This Date's Issues: 3237•
Johnson's Russia List
13 April 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AFP: Russian Newspaper: Chubais Could Take Premiership.
2. AP: Russia Seeks Court's View on Kosovo.
3. AP: AP, NY Times, WSJ Win Pulitzers.
4. Alvin Rubinstein: Re: 3235-the eXile/101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks.
5. Jeremy Baer: Re: JRL # 3235/ Ames and Taibbi on NATO.
6. Elizabeth Pond: New book and Washington event.
7. Boris Kagarlitsky: THE CLINTON DOCTRINE.
8. HELLO RUSSIA: HOW THE FRIENDSHIP OF TWO MEN DESTROYED RUSSIA and
FROM BIG POLITICS DOWN TO REGIONAL ECONOMY.
9. Vladimir Bukovsky: Re 3235-the eXile/101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks.
10. RFE/RL: Roland Eggleston, Europe/Russia: Basic Agreement Reached On
Conventional Arms Accord.
11. Komsomolskaya Pravda: They Will Pay the Debts with Berezovsky and
12. Woodrow Wilson Center: The Environmental Outlook in Russia:
An Intelligence Community Assessment.
13. Moscow Times: Gwyn Dyer, Behind Yeltsin's Threat.
14. Christian Science Monitor editorial: Stay Engaged With Moscow.
15. Reuters: Duma postpones Yeltsin impeachment vote.]
Russian Newspaper: Chubais Could Take Premiership
MOSCOW, Apr. 12, 1999 -- (Agence France Presse) Former Deputy Prime
Minister Anatoly Chubais is likely to be appointed to the post of Russian
prime minister in the event of an anticipated political shakeup, the daily
newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported Monday.
The newspaper, quoted by Moscow's Ekho Moskvy radio station, says
documents are already being prepared in the Kremlin to replace current
Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov with Chubais.
Predictions that President Boris Yeltsin will soon sack Primakov have
increased in recent weeks as relations between the two leaders appear to
Yeltsin, who appointed Primakov to the post in September under pressure
from the opposition, faces impeachment hearings in the Russian parliament
set to begin Thursday.
The impeachment issue has deepened the Kremlin-Primakov divide, which could
erupt into political chaos should Yeltsin actually sack his prime minister.
A move to appoint Chubais, disliked by the Communists and most Russians for
his disastrous economic policies in the early years of reform, would
almost certainly fail to win the approval of the Duma, the lower house of
Yeltsin then has the power to shut down parliament, call new elections and
nip impeachment in the bud.
Russia Seeks Court's View on Kosovo
April 12, 1999
By NICOLE WINFIELD
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Russia wants the World Court to determine the legal
consequences of NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia, which Moscow says violate
Ambassador Sergey Lavrov introduced a draft resolution Monday to a General
Assembly committee that deals with strengthening the United Nations and
upholding its charter.
Moscow has argued that NATO action over the Kosovo dispute is illegal
because the U.N. Security Council didn't explicitly authorize it. Russia
also says the strikes against its Serb allies violate the fundamental goal
of the United Nations, which is to maintain peace in the world.
The draft request doesn't mention Kosovo, NATO or Yugoslavia by name, but
diplomats said the intent of the resolution was clear: to give Russia
another chance to formally object to the NATO assault on its allies in
The draft cites the U.N. Charter in saying individual nations and regional
organizations cannot use force against sovereign states without the
authorization of the Security Council.
``No considerations, whether political, economic, military or of any other
kind, may be used to justify the threat or use of force in violation of the
Charter of the United Nations,'' it says.
It requests ``as a matter of urgency,'' that the International Court of
Justice give its opinion on the legal consequences such unauthorized
intervention would have for the United Nations and for peace in the world.
The court, also known as the International Court of Justice, is based in
The Hague, Netherlands, and handles disputes between states. It has no
enforcement powers and relies on voluntary compliance with its rulings.
U.S. officials said they were studying the Russian draft but noted that it
may be difficult for the court to even consider because the Russians were
asking for a ruling on a theoretical question -- not a concrete dispute
Russia brought its position before the 15-member U.N. Security Council last
month and was resoundingly defeated when it failed to get a resolution
demanding an end to the strikes.
AP, NY Times, WSJ Win Pulitzers
April 12, 1999
By BETH J. HARPAZ
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall
Street Journal each won two Pulitzers on Monday, and The Washington Post
was awarded the 1999 prize for public service....
The Wall Street Journal won for international reporting for coverage of the
Russian financial crisis.
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999
From: "Alvin Z. Rubinstein" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 3235-the eXile/101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks
Kudos to Ames and Taibbi for their "101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks."
After carefully reading through the list, I would like to suggest the
#102. After announcing that NATO had started bombing Serbia, President
Clinton, in one of his typical quickie exchanges with the sound-bite
sensitive media, assured us "he was reading up on the region." I wonder
what books he's read, and when he might be available for an extended quiz
on the subject.
