russia's size and
proximity should guarantee it some form of hold over the region.
But the Kremlin's position is also very tenuous, others say, as many former
Soviet states are suspicious of its aims and see the CIS as a means for
Moscow to maintain influence over its former colonies.
Azerbaijan and Georgia have accused Russia of deliberately trying to
destabilize the region for its own gain and object to its close military
cooperation with neighboring Armenia.
In Central Asia, likewise, "Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are steadily on
course to sever their links, especially military links, with Russia," said
Andrei Piontkovsky of the Moscow-based Center for Strategic Studies.
Turkmenistan is not a member of the collective security agreement as it has
adopted a policy of neutrality in international affairs. Recently, the
Turkmens went one step further by dropping out of the CIS visa-free zone.
Some analysts say that Russia's military hold over the region is without
doubt in decline, regardless of whether Aliyev and Karimov decide to leave
the security arrangement or not.
"Russia is pulling out of the region because it does not have the financial
and political means to stay there," said Antonenko. "The scale of the problem
Antonenko said that Moscow is now focusing on a core group of countries --
Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan -- which are its closest
The four countries also permit Russia to keep a foot in the door in the key
areas of Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, while focusing on the main
threats to its security from outside the CIS.
Russia's loss of influence occurs at a crucial time as other outside powers,
including the United States, are increasing their economic and political ties
to the countries in the region.
Baku officials recently made offers to the North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation, the United States and Turkey to establish bases on Azerbaijani
territory to offset a perceived threat from Russia's arms deliveries to its
bases in Armenia.
The invitations immediately set off alarm bells in Moscow, which quickly
issued a statement, calling the Azerbaijanis' initiative "bizarre
Most analysts however doubt seriously that any western nation would consider
basing its troops anywhere in the Caucasus or Central Asia, in what Russia
considers its rightful sphere of influence.
Date: 2 April 1999
FROM: Milton Kovner (email@example.com)
SUBJECT: JRL 3220/ Ira Straus: Has NATO Already Forgotten Russia’s
Attempts to Join
It should be noted that Russia never concealed its intention to use its
membership in the Partnership for Peace program or in NATO, if proffered,
to attempt to alter the nature of the alliance. Then Foreign Minister
Kozyrev, writing in Foreign Policy in 1995, saw Russian participation in
PfP as a prolonged “transitional period” that would “constitute the
transformation of NATO (inter alia , through its interaction with us) into
a pan-European security organization” akin to something like the OSCE.
As US understanding - and anxieties- about the ramifications of Russia in
NATO grew stronger, its discouragement of Russian membership became more
evident. The December 1994 NATO North Atlantic Council communiqué, true to
its genre, was deliberately vague on Russian admission, but it did not
exclude it: it stated: "We agreed that, when it occurs, enlargement will be
decided on a case-by-case basis and that some nations may attain membership
before others." In January 1995, President Clinton made clear the issue
was not solely one of timing, saying, "for some countries partnership will
be a path to full NATO membership. For others, the partnership will be a
strong and lasting link to the NATO alliance." In February, then Secretary
of Defense Perry told the congress that he welcomed the opportunity to
clarify matters: "Many members of the Partnership for Peace will never
qualify for NATO membership." In March, the Assistant Secretary Holbrooke
offered Russia an alternative to membership: "It is in our interest for the
NATO-Russia relationship to develop in parallel with NATO expansion." In
April, James B. Steinberg, then the State Department's Director of the
Policy Planning Staff, appeared to open a door that had been all but closed
by telling a meeting of the Trilateral Commission: "Despite the urging of
some, we do not rule out a priori that Russia, like any other member of
PfP, might, one day, join NATO. " But in anticipation of NATO
Secretary-General Solona’s remarks cited by Ira Straus, he went on to add
the suggestion that Russian might exclude itself: "At the same time it is
reasonable to examine, as many Russians themselves have done, whether this
is the most appropriate way for Russia to participate in the overall
European security structure, given its size and geographical situation
astride two continents. "
Moscow soon saw in NATO’s policy of enlargement the dual approach it had
long suspected: membership for Eastern Europe, perpetual partnership for
Russia. If Russia were a rejected suitor one could understand its pique;
that it felt it was at first wooed and then spurned is perhaps better to
understand Kozyrev's reference in the US-Russian context that the
"honeymoon" was over.
