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Johnson's Russia List


April 19, 1999    
This Date's Issues: 32473248   

Johnson's Russia List
19 April 1999

[Note from David Johnson:
1. The Times (UK): Poison cloud engulfs Belgrade.
2. The Guardian (UK): Mark Milner, Russia shows signs of a remarkable 

3. Financial Times (UK): Andrew Jack, Study puts 30m Russians in harsh 

4. Edward Lozansky: Press conference in Washington on Ending the War 
in Kosovo.

5. Eric Chenoweth: Taibbi.
6. The Times (UK): Anna Blundy, It is finally spring in Russia....
7. Yale Law School conference on PROMOTING LEGAL REFORM IN THE FORMER 

8. Robert F. Miller: NATO, Yugoslavia, Russia and the End of post-Cold 
War Stability.

9. The Electronic Telegraph: Patrick Bishop, A people who glory in the 
prospect of defeat.

10. AP: Russia Military Won't Act on Kosovo.
11. The Guardian (UK): How much of what Nato and the MoD tells us can 
we believe? (Views of Phillip Knightley).

12. Reuters: Crimea's Yalta torn between Ukraine, Russia.
13. Argumenty i Fakty: Sergey Karaganov, chairman of the presidium of 
the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, discusses Russia's losses and 
gains in the Balkan conflict.]


The Times (UK)
April 19 1999
Poison cloud engulfs Belgrade 
Nato crippled the Serb oil industry yesterday. Tom Walker reports from 

AN ecological disaster was unfolding yesterday after Nato bombed a combined 
petrochemicals, fertiliser and refinery complex on the banks of the Danube in 
the northern outskirts of Belgrade. 

A series of detonations that shook the whole city early yesterday sent a 
toxic cloud of smoke and gas hundreds of feet into the night sky. In the dawn 
the choking cloud could be seen spreading over the entire northern skyline. 

Among the cocktail of chemicals billowing over hundreds of thousands of homes 
were the toxic gas phosgene, chlorine and hydrochloric acid. Workers at the 
industrial complex in Pancevo panicked and decided to release tons of 
ethylene dichloride, a carcinogen, into the Danube, rather than risk seeing 
it blown up. 

At least three missile strikes left large areas of the plant crippled and oil 
and petrol from the damaged refinery area flowed into the river, forming 
slicks up to 12 miles long. Temperatures in the collapsing plant were said to 
have risen to more than 1,000C. Asked about the hazard from chemical smoke, 
Nato said there was "a lot more smoke coming from burning villages in 


The Guardian (UK)
19 April 1999
[for personal use only]
Russia shows signs of a remarkable recovery 
By Mark Milner, Deputy Financial Editor

Russia's economy is defying predictions of collapse to show signs of
recovering from the crisis triggered by last August's debt default,
according to a senior government official yesterday.

But pressure for institutional reform, especially in the banking industry,
is set to continue as Russia tries to mend fences with the international
investment community.

Russia's fascination for investors was underlined by a standing-room only
presentation by economics minister Andrei Shapozaliants at the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development's annual meeting in London yesterday.

'Many people predicted total collapse of the rouble, that the country would
experience hunger, power supply problems, hyperinflation,' he said. But
inflation had not risen and industrial output was stabilising as domestic
producers benefited from a more competitive currency.

Mr Shapozaliants said living standards had suffered. Russia needed 'stable
growth with a social dimension'.

Investors remain keen to see Russia step up its reform programme with
greater emphasis on corporate governance. Nicolas Stern, chief economist at
the EBRD which has made multi-million pound provisions against its Russian
lending, emphasised yesterday that 'institutional problems are the root
cause of the crisis'. 


Financial Times (UK)
April 19, 1999
[for personal use only]
Study puts 30m Russians in harsh poverty
By Andrew Jack in Moscow

Up to a fifth of Russians may be living in extreme poverty by next year, the 
World Bank will warn next month.

The full effects of last August's financial crisis on economic growth and 
household incomes will continue to worsen this year and will increase poverty 
to a peak in early 2000 affecting up to 30m people, according to a 
preliminary analysis carried out by the bank due to be published in May.

It suggests that the worst-affected Russians will not be pensioners but 
families with children, particularly those living in small and medium-sized 
towns who have less access either to rural land to grow food or to large 
cities with alternative employment opportunities.

The World Bank analysis assumes a decline in the size of the Russian economy 
of 8.3 per cent in the current year - considerably beyond the forecasts of 
other organisations. It assumes inflation of 60 per cent.

But even its more modest projections suggest a growth of those in extreme 
poverty to 18.5 per cent in 2000. Extreme poverty is defined as those living 
on less than half the official subsistence minimum income, which stood at 
Rbs830 ($35) a month in February.

Reliable statistics in Russia are difficult to compile, with debate over the 
techniques used and many people reluctant to provide accurate information.

Russia has one of the highest differences in the world - of two-to-one - 
between the amount people say they spend and the income they claim to earn.

There is also a huge unrecorded "grey economy" of informal jobs that help 
people survive despite low wages and social security benefits - often paid 
late - estimated by the World Bank as up to 43 per cent of the Russian 

Michal Rutkowski, sector leader of the World Bank's social protection 
department, stressed that the poorest groups often did not have access to 
such alternative sources of income.

