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Johnson's Russia List


April 18, 1999    
This Date's Issues: 32453246   

Johnson's Russia List
18 April 1999

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Radiostantsiya Ekho Moskvy: Maslyukov: IMF Not to Blame for 
Russia's Woes.

2. Itar-Tass: Gereshchenko Says Economic Collapse Avoided.
3. Eric Chenoweth: 101 Reasons Why eXile is Wrong.
4. Argumenty i Fakty: Yeltsin's Income Said To Have Plummeted in 1998.
5. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Alice Lagnado, Young men dodging 
two-year terror of Russia's army bullies.

6. Komsomolskaya Pravda: Yavlinskiy: Impeachment Will Not Lead to 
Civil War.

7. RFE/RL: Paul Goble, New Moves On The Caucasus Chessboard.
8. The Observer (UK): Patrick Wintour, Nato holds up Russia's plan for 
a peace force. The West has cast Moscow as the honest broker, with a 
massive task to fulfil.

9. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): France fears aerial onslaught could 
provoke Moscow into war.

10. The Independent (UK): Phil Reeves, Russia embraces the art of 
xenophobia. Nationalism may be on the rise, but Muscovites are not about 
to take up arms to help their 'cousins' in Yugoslavia.

11. Sovetskaya Rossiya: Zyuganov Easter Message to 'Orthodox Russians.' 
12. The Sunday Times (UK): General Sir Michael Rose, Nato must head for 
door marked exit.

13. The Globe and Mail (Canada): Marcus Gee, REPORTER CHALLENGES REPORTS 


Maslyukov: IMF Not to Blame for Russia's Woes 

Radiostantsiya Ekho Moskvy
14 April 1999
[translation for personal use only]

Presenter] First Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy 
Maslyukov hopes the Russian government will arrive at positive results 
during its talks with the World Bank and the IMF mission over the next 
one-and-a-half weeks. 
[Begin Maslyukov recording] During this week and next, by 20th April, our 
aim is to complete the talks with Mr [James] Wolfensohn, the president of 
the World Bank, who arrived today [14th April], and with the full-scale 
mission from the IMF. I think that we and Wolfensohn will announce the 
results of our recent consultations as early as tomorrow. Our talks with 
the IMF will take another week and a half. We have already got used to 
accusing the IMF of everything, blaming them for our hard life. Nothing 
of the sort! In many respects we need to proceed the way they advise, 
because they have a certain amount of experience. When they wrongly 
assess the situation in our country or fail to take account of our 
specific circumstances, we should tell them. That is the spirit in which 
we are working with them. [end recording] 
[Presenter] The deputy prime minister reckons disagreements over 
political issues are one reason why the talks with international 
financial organizations have not been sufficiently successful. After all, 
the IMF is, first and foremost, an American institution, Yuriy Maslyukov 


Gereshchenko Says Economic Collapse Avoided 

MOSCOW, April 14 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia's 
performance in the first quarter of 1999 shows that it has managed to 
escape economic collapse, Central Bank Governor Viktor Gerashchenko said 
on Wednesday. 

The Central Bank made such a conclusion analysing the consequences of 
last year's economic crisis, Gerashchenko told the ninth congress of the 
Russian Banking Association. The budget crisis of the past two years was 
aggravated by the government's policy of the unjustified upvaluing of the 
rouble rate and increment of interest rates, which made the August 1998 
crisis inevitable, he said. 

Gerashchenko, however, said the situation has remained under control. The 
government and the Central Bank managed to restore effective payments 
through the banking system. The Bank of Russia refused to fix the rouble 
rate creating conditions to make Russia's balance of payments positive. 

These measures helped preserve gold and hard currency reserves and effect 
payments on foreign debts, Gerashchenko said. Inflation and devaluation 
also went down in the first quarter of 1999, he added. 


Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 
From: Eric Chenoweth <>
Subject: 101 Reasons Why eXile is Wrong.

A few points concerning eXile's "101 Reasons Why the War in Yugoslavia
Sucks," which has received such bipartisan praise:

Many of the reasons eXile lists are a recapitulation of Serbian
nationalist  historiography and propaganda as developed under Slobodan
Milosevic, adopted by his Russian allies, and reflected on most Russian
media. Typical of both Serbian and Russian nationalist ideology in their
current strain are the ideas of Slavic and Orthodox brotherhood, the
special nature of Serbian/Russian suffering in history at the hands of the
West, and the heroic and courageous character of the Slavic (read:
Serbian/Russian) soul. This is all poppycock and one would have expected
better from eXile considering its coverage of the Chechnya war and general
opposition to Russian nationalists. 

Underlying both nationalisms is the belief in the unique, positive, and
superior collective character of specific (not all) Slavic peoples and the
negative, dirty, cowardly, yet threatening character of darker or Muslim
peoples. In its "101 Reasons," eXile often chooses to justify opposition to
the war by dehumanizing the Albanians (E.g. Reason 31: "Name One Albanian,"
as if people's lack of knowledge of Albanian names or personages makes
Albanian Kosovars less human or worthy of protection.) Implied by this
overall adoption of Serbian/Russian nationalist views is that any treatment
of darker peoples is justified or not worth humanitarian intervention. No
matter what one's views on the NATO military campaign, this thinking has
some very dangerous consequences.