#l03.In a remarkable, indeed unprecedented ,policy turnabout after
"consulting"(sic) with Albanian and refugees group leaders, President
Clinton changed his position on extending help to the needy. Instead of
airlifting 20,000 refugees to prepared housing and medical facilities at
Guantanamo Bay, they will be housed in Albania in quarters that have yet to
be built and cared for at facilities that are not yet operational. I
understand the politics --after all we wouldn't want refugees asking asylum
in Western countries---but the humanitarian aspect of the response escapes me.
#l04 Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did not engage in diplomacy at
Rambouillet but handed the Sebs a diktat. Presumably, this is one of the
lessons of Munich that she mentions so often. I, for one, would like to
know what lessons, precisely, she learned from Munich, and how they bear on
the present unfolding tragedy in the Balkans.
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999
From: Jeremy Baer <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: JRL # 3235/ Ames and Taibbi on NATO
Despite the unfortunate adolescent manner in which "The eXile" delivers
its commentaries, Ames and Taibbi are often thoughtful observers of
current events, and they have scored a bullseye on their criticism of
NATO's Yugoslavian campaign.
If rule number one in military strategy is to never become involved in a
land war in Asia, than surely rule number two must be never to become too
involved in the ancient hatreds of the Balkans. The efficacy of military
force in resolving Balkan disputes has been proven repeatedly through the
ages to be nill. Neither swords nor tanks nor stealth fighters can slay
the dragon of centuries old ethnic antagonisms. Anyone who thinks
otherwise is suffering the delusions of the Utopian rhetoric which the
White House grandeliquoently calls policy.
Those of us who subscribe to a fundamentally Realist conception of
international relations in the fine traditions of George Kennan and Henry
Kissinger view the recent NATO actions as absurd. Why is it, we ask, that
NATO should place its credibility on the line for a relatively weak and
resource poor land that, left to its own devices, poses little threat for
escalation into a Continental wide catastrophe? The most plausible worst
case scenario advocated by the doomsayers before the strikes was a war
involving several relatively weak powers, whose combined might was still
not a sufficient threat to the great powers of the EU and NATO.
War refugees, of course, is always a nuisance, but one which Americans
should conclude is a European problem and something which doesn't justify
sending their troops to the Continent.
To this it might be added that NATO's involvement did little to
further its stated goal of containing the refugee problem; quite the
contrary. To this it may be added further still that NATO's involvement
did not further its stated goal of reducing the likelihood of escalation;
quite the contrary yet again! What an amusing example of The Law of
Unintended Consequences. Bill Clinton's legacy will be to have created an
international relations textbook scenario of what NOT to do.
Then there is the Russian question. Yes, *the* issue which possesses the
most saliency for JRL leaders. Before NATO's eastward expansion and
subsequent slaughter of Orthodox Serbs, it was conceivable that NATO could
have established a strategic partnership with the Russian Federation.
Assuming the Russians could have one day overcome their economic stupor
and truly regained Great Power status, they would have been useful in
helping stem the possible contagion of Islamic Fundamentalism on their
southern border, not to mention offsetting China's expansionism on their
eastern sphere of influence.
Then there is Russia's nuclear arsenal. Before the Russians became
justfully enraged by NATO's actions they might have readily signed the
START II treaty years ago, thereby eliminating their number of warheads
and therefore the possibility one of these damned devices would
fall in the wrong hands. Surely, there can be no greater issue of national
and international security, no greater humanitarian concern, than to try
to save the world from the scourge of Russia's uncontrolled nuclear
stockpile. Surely, whatever the Serbs have done cannot compare in scope to
the specter of anti-Western terrorists acquiring Russian nukes.
Eliminating the bulk of Russia's nuclear arsenal would have been a cause
worthy of America and NATO.
But this is not how it passed. The powers that be decided that
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic's incorporation into NATO, and
NATO's Quixotic crusade for peace in the Balkans, was more important than
profitable relations with the world's second greatest nuclear power.
Ultimately, the inclusion of Russia into a cooperative security
arrangement with the West far exceeds in value whatever worth there is in
having the good will of the Poles, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Croats
or the Albanians. Russia is the pivot of Eurasia, and if to secure its
collaboration the interests of Eastern Europe and the Balkans had to be
sacrificed, well, so be it, that is the choice that should have been made.
The recent NATO expansion and air strikes, ultimately the result of
American leadership, confirm Samuel Huntington's recent thesis about the
United States as a "rouge superpower," a swaggering imperialist
juggernaught whose arrogance gets in the way of good policy and whose
attempt to impose its will through force will prove quite
counterproductive to its security. It is more comforting to
believe Huntington's thesis than the only other alternative possibility:
an America that quite simply does not know what the hell its doing
anymore in its foreign policy, or a NATO so desperate for a cause in the
post-Cold war world it mindlessly expands and wages undeclared wars.
The West in the 1990's had a glorious opportunity to cultivate Russia as a
viable strategic partner. Sadly, the opportunity was squandered. Now the
twenty-first century will open up with the US and NATO's misguided and
ultimately futile crusades, and the rest of the world's hostile reactions
to them. It's truly a pity that the people at "The eXile" have the brains
to figure this out and the great minds in Washington and Brussels do not.