He added that there was already a trend towards an increase in extreme 
poverty in Russia well before the August crisis, from 11 per cent of the 
population in 1994 to 15 per cent in 1997.

Mr Rutkowski said the analysis showed the need for far more detailed 
targeting of government social programmes on those most severely affected by 
poverty. The World Bank has already launched pilot projects in three Russian 
cities and is discussing expansion to a further 25. 


Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 
From: (Edward Lozansky)
Subject: Press Conference on Yugoslavia

April 21, 1999 at 11.00 am
Russia House, 1800 Connecticut Avenue, NW Metro Dupont Circle

For additional information 
contact Edward Lozansky
Tel. 202-986-6010

Ending the War in Kosovo:
Russian, Yugoslav, and American perspectives 
on NATO's Role in this Conflict

Gavriil Popov, Founder of the Russian Democratic Reform movement 
Former Mayor of Moscow 
Mihajlo Mihajlov, Yugoslav author & scholar 
Constantine Menges, Professor, George Washington University
Former Member of the National Security Council 

1800 Connecticut Avenue N.W.
Wednesday, April 21, 1999, 11.00 a.m.


Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 
From: Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe-Eric Chenoweth <>
Subject: Re: Taibbi/Chenoweth: A modest request

Dear David,
Just a brief clarification: I never said I supported NATO's military
campaign and it is wrong of Taibbi to assume I do. I have grave problems
with the war, as well as with wrong and wrong-headed reasons for opposing
it that justify any form of deadly nationalism.
Eric Chenoweth
Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE)
2000 P Street NW, Suite 400
Washington D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 466-7105
Fax: (202) 466- 7140


The Times (UK)
April 19 1999
[for personal use only]
Anna Blundy 
It's spring, Boris Yeltsin is back in his shell and all's right with the 
world. Suddenly, Russia is seeming like a friendly old bear again

It is finally spring in Russia. Not the grey slush, freezing rain and bleak 
skies kind of spring that seems to bring such joy to Russians and such 
bafflement to foreigners ("Ooooh, spring!" they say excitedly when the black 
snow at the side of the roads starts to slosh on to the pavement), but real 
spring, with birdies singing and buds on the trees and the President back on 
his throne. 

At the end of winter the mood of your Russian lightens and he pulls all the 
insulation out of the gaps in the windows and starts doing what he does best, 
which is enjoy himself. Boris Yeltsin is a prime example of this. The moment 
the clocks went forward and the icicles began to drop off everyone's 
balconies (many serious injuries) he bounced back from the dead, slung around 
some heavy-handed hints and threats, stopped the communists and nationalists 
(who thought they were on to a good thing under Prime Minister Primakov) in 
their tracks, and set about having a really good time. 

The relish with which he swilled back a glass of champagne with that icon to 
vulgarity Alla Pugacheva the other day in the Kremlin while her ludicrous boy 
husband looked sheepishly on (Fillip Kirkorov recently flooded the airwaves 
with his hit Oi Mama, chica dam) was a clear sign to everyone that spring was 
in the air. Never mind all the wintry reports that the President had been 
having trouble walking, he practically ran into the room to sweep the 
unsuspecting pop star off her feet. 

Suddenly everyone is making an occasion of everything. All the birthday 
parties held over the winter were slightly hysterical affairs at which the 
object was to stave off the chill by drinking as much as possible as quickly 
as possible. This desperation is typified by the song Vstavai Nalivai, which 
involves a short verse asking who around the table was born in January, 
February, March and so on and then another verse forcing them to stand up and 
empty their glass to the cheers of everyone else. If it is your birthday, the 
person with the guitar/accordion returns to your month over and over until 
you can no longer either stand or pour, as the song demands. 

Now, though, the need to lighten the atmosphere with drink has diminished 
slightly and people are loafing around the city's restaurants and cafés in a 
more relaxed manner, bringing huge bouquets of spring flowers to stand at the 
head of the birthday table. Spring toasts seem longer and even more sincere, 
smiles less drunken and the air inside less fetid. 

An English visitor moved the table at a Georgian restaurant last week to 
joyous tears with his largely ironic (and admittedly shoddily translated) 
toast dedicated to the Russian writers he had known and loved and his 
pleasure at walking in their very footsteps. This inspired the Russian guests 
to leap up and start reciting Pushkin, much to the cynical Englishman's 

But as they said their poems the Georgian musicians played sad mountain songs 
and couples got up from their tables to dance. Russians will take any 
opportunity not to think about the economic crisis, the war in Kosovo, the 
President's possible impeachment, or anything remotely pertaining to the 
dismal, and a few rays of sunshine through the gloom are enough to set them 
off dancing, drinking and singing until next winter. 

Indeed, every winter a kind of depressive pessimism sneaks into people's 
souls, foreigners not excepted, and newspaper reports talk of revolution, 
civil war and the end of Russia as we know it. Doom-monger politicians insist 
that the only reason the populace is not demonstrating on the streets is 
because it is cold, and that the moment the sun comes out the Government will 
really have something to answer for. The communists and nationalists, who as 
we know love nothing better than a bit of popularity-boosting adversity, are 
beside themselves with wintry glee predicting Yeltsin's impeachment, an 
upsurge of support for Serbia and general apocalypse. While the snow keeps 
falling and the grey horizon is punctuated only by a few blackened trees, it 
is hard not to believe them. 

