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Johnson's Russia List


April 5, 1999    
This Date's Issues: 3226  

Johnson's Russia List
5 April 1999

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Katherine Dolan: Sea Change on Itogi?
2. Christian Science Monitor: Andrei Zolotov Jr., First Yugoslavia, 
tomorrow Russia?

3. Christian Science Monitor: Michael McFaul, NATO's collateral damage 
in Russia.

4. The Times (UK): Anna Blundy, "Buy it and you have to obmyt it..."
5. Peter D. Ekman: Moscow MBAs.
6. AP: Government To Honor Cold War Vets.
7. Washington Post: David Hoffman, Attacks Stir Cold War Feelings in Russia.
8. New York Times: Floyd Norris, The Russian Way of Corporate Governance.
9. Baltimore Sun: In Moscow, kitchen-table surgery. (Veterinarians).


Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 
From: "Katherine H. Dolan" <>
Subject: Sea Change on Itogi?

Last night on NTV's weekly news summary, Itogi, Evgenii Kiselov signalled
what could be a major change of direction in the country's reporting on the
war in Yugoslavia. Before switching to the live coverage from Belgrade, he
for the first time warned us that their reporter there was limited in the
kinds of material he could send back to Moscow, and we saw the burning
Interior Ministry building, and again the bombed out bridge at Novy Sad.
After Belgrade signed off, we saw for the first time detailed footage of
refugees arriving in Macedonia from Kosovo and were given some numbers to
put with it -- 200,000 was the approximate figure. We then heard from Pavel
Lapkov, the correspondent in Macedonia, that most of those fled not from the
NATO bombing nor the Kosovo Liberation Army but from the "ethnic
cleansing". The people he interviewed described Serbians coming to their
apartments and forcing them out. "They knew who we were and where we lived,"
one interviewee said. We were then shown a rather gruesome amateur video
that purported to be ethnic Albanian civilians shot by Serbian military
units. One man interviewed about the tape said that one of those shot was a
neighbor of his, not involved in any military activity. Then began perhaps
the most interesting part of the program -- a live interview with former
foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev and former vice President and current
governor of the Kursk region, Alexander Rutskoi. Rutskoi's comments were
predictably supportive of Milosevic and critical of NATO in general and the
U.S. in particular. It was Kozyrev who delivered the surprise. He suggested
that it was not in Russia's interest to support such an "odius" person as
Milosevic, whose policies included ethnic cleansing not only in Serbia, but
earlier in Bosnia as well. He emphasized that it was not just the U.S.
involved in Yugoslavia but 19 NATO countries, and that it was surely
ridiculous to consider countries like France and England as mere "colonies"
of the U.S., without independent interests and policies of their own. He
went on to point out that three former Warsaw Pact members, two of whom
were also Slavic, had hastened to join the "aggressor" NATO alliance as soon
as possible, suggesting that most of Europe was at least united in opposing
Milosevic's behavior. He then asked rhetorically why Russia considered its
friends to be Milosevic, Saddam Hussein and Colonel Kaddafi. Other points
were touched on as well, including the fact that the NATO attack had
produced few or no verifiable deaths, unlike the Serbian actions in Kosovo,
or the Russian war in Chechnya.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive summary of the program, a thorough
viewing of which I would say is de rigueur for American and other NATO
policy makers. For those of us who are simply observers it also raises an
interesting question. Who signalled this change and why? 

Katherine H. Dolan
American Institute of Business and
Economics, Moscow


Christian Science Monitor
5 April 1999
[for personal use only]
First Yugoslavia, tomorrow Russia?
By Andrei Zolotov Jr.
Andrei Zolotov Jr. is a staff writer at The Moscow Times, an 
English-language daily. 

Why do russians like Serbs? Don't they think of Slobodan Milosevic as a 
genocidal dictator deserving of all the firepower NATO can deliver? These are 
the questions I'm peppered with by American friends and colleagues as my 
fellow Russians go to the streets over NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia. 

First, I say, listen to Russian nationalists' favorite slogan: "What is 
happening to Serbia today will happen to Russia tomorrow." 

At both emotional and practical levels, the pounding Yugoslavia is taking 
reminds us of our cold war loss, and it's an uneasy feeling. 

Serbia is an emotional touchstone because - just like Russia - it is a Slavic 
nation of Orthodox Christian heritage, squeezed between West and East on the 
border of European civilization. Both have large Muslim minorities with 
various degrees of local nationalism. Both Serbian and Russian identities 
were shaped over centuries of grueling defense against foreign aggression. In 
this century, we were allies in two world wars, and Serbia was also home to 
hundreds of thousands of Russian emigrés who fled the Bolshevik revolution. 
With such a shared history, we understand very well why Serbs wouldn't accept 
a foreign occupation to enforce "peace" in Kosovo. 

On an emotional level, Russians can't help but sympathize with "brother" 

So, during the past 10 years of civil wars in the former Yugoslavia, when 
atrocities were committed on all sides, the Russian media have demonstrated 
perhaps the same degree of slant in favor of Serbs as the Western media have 
shown against them. 

Russians who wanted to listen knew that Milosevic was a dictator and that he 
has encouraged ethnic cleansing. But they also know that similar ethnic 
cleansing was applied to Serb minorities in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. 

