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Johnson's Russia List


May 24, 1999    
This Date's Issues: 3302    

Johnson's Russia List
24 May 1999

[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Gorbachev: NATO Must Stop Bombing.
2. AP: Poverty Slows Russia Reforms.
3. AFP: Economy chief post power-struggle threatens vital IMF Russia aid.
4. Los Angeles Times: Michael McFaul, With Foes Like Communists, How Can 
Yeltsin Ever Lose? 

5. AP: Russians Seeks Smooth Appointments.
6. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Greg Neale, Russia faces 'new Chernobyl' 

7. Itar-Tass: Stepashin Would Prefer to Remain Premier till 2000 Elections.
8. Itar-Tass: PM Seeks to Create Normal Conditions for Upcoming Polls.
9. The Sunday Times (UK): Mark Franchetti, Inside Moscow.
10. Washington Post: David Hoffman, Arms Control Damaged By War.
U.S.-Russia Tensions Imperil Nuclear Cuts.

11. Itar-Tass: Our Home Is Russia Faction Leader Urges Reform of Power.
12. Reuters: Russia's new premier seeks strong economic supremo.] 


Gorbachev: NATO Must Stop Bombing
May 23, 1999

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) -- Former Soviet president and Nobel Peace Prize 
winner Mikhail Gorbachev on Sunday delivered a stinging message to the United 
States government to stop NATO's bombing campaign in Yugoslavia.

The leader who helped end the Cold War criticized Washington for acting 
``irresponsibly'' by using military force in Yugoslavia without a United 
Nations mandate.

``The United States is conducting itself irresponsibly on the world stage,'' 
he said through an interpreter at the World Masters of Business forum in 

Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union for five years from 1985, accused 
Washington of using military power to its own advantage.

``The United States has a superiority and victory complex,'' he said.

Despite expressing concern over the economic and political crisis in Russia 
under President Boris Yeltsin, Gorbachev said he hoped the country will pull 
itself out of trouble.


Poverty Slows Russia Reforms
May 23, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) -- Leaning against a row of white washing machines, arms crossed 
over green overalls, Gennady Klyuyev rattles off the prices and features of 
his wares to customers ducking in and out of the tiny shop.

In a mall where almost every store offers high-priced, imported appliances, 
the sad-faced 25-year-old is one of just a handful of salespeople pushing 
goods made in Russia. There are stoves and washers and refrigerators, and 
they're cheaper than the competition.

Only no one's buying.

``I didn't make a single sale yesterday, either,'' Klyuyev moans, watching 
another customer walk out the door.

That is Russia's economic dilemma as President Boris Yeltsin's newest prime 
minister, Sergei Stepashin, takes office.

The economy has begun showing the first signs of life since its devastating 
plunge last summer, but prospects that Stepashin can sustain the improvement 
are dim because Russians have little money to spend.

``The population has been getting fewer goods. Banks are investing less money 
in production. The government is making fewer purchases for its needs. This 
could provoke a new slump in the next few months,'' Yevgeny Yasin, a former 
economy minister, wrote in the weekly Arguments and Facts.

After the devaluation of the ruble that began last August, Russian goods have 
become competitive with ever-more extravagantly priced imports. Russian 
industrial production has risen and even surpassed its pre-crisis level.

Yet along with the plunge in value of the Russian ruble, people's real 
incomes have dropped drastically. If their jobs haven't been cut, their 
salaries have. If their salaries haven't been reduced, their worth has, 
because the ruble has lost 74 percent of its value since summer.

In contrast to the official statistics showing a growth in industrial 
production, Klyuyev hasn't noticed any increased inclination among people to 
buy Russian.

They have a huge selection to choose from at the three-level, warehouse-sized 
electronics mall. A Moscow television manufacturer built it last year to 
compete with a nearby outdoor market where people sell appliances out of 

``Pensioners will buy our goods, but richer people will still buy imports,'' 
Klyuyev said. And, he added, ``Since August, people have been buying very 
little of anything.''

The tentative economic growth that Russia has registered this year is almost 
certain to shrink if incomes don't start rising soon.

Stepashin, a former police official, has no experience in economic 
administration. He hasn't yet voiced a single new idea for reviving Russia's 
economy and has so far limited himself mainly to broad promises.

``Our mission is to create a substantially new economic context, to make the 
only real decisions that can help achieve a better standard of living for 
people and can revive such a great country as Russia,'' he told the lower 
house of parliament, the State Duma, on Wednesday before the legislators 
voted overwhelmingly to confirm him as prime minister.

