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Johnson's Russia List
20 April 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Itar-Tass: IT Would Be Unwise to Humiliate Russia-EBRD President.
2. Interfax: Poll Shows 70% of Russians See FRY Conflict as Threat.
3. Moscow Times: Russia 30% Ready for Year 2000 Bug.
4. Chicago Sun-Times: Robert Novak, Clark on the offensive.
5. New York Times: William Safire, Bush's Foreign Policy.
6. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Maksim Nadezhdin, The West Is Ready To Buy Our
Armed Forces if Russia Breaks into Appanage Principalities.
7. Itar-Tass: NATO air strikes jeopardise health of millions in Europe.
8. Express Khronika: Yevgenia Albats, Say the Best about Genocide - or
9. The Russia Journal: Yavlinskii's Ratings Rise As Perception of Yabloko
10. Moskovskiy Komsomolets: Yuliya Kalinina and Mariya Markina,
D-Day Military Alignment. Who Will Carry Out Yeltsin's Orders? (Army Support
for Yeltsin Move on Duma Eyed)
11. Daniel Kimmage: Re: 3248-Kraus/Protest.
12. Mark Ames: Re: Kraus/Protest.
13. Moscow Times: Sarah Karush, Americans Stand Up To NATO.]
IT Would Be Unwise to Humiliate Russia-EBRD President.
PARIS, April 19 (Itar-Tass) - It would be unvise to humaliate Russia, its
government and even more --its people, said president of the European Bank
for Reconstruction and Development Horst Kehler, speaking in an interview
with the Monde newspaper. "Russia remains a greate power with a huge
nuclear potential," he emphasised.
Kehler who held consultations with Russian Economics Minister Alexander
Shapovalyants in London on Sunday, positively appraised actions of the
Russian government. According to the president, Prime Minister Yevgeny
Primakov is an experienced politician, and his role is to bring Russia's
interests to the fore.
After his coming to the government, the domestic situation stabilised, and
relations between the government and the State Duma (lower house) improved.
The bank president "does not believe that the Russian government wants to
return to a centrally planned economy, since Russia has already passed a
point after which a roll-back is impossible".
Kehler noted that he does not share opinion of those who believe that chaos
and corruption rule supreme in Russia. "Our own experience convinces us
that most of our projects are functioning," the banker continued. "Most of
our clients return us credits and pay debts. Russians show constructive
thinking and entrepreneual fervour despite all difficulties."
Kehler admitted that the West underestimated the fact that a road to a
market economy and democracy should pass, taking into account the country's
culture and history. Besides, a private economy needs rock-firm state
He called for exerting efforts to restore confidence between Russia as well
as the IMF and the World Bank as well as confidence in the private sector
without which it will be much more difficult for Russia to pull out its
present crisis. "I am concerned that the Western world cynically believes
in an ability of the Russian people to experience difficulties," Kehler
said. "Incidentally, this patience is not unlimited."
Poll Shows 70% of Russians See FRY Conflict as Threat
MOSCOW, April 16 (Interfax) - Some 70% of Russians
believe that the NATO military campaign against Yugoslavia poses a direct
threat to Russian security, with only 19% saying there is no threat.
These figures come from a poll of 1,500 urban and rural residents
conducted on April 3 by the Public Opinion Foundation. Meanwhile, an
overwhelming majority of 86% said that Russia should by no means let
itself be involved in the conflict on the side of Yugoslavia, while 8%
supported intervention. At the same time, respondents favor increasing
Russia's national defensive capabilities, but do not favor steps that
would lead to an arms race or increase international tension. Among the
military steps Moscow could take, respondents chose putting the Armed
Forces on increased alert (19%), but another 15% are opposed to this
measure. As many as 12% would support the rapid development of new types
of weapons, although 10% would not; and 4% suggest shifting the emphasis
in economic development to the defense industry and 15% are against this
move. At the same time, 21% stated their opposition to Russia's
renouncing its pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, while
4% want this. There are even more opponents to the deployment of Russian
nuclear arms in Belarus, 23%, with only 5% in favor of such a move.
Tuesday, April 20, 1999
THE TAX ADVISER: Russia 30% Ready for Year 2000 Bug
The year 2000 computer glitch will not threaten Russia's nuclear missiles
or power stations, and the country's computers are more than 30 percent
ready to deal with any problems associated with the bug, officials said.
"Russian experts don't just sit back watching. It would be wrong to
belittle their work," Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak said last week
at a news conference.
While many countries have been working on the so-called millennium bug for
years, Russia has been slower to address it because of more pressing
problems, including a severe cash shortage.
With less than nine months to go, Russia is not expected to be fully
prepared for the changeover in time.
Officials in charge of preparing Russia's computers for the year 2000 put
the costs of fixing them at $2 billion to $3 billion - a huge sum for the
Russian economy to bear. The government has said budget revenues will total
only $23 billion this year.
