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Johnson's Russia List
11 May 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Moscow Times: Valeria Korchagina, Impeachment Drive Backed by
2. Christian Science Monitor: Fred Weir, Russia's uneasy place in Europe.
3. RFE/RL NEWSLINE: RUSSIANS DRINKING MORE... PRAYING MORE ...
AND MORE CRITICAL OF THE WEST.
4. Itar-Tass: Zhirinovskiy Enters Gubernatorial Race in
5. Interfax: Blast-Free Nuclear Tests Planned for Novaya
6. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Borisova, Legislators Take Up Investor Question.
7. Baltimore Sun: Michael Kraig, Nuke launch ultimate Y2K nightmare
U.S., Russia cooperating on early-warning system.
8. Gordon Hahn: RFE/RL's anti-Russian bias.
9. Dmitri Kisselev: Re: 3276-Leningrad.
10. Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye: Vladimir Mukhin, Chechen Parallels:
NATO Aggression May Suffer Defeat for the Same Reason as Russia's War in the
11. The Russia Journal: Communist Masliukov, Bourgeois Reformer.
12. Stratfor: European NATO Members Say, 'Enough.'
13. Boston Globe: David Filipov, Old warriors take aim at the new war.]
May 11, 1999
Impeachment Drive Backed by Yavlinsky
By Valeria Korchagina
Two major opposition parties met separately Monday to discuss their tactics
on the upcoming vote to impeach President Boris Yeltsin, with liberal Yabloko
party leader Grigory Yavlinsky confirming his continued support for the third
of five charges f the launching of the war in Chechnya.
Support from Yabloko's 40-plus deputies would give the Chechnya charge the
best chance to gather the necessary 300 votes in the 450-seat lower house,
while the other four charges appear long shots.
Yavlinsky argued that the bloody attempt to suppress Chechen separatists was
the only charge that constituted a criminal offense. "We are going to insist
on legal impeachment procedure. We refuse to consider political charges,"
Yavlinsky was quoted as saying by Interfax.
The Communists, the largest group in the State Duma, met in closed session.
The beginning of the impeachment debate has been tentatively scheduled for
Wednesday. However, it could take several days before a vote is actually
called, and the whole process could be postponed until next month while the
opposition tries to gather enough votes to avoid an embarrassing defeat.
The other charges forwarded by the Duma impeachment committee earlier this
year involve the breakup of the Soviet Union, the use of force against a
rebellious parliament in 1993, the collapse of the military, and "genocide"
of the Russian people by decisions that induced poverty.
The Communists are the driving force behind the impeachment move. But they
have postponed voting several times and have seemed content to drag out the
process, using it to criticize Yeltsin while avoiding actually trying to
The news media has been full of speculation that if the Duma goes ahead with
impeachment, Yeltsin may retaliate by firing the communist-backed Cabinet of
Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov. That would precipitate a political crisis
and possible dissolution of the Duma f a prospect the leftists deputies don't
appear to relish.
According to the newspaper Izvestia, the Chechnya charge is three votes short
with 297 supporters, assuming solid support from 129 Communists, all 46
members of the leftists Popular Rule and the 36 Agrarians, plus some
independents and member of centrist parties.
There was no official reaction from the Kremlin on Monday to Yavlinsky's
statements. Instead, presidential spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin said that the
president is going to a have a busy week dealing mostly with the NATO bombing
of Yugoslavia, Itar-Tass reported.
Bargaining with the Duma would most likely fall to Primakov, who is planning
to meet the leaders of Duma factions Tuesday. One of topic at the meetings
was expected to be impeachment, Itar-Tass said.
n Yavlinsky criticized Primakov as a throwback to the stagnation days of
Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. "This Brezhnev style of the government
absolutely does not suit us," he was quoted as saying by Interfax.
But he stressed that Yabloko did not advocated firing Primakov. Yavlinsky
supported his nomination for prime minister but has criticized his economic
Christian Science Monitor
May 11, 1999
[for personal use only]
Russia's uneasy place in Europe
Kosovo crisis underlines Moscow's place as the Continent's perennial
outsider. How to draw it in?
By Fred Weir, Special to The Christian Science Monitor
History took a wrong turn at the end of the cold war and ended up in the
deadly cul-de-sac of NATO's current war against Yugoslavia.
That, at least, is the overwhelming view in Moscow, where it is an article of
faith that the West needs Russian diplomatic help to extract it from the
Balkan quagmire. Any settlement, Russia believes, must be followed up with a
sweeping revision of European security arrangements.
"The West was shocked by the intensity of Russian anger and indignation when
NATO attacked Yugoslavia. But they shouldn't have been," says Viktor
Levashov, a foreign-policy specialist at the Institute of Social and
Political Studies in Moscow: "When the United States chose to ignore Russian
hopes of partnership after the Soviet Union fell apart and decided to reshape
Europe using NATO - a military alliance - as their instrument, the stage was
set for disaster."