Like his predecessor, Yevgeny Primakov, Stepashin pledged to concentrate on 
improving social welfare, increasing domestic production and fighting 
economic crime. He also urged the Duma to pass the package of new laws that 
the International Monetary Fund has made a precondition for resumed financial 

But he hasn't addressed the need to restructure sick enterprises or provide 
incentives to private entrepreneurs, who have been burned badly by the 
near-collapse of the banking system and crushing, sometimes arbitrary, tax 

``Even if you start something on your own here, if you work honestly, they'll 
suffocate you with taxes. And if you work dishonestly, sooner or later you'll 
have to do time in prison,'' said Andrei Nikulevsky, another 25-year-old 
appliance salesman.

Whether the Stepashin government will implement the reforms that analysts say 
are vital to healing the economy depends in part on the Cabinet ministers he 
and Yeltsin appoint.

While Yeltsin has reappointed several members of the previous government, 
including the defense, foreign and justice ministers, he has not yet chosen 
the team that will be responsible for economic policy.

More important, however, will be Stepashin's own relationship with the 
legislators who must pass the laws governing the economy.

``The key is to maintain sustainable growth, which requires fundamental 
reforms. And this requires Duma support. We're unclear on whether he can get 
that support,'' said Peter Westin, an economist at the Russian-European 
Center for Economic Policy.

Klyuyev, the appliance salesman, is not hopeful. Over less than a year, he's 
seen his salary drop from the equivalent of about $1,000 a month to less than 
$200. His wife, a dental assistant, hasn't worked since her job was axed last 
fall. Their savings are gone, and so is their ability to buy anything but the 

``Stability?'' he snorts. ``Nothing changed under Primakov, and nothing will 
change under the new government, either.''


Economy chief post power-struggle threatens vital IMF Russia aid

MOSCOW, May 23 (AFP) - A Kremlin power-struggle over Russia's next economy 
supremo is threatening an IMF loans-for-laws package vital to Moscow's 
efforts to avoid outright bankruptcy and rescue its ravaged economy, analysts 

Premier Sergei Stepashin wants a respected deputy for the post, but arch 
Kremlin intriguer Boris Berezovsky is pushing his own candidate, whose very 
ties to the tycoon could hurt the prospects of the IMF package in parliament.

Analysts said Berezovsky has used his influence with Tatyana Dyachenko, 
President Boris Yeltsin's younger daughter and head of the Kremlin's "kitchen 
politburo," to ensure his allies win key posts in the new cabinet.

They include First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko and new Interior 
Minister Vladimir Rushailo. Another Berezovsky ally, Alexander Voloshin, 
heads the Kremlin administration.

But Stepashin, anxious to avoid charges that he is a "puppet premier," wants 
Alexander Zhukov named economy chief and first deputy premier as a 
counter-weight to the Berezovsky cohorts.

Zhukov is also backed by Anatoly Chubais, the head of the powerful UES 
electricity monopoly who is feted abroad as a key reformer but detested at 
home as the architect of Russia's scandal-tainted privatisation programme.

Should he win the job Zhukov, a centrist who chairs the State Duma budget 
committee, would be tasked with piloting through the lower house of 
parliament a slate of unpopular IMF-approved laws needed to unlock the door 
to billions of dollars in fresh loans to Russia.

The measures include higher alcohol and gasoline (petrol) tariffs, a delay in 
a much-publicized cut in value added tax, an easing of currency restrictions, 
and radical reform of the banking sector ravaged by the government's August 
17 ruble devaluation and domestic debt default.

On those measures hang 4.5 billion dollars in fresh credits over 18 months 
and billions more in associated loans from the World Bank and Japan.

An IMF deal is also pivotal to Moscow's efforts to reschedule its foreign 
debt mountain and avoid a generalised default on 141 billion dollars in 
liabilities which would make Russia a pariah with international creditors.

But the IMF package is deeply unpopular with a Communist-led Duma facing 
re-election in December and still smarting from its failure to impeach 
Yeltsin and swift confirmation of Stepashin in office under threat of 

"If Mr Stepashin gains the image of a Berezovsky puppet, of course the 
willingness of parliament to cooperate will be much less," said Sergei 
Markov, director of Moscow's Institute of Political Studies.