Bulgak reiterated that the country would need Western help in dealing with
He said that Russia wants to cooperate with NATO in dealing with the 2000
bug from a military standpoint, and that leaders from Russia and NATO would
meet next month in Bonn to discuss the issue.
His statement appeared to contradict earlier statements from the Russian
military, which said it had suspended all contacts with NATO to protest the
alliance's bombing campaign in Yugoslavia.
Nevertheless, a U.S. Pentagon official said Monday that Russia and the
United States were still cooperating closely on the problem.
"Nothing relative to the Y2K has been formally called off or suspended or
anything," said Rosanne Hynes, head of the Pentagon's Year 2000 committee.
Colonel Sergei Kaplin, a Russian Defense Ministry official working on the
year 2000 problem, said at last week's news conference that no major
problems had been found with computer systems controlling Russia's
strategic nuclear forces.
"They are sufficiently reliable," Kaplin said.
Other officials at the news conference said that Russia's nuclear power
stations had also been found to be fully prepared for the year 2000 bug.
Clark on the offensive
April 18, 1999
BY ROBERT NOVAK SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
Members of Congress who, during their spring recess, met in Brussels with
Gen. Wesley Clark, the NATO supreme commander, were startled by his
According to the lawmakers, Clark suggested the best way to handle Russia's
supply of oil to Yugoslavia would be aerial bombardment of the pipeline
that runs through Hungary. He also proposed bombing Russian warships that
enter the battle zone.
The American general was described by the members of the congressional
delegation as waging a personal vendetta against Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic. "I think the general might need a little sleep,"
commented one House member....
New York Times
April 19, 1999
ESSAY / By WILLIAM SAFIRE
Bush's Foreign Policy
AUSTIN -- In our last episode, Gov. George W. Bush of Texas reluctantly began
to expound on his foreign-policy mindset. To continue:
On our involvement in Kosovo: "NATO has to be confident in its capacity to
help preserve the peace in Europe. So I think it is in America's strategic
interest in this case, that once we are in the position we got into, that Mr.
Milosevic be taught a lesson."
On refusing to use trade as a lever to influence China on human rights or
global behavior: "I think it is to the advantage of U.S. producers and to the
country to have admitted China to the World Trade Organization . . .
Unilateral sanctions often don't work."
(Some of us in what Bill Clinton derides as "the anti-China crowd" think Bush
may be Peking too soon.) But now to Russia:
Should the International Monetary Fund lend more money to Moscow? "No." Why
not? "Because I don't think we ought to be throwing good money after bad.
Russia needs to convince lenders, both private and public," says Bush, "that
money is secure within Russia, that the rule of law matters, that corruption
has been held in check. I think we should have learned our lesson."
Should we get tougher with Russia on its aid to Iran on nuclear development?
"Yes. I think that we ought to be firmer about the distribution of weaponry
around the globe, whether they come from China or Russia. This ought to be a
high priority for a President."
In light of talk about moderation in Teheran, do you favor a rapprochement
with Iran? "I am not prepared to talk about that. I will at some point in
What about missile defense? "I think that we ought to move aggressively
forward with the development of the capacity to deploy an intermediate- and
long-range anti-ballistic-missile system. You bet."
And with China positioning missile batteries across the Taiwan Strait, would
you make a missile defense available to our ally? "Well, I have not made up
my mind yet. I think it is hard to make it available to Taiwan until it is
available to the United States."
How would you handle the Russian claim that our 1972 ABM treaty precludes a
missile defense? "I think we need to move aggressively forward, and if that
means eventually renegotiating the treaty with the Russians, we ought to do
But when they don't want to renegotiate it? "I know they don't. We ought to
give them first the opportunity to renegotiate and if they don't, then move
forward with abrogation." (Score one for hawkish adviser Richard Perle.)....
Potential Nuclear Weapon 'Privatization'
2 April 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Maksim Nadezhdin: "The West Is Ready To Buy Our Armed
Forces if Russia Breaks into Appanage Principalities"
Western analysts assume that in the near term
Russia may be shaken by a new "parade of sovereignties," accompanied by
"privatization" of nuclear weapons by regions. Since mid-fall of 1998,
four or five Western countries have applied redoubled energy to examining
what is here considered to be a hypercritical issue--"Prospects for
the region by region dismantling and dispersal of Russia's weapons of
mass destruction in the event of the further debilitation of its
territorial integrity and, in the final analysis, its disintegration".
This work, which is of a strictly applied nature, is being done, as
before, through the efforts of western military and political
intelligence agencies and of institutions and foundations close to them.
They do not trust political scientists. They trust stern realists, among
whom "cold war" veterans predominate.
Of late, there has arisen the unsubstantiated illusion that Russia has
nothing to expect from the West except indifference or "solemn patience."
It is as if the Americans are ready to observe our petty troubles
silently and apathetically from afar. Facts now have become known that
indicate the reverse. The United States, and the West as a whole, are not
letting internal processes in Russia out of their sight for a minute, if
only because the former superpower still possesses the quantitative and
qualitative potential, in terms of weapons of mass destruction, to put an
end to U.S. history, whence the search for effective preventive measures
to avert tomorrow's crisis in Russia. What crisis?