Jeremy James Baer
Class of 1999
Political Science and Russian Area Studies
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999
From: Elizpond@aol.com (Elizabeth Pond)
Subject: New book and Washington event
Faithful DJL reader: Elizabeth Pond will talk about her new book (The Rebirth
of Europe, published this month by Brookings) at Olsson's Bookstore, Metro
Center, on Thursday, April 15, at 7 pm. Since the topic is the post-cold-war
dynamic in (Western) Europe, including the euro, "deepening," and "widening,"
the book deals with Russia only peripherally. It does explore the
dividing/connecting lines between Poland and Russia and Poland and Ukraine,
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999
From: email@example.com (Renfrey Clarke)
Subject: Kagarlitsky: The Clinton Doctrine
#THE CLINTON DOCTRINE
#By Boris Kagarlitsky
#MOSCOW - In 1968, when Soviet forces invaded Czechoslovakia, Western
journalists began speaking of a ``Brezhnev Doctrine''. Its essence
was simple: the sovereignty of the Warsaw Pact states was limited. If
something went amiss, the Soviet ``big brother'' would decide who
would be punished and how.
#Since then, an enormous amount has changed, but the desire of big
brother to poke his nose into other people's business remains
unaltered. Now that there is only one superpower in the world, the
right to judge and punish sovereign states has been taken over by the
president of the United States.
#In place of the Brezhnev Doctrine, we now have the Clinton Doctrine.
When the bombing of Yugoslavia began, it became clear that what was
involved was not just an attempt by a luckless womaniser to restore
the nation's respect for him by killing a few hundred or a few
thousand people. No, we were confronted with a developed political
concept, one that would be consistently put into effect. So what is
the Clinton Doctrine all about?
#If Louis XIV declared, ``The state? I am the state!'', American
leaders are now declaring, ``The world community? That's the US!''
How other peoples, and even their governments, might react to this
means nothing. The US, acting alone, decides on behalf of everyone.
Any need for the United Nations Organisation disappears.
#Democratic procedures in the countries of the West are also
superfluous. The second rule of the Clinton Doctrine can be set out
in this fashion: if the views of the people contradict those of the
US president, any genuinely democratic government will tell the
people to go to hell, and will act in line with its duty as an ally.
If a government pays any regard to the views of its citizens, then it
is not a truly democratic government.
#The third rule runs as follows: the US acts simultaneously as
accomplice, prosecutor, judge and executioner. The world leader is
not bound by any legal formalities. It is for the US president alone
to decide what is ``moral'' and what is not.
#US leaders constantly declare their determination to punish evil
dictators. But starting with Panama's General Noriega, whom the
Americans overthrew and put in jail on drug-trafficking charges, a
strange principle has applied. All the foreign leaders whom the US
has publicly punished have at one stage or another in their careers
been political sidekicks of the US. Noriega defended US interests in
Latin America, Saddam Hussein was supported as a counter-weight to
islamic Iran, and the US relied on Milosevic when it needed to force
the Bosnian Serbs to accept the US-formulated Dayton accords.
#Naturally, everyone the US punishes is an evil human rights
violator. The trouble is - so are those the US supports. No-one was
upset by Serbian policies in Kosova when the need was to strengthen
the West's positions in Bosnia. Turkey can carry out ethnic
cleansing, since Turkey is a NATO member. The US government can bomb
whoever it likes without having to answer morally, politically or
legally for its actions, so long as the victims are not American
taxpayers. The less logic here, the stronger the position of the US
as the leading world power, since everyone must feel constantly under
#Finally, the last rule of the Clinton doctrine: the technological
and military superiority of the US as the leading world power allows
it to do whatever it likes with total impunity. This final principle
underpins all the others. Victors, as we all know, are not put on
trial. Allies know that it is better to share in the triumph of force
than to attract suspicions of disloyalty. The victims understand that
resistance is useless.
#Victory wipes the slate clean. The human catastrophe in Kosova can
be put down to the evil deeds of the Serbs, especially since the
actions of the Serbian authorities in the region have indeed been
shocking. The hospitals and schools damaged by NATO's ``pinpoint''
bombing can be categorised as military targets, and the complaints of
the victims can be described as hostile propaganda. But all this
works only so long as the victory of the super-power is not in doubt.
What if doubts arise?
#The Clinton Doctrine suffers from the same problem as the Brezhnev
Doctrine before it. Such doctrines corrupt and lead into error the
people who proclaim them. Now that American bombs are falling on
Yugoslavia, and NATO is preparing to send ground forces, pessimists
are warning that for America, the Balkans could become a second
Vietnam. The pessimists are wrong. The Balkans will not be a second
Vietnam, but a European Afghanistan.
#The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan resulted from the complete
certainty of the Brezhnev Politburo, confirmed by its experience with
Czechoslovakia in 1968, that it could act with impunity. But unlike
the civilised Czechs, who knew it was pointless to fight against a
superpower, the Afghans had little grasp of geopolitics.
Consequently, they fought back, and the superpower turned out to be
strikingly weak. The USSR was incapable of waging a drawn-out
struggle, and as soon as this became apparent, its psychological and
``moral'' superiority vanished.