But now Yeltsin is back in his shell and all's right with the world. 
Suddenly, under Boris Nikolayevich's command, Russia is already seeming like 
a friendly old bear again, the Red-Browns are beginning to look a bit foolish 
(their forte) and the World Bank and the IMF are putting their hands back in 
their pockets to help out. Most people are far too busy renovating their 
dachas for the summer to start messing around demonstrating and Yeltsin is 
far too busy effecting yet another spectacular political comeback to let 


Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 
From: Bill Fick <>
Subject: Conference on Promoting Legal Reform

For Immediate Release

Yale Law School Holds Conference on Promoting Legal Reform in the Former 
Soviet Union

The future of Western efforts on behalf of legal reform in the former Soviet 
Union is the topic of a two-day conference April 23-24, 1999, at Yale Law 
School, 127 Wall Street.

The conference, entitled "Promoting Legal Reform in the Former Soviet Union," 
will bring together representatives from the many groups concerned with 
promoting legal reform in the former Soviet Union, including academics and 
practitioners, people from institutions within the former Soviet Union, and 
representatives from funding organizations.

Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, many Western organizations and 
individuals have spent much time and money on legal reform, but now that many 
of the new countries have set up their institutions and drafted their laws, 
the role of Western organizations seems less clear. Is there a continuing 
role for Western aid in promoting the development of accountable, effective, 
and efficient institutions? What have the strategies been so far, and have 
they been successful? What have been the biggest obstacles? What should be 
the goals? How does one measure accomplishment? These are some of the 
questions the conference will address as it looks at the phenomenon of 
Western assistance for post-Soviet legal reform.

The heart of the conference will consists of five panels: 
Commercial law, moderated by Professor Henry Hansmann, Yale Law School;
Constitutional law, Professor Paul Gewirtz, Yale Law School; 
The Judiciary, Professor Robert Gordon, Yale Law School; 
Administrative and public law, Prof. Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale Law School; and
Legal education, Professor Stephen Holmes, Princeton University and New York 
University School of Law. 

The conference is organized by the Russia and Eastern Europe Law Forum, a 
student organization at Yale Law School, and received support from the Law 
School and the Yale Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy. 
Conference co-sponsors included: Debevoise & Plimpton, PriceWaterhouseCoopers 
CIS Law Firm, the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human 
Rights, Yale Law Women, and the Yale Center for International and Area 

Opening and closing sessions are open to the public. Those interested in 
attending the panel sessions will be admitted on a space-available basis and 
should email Karen Johnson.

For further information contact Karen Johnson at or; fax: 203-752-9102.

A conference schedule follows:
Friday, April 23
3:30 p.m. Public Forum, Keynote Address, and Q & A Session, Room 120
Introduction: Professor Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale Law School
Keynote Address: Joseph Onek, Senior Coordinator for the Rule of Law, 
U.S. Department of State
6 p.m. Public Reception, Faculty Lounge
Saturday, April 24 
9 - 10:30 a.m. Panel on Constitutional Law
Panelists: Robert Sharlet, Professor of Political Science, Union 
College; Paul Stephen, Professor, University of Virginia School of Law; 
Alexander N. Domrin, Russian Foundation for Legal Reform; Viacheslav 
Nikonov, President, Polity Think Tank, Moscow, Russia; Serhiy Holovaty, 
President, Ukrainian Legal Foundation, former Justice Minister of Ukraine
11 - 12:30 p.m. Panel on Administrative and Public Law
Panelists: Alexander Blankenagel, Professor, Humboldt Law School, 
Berlin, Germany; Denis Galligan, Professor, Oxford's Centre for Socio-Legal 
Studies, & Central European University; Peter Maggs, Professor of Law, 
University of Illinois; Ed Rekosh, Director, Public Interest Law Initiative 
in Transitional Societies, Colombia Law School; Maria Levina, Lecturer in 
Law, Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences; Irina Kotelevskaya, 
Head, Secretariat, First Deputy Chair, State Duma of the Russian Federation
Panel on the Judiciary
Panelists: Peter Solomon, Professor of Political Science, Univeristy of 
Toronto; Todd Foglesong, Ass't. Prof. of Pol. Sci., Law, and Russian & East 
Eur. Studies, Univ. of Kansas; Michael Gallagher, Lawyer, Estonian Law 
Centre; Lisa Dickenson, American Bar Association Central and East European 
Law Initiative; Olga Schwartz, consultant, Legislation and Judicial Reform 
Comm., State Duma of the Russian Federation; Ivan Marisin, partner, Clifford 
12:30 p.m. Lunch Break
2 - 3:30 p.m. Panel on Commercial Law
Panelists: Maidan K. Suleimenov, Advisor to Kazakh government, 
Professor, Kazakhstan State Law University; William Butler, partner, 
PricewaterhouseCoopers CIS Law Firm, Moscow, Russia; Sarah Carey, Eurasia 
Foundation, partner, Steptoe & Johnson, L.L.P.; Kathryn Hendley, Associate 
Professor of Law and Pol. Sci., University of Wisconsin-Madison; Andrei 
Lissitsyn-Svetlanov, Professor, Moscow Institute of State and Law; Gregory 
Vojack, head of Almaty office, Bracewell & Patterson, L.L.P.
Panel on Legal Education
Panelists: William Burnham, Constitutional and Legislative Policy 
Institute, Central European University; Marion Dent, Dean, Pericles American 
Business & Legal Education Project, Moscow, Russia; Olga A. Dyuzheva, 
Professor of Family and Civil Law, Moscow State University; Jane M. Picker, 
Professor of Law, Cleveland State University; Sidney Picker, Jr., Professor 
of Law, Case Western University Law School; Bruce Reznik, president, Legal 
Technical & Advisory Services, Inc., Washington, D.C.
4 - 6 p.m. Closing Session, Room 120
Address: Dean Anthony T. Kronman, Yale Law School 
Panel Reports: Panel Moderators
Summation: Professor Stephen Holmes, Princeton University and NYU 
School of Law