The presence of so many Berezovsky allies in the cabinet "will create a 
problem for the IMF package because the more influence Mr Berezovsky has, the 
less interest the Duma will have in cooperating with the government," he 

Economists fear any delays to the IMF deal would further postpone economic 
recovery and prolong the misery for millions of hard-pressed ordinary 
Russians, whose per capita income dropped by 27.6 percent and whose real 
wages slumped 38.5 percent in the 12 months to the end of April, according to 
official figures.

Markov said Stepashin could seek to assert himself by undermining Berezovsky: 
"I would expect some Kremlin intrigues which will include corruption 
allegations concerning people in Berezovsky's entourage."

Nevertheless the omens are not looking good for Stepashin, who agencies said 
could fly to Sochi on Monday to discuss his cabinet with Yeltsin who is 
holidaying in the Black Sea resort.

The president has "not yet managed to persuade the president of the need for 
two first deputy premiers," commented Saturday the Nezavisimaya Gazeta, which 
is owned by Berezovsky.

The respected business daily Kommersant said Yeltsin had broken the 
information blockade imposed by his tight-knit coterie of advisors by 
installing a telephone hotline to Chubais, who was due to return from the 
United States on Sunday.

"The president is sent away -- so as not to meddle" in the cabinet's 
formation, the paper headlined Saturday's edition.

"After his departure to Sochi there is a strong possibility that again all 
information to the president will be strictly filtered by his 'family 
circle,' which traditionally lobbies for Boris Berezovsky," it said. 


Los Angeles Times
May 23, 1999 
[for personal use only]
With Foes Like Communists, How Can Yeltsin Ever Lose? 
Michael Mcfaul Is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for 
International Peace and Professor of Political Science and Hoover Fellow at 
Stanford University 