#In Clinton's response to the conflict in Kosova, there has been a
good deal to recall the mental habits of Brezhnev and his colleagues.
The destabilisation of the situation in the Balkans gave the United
States an opportunity to demonstrate once again the invincible power
of the Clinton Doctrine. NATO never tried to settle the conflict. Its
aim was quite different - to occupy the region. This was why the West
sought to bind both sides in Kosova to terms that were clearly
unacceptable, and which the Albanians as well as the Serbs tried to
resist; the Albanians agreed to sign the peace agreement only after
becoming convinced that the Serbs would not do so.
#US policy in the Balkans is justified on the basis that the wicked
Serbs have to be punished. But the Serbs now have their own
justification, in the need to stop the high-handed Americans. To any
normal human being, it is clear that Milosevic's policies in Kosova
have been monstrous. But the experience of recent years shows that
for a superpower to be able to act with impunity on a global scale is
far more dangerous. This is understood even by the Kosova Albanian
leader Ibrahim Rogova, who in a vain attempt to stop the NATO bombing
signed an agreement with his long-time foe Milosevic. But when the US
government has set itself up as the moral standard for the entire
world, it cannot take account of the views of Serbs, Arabs, Somalis,
or even of its own citizens, trying perplexedly to find Kosova on the
#The Clinton Doctrine is suffering the same fate in Yugoslavia as the
Brezhnev Doctrine suffered in Afghanistan. The resistance put up by
the Serbs is totally changing the rules of the game. The string of
NATO military failures is turning into a crisis of the whole system.
Once the US ceases to seem invulnerable, its special position in the
world, which allows it to ignore international law, also becomes
subject to doubt. Then everyone remembers their rights, and starts
putting up resistance.
#The growing military resistance of the Serbs, and the
disillusionment of many Kosova Albanians with their NATO
``protectors'', are part of a far more powerful shift whose symptoms
are apparent not only in the Balkans. The facade of loyalty mounted
by America's allies, like that of Brezhnev's allies in the Warsaw
Pact, overlies an enormous potential for popular revolt. During the
period of the Warsaw Pact, anti-Sovietism gradually became a general
ideology, uniting the profoundly dissimilar Poles, Hungarians,
Romanians and Afghans. There is nothing to bring people together like
the existence of a common enemy.
#NATO has survived the Warsaw Pact by a whole ten years. But there
are no eternal empires. The Pax Americana may turn out to be no more
durable than the ``fraternal alliance'' headed by the Soviet
From: "Tanya Samoiloff" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Hello Russia#30
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999
FREE RUSSIAN WEEKLY NEWSLETTER # 30
April 12 1999
II. HOW THE FRIENDSHIP OF TWO MEN DESTROYED RUSSIA
(Vuyacheslav Sukachev, Khabarovskye Izvestia, April 02)
"So, it comes. They are bombing. Today only Yugoslavia."
"And what did you expect? -said my German friend Henrikh Yeger - You are a
very lavish country. At first you gave out socialist countries. Than you
gave them Baltic countries. But this question can not be discussed over the
Yes, this problem can not be discussed even over free phone service.
The epoch of the clown's game between "friend Boris" and "friend Clinton" is
over. But the whole Russia bears the results of those two men's friendship.
It is even hard to understand what had happened with our country during the
last 10 years. So many stupid decisions and actions, that the question
arise: "Who benefits from all that? And WHY?"
I think it is time to call the names of the Russian traitors and thieves. It
is well known fact that fish rots from the head.
To the moment of the Yugoslavian aggression we have found Russia with
destroyed economy and military system. The military industries are dead, the
best army units and educational establishments are disbanded. The Kremlin's
Army reforms remind us the Hitler's tactics of the "burnt out territory". It
seems that we had the devastating war with a foreign invader. And who has
created those fat oligarchs and thieves-within-the code, which look down
with contempt at the impoverished Russian people.
Did you need all that? Did the people want that?
I think that the right address of the criminals is inside Sadovoye Belt.
Today NATO enjoys the right of supremacy to rake up with bombs ancient
European soil. Today they took the exclusive right to punish any 'guilty"
I shall explain to you the roots of the conflict.
Kosovo is the cradle of Serbian nation. There are over 1,000 of their
ancient temples and monasteries. To separate Serbia from Kosovo is like to
rob their history and national dignity. In recent history Serbia provided to
Albanians asylum on this territory, and than Serbs has found themselves a
national minority, as Albanians step-by-step forced out Serbs from that
Now about NATO's aggression. This is a spit on any international legal order
and norms. May be they don't remember that two world wars had started in
Balkans. But why do they provoke another war on the threshold of 21 century?
Just because they want to play with the military muscles. And all our
efforts to stop the bloodshed are rejected without any consideration. And we
deserve it. There was time to throw about stones, now comes time to gather
stones. Those are the results of our "reforms".
III. FROM BIG POLITICS DOWN TO REGIONAL ECONOMY
(Pryamurskye Vedomosty, April 06)
In the press conference Governor of Khabarovsk Krai Victor Ishayev reported
about his trip to Moscow.