As the Balkan conflict grinds on - despite yesterday's unconfirmed
announcement by Belgrade of a partial troop withdrawal from Kosovo - tragic
mistakes like NATO's attack on the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade appear to
deepen Russian fear and resentment. Opinion polls show two-thirds of
respondents now see the Western alliance as "a direct threat to Russian
"Our attitude toward the West over the past decade has been a long fall, from
euphoria to disenchantment," says Georgi Shakhnazarov, a Kremlin
foreign-policy adviser under former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
"Everybody thought the West would help us, teach us, bring us into its
superior way of life. Now increasing numbers of Russians believe the US and
other countries conspired to destroy the Soviet Union, to wreck our economy
and reduce us to third-world status."
The West's efforts to forge a new security order in Europe are seen as a
chain of lies and power grabs at Moscow's expense.
"Russia was told we would always be consulted on European security matters,
that our permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council ensured our
role," says Pavel Felgenhauer, military expert with the liberal daily
Segodnya. "With this war the Security Council is shoved aside and NATO is
attacking a sovereign state, a traditional friend of Russia," Mr. Felgenhauer
says. "What do we believe now?"
Many in the West find this attitude baffling. Russia is seen as a wayward and
often obstructionist power that pleads for Western loans to shore up its
bankrupt economy and then snarls angrily - even threatens World War III -
when the US and its allies intervene in Iraq or the former Yugoslavia.
Moscow's post-cold-war record is one of constantly demanding to be treated as
a great power, but offering only grudging and belated help when the
international community faces problems like Yugoslav leader Slobodan
Milosevic's brutal "ethnic cleansing" of Kosovar Albanians.
Javier Solana, NATO's secretary-general, complained last week that Russia's
stubborn refusal to be a team player may even have aggravated the Balkan
crisis. "If Russia had been firmer along with the European countries that
were putting all the pressure [on Yugoslavia] ... we would have saved a lot
of tragedy," he said in an interview on Spanish television May 3.
Moscow has moved, however, from uncritical support for Yugoslav leader
Slobodan Milosevic at the war's outset to looking more presentable as a
potential mediator between the two sides.
In addition, Russia's special envoy for Kosovo, Viktor Chernomyrdin, traveled
to Beijing yesterday, where he is expected to try to calm Chinese ire over
the embassy bombing and seek to coordinate efforts to end the Kosovo crisis.
In pursuing its own agenda on Yugoslavia, however, Russia may just be
resuming its traditional place on the fringe of Europe - looking in with a
peculiar mixture of fear and admiration, envy and disdain.
Despite many efforts to assimilate Western economic and technological
dynamism throughout its history, Russia has always regarded itself as
fundamentally - and proudly - different.
"Western Christians have no knowledge of that sort of community which belongs
to the Russians," the early 20th-century political philosopher Nikolai
Berdyaev wrote, pointing to Russia's historic suffering, collectivism, and
The strains that erupted over the Balkan war have their roots in the
post-cold-war illusion that Russia could be easily integrated into the
Western economic and political system. "Historically and geopolitically
Russia is doomed to be a Eurasian power," says Alexander Konovalov, director
of the liberal Institute of Strategic Assessments in Moscow. "Russia's
national interests and its point of view on the world are simply not
compatible with the West," he says. "The solution is to work constructively
with Russia, to draw it into partnership wherever possible, but not expect it
to become just another Western country anytime soon."
RUSSIA'S future relations with Europe may depend on whether it can cooperate
with the West in forging a Balkan settlement and then move on to a broader
search for new and more effective global security arrangements.
"Of course Russia must play this role and help to resolve that very dangerous
situation. But that is not enough," says Mr. Shakhnazarov, the former Kremlin
aide. He says it is necessary to return to the moment the cold war ended and
seek the path not taken. "Ten years ago there were so many constructive and
creative ideas about how to create an open, cooperative, and inclusive
European security system, with the United Nations as the highest authority.
We need to go back to those ideas and find the formula that will cement
Russia as a full and equal member of our common European home," he says.
"I'm afraid if the West goes ahead and imposes its will by force on
Yugoslavia, then we are headed for a new cold war."
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 3, No. 90, Part I, 10 May 1999
RUSSIANS DRINKING MORE ... Sales of vodka climbed 10 percent
and beer sales rose 19 percent in the first quarter of 1999
compared to a year earlier, Interfax reported on 9 May. But
the sale of champagne fell 13 percent. Because these figures
cover only official sales and not illegally produced liquor
which is estimated to make up 50 percent of all alcohol
consumed in the Russian Federation, the actual shifts may be
much greater. PG
... PRAYING MORE ... Meanwhile, ever more Russians are
turning to religion, according to a Public Opinion poll
reported by Interfax on 7 May. A mid-April sampling of 1,500
Russians showed that 55 percent now consider themselves to be
Orthodox Christians, up from 34 percent in June 1991. Nine
percent more, down from 10 percent in 1991, say they are
followers of another religion. The number professing atheism
has fallen from 40 to 31 percent. PG
... AND MORE CRITICAL OF THE WEST. More than seven out of ten
Russians believe that Moscow is excessively dependent on the
West, according to the results of a Public Opinon Poll
reported by Interfax on 7 May. Over half (51 percent) now
think that relations with the United States have deteriorated
over the past year, up from only 33 percent who felt that way
in January 1999. PG
Zhirinovskiy Enters Gubernatorial Race in Belgorod
Belgorod, 8th May, ITAR-TASS correspondent Vitaliy
Ilgov: Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of
Russia [LDPR], who has arrived here, has become the fifth registered
candidate for the post of head of the Regional administration. The
visitor did not look perturbed by the sight of pickets protesting against
his participation in the gubernatorial election slated for 30th May.