Date: Sun, 18 Apr 1999 
From: Bob Miller <>
Subject: Yugoslavia

NATO, Yugoslavia, Russia and the End of post-Cold War Stability
by Dr Robert F. Miller
Visiting Fellow, Transformation of Communist Systems Project
Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University

One of the principal consequences of NATO's ill-conceived bombing
of Yugoslavia is probably the irreversible destruction of a fundamental
presumption of international relations in the post-Cold War era: namely,
the primacy of institutionalised diplomatic and political solutions to
conflicts between and within states. This was one of the bases of
Gorbachev's 'new political thinking' and, after the failure of Moscow's
military adventure in Chechnya, of Yeltsin's foreign policy. America's
hasty resort to force, pointedly ignoring the UN Security Council where
such matters are supposed to be discussed, and President Clinton's
browbeating of his NATO allies to go along with this strategy have dealt a
severe blow to Russian confidence in the basically benign context of the
'new international order'. The bombing of Yugoslavia has confirmed
Russia's worst fears that NATO's expansion and the change in its doctrine
and mission from defence to intervention in countries outside its
membership constitute a grave threat to Russia itself.

Let there be no mistake that Russia's concern is motivated by some
sort of traditional Slavic and Orthodox Christian solidarity. Many times
in the past this mythical connection has left Serbia in the lurch, and no
one in Yugoslavia takes the strength of the bond seriously. Nor is the
Yeltsin administration governed by any particular fondness for Yugoslav
president Slobodan Milosevic. On various occasions Milosevic has allied
himself with nationalist and communist opponents of Yeltsin in Moscow's
ongoing internal struggle for power.

No, the present crisis is purely a matter of Russian perceptions of
national interest. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union Russian foreign
policy has been built on the assumption that East-West confrontation was
being replaced by cooperation and the establishment of diplomatic,
political and economic institutions that were to ensure that international
relations were to be regulated by formal institutions and procedures for
handling conflict situations. Among these institutions were the UN
Security Council, the Organisation for European Security and Cooperation
(OSCE), the European Union, the G-8 and the Contact Group. In trying to
invoke the use of each of these organisations to work toward a peaceful
solution on Kosovo, the Russians have found themselves ignored, blocked or
otherwise humiliated. When, with French encouragement, Prime Minister
Yevgenii Primakov went to Belgrade in the midst of the bombing to get
Milosevic to call off his 'ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, NATO, led by the USA
and the UK, abruptly dismissed the deal Primakov was able to conclude with
Milosevic, saying they would consider nothing short of the latter's full
acceptance of the Rambouillet 'Agreement'.

That agreement, which was alleged by the Americans and British to
be the fruit of Contact Group deliberations, was something the Russians, as
members of the Contact Group, realised the Serbs would never countenance,
particularly the stationing of 28,000 NATO peace keepers in Kosovo with the
right to travel freely throughout Yugoslavia. With the experience of the
SFOR protectorate in Bosnia under the Dayton Agreements in mind,
Milosevic--and the Russians--realised that this was the end of Serbian
sovereignty in Kosovo. Moreover, it established the dangerous precedent
that NATO felt itself free to dictate and to police the terms of any
settlement in Europe, whether agreed to by parties in conflict or not.
Would Russia be faced with similar threats if it sought to re-establish its
control over the Crimea or if it tried to gain advantage in other parts of
the former USSR where Moscow saw its vital interests being endangered?

For the moment the Russians are more aware than most that its
conventional military power is inadequate to defend Yugoslavia or seriously
to threaten NATO sufficiently to make the US more circumspect in its
application of its great military power. For one thing, the geographic
situation, where Yugoslavia is surrounded by countries that are either in
NATO (Hungary) or hope eventually to join it (Romania, Bulgaria and
Slovakia), makes it extremely difficult for Russia to ship sufficient
quantities of military hardware to raise the stakes for NATO. For another,
the Russians themselves are at best ambivalent on the merits of supporting
Yugoslavia at the cost of being starved of bailout funds by the
US-controlled international financial community. Thus, for now, apart from
sending a ship or two to spy on NATO operations, the Russians are limited
to marshalling whatever diplomatic and political arguments they can make to
try to encourage America's NATO partners to see the idiocy of the current