Victor Ishayev is not satisfied by the state-of-the-nation address of Boris
Eltsin, as there are no clear strategy of exit from the crisis. "It contains
nothing new for us" - said Ishayev.
Governor had meetings with the new Chief of Presidential Administration A.
Voloshin and Vice-Premier V. Matvienko, but doesn't expect any support from
Moscow. "Our experience shows that in Moscow they immediately forget about
the region as soon, as I leave their office". Victor Ishayev has expressed
his resentment by the action of "baby-reformer" Boris Nemtsov, who before
leaving his post fixed the stamp about commissioning of the Amur-River
Railroad Bridge. Our former Vice-Premier explained to Ishayev that he had
found somewhere information in a press, about completion of the
>From discussions about the coming banking reforms our governor could not
find any benefits for regional banking system. The only positive was a
proposal of the Deputy Prime Minister Bulgak to prohibit venture operations
to the saving banks.
According to Yugoslavian events Victor Ishayev said the following: "During
the last few years our world became a one-polar. USA and NATO have
established their dictate over the world. Their aggressive behavior dictates
to Russia and its allies the necessity of creation of restraining of their
ambitions new block, similar to the Warsaw Pact".
Victor Ishayev shared his impressions about highly arrogant behavior of the
top ranking USA Navy admiral during the meeting of representatives of
Asian-Pacific countries in Manila. This admiral commanded the participants
and threatened them by military intervention. Considering that our Governor
refused to meet with the admiral during his visit to Khabarovsk.
As to Yugoslavia, our governor is critical about the policies of Milosevic,
but together with that thinks that Russia must provide help within the
framework of embargo.
From: "Vladimir Bukovsky" <Vladimir@vlakobuk.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Re: 3235-the eXile/101 Reasons Why NATO's War Sucks
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999
Thank you. I thought there are no intelligent Americans left in the world at
all. But, apparently, they all emigrated to Russia, (while most of
intelligent Russian have emigrated to America). Is this the root of all
problems? Cheers. Vladimir.
Europe/Russia: Basic Agreement Reached On Conventional Arms Accord
By Roland Eggleston
Prague, 12 April 1999 (RFE/RL) -- German officials and officials with the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) say that after
years of negotiations, agreement has been reached on the basic elements of
a new treaty restricting conventional weaponry in Europe.
German diplomats and OSCE officials, speaking on condition of anonymity,
told our correspondent that the basic agreement was reached last week in
Vienna, where the negotiations have been based.
The treaty would place limits on the number of artillery, tanks, armored
troop carriers, war planes and attack helicopters which can be held by any
individual nation. Another part restricts the number of reinforcements
which can be brought in from other countries.
NATO had earlier said the agreement would be "the corner stone" of a new
security regime in Europe. The aim is to ensure that in future, no single
country will be able to maintain military forces at levels which would
allow it to hold a dominating position on the European continent.
German and OSCE officials say that the basic agreement concluded in Vienna
last week has been accepted by 30 states, including Russia, Ukraine, the
United States and all other members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact.
Confirmation from other capitals was not immediately available.
The officials said the agreed treaty will be presented at this month's NATO
Summit meeting in Washington and the final text is expected to be signed at
a summit meeting of the OSCE in Istanbul in November.
The new treaty will replace the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE)
treaty limiting conventional forces on the continent, and several
amendments since then.
The German and OSCE officials said it was achieved only after difficult
negotiations in which all parties had to give way on some cherished positions.
They said that as an example, both Russia and NATO had to give way on some
measures involving the new members of NATO -- Hungary, Poland and the Czech
Republic. They said Russia also gave way on some of its positions about its
forces in the Caucasus.
The original 1990 CFE treaty was based on the total holdings of two blocs
of military power -- NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The new treaty would treat
every country individually. Each would be allowed a maximum number of
conventional forces of its own and each is allowed to deploy only a certain
number of foreign forces on its territory to make an overall limit.
German officials said that for example, Germany will be allowed a maximum
of 3,444 main battle tanks of its own. Other countries may station tanks in
Germany, but the overall total of both German and foreign tanks cannot
exceed 4,704. It is the same with artillery systems. Germany is to be
allowed 2,255 of its own but foreign countries can only deploy about half
that number on German soil.
German diplomats told RFE/RL that the expansion of NATO with the inclusion
of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary created problems which were
solved only after months of argument. Russia argued that the admission of
these states brought NATO's frontline closer to its borders and it was
entitled to special privileges to protect itself.
One argument focused on the maximum limits allowed each country. The
officials said it was defused only through a concession by the new member
states of NATO. They agreed that they would cut their forces to below the
levels originally proposed. The deadline for making these cuts is the year
2003. As an example, Poland will reduce the number of its main battle tanks
from 1,730 to 1,577 by then. The officials say that in another move to ease
Moscow's concerns, several states close to Russia's borders have agreed to
limit the number of foreign forces deployed on their territory. In return,
Russia agreed to concessions regarding the deployment of forces in
Kaliningrad and Pskov.