Addressing journalists, Zhirinovskiy repeated that in the event of his being
elected governor, he intended "to restore order in Belgorod Region" and
"ensure its prosperity".
Asked how he could govern a region in the absence of any managerial
experience, the LDPR leader said some words to the effect that he was the
leader of one of Russia's major political parties, and becoming a
governor was for him tantamount to "switching from a Mercedes to a bicycle".
Asked on whose support he would rely in the election, the visitor
confidently stated that his principal electorate were "the young, the
Russian people, and men".
Regarding events in the Balkans, Vladimir Zhirinovskiy said he condemned the
NATO aggression against the Serbs, and spoke in favour of the immediate
creation of a union of Russia, Belarus and Yugoslavia.
Blast-Free Nuclear Tests Planned for Novaya Zemlya
MOSCOW, May 8 (Interfax) - A decision is expected
by the end of May on a regular series of explosion-free experiments to be
carried on the Novaya Zemlya test ground this year to upgrade and verify
nuclear arms, Russian Atomic Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov has told
Interfax. By earlier reports, tests on a safer storage and use of nuclear
arms and on their modernization were carried out in sealed containers in
underground silos at Novaya Zemlya last year, and, according to Russian
Atomic Ministry experts, comparable experiments are conducted in U.S.
"All last year results have got a top mark, and we have even rewarded
those involved in this work," Adamov said. The paper, authorizing such
experiments this year is virtually ready, "awaiting a presidential
signature," Adamov said, predicting that the document will be signed by
the end of this month.
May 11, 1999
Legislators Take Up Investor Question
By Yevgenia Borisova
Government officials, entrepreneurs, bankers and venture fund managers will
descend on the Duma on Tuesday for a public hearing on Russia's poor track
record at attracting direct investment into the economy f and Duma deputies,
who are proudly touting a pet draft law on foreign investment, are likely to
meet a less-than-thrilled response.
Foreign investment in Russia has over the years made up a substantial part of
the cash sunk into the industrial sector.
In 1998, foreign investors put $11.7 billion into Russia, of which $3.3
billion was direct investment into enterprises. (The rest was mostly in
financial instruments such as corporate stocks or government bonds.) In 1997,
foreigners put $12.3 billion into Russia, $5.5 billion in direct investment,
and in 1996 they put in just $6.5 billion, $2 billion in direct investment.
That may seem a lot of money, given the 1999 Russian federal budget, which
assumes spending of $20 billion yet allocates just $1.87 billion for
investments into industrial infrastructure.
But it seems like less when one considers that Russia is the world's largest
country and has a potential market of 150 million people f and yet is pulling
in far less worldwide investor interest than places like Poland or Peru.
The State Duma's response was to pass a bill on foreign investment in April,
after years of debate. The law comes before the Federation Council,
parliament's upper house, later this month. If approved by both houses and
signed by President Boris Yeltsin, the new law on foreign investment would
replace the last such law, passed in 1991.
Lawyers and investors who have studied the 30-page bill say it is welcome
enough in that it cleans up some minor confusions about the status of foreign
investors here. But no one thought it would be in the slightest influential
in bringing in new money. Max Gutbrod, a partner at the law firm
Baker&McKenzie, perhaps summed it up best by stating drily, "If this law had
been enacted in 1989, it would have been dramatically new."
"This bill is very declarative in nature and lacks any specific mechanisms or
guarantees that would effect foreign investment in Russia one way or the
other," said Robert Devane, a Moscow-based independent economist. "I doubt
that the bill's passage would in of itself cause an influx of foreign
investment into Russia."
"There are no surprises in this bill f the good intentions are wrapped in a
conceptual muddle, and implementation will depend on further legislation that
has not yet been drafted," said John Hammond, a partner at the international
law firm Cameron McKenna. "It may be evolutionary, but not revolutionary."
The law would promise foreign investors that their property cannot be
nationalized f but since mass nationalizations historically are illegal in
nature, it's hard to say what that pledge is worth.
Baker&McKenzie's Gutbrod said the law also guarantees to foreign investors
the right to move its revenues and profits into and out of Russia at will,
and also lets them do the same with property or information the investor
brings with him to Russia.