Often, eXile's Gen-Y attitude and arrogance has some journalistic purpose,
which I often appreciate; in this case, it has led it down a sloppy
path--and a slippery slope.


Yeltsin's Income Said To Have Plummeted in 1998 

Argumenty i Fakty, No. 964
April 1999 (Signed to press 13 Apr 99)
Unattributed report in the "No Comment" column: "Yeltsin Reveals his 
Income to 'AiF;'" Words and passages within slantlines published in 
boldface; introductory paragraph published in italics 

April has come, and it is time to give account of 
one's incomes. As usual, 'AiF' ['Argumenty i Fakty'] has sent letters to 
all senior Russian state officials inviting them to publish their 
[income] declarations in our paper. 

The first one to arrive was the declaration submitted by the top man in 
the country, President //Boris Yeltsin//. It showed that in 1998 the 
president //earned R183,837//. His annual income is derived from his 
salary (rate of pay R10,000 a month) and interest accrued on his deposits 
in the Savings Banks of the Russian Federation. All the taxes and a 
percentage of pay deductible to the Pension Fund of the Russian 
Federation have been paid in full. 

For comparison, last year the president declared an annual income of 
//R1,950,324// (in redenominated currency). This means that //Boris 
Nikolayevich's income fell by over 90 per cent in one year//. 
There have been no changes in [Yeltsin's] real and personal estate. The 
president, his wife and his youngest Daughter Tatyana's family are still 
living in //a flat with a floor space of 323.4 sq.m.//. Boris 
Nikolayevich owns //a 4-hectare plot of land with a country house built 
on it (floor space 422.6 sq.m.)//. He also owns a 1995 BMW car. 
Next to respond to our invitation was Valentina Matviyenko, deputy prime 
minister in charge of social issues. She told us her overall income last 
year had been R182,859 (including [pay for] her work as the Russian 
Federation's ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary to Greece). 
Matviyenko has no other income, neither does she own any shares or 
securities. She owns //a two-room flat in a cooperative in Moscow (53.9 
sq.m.)// and a 1993 Niva car. 

The declarations of other top statesmen will be published in our 
subsequent editions. 


The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
18 April 1999
[for personal use only] 
Young men dodging two-year terror of Russia's army bullies
By Alice Lagnado in Moscow 

YOUNG Russians are so terrified of joining the armed forces that they are 
resorting to extreme measures to avoid the draft.

As Russian concern over Nato's bombing of Belgrade reaches fever pitch, 
potential conscripts to the armed forces are readily paying thousands of 
dollars, moving house or faking illness to avoid national service. 

The most popular method of dodging the draft is to join a college or 
university with a military department, where boys train one day a week and 
graduate as reserve officers. But this month, a ripple of fear went through 
thousands of young men when the Ministry of Defence announced plans to close 
200 out of 250 military departments.

Army service, which lasts two years, is feared for good reason. Every teenage 
boy has heard of dedovshchina, or bullying - and not just healthy teasing 
either. Conscripts are routinely beaten and raped by older officers, or are 
subject to "games" of humiliation and pain. 

Others die. The Russian Military Prosecutor's Office has admitted that about 
2,000 conscripts die each year, and human rights organisations put the number 
at nearer 3,000. Many of these are suicide cases - boys who cannot cope.

Sergei, a shy young man of 22, avoided service by joining a college with a 
military department. He said that all his friends found ways to dodge the 
draft. "One friend of mine paid a doctor something like $1,000 for a note 
saying he had asthma. Another guy cut off his big toe so he would be declared 
unfit for service," he said. Bribing a doctor is quite common. Doctors 
earning £30 a month - often women with children - willingly help young men by 
writing them notes for up to £3,000 each. These notes can also be acquired as 
a favour in a society where, unable to rely on courts of law or other systems 
of redress, people help each other as a matter of course.

Sergei was not enthusiastic about studying mechanical engineering specially 
to avoid the army, but it was a small price to pay. "I had no choice. Joining 
the army used to be prestigious. Now, I'm sure that if you asked people in 
the street if they wanted to join, 90 per cent would say no. The army is a 
terrible thing," he said.

Other young Russians also expressed their fears of the armed forces. "I want 
to avoid the army with all the fibres of my soul," said Arseny, a strong 
young man of 17. "My friends think the same. The officers don't like 
conscripts. They bully them, or kill them." Arseny and his parents are 
determined that he gets into a university or college with a military 
department when he leaves school. 

Andrei, 19, moved out of his parents' house to live with friends to avoid 
service. "I am afraid of the bullying in the army. There are deaths, 
suicides, people run away. Everybody knows about these things," he said. 
Andrei would have gladly served if the army were not such a source of terror. 
"I would like to defend my Fatherland, to learn about discipline and 
responsibility and to test myself, but there are too many negative things in 
the army," he said. Andrei said some parents pay vast sums to buy a voenniy 
bilet, an official document that serves as proof of completion of national 

One friend's parents are paying £3,000. The passes are not fakes, but bought 
from middlemen who have corrupt contacts within the Ministry of Defence. 
Parents who can scrape together a few thousand dollars do not hesitate to do 
so, despite the worsening economic situation in Russia.