In their memoranda Western analysts construct forecasts such as the
following. With a 60-70 percent probability of occurrence, the upcoming
parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia "will lead to a
strengthening of centrifugal processes." To strengthen its prestige in
the economic, fiscal and other domains, throughout the regions of Russia,
outside observers are saying that "at the same time, a buildup of
military capabilities may be necessary." Some even believe that forced
militarization also is possible at the level of "regional associations"
(such as a "Muslim" or "North Caucasus" bloc).
And local Russians themselves, notes one report, have enough reasons to
take advantage of the situation of the Russian state's disintegration.
Dozens of nuclear powered submarines are docked at piers in the Maritime
Kray or the Murmansk Oblast and, out of necessity "some regions will use
them as thermal electric power stations."
Western experts ask themselves the question: "Under the conditions of the
expected decentralization, what is to keep a particular region of Russia
from getting its own share of weapons of mass destruction and thereby
exceeding the nuclear potential of France, not to mention India?" In this
context there is talk about "embryonic" nuclear ambitions in regional
formations--the "Ural Republic," Siberia, and even the Central Chernozem
The West is seeking a form of "crisis management" for itself to moderate
the vigor of Russia's militaristically charged regions. The most
attractive option, as the West sees it, is to place Russia's nuclear
potential under international control, either by NATO or the United
Nations, or both of them together. The logic is as follows: "This is much
cheaper than creating complicated counterbalancing deterrence systems by
arming Russia's neighbors in the post-Soviet space."
In other words, to not arm Azerbaijan, Moldova or Ukraine?
The model being used against Iraq also is considered acceptable--to
deploy groupings of naval forces of the United States and other major
Western countries along Russia's maritime perimeter. A special--"for
Russia only"-- system [could be] established for monitoring its nuclear
assets, thus necessitating a coalition of inspectors at various levels--
from the "G-7", from NATO, some from the IAEA, and at the same time even
from a certain "Foundation of Concerned World Citizens." Specialists
advise that it is possible to "designate newly recruited NATO members"
senior over them."
Totally novel "notions of the unthinkable" also enter this scenario. They
suggest the purchase of the Armed Forces from the Russian Federation. The
fact is that a little over one billion dollars is being allocated for
them in the 1999 budget-- the cost equivalent of one U.S. new generation
nuclear powered submarine. [They could be] bought for a song, and that
with no problems.
Finally, Western experts consider one other "strictly commercial" method of
neutralizing the threat of the proliferation [raspolzaniye] of Russia's
nuclear potential-- the privatization of theRussian military-industrial
complex (VPK), especially its capacities for producing weapons of mass
Our political and business elite will hardly be in transports over the
news that the self-appointed keepers of the "new world order" are so
concerned over prospects of the Russian state's disintegration that they
would like to deprive Russia of the inalienable signs of
sovereignty--control over the VPK and over the Armed Forces. On the other
hand, though, it can be grateful for the timely forecast about Russia
disintegrating into "appanage" regions and for the warning about what the
West's reaction will be in this case. Don't say later that you were not
NATO air strikes jeopardise health of millions in Europe.
MOSCOW, April 19 (Itar-Tass) - NATO air strikes at production facilities in
Yugoslavia are health hazards for millions of people in Europe. This was
stated by representative of the Russian Defence Ministry, Major-General
Boris Alexeyev at a news conference in Moscow on Monday on the theme
"Ecological consequences of air strikes against Yugoslavia for Europe.
Russian experts' opinion".
Alexeyev said by-products of combustion of oil in bombed-out reservoirs and
refineries in Yugoslavia, hazardous for health, reached the air space of
Poland and are approaching Finland. After the anticyclone expected soon,
the poisonous mixture will spread to the territories of Hungary, Greece and
The consequences of bombings will be felt all over Europe for many years.
The incidence of cancer, immune system deficiency will increase sharply, as
well as harmful effects on the reproductive function, the incidence of skin
diseases and increased risk of diabetis, Alexeyev said.
The conflict in Yugoslavia may threaten Europe's nuclear safety as nuclear
power plants and research reactors are situated in nearby territories. Such
is the opinion of activists of the Socio-ecological Union that formed the
Anti-war Committee in April.
Two research reactors are situated at research institutes 15 kilometres
away from Belgrade. There is a nuclear power plant in Krska and a research
reactor in Ljubljana. Nuclear power plants are situated at a distance of
300-600 kilometres from the zone of the military conflict in Paks, Hungary,
and Kozlodui, Bulgaria, as well as in Romania, Tass learnt from the Russian
Nuclear Ministry on Monday. Activists of the Socio-ecological Union
believes the conflict in the Balkans should be resolved peacefully as the
hitting of a nuclear reactor of any country by if only one bomb may spell a
catastrophe for a number of countries in Europe.