German diplomats said the purpose of these and other agreements was to
decrease tensions in the sensitive border areas between Russia and NATO.
Another problem which was resolved only after long negotiations was the
rapid deployment of forces in a crisis situation. Strict adherence to the
limits would have meant that only a certain number of foreign forces could
be sent to another country involved in a crisis. The United States, in
particular, insisted on more flexibility. Finally, Russia agreed with NATO
that in these exceptional circumstances two divisions of battle tanks,
armored troop carriers and artillery systems could be temporarily based in
the affected country.
The officials said that the so-called 'Flank Areas' covering Russia's Saint
Petersburg military district and the Caucasus created other problems.
Originally, Russia wanted to lift all restrictions on its deployment of
troops in these regions. There were objections from Turkey, Georgia, Norway
and some other countries. They argued that in theory this could allow
Moscow to station its entire armed forces on the borders in the south or
the north. Finally, Russia agreed to a system limiting the number of forces
it can move in and out of these regions according to the situation.
The document now agreed in Vienna is more than 100 pages long. Diplomats
describe it as a 'basic structure'. More months of negotiation will be
needed to refine the rough text and re-examine some of the details and
these could lead to new arguments. But the experts are confident it will be
ready for signing by the heads of state and government at the OSCE Summit
meeting in Istanbul in November.
Russia Today press summaries
12 April 1999 (?)
They Will Pay the Debts with Berezovsky and Smolensky's Money
According to anonymous top governmental officials, the decision to arrest
famous business tycoons Boris Berezovsky and Aleksander Smolensky was made
several weeks ago, during a visit to Moscow by International Monetary Fund
chief Michel Camdessus.
During talks on the problem of Russian foreign debt, Camdessus touched the
subject of capital flight from Russia, which figures from $200 billion to
$800 billion, according to various estimates. The idea then immerged that
the most scandalously rich "oligarchs" in Russia should be punished and
their bank accounts abroad seized with the help of Interpol. Camdessus
allegedly supported this proposal, and thus Russia managed to avoid
If this story is true, the daily wrote, then the myth that the oligarchs
are all-powerful in Russia will finally be dispelled. The state gave money
to oligarchs, and the state will take it away, the daily concluded.
The Environmental Outlook in Russia: An Intelligence Community Assessment
29 March 1999
Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington DC
Environmental Change and Security Project
George C. Fidas, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Global and
National Intelligence Council
D.J. Peterson, Resident Consultant, The RAND Corporation
Kenneth A. Thomas, Special Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for
Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Linda D. Wiessler-Hughes, Special Assistant to the National Intelligence
Officer for Science and Technology,
National Intelligence Council
The three immediate environmental and health threats facing Russians today
are water pollution, air pollution and municipal waste according to D.J.
Peterson of the RAND Corporation. Peterson made his comments at a meeting
convened by the Environmental Change and Security Project, for the release
of the National Intelligence Council (NIC) assessment of environmental
conditions in Russia entitled "The Environmental Outlook in Russia." Linda
Wiessler-Hughes and George Fidas, both from NIC outlined the goals of the
environmental assessment series and answered questions about data
collection for the Russia assessment. Kenneth Thomas, from the Department
of State, provided critical commentary on the analysis, and making
suggestions for items to be included in future assessments.
Wiessler-Hughes began the session by giving a brief overview of the report
and the NIC series of assessments. Prepared for U.S. senior government
officials, the report outlines trends in Russian environmental conditions
and identifies issues deemed critical from a United States security
perspective. The NIC conducted a prior assessment of Central and Eastern
Europe and plans future reports on South Africa and China. While noting
some of the findings, Wiessler-Hughes highlighted the data collection and
analysis role of MEDEA , a group of about 40 U.S. environmental and global
change scientists who have security clearance. The group is an outgrowth
of a CIA-sponsored Environmental Task Force formed in 1992 to use
classified systems to examine key environmental questions.
Building upon the Wiessler-Hughes' presentation, Peterson identified the
key environmental problems that plague Russia. Water pollution is the
leading environmental concern with municipalities acting as the main
culprit. Just over one-half of Russia's population has access to safe
drinking water while wastewater treatment systems are insufficient to meet
growing needs for municipal sewage. Secondly, although industrial air
pollution has gone down as a result of the economic downturn, air pollution
is still very high because auto emissions have shot up with the dramatic
increase in cars combined with a reduction in industrial sector spending on
environmental protection. The severity of air pollution is such that in
1996, the air pollution exceeded national standards in more than 200
cities. The third major immediate threat Russians face is municipal waste,
the result of poor infrastructure and rising consumption. Helping
municipalities provide basic services will have to be a critical element of
funding in resolving the severe health and environmental deterioration.
Having emphasized the basic environmental threats, Peterson then discussed
the international impact of Russia's pollution, particularly on
international water systems and air quality. The Caspian, Black and Baltic
Seas are heavily contaminated from Russian industrial effluents, other
hazardous waste, and municipal waste. Nuclear waste leakage is polluting
the North Sea as well as the Sea of Japan. Rivers such as the Volga are
not only polluted but carry the pollution to other waterways. Another
major global impact emanating from Russia is the effect of industrial
emissions including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Russia continues to
produce more than half of the world's supply of CFCs, the chemical
responsible for depleting the ozone layer.