Russian nationalists and Communists have trumpeted their support for 
Milosevic because they envy his dictatorial powers and popular support. But 
to secure the same position at home, they lacked two crucial things: a clear 
enemy and a state of war. Now NATO has given them both. And this is where 
emotion gives way to practical considerations. 

Fear of NATO expansion takes shape in the form of military aggression against 
Russia's traditional ally, Serbia. At the same time, Russia is so weak that 
it can do nothing to prevent it. 

It doesn't feel good. So anti-Western rhetoric falls on fertile ground in 

For the last decade, Russians have seen a lot of arrogant apostles of Western 
civilization who came to preach "democracy" and "market economy" with little 
regard for Russia's 1,000-year history. 

Economic policies, which were championed and bankrolled by the West, brought 
poverty to the vast majority of Russians and a huge foreign debt. Openness to 
global markets resulted in economic collapse last August. Young reformers, 
the West's best bet in Russian politics, turned out to be corrupt builders of 
crony capitalism. 

And in geopolitical terms, the loss of the cold war meant we lost our empire 
and all of our allies, while the widely hailed "partnership" with the West 
feels like a deception. Even before NATO's action in Yugoslavia, it was clear 
that both the expansion of the Western alliance and the establishment of 
European Union are excluding Russia from, not integrating it into, the new 
world order. 

The implications churn up not just Communists, but Russian liberals, 
centrists, and people of no political affiliation. Doubt swirls and we ask 
ourselves: Would the US bomb Russia over Chechnya? Would NATO interfere in 
the oil-rich Caspian basin, which Washington has declared within its sphere 
of interests? Will NATO troops arrive in the Baltics, a one-hour flight from 

The answers, shadowed by the NATO bombing in Serbia, are not consoling. 
Russia is indirectly being bombed back into its old isolationism and 

This is a victory for nationalists and Communists and proponents of a strong 
state, who already have an upper hand in Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov's 
government and control parliament, which is shelving Start II and talking 
about putting nuclear missiles back in Belarus and Ukraine. 

Washington policymakers rightly calculated that present-day Russia is too 
weak, too preoccupied with internal problems, and too dependent on Western 
money to go to war over Serbia. But in the long run, the policies of a global 
policeman are certain to backfire. 


Christian Science Monitor
5 April 1999
[for personal use only]
NATO's collateral damage in Russia
Bombing of Serbs strengthens militant anti-Western forces and threatens 
By Michael McFaul
Michael McFaul is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for 
International Peace, in Washington, and a professor of political science at 
Stanford University in California. 

Although few in washington have noticed, US-Russian relations have entered a 
new era with the NATO bombing of Serbia. 

Before Serbia, anti-Americanism in Russia was an elite sentiment. After 
Serbia, anti-Americanism is rapidly becoming a populist cause that penetrates 
every segment of Russian society, including most ominously, young people. The 
Clinton administration should not be lured into complacency by official 
Russian statements pledging continued cooperation with the West. While 
Russia's rulers may adhere to the pragmatism of continued engagement with the 
US, they could quickly become prisoners of popular anti-American hysteria. 
After all, Russia will elect a new parliament this year and a new president 
next year. Before permanent damage is done, US officials must rethink 
engagement strategy with Russia. 

Anti-American sentiment in Russia is nothing new. What is new about this 
crisis is who is now joining the anti-American chorus. Traditionally, 
Russia's foreign policy elite rant about US hegemony while Russian 
grandmothers show up at anti-American demonstrations. But last week it was 
young people throwing beer bottles at the US embassy in Moscow and organizing 
university teach-ins. In a first, Russian yuppies have joined skinheads in 
protesting against US "hegemony." Burned by the financial meltdown last 
August, Russia's young elite may no longer believe their future is best 
served by Western integration. 

Communist and nationalist leaders, of course, couldn't be more pleased. NATO 
bombs dropping on their Serbian brothers give them great footage for their 
campaign clips for the upcoming parliamentary election. Every Russian 
pollster and campaign consultant I've talked to predicts that the NATO 
bombing will enhance the electoral prospects of communists and openly fascist 
groups and revive the waning career of neonationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky. 
President Boris Yeltsin also welcomes this new burst of anti-Americanism as 
it diverts attention from impeachment proceedings and corruption charges 
levied against his administration and family. 

This new situation within Russia is dire. If militant anti-Western forces 
sweep into power after the next elections, Russian democracy may falter, 
economic reform will halt, and US-Russian relations will take a dramatic turn 
for the worse. To limit the damage, the administration must rethink its 
strategy of engagement with Russia. The battle for Russia has moved from the 
diplomatic hallways to the streets of Moscow. The US strategy for engagement 
must respond to this new battlefield terrain. 

In the short run, US officials must articulate clearly and often the 
reasoning behind NATO actions in Yugoslavia. Western officials (preferably 
from European NATO members) should appear on Russian TV, write articles for 
Russian papers, and meet frequently with Russian leaders to explain NATO's 
mission in Serbia. Of course, the immediate reaction will be overwhelmingly 
negative. Saying nothing, however, fuels the belief that the US has a secret, 
sinister plot to destroy Serbia today and Russia tomorrow. If US officials 
don't explain their policy, Russian fascists will do it for them. 