Express Khronika, a human rights weekly, published in Moscow
Editor-in-Chief Aleksandr Podrabinek
April 12, 1999
Say the Best about Genocide - or Shut Up
By Yevgenia ALBATS (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Say the best about genocide-or shut up. War in Yugoslavia has confirmed the
lousiness of Russian politicians and the Russian press. It is sad but true
that neither of them check their facts.
Russian politicians from left to liberal have united in goodwill to condemn
NATO (which is, in my view, the right thing to do), but they have not said a
word about the nightmare the Milosevic regime has created and is
perpetuating in Kosovo. They are all afraid together.
The all wanted to please the masses together. They were all afraid to say
that in Yugoslavia, along with the Serbian brothers, there are Albanian
brothers as well, that not all Slavs are the Russians' brothers by blood or
faith, that the Albanians are not everyone's brothers by blood or faith, but
none of that is important in any case.
What is there to say about Zyuganov or Lebed? Everything is already
understood. But what about Yavlinsky, and Chubais and Gaidar and those who
are heard or seen on radio or tv, who have the widest audiences of all, and
cannot bring themselves to say that Milosevic is doing to the Albanians (and
has already done to the Bosnians and Croatians) what Hitler did to the Jews?
They don't know? Nonsense! They all know, but they're thinking about the
voter: How can he,
in his happy jingoistic hysteria, consider the Serbs his enemies?
Not one of them even expressed surprise publicly at the words of Minister of
Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov, who, explaining the Russian authorities'
vehement support of the Serbs, asked at a press conference, "What do you
want, Islamic fundamentalism?" There is the underlying theme: the Albanians
are Muslim-they are not "our people." And none of our politicians asked,
"How can a person with the mentality and political culture of Igor Ivanov
find a place in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of a multiethnic country?!"
On Sunday, this same strategist was interviewed on the program "Zerkalo"
(Mirror), after NTV had shown horrible pictures of the murders in Kosovo,
and he was so shameless as to utter the phrase, "the supposed ethnic
cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo." Journalist Nikolai Svanidze was not brave
enough to say, "Supposed? There's the film." I am curious to know how
Svanidze, far from being a Slav, or his non-Slavic boss Mikhail Shvydkoi,
felt at that moment. Did they want to hide under the bed? And shout, "Not
me, not me, I'm yours, I'm ours…"?
I was struck by the front page photograph in Friday's Moscow Times: an
endless line of Albanians walking along the railroad tracks. There is an
identical photograph of Jews walking along the railroad tracks to Treblinka.
I cannot believe that, fifty years after Hitler's "final solution to the
Jewish question," it is happening again in Europe in almost the same form.
Listening to what our television stations have been broadcasting for a week
(only last Friday did NTV begin to report on the refugees in Macedonia), I
understood clearly that we have every chance to walk in just the same column
along just the same tracks. We are all "not theirs," regardless of whether
we celebrate Ramadan, Easter or Passover.
Don't ask me why I, a journalist, don't publish all that I have just said in
the press. I will answer with a request: Tell me, please, where.
The Internet is a powerful weapon. Why don't we try to gather signatures for
a petition to expel Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivanov, for whom ethnic
cleansing in Kosovo is "supposed," from office?
These home video pictures were given to the BBC by Milaim Bellanitsa, an
Albanian farmer from the village of Velika Krusa, whose fellow villagers
were shot by the Serbs a week ago in the course of their ethnic cleansing.
Bellanitsa hid form the executioners in the cellar of a ruined house. Before
departing from Kosovo, he decided to return to the site of the mass execution
with a camera to preserve the evidence of the crime.
Along with the film, Bellenitsa gave the BBC the names of 26 of his kinsmen
who were killed by Serbian executioners in Velika Krusa. Before showing the
film, the British broadcaster deleted parts of it. The management considered
them "too brutal" to be shown on national television.
The Russia Journal
April 18, 1999
Yavlinskii's Ratings Rise As Perception of Yabloko Changes
Those keeping track of Russia's leading Russian political parties and
politicians' ratings over the past two weeks noticed the sharp growth in
popularity of the liberal-leaning Grigorii Yavlinskii and his Yabloko
A number of recent polls show that both the movement and its leader have
entered the rank of top three, and that most supporters of Yavlinskii are
between 18 and 30 years of age.
Until recently, the ratings of Yabloko and its leader have remained stable
at about 10 percent of the electorate for several years, and though that
number was increasing, its growth rate was moderate.
That makes the recent sharp change in the electorate's sympathies
surprising. Many observers approached it with skepticism, saying they had
little faith in the accuracy of the polls. The agencies that conduct the
polls, however, are not only independent from one another but in
competition, and have shown similar changes in Yabloko's popularity.