How to avoid the army is the main topic of conversation for parents of 
teenage boys. The activities of the Soldiers' Mothers' Committee, which 
fights for soldiers' rights, has made more parents aware of the horrors of 
service. When today's fathers served in the army it was tough, but the 
bullying which happens now was unheard of. 

The army, meanwhile, struggles to fill its quotas of conscripts despite the 
repeated cuts since Soviet times. In March the army said it had half the 
number of ground troops it had four years ago, and the entire armed forces 
add up to only 1.2 million. It is well-known that the Russian armed forces 
employ bully-boy tactics to recruit young men. Boys are press-ganged on the 
street or seized from their homes.

Yet each year the army says it has too few conscripts and that those they do 
recruit are weak and unhealthy. At the same time, the Soldiers' Mothers' 
Committee claims that 85 per cent of conscripts' are unfit for service, owing 
to the poor health of Russian youth, but that the army recruits ill boys 
anyway because it callously disregards conscripts' state of health. 

Those young men who do join up say that because the army is so desperate to 
fill its ranks, many conscripts are physically or mentally ill or addicted to 
drink and drugs. Some recruits deliberately hurt themselves to get out, while 
others run away or commit suicide. Even conscripts serving in the Kremlin 
Guard, which protects President Yeltsin's official residence, have reported 
serious bullying.


Yavlinskiy: Impeachment Will Not Lead to Civil War 

Komsomolskaya Pravda
13 April 1999
[for personal use only]
Interview with Yabloko leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy by the 
Komsomolskaya Pravda Crime Desk under the "Forecast" rubric; date and 
place not given: "I Do Not Believe That Impeachment Will Be Followed by 
Civil War" -- first paragraph is introduction 

The question of removing the president from office 
is a source of concern to everyone. We asked Yabloko's leader to comment 
on the situation connected with the forthcoming events in the Duma. 
[Komsomolskaya Pravda] Grigoriy Alekseyevich, it is well known that Yabloko 
supports the impeachment of the president. 
[Yavlinskiy] We will vote for charges to be brought in any case that
a large number of human casualties. After all, no one asks me whether I 
believe that he is guilty. The question is a different one: Do I believe 
that this charge should be examined by a court of law? To which Yabloko 
replies: Tens of thousands of people were killed in Chechnya; the Russian 
Army was betrayed in Chechnya. Someone made these decisions. Such deeds 
should be examined by a court of law; therefore we will vote "for." If 
the procedure is continued, the Supreme Court must consider whether such 
deeds come under a specific article of the Criminal Code. Then the case 
will be transferred to the Constitutional Court, which must establish 
whether the procedure by which the charges were brought and examined 
complies with the law. And only after that will the case come to the 
Federation Council, which will decide whether the president is guilty or 
not. How senators will behave cannot be predicted. 
[Komsomolskaya Pravda] And if a civil war then ensues? 
[Yavlinskiy] Why should there be a civil war? Yeltsin would be leaving six 
months early. So what? He will have to go sooner or later anyway. 
[Komsomolskaya Pravda] There are another four charges apart from Chechnya. 
[Yavlinskiy] Of course, we will not vote on charges such as destroying the 
As for the accusation of genocide, it has yet to be seen who organized 
genocide here: Remember how many Russian people were killed by the 
Communists themselves. Impeachment is not a procedure for exacting 
political revenge, but a strictly juridical process for ascertaining 
responsibility for the deaths of a huge number of people. 
[Komsomolskaya Pravda] All the same, in the upshot you will support the 
[Yavlinskiy] No, they will be supporting us because, when we opposed the
in Chechnya, they prevaricated. They will vote on their own issues and we 
will vote on ours. We insist that each vote be not on emotive charges but 
on articles of the criminal code. And we also insist on an open vote with 
named ballot papers. Because in that case the results of the vote cannot 
be forged. 
[Komsomolskaya Pravda] But you once said that since Yeltsin has been
he should stay in place till the end of his term, according to schedule. 
[Yavlinskiy] If he is found according to the Constitution to be a person
has committed a serious criminal offense, he should not stay in place till 
the end of his term. But if not, let everything happen according to schedule. 


The East: Analysis From Washington -- New Moves On The Caucasus Chessboard
By Paul Goble

Washington, 16 April 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Several events in the southern Caucasus 
this week may lead to fundamental changes in power relationships not only 
there but across a much larger portion of the world as well. And because of 
that, some of the players both within the region and beyond appear to be 
positioning themselves to respond with new moves. 

On Saturday, leaders from the Caucasus and Central Asia will mark the opening 
of a 515-mile pipeline that will carry oil from the Caspian basin to the 
West. And on the same day, Ukraine, Georgia and Bulgaria are scheduled to 
sign a treaty creating a new Black Sea rail ferry route. These moves, widely 
welcomed in the West, will allow the countries of this region to reach Europe 
without going through either Russia or Iran. 