In the medium run, US officials must take very seriously the Russian mission 
to mediate between NATO and Serbia. Although Prime Minister Yevgeny 
Primakov's attempt to broker peace with Iraq in 1991 was a disaster, this is 
a different kind of war and a different Primakov. As prime minister of a 
country on the verge of economic collapse, he knows he can't defy the West 
for the simple pleasure of defying the West. He has real financial interests 
in maintaining engagement with the West. 

If a new round of peace negotiations begins, the Russians must be given a 
higher profile in the process. Russia or Ukraine should be the location of 
the next set of peace negotiations. NATO officials should even consider 
working with Russian troops in a peacekeeping mission in Kosovo if a peace 
settlement is reached. 

In the long run, the US must reinvigorate its training and exchange programs 
targeted at Russia's youth. The US should fund thousands - not hundreds - of 
Russian students to study at American universities. Likewise short-term youth 
exchanges should be increased dramatically and immediately - our best 
propaganda for Western values is the American system and the American people. 

If Russia's 18-year-olds turn against the US, then the NATO campaign in 
Serbia will truly have undermined the most important US strategic interest of 
this decade - Russian reintegration into the West. 


The Times (UK)
April 5 1999 
[for personal use only]
Anna Blundy 
'If you buy anything of value, you drink to it. This applies to cars, fur 
coats . . . anything the purchaser feels he can't afford, if the truth be 

Buy it and you have to obmyt it. Russians are very superstitious people and 
any purchase that has not been satisfactorily obmyted is liable to find 
itself lost, stolen, vandalised or otherwise rendered useless to the owner. 

This superstitious attitude to life is highly infectious, and it takes only a 
month or two of residence to find oneself forbidding people from whistling 
indoors (you will be penniless for ever), refusing to sit at the corner of a 
table (you will never marry), avoiding shaking hands across the threshold (a 
bad omen for friendship) and always putting empty bottles on the floor (not 
sure about this one, but it is probably something to do with avoiding 
confusion in your drunken stupor over which bottles are still of use and 
which are not). 

The obmytiye, however, is a different issue entirely. As much a tradition as 
a mere superstition. A part of national heritage and a process considered to 
be a cheap alternative to expensive, and anyway hugely unreliable, insurance. 

To the Westerner it can be the cause of great confusion. The first time I 
ever came across it (I realised in retrospect) was ten years ago when I was 
forced to participate in a vile, drunken evening at a Korean restaurant that 
served only mushrooms in soy sauce, and sliced cucumber (there were shortages 
in Moscow back then). The entertainment was a strip show that began at 6pm 
and involved some bored teenagers in yellow leotards writhing round the 
largely empty tables. 

Sasha, a terrifying thug, spent the whole evening toasting his new car, which 
seemed to me the height of vulgarity and bad taste. It brought out the worst 
in me, and, as a kind of anti-materialistic backlash, had me up on my feet 
every few minutes making toasts to world peace, the love of my neighbour and 
the spirituality in all of us. 

It seemed depressing that people who only a year or so earlier had amazed me 
with their apparent absence of consumer psychosis and their heightened 
appreciation for the finer things in life had so quickly transformed into the 
worst kind of suburban American property enthusiasts. Not only was property 
suddenly not theft, it seemed to be a human right. Little did I know. 

Years later I got off a boat in the Volga town of Togliatti and bought a 
ceramic blue and gold fish-shaped decanter with some charming little shot 
glasses to match. As I re-embarked, a trumpeter told me I should obmyt the 
set later. Since obmyt comes from the words "to wash", I thought: "He's 
right. I must give it a rinse," and I wandered off back to my cabin. I had no 
idea that he was in fact inviting me for a drink. 

It all became clear when a friend recounted a fur-coat-buying trip to Greece. 
Olga and her husband had taken a cruise around the Mediterranean with the 
object of buying this coat (they are apparently cheaper there than in Russia 
and are obligatory winter wear for women here). Safely back en route for 
Russia, Olga's husband spent three days obmyting the coat with some friends 
he had made at the bar. I imagined him hanging over the side of this ship 
washing it in the sea for three days. When she explained what he was actually 
doing, it was even stupider. 

Basically, if you buy anything of value you have to drink to it. This is 
similar in concept to wetting the baby's head, but in Russia it applies to 
cars, fur coats, televisions and anything else that the purchaser feels he 
cannot really afford, if the truth be known. 

Obmytiye is taken very seriously indeed here. Another friend of mine recently 
had her car stolen and called the police to report the crime. "Did you obmyt 
the vehicle, madam?" they asked, as though asking whether or not it was 
legally insured. "Actually, no," she replied. "We had to go away the day 
after we bought it and we never got round to it." 

The policemen rolled their eyes, tutted and shrugged their shoulders. They 
seemed to be saying: "Why should we investigate the theft of this car when 
its very owners cannot be bothered to look after it properly?" Everybody has 
proof of the obmytiye - stories about the appalling disasters that befell 
items they stupidly neglected. 

Now your Western cynic might think that this is just another Russian excuse 
for drinking as much as possible, but I attended a fur-coat obmytiye last 
week, and sitting around it, drinking champagne and discussing its virtues, 
one did feel that even if it did get stolen or lost in the near future, at 
least it had been fully appreciated first. 