Russia has witnessed the birth of a vast number of parties and movements
since 1991. Of this large variety, Yabloko is presently the only movement
bearing the name of a politically neutral fruit. Russian political
observers are currently claiming the movement's name was selected after a
careful analysis of the average voter's psychological preferences. In
reality, the choice of name was purely accidental.
In 1993, when the movement was forming in order to participate in the
upcoming State Duma lower house of parliament elections, it was registered
under the names of its three leaders: Yavlinskii, Yuri Boldyrev and
Vladimir Lukin. Foreign journalists shortened these names to the
abbreviation YaBL, but this was too close to the sound of a naughty word in
Russian. So the movement's founders began looking for a nice word that
began with YaBL, and came up with Yabloko.
Boldyrev soon left the movement to became its uncompromising political
opponent. But the name Yabloko remained, and people began looking for some
deeply hidden political meaning in it.
That is difficult to find, however, because it is difficult to connect the
movement and its main leader with anything in Russia's political reality.
In the past few years, all of the Russian reformist movements have
experienced a spring of popularity followed by a steeper decline in the
past few years. This includes moderate reformers like Vladimir Volskii's
Civil Union and Viktor Chernomyrdin's Our Home Is Russia, as well as
extreme liberals such as Egor Gaidar, head of Russia's Democratic Choice.
It might seem that common Russians have been growing increasingly
disappointed with the reformers. But this does not concern Yabloko.
Famous for their pro-western sympathies, the movement and its leader have
been slowly but surely gaining popularity. This year, Yavlinskii managed to
win - for the first time - over 10 percent in the polls. But recent surveys
show he enjoys from 12 to 14 percent support.
One of the keys of this success is the movement's consistent and
unequivocal political attitude. Yavlinskii demonstrated this through his
reluctance to join the government without a team and program of his own
(despite numerous offers).
The rejection of compromise is demonstrated in Yabloko's remarkable
solidarity on any Duma vote, in its rejection of federal budgets on an
annual basis regardless of what Cabinet the particular draft budget comes
from, and in the movement's strong condemnation of Russia's military
debacle in Chechnya.
This firmness stands out against Vldaimir Zhirinovskii's undisguised vote
trading and the left-wing factions' complicated and often obscure
maneuvering. The public seems to have recently noticed principal
differences between Yavlinskii and liberal democrats like Gaidar,
differences that earlier seemed minor.
Politicians such as Gaidar have always leaned to the West, particularly the
United States, seeing it as an example to be followed. But Yabloko has
avoided finding idols outside the country and simply advocated western
civilization's basic values, such as a civil society, the supremacy of law
and a free market economy.
As long as enthusiasm for the West gripped Russian society and the country
celebrated its growing political and economic relations with the West, this
principle difference in positions went unnoticed.
The euphoria passed when Russians began feeling resentment for the
discrepancy between economic and political conditions between Russia and
the West. The dislike reached its peak with NATO bombings in Yugoslavia.
Gaidar and other right-wing leaders may have condemn NATO's bombings out
loud and flied to Belgrade on peace missions, but the public saw former
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev's statements as a more explicit
manifestation of Russian liberal democrats' attitude. Kozyrev claimed a
decision taken by the world's 17 richest and most civilized countries
cannot be wrong and needs to be supported.
Just as Yavlinskii condemned Yeltsin's violation of Russian law during the
Chechen War, he also disparaged western states for violating international
treaties the very states introduced at the end of World War II. But he was
also among the very few to criticize Russian historical revisionism that
protestors used to justify their new-found dislike for the West.
Along with all of the above-mentioned reasons for Yabloko's growing
popularity, there are also some significant psychological factors. Until
recently, Yavlinskii's adversaries' strongest argument was his lack of
actual experience in state management.
But as the Duma began to gain a greater role in the state governing system
and Yabloko contributed actively to this process, the argument became
Another powerful factor had been Russia's traditional lack of confidence in
any politician younger than 50.
But the general tendency of Russian management to get younger (former Prime
Minister Sergei Kirienko's youth earned him the nickname "Kinder-Surprise"
when he was appointed prime minister last year) have made the Yabloko
leader look almost like a patriarch in politics.
It is not that Yavlinskii has become some sort of an ideal. He is known to
be referred to as "Our Duce" by his own party colleagues behind his back.
His intolerance toward other opinions as well as his lack of political
flexibility will surely cause him more than a few problems.
But one thing remains certain: Grigorii Yavlinskii and his Yabloko have
become significant players in Russian politics and are likely to stay that
way for a long time.
Army Support for Yeltsin Move on Duma Eyed
15 April 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Yuliya Kalinina and Mariya Markina: "D-Day Military
Alignment. Who Will Carry Out Yeltsin's Orders?"
The authorities talk about a state of emergency and
the Duma's dissolution whenever there is civil strife. Now is just such a
time. The looming impeachment, a general prosecutor who is out of control
and whom deputies are failing to send packing, a government fraternizing
with the Communists... The le*o pot, the balance of forces has been
disrupted, and the president is, of course, trying to restore it.