Together, such shifts on the chessboard of the Caucasus may come to transform 
the geopolitical environment of both this region and Eurasia as a whole. As 
one senior Azerbaijan official put it, these steps mean "the world to us," 
giving Baku "direct access to the West" and thus allow Baku to free itself 
from Russia "after 200 years." 

Indeed, if both this pipeline and ferry arrangement work out, Russian 
leverage over these countries will decline still further. And as if to 
underline the decline in Russian power there, approximately 100 soldiers from 
Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine began a four-day military exercise on Tuesday 
at the Krtsanissi range just east of Tbilisi. 

While the number of troops involved is small, such a joint exercise 
highlights the continuing decay of the Russian-backed Commonwealth of 
Independent States as the chief security organization of the post-Soviet 
region. And it gives new content to GUAM, an organization that includes 
Moldova as well as the three countries taking part in these maneuvers. 

Many Russian officials are likely to view this exercise as a direct challenge 
to Moscow, particularly because it comes on the heels of a decision by 
several CIS states not to continue to participate in the Commonwealth's 
defense agreement. Even more, officials in other countries in this region are 
certain to be following this exercise as a test of what may now be possible 
for them as well. 

But precisely because so much is at stake not only for these countries but 
for others as well, several countries have moved some pieces on this 
chessboard as well. On Wednesday, Russia and Iran signed an agreement to 
cooperate in the exploitation of oil and gas resources in the region, a 
direct response to the new Azerbaijan-Georgia pipeline. 

Russian oil minister Sergei Generalov and his Iranian opposite number Bijan 
Namdar Zanganeh initialed an accord that will expand the already large degree 
of cooperation between the two states from which many in the Caspian basin 
seek to become more independent. Whether this accord will give these two 
states more opportunities to counter the new east-west corridor in the 
southern Caucasus remains to be seen. But on Wednesday, Moscow took another 
step designed to defend or even expand its influence there. 

General Anatoly Kornukov, the commander of the Russian Federation air force, 
visited Yerevan to mark Armenia's expanded participation in CIS air defense. 
While there, he announced that Moscow will send more fighter jets to its 
military bases in that Caucasus country. 

Kornukov went out of his way to say that this new buildup was in no way a 
threat to Azerbaijan, with which Armenia has been locked in a dispute over 
the Nagorno-Karabakh region for more than a decade. But few in Baku or 
elsewhere are likely to see this latest Russian move as anything but 
precisely that. 

Indeed, when Moscow recently deployed advanced S-300 missiles and MiG-29 
fighters to Armenia, Azerbaijanis from President Heidar Aliyev down protested 
this move as inherently destabilizing. They are almost certain to raise their 
voices again now that Moscow has introduced still more weaponry into Armenia, 
with which the Russian Federation maintains close ties. 

Such moves and countermoves serve as a reminder not only of how complicated 
this region remains and how much is at stake for how many people but also of 
how difficult it is for any of the participants in this geopolitical game to 
make a move to which the other side cannot quickly respond. And that in turn 
suggests that neither side is likely to be able to move its geopolitical 
chess pieces into an endgame anytime soon. 


The Observer (UK)
18 April 1999
[for personal use only]
Nato holds up Russia's plan for a peace force 
The West has cast Moscow as the honest broker, with a massive task to fulfil. 
Patrick Wintour reports 

Nato's demand that it leads and forms the core of the proposed international 
peacekeeping force in Kosovo is now the single biggest stumbling block to a 
peace settlement.

Serbia has formally rejected the presence of foreign troops on its soil, but 
is likely to prove more flexible under Russian pressure. 

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last Friday, Serbia formally 
rejected UN proposals for a peacekeeping force in Kosovo. 'We are not at all 
open to accepting any foreign military presence,' the letter stated. 
'Civilian presence, this is something that can be negotiated, but military 
presence, absolutely not.'

Last week the United States and Britain dropped their demand that Nato 
exclusively form the proposed force in an attempt to persuade the Russians to 
act as honest brokers with Belgrade. 

The Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, also confirmed Nato was willing to accept 
a large Russian participation. London might be willing to see the force 
acting under a UN label as long as it was, in reality, under a Nato command 
structure. The force would enter Kosovo with a UN mandate, including the safe 
return of displaced refugees.

These concessions were made in talks between the Russian Foreign Minister, 
Igor Ivanov, and the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, in Oslo last 
Tuesday. They were confirmed last Wednesday at a meeting of European Union 
heads of government attended by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. 

Moscow's Ambassador to Bonn, Sergei Krylov, said Russia was willing to take 
part in a Kosovo peacekeeping force, but 'not together with soldiers from 
Nato countries that are now taking part in the air offensive'. 

Nato insistence on a core role in the peacekeeping force stems from its 
disillusionment with the UN-led forces in Bosnia (Unprofor) in the early 
Nineties. The British military, including General Sir Michael Rose, the 
former Unprofor commander, were contemptuous of its operation. In particular, 
the haphazardly financed UN troops were never given a clear mandate. The 
subsequent Nato-led I-for and S-for in Bosnia have been more successful. 

