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Johnson's Russia List [in Petersham MA]
16 May 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Itar-Tass: Chubais Welcomes Outcome of Impeachment Vote in Moscow.
2. Reuters: Yeltsin faces new battle as impeachment fails.
3. Reuters: IMF wants Russia reforms, Moscow says wait.
4. The Straits Times (Singapore): John Helmer, HOW PRIMAKOV FELL AND
YELTSIN DEFEATED IMPEACHMENT.
5. Fred Weir on impeachment voting.
6. Ray Thomas: RE: 3287- NYT/Impeachment.
7. Jerry F. Hough: Re: 3286DJ/Russia's America Problem.
8. The Guardian (UK): Will Hutton, The President's drunk, the Prime
been fired - welcome to Russia.
9. May 15 Speech by Grigory Yavlinsky on impeachment.
10. AFP: Communists lick wounds, eye next Kremlin fight.]
Chubais Welcomes Outcome of Impeachment Vote in Moscow.
NEW YORK, May 16 (Itar-Tass) - Anatoly Chubais, board chairman of the United
Energy System of Russia, said he was "very satisfied" with the outcome of
impeachment vote in the State Duma on Saturday.
Chubais, who is also one of the leaders of the Right Cause centre-right bloc,
told Itar-Tass that the results did not surprise him.
He has arrived in New York to take part in a two-day Russian- American forum
of the business elite. He also plans to have talks with representatives of
leading U.S. businesses and politicians.
Chubais said he is not going to work in a new government. "I have no plans to
join the new government. I have not received such proposals and I would not
like to do that," he said.
He stressed that he wants to work at his present job, adding that "I am fully
satisfied with this job."
Yeltsin faces new battle as impeachment fails
By Timothy Heritage
MOSCOW, May 16 (Reuters) - President Boris Yeltsin was bracing on Sunday
for a battle with parliament over who becomes Russia's next prime minister,
after comfortably surviving a Communist-led attempt to impeach him.
Yeltsin's opponents in the State Duma, the lower house, are licking their
wounds after failing on Saturday, following three days of acrimonious
debate, to muster enough votes to start impeachment proceedings on any of
five charges of misrule they had brought against him.
The closest the Communists came to tripping Yeltsin up was over his role in
the 1994-96 war in breakaway Chechnya. But they secured only 283 votes even
on that count, 17 short of the 300 votes -- or two-thirds majority -- needed.
``This is a victory for democracy,'' liberal deputy Sergei Ivanenko said
after the votes, which followed months of painstaking preparations by the
But leftist leader Nikolai Ryzhkov, a former Soivet prime minister, told
NTV on Sunday: ``I think yesterday, especially the Duma's voting, was a
disgrace for the Duma.''
Many members of the 440-seat house stayed away and ultra- nationalist
Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) and the centrist Our
Home is Russia party (NDR) attended but did not vote.
But Yeltsin's opponents will have a chance to hit back when the Duma meets
on Wednesday to consider whether to confirm his loyal ally Sergei Stepashin
as prime minister.
The Communists could try to salvage some lost pride and also show their
dissatisfaction with Yeltsin's dismissal last week of Yevgeny Primakov, the
prime minister they had backed.
Yeltsin met his Kremlin chief of staff, Alexander Voloshin, at a residence
outside Moscow as soon as the result of the Duma voting was known and
turned his attention to the battle ahead.
Yeltsin's press secretary, Dmitry Yakushkin, gave no details of the meeting
but said the 68-year-old president felt fine after a medical check on
Stepashin is meeting political leaders from all sides to seek support in
the vote and to discuss his plans for putting together a government. His
meetings on Sunday were expected to include talks with upper house speaker
Yeltsin must dissolve the Duma and call an early parliamentary election
within three months if it rejects his candidate three times. He would then
have the right to rule temporarily by decree and appoint whomever he wants
The looming battle means Russia's political problems are far from over,
although Russian and foreign leaders have expressed hope that the crisis
will now start to ease.
The International Monetary Fund's managing director, Michel Camdessus, said
he hoped the government would now be able to implement economic reforms and
that the Duma would pass laws needed to secure the release of promised IMF
``We are looking forward to the speedy resolution of the present political
difficulties on the agenda to put the country on the right track,''
Camdessus told reporters before leaving a weekend meeting of Asia-Pacific
finance ministers in Malaysia.
But Russian Deputy Finance Minister Oleg Vyugin said he was still not
completely sure the Duma would pass the laws.
``I think it's a little bit early to say I'm absolutely confident,'' he
said at the meeting in Malaysia.
Russia's political crisis drove the rouble down against the dollar last
week and share prices fell. The economic situation has steadied since
Friday but the political scene remains tense.
In the latest violence confirming instability in the area around Chechnya,
four people were killed on Sunday in bomb blasts in apartment blocks
housing military in Vladikavkaz, just outside the rebel region, a local
IMF wants Russia reforms, Moscow says wait
LANGKAWI, Malaysia, May 16 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said
on Sunday it expects Russia's new government to implement a reform
agreement reached last month, but Moscow said it was too early to tell.
IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus said he looked forward to the
"speedy resolution" of political problems in Russia, which initialled a
plan with the IMF in April that would unlock new lending.
The government of former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov reached the
agreement with the IMF, but the fund has said a number of laws aimed at
increasing revenues must first be passed.
"Russia is committed to taking the appropriate, entire action before I will
be able to ask my executive board to vote this programme," Camdessus told
reporters before leaving a weekend meeting of Asia-Pacific finance
ministers in Malaysia.
Russia's future is uncertain since Primakov was fired on Wednesday by
President Boris Yeltsin, who said he wanted a government that would take
more decisive economic action.
Yeltsin appointed Sergei Stepashin, former interior minister, as acting
Yeltsin comfortably survived an attempt to impeach him on Saturday, after
opposition deputies in the state Duma, or lower House, failed to secure the
300 votes needed to pass each of the five counts against him.
Russian Deputy Finance Minister Oleg Vyugin declined to say he was
confident that parliament would approve the IMF programme.
"I think it's a little bit early to say I'm absolutely confident," Vyugin
told reporters on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) finance ministers meeting on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi.
Vyugin said implementation of the programme would require parliamentary
action on such matters as bank restructuring and improved tax collection.
"I have seen that the Russian officials over there were anxious about what
the IMF will do next in this somewhat confusing situation," Camdessus said
"Our line is absolutely crystal clear. There is a continuity of the state.
We have negotiated with Russia, made an agreement that is not yet ratified
by the executive board of the IMF as it is conditional on prior actions
adopted by the Duma and the government."
"But if these prior actions are properly adopted, we stand ready to
continue with the new government in Russia what we were doing with
Primakov's government without adding or subtracting whatsoever," the IMF
Camdessus said he trusted that the Russian authorities and the Duma would
follow through on their commitments, and the IMF would do the same.
"We are looking forward to the speedy resolution of the present political
difficulties on the agenda to put the country on the right track and have
the country standing on its feet and developing a needed adjustment and
reform process most urgently," Camdessus said.
Date: Sun, 16 May 1999
From: email@example.com (John Helmer)
The Straits Times (Singapore), coming
HOW PRIMAKOV FELL AND YELTSIN DEFEATED IMPEACHMENT
>From John Helmer in Moscow
President Boris Yeltsin succeeded in undermining Prime Minister
Yevgeny Primakov, and then destroying him and his support in parliament
for three reasons, Russian politicians have told The Straits Times.
"For certain, prime ministers are not irreplaceable," a Yeltsin advisor had
said publicly the week before the President signed the decree firing
Primakov on May 12.
Primakov accepted Yeltsin's insults, sources close to the toppled prime
minister claim, because he believed Yeltsin's health would fail
dramatically, and force him out of action before he could remove the
In retrospect, these sources now realize, it was Primakov's own health which
collapsed under the pressure, causing such intense back-pain he was
immobilized for days. The day of his sacking he told his ministers he was
relieved to be leaving the government because his back-pain was diminishing.
Friends of the fallen prime minister also deny he should or could have
called Yeltsin's bluff and mounted a counter-attack through parliament or
the press. They say this would have been "out of character" for
They are less convinced that Primakov handled his economic and industrial
The revival of Russia's industrial production -- up each month on the
preceding month since February, and now ahead of 1998 levels -- failed to
generate any support for Primakov from Russia's industrial leaders.
Instead, they say they were outraged by what one calls his "do-nothing
approach." The businessmen accuse Primakov of taking advantage of the fragile
growth signs in the economy to impose heftier taxes, particularly on sectors
like steel which is facing exclusion and billion-dollar losses in markets in
China and the United States.
The steelmakers are especially vocal in condemning Primakov for failing
to defend Russia's trade interests in Beijing and Washington.
"The lack of effort to cultivate the bosses of the real economy," said
a senior metals executive in Moscow, "meant that Primakov had no business
allies when he needed them most. This was because the oligarchs, the men
whose banks failed last year, were working on persuading the Kremlin,
particularly Yeltsin's family, that he had to get rid of Primakov, to save
the economy, and not just himself.
"In economics," Yeltsin claimed in his television speech last week, "we
are, as before, walking in place."
Yeltsin's videotaped announcement was spliced from five different segments
over several hours of May 12. During this period, two separate dismissal
documents were relayed to the Russian parliament, one proposing the
nomination of Railways Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko as prime minister;
the other nominating Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin.
Russians who backed Primakov claim another reason for his downfall
was that the Clinton Administration worked to isolate Primakov
on every front of his government's activity, assuring the Kremlin
advisors around Yeltsin that whatever "surprise" or "shock" move
Yeltsin made would be acceptable in Washington.
This, the sources say, is why Yeltsin was so foggy, and the Kremlin unclear
which of two candidates Yeltsin had actually chosen for the new prime
minister at first light on May 12. One source told The Straits Times it
was former deputy prime minister Anatoly Chubais who talked for hours
overnight to convince Yeltsin's daughter, Tatiana Dyachenko, that Stephashin
should be nominated, not Aksyonenko. The latter official, a railway engineer
from St. Petersburg, is personally and financially close to the Yeltsin
family. Stepashin is a policeman, who has been loyal, but not
personally close to the president.