The strong-arm method is the extreme option but, if things do not work
out by other means, the president will use it without hesitation.
In that case what forces will be used to carry out the president's
wishes? What likelihood is there that these forces will heed and back the
president and not side with the opposition or simply ignore the commander
in chief's orders?
Internal Troops subunits will be brought to bear in Moscow for such an
operation: The ODON [Separate Special Purpose Division] (in other words
the Dzerzhinskiy Division of around 10,000 combat units [boyevyye
yedinitsi]), the Sofrino Brigade (around 2,500), and a police brigade (10
regiments [polk] of around 500 men each). These three Internal Troops
formations will be the main strike force.
As for the other forces, the MVD still has the OMON [Special Purpose
Police Detachment] (around 2,500), the Moscow City Internal Affairs
Administration Special Rapid Reaction Detachment, and the MVD
Administration for Combating Organized Crime Special Rapid Reaction
Detachment (both detachments with around 300 men each). And, of course,
the FSB [Federal Security Service] Alfa -- also 300 men.
The Taman and Kantemir Divisions' army armored units stationed near
Moscow will in all likelihood be sent to back up the Internal Troops and
Having made havoc of our roads which are in a more or less good state of
repair, by the end of the first day of confrontation they will reach
downtown Moscow and seal it off with tanks. But in such cases it is not
the Army that plays the lead role, since restoring public order does not
come within its jurisdiction....
In 1993 some middle- and top-ranking officers refused to take part in
the operation to seize the White House. For instance, Alfa refused to
obey verbal directives, demanding written orders. But there were fairly
few refuseniks at the time. There are now expected to be far more -- but
not so many as to enable us to speak of mass sabotage and
insubordination. The reason is clear. Yeltsin is not a president whom
they want to defend and the current economic and political situation is
not one that they want to experience any longer. But servicemen's
mentality and training are such that it is very hard for them to
translate a mental protest to the practical plane and deliberately refuse
to carry out a commanding officer's order on ideological grounds. All
ideological considerations are erased and set aside when they receive an
Order. A button clicks in their head and everything subsequently follows
a tried and tested procedure that has been established for all time.
You have to be a very adult, experienced person to ignore an order to
carry out an operation to restore order in and around the Duma. Someone
who has seen and experienced a great deal, who knows his own true worth,
that of his commanding officers, of the president, and of bloodshed.
People of that kind serve in the OMON, for instance, or in Alfa,
therefore there will be a comparatively large number of "refuseniks"
there in all probability. But the Dzerzhinskiy Division will probably not
fail us. It is experiencing a terrible personnel turnover. Very young
company and regiment commanders with terrible living conditions and
minimum self-esteem. Few people there feel themselves self-sufficient,
therefore everything in the ODON will depend on the division's commanding
officer. They will carry out whatever orders he gives.
...But there will be a trifling number of "refuseniks" who decide to
maintain their neutrality and not get involved in anything. At any rate
there will be fewer of them than those wishing to fight. It is worse if
there are commanding officers with an active stance who side with the
Regrettably, we now have all the objective preconditions for civil war. But
kind of stimulus or subjective factor is needed for war to begin. What
could that be? Bloodshed. If the men of one Internal Troops brigade die
after being shot by the men of another brigade during a clash at Okhotnyy
Ryad [State Duma], that is the end. Then they will shoot one another
until the bullets have run out and we have far more bullets than people....
Of course, we cannot make any specific forecasts.
But by way of an example, just to imagine how these things happen, we
can consider the following situation which has been suggested by our experts.
The three Internal Troops units mentioned initially have different
subordination. ODON is directly subordinate to the Internal Troops'
Commander in Chief General Ovchinnikov, while the police and Sofrino
Brigades are subordinate to Moscow District Internal Troops Commander
Gen. Ovchinnikov was appointed just two weeks ago and, according to our
information, is wholly and completely loyal to the presidential side.
As for Gen. Baskayev, he has held his post for a very long time and has
a stable friendship and mutually beneficial partnership relationship with
the capital's Mayor Luzhkov.
Suppose Gen. Ovchinnikov receives an order from Commander in Chief Yeltsin
to move up three Internal Troops brigades to downtown Moscow and blockade
the Duma. Ovchinnikov, in turn, issues corresponding orders to his
The Dzerzhinskiy Division would move up without thinking while Mayor
Luzhkov would realize then that he is unbearably sick of what all these
troops are doing in his beloved capital. He would telephone his buddy
Baskayev and ask him to play for time. He would do that but Luzhkov's
telephone call alone would not, of course, be enough for him to disobey
the commander in chief. Then people from City Hall and various deputies
would go to district headquarters and the brigades and mass together in
urging the military not to back the rotten regime's criminal actions. And
they would list all its crimes, of which the military are, it must be
said, perfectly well aware.
Officers would start to waver at this onslaught and because they see that
deputies have power, moral rectitude, and the masses behind them.