In the case of Kosovo, the Nato-led force assembling in Macedonia (K-for) is 
headed by General Sir Michael Jackson, the commander of ACE (Rapid Reactions 
Corps). For the first time US troops will be under a Nato command led by a 
British officer. 

The reluctance of London and Washington to drop this carefully planned 
command structure places huge obstacles in the way of Russia's negotiator 
with Yugoslavia, former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

Chernomyrdin, appointed by President Yeltsin last week, met Western 
ambassadors in Moscow on Friday and is likely to travel to EU capitals this 

No agreement exists either between Serbia and Nato over whether Belgrade must 
state that all Serb forces would leave Kosovo as a precondition for a 

Germany, the current president of the EU, last week spread temporary alarm 
within Nato by suggesting a 24-hour ceasefire.

Fears that Germany might be offering a unilateral ceasefire prompted German 
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to tell the German parliament last Thursday 
that Serbia would have to prove it was pulling troops out of Kosovo before 
Nato stopped bombing and began peace initiatives.

A UN resolution supported by the Russians would preclude the need for any 
direct talks between Serbia and Nato countries.

The Russians favour the peacekeeping force being made up of monitors similar 
to the unarmed members of the Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM), which 
withdrew from Kosovo before Nato began its air campaign against Serbia last 

The KVM was run by the 55-nation Organisation for Security and Co-operation 
in Europe, and was largely seen as powerless in the face of Serb thuggery. 
But Chernomyrdin, admired in European capitals, has called for patience and 
talks with Nato. 

In a keynote speech last Thursday President Clinton said: 'The last thing we 
need in the Balkans is greater Balkanisation. The best solution is not the 
endless rejigging of their borders but greater integration into a Europe in 
which sovereignty matters but in which borders are becoming more and more 
open, and less important in a negative sense.'


The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
18 April 1999
[for personal use only] 
France fears aerial onslaught could provoke Moscow into war

SENIOR officials in Paris are claiming that the French government has vetoed 
plans by the Western allies to intensify the war against President Milosevic 
with an all-out aerial onslaught. 

According to the Elysée Palace, President Chirac blocked a move to begin a 
new offensive that would involve unlimited attacks on Serbian "centres of 
power" for fear of provoking Russia. In detailed briefings to senior French 
journalists, the Elysée conceded that opposition to what it calls "Phase 
Three" of the campaign has effectively isolated France from her allies.

While the government remains committed to stepping up pressure on Milosevic - 
specifically approving the deployment of America's tank-busting helicopters - 
it remains convinced that it is too risky to confront Moscow with what 
amounts to "total war".

In yesterday's Libération, the respected commentator Serge July said that the 
French government fears that the increasingly "fragile" Yeltsin 
administration, already facing hostile public opinion, would be forced to 
react vigorously. He said the Elysée's view was "things must not be allowed 
to slip out of control" on the battlefield, "or who is to say that we 
wouldn't eventually have to go to war with Russia?".

In light of the dangers involved, said officials, France was now asking to be 
consulted in advance - unlike most other governments in the alliance - over 
the choice of specific targets. The sources stressed: "There will be no 
escalation without the agreement of France." Mr Chirac's position was said to 
be that France "prefers fighting with her hands tied behind her back to 
having both hands free while walking a tightrope above the abyss".

Libération also reported that in a lengthy telephone call to President 
Clinton last week, Mr Chirac insisted that high-level talks with the Russians 
should be reopened immediately. He also stressed that the allies should go 
back to the UN Security Council as soon as possible.


The Independent (UK)
18 April 1999
[for personal use only]
Notebook - Russia embraces the art of xenophobia
Nationalism may be on the rise, but Muscovites are not about to take up arms 
to help their 'cousins' in Yugoslavia 
By Phil Reeves 

ILYA Glazunov is not to everyone's taste. Some accuse him of anti-Semitism. 
Even if you feel that charge is unfair, his art creates the uncomfortable 
suspicion that he has crossed a dangerous line. 

One of his works, Russia, Awake!, is a massive canvas showing a Slavic 
soldier with a Kalashnikov in one hand and a New Testament in the other. 
There is a drummer boy, whose instrument carries the slogan "Russia for the 
Russians". In another, The Call of the Devil, a large-breasted woman sits 
naked but for a shawl adorned with the Star of David across her knees. 
Beneath her knees, a scaly tail peeps out. 

You get the idea? This is Russian nationalist art, the work of a monarchist 
and Orthodox believer whose art hovers perilously on the cusp between 
patriotism and rabid expressions of racial superiority. With its romanticised 
figures from Russian history and its acidic attacks on Western popular 
culture, his art is a manifesto. About that, he is candid: "The restoration 
of Russia - that's what art is for," he once told an audience. 

We are not talking here about fringe. His exhibitions have pulled in millions 
of visitors, including Boris Yeltsin. Glazunov has just been given a new 
gallery in Moscow, free,by order of one of the most powerful men in the 
country, the city's mayor and a possible future president, Yuri Luzhkov. For 
the mayor is also a populist nationalist, whose patronage of the arts has 
earned him the reputation of a modern Medici, albeit one whom some suspect 
favours tub-thumping neo-imperialist Slavo-kitsch to Michelangelo. But there 
is a method in the madness of these two men, at least in one sense. Their aim 
is to give Russians a sense of identity, filling a vacuum that began with the 
end of the Soviet Union and its endlessly degrading aftermath. The loss of 
creed and empire, and repeated social upheavals, wrought such damage to the 
Russians' self-respect and sense of direction that it has challenged their 
very identity. This duo seeks to put them right. 