Unfortunately, given extremely strained financial resources, not much is
being done to counter this environmental deterioration. Fewer technologies
to reduce pollution are being developed today then under the Soviets, and
while a plethora of strict laws have been passed, their effectiveness has
been extremely limited. The laws do not provide adequate guidance for
implementation and set unrealistic goals. The influence of strong
industrial and military groups hampers the implementation of the laws and
there is a continuing move towards greater secrecy. It is more difficult
to obtain information and even more difficult to publish examples of
environmental pollution. As a result of the economic crisis and the
greater restrictions in place to prevent disclosure, environmental activism
has been on the wane since the Soviet period. Few citizens have the
stomach to stand up against intimidation and while struggling to provide
basic necessities on a daily basis.
Summing up his remarks, Peterson stressed that substantial aid is needed
from the international community and listed three challenges that the
Russian government must overcome in order to resolve environmental
degradation. First, it must curtail lawlessness by enacting realistic,
enforceable laws, even revamping the tax code. Second, the government must
provide real incentives for domestic and foreign investment that focuses on
economic development, not just industrial development. Finally, dramatic
steps to ease poverty and reverse the economic decline are necessary to
institute change at the grassroots level.
Next, Ken Thomas enumerated the issues that have to be addressed in
intelligence assessments and the important role of data. Most important
according to Thomas, is the compilation and presentation of data to
demonstrate the nexus between problems and U.S. interests. He criticized
some pedagogical aspects of the report, noting the lack of a uniform use of
nomenclature. Areas that need the most attention need to be prioritized
and the report should be integrated into a holistic U.S. policy. In other
words, the intelligence assessments should go one step further and point
out the implications of what may be conflicting policy and policy goals.
He noted that an independent assessment monitoring and verifying the data
should be conducted in tandem with the intelligence reports. Finally,
Thomas concluded that the publication and release of this assessment was
testament to the progress within the U.S. government toward integrating
environmental concerns into the traditional foreign policy agenda.
Jessica Powers is Assistant Editor for the Environmental Change and
April 13, 1999
Behind Yeltsin's Threat
By Gwynne Dyer
Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist. He contributed this
comment to The Moscow Times.
I have seen President Boris Yeltsin drunk and I'm pretty sure I have seen
him sober, but unless he does something obvious like singing or falling
over, it takes a while to decide: Both his body language and his speech
patterns tend to blur the issue. So it's hard to judge how much thought
went into his blood-curdling remarks in a meeting with the State Duma
speaker, Gennady Seleznyov, televised Friday.
"I've told the NATO people, the Americans, the Germans: 'Don't push us into
military action. Otherwise there would certainly be a European, and perhaps
a world war,'" the Russian president said. And Seleznyov later added that
in portions of the interview not shown on television, Yeltsin also spoke of
re-targeting Russian nuclear missiles on NATO states.
It was just what the Western media needed on a slow day in the air war over
Yugoslavia, and they leapt on the notion of a new cold or even hot war with
Russia. But NATO's commander, General Wesley Clark, dismissed the threat:
"We're going to continue with the mission exactly as planned, regardless of
political and diplomatic atmospherics."
It was, indeed, just "atmospherics." As the White House spokesman David
Leavy said soon after the Yeltsin broadcast: "We've been officially
reassured by Russia at a high level that it will not allow itself to be
drawn into the conflict in the Balkans." That assurance probably came
directly from Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who has really been running
the country since the market crash last August destroyed most of Yeltsin's
So why did Yeltsin make these empty threats? It is not necessary to
conclude that he was drunk. He had a quite rational personal motive: to
ingratiate himself with a Duma dominated by Communists and right-wing
nationalists, both anti-Western in their attitudes, who may vote on his
impeachment in the coming week.
Yeltsin's wild talk was mainly designed to appeal to the emotions and
prejudices of the Duma, and of Russian public opinion in general. Which
naturally raises the larger questions: Why did Russians more or less freely
elect a Duma that is dominated by anti-Western attitudes, and why are
almost all Russians now in a state of utter outrage about the wicked things
NATO is doing to their gallant and innocent Serbian brothers?
The first question is relatively easy to answer. When the hopes that were
aroused by the overthrow of communism were betrayed by the new elite
(largely the old elite, after a quick change of ideological clothes),
popular resentment was directed not only at the cynical thugs who
"privatized" the old state-owned economy into their own pockets, but at the
Russia didn't actually get a free-market economy, but that's what Russians
think they have, and most of them don't like it, so they blame the West.
(One-third of them even believe that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a
NATO plot.) All of this builds on 75 years of Communist propaganda against
the corrupt and decadent West, and on traditions of anti-Western thought
that have even deeper roots in Russian history.