From: "Peter D. Ekman" <>
Subject: Moscow MBAs
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 

Moscow MBA Case Competition

Six of Moscow's top business schools will compete head-to-head
in the Moscow MBA Case Competition, organized by the American Chamber
of Commerce's Human Resource Committee. Groups of four students will 
have one night to prepare a case on international business, and then make
a 30 minute presentation in the Harvard case format the following day to a
of distinguished judges. The presentations are open to the public from 1:30
to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, April 10 at the Renaissance Hotel (18/1 Olympisky 
Prospect - nearest Metro, Prospect Mira). Admission is free. An awards
ceremony will follow and scholarships will be presented.
The students will be on the firing line, forced to
test their business knowledge, and analytical techniques in proposing
solutions for real-world business problems to demanding business
executives. The short preparation time will give them a perspective on
meeting business deadlines while engaging in teamwork with their peers.
Business people can learn about the business education alternatives
in Moscow, evaluate Moscow's MBA programs, and, perhaps, even find and 
recruit a future star employee. Prospective students should find the
program helpful in choosing a business school.
The competition will feature MBA students from the American Institute
of Business and Economics, the Higher School of Economics, the Institute of 
Business Studies, California State University - Hayward, Moscow State
and Moscow University Touro. McKinsey and Company will provide the cases -
one for the English-language competition and one for the Russian-language
competition -
and several of the judges. Other judges will be prominent members of AmCham
and the
Russian business community. American Express, Coca-Cola Export Corporation,
Kapital, and Pratt & Whitney are sponsoring the event.


Government To Honor Cold War Vets
April 4, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It was a different kind of conflict, a 46-year face-down 
between adversaries with enough weapons to destroy the world but never 
willing to use them against each other. Its end brought no peace treaty, no 
parade of heroes.

But the Cold War was a war, the United States won, and the victors were 
ignored, Army veteran Mark Vogl insisted.

So Vogl began a letter-writing, signature-gathering crusade in 1994 from his 
Bay Shore home on New York's Long Island to get recognition for the men and 
women who served.

On Monday, his efforts are being rewarded.

The Defense Department will begin taking applications from those who served 
during the Cold War for a ``Cold War Recognition Certificate.''

``All members of the armed forces and federal government civilian personnel 
who faithfully served the United States during the Cold War era'' are 
eligible, a Pentagon Web site said.

It also specifies the dates: Sept. 2, 1945, the date Japan surrendered after 
World War II, to Dec. 26, 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as Soviet 
president and the Soviet Union was disbanded.

An estimated 22 million people meet the eligibility requirements. An 
application letter with a document proving service during the period is 
enough to show the applicant served honorably, the Pentagon Web site said.

The certificate is symbolic. No financial reward is involved.

But Vogl, 43, said it goes a long way toward showing the role of those who 
fought to keep the protagonists at bay as the United States and the Soviet 
Union raced to pump up their nuclear arsenals.

``This is probably the most significant human event since we've been alive,'' 
Vogl said of the Cold War. ``There was no nuclear war, Germany was reunited, 
the possibility of a European confederation all of a sudden becomes a real 
possibility. The whole world is different now because of what happened then.

``But it just sort of went away.''

Vogl began his lobbying effort with a Cold War recognition resolution to his 
county's chapter of the veterans' group AMVETS. The resolution passed and 
sailed through national AMVET ratification at the group's annual convention 
in 1995.

Vogl, whose wife worked for Rep. Rick Lazio, R-N.Y., approached the 
congressman about sponsoring legislation. Lazio jumped on board, and the 
recognition gesture was written into the 1997 defense budget to take effect 
this year.

``America's victory in the Cold War was too much like winning the World 
Series in an empty stadium,'' Lazio said. ``There was no ticker tape parade, 
... yet the people who represented our country's military during this period 
are responsible for a huge victory over the Soviet Union that saved mankind 
from nuclear holocaust.''

Jack Smith, New York commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, which 
represents combat veterans, said Vogl's campaign was a good idea and would 
not demean combat veterans' position. ``It's a fine thing,'' Smith said. ``It 
would be nice to have them recognized in some form.''

Those who serve in combat receive campaign medals.

Information about the Cold War Recognition Certificate is at or by mail at Cold War Recognition, 4035 Ridge 
Top Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030.


Washington Post
April 4, 1999
[for personal use only
Attacks Stir Cold War Feelings in Russia
Balkans Conflict Compounds Heightened Suspicions of the West
By David Hoffman

MOSCOW, April 3—Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was asked in the lower house of 
parliament last weekend whether Russia should send a few warships to the 
Mediterranean as a show of force against the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia.

Ivanov quickly rejected the idea. "Just sending ships from Murmansk to Greece 
is not going to stop the aggression," he said.

But four days later, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev announced that Russia was 
sending a reconnaissance ship to the Mediterranean, and was preparing to send 
as many as six more. "We must ensure the security of Russia," he insisted.