01 April 1999
TEXT: AMB. VERSHBOW SPEECH ON U.S.-RUSSIAN RELATIONS
(3/25: Crisis over Kosovo "acute," but we must look ahead) (3600)
Wilton Park, England -- The United States is committed to achieving an
effective partnership with Russia, and disagreement over policy in the
Balkans should not cloud that vision of partnership, said Ambassador
Alexander Vershbow, the U.S. Permanent Representative on the North
In a speech at a Wilton Park Conference on "Russia and the New Europe"
March 25, Vershbow acknowledged that current tensions are acute but
stressed that a long-term perspective is needed in assessing
U.S.-Russian relations. "We must look beyond the present crisis," he
said. "Our commitment must be steady, our energy never faltering, and
our assessments not colored by the policies or disputes of the moment
if we are to truly build the better personal and institutional ties on
which the lasting peace of the Euro-Atlantic region depends."
The ambassador reflected that 50 years ago, President Franklin
Roosevelt and presidential adviser Averill Harriman often discussed
how the United States, Russia, and the nations of Europe might share
common values and work together to promote freedom, democracy,
security, and free markets. "Clearly," Vershbow said, "as the Russian
response to NATO action on Kosovo shows, we're not quite there yet.
But we can still be optimistic that we will be able to make our goal a
He stressed that "while Kosovo underscores that there will continue to
be NATO-Russia disagreements, we do not see a return to the days of
NATO-Russia, or perhaps better put -- NATO-Soviet confrontation."
Vershbow went on to list current areas of cooperation -- especially
the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC) -- which he described as
one of the most important fora for discussing security issues, and
which he hopes will continue to be used during the current crisis.
"We need this kind of forum in bad weather even more than when the sun
is shining. We want to use the PJC to keep the Russians informed of
NATO actions and efforts to end the conflict in Kosovo, and deal with
its potential ramifications for the security of the entire region."
Vershbow noted that the Russian government had suspended -- but did
not terminate -- its military cooperation with the Alliance due to the
Kosovo crisis. "The difference may be nuanced," he said, "but it is
nonetheless key. Russia is expressing its disapproval, but it is also
showing its recognition of NATO as a key security institution in the
Euro-Atlantic area." He added that the United States firmly believes
it is in Russia's long-term interests to continue to work with NATO.
Looking to the future, Vershbow said the United States hopes to be a
partner with a peaceful and engaged Russia, "a Russia that pursues its
interests while respecting the security interests of its neighbors, a
Russia that accepts and acts upon its responsibility for resolving
problems, and a Russia that works constructively through the
overlapping frameworks of institutions to which it belongs -- the
U.N., the OSCE, the PJC and the EAPC [Euro-Atlantic Partnership
Council]. This kind of Russia will be of benefit to us all."
Wilton Park, located outside of London, is an autonomous Executive
Agency of the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS)
Memo No. 58
Russia, Kosovo, and Security Cooperation
By Celeste A. Wallander (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Associate Professor of Government, Harvard University
Increasingly, discussion of policy options to salvage the disastrous US
policy on Kosovo has turned to the prospect of an intervention mission
with ground forces. The primary American objection to such a force is
based on the problem that the American public does not support such a
Should these objections become outweighed by the view that the United
States must accept responsibility for stopping the humanitarian disaster
it has helped to create, the United States will have to face another
major obstacle to such a mission. Intervention with NATO forces alone
and without Russian participation will lack legitimacy and is likely to
be the final blow against meaningful Russian security cooperation with
the United States for a very long time. Somehow, a way must be found
to end this crisis through cooperation with Russia.