Cameron McKenna, in an e-mailed response to questions, said a "major
achievement" of the bill was that it sets maximum total tax rates that local
and federal agencies can pile onto a foreign investor f at least until either
the investor recoups his initial investment, or seven years go by from the
moment the investor broke Russian ground.
"Here the law does help," Gutbrod agreed.
"If the government of a region f say, Tatarstan f decides to nationalize
foreign property or prohibit a foreign entity to re-export some of its
business, that will clearly be illegal now," Gutbrod said.
However, as always there are loopholes and caveats. For example, the law may
limit the tax burden and guarantee the rights to move revenue and property
across borders f but it also includes a provision that says all of this can
be superceded by hypothetical changes in legislation undertaken to protect
"the constitutional order," public health and morals, national security or
even "the rights and lawful interests of other persons."
Obviously all of this f and particularly the "interests of other persons" f
remains very open to interpretation.
What's more, the law also makes it easier to deny a foreign investor access
to the Russian market. Foreign companies have to register with either local
or federal authorities, depending on their size. The new law would make this
potentially more problematical f by letting authorities deny such
registrations so as to protect "the constitutional order," the public health
and morals, and, yes, "the rights and lawful interests of other persons."
Enforcing the law may be difficult, said economist Devane.
"That would require a complex of measures, not the least of which
would be mechanisms that ensure that low-level functionaries throughout
Russia follow the law. þ Unfortunately, the culture in Russia is still such
that no matter how liberal a law is passed, those charged with performing the
vast multitude of tasks that are required for successfully drawing foreign
investment into Russia are not very likely to take a proactive stance,"
"The government and the Duma, in addition to creating legislative and
normative documents, need to send a convincing message about their policies
and objectives. Otherwise, this law may well be added to the reams of other
laws that are ignored in Russia every day."
9 May 1999
[for personal use only]
Nuke launch ultimate Y2K nightmare
U.S., Russia cooperating on early-warning system
By Michael R. Kraig
Michael R. Kraig is a Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow at the British
American Security Information Council, with offices in London and Washington.
THE WORST Y2K "millennium bug" scenario envisages nuclear missiles launching
from their silos at midnight on Dec. 31. Fortunately, experts agree this
scenario is so unlikely that it can be safely disregarded. However, the
mistaken launch of missiles, caused by the combination of bad data from
Y2K-related failures and a crisis scenario, is taken very seriously at the
highest levels of U.S. government.
To address this concern, the United States has been working with Russia, with
an emphasis on maintaining the early-warning systems that detect the launch
of missiles. Because of the absence of a Russian Y2K repair program, NATO
recently offered to cooperate on millennium bug repairs and sponsored a
two-day Y2K workshop early this year.
As a result of this and other bilateral meetings between the United States
and Russia, repair technologies are being transferred to Russia, including
software packages that identify date fields in millions of lines of code.
More ambitiously, the United States has offered to set up a "Center for the
Year 2000 Strategic Stability" outside of North American Aerospace Defense
Command (NORAD) in Cheyenne Mountain, Colo. If the facility is constructed in
time, data collected by American satellites and radars, including missile
launches by the United States, would be shown to the Russians soon after
transmission. This is intended to preclude a nuclear war started by Russian
commanders acting upon incomplete or erroneous information from their sources.
Neither proposal addresses the fundamental problem: the bilateral dangers of
U.S.-Russian "hair trigger" force postures. Roughly 4,400 warheads in Russian
and U.S. arsenals are in "ready to launch" mode.
For the United States, the three required steps for launch can be implemented
in one minute or less. Also, the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) continues
to emphasize offensive military options that incorporate quickly executed,
pre-emptive first strikes against the enemy's nuclear arsenal. Trident
submarines deployed in the North Atlantic can hit Russian targets with
extraordinary accuracy in 15 minutes or less.
Given that Russia's nuclear weapons are more vulnerable to first strikes
(because the majority of their force consists of easy-to-target, stationary
ICBMs), Russia has increasingly stressed the importance of launching on first
indication of U.S. attack. This mutual doctrine of launch-on-warning is
highly destabilizing, as it puts incredible pressure on both sides to launch
as quickly as possible. Concerns about whether incoming data are accurate
only shortens the time frame commanders have available in which to react,
increasing this pressure.
Large gaps in Russian coverage of U.S. launch activities only complicate the
efforts to maintain this posture. At the height of the Cold War, Russia had
at least seven, and sometimes nine, satellites monitoring U.S. launches.
Today, it has three.
'Hair trigger' force
Presumably, American military officials are not alarmed by our "hair trigger"
force posture because they believe U.S. systems will be Y2K-compliant, and
through the early-warning cooperative agreement U.S. data can take the place
of flawed Russian information. On this assumption, officials have repeatedly
rejected measures that would "stand down" nuclear arsenals by lowering alert
But it would be a mistake to assume that U.S. systems will be insulated from
Y2K problems. Many critical U.S. systems have indeed been "renovated," and
the Pentagon is completing the testing phase of the Y2K remediation process.