The abrupt turnabout speaks volumes about the whirlwind of anti-Western 
feeling that the NATO attack on Yugoslavia has stirred here. For Russia, the 
airstrikes have been a moment of truth, revealing a vein of unease and 
suspicion about the West -- especially the United States -- that analysts say 
is stronger than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The doubts are the results of various factors and perceived betrayals -- from 
pledges that an expanded NATO would be purely defensive to the U.S. decision 
to move ahead on an anti-ballistic missile system to Russia's economic 
meltdown last August, which discredited Western economic ideas here.

"It's a full-blown crisis, the first real crisis since the end of the Cold 
War" in Russian-U.S. relations, said Sergei Rogov, director of the Institute 
for the Study of the U.S. and Canada here. "It covers economic relations, 
foreign credits, debts, sanctions, arms control, START II, the ABM treaty 
and, I am afraid, a few others.

"It's a bad crisis which could have very long-term implications for 
Russian-American relations, producing something between disengagement, 'cold 
peace' and maybe even something more serious."

In recent days, President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov 
have been buffeted by the anti-American sentiment. They have responded with 
selective withdrawal from military agreements while holding back from far 
more serious measures demanded by nationalists and Communists in parliament.

The rhetoric has been white-hot, with Russians accusing the United States and 
NATO of "genocide" in Yugoslavia, of supporting Kosovo Albanian separatists 
with "narco money," of seeking world diktat and of using the Balkans as a 
proving ground for new, high-technology weapons.

In its actions, however, Russia has been more restrained. Russia canceled 
meetings with Western military experts, ousted NATO military attaches, 
rejected plans for sharing early warning missile launch data with the United 
States, and shelved, once again, parliamentary ratification of the strategic 
arms treaty. The first ship that Russia is sending to the battle zone is the 
Liman, a 27-year-old, 60-man electronic spying vessel from the Black Sea 
Fleet that carries eavesdropping gear but no rockets.

Russia so far has not announced plans to break the United Nations arms 
embargo and ship weapons to Yugoslavia, and there has not been a major 
disruption of U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear and chemical arms 
dismantlement. However, Col. Gen. Leonid Ivashov, head of the military's 
international department, told reporters today that the Russian Defense 
Ministry has severed all contacts for the next few months with countries in 
the "criminal organization" of NATO.

And some analysts worry that sentiments are so strong that anti-Western 
reactions could spin out of control.

"I'm afraid that now it is serious; we see some sort of consensus in society 
which we haven't seen since 1991," said Alexander Pikayev, a nonproliferation 
specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Center here. 
"Then, it was a broad anti-communist consensus. Now, unfortunately, we face a 
strong anti-NATO consensus, which could have a very dramatic impact on the 
overall U.S.-Russian relationship.

"In August, we saw the collapse of Yeltsin's market-reform policy and in 
March, we saw the collapse of Yeltsin's foreign and security policy."

Analysts have predicted that economic hardship and humiliation could trigger 
a retreat from market democracy here. But until recently, the economic woes 
of post-Soviet Russia seemed to have created a benign isolationism. Russians 
were too preoccupied with survival to be outraged about their weakening 
influence abroad.

But the Yugoslav crisis is changing that. "What you have today is, the 
anti-American sentiment is enormous," said Rogov, of the U.S.-Canada 
institute. "This is very bad. It is something that can be used against 
economic reform, especially since the people who are blamed for the economic 
collapse are also the people who are friends of the United States . . . It 
was coming to the surface before. Now, it is a sea change.

"There is something personal in the attitude of Russian leaders," he added, 
recalling earlier claims of a friendship between President Clinton and 
Yeltsin. "The president feels that his friend Bill is not such a friend at 
all, who simply does not pay attention. 'What friend?' Boris is saying."

[In Washington Friday, Clinton said he believes the Russians "are looking for 
ways to continue to oppose what NATO is doing, but to leave open the prospect 
that they could play a very constructive role in making peace. I don't think 
anyone wants to see this conflict escalate, and I certainly don't believe the 
Russian government does."]

In a nationwide survey last week, the Public Opinion Foundation, one of 
Russia's leading polling organizations, found overwhelming opposition to the 
NATO attacks. The group reported that 92 percent of those surveyed were 
against the NATO bombing and only 2 percent supported it. The poll found an 
unusually high level of awareness about the NATO strikes; fewer than once 
percent said they knew nothing about it.

Andrei Kortunov, a political analyst, said that Russia has lost confidence in 
the West in the wake of the ruble's devaluation and debt crisis last August.

"One of the problems today is that we had a narrow but vocal stratum which 
favored better relations with the West," he said. "It is nearly nonexistent 
right now. The middle class was a major social base for better relations with 
the West, and it is now disintegrating. There is very little to replace this. 
. . ."

There are still some checks and balances. One is Russia's continuing 
dependence on Western financial aid, underscored by the ongoing negotiations 
with the International Monetary Fund for new loans. But this dependence is 
increasingly unpopular. According to the Public Opinion Foundation poll, when 
asked last year whether the IMF brings benefit or harm to Russia, 17 percent 
said benefit and 19 percent said harm and 46 didn't know. But today there is 
a major shift: 14 percent say benefit, 43 percent say harm, and 28 percent 
know nothing.