Legitimacy and Intervention
NATO's circumvention of the UN Security Council in order to launch air
strikes against Yugoslavia unilaterally and solely on NATO's terms was a
mistake. Since the end of the Cold War, the West has insisted that
policies to adapt NATO have been for the purpose of spreading peace and
stability throughout Europe. Russian objections to NATO enlargement have
been met with soothing words that NATO is and will remain a purely
defensive alliance. All along, however, Russia's political and military
elite has been focused on the practical realities of the effects of NATO
In military terms, NATO's role in Europe has grown, its capabilities
have been adjusted for the post-Cold War security environment, and with
its three new members the territory on which it can operate has moved
eastward toward Russia. Although moderates have not joined this
argument, a substantial portion of Russia's political and military
leadership has warned that NATO has sought to expand its capabilities in
order to be able to dictate terms in Eastern Europe and the former
In political terms, NATO is the single most important forum for security
relations within and around Europe--and Russia is not a member. The
1997 agreement between Russia and NATO that created a partnership
council was clearly not intended to involve Russia in important
discussions on European security. Russia has not devoted any real
effort to developing this council, but even if it had its importance
would have been limited by the United States' determination not to
involve Russia in the serious work of the alliance. Therefore, even for
Russia's liberal and moderate political and military elites who do not
subscribe to the more sinister interpretation of NATO's persistence
after the Cold War, NATO has a strongly negative image as a council of
the great powers that excludes Russia.
With its war on Serbia, NATO has undermined its claim to be only an
alliance for collective defense. By its actions, NATO has legitimated
the more alarmist and radical views of NATO's military intentions and
capabilities, and moved their wild scenarios to the center of Russia's
spectrum of views on security and cooperation. By choosing to work
through NATO and thus excluding Russia from the single most important
decision about European stability that has been made since the end of
the Cold War, the West has severely undermined support in Russia for
substantial security cooperation with the West. From the Russian
perspective, it appears that the West is interested in cooperating when
it is a matter of limiting Russia's freedom of action for the common
good of controlling weapons or weapons technologies, but unwilling to be
constrained in considering international solutions to political-military
This damage has already been done, but matters could get still worse.
So far, Russia's political leadership has said that it will continue to
cooperate in important security issues, including nuclear and
conventional arms control and nonproliferation. However, the West
should not believe that Russia has an interest in such cooperation
regardless of Western policies. In particular, should the United States
decide upon a unilateral policy of occupation of Kosovo with NATO ground
forces, it will substantiate the Russian security elite's wildest fear:
that the United States means to use a restructured and expanded NATO to
revise borders wherever it sees fit in Eastern Europe and the former
Should NATO unilaterally occupy Kosovo and impose a partition on Serbia,
it will convince Russia's moderate leadership that the international
system on which it has based its policies of security cooperation has no
future. Such a policy will mean Russia must deal with a system that is
not based upon international law and cooperation among the great.
Instead (from the Russian perspective), in this system the rules are
changing all the time and are unilaterally defined by NATO. The court
is self-appointed, attorneys are absent, there is no higher court to
appeal the ruling, and the court itself both passes judgements on its
own policies and enforces them with unconstrained military power.
The implication of such a system is that the only way to object is with
military power. Russia's decision to send a electronic intelligence
ship, and possibly warships, to the Mediterranean is a sign that Russian
policy is moving in this direction. With the UN removed from the
picture, there would be nothing legally preventing Russia from sending
arms to Serbia. If political-military cooperation with NATO is
precluded by NATO itself, Russia will fall back upon whatever
traditional balance of power instruments it can still manage in its
Yet it is difficult to escape the conclusion that an occupation of
Kosovo has become necessary, given the scale of the humanitarian
disaster, the potential for instability in neighboring countries, and
the impossibility of restoring Albanians to even a portion of Kosovo's
territory under anything short of full-scale military protection. A
solution to the Kosovo crisis has gone far beyond what peacekeeping
forces can accomplish, and no one should ask soldiers to go in with
anything less than the mission of peace enforcement.