Unlike the image of the all-knowing "master spy" protrayed in the western
media, Russian politicians fault Primakov for an excess of confidence in his
intellectual superiority, for under-estimating his political
rivals, and for tiring under pressure.
In the impeachment vote on Saturday, Yeltsin and his advisors capped
their week's success by eliminating the challenge from the parliamentary
opposition by a clever, and apparently unanticipated expedient.
Voting to impeach Yeltsin on five counts, one of which charged him
with the 1993 destruction of parliament, and another which charged him
with waging an illegal war in Chechnya, a big majority of the Duma voted in
favour. But that wasn't quite enough to muster the two-thirds majority
required by the Russian Constitution to launch an impeachment.
On the Chechnya count, the opposition to Yeltsin fell just 17 votes
short of the 300 needed for impeachment. Although the Communists and their
allies, plus the centrist Yabloko party, voted in favour, they were deserted
at the last moment by 18 deputies who cast spoiled or invalid ballots.
These were ballot papers whose signatures had been blotted so badly,
they were unreadable. According to Duma rules, they were uncountable.
This was the trick by means of which those who had promised beforehand to
vote for impeachment escaped, and got their Kremlin reward. On the eve
of the vote, Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov claimed there were
312 votes in favour of impeachment on the Chechnya charge.
It was the 18 blotted ballots that suggest the scale of the Kremlin's
campaign to save the president.
They also reveal how much further Yeltsin must go over the next week or
two to secure a majority of 226 Duma votes to get Stepashin approved as
prime minister. Stepashin is likely to lose on the first vote, but then win
on the second. He will persuade the Russian opposition, Duma sources believe,
that if they don't approve him on the second round of voting, Yeltsin may
propose Aksyonenko instead.
>From the point of view of the parliamentary opposition, the railway
engineer with ties to Yeltsin's family bankers would be much worse than the
From: "Fred Weir" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, 16 May 1999
For the Hindustan Times
From: Fred Weir in Moscow
MOSCOW (HT May 16) -- As he has so often done in his long and stormy
career at the summit of Russian politics, Boris Yeltsin confounded his
enemies by walking away unscathed from a weekend effort by the Communist-led
State Duma to impeach him.
"Reason prevailed. A potentially serious political crisis has been
overcome," acting Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin said after
parliamentarians turned down five charges of treason and other grave crimes
against Mr. Yeltsin on Saturday.
The impeachment proceedings had been in preparation for almost a year
and Communist leaders seemed confident that at least one of the charges --
Mr. Yeltsin's responsibility for the bloody 1994-96 war in Chechnya -- would
win the required two-thirds support in the Duma.
But after votes were counted Saturday, it was clear that only 283
deputies -- well short of the 300 needed -- had backed the Chechnya
indictment. The other charges fell further short of the two-thirds mark,
though all won simple majorities of the Duma's 450 members.
"I don't see this as a moral defeat, because the majority of deputies
voted for impeachment," Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said. "Our
conscience is clear".
However, the voting represented a stunning setback for the Duma, and
for the Communists and other left-wingers who dominate it. After nearly a
year of meticulously preparing the articles of impeachment and carefully
lobbying for the vote, it is clear they were outmanouvered by the Kremlin.
"The impeachment results do not necessarily mean that the President is
strong. He is not," says Andrei Kortunov, director of the Moscow Scientific
Fund, an independent think tank. "The results just mean that the opposition
to the President is even weaker than most of us expected it to be".
After making a fiery speech in the impeachment debate,
ultra-nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky led his nearly 50-strong fraction
out of the Duma before the voting began -- thus effectively throwing their
support to Mr. Yeltsin.
Anti-Yeltsin demonstrators waiting outside the parliament wept and and
screamed in rage when the voting results were announced. "Yeltsin is the
devil, he has destroyed everything we loved," shouted Anya Makareyeva, an
elderly protester. "Why won't he go away!"
It was the second defeat Mr. Yeltsin handed to his Duma opponents in
less than a week. Last Wednesday he unexpectedly fired Prime Minister
Yevgeny Primakov, whose left-leaning government and economic stabilization
policies had enjoyed wide support among parliamentarians.
In one swoop, Mr. Yeltsin appears to have cancelled his humiliation of
last Autumn, after Russia's economy imploded and he was nearly forced to
resign. The President kept his job, but he was forced to swallow a
compromise with the Duma and appoint Mr. Primakov as PM. Mr. Primakov, a
wily bureaucratic infighter, brought Communists into his government and
moved to consolidate his power base throughout the apparatus.