Meanwhile time is moving on, troops loyal to the president have already
taken up position, the situation is hotting up, deputies ask them to
defend them, that is, move into the center of the city and prevent the
president's troops from moving to strong-arm actions. Prevent
lawlessness, in other words.
In that situation will the Moscow District Troops accommodate deputies
or the mayor? This again depends on subjective factors which cannot be
foreseen but, objectively, the likelihood of their disobeying the
president is extremely high.... Incidentally, we do not know what
underground work the Communists have already performed and are continuing
to perform among the Internal Troops' top officer echelon. The only thing
that is known for sure is that many of them have long since established
an excellent relationship with the Zavtra newspaper and the
national-patriotic opposition and neither the newspaper nor the military
themselves make any secret of this fact.
We spent a few days trying to get military deputies, who are considered
politicians in terms of status, to comment on this subject. Regrettably,
the question evidently proved too tricky. On various pretexts, saying
that they were busy and reluctant to exacerbate the political situation
in the country, deputies one by one refused to comment on this
Only two responded. Democrat Deputy Eduard Vorobyev sent the editorial
pager his "position on the whole." It boiled down to one phrase: "The
Army must remain within the law." And in the opinion of Communist Deputy
Mikhail Surkov, given the current situation in the Armed Forces neither
the Kantemir nor the Taman Divisions will follow the Duma or the Kremlin.
As for the MVD Troops, they may quite well agree to carry out the
operations to blockade the Duma building and bar access to it. They will
most likely also defend the Kremlin. "On the whole," Surkov said, "people
today are not prepared to shoot one another. And we politicians must not
Date: Tue, 20 Apr 1999
From: Daniel Kimmage <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 3248-Kraus/Protest
In response to Eric Kraus:
I do not believe that principled opposition to NATO action in
Yugoslavia need stem from either a "passion for all things Russian" or
a lack of "basic human decency". Let me take your argument point by
1. Agreed that references to Clinton's sex life are irrelevant to the
2. While the ostensible historical importance of Kosovo to the
Serbian people justifies no violation of Albanian rights, the
parallels you draw are faulty. I assume that your knowledge of
Russian history is sufficient to distinguish between the significance
of a temporary occupation and a region of long-standing historical
3. Though the infringements on Albanian rights perpetrated by Serbian
forces were and are horrifying, there is no evidence that an "entire
people is being slaughtered". Such rhetoric serves no one and only
obscures the true state of affairs. The falsity of your assertion
leads one to doubt your claim that "indignant appeals to international
law are irrelevant". The precedents of international law and the
hindrances imposed by the UN Security Council exist not so much to
enforce an absolute moral standard but to prevent local conflicts from
turning into global disasters. Should Nato have intervened on behalf
of the Chechens? Moral considerations in such cases regrettably give
way to concerns of Realpolitik and real consequences, and rightly so.
4. Multinational support is not a justification for anything. Groups
of nations can err just as well as individual states.
5. I stress once again the lamentably amoral rules which dictate
interactions between sovereign states. The delicate balance to which
I allude above is intended not to create an ideal world, but to avoid
dangerous imbroglios. Responsible political leaders take consequences
into account and act accordingly; fools rush in. That the latter
justify their recklessness with lofty phrases of concern neither
eliminates the threat their actions pose nor effaces the hypocrisy
which results from the double standards which necessarily underpin
those actions. In short, the question is not whether the suffering
deserve support, but what form that support will take and whether it
will lead to even greater suffering.
6. One MUST draw a distinction between a regime and a people. While
nationalism of the basest variety has indubitably played a role in the
conflicts which have rocked the Balkans in recent years, it is not the
only factor. To assume otherwise is to demonize an entire people. In
the end, responsibility is always individual, while sympathy can and
should be both individual and collective.
7. Milosevic was not the only person responsible for the breakup of
Yugoslavia. Matters were far more complex. But more importantly, why
should Nato step in to ensure the "irretrievable loss" of Kosovo
merely because Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia "have no
sympathy for their Serb neighbor"? I fail to see the logic.
8. As in other (failed) interventions, the question is not whether Nato
is "losing", but what has their intervention achieved thus far, what
are its goals, and what are the risks. Thus far, it has triggered a
massive escalation of brutality against the people Nato claims to be
defending, it has wrecked a substantial portion of the Serbian
infrastructure, it has cemented support for a repressive regime, and
it has alienated Russia from the West. Not only have the stated
goals, murky though they may be, not been accomplished, but taking
into account the "achievements" thus far, they seem now entirely
unrealistic. The risks include not only greater human suffering, but
the danger of a broader conflict, especially if escalation becomes a
priority. (And before you argue that everything would have gone
according to plan if the Serbs had behaved, remember that in the case
of military aggression -- and Nato actions DO constitute military
aggression in this case -- it is the responsibility of planners to
take into account all possible consequences. The failure to do so in
this case represents an egregious miscalculation.)