For such an intervention to be legitimate, it must not be decided and
executed by NATO alone. It is time to recognize that an undertaking of
this scale requires at least the assent and preferably the active
participation of all Europe's great powers. Unless NATO intends to
invade and fully occupy all of Yugoslavia itself, it will need some
measure of assent from Serbia, even if only tacit agreement to partition
Kosovo. Because it is conducting an undeclared war on Serbia, NATO
alone simply cannot be seen as a legitimate player in a resolution of
the crisis. Without international legitimacy and evenhandedness, Serbia
will not be convinced that an occupation force will stop at partition,
and the military conflict could continue at a low level indefinitely.
Russia is no match for the United States, but by its geopolitical
position, economic potential over the long term, and overall military
capability, Russia is one of Europe's great powers. It is in the
interests of NATO's leading powers that the settlement of the Kosovo
crisis--with an eye toward the long-term and the next millennium--be
done in cooperation with Russia, and with the agreement of the United
Nations Security Council. Only in this way will the military mission and
the political settlement have the international legitimacy they need.
Russia's Stakes--and Responsibilities
Russia's stakes in this crisis have nothing to do with Serbia.
Milosevic has lied to and manipulated the Russian leadership nearly as
much as he has the West. Recent polls have shown that there is little
support for Serbia: the Russian public blames both parties for the
conflict, with less than 10% supporting military assistance to Serbia.
Russia has condemned Milosevic's policies in several UN resolutions, and
as a member of the Contact Group it supported the proposals for Kosovo's
autonomy under international military oversight. Russia has
successfully cooperated with NATO in Bosnia in precisely such a military
mission. To be sure, Russia preferred that Kosovo not become a separate
state, and in that regard this case differs from Bosnia. But Russia's
leaders are realists enough to know that Kosovo's autonomy within Serbia
is an option of the past.
Russia's real stake in this crisis is its future role in European
security. Russia's outrage at NATO intervention is due to the exclusion
of Russia from its proper role in international security affairs and the
breathtaking enhancement of NATO's political and military roles. As
Chechnya made clear (along with Moldova, Abkhazia, and Tajikistan),
Russia's leadership does not have any serious principled objections to
the use of military force. Russian objections are not to the use of
force per se, but to the use of force by NATO, unconstrained by the UN,
and without regard to Russia.
If accomplished in the proper manner, an international occupation for
the purpose of partitioning Kosovo and restoring its displaced Albanian
population could achieve active Russian support, and Russian military
participation. Russia's military forces would require international
financing to be able to conduct such a mission given the state of
Russia's economy and the inability of the Russian government to even
meet its most urgent international debt obligations. However, while not
as modern or as successfully reconstituted for post-Cold War missions as
NATO forces, Russian military forces are capable of traditional
missions of territorial control and defense. If nothing else, a Russian
military contribution would reduce the need for large numbers of
American ground forces.
What it comes down to is whether it is worth it to the United States to
prevent a further rupture in US-Russian relations, to solve the crisis
in Kosovo effectively, and to avoid making bitterness and failure the
legacy of NATO's post-Cold War mission in Kosovo, rather than European
peace and stability. Russian participation will impart legitimacy to
the drastic measure of invasion, occupation, and partition of a
sovereign country--and however justified action against the Serbian
leadership might be, that action needs international legitimacy.
Russian participation also holds the promise of making the mission
effective in both military and political terms. By participating on the
ground, Russia can reassure itself and its domestic critics (who will be
active in decrying cooperation with NATO, to be sure) that the
settlement is being implemented as agreed among the great powers. By
involving the Russian military, NATO and Russia can build on the
positive experience of the Russian military in Bosnia. Most of all,
Russian participation makes UN Security Council approval possible, a
factor that is absolutely crucial for international legitimacy for the
occupation and partition of Kosovo. Only in this way can the US
disentangle itself from a hollow victory that destroys the possibility
of future security cooperation in Europe.