In the long run, Russia's policy can be expected to be seriously
altered in its dealing with NATO, with which it has already broken off all
official contacts, and with the European Union. For one thing, despite its
desperate financial situation, Moscow has just announced a substantial
increase in its military budget. For another, it has, despite denying any
intention to send volunteers to help the Serbs, there are reports from as
far away as Khabarovsk Krai on the Pacific that Moscow has ordered the
registration of such volunteers. Economically driven motivation to proceed
with the ratification of the SALT II treaty and to diminish the nuclear
capability of the Russian armed forces has certainly dissipated in the past
two weeks, and it is not inconceivable that Moscow will see fit to station
battlefield nuclear weapons in Belarus, on the border with new NATO member
Poland. Equally threatening is the recently announced determination to
proceed with the sale of advanced anti-tank weapons to Syria, despite US
threats to place an embargo on all dealings with the Russian companies and
institutes involved in the deal.

NATO has brought this destabilising change upon itself. It has
changed from a defensive to and offensive alliance, arrogating to itself
the right to violate international norms, institutions and procedures in
terms of some higher moral good, of which it sees itself alone capable of
perceiving and enforcing. This change has alarmed a number of great
powers--potentially super powers in their own right in the 21st
Century-such as China, India and, of course Russia. By its hubris and its
impatience with normal processes of diplomacy and compromise, the USA and
its NATO hangers-on have guaranteed that Russia will do everything it can
to frustrate American objectives. As its economic and military power
increases, Russia will be a more attractive magnet for the growing number
of disaffected countries which are equally desirous of curbing American
power and influence. This will be a great shame, for the US and other
Western countries had a chance to build a really stable new international
order. The Actonian principle of the corrupting effects of absolute power
has been vividly illustrated by the bombing of Yugoslavia. NATO, on its
Fiftieth Birthday, has vainly tried to reinvent itself. All it has done is
to demonstrate that it has outlived its once indisputable usefulness.


The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
April 16, 1999
[for personal use only]
A people who glory in the prospect of defeat
Patrick Bishop says that the history of the Serbs explains why they are still 
defying Nato and sticking with Milosevic 

THIS is a disaster for people like me," a liberal Serb friend told me on the 
phone from Belgrade the other day. "Now we are never going to get rid of 

It is just as well that Nato has not declared the removal of Slobodan 
Milosevic as a war aim. In keeping with Nietzsche's dictum, that which has 
not killed Milosevic has made him stronger. 

For the first time in his political career, he is enjoying the unconditional 
support of a majority of Serbs. Politicians who hate the Yugoslav President, 
as well as army malcontents who have been plotting his overthrow, have 
prudently decided to rally behind him or suspend their opposition. 

Bourgeois intellectuals and the trendy young are finding that, beneath their 
European veneer, a Serb heart is beating. "Only unity can save the Serbs" 
runs the old, wistful slogan. Now, for once, Serbdom is unified - all thanks 
to Nato. 

There is a strong streak of paranoia in the Serb psyche. As a result, many 
will find a perverse satisfaction in the bombing. Serbs are always being told 
by their leaders that the world is against them. Now they know it is true. 

What they do not know is why Nato has gone to war with them. Viewed from 
outside Yugoslavia, it is hard to understand how Serb citizens can apparently 
condone the ethnic cleansing and murder that is being carried out on their 
behalf by Milosevic's forces in Kosovo. 

That, of course, is not how the conflict has been presented. From the outset, 
the state-controlled media have portrayed it as struggle between the security 
forces and Albanian "terrorists", who specialise in cowardly attacks on 
policemen and Serb civilians in their drive to break away from Yugoslavia and 
establish an independent state. 

It was a picture that few bothered to challenge. Animosity towards the 
Albanians runs deep. Kosovo, with its Serb Orthodox foundations and battle 
site of the Field of Blackbirds (on which the Battle of Kosovo Polje was 
fought in 1389, when the Serb and Turkish armies met and the flower of 
Serbdom was slain) is genuinely dear to Serbs, though as an idea rather than 
a reality - few visit, let alone choose to settle there. 

When Nato bombs began to fall, then, the first reaction of many was 
astonishment. It was as if America decided to bombard Britain because it was 
unhappy with our treatment of the IRA. That feeling has now given way to a 
mood of resolution and stoicism, qualities that the Serbs have frequently 
demonstrated in their stormy history. 

Now, almost everything that Nato does simply reinforces those feelings. A 
bomb fell on the town of Kragujevac, a bastion of the anti-Milosevic 
movement. More than 500 young men volunteered for the forces. 

The raids on factories and infrastructure targets are failing to have the 
demoralising effect for which the allies rashly hoped. If anything, they are 
producing a Blitz spirit and reinforcing social solidarity. 

By evil luck, the lies told by Milosevic's men are becoming more plausible by 
the day. Following Wednesday's disastrous strike on the refugee column, it is 
now possible to believe that the Kosovo Albanians really are running away 
from the Nato air campaign, and not from the ethnic cleansers. 

The demonisation of Milosevic by British politicians and others is doing 
nothing to turn people against him. If anything, it has increased his status 
among Serbs, who reason that, to be so angry with Milosevic, the West must be 
rather frightened of him. 

In the Balkans, fear and respect go hand in hand. The West's attitude is all 
the more baffling given that, if the current policy is followed, the same 
politicians will one day have to conclude an agreement with someone whom they 
have presented as a fin-de-siecle Hitler. 