Thus, the 61-year-old mayor, a hyperactive bulldog (he still plays football), 
has been enthusiastically filling his city with gargantuan symbols, intended 
to stir the ashes of Russian pride. They are not for people of subtle taste. 
The worst is the monstrous statue of Peter the Great which stands in the 
Moscow River. But there are others, the rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the 
Saviour, the monolithic Victory Park celebrating the defeat of the Nazis, and 

These days no one talks much about bringing back the Romanovs as figureheads, 
an idea that gained brief currency a few years back. But other opportunities 
to reinforce the national identity are seized by Mr Luzhkov and the country's 
leadership. When Nikita Mikhalkov - another nationalist - produced his dismal 
new movie, Barber of Siberia, billing it as a Russian blockbuster, it was 
given a lavish Kremlin world premiere. And when the faded diva of the concert 
hall, Alla Pugacheva had her 50th birthday on Thursday, the celebrations 
shoved the Balkans war out of the leading news slot. Anything to promote a 
Russian success. 

Last week the question of who the Russians are - and what that identity means 
to them - arose again, in an unexpected form, when the Yugoslavian parliament 
voted to join the Russia-Belarus union. Russians were surprised. Sure, they 
had expressed deep outrage at Nato's attacks. But that had more to do with a 
sense of betrayal by the West than fraternity between eastern and southern 

In fact, they had no idea the Serbs liked them so much. It was like receiving 
a surprise visit from a remote cousin whom you last saw when you were a 
toddler: instead of greeting you with a distant handshake, he bursts in, arms 
spread, and envelops you with a hug and a slobbery kiss. 

Two quickie opinion polls - one by Ekho Moskvi radio and another by 
Kommersant newspaper - revealed that the warmth of feeling was not mutual. 
More than 70 per cent didn't want a union with Yugoslavia. Their own 
legislature, the State Duma, renowned for its silly thespian gestures, 
disagreed, passing a symbolic vote to join. But the ordinary Russian had 
bigger problems to worry about than getting in bed with people they barely 
know (especially if that means going to war). 

For, in the end, that is the reality, despite the rhetoric emanating from 
Belgrade and Russian nationalist circles. "All that talk about Slavic 
brotherhood is thought up by politicians for propaganda purposes," Irina, my 
Russian teacher, told me last week, after I began questioning her over 
whether she feels Russian, or Slavic or both. "Bred," she added, a word that 
loosely translates as raving nonsense. 

I rang half-a-dozen Russian acquaintances to find out how much they actually 
know about the Serbs. Not much, came the reply. In Soviet times, the Russians 
regarded Yugoslavia with envy because it had a higher standard of living. 
Certainly they were never trusted as true brothers in socialism. Tito's 
Yugoslavia was considered as a law unto itself, a country hovering between 
communism and capitalism. 

Long queues would form in Moscow whenever the whisper went around that 
Yugoslav goods were on sale; their consumables - fridges, shoes, furniture, 
leather bags - were considered far better than the general tat churned out by 
Soviet factories. That reinforced the impression that Yugoslavia leaned far 
more towards western Europe than to the Soviet empire; whose inhabitants 
spoke Russian with a pronounced accent, and whose Slavic population has been 
spiced with more than a dash of Mediterranean blood. 

Another friend - also called Irina, and also an educated Muscovite - told me 
the Serbs had a reputation of being "good lovers", who were regarded as 
"generous and rich" and not unlike Georgians, who live on the Black Sea. 

"But they are foreigners, of course," she said - a word that carries extra 
weight in xenophobic Russia. They were attractive and friendly enough and - 
above all - southern. But brothers in arms? My friends were unanimous. Nyet. 


Zyuganov Easter Message to 'Orthodox Russians' 

Sovetskaya Rossiya
10 April 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Address by Gennadiy Zyuganov, leader of the NPSR [People's Patriotic 
Union of Russia]: "Holiday of Russian Heart" 

Brothers and Sisters! 

Permit me to congratulate you from the bottom of my heart on the greatest 
religious holiday of Holy Rus. From time immemorial our forefathers 
welcomed the bright day of Easter with the joyous greeting-- Christ Has 
Risen! This jubilant holiday of the victory of light over darkness, of 
good over evil, a holiday of peace and love, of hope and triumphal joy is 
a true holiday of the Russian heart--benevolent and loyal, merciful and 

It is this benevolence that enabled our great nation to peacefully 
expand the boundaries of its power from century to century, remaining a 
reliable friend and defender of all the nationalities and tribes which 
linked their historical fate with Russia. 