For its part, however, Russia must begin to behave like the responsible
great power it claims to be. Some of the Russian government's rhetoric
on the Kosovo crisis has been truly astonishing in its extremist and
unsupportable accusations and implicit threats. Russia needs to rely
upon its most responsible and professional voices. Most of all,
Russia's security elites simply have to acknowledge that there is a
devastating humanitarian crisis, and that the innocent civilian
population of Albanian Kosovars are truly the victims of Milosevic's
deliberately inhuman policies. Russia must stop making excuses for
Milosevic: without agreement on this common purpose there can be no
basis for a great power settlement of the Kosovo crisis.
The United States has perhaps one last chance to grasp the promise of
multilateral cooperation with Russia for security in Europe. If this
fails, we will not return to the Cold War. However, it is a serious
mistake to think that there is no difference between a Russia that
cannot do anything to stop us, and a Russia that actively cooperates in
the areas of security that most engage American national interests:
nonproliferation and stability throughout Eurasia. President Yeltsin
has signaled an openness to the great power model of settling the Kosovo
crisis by calling on the G-8 to meet. As we begin to move toward the
Post-post-Cold War era, America's leaders should remember that it was
cooperation that won the Cold War.
Russian 'Right Cause' Chiefs on Kosovo
Radiostantsiya Ekho Moskvy
1 April 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Yegor Gaydar, Boris Nemtsov, and Boris Fedorov, the leaders
of The Right Cause, described as a centre-right coalition, spoke about
the results of their peace mission to Belgrade and Rome in a live
interview with Ekho Moskvy radio at 1415 gmt on 1st April.
"I think that this is one of the few reasonable moves that the Serbian,
the Yugoslav leadership has made of late," Boris Fedorov said commenting
on the latest news that the Yugoslav president, Slobodan Milosevic, and
the moderate leader of Kosovo Albanians, Ibrahim Rugova, have met for
talks. "One of the conclusions which we have drawn up on the results of
our meetings is this: if no direct dialogue is established between the
Yugoslav leadership and the Albanians, it would be extremely difficult to
settle the conflict," Fedorov said.
Replying to a presenter's question on which specific results were achieved
during the peace mission, Boris Nemtsov said: "We put forward a major
idea to declare an Easter truce for the period of the Catholic and
Orthodox Easter holidays. We put forward this proposal at our meeting
with the patriarch of Serbia, Paul, and at yesterday's meeting with the
Roman pope [John Paul II] in the Vatican and we put forward this proposal
to the Italian leadership - the Italian foreign minister."
Nemtsov went on to say that the Right Cause coalition had urged the people
of Russia to put their signatures to an appeal demanding that the Balkans
war be stopped and appealed to all parties to join the campaign to
collect signatures. "Nevertheless, I would like to point out that the US
stance remains very tough. In my opinion the Americans are now making the
biggest mistake since the Vietnam war by escalating the air raids,"
Answering a question on why the Right Cause delegation decided not to go to
the United States and other NATO member states to continue peace talks,
Fedorov said that the United States is stubbornly clinging to its stance
and that it "has found itself trapped" as the number of refugees and
casualties in Yugoslavia is growing, the Milosevic regime is becoming
stronger and anti-American sentiments are prevailing throughout the
world. "And no-one in the United States knows what is to be done in a
week or a fortnight," he said. "I believe that the decision not to go to
the United States is also a form of action," Fedorov said.
"The Americans are not yet ready for a constructive dialogue. We must
wait and see," Boris Nemtsov added. "I believe that Russia must
immediately refuse to receive the US humanitarian aid, which [Deputy
Prime Minister Gennadiy] Kulik was begging from the Americans, and which
has been supplied to St. Petersburg and other cities. This should be done
without delay. The president, the prime minister, the government, and the
State Duma must issue a relevant statement. Second, I believe that all
Russian patriots must find a possibility to avoid buying US-made
products," Nemtsov said.
Yegor Gaydar added that it was Milosevic's biggest mistake to restrict the
autonomy of Kosovo.