Mr. Yeltsin may now be set to bring back the "young liberal reformers"
who were discredited by last year's financial crash. It is probably no
coincidence that former deputy prime minister Anatoly Chubais, the Kremlin's
master of intrigue who helped Mr. Yeltsin through many crises but was
banished after last year's debacle, has claimed a role in the deposing of
Mr. Yeltsin appointed an old Kremlin loyalist, Mr. Stepashin, who is
first deputy PM and head of Russia's police forces, to replace Mr. Primakov.
Mr. Stepashin now faces a difficult task in getting the angry Duma to
approve him. Under Russia's 1993 Constitution if the Duma turns down the
President's nominee for PM three times, the Kremlin must dissolve parliament
and rule by decree until fresh elections are held.
The Duma is now faced with the unpalatable choice: it can cave in to
the victorious President, and ratify a Prime Minister chosen against
parliament's will. Or it can defy the Kremlin and face dissolution and
early elections. Parliamentary polls are slated for December in any case,
but if the Duma were disbanded by Mr. Yeltsin, deputies would be evicted and
have to face the electoral campaign without their parliamentary offices,
staffs and publicity budgets.
The first of the three votes on Mr. Stepashin must be held by
Wednesday of this week.
From: R.Thomas@open.ac.uk (Ray Thomas)
Subject: RE: 3287- Impeachment Prospects
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999
So the New York Times thinks that Yeltsin
'is also implausibly accused of waging a campaign of genocide
against the Russian people with his economic policies. The only remotely
tenable charge involves the war in Chechnya ..'
Should not NYT check the facts of the case? It is estimated that two
million people, mostly of working age, died prematurely in Russia in the
three year period 1992-94 alone. That is many times the whole population
of Chechnya. The number of premature deaths is continuing.
Is there any case in world history where a nation has lost so many people
without having suffered from a famine or a war??
Is no one to blame? Judging from a large part of the discussion on the
list US advisors are to blame for disastrous economic policies. But Yeltsin
has been in the position of authority. If, as it seems, he was reckless as
to whether this advice would be likely to cause extensive economic and
social damage then he is culpable.
Interesting that it was speculated that the Stepashin appointment heralded
the introduction of a Pinochet-style government. Pinochet himself is in
England under arrest pending extradition to Spain against charges of murder
and torture. One of the main planks of Pinochet's defence lawyers is that
heads of state are immune from all crimes committed in that role. It is
good that the US constitution does not support this immunity and allows
impeachment of the head of state.
So please think again, Mr Leader writer on the NYT. If lying about your
love life is reasonable grounds for impeachment of a US President, surely
allowing many millions of people to die through economic mismanagment can
hardly be considered as 'implausible' grounds for impeachment of a Russian
Ray Thomas, Social Sciences, Open University
Tel: 44-1908-679081 Fax: 44-1908-550401
Post: 35 Passmore, Tinkers Bridge,
Milton Keynes MK6 3DY, England
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 3286DJ/Russia's America Problem
Your piece was right on the money. Deterence theory starts with
a state that is a hostile force. Years of debate showed the theory is very
shaky in dealing with nuclear threats. Instead deterence theory should
start with how to prevent dangerous people from coming to power in
dangerous countries. You are doing a great service in trying to widen
the debate so that people will think of US security interests in Russia,
not just the interests of the doctrinnaire ("arrogant" is the word the
press uses in discussing the change at Treasury).
Alas, this Administration never seems to get the message. The
testimony of McFaul once again expresses its position exactly. The only
pro-Western forces are completely subservient both to US and IMF.
Normal pro-Western politicians (e.g., Primakov and probably Luzhkov) are
anti-Western. And then in the appalling statement by the
president's press secretary, the only thing that matters is economic
reform--defined as a Gaidar-Chubais policy. No sympathy for the Russian
people and hope that living conditions will improve, no concern about
American security interests.
Commentators have explained the replacement of Primakov by
Yeltsin's psychological problems. No doubt, this is right. But as one
reads the memoirs, it is quite clear how both the democrats and
Korzhakov's have played on his paranoias about potential political
competitors--and with stupid results for his interests in both directions.
With his mind as confused as it is now, he must be even less able to judge
the motives of those manipulating him, and thus we too must be careful about
judging what is going through their minds.
No one has emphasized that Yeltsin's statement removing Primakov
was quite respectful and quite accurate. He did not simply say the
economy was bad. He said the fault was Primakov's neoliberal position,
his excessive attention to the IMF. As readers of your newsletter know,
I have never understood whether the inaction--which meant de facto
an intensification of shock therapy--was a deliberate policy of
Primakov's or whether it was the result of Yeltsin's insistence that the
government contain both Zadornov and Masliukov. If Yeltsin has been
convinced by the strength of anti-Americanism that he must change
economic policy and seek other scapegoats to try to remove himself from
that role, his economic words may mean more this time than usual. No
sane person would ever bet on Yeltsin's words, but the resignation of
Sysoev was certainly a welcome sign.