Even among the opposition intelligentsia, there is bewilderment at the West's 
actions. Hate Milosevic though they may, they cannot understand why the 
allies have chosen this moment to use force against him. 

Why did they not attack after the siege of Vukovar in 1991, when his 
intentions became clear, they ask, or before the great massacre at Srebrenica 
in 1995? Our leaders have ritually pronounced that they are not at war with 
the Serb people. 

Those words have a hollow ring if you are trudging down to the bomb shelter 
every night, with no job to go to in the morning because Nato bombed your 
factory. They do not blame Milosevic for their plight: they blame the West. 
This attitude may prove to be a significant obstacle in the way of 
negotiations over the future of Kosovo, when the fighting eventually stops. 

Despite its cultural and historical resonances, Kosovo was low on the list of 
political issues exercising Serbs - until the war began. A deal of the sort 
on offer at Rambouillet would have been relatively easy to sell, had 
Milosevic wished to do so. 

Now attitudes have probably hardened. After what they have been through, 
Serbs are surely going to resist any deal that looks as if it will lead to 
independence for the Kosovo Albanians. Nor are they likely to see the 
deployment of a peace-keeping force as anything other than an occupation of 
their soil by enemy troops. 

The war has cast the Serbs in a role with which they are comfortable. Their 
history is studded with episodes of suffering, heroically born. At its heart, 
of course, is the story of Kosovo Polje. According to one of the great epic 
poems describing the encounter, God offered Prince Lazar, the Serbian leader, 
the choice between life and "the empire of the earth", or death and "the 
empire of heaven". 

He chose the latter, was killed the following day and was revered thereafter 
as the shining exemplar of Serb values and conduct. These are the myths 
sustaining the Serbs as the sirens wail and they scurry for the shelters. 
Defeat is merely a way station on the path to salvation. As Lazar told his 
men on the eve of the battle: "Sufferings beget glory and labours lead to 

Nato is facing a country that is more united than at any time since the 
break-up of the Yugoslav federation. The allies' psychological campaign 
against the Serb people appears to have been no more effective than the air 


Russia Military Won't Act on Kosovo
April 18, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's newly appointed special envoy to Yugoslavia on Sunday 
ruled out Russian military intervention in the Kosovo crisis.

Former premier Viktor Chernomyrdin also criticized plans to join Yugoslavia 
to a union between Russia and Belarus, saying they were premature and 
impossible to implement as long as Yugoslavia is being bombarded by NATO.

Russia fiercely opposes NATO's airstrikes on Yugoslavia, but its response has 
been largely symbolic because its military is weakened and its economy is in 

Dragging Russia's military into the conflict would mean another world war, 
Chernomyrdin said on Russia's Itogi news program.

``Everyone should understand that,'' he said. ``That's why (military 
intervention) is absolutely ruled out.''

While President Boris Yeltsin has said Russia wouldn't support Yugoslavia 
militarily, Russian leaders have warned that the NATO assault, which aims to 
drive Serb troops out of the ethnic Albanian enclave of Kosovo, could lead to 
a wider war.

Russia has been eager to play a role in settling the conflict, though 
Moscow's repeated attempts to find a political solution have failed.

Yeltsin put Chernomyrdin, a longtime prime minister with good relations with 
many Western leaders, in charge of Russia's efforts to negotiate a settlement 
in Yugoslavia last week.

Chernomyrdin said Sunday that he has long, strong ties with Yugoslav 
President Slobodan Milosevic. Chernomyrdin has said he would likely visit 
Belgrade and Washington, though he refused Sunday to disclose any specific 
travel plans.

Regarding the decision last week by Yugoslavia's parliament to join the 
Russia-Belarus union, Chernomyrdin was skeptical.

While he said he supported the theory, he added, ``It raises the question of 
why didn't we do it before.'' Speaking on Russia's Zerkalo television 
program, he said it was logistically almost impossible to implement now, 
``while there's a war going on.''

Meanwhile, the pro-Western president of Montenegro, the smaller of two 
remaining republics in Yugoslavia, welcomed Russian mediation efforts but 
slammed the union proposal.

``Milosevic wants to pull Russia into this conflict and start World War 
III,'' Milo Djukanovic said on Itogi. ``Milosevic is capable of this ... but 
the results will depend on Russia's position.''


The Guardian (UK)
15 April 1999
[for personal use only]
How much of what Nato and the MoD tells us can we believe? 

Phillip Knightley, veteran international correspondent and author of The 
First Casualty, about wartime propaganda:

Very little. They're a party to the war so naturally they are going to be 
pushing their own side. In other words, what you are hearing from Nato and 
the MoD is propaganda calculated to get public support behind the war effort 
and maintain support for it until it reaches a conclusion.

As far as these atrocity stories are concerned, if we learned one thing from 
the first world war when all the great atrocity stories put out by the 
British propagandists turned out to be untrue it's never to believe such 
tales without independent confirmation. No reputable war correspondent should 
ever trust stories without this: after all, the refugees have a vested 
interest in painting the people who made them into refugees into ogres and 

It's quite likely there could be more incidents such as the American pilot 
being shot down that we just aren't hearing about over here. American 
newspapers, which are being much more critical of the way in which the war is 
being reported than we are, have reported that the Nato spokesman was under 
direct orders from Gen Wesley Clark to reveal to journalists as little as 
possible for military and propaganda reasons. I don't think we've heard that 
over here.