Nemtsov then sharply criticized the Russian leadership and some State Duma
deputies who subjected their peace mission to a storm of harsh criticism
instead of using it as an opportunity to settle the conflict by
diplomatic means. "We still believe that Yevgeniy Maksimovich [Primakov]
could have made a better use of our potential, and his trip to Bonn would
not have brought such sad results," Nemtsov said. "As far as the State
Duma is concerned - and today is an unusual day, after all, April Fools'
Day - many deputies have definitely grown stupid over the long time of
their presence in the State Duma. Some of these have simply become
idiots," Nemtsov said. He blamed the party of war led, in his opinion, by
the Communist leader, Gennadiy Zyuganov, and the leader of the Liberal
Democratic Party of Russia, Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, for trying to drag
Russia into a war.
Fedorov supported Nemtsov by saying that many deputies are instigating
fraternal Serbia to act in a way that can only result in a horrible
massacre and destruction of the whole country. He ridiculed the attempts
by some deputies to mobilize volunteers to fight for Serbia as absolutely
inappropriate in conditions of modern warfare.
Explaining again the objectives of the mission, Yegor Gaydar said the main
was to convince the warring sides to agree on a cease-fire during Easter
holidays, and the leadership of Italy and Greece had supported this
initiative. However, the Russian leadership failed to take advantage of
Nemtsov said: "The plan consists of three points: First, to declare Easter
truce; second, to shape public opinion during the truce with the help of
a hundred million signatures; and, third, to arrange a mediatory mission
of Italy, Greece and Russia to resume the talks. This is the plan which
we were trying to implement and which we have implemented to some extent.
Although, of course, we cannot do everything on our own," he said.
Fedorov concluded by saying that the task of The Right Cause, like that of
any other public organization, is to tell the truth about the
developments in Yugoslavia.
April 3, 1999
EDITORIAL: Will Mayor Push Aside Primakov?
One of the most intriguing things about Boris Yeltsin's latest demarche
against Prosecutor General Yury Skuratov is that this time around he seems
to have help from the city of Moscow.
It is the Moscow prosecutor's office that has opened a convenient criminal
investigation of Skuratov - convenient because it lets Yeltsin suspend
Skuratov, instead of outright firing him. Better a Skuratov in obscure
limbo than before the Federation Council.
This same week we saw Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov have his first meeting
with Yeltsin in more than a year. Luzhkov has been busy for months now
trashing the Yeltsin record and, at times, even flirting with the
Suddenly, Luzhkov is Yeltsin's personal envoy to Paris. Suddenly, we see
Sergei Yastrzhembsky, a top official in Luzhkov's government and a former
Kremlin press secretary, bending over backwards to say nice things about
Yeltsin - and nasty things about Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.
What is going on? Most likely, the Kremlin has given Luzhkov reason to
believe he will soon replace Primakov as prime minister. That doesn't mean
this will happen; only that Luzhkov thinks it will.
Yeltsin has made abundantly clear that he is tired of Primakov. Witness
his courtship meetings a few weeks ago with other likely candidates for
prime minister, Federation Council chief Yegor Stroyev and Yabloko leader
Even Yeltsin's mild state-of-the-nation speech this week made only two
real points - that Russia cannot sacrifice democratic freedoms and
achievements as part of an economic-crisis exit strategy, and that
"someone" (meaning Primakov) should stop talking about doing so. Primakov
has advocated having the Kremlin, and not the voters, select the governor
of each region.
Some will gasp in horror at the thought of another "political crisis." But
what exactly is a political crisis - an indignant, recalcitrant Duma?
Primakov has yet to line up IMF money, for all his crowing; he has brought
nothing back from Belgrade; he has sat silently while the banking sector
has been looted. Central Bank reserves are dwindling rapidly and the ruble
is sinking. Is this really a situation so wonderful that it can't be
Prime Minister Yavlinsky sounds excellent right now. Prime Minister
Luzhkov, particularly with Yavlinsky as a top deputy on economic policy,
also has a faintly hopeful ring to it. It certainly beats Prime Minister
Primakov, with his talk of jettisoning democracy and "mobilizing" the
economy - and his ill-disguised presidential ambitions. Five more years of
Primakov in the Kremlin? Now that would be a true political crisis.