It is this loyalty to our sanctities and age-old national ideals that 
helped us survive many cataclysms, storms, and unrest in our history, 
which more than once threatened Rus with the loss of its unique spiritual 

It is this people's mercy that did not allow the Russian cathedral soul 
to become hardened and embittered during the countless ordeals and 
sorrows which time after time fell to the lot of our long-suffering 

It is this calm and quiet courage--which blossomed during the years of 
the war turmoil into a wonderful flower of mass national heroism--that 
has repeatedly saved the Fatherland's independence in battles against 
foreign invaders, who hankered after its resources and land. 

All this together makes it possible to hope also now that Russia will 
arouse itself in all its former sovereign power and spiritual glory. 
At the same time, however, we must honestly admit: Today the country is 
on the verge of an abyss! 

Such a difficult situation in Russia forces me, on the day of the Easter 
celebration, to turn to all Orthodox Russians with an urgent appeal for 
unity in the face of the dangers and calamities threatening the country. 
Brothers! We no longer have the right to waste our strength on the futile 
internecine confrontation imposed on us by undisguised Russo-haters, 
crafty foreigners, and enemies of our age-old sanctities. 

The neofascists from NATO and the United States, who cast off all 
restraint, in full view of the whole world are bombing with impunity and 
impudence peace-loving Yugoslavia, which is friendly to us, and are 
mercilessly destroying the fraternal Orthodox people. But Russia 
humiliated and devastated by "democrats" silently looks at how Yugoslavia 
is being transformed into a proving ground, on which unscrupulous 
aggressors are developing methods of destroying our country and our 
people. Let everyone know: Today bombs are falling on Belgrade and 
tomorrow they will drop on Moscow. 

Under these conditions all of us must realize that it is a matter of the 
very existence of the Russian state, the Russian people, and the Orthodox 
Church. There is no doubt that we will be able to overcome the trouble 
that befell Russia only all together, only by uniting the efforts of all 
healthy public forces and all responsible politicians and ordinary 
Russians who grieve for their tormented Fatherland. Such a unification is 
inconceivable without the active participation of believer Russians, 
without the weighty, authoritative word of the Orthodox Church. 

I believe that the entire country will hear this fiery word. I believe 
that Russia will hold out, despite all the satanic attacks by the dark 
forces of world evil... And we will festively celebrate more than once 
Easter--the bright spring holiday of the big, good Russian heart. 


The Sunday Times (UK)
April 18 1999
[for personal use only]
Nato must head for door marked exit 
Air power has failed and the allies' only real option is to get out, writes 
General Sir Michael Rose 
General Sir Michael Rose is a former commander of the UN in Bosnia and author 
of Fighting for Peace 

The tragic accidental bombing by Nato of civilians in Kosovo will not 
surprise those who understand the difficulties aircrews face flying missions 
over Yugoslavia and the limitations of Nato air power. Its weapons systems 
were designed for general war against the Warsaw Pact - not for the limited 
type of engagement taking place over Yugoslavia. 
Think back to February 1994, when Nato issued another ultimatum. Then the 
United Nations brokered an agreement between the Bosnians and the Serbs to 
establish a 20-kilometre exclusion zone around Sarajevo; Nato said it would 
launch airstrikes against any heavy weapons that remained within the zone. 

But surveillance aircraft found it impossible to determine accurately whether 
there were any tanks or guns in the exclusion zone. On one occasion, air 
reconnaissance identified a Serbian mortar position that turned out to be a 
collection of haystacks. Nato had to rely on UN military observers on the 
ground to verify possible targets. 

It is not easy for pilots flying at more than 400mph over broken country to 
identify the sort of targets that will have to be destroyed if Nato is to 
succeed in Kosovo. The lesson that can be drawn from the sad incidents that 
have occurred so far is that air power is a blunt weapon, wholly 
inappropriate for use by itself in this form of conflict. 

Without soldiers on the ground able to verify targets and direct airstrikes, 
the terrible mistakes (the bombing of a passenger train and refugee convoy) 
that occurred last week will inevitably continue to happen. 

Such a lesson is not clearly understood by Nato. On April 14, at the daily 
press conference, Jamie Shea, the alliance's press spokesman, said Nato had 
chosen a modus operandi in line with its policy not to be at war with the 
Serbian people. The alliance, he said, wished to avoid inflicting 
"unnecessary pain on the Serbian people or their economy". Within a few hours 
many Kosovo Albanians had been killed and wounded by Nato airstrikes. 

Expressions of regret, however sincere, coupled with bland assurances that 
Nato is doing all it can to avoid such mistakes - and that anyway Milosevic 
is to blame - are an insufficient response to these mistakes. Civilised 
people will not stand by for ever and watch the Serbian people, who have 
already been reduced to the edge of survival by their brutal rulers, being 

One of the more worrying characteristics that has emerged during the first 
month of the war is the degree to which rhetoric has taken over from reality. 
Daily, we are being subjected to increasingly irrelevant accounts of military 
actions being routinely undertaken by Nato against civilian and military 
targets in Yugoslavia - without any real analysis as to whether what is being 
done is delivering the stated objectives. 

Instead, we get the sort of fairy tale told by Shea that "every morning 
President Milosevic wakes up and realises that in the last 24 hours he has 
become weaker, he also sees that Nato is becoming stronger". 