The role of Stepashin remains very murky to me. Steve Cohen was
right on PPS when he said that many in Moscow think that the US was
trying to engineer the removal of Primakov--and for motives they cast in
the darkest of lights. Any self-respecting Russian conspiracy theorist
will note that the man who went to Moscow in September 1993 to support
Yeltsin's attack on the Congress in exchange for Gaidar returning to
government and running a madly radical campaign in the 1993 election
(well-described in Colton's and my book, Growing Pains) was named Treasury
Secretary on the day Primakov was removed. The conspiracy theorist will
note the talk about the Stepashin-Chubais alliance and the comments of the
American press secretary and will conclude that the US is trying to
engineer another coup against the Duma--or, perhaps more realistically, one
by Stepashin and the police against Yeltsin to impose a Pinochet economic
It is, of course, often difficult to distinguish between
conspiracy theory and sound analysis. No doubt, some in Washington are
musing in the way described in the previous paragraph, but most
conspiracies never gain enough support to become policy and many that do
are too stupid to succeed. It boggles the mind to think that anyone who
seizes power in Moscow now would think it politically feasible to go
against the anti-American mood so directly. But precisely because the
situation is so volatile, because the promotion of Summers (and the prize
to Shleifer) will be read in such conspiratorial terms in Moscow,
Washington needs to exercise great care in trying to reassure Russia and
work with a new government.
Nothing would be so reassuring than if Summers himself would say that he
has learned something from the Russian and Asian disaster--and China's
weathering of both--and thinks that a variety of models are possible in early
capitalism. As Sachs has said, Russia, China, and India are alike in their
size and their lack of a Roman law tradition. The obvious implication is
that they must come to a market economy by different paths, and maybe
Summers can draw it, if not Sachs.
Nothing is so disastrous as treating as pro-Western only those who
will negotiate Milosevic's surrender and then trying to use Russia as a
scapegoat for Administration failures and as a threat to hold NATO together
in the face of these failures. It is sound analysis, not a conspiracy
theory, to say that that idea is alive and well, but nothing will so
unite Western Europe against the United States. The 21st century is not
the 20th, and the adoption of the Euro has implications that few in this
country have understood. We can hasten those implications--and in
extremely unhealthy directions--by continuing to behave foolishly toward
Russia. To repeat, you are absolutely right that our security interests
need to be put foremost.
The Guardian (UK)
16 May 1999
[for personal use only]
The President's drunk, the Prime Minister's been fired - welcome to Russia.
By Will Hutton
There can be no political system like it anywhere in the world. An ill,
sometimes barely alive, President fires a Prime Minister and cabinet for the
third time in just over twelve months - Chernomyrdin, Kiriyenko and now
Primakov have all been summarily dispatched from their job since last spring.
Yet the Russia over which Yeltsin presides is a lawless, barely economically
functioning mess. As President and parliament descend into an acrimonious
political battle over Yeltsin's impeachment, Russia in effect has gone AWOL
from the international scene - complete with $150 billion of foreign debt it
can no longer service and just as Nato needs honest Russian mediation. It
could hardly be more poorly timed - or more risky.
The country's fall from grace since the collapse of communism is
well-documented, but it is still stunning. Since 1991 Russia's output has
more than halved. The catalogue of calamity could hardly be greater. Life
expectancy is low and falling. Extreme poverty. Vast overseas debts. A de
facto bankrupt banking system. Unpaid workers. Chronic shortages. Inflation.
An intractable government budget deficit. Its GDP is now estimated to be
around $150 billion; less than five per cent of the US.
The contrast with its old superpower adversary could hardly be more stark.
The US is not just in the middle of an eighth year of a low inflation
expansion that has produced near full-employment; it is all so impressive
that some argue the US has entered a 'new economic paradigm'. The long
weakening in the rate of growth of American productivity has been reversed;
this, it is argued, is the first impact of "info-capitalism", capitalism
organised around the information technology revolution, feeding through into
underlying economic performance. Wall Street is so dazzled that it has broken
every historic benchmark, pushing the valuation of the profits and dividends
of American companies to levels we have never witnessed before.
Yet the two countries' fates, for so long intertwined, remain profoundly
coupled. If the Kosovo war is to end on Nato's terms, then the Russian
government will have both needed to have played a part in brokering it - and
then sell it politically at home. This would be difficult enough; in the
current situation it is unimaginable. There are parliamentary elections in
December in which nationalist and communist candidates will do well, and
Presidential elections next year that will bring we know not what. The
repudiation of $150 billion of foreign debt is an obvious temptation - the
kind of event that might even check Wall Street's heady rise.
But although Yeltsin's extraordinary political twists and turns are his
alone, the situation in which Russia finds itself is in part of American
making. In practical terms the US failed to direct the savings it made from
the ending of the Cold War into Russian economic reconstruction - the policy
intervention it made at the end of the second world war with the Marshall
plan. But much more important has been the hegemony of ideas.
For Russia has had to make the transition from a command communist economy to
capitalism at the height of the belief in free markets and in a society,
unlike Eastern Europe, where the basic supporting social institutions of
market capitalism had never really existed - and to the extent they did, had
been overlaid by seventy years of communism. The US trained economic liberals
who launched the economic reform programme were rightly anxious to escape the
state structures of Russian communism, but they accepted almost completely
the US notion that a model capitalism should have a minimum state. Once
economic agents had been "set free" by price controls capitalist enterprise
would automatically be wished into being.