The Times (UK)
April 3 1999
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Russia's path to peace in Kosovo
>From Mr Paul Colston
Sir, The past week of Nato airstrikes against Yugoslavia has shown that the
Alliance is sidetracking ever farther from the goals proclaimed at the
beginning of the operation. The logic of war surely suggests that this only
paves the way for both Serbian and Albanian advocates of an armed solution.
There appears to be little prospect of Belgrade accepting American
mediation for any peace agreement after the bombing of Yugoslavia, so
perhaps the attempts by Yevgeni Primakov, the Russian Premier, to find a
new path back to talks should not be dismissed so lightly (leading article,
Serbs well remember the deafening silence in the West as many of them were
driven from their homes in Bosnia and areas of former Yugoslavia now
controlled by the Croats. Moscow urged a note of caution back during the
rush to support the unravelling of Yugoslavia into separate mini-states.
Now the Balkan tapestry is unravelling in other directions: radicals from
the Kosovo Liberation Army have welcomed Nato bombings as a support for
their breakaway activities. They champion Kosovo's prompt separation from
Yugoslavia and the establishment of greater Albania which would include
Albanians currently living in other adjacent southern European states. Nato
strategists would also do well to remember that so-called Albanian rebels
have long practised terrorism in their liberation struggle - a struggle
largely financed by drug-trafficking.
The Nato attack on Yugoslavia has already taken its toll on innocent
civilians. This is in striking contrast to Nato Commander-in-Chief Wesley
Clark's assurances that Nato wanted to prevent a humanitarian disaster.
Military experts in Moscow say that when Nato planes descend low enough to
bomb Yugoslav land forces they will become vulnerable to anti-aircraft guns
manufactured in the former Soviet Union - a fact already illustrated by the
downing of the F117A Stealth aircraft with the use of Russia's "Cube"
Rather than taking pleasure from the effectiveness of its weapons, Mos- cow
would sooner see a new round of peace talks. Mr Primakov helped to inch a
door slightly ajar for Europe to seize this new opportunity. For any new
peace plan to stand a chance, however, the Nato bombings must be terminated.
As Russian President Boris Yeltsin reminded in his State of the Nation
address on March 30, Nato cannot be allowed to replace the UN and OSCE and
impose upon the world community the use of force in settling European and
Russian Information Agency-Novosti,
3 Rosary Gardens,
London SW7 4NW.
>From Sir Rodric Braithwaite
Sir, Richard Beeston argues (article, March 31) that the Russian Prime
Minister is deliberately allying himself with Milosevic to split Nato.
Primakov's motives are often questioned, not always fairly: Russians are
not the only people to doubt the value of unsupported bombing as a
political instrument. But it is hard to believe that his main motives are
to split Nato, or to foster his personal relationship with Milosevic. He
has much more important things to do, in the context of which splitting
Nato is either irrelevant or damaging.
But eventually the war will have to come to an end, and someone will have
to broker the peace. If Primakov can secure that role, it would bolster
Russia's position abroad as well as his own domestic position in the run-up
to the presidential election. This is a respectable objective for him to
pursue, though I doubt whether he will have much success for some time.
I was, however, struck by a different point: the logic of Mr Beeston's
argument about Desert Storm. The object of that operation was to expel
Iraqi forces from Kuwait. It succeeded. It was never the Alliance's object
to topple Saddam Hussein, which would have been militarily difficult and
probably unsustainable at home.
Mr Beeston seems to argue that if Primakov had got Saddam to take his
soldiers out of Kuwait without bloodshed, and "Operation Desert Storm [had
been brought] to a halt before it had even begun", everyone would have been
worse off. Why?
(Ambassador to Moscow, 1988-92),
79 Hampstead Way,
London NW11 7LG.
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