These musings are usually accompanied by emotional descriptions of the 
terrible things that are being done by Milosevic's brutal regime - as if 
their repeated telling would somehow justify the continuation of a Nato 
strategy that has already failed. 

Before long, the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo will be halted - not because of 
anything Nato may have done, but because there will be no Kosovo Albanians 
left in Serbia. 

The alliance's credibility is already hanging on a thread. Clear thinking 
coupled with firm action, not words, are required if it is to emerge intact 
from its war in the Balkans. We urgently need to find a way for Nato to 
extricate itself with some vestige of honour from this increasingly messy 

Assuming it is now too late to prevent Milosevic from achieving his 
objectives in Kosovo, Nato will be left with the options of continuing the 
air campaign for the foreseeable future, escalating the war to include the 
use of ground forces, or seeking a political compromise. 

Nato and the Americans seem to favour the first course of action. This would 
reinforce failure, leave the initiative to Milosevic and assume the 
continuing unity of the alliance. But success would still not be guaranteed. 

The second option, while making military sense, having moral right on its 
side, still seems to be ruled out by most of the contributing countries; they 
are either too worried about the possibility of military casualties or do not 
believe they have armies properly equipped or trained to fight a ground 
offensive in Kosovo. Such an option would also require the presence of combat 
troops on the ground for many years. 

Most armies have been drastically reduced in size since the end of the cold 
war, and it is unlikely that they could undertake the sort of commitment 
still being met in South Korea by the American army almost 50 years after the 
Korean war ended. At present levels of operational deployment, tour intervals 
in the British Army are less than 12 months. This is unsustainable even in 
the short term. 

The third and, in my view, the most likely option is that Nato will agree a 
political compromise through the mediation of the Russians and the UN. It 
would meet some, but not all of Milosevic's political aspirations. With his 
typical ruthlessness, he would probably judge that by ceding part of Kosovo 
to the Albanians he would be ridding Serbia of a big problem for ever. 

The long-term benefits of this would greatly outweigh the loss of territory 
that a partition would imply. 

He has done so before: in 1994 he struck a secret deal with Franjo Tudjman to 
quit Krajina in return for an early end to the war in Bosnia. 

Whatever the outcome of the war, Nato cannot continue to ignore the fact that 
it has suffered a strategic defeat. It cannot go on using words to conceal 
the absence of a suitable exit strategy from the increasingly 
counterproductive war in which it is now involved. Above all, it is worth 
reminding the political and military masters of Shea, who recently described 
life in Kosovo as "nasty, brutish and short", that Thomas Hobbes also wrote 
that words were "the money of fools". 


The Globe and Mail (Canada)
April 14, 1999
By Marcus Gee

One of the few Western journalists reporting from inside Kosovo
says his impressions clash with NATO reports of what is happening
in the war-torn province.
Paul Watson, a Canadian who works for the Los Angeles Times,
says he has seen no evidence that Serb authorities have massacred
Albanians in the Kosovo capital of Pristina.
In an interview yesterday with the CBC radio program As It
Happens, he said he has toured ethnic-Albanian neighbourhoods
several times and has not seen any bodies.
"It is very hard to hide an anarchic wholesale slaughter of
people," said Mr. Watson, who has been in Kosovo since the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization began bombing on March 24. "There is
no evidence that such a thing happened in Pristina."
NATO blames Serb troops for the exodus of hundreds of
thousands of ethnic Albanians in the past three weeks. It says they
have been raped, massacred and burned out of their homes. The
reports of refugees in border camps support that version.
Yugoslavia, however, says the NATO bombings are forcing the
ethnic Albanians to flee.
"I am certain it is a mixture of both," said Mr. Watson, who won
a Pulitzer Prize for news photography when he was covering the
international intervention in Somalia for The Toronto Star.
"I have spoken personally to people who have been ordered to
leave their homes by police in black. I've also spoken to people who
are simply terrified."
For example, he said, many people fled the area around Pristina's
airport after a NATO bombing there. "I see a pretty clear pattern of
refugees leaving an area after there were severe air strikes."
Mr. Watson said the effect of the NATO bombing has been to
"stir the pot" in Yugoslavia. "We shouldn't be surprised that it has
spilled over. And in spilling over it has created anarchy in the
That does not excuse Serb atrocities, he said. "But I don't think
that NATO member countries can, with a straight face, sit back and
say they don't share some blame for the wholesale depopulation of
this country.
"If NATO had not bombed, I would be surprised if this sort of
forced exodus on this enormous scale would be taking place."
He said the centre of Pristina has been devastated by the NATO
bombing. The police headquarters, the post office and other
government buildings are in ruins. A graveyard and a children's
basketball court have also been hit.
Even so, people continue to walk in the streets. "Even this
morning at 10 o'clock, as large explosions were rocking high-rise
buildings in the centre of the city, there were people strolling up and
down and oohing and aahing as if they were watching a fireworks
Mr. Watson said most of the villages between Pristina and the
Albanian border to the southwest were deserted when he travelled
through them. He also saw large convoys of vehicles carrying
He did not see large groups of refugees living in the open, as
NATO has reported, but he stressed that does not mean it is not



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