But a U.S. Air Force official speaking for NORAD acknowledged in a Senate
hearing recently that these tests included only "the thin line, the minimal
number of [computer] systems required to execute the mission."
Also, commercial providers of telecommunications routers and switches were
not incorporated in the test plans. (Even in the event of a nuclear crisis,
Strategic Command might need the regional telephone companies and other
commercial telephone companies.)
Nor were private suppliers of electricity included. This leaves the
possibility that when Y2K arrives, computers left out of the integrated test
schedules will "infect" the tested systems or cause other disruptions in
STRATCOM has failed to learn from computer accidents that occurred throughout
the Cold War. In U.S. operations in 1980, an embedded 64-cent chip with a
flawed design, nestled deep in telephone switching hardware at NORAD,
suddenly started sending messages to other command posts that a Soviet attack
was under way, causing two raised alert levels within a three-day period.
This incident was not an isolated case.
According to nuclear expert Bruce Blair of the Brookings Institution,
official correspondence among U.S. commanders of recent years refer obliquely
to multiple computer-based mishaps, such as false reports from an infrared
satellite that "could have resulted in unacceptable posturing of [Strategic
Air Command] forces."
In a series of reports on the computer modernization programs at NORAD during
the past 18 years, the General Accounting Office has described an operating
environment troubled by flawed and lost data, bad screen displays for human
operators, and sub-optimal system performance.
Y2K vulnerabilities only add to this disturbing history of unforeseen
glitches in the early-warning information pipeline. Most experienced computer
scientists will acknowledge that dedicated testing programs will reveal only
the presence of errors, not their complete absence. Complex computer systems
have been prone to sudden shutdowns or bizarre changes in normal operations.
Moreover, computer failures rarely repeat themselves in the same form, with
the result that none of the documented U.S. and Russian near-accidents could
have been predicted by knowledgeable experts.
Relying on the proposed early-warning facility as a cure-all for Russia's
lack of a Y2K program is a counterproductive diversion from more meaningful
policies. The only guaranteed way to avoid accidental nuclear war is to end
Russian and American dependence on the extravagantly complex computer systems
that provide early-warning information to commanders.
This can be done only by instituting mutually verifiable de-alerting
procedures, replacing the current "warfighting" nuclear stance with a
doctrine that reflects true post-Cold War international realities.
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999
From: Gordon Hahn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RFE/RL's anti-Russian bias
"RUSSIANS COMPARE CLINTON TO HITLER. One Russian told Reuters
correspondents on 9 May that "Clinton and NATO are worse
bastards than Hitler." Another said that "between Hitler and
Milosevic there is a world of difference and it's absurd to
compare them. There is a complete parallel between Hitler and
This is the quintessence of anecdotal evidence lacking any significance
whatsoever, raising the question of why it is reported. One can hear the
same exact sentiment being expressed on conservative radio talk shows here
in the San Francisco area. I wonder if are we expected to believe that the
same sentiments cannot be found in every other post-communst state, only in
Russia. Iam sure such sentiment could have been dug up from some of our PfP
partners in 'democratic' Central Asia and Azerbaidzhan, if people were
allowed to speak freely in those states.
It is of interest that on the RFE/RL Web Site, RFE/RL describes itself as
an "indepedent" organization that is funded by the US Congress?! But we are
forever reminded on RFE/RL that newspapers in Russia are financed by some
oligarch. Of course, many of these oligarchs are opposed to each other,
have antithetical political views and that the every opposition, indeed
almost every organization in Russia, from fascist, to communist, to
democratic to centrist parties to trade unions etc., etc. have their own
newspapers. Anyway let others discuss this, if they wish.
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 09:30:26 -0700
From: Dmitri Kisselev <email@example.com>
To: David Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 3276-Leningrad
This is in response to Andrew Cramer's article on renaming
St.Petersburg/Leningrad. I thought it would be wise to learn some basic
before writing about the city.
"... the three-century-old city will stick with its original
name, after its founder, Czar Peter the Great."
The statement is plain wrong, since the founder of the city, Peter the Great,
officially named the city after St.Peter, and not afterr himself.
Comparison of NATO Campaign to Chechen War
Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 15
April 23-29, 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Vladimir Mukhin: "Chechen Parallels: NATO Aggression May
Suffer Defeat for the Same Reason as Russia's War in the
The NATO combat operations in the Balkans are giving increasing grounds
for comparison with the armed conflict which took place
between the Russian federal center and Chechnya in 1994-1996. Aggressive
airstrikes preceded Moscow's ground operations and the
introduction of troops into Chechnya, as well as the possible NATO ground
operations in Kosovo. In addition, both the federal forces
and the NATO forces in the armed struggle use sympathizers from the local
population. In Chechnya, these were the Vaynak rebels from
Nadterechnyy Rayon, and in the Kosovo situation they are the Albanian
However, the scale and essence of the conflict, the level and nature of
combat operations in the Balkans differ considerably from what
took place in the Chechen Republic. Moscow's ground operation against
Groznyy was preceded by an insignificant air preparation.