How do we know what we're being told is true? Why should we necessarily 
believe it just because it's come from the Ministry of Defence and Nato? 
Governments and armies lie in wartime if it suits them. They're out to win 
and information is a weapon.


Crimea's Yalta torn between Ukraine, Russia
By Sebastian Alison

YALTA, Ukraine, April 19 (Reuters) - While Russia's Black Sea fleet prepared 
to sail from its home base of Sevastopol to monitor the Kosovo crisis, the 
pace of life in neighbouring Yalta, long Russia's premier seaside resort, 
reflected a mood of holiday, not war. 

But neither Sevastopol nor Yalta are in Russia. 

Both cities are on the Crimean peninsula. And while the Crimea was part of 
the Soviet Union until its demise at the end of 1991, it is now part of an 
independent Ukraine. 

The Soviet Union's Ukrainian-born leader Nikita Khrushchev decided 
arbitrarily that the Crimea should be handed over to Ukraine as a gift in 

This made little difference to the peninsula's status during the Soviet era, 
when both Ukraine and Russia were part of the same country. 

But now it does. Russia's home port for its Black Sea fleet is merely leased 
from Ukraine, and Yalta, the top holiday destination for Russian tsars and 
commissars for generations, is on foreign soil. Few locals seemed happy. 

``It's bad, very bad,'' said Vadim, a Yalta taxi driver, repeating the word 
``bad'' in English to make sure he had put his point across. 

Himself an ethnic Russian, born and brought up in Yalta, he insisted he and 
all his fellow citizens still felt Russian. 

Russian is spoken by everyone. On a recent week-long visit not a word of 
Ukrainian was heard from the endless radio stations broadcasting at 
ear-splitting volumes throughout Yalta's beautiful parks and gardens. Yalta 
certainly feels Russian. 

Vladimir, a Belarussian who moved from Minsk to Yalta 17 years ago and now 
works in the tourist industry, was typical of many who regretted Ukraine's 
sovereignty over the Crimea. 

``I was born a Belarussian and a Belarussian I will die,'' he said. ``But 
Russia should control the Crimea. If it is no longer Russian, then at least 
it should be held in common by all Slavs,'' he said, adding that ``things had 
got worse'' under Ukraine's stewardship. 

But if Yalta has got worse, it remains magnificent, offering a heady mix of 
sunshine, mountain scenery, sea, stunning vegetation rarely associated with 
Russia such as palm trees and cypresses, and buildings and monuments which 
reflect the region's long and varied history. 


Yalta itself became a fashionable Russian resort last century, and the town 
contains many pastel-coloured classical 19th century Russian mansions more 
commonly found in St Petersburg and Moscow which look incongruous beside the 
palm trees. 

But there are also innumerable wooden houses with overhanging balconies, 
redolent of Tbilisi in Georgia, with other architectural reminders of 
Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, leaving the visitor in no doubt that Yalta is 
part of The South. 

The city was popularised by Tsar Alexander II, who built a palace at Livadia 
just west of Yalta in the 1860s. This was replaced by another Livadia palace 
built for the last Tsar, Nicholas II, in 1911. 

This palace, now open to the public, was used by the imperial family on only 
three occasions and is on a far more intimate and human scale than their 
other homes such as the enormous Winter Palace in St Petersburg. 

But its lasting fame is as the scene of the Yalta conference of February 
1945, when Soviet leader Josef Stalin, U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt 
and British prime minister Winston Churchill met to settle the fate of 
post-war Europe. 

The palace has some rooms laid out exactly as they were for the conference, 
while others are unchanged from the days of Nicholas II's summer holidays, 
creating a bizarre sense of time warp. 

Downstairs the main dining room is still decorated with 1940s conference 
furniture and Soviet, U.S. and British flags, with photographs of the three 
leaders. The bedroom of the ailing Roosevelt, just two months from death, is 
as it was. 

Upstairs a cosy dining room for the imperial family with stunning views 
across the palace gardens and Yalta bay is laid for breakfast just as it was 
shortly before the 1917 revolution which brought down the House of Romanov. 


Gardens are the main glory of Yalta, where the temperature rarely falls below 
freezing in winter and rarely rises above 30 celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in 
summer, and where a mountain range protects the narrow coastal strip from the 
worst of the winter. 

The Nikita botanical gardens outside Yalta were laid out in 1812 and are as 
much a pleasure for their views across the bay to the city as for the gardens 
themselves. The Vorontsov palace at nearby Alupka is also surrounded by 
magnificent gardens. 

Chekhov, the playwright and short story writer who lived in Yalta from 1899 
until his death from tuberculosis in 1904, surrounded his striking villa with 
an exceptional sub-tropical garden. 

But the public gardens and parks in the city itself are also a source of 
wonder, spectacular and beautifully maintained, itself a surprise in a 
country where economic hardship has meant such a luxury is rare. 

As well as gardens, the generous climate nourishes plentiful grapes. Inkerman 
and Balaklava, famous battlefields of the Crimean war of 1854-1855 when 
Britain, France and Turkey took on Russia, are now vineyards. 