Thus Yegor Gaidar in 1992 lifted price controls without first privatising
Russian industry nor making any attempt to break up the vast state monopolies
even if they remained as public enterprises. Inflation and racketeering
inevitably resulted. Worse, he kept price controls on basic commodities like
oil, gas and grain in an attempt to preserve workers living standards; a
well-intentioned policy but with perverse results. The new class of financial
barons simply bought commodities at the low controlled prices in Russia, and
sold on the world market at much higher prices. By 1993 Russian capitalism
had taken its fatal turn; the policy mix had produced racketeers at home,
financial barons abroad and a decaying industrial sector.
This created a bias to inflation, but what cemented it has been the continual
predilection of the state to make good its failure to match its spending with
tax revenue by printing money. The result has been an endemically spivvy
capitalism associated with high inflation. It is discredited as a model even
while most people, including the communists, recognise that the old system of
state control and planning is defunct.
It is this legacy with which successive Prime Ministers wrestle. They can't
go back to what was, but going forward to a capitalism that even modestly
compares with what happens in Europe or the US seems impossible. Yeltsin
likes to describe this as a transitional phase, but the more honest view, as
a growing number of Russians and Russia watchers think, is that the condition
is becoming permanent. A collection of depressing essays in the most recent
edition of Post-Soviet Affairs all conclude that the Russian economy is
What is required is a more subtle and thus more credible view of what
capitalism constitutes. As Professor Archie Brown argues in his essay,
capitalism even in the US is politically and socially regulated. There is a
solid framework of property and banking law. The constitution of banks'
balance sheets and their regulation is closely supervised. There is a
functioning system of money transmission. The utilities that produce water,
gas and electricity are licensed to trade by the state.
Even in the US the notion of a minimal state, while it may be part of US
ideology, is not observed in practice. In Europe state regulation is more
marked, and it was not until 1980's - forty years after the war - that France
scrapped all its capital controls. Russia was asked by the US and IMF to make
the same adjustment in twelve months.
This is the heart of the Russian dilemma. It has been asked to do the
impossible with little international financial support and with the price of
its principal dollar-earner - oil - falling. It has been the victim of the
same market fundamentalism that has generated the absurd zeal and
overenthusiasm by American investors which has driven Wall Street to levels
we know are unsustainable. When and if it cracks this stimulus to American
growth and consumption will unravel, and the new economic paradigm will look
more tattered. The irony may be that shrunken Russia, with all its attendant
economic and political hazards, could provide just that trigger.
From: "Xenia Volkova" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Speech by Grigory Yavlinsky on impeachment
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999
SPEECH BY GRIGORY A. YAVLINSKY IN THE STATE DUMA,
May 15, 1999
<Translated by Dmitri Glinski Vassiliev>
The Yabloko caucus endorses the initiation of proceedings against the
President of the Russian Federation Boris N. Yeltsin, as regards the
unleashing of the war in Chechnya. A significant part of the deputies from
the Yabloko caucus will support the accusations against him with regard to
the 1993 events.
Why do we, the Yabloko caucus, participate in this procedure? We believe
that the power-holders in Russia must know that they will not be able to
avoid the responsibility for all of their violations of the law, no matter
whether these were deliberate or not entirely thought through. This had not
been so in the course of the Russian history, either under the monarchy or
under the communists. This is not a short-term issue, it relates to the
fundamental problems of our statehood. It is precisely from this standpoint
that we cannot neglect any of the juridical and legal aspects of this
procedure, and they will be the subject of our primary attention.
It is precisely from this standpoint that we will assess the most bloody
event on the territory of our country since the death of Stalin - that is,
the Chechnya war. This war took the lives of many tens of thousands of
people, most of them civilians. This war brought death or permanent
disability to thousands of young soldiers, who were, in fact, still
children, whose parents entrusted them to the government by sending them to
the military. In this war, the Russian army was betrayed, sold, and
humiliated. Therefore, we find it justified to impeach the President of RF
Boris N. Yeltsin, and we charge him guilty of the following:
* actions that clearly exceeded his authority and that led to significant
violations of the rights and legitimate interests of citizens and
organizations, as well as of the interests of society and nation that are
protected by law;
* the use of violence and the threat of such use;
* the use of arms and special military forces that resulted in grave
We also charge him guilty of brutal conduct towards military captives,
civilian population, and of the plunder of property.
We also accuse him of using his authority against the interest of his
service, which was done on the basis of his personal political interest and
resulted in grave consequences.
We accuse him of neglect of his duties, that is, the failure to fulfill
them as a result of improper or inattentive attitude to his service, which
led to the death of people and to other grave consequences.
The above-mentioned charges are based on the following articles of the
Criminal Code of the Russian Federation:
Article 286, part 2 and 3;
Article 356, part 1;
Article 285, part 2 and 3;
Article 293, part 2,
as well as on the corresponding Articles of the Criminal Code of RSFSR that
was in force at the time of the perpetration of these actions.