Several aircraft sorties were required to completely disable the L- 39
trainer aircraft, a few helicopters, and transport aviation (Yak-40,
An-24, and so forth) in service in the Chechen Armed Forces. Dudayev's
troops were unprepared for Moscow's actions; they did not
camouflage their aircraft or the many ammunition dumps and other
Meanwhile, the Yugoslav troops are executing secret maneuvers, skillfully
camouflaging their combat equipment and personnel, which
significantly decreases the effectiveness of NATO airstrikes. The NATO
forces have already made several thousand aircraft sorties and
cruise missile launches, but they cannot suppress the Yugoslav Army
targets. Therefore, the NATO countries' preparation for a ground
operation in Kosovo is a long- term prospect.
The "allies" of Moscow and NATO also differ. The rebels from Nadterechnyy
Rayon were more like boy-soldiers [poteshnyye boyeviki],
and the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] is more like an effective armed
formation. In August 1998, it controlled about 70 percent of the
territory of Kosovo. The KLA has its own General Staff, which oversees the
operations of several brigades that are armed with about
30,000 small arms. Russian sources have been reporting that the Kosovar
rebels are financed by drug money. However, western
sources report that the KLA collects 3 percent of the total income from
each Albanian family for the Army. It is not ruled out that certain
NATO countries are arming the rebels. As a result, there are several tens
of thousands of rebels under arms today. They "sympathize"
with NATO and are waiting for the "hour of retribution."
Meanwhile, this circumstance is not a decisive factor which would
accelerate the start of the ground phase of combat operations in
Yugoslavia. The ground operation apparently will begin when the alliance
has, to a considerable extent or completely, undermined
Yugoslavia's military might and has trained the Kosovar Albanians for war
as much as possible.
There is the opinion that the mountainous-wooded terrain of Kosovo will be
a big obstacle for the invading NATO and KLA troops.
Meanwhile, this may not at all be the case. Tactical aviation and
artillery (including rocket artillery) with great destructive power may be
widely used in the mountainous-wooded terrain. With correctly organized
maneuvers (deep turning movements, envelopments, and the
like), airborne assaults will ensure mobility and gaining of supremacy on
elevations, roads, and passes. It was precisely in this manner
that the Russian troops operated against Dudayev's forces. In less than 1
month (from 18 May to 14 June 1995), the main warring
groupings were crushed in the mountainous terrain of Chechnya.
By 14 June 1995, the federal troops had completely controlled the
initiative in the war with the bandit formations. By this time they had
destroyed Dudayev's forces from the main populated areas in the mountains
of the Main Caucasus Range--Vedeno, Nozhay-Yurt
Shatoye. The state flag of the Russian Federation was put up in the main
lair of the Dudayev forces at Shatoye, and the commander of
the North Caucasus Military District, Colonel-General Anatoliy Kvashin
(today chief of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces),
arriving there with Salambek Khadzhiyev, stated: "In war, as a classic
manifestation of armed confrontation, from the standpoint of
military art, the books have been closed." Apparently, the commander was
right in his own way. However, he did not plan that the war
which was being waged on the territory of Chechnya would take on a
completely different form in which there never are either winners or
losers, that is, guerrilla warfare.
Although a relatively small number of Serbs lived on the territory of
Kosovo, one cannot completely assert that guerrilla warfare of the
Yugoslav forces of opposition to NATO and the KLA would be ineffective.
Uniquely, opposition force will be concentrated in Serbian
villages, plus one cannot rule out the possibility of deep raids by
special subunits from Yugoslavia.
For the time being it is unclear in what capacity and in what numbers,
NATO troops are planning their presence in Kosovo. If the NATO
ground troops will be needed only to neutralize and destroy Yugoslav
troops, this is one value. Here a number of at least 100,000
servicemen is being cited, which in cooperation with the KLA and thanks to
the air and artillery support will be able to "put order" in the
area. However, if the NATO forces will be intended to support the return
of the Albanian refugees to the area, it is noted that the size of
the NATO grouping in Kosovo will be at least 200,000 servicemen. But these
forces will be incapable of remaining in the previous
composition in Kosovo, since the guerrillas will simply destroy the
enemy's personnel, as it was, say, during the Great Patriotic War or in
the Chechen campaign. An entire reinforced motorized-rifle company of the
245th Motorized-Rifle Regiment was destroyed in just one
raid by Dudayev's forces on the route Serzhen-Yurt--Shatoy in the spring
Thus, as in the case with Chechnya, the start of the ground phase of
combat operations quite probably will lead to a crushing defeat of
NATO. Physical destruction of alliance servicemen may take on catastrophic
dimensions. And sooner or later, the question will come up
about the withdrawal of troops from Kosovo and the need for a political
settlement of the conflict.