The region's most famous wines and one of its greatest prides comes from 
another palace, Massandra, just outside Yalta. 

Sweet, strong and sticky, and heavy to Western palates, many of them are 
imitations of such wines as sherry and port. At least they are cheap. 

Crimea has been a centre of civilisation since at least the sixth century BC, 
when Greeks and Scythians coexisted there. 

Since then it has been controlled by, among others, Romans, Polovtsians, 
Tartars, Turks, Genoese and Venetians, Russians and now Ukraine. 

Every culture is represented. The choice of Yalta, where so much of European 
culture has merged, by the allied powers as a site to debate the future 
settlement of Europe, seems as good an option as any. 

While many locals bemoan the latest transfer of control over the peninsula, 
and many Russians insist Yalta's glory days are over and the city is going to 
the dogs, to the first-time visitor it is at least the equal of any 
Mediterranean resort. 


Possible Gains From Yugoslav Conflict Assessed 

Argumenty i Fakty, No. 964
April 1999 
(Signed to press 13 Apr 99) 
[translation for personal use only]
Article prepared by Vitaliy Tseplyayev in the "Balkans of Fire" 
column, entitled: "How to Turn Defeat Into Victory;" introductory 
paragraph published in italics; Words and passages within slantlines 
published in boldface 

//Sergey Karaganov//, chairman of the presidium of 
the Council for Foreign and Defence Policy, discusses Russia's losses and 
gains in the Balkan conflict. 
The NATO aggression in Yugoslavia has inflicted massive damage on 
everyone. The security system that has developed in the world in postwar 
years has been undermined. Trust in the maxim that democratic states 
cannot attack another state has been undermined. 
The war will inevitably lead to the intensification of //the arms 
race//. It is highly likely to provoke a further spread of nuclear and 
other weapons in the world. Observing the events in the Balkans, many 
counties will conclude that only the nuclear bomb will guarantee them 
against external aggression. Meanwhile the nuclear states, such as 
//China//, will almost certainly start increasing their nuclear and 
missile potential. 
This is why, regardless of its outcome, the war will leave the whole 
world a loser. The only question is how big its losses will be. 
Everything hinges on what scenario the developments will follow. 
//The first// involves NATO launching a large-scale ground operation in 
Yugoslavia, which is, in my view, becoming increasingly likely. The 
operation promises to be a drawn-out one for the allies and, ultimately, 
a failure. //The second scenario//: without sending its troops in, NATO 
//Kosovo's// separation from Serbia or resolves the Kosovo conflict in 
some other way. From the point of view of the allies, the war will thus 
be "won". The consequence will be NATO's further expansion to the east, a 
rise in anti-NATO feelings in Russia, and the scaling down of our 
economic cooperation with Western powers. 
So far, however, events have been unfolding in line with //the third 
scenario, the one that suits us best//. NATO has failed to break the 
Serbs' defences, and the pointlessness of the strikes has become obvious. 
The barbaric destruction of civilian targets and the killing of civilians 
continues. Antiwar feelings in the countries of the alliance are 
spreading. It now depends on Russia whether NATO can come out of the war 
without losing face. It is said that members states of the union are 
already letting Moscow know, through unofficial channels, that they hope 
for its mediation in the cessation of bloodshed. If we manage to ensure 
that //peacekeeping forces// under the aegis of the UN or the OSCE are 
brought into Kosovo with Belgrade's consent, it will be a diplomatic 
success for us. And here is why. 
//First//, having burnt itself on the Kosovo "settlement", NATO will behave 
more modestly in the near future. Talk about its expansion towards our 
borders will cease. //America's// claims for single-handed world 
leadership will be put into question. Differences will emerge within NATO 
and will eventually weaken the alliance. The number of countries wishing 
to join it is likely to drop. In //the Czech Republic//, for example, 
people are already saying the decision to join was rash. 
//Second//, US weapons will show their insufficient effectiveness. The
have certain achieved success in bombing bridges and plants, but the same 
cannot be said of destroying Serbian military targets. As a result, our 
defence industry's position on the world market can strengthen 
considerably. This means, potentially, //billions of dollars// for the 
Russian treasury. 
//Third//, if Russia helps the West to come out of the war with minimum 
to its reputation, we can count on our problems with the foreign debt and 
new //IMF// loans being solved, as a show of gratitude. 
The most important of our possible gains, however, will be a boost to 
Russia's prestige on the world stage, and that will in turn bolster 
//trust in the authorities inside the country//. Our success in the 
Balkans is a step towards stability in society. 
//In conclusion//, let us turn to the Yugoslav parliament's intention to 
join the Union of Russia and Belarus. Many people in Russia were elated 
with this initiative. Yugoslavia's desire to join //the union of two 
Slavic countries// is, of course, understandable, and so is our desire to 
help to Yugoslavs. 
There is a danger, however, that without being well prepared, //this union 
could draw us into the war//, if we immediately grant the new member 
security guarantees. This, however, is virtually impossible. The idea of 
a union is more likely to prove nothing more than a lot of hot air. This 
can undermine not only respect for ourselves in Yugoslavia but also the 
process of rapprochement between Russia and Belarus. 



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