But there is a free press in Russia, and most Russians are well educated,
rational human beings. How can they blindly back the Serbs in this
conflict, ignoring all the evidence of massive crimes committed against the
Albanians of Kosovo? Inother places with a free press, many people question
the wisdom and the legality of NATO's use of force against Milosevic, but
relatively few doubt its motives: Kosovo is of no economic or strategic
value to anyone.
In Russia, virtually nobody believes that NATO's motives in Kosovo are
genuinely humanitarian, just as they cannot believe that the Serbs are in
the wrong. The bombing of Serbia therefore seems a malevolent, almost
incomprehensible act to Russians, and their media carry preposterous
theories to explain it. NATO needs Kosovo as a military base, or it wants
to test new weapons, or to create jobs by using up old weapons. Or maybe
it's a dress rehearsal for a Western conspiracy to use force to stop
developing countries from stealing their markets.
If the hordes of wretched refugees from the cleansing of Kosovo are shown
on Russian TV at all, it is implied that they are fleeing NATO bombs. And
this is not the result of official censorship and propaganda. It is
intelligent Russians trying to make sense of what is (to them)
It's not so much that they love the Serbs (though some are swayed by the
pan-Slavic slogans). They simply can't believe that in a conflict between
Christians and Moslems, Slavic Orthodox Christians can be the villains and
Moslems the victims. The notion just does not compute: All of Russian
history and culture tells them that Moslems are the enemy. So the war must
be about something other than protecting Moslem Kosovars from Serbian
Nothing can change this mind-set in under a generation. And nothing needs
to be done, because Primakov is not affected by these stereotypes. He is a
fluent Arabic-speaker with wide experience of the Moslem world - and he
knows enough about the Balkans to have no illusions about Milosevic.
Primakov, who will probably run for president next year, makes the
occasional pro-Serbian public gesture to cater to popular passions, but he
will never let himself be drawn into helping Milosevic militarily. Even in
Russian domestic politics, the real impact of the Kosovo conflict will
probably be slight - so long as it is over before the parliamentary
elections in December, and well before the presidential elections in the
summer of 2000.
Christian Science Monitor
13 April 1999
Stay Engaged With Moscow
The angry voices from Moscow blasting the NATO bombing campaign in
Yugoslavia can't be ignored. The Russians, as we recently noted, are
frustrated over their powerlessness in a region where they have historic
interests. But good NATO-Russia relations are a paramount interest of both
Thus the Oslo meeting planned for today between Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov is encouraging. While
the two have talked by phone since the beginning of the NATO campaign, as
have Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, a
face-to-face session will be even more useful.
Secretary Albright will likely reiterate, as have US and NATO spokesmen on
several occasions, that NATO's action is in no way directed at Russia. Nor
is it a model for any future action against Russia. NATO wants Russia as a
partner, not an enemy.
Several points should be kept in mind regarding the Russian rhetoric:
*The issue is a domestic political football in Moscow.
Leading the anti-NATO barrage is the Communist Party, which dominates
parliament and is whipping up emotions in advance of next year's elections.
The Communists and their fellow-travelers, neo-fascist nationalists, are
playing the foreign-devils card. They want to convince voters that the
blame for their economic plight lies in a Western plot to weaken Russia
rather than with those same Communists and nationalists, who have blocked
profoundly important reform legislation.
*President Boris Yeltsin is fighting for his political life.
Oligarchs once close to him are under investigation. Communist Duma
deputies have set an impeachment vote for Thursday; it will probably fail.
Yeltsin's need to look tough vis-à-vis the West may explain at least some
of his remarks.
*Russia is not going to intervene militarily, as its government has
Most interventionist talk comes from opposition politicians or generals who
clearly haven't visited the troops lately. Russian forces aren't in any
condition to intervene anywhere.
*The Primakov government won't endanger international loans to curry favor
with the Serbs.
Moscow desperately needs loans from the International Monetary Fund.
Without them, its economy will sink even further into chaos.
The US should work to keep Russia engaged in solving the Balkans crisis.
Moscow can still play a role in communicating with Serb leader Slobodan
Milosevic. Russian forces could participate in a peacekeeping operation in
Kosovo as they do in Bosnia.
The disagreement over Kosovo is bound to affect Russia's relations with
NATO. Western leaders must do all they can to repair the dam
Duma postpones Yeltsin impeachment vote
April 12, 1999
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament,
agreed Monday to put off a debate planned for Thursday on whether to
impeach President Boris Yeltsin.
The decision, coming at a time Yeltsin has taken an unusually high profile
after several years of on-and-off illness, spares him scrutiny on five
possible impeachment charges. But his office said he would have preferred
to face the impeachment vote now rather than later.
``The president reiterated his position that the issue should either be
considered now or dropped for good,'' a spokesman said after Yeltsin spoke
to Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov by telephone earlier in the day.
Duma party leaders decided to postpone the hearings without setting a new
date. Seleznyov said he believed it would take until at least May for the
Duma to draw up impeachment voting rules.
Monday, Yeltsin also met Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov in a bid to mend
relations with the head of the government after trading verbal jabs with
him last week.
The president asked the government to speed up work on the draft 2000
budget to have it passed before Duma elections due in December....
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