The Russia Journal
May 10-16, 1999
Communist Masliukov, Bourgeois Reformer
The final round of talks between the Russian government and International
Monetary Fund management that took place in Washington from April 26 to 29
marked an incredible change in the Russians' conceptual attitude. The
negotiations dealt a destructive blow to the ideological and macroeconomic
views of First Deputy Prime Minister for economic issues Yuri Masliukov, head
of the Russian delegation.
Masliukov's position prior to these negotiations was determined by the
ideology of the Communist Party Presidium, of which he is a member. But
suddenly he has become a decided advocate of and lobbyist for liberal and
monetarist draft laws the IMF, the World Bank and the Japanese government
view as an essential prerequisite for the $7.5 billion they have promised to
Russia's chief economist gained most of his macroeconomics experience as a
central planner in the Soviet regime. As the government's chief
representative in its talks with international credit organizations, he often
became a stumbling block.
Traditionally, Masliukov showed hesitation or even refused to accept IMF
proposals to adjust the federal budget and government economic policies
considered critical for the issuance of loans. Earlier this year, he
criticized the IMF for what he saw as the political motives behind its
economic requirements. And he declared that international credit
organizations were directly responsible for Russia's economic collapse last
August, accusing them of pressuring the Russian government during talks that
Moreover, notwithstanding a promised IMF loan of $4.5 billion already
included in the 1999 budget, Masliukov told the fund several times that if it
kept insisting on its loan conditions, the Russian government would manage
without the Fund's money rather than compromise its economic principles.
Despite IMF efforts to appease Masliukov - it replaced its mission heads and
revised its conditional requirements time after time - Masliukov's stance on
state regulation of the economy and control over banking and monetary policy
As a result, the negotiations ground to a halt in mid-March, when the leftist
minister's optimistic statements about lending institutions being "bound to
issue a credit in the long run" became less resolute and then ceased
Russia was then nearing the deadline for its regular foreign debt payments.
Despite the fact that no loans had been provided by international credit
institutions since August 1998, Russia managed to repay over $4 billion
through April 1999, draining the Central Bank's currency resources
considerably. Debt default and hyperinflation became a major possibility.
Prime Minister Evgenii Primakov's Cabinet found itself increasingly less
stable as Russia's political elite talked of the Cabinet's impending
And, Masliukov's negotiation style changed radically. Maintaining his image
as a rigid and uncompromising Communist and an adherent of state control for
a domestic audience, he repeatedly made liberal and monetarist statements in
discussions with representatives of international credit institutions.
Primakov personally decided to take part in the negotiation process in late
March in an attempt to diminish the risk of an unfavorable outcome. A
stressful three-day discussion with IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus
from March 27 to 29 established a principal agreement granting Russia another
But there was no finalization of the sum, the term of credit, or the final
conditions of the loan at the time. But an IMF mission and a number of
Russian finance ministry representatives worked jointly throughout April to
draw up relevant arrangements. Media reports on the negotiation for the
period were monotonous and contained little real information, merely
repeating statements by both parties that their positions were drawing
But on April 26, Deputy Finance Minister Viktor Khristenko, one of the talks'
active participants, finally announced that a government delegation headed by
Masliukov was to fly to the United States. "The Russian Finance Ministry and
the IMF mission have managed to agree on the Russian 1999 federal budget's
main features," he said.
The ensuing wave of optimism was only a bit shaken after Masliukov told
journalists upon his arrival in Washington that a number of important issues
still needed resolving.
It was that statement that put Masliukov in opposition to his fellow
Communists. For the first time, he placed responsibility for the talks'
outcome with the leftist parliament rather than the Cabinet.
"The election is at hand," the first deputy premier said. "So an unstable
situation in the legislative assembly may hamper our work."
The negotiations produced an even bigger sensation. The IMF supported the
Russian government's monetary policies but stated the necessity for a set of
monetarist and liberal acts. The Russian government was required to postpone
the lowering of Value Added Tax rates, which were designed to lighten the
fiscal burden for Russian manufacturers until at least the end of 1999.
Other prerequisites for the issuance of the loan included: making the Russian
gold and currency reserve management scheme transparent for IMF experts;
canceling Central Bank measures aimed at strengthening control over the
Russian currency exchange; initiating bankruptcy procedures for Russia's
backbone banks ravaged by the crisis; imposing a tax on cars with an engine
size of over 2,000 cu cm; and doubling excise rates for alcohol, and
automobile gasoline excise rates three-fold, thus causing their retail prices
to rise significantly.
Such demands would have been absolutely unacceptable for Masliukov prior to
his turnaround, as banking system liberalization and a monetarist fiscal
policy are not compatible with Communist ideology.
But Masliukov's response at a press conference upon his return from the
United States on April 30 was optimistic. "There are five more amendments to
adopt. We will introduce them to the Duma shortly. This will not undermine
our relations with the Duma. What we are doing here, we are doing for Russia
only. All the talk about some economic and political concessions is rubbish."