Since I believe that one should augment criticism with positive
proposals, let me offer a suggestion. Nato gambled and lost. What is
imperative now is to halt the conflict before it escalates out of
control and to stop the worst human rights violations on the ground in
Kosovo. In the short term, this can be achieved by arranging through
Russian mediation a near-simultaneous cease fire and installation of
an armed observer force in Kosovo. The latter would consist of
perhaps Russian and Greek troops under UN control. While this is far
from an ideal solution, it would 1) put a stop to the current
disaster; 2) allow refugees to return; 3) bring the matter back to the
negotiating table; 4) repair some of the damage to Russian-Western
The tentative solution I propose here relies, unfortunately, on the
wisdom of political leaders who have yet to demonstrate that quality.
Yet it seems a far better option than continuing escalation with
utterly uncertain consequences.
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999
From: "Mark Ames" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Kraus/Protest
I read Eric Kraus's response to our 101 Reasons Why The War Sucks expecting
him to substantiate his claim that our article was a "peurile rant".
Instead we got something that appeared to be transcribed directly from
press conferences given by NATO and its top member governments. Arguments
such as "8. NATO is not suffering a defeat. As in Bosnia and Croatia, they
have the time, the resources, and
the commitment to win Kosovo its independence, whether from the air or on
the ground." and the one about how since most people are for it, including
the Dutch and leftists, then it must be right, are plain creepy and speak
more about Kraus's psychology than anything else. Add in his likening of
the Croatians--whose savage behavior this decade was only tempered by a
lack of weapons, which the Germans happily made up for--to the truly tragic
plight of Bosnian Muslims and Kosovar Albanians, and you start to see a
Take point #2: "The statement that Kosovo is of vital historic importance
Serb people is laughable. Large tracts of Russia are of historic importance
to the Swedes and Lithuanians; no one suggests giving them back." Now
substitute "Jerusalem" for "Kosovo" and "Jews" for "Serbs" and re-read it.
You can't. The truth is that Kosovo's importance to Serbs is not laughable
for the simple reason that Serbs are unanimously resisting the most
powerful military force in history on behalf of Kosovo, something they
didn't do for Krajina or Bosnia.
Finally, the statement that Kosovo was "an independent Republic under Tito,
and had the constitutional right to secede" is just plain false. Late in
Tito's regime, in 1974, Kosovo's status was changed to that of an
autonomous province within the Serbian repbulic, something that gave
Kosovars greater federal representation and local rule, but not the right
to secede. Milosevic stripped them of autonomy on the pretense that the
Albanians were discriminating against the Serb minority and using the
autonomy to push for separation and independence.
Lastly, Kraus's record as an incessant Gary Peach-like propagandist in
favor of Yeltsin's reforms and the salvageability of Russia's financial
situation right up until the crash last August might help explain why he'd
buy into the new crazed NATO propaganda hook, line and sinker. This guy
likes to go with the flow. But whereas then, mere money was at stake (and
lost), this time, we're talking about lives, perhaps millions.
April 20, 1999
Americans Stand Up To NATO
By Sarah Karush
First to arrive were the police. Then began a steady trickle of Russian and
foreign journalists. Finally, the day's celebrities - eight American men
bearing anti-war placards - arrived to protest NATO action in Yugoslavia.
The eXile, a biweekly English-language newspaper known more for politically
incorrect humor than political activism, staged an anti-war rally Monday at
the Gorbaty Bridge next to the White House government headquarters.
Editors Matt Taibbi and Mark Ames stepped into an unfamiliar role as they
led six other protesters in chants of "NATO Out of Kosovo."
"We're humorists, but what can you do?" Taibbi said. "It's not funny; it's
He said the protest was in part a response to the wave of anti-American
sentiments among Russians that has been fueled by the Yugoslav conflict.
"We're trying to send a message to Russians that not all Americans are
brainwashed idiots. Unfortunately, it looks like all Americans are
brainwashed," Ames said, referring to the low turnout.
Protests are no longer permitted at the U.S. Embassy, and Gorbaty Bridge
was deemed a symbolic location because that is where the Vorkuta coal
miners camped out in protest last summer.
"I'm still hoping they'll show up," Ames said, looking nervously at his
watch 15 minutes into the protest.
"It's just a worse reflection on our country. It shows Russians we're as
dumb as they think we are."
Holding signs with English and Russian slogans such as "If you can't spell
it, don't bomb it" and "We're ashamed of this war," the protesters stood in
a corner of the bridge hidden among reporters until exasperated
photographers got them to move to the top of the bridge for a better photo
The journalists seemed to consider Americans against the war a novelty.
Polls have shown that a majority of Americans support the NATO strikes.
"This doesn't seem plausible," said a photographer from the newspaper Trud.
As the clock ticked closer to the appointed hour with no sign of a
demonstration, many reporters wondered if it wasn't another of the eXile's
And when the protest did finally begin, the journalists seemed grateful for
"Since the miners left, it's been so boring here," said Natalya Putova, of
the daily Noviye Izvestia.