However, one small contrary sign appeared in a call-in survey by Echo of 
Moscow, a popular radio station. When listeners were asked if they were 
prepared to give up using American dollars to protest the airstrikes, the 
answer was unequivocal: 77 percent said no, and 23 percent said yes. 


New York Times
5 April 1999
[for personal use only]
Editorial Observer: The Russian Way of Corporate Governance 

As Russia pleads with the International Monetary Fund for money to keep
it from defaulting on its international debts, the country's Government
seems to believe that an I.M.F. seal of approval will lead to a resumption
of the flow of private capital into the country. Don't bet on it. 

To understand why private investors should be hesitant, consider the case
of Yukos, Russia's second-largest oil producer, which is run by Mikhail
Khodorkovsky, a well-connected Russian oligarch. 

The tale is a complex one, in which paper is shuffled as rapidly as aces
in a game of three-card monte, in which judges with no apparent
jurisdiction issue rulings, and in which oil is sold for absurdly low prices. 

The losers are investors in the three oil companies that Yukos controls,
known as Yuganskneftegaz, Samaraneftegaz and Tomskneft. Once those were hot
stocks; now they are all but unsaleable. An investment of $3,000 at the end
of 1996, divided equally among the three, would have grown to more than
$11,000 by the following August. Now it is worth about $150, down 98 percent. 

World oil prices are depressed, and Russia's economy is in crisis. But
those factors are not enough to account for the decline in share prices, in
which one subsidiary that produces oil worth $2 billion a year now is
valued at about $22 million. The price has tumbled as it became clear that
the shareholders would not benefit from the sale of that oil. 

This has happened despite Russian laws that purport to provide protection
for minority investors by giving them representation on corporate boards
and the right to veto deals smacking of conflict of interest. 

At shareholder meetings of the three subsidiaries last month, plans were
approved to allow Yukos to buy oil from the subsidiaries for three years at
$1.50 a barrel, about a tenth of the world oil price. Those meetings also
approved issuing huge quantities of shares to unnamed investors in return
for promissory notes issued by other Yukos subsidiaries. That will dilute
the rights of other shareholders. 

What happened to the Russian laws giving rights to minority holders?
Groups of such owners had vowed to defeat the proposals, but they were
barred from voting. A judge had ruled that since the minority holders all
planned to vote the same way, they must be in league with one another and
therefore in violation of antitrust laws because they had not registered as
such. The minority shareholders were not invited to the hearing that led to
the ruling. 

The shareholders managed to get another judge to rule that they could
vote at one of the meetings. But his ruling was simply ignored. 

Khodorkovsky claims the whole fight is about Western investors who have
illegally acted in concert and are trying to block good management, but the
investors say that the Yukos actions are appalling even by Russia's low
standards. "No one can believe that anyone would be so blatantly crude,"
complains Michael Hunter, the president of Dart Management and a director
of one of the subsidiaries, adding that Dart underestimated the level of
corruption when it made its investments. 

John Papesh of Misoli Enterprises, an affiliate of Dart, argues that
"This brazen asset grab takes the violation of Russian law and
international standards of corporate governance to a new low." 

If the Russian Government does nothing to protect the shareholders, it
will send a clear message. But even an honest government cannot protect
investors without help. 

The Yukos tactics are reminiscent of the fight for control of the Erie
Railroad in 1867 and 1868. Cornelius Vanderbilt tried to buy a majority of
the stock, only to find that directors led by Jay Gould were printing more
shares. Both sides got judges to issue rulings, amid suspicions of bribery.
For a time, Gould could not enter New York except on Sunday, when the
custom of the time barred people from being arrested. The minority
shareholders, most of them from England, were treated badly. 

None of that kept the United States from becoming the world's premier
economy. Along the way such abuses led to the rise of J. P. Morgan, whose
early power came from the fact that English investors trusted him. 

If Russia is ever to become an economic success story, its oil will play
an important role. But before that happens, a Russian Morgan -- someone who
understands Russian capitalism and earns the trust of overseas investors --
will have to come along to assure that a dollar invested is not sure to
become a dollar stolen. The Yukos affair shows Russia is a long way from
that goal. 


Baltimore Sun
April 2, 1999
[for personal use only
In Moscow, kitchen-table surgery
Veterinarians: Two doctors raised their incomes by treating sick animals at 
home instead of at clinics.

MOSCOW -- While Igor and Tatyana Myshkin were taking off their boots and 
putting on their hosts' slippers, the family was clearing the supper dishes 
from the kitchen table, making way for the operation.

The family's two children went into a bedroom and turned their music up loud. 
They said they didn't want to hear the cat's screams.

There was only one scream. It came from Tatyana. A moment before the little 
gray cat succumbed to the anesthetic, terror descended and she tried 
desperately to escape, badly clawing Tatyana, who had been gently holding and 
stroking her.

An hour later, the cat had been spayed and the Myshkins were packing up their 
instruments, heading for their next appointment. Igor and Tatyana are 
veterinarians who make house calls. They have no office -- their examining 
and operating tables are in the kitchens of their clients.

They are emblematic of the many Russians who have found imaginative ways to 
survive in a country where incomes are steadily dropping and where 
regulations and bureaucrats are often hostile to the small business owner.

"It's because of our poverty," Tatyana begins, talking about why they stopped 
working at a clinic and went on the road.