Of course Masliukov's true motives may have more to do with practicality than
with laboring for Russia's interests. The Cabinet's dismissal - and thus the
first economic deputy prime minister's position - largely depend upon the
talks' results. The fate of his position, together with the opportunity to
control vast flows of money, have allowed Communist ideology give way to
simple bourgeois reasoning.
European NATO Members Say, 'Enough'
Germany and Italy, whose simmering opposition to the U.S. led NATO bombing
campaign against Yugoslavia has been kept in check through the intense
efforts of Washington, have finally said "Enough." The bombing campaign has
not succeeded in stemming the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo. It has not
brought Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to the negotiating table. And
it is now plagued with an increasing number of incidents of collateral
damage, including the bombing of the Chinese embassy. Italian President Oscar
Luigi Scalfaro said that NATO should cease its bombing campaign, "because we
are very worried to see that the raids are apparently moving away from
military targets and are being directed towards civilian targets." Germany,
meanwhile, has called NATO Secretary General Javier Solana to Bonn to meet
with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Schroeder wishes to discuss with
Solana the aftermath of the bombing of the Chinese embassy, and its impact on
the air campaign and the diplomatic process.
Another indication that Germany and Italy are ready for an end to the crisis
in Yugoslavia came from Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin, who said Sunday
that Milosevic was responding positively to "new circumstances." Chernomyrdin
left Bonn for Moscow on Sunday, postponing a visit to Belgrade, because he
had to discuss "very serious circumstances" related to the Yugoslav
settlement with Russian leaders. According to Agence France Presse,
Chernomyrdin returned to Moscow to allow NATO more time to formulate a formal
proposal to Milosevic. It is apparent that the "circumstances" to which
Chernomyrdin was referring regarded the split in NATO following the Chinese
embassy bombing, and the formal proposal he is awaiting is the one to be
drawn up by Bonn and Rome and forced, not on Milosevic, but on Washington.
Germany and Italy are tired of U.S. leadership in this crisis, and of U.S.
10 May 1999
[for personal use only]
Old warriors take aim at the new war
By David Filipov
MOSCOW - Mention ''Boston'' to Mikhail Yudashkin, and his thoughts go back
to World War II and those terrifying sorties against Nazi ships in the
It was 1944, and Yudashkin would fly his Douglas A-20J bomber, an American
plane its Soviet pilots knew as ''Boston,'' no higher than the German
ship's topmast, straight into deadly antiaircraft fire.
If a Boston pilot got lucky and got close enough, he dropped a bomb that
was supposed to skip off the water's surface and onto the enemy ship's
deck. Of 33 pilots in Yudashkin's unit, only two survived the war.
''It was a very dangerous technique,'' said Yudashkin, now 73, as his
comrades nodded silently.
As they do each May 9, Yudashkin and his buddies from the Moscow Naval
Academy Class of 1943 gathered yesterday in Gorky Park to mark the defeat
in 1945 of Nazi Germany. This is Russia's most meaningful holiday, a day
when the entire country remembers the war's still-astonishing death toll of
27 million Soviet citizens.
Somewhat stripped down from Soviet times, yesterday's celebration was
marked by a short military parade on Red Square and a fireworks display.
Bittersweet, sentimental war movies dominated local TV channels and radio
stations played popular wartime songs. But for veterans the most important
part of the day was the annual reunion.
Yudashkin's class had 450 young men. Now only a handful are left: Arkady
Razumov, who faked his documents so he could fight at age 16; Viktor
Pavlov, who served on guard boats that risked Nazi bombs to bring supplies
across Lake Ladoga to besieged Leningrad; Lev Nikolayev, the flight
commander who still swears like a sailor; Anatoly Vershinkin, who fondly
remembers serving with Americans while sailing Lend-Lease frigates from
Alaska to the Soviet Union.
But like most Russians, Vershinkin condemns US involvement in NATO strikes
against Yugoslavia, and he was not about to let an American reporter go
without letting him know about it.
''We know Milosevic is acting badly, and we don't want to justify him,''
Vershinkin said. ''But the Americans have started this war that is bad for
everyone. The main thing is to stop these bombs.''
Yugoslavia was on everyone's mind here yesterday. Some demonstrators
protested NATO raids out of kinship for their fellow Slavic Orthodox
Christians. Some blamed Russia's current leaders for allowing the former
superpower to grow too weak to prevent NATO from bombing. Some spoke of
concern that the Balkans conflict could spread to something not seen since
Russia is seeking to mediate the crisis with the West. Yesterday, the
Balkans envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, said that ''new, very serious
developments have emerged'' during weekend peace talks in Germany.
Yudashkin's pals had swapped war stories and paid their respects to the
deceased. The subject turned again to Yugoslavia.
''We know we have a rotten life, but America has something to lose,''
Razumov said. ''That makes us stronger. America should not mess with us.''
Then it was ''Boston'' pilot Yudashkin's turn.
''Tell the people in America we know what war in Europe is like,''
Yudashkin said. ''Tell them we don't want to see it again.''