At the same time, we do not intend to dispute the Resolution of the
Constitutional Court of RF of July 31, 1995, which ruled that the Decrees
of the President RF pertaining to the restoration of the constitutional
order on the territory of the Chechen Republic did not contradict the
Constitution of RF.
However, the Constitutional Court of RF had a different, and a narrower
task, namely, to check the content of the decrees. Within the framework of
its authority, the Court did not inspect and did not analyze the content
and the sequence of actions of the President as the supreme officer and as
The aforementioned decrees did not define the object of their
implementation and did not identify in any way the limits to their
implementation. By not doing it, Yeltsin determined the scope of the
subsequent casualties and showed that he was ready for them.
In his numerous pronouncements and declarations of December 1994, the
President demonstrated his awareness of those casualties that were to
result from his decisions.
We consider the following to be the incriminating evidence for the
1. Criminal neglect that led to the transfer of weapons.
In his presentation, A.A.Kotenkov [Yeltsin's representative to the Duma]
tries to justify the President's actions in Chechnya by the fact that
between the fall of 1991 and June 1992 the Dudayev regiments forcibly
captured weapons and military objects on the Chechen territory. Yet we do
not see this as a natural disaster that was allegedly unrelated to the
actions of the federal authorities.
We believe that it was precisely the inaction of the federal authorities in
late 1991-early 1992 that resulted in the formation of an army in Chechnya
capable of waging war. In June 1992, a special cryptographic message by the
Russia's Ministry of Defense authorized the transfer of heavy armaments to
2. Refusal to negotiate.
Up to 1994, Yeltsin conducted regular business with Dudayev as with a head
of a constituent part of the federation. But since 1994 and until Dudayev's
death he unconditionally rejected direct negotiations with Dudayev. He did
it even though it was well known that their meeting in person may have
enabled them to avoid enormous casualties. Yeltsin's inability to forsake
his personal antipathy to Dudayev caused the death of thousands of people.
We consider waging war instead of negotiations, in the presence of at least
a minimal chance for a peaceful resolution of a political problem, to be a
grave abuse of presidential authority.
Sure, we completely agree, that the integrity of the state must be
defended, but the one who defends it must know how to do it.
* One should fully comply with all the laws and legal procedures;
* Peaceful political means to resolve the conflict should be used to their
* It is necessary to have armed agencies that are capable of action and
that are prepared for the task of prevention and prophylaxis of situations
In the absence of all these conditions, any attempts to restore the
so-called "constitutional order" lead to mass murder of innocent people, to
the triumph of armed secessionists, to the degradation and discreditation
of government as a whole.
3. The authorities continue to deny access to the figures of casualties and
names of the victims.
The authorities still refuse to disclose the documents that attest to the
personal participation of the president in the decision-making. In
particular, the minutes of the Security Council are still classified (...).
It is clear that by itself the desire to conceal anything pertaining to
issue that is so important for the entire nation does not speak in favor of
Moreover, we possess evidence indicating that the President does not feel
anything close to remorse, anything close to compassion for the victims of
these criminal policies.
These days, in the refrigerators of the laboratory No. 24 of the city of
Rostov there are 270 unidentified corpses of Russian servicemen and more
than a hundred of civilian corpses. Until this very day, almost three years
after the end of the civil war, Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin did not find
resources to ensure that these people, whom he sent to death, are
identified and buried.
The relatives of these people cannot even mourn their sons at their graves.
This means that for the President these people are just rubbish, we are all
rubbish for the President and building blocks for his weakening but
The impeachment procedure has been going on for almost a year - but in this
period the President did not add a cent for the purposes of identification,
burial, or exhumation of his soldiers and of Russian citizens that perished
We must give a response to this cynical and contemptuous feeling of the
government being not answerable before the victims and their families. And
our response will be voting in support of impeachment for such a president.
It is not just Yeltsin and the Dudayev regime that bear the responsibility
for this war. It is also shared by the military chiefs that were issuing
and carrying out criminal orders, by the then-chief of government
Chernomyrdin, by his deputies, by then-ministers, as well as by
politicians, some of whom supported this war, while others did not want and
still others were unable to stop it. (...)
However, we, the Yabloko, also share this responsibility, because we did
not make everything that was possible, we did not throw all our resources
against this slaughter.
Since today nobody can undo what was done then, we have only one
responsibility - and that is to create such conditions that will make it
impossible to repeat these actions.
We, the Yabloko, consider ourselves obliged to do everything to minimize
the possibility that such tragedies may be repeated in the future. Today we
are obliged to set a precedent of punishing the authorities for their
crimes. A true democracy is a system in which the authorities cannot avoid
responsibility and have to receive punishment for their crimes with regard
to their own people.