"Our universal poverty," Igor says.

Prices in veterinary clinics are too high for many impoverished Russians, 
Tatyana says, and clinics don't pay veterinarians very well. So she and Igor 
decided to cut out the overhead and go directly to their patients. Though 
they find themselves working late into the night and going without vacations, 
they can earn more money being self-employed.

"All you need is anesthetic and a car," says Igor.

Because they usually have to work in the evenings when their clients are 
home, they have given up most hopes of free time, but they have been able to 
buy a pleasant three-room apartment in a remote if bleak corner of 
southeastern Moscow. They even have a coffee machine and a dishwasher, rare 
luxuries for most Russians.

"This year we tried very hard to take off on New Year's Eve," Tatyana says, 
"but we weren't successful. We had to do an emergency Caesarean for a 

"We delivered 17 bulldog puppies," Igor says.

"And the mother didn't have a drop of milk," says Tatyana.

A visitor to their 13th-floor apartment arrived on a recent afternoon to a 
huge clamor of singing and shouting in the kitchen. The Myshkins' two large 
green parrots, Bolik and Lolita, were in loud conversation. The family also 
has a horse named Red (kept at a veterinary college's stable not too far 
away), a 5-year-old pug and an 8-month-old Himalayan cat. Their Rottweiler 
died not long ago.

Igor, 38, and Tatyana, 35, met when they attended veterinary school together 
-- a five-year course in Russia. They have a 13-year-old son, cared for by 
grandparents in the evenings.

On a typical day, they go out to their first call about 4 p.m. and don't 
return home until 2 a.m. or later. Throughout the morning, their beeper goes 
off incessantly. They get about 40 calls a day, sending them rushing off to 
one part of Moscow to stitch up a dog that has cut its leg and to the other 
end of the city to a cat declining from cancer. They put the cat to sleep.

Vaccinations, putting stitches in, taking them out, operating on tumors. 
About midnight, a family calls seeking urgent help. Their cat is in heat, 
yowling so loud they can't sleep.

The Myshkins drive to the other side of Moscow to give the cat a hormone shot.

"It would be cheaper to have the cat spayed than to keep calling us to give 
her shots," Igor says.

Spaying a cat at home ($14) is a great convenience in a country where the 
clinics are crowded and where pet owners are expected to take the animal home 
immediately after surgery.

Much animal care here is do-it-yourself anyway. Pet owners are expected to 
know how to administer shots, so they can give their animals drugs or 
vitamins or other treatment after a visit to the clinic.

And Russians love their pets so deeply that even though they're often willing 
to put up with slow and sullen clinic care for themselves, they want 
something better for their animals.

"If we are both ill, I take care of my dog first," says Alexander Sidorin, 
whose family owns a German shepherd named Dick, "because he is like a very 
close relative. He takes part in everything. He understands our mood. He 
speaks to us, sings with us, dances with us.

"For me, my dog is a friend who will never betray or cheat me. None of the 
human beings around me can be that faithful."

The Myshkins concentrate on cats and dogs. "Birds are very difficult to 
treat," Igor says, "and all we can do is give advice over the phone."

Lately, they've developed a busy pig castration season. Impoverished 
Muscovites have started buying baby piglets in the spring and raising them in 
their apartments, taking them to the countryside in the summer. If the pigs 
aren't castrated, the meat, they say, smells of urine.

"Then in the fall they kill the pigs, crying over it," Igor says, "and eat 
the meat."

They put about 50,000 miles on their car every year. Six months ago, they 
bought a new little Zhiguli, the boxy piece of tin most popular among 
Russians that cost about $8,000 then. Like most Russians, they have no 
insurance. A month ago, another driver ran into them, destroying their car. 
The other driver has no insurance, and no money for recompense.

So the couple bought a Moskvich, made in Moscow with a Renault engine and 
costing less than $4,000. "It would be a good car if it hadn't been assembled 
by drunkards," Igor says.

They carry their instruments in a small metal case. "Boiling water, please," 
they tell the owner of the little gray cat about to be spayed. They take the 
water and pour it into the case, putting the case onto a burner until the 
instruments are sterilized.

"The hands are most important," Tatyana says. "They have to be clean."

They ask for a trash bag. And for soap and a towel. They push the tablecloth 
aside and put the anesthetized cat on her back, using long white cotton 
straps to tie her down, tying the straps to the table legs. At this point, 
the owners leave the room.

When they return, the cat's midsection is wrapped in gauze. Tatyana asks for 
a clean dish towel, expertly snips four holes in it, cuts off material for 
ties and slides what now looks like a miniature hospital gown onto the cat, 
so it won't tear off the gauze. She tells the owner to buy a children's 
antibiotic -- available here without a prescription -- and give an eighth of 
a tablet to the cat every day for 10 days.

Now the beeper is calling -- "My cat is itching at the place next to his ears 
where there is no hair" -- the message reads. Igor is studying his map, 
preparing to head off to the next destination.

They love their work. They were born to it.

Translate their last name into English.

It means mouse.


Inter Press Service

MOSCOW, (Apr. 2) IPS - The people in the vast regions of the 
Russian Far East feel somewhat abandoned by distant Moscow, and are 
hurrying to forge closer ties with Asia-Pacific nations. 
Not everyone is comfortable with the idea and many perceive some 
threat from the south. But regional leaders like those in 
Khabarovsk, bordering China, say economics dictates little choice. 
"In the wake of market reforms in Russia we have a clear feeling 
that Far Eastern regions are getting pushed off the country's 
economic system, notably due to exorbitant transportation tariffs," 
Viktor Ishayev, governor of Khabarovsk region, said in an 
So, it is no big wonder these days that the Khabarovsk region in 
the Russian Far East is pursuing relations with Asian countries 
like China, Japan and Korea. 
During the Soviet era some nine-tenths of the region's output was 
consumed domestically, but these days some 85 percent of 
Khabarovsk's output is exported, Ishayev argues. 
"Our region is getting integrated into the Asia-Pacific, there is 
no alternative to that process," said Ishayev who is also member 
of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russian parliament. 
The Khabarovsk region is the rich but sparsely populated area in 
the basin of the lower Amur River, and a vast mountainous zone 
along the coastline of the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan. 
Just 1.6 million or about one percent of Russia's population live 
in this area of 825,000 sq km stretching from Siberia to the 
Khabarovsk, the second largest city in the Russian Far East of 
nearly 700,000, has international seaports, specializing in log 
handling and containers. 
Natural resources like timber, mineral deposits, and fish, are the 
cornerstone of the regional economy. Taiga in the north, and swampy 
forest in the south are the region's biggest natural treasures. 
But last fall timber resources dealt a heavy blow from forest 
fires. More than 1.5 million hectares of taiga have been destroyed 
since in Russian Far East, much of that in Khabarovsk region. 
The region has been prioritizing investments in mining and 
development of natural resources. More than 500 enterprises in the 
region have some degree of foreign investment, totalling 120 
million dollars, of which 105 are 100 percent foreign-owned. 
Economic problems prompted the setting up of the Association of 
Economic Co-Operation of the Far East and the Trans-Baikal area in 
The association groups 13 Russian regions, stretching over 40 
percent of Russia's territory and possessing huge natural wealth 
-- virtually all of the country's diamonds, two-thirds of gold <BR>
deposits, timber and fishery resources, Ishayev argues. 
Ishayev is also lobbying for the implementation of a long- promised 
federal programme to develop the Far East and the Trans- Baikal 
Khabarovsk region has more than 100 major industrial outlets, 
including the only steel-making plant and oil refinery in the 
Russian Far East. 
The city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur is a major hub of the military- 
industrial complex with shipyards and a plant producing Sukhoi-27 
jet fighters -- now for export to China and Vietnam. It is also 
steel-producing center, while a pipeline from an island of Sakhalin 
supplies the refinery in Khabarovsk city. 
In past decades the economy of the Khabarovsk region was developed 
as a source of natural resources and a hub of defense industry. But 
in recent years much of Russian defense sector came to a 
standstill, and whole cities are getting unemployed. 
Not surprisingly, within the past decade some 700,000 people have 
moved from the Far Eastern regions to European Russia. 
However, Ishayev is credited with keeping the economic and 
political situation in the region relatively stable, unlike the 
adjacent Primorie region plagued by endless turmoil. 
"Compared with many other regions, we are much better off," said 
Vera, a small trader of consumer goods from Khabarovsk city. 
"Unlike our neighbours, we are yet to suffer power cuts in winter, 
and our elderly people are getting their pensions in time." 
Ishayev, in power since 1991, has sought close cooperation with 
central authorities. But he says power-sharing agreements between 
Moscow and regional authorities would enable local governments to 
keep a larger share of tax revenues. 
After settling on the banks of the Amur river in 1649, Yerofei 
Khabarov, one of the first Russian pioneers in Siberia for whom the 
Khabarovsk region and city are named, said: "This will be a place 
of greater plenty." 
But these days the pride of early settlers is being replaced by 
fear of expansion and migration from the south. 
"The Chinese could just come and drive all of us out of our homes," 
Vera said in a typical reaction. 
Such fears are fueled by the sense of isolation often felt by 
Russia's Far Eastern population, who number some 10 million people, 
while hundreds of million live within China's northern provinces. 
Even Ishayev says Beijing aims to settle its surplus population in 
the Russian Far East and is waiting for Russia to allow the sale 
of land. Chinese officials deny the charge. 
While it is tricky to come up with concrete figures of Chinese 
immigration, Khabarovsk officials say up to one million people, 
mostly Chinese, cross the region's border in both directions every 
There has also been past suspicion of other Asians among Russians 
in the Far East. There were once hundreds of thousands of ethnic 
Koreans in the Russian Far East, until the Soviet dictator Stalin 
deported them to Kazakhstan. 
There has been migration back and now there are some 8,000 Koreans 
in Khabarovsk region, but the recent influx of South Korean 
investment here has not been universally welcomed. 
Still, Ishayev says: "We are not choosing our neighbors and we have 
to maintain friendly relations with China." 
Besides, he remarks: "In the wake of NATO's air strikes against 
Yugoslavia, I think we need a new military bloc that could include 
Russia, China, India and probably some other Asian nations like 
Indonesia to counterbalance NATO's might." 



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