I want to dwell in particular on the events of 1993. We approach them with
all seriousness. We believe that the actions of authorities on both sides
pushed the nation toward a fratricide. But on February 23, 1994, the State
Duma declared amnesty, at the initiative of the Communist party and with
95% of its deputies voting for this measure. A revision of amnesty is a
very dangerous procedure. Yeltsin was undoubtedly covered by this amnesty,
as were many of those who were freed from jail and who now sit in this
We do not support other charges, that we consider to be beyond legal proof
and that are in fact political accusations, influenced by the short term.
Yeltsin's mistakes in the course of the reforms are extremely serious and
sometimes fatal. They led to the bankruptcy of our nation, to the
immiseration of the people, and reduced our people to nothing. But he had
no intentions to exterminate or liquidate anybody, he had no purposeful
intent of doing it. His neglect for human lives is a subject for moral and
political evaluation, not for a legal case.
This indifference and neglect is the long-standing tradition for the
leaders of the communist-bolsheviks, and he was one of them, his entire
political biography was linked to them. The Communist regime, led by Iosif
Stalin, deliberately murdered tens of millions of citizens of different
nationalities. Stalin and the Communist Party deliberately destroyed the
best representatives of the workers, the peasants, and the intelligentsia.
And if we are speaking about ethnicity, the absolute majority of these
people were ethnic Russians. Tens of millions of people who perished in the
civil war, during collectivization and repressions of the 1930s, the
eviction of entire peoples - this is the actual picture of the true
genocide against the peoples of Russia.
The party that declares Lenin and Stalin, these ideologues of mass crimes
against humanity, to be their historic leaders and heroes, takes upon
itself, with cynical arrogance, the resposibility for these evil actions.
This party destroyed tens of millions of people in our country and brought
it to collapse - this party has no right to hold power in Russia. And no
impeachment will help it!
Communists lick wounds, eye next Kremlin fight
MOSCOW, May 16 (AFP) - Communists licked their wounds Sunday after a bruising
impeachment defeat set up a showdown with the Kremlin over President Boris
Yeltsin's new choice for premier.
The next round in the political battle opens Wednesday when Yeltsin's
candidate Sergei Stepashin faces a parliamentary approval vote.
While the vote lacks the drama of the Yeltsin impeachment hearings, its
outcome is in much graver doubt.
The question now is whether Russia's deflated left flank is plotting a new
run on the Kremlin or waving the white flag in defeat.
"This is a disgrace," Nikolai Ryzhkov of the leftist People's Power party
fumed on NTV television. "I am outraged with how the Duma voted."
The Communists' eleven-month campaign to impeach Yeltsin for crimes against
his own people fizzled out Saturday when deputies boycotted the historic
event en masse and parliament fell far short of mustering the necessary
"I think that many betrayed their country," Communist Party boss Gennady
Zyuganov observed gloomily.
Communists and allies may feel relieved that they can at least whip their own
ranks into shape.
Only six of the 211 leftist deputies failed to vote impeachment on the charge
which stood the best chance of success -- Yeltsin's decision to launch the
disastrous 1994-96 Chechen war.
It is far more disconcerting for Communist leaders however that they were
unable to get almost anyone else to join their cause.
Vladimir Zhironvsky's ultra-nationalist party stormed out of the hearing in a
show of support for the president. Only one deputy from the centrist Our Home
Is Russia bloc and just 12 of Russia 30 independent deputies voted in favor
of the Chechen charge.
Some lawmakers said after the vote that Yeltsin had managed to scare the
State Duma, the lower house of parliament, into submission by firing their
favored premier Yevgeny Primakov on the eve of the vote.
"Primakov's sacking made deputies understand that the president was ready for
extreme measures," said millionaire Vladimir Semago of the centrist Russian
Those extreme measures would include moves to dissolve parliament.
"Ninety percent of all deputies have no real opinion about impeachment but
are concerned with only one cause -- making sure their Duma stay is not cut
short by a single day," observed Leonid Radzikhovsky of the Sevodnya daily.
The constitution bans the president from simply shutting down the Duma.
Yeltsin can, however, propose a liberal economist as new prime minister who
would almost certainly fail to win the approval of parliament, dominated by
Communists and nationalists.
Three successive no-votes on a premier candidate allows Yeltsin to dissolve
parliament and call for new elections.
Stepashin is a former KGB hawk who has already vowed to follow his
predecessor's cautious economic line. In nearly all other circumstance the
former interior minister's approval by parliament would be swift.
"I do not think that deputies are too allergic to Stepashin," said Communist
Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov.
But the left is smarting from the double blow of losing Primakov's government
and humiliating themselves by failing to impeach the president.
The Communists have used Yeltsin's impeachment as their rallying cry ever
since Zyuganov lost a run-off election to the president in July 1996.
Now they are scrambling to come up with a new game plan ahead of December's
parliamentary elections which should also play a decisive role on who the top
contenders in the summer 2000 race to replace Yeltsin are.
Some observers believe the Communists need a confrontation with the Kremlin
over Stepashin's candidacy in order to stir new passion into their electorate.
Leading leftists, however, at present sound too demoralized to fight.
"We are not linking the new prime minister's appointment to the impeachment
vote," Ryzhkov of the People's Power party said. "Our position remains open."