WASHINGTON--Boris N. Yeltsin has done it again. Just when everyone in Russia 
and the West thought he was history as an effective politician, the ailing 
and unpopular Russian president orchestrated another tactical victory against 
his enemies. 
Two weeks ago, Yeltsin looked certain to be impeached by the Duma, the 
lower house of the Russian parliament. His main political rival, then-Prime 
Minister Yevgeny M. Primakov, was the most popular political figure in Russia 
and was widely regarded as perhaps the leading presidential candidate. With 
Primakov solidly allied with the Russian Communist Party, it looked like 
Yeltsin's worst nightmare--the return of the Communists to the Kremlin--was 
about to come true. But judging from his bold decision to remove Primakov, 
Yeltsin is not quite ready to fade from Russia's political scene. 
Furthermore, if forced to depart, the president vowed to go down fighting. 
Yeltsin's firing of Primakov had inched Russia closer to a 
constitutional crisis. If the Duma had impeached Yeltsin and also rejected 
his nominee for prime minister, Sergei V. Stepashin, the Russian Constitution 
is silent on what should have happened next. Many had worried that Yeltsin 
might try to resolve the impasse through extraconstitutional means: 
surrounding the parliament building with troops in a replay of the violent 
confrontation he and the legislative branch had in October 1993. Thankfully, 
push did not come to shove, and the parliament backed down. 
Days before the impeachment vote, nearly every analyst of Russian 
affairs expected the article accusing Yeltsin of waging an illegal war in 
Chechnya to pass. 
Yet, the Communist-dominated Duma couldn't muster the necessary 
two-thirds vote to pass any of the five impeachment articles. Then, less than 
a week later, legislators overwhelmingly approved Yeltsin's nominee for prime 
minister. The Duma's capitulation was all the more striking because Stepashin 
was one of the principal executors of the Chechen war. 
In virtually assuring that he will serve out his term, Yeltsin severely 
weakened Primakov's chances of becoming his successor and thrust Stepashin 
into the presidential race. Only a brilliant political strategist could 
imagine transforming Stepashin the police chief into Stepashin the 
presidential candidate in just 12 months. Yet, in light of what the Yeltsin 
team--and especially Anatoly B. Chubais--accomplished in the last two weeks, 
do not be surprised if Stepashin makes it to the second round of next year's 
presidential vote. 
Given Yeltsin's minimalist record of achievement in recent years, his 
poor health and abysmal job-approval ratings (estimated at 2%, with a margin 
of error of plus or minus 4%), he could only have achieved his latest 
political victory if he faced an even weaker foe. He did. When the history of 
reform in Russia in the 1990s is written, the real story will not be about 
Yeltsin's genius, but about the ineptness of his enemies, above all, the 
Communist Party of the Russian Federation. 
For years, Russia's Communists have been handed issues that would have 
assured political success for anyone else. Yeltsin attacked the White House, 
as Russia's parliament in known, in 1993, oversaw the deaths of 100,000 of 
his own citizens in a fruitless and tragic war in Chechnya and presided over 
one of the greatest economic depressions in modern history, including, most 
recently, the financial meltdown in August 1998. Yet, despite his record, the 
Communists have been unable to remove Yeltsin from power either through the 
ballot box or impeachment. 
The Communists also have proved inept or unwilling to represent the 
interests of their natural constituencies: workers and pensioners. Russia's 
Constitution substantially limits the powers of parliament, the one political 
institution the Communists dominate. Yet, the Communists have not even taken 
advantage of their limited constitutional powers to deliver for their 
supporters. Every year, they allow Yeltsin's budgets to slide through largely 
intact. With one exception, the opposition-dominated parliament has signed 
off on all of Yeltsin's candidates for prime minister. On foreign-policy 
issues, the Russian opposition has virulently criticized Yeltsin's acceptance 
of the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its 
bombing campaign against Yugoslavia. But it has never managed to translate 
passionate rhetoric into real influence. 
From August 1998 until last week, Russia's Communists had their best 
opportunity to influence Russian politics after their candidate, Primakov, 
became prime minister against Yeltsin's wishes. Upon becoming prime minister, 
Primakov invited a Communist Party member, Yuri D. Maslyukov, to become his 
economic czar. Rhetorically, Primakov and Maslyukov promised to reverse 
radical economic reforms, raise pensions and wages, curtail the activities of 
Western agents of influence--the International Monetary Fund and the World 
Bank, most notably--toss 1,000 bankers in jail and hinted at restoring state 
control over prices and property. 
In practice, Primakov and his Communist-dominated government pursued 
none of these policies. Through inaction rather than intention, Primakov's 
government proved to be as fiscally conservative and monetarily stringent as 
previous reform governments. Instead of chasing the IMF out of Russia, 
Primakov continued to negotiate with this "tool of imperialism" and even 
agreed to introduce a package of legislation recommended by the IMF. In its 
negotiations with the World Bank, the Primakov government actually rejected 
the bank's recommendation for pension payments as too high. When offered the 
opportunity to roll back capitalism, Russia's Communists rolled over. 
The Primakov era may have been the last hurrah for the Russian Communist 
Party. The failed impeachment vote demoralized and humiliated it. Party 
members' approval of Stepashin demonstrated they cared more about holding on 
to their offices, dachas and free travel than to their principles. (Had 
parliament voted down Stepashin three times, Yeltsin would have been obliged 
constitutionally to dissolve the Duma and call new elections in three 
months.) In doing so, Communist leaders calculated that they needed the 
resources of parliament to help them win the upcoming elections this 
In choosing resources over principles, however, the Communists may lose 
their stranglehold on the opposition vote in Russia. Tired of Yeltsin and his 
policies, but disappointed in the inability of the Communists to come up with 
a viable alternative, anti-Yeltsin voters in the next election may turn to 
new electoral options such as Yuri M. Luzhkov's Fatherland, Grigory 
Yavlinsky's A. Yabloko or more strident populists like Gen. Alexander I. 
Lebed. Paradoxically, Yeltsin, Chubais and other Kremlin strategists may have 
orchestrated a remarkable tactical victory by marginalizing the Communist's 
strongest presidential contender, Primakov, but, at the same time, 
strengthened new opposition contenders for president.* 


Russians Seeks Smooth Appointments
May 23, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's prime minister said Sunday he would not advance 
candidates for Cabinet posts who might provoke opposition from the 
Communist-dominated lower house of parliament.

Sergei Stepashin told NTV television that he would like to keep Mikhail 
Zadornov in the office of finance minister and propose Alexander Zhukov as a 
candidate for deputy prime minister in charge of the economy.

Zhukov is budget committee chairman of the lower house of parliament, or 
State Duma.

Stepashin also said the two communist members of the outgoing government of 
former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Yuri Maslyukov and Gennady Kulik, 
would not have posts in his Cabinet.

When asked about veteran economic reformers like Anatoly Chubais or Yegor 
Gaidar, Stepashin said he did not plan to bring in candidates who might be 
unacceptable to the Duma, which could call for a no-confidence vote in the 

``We're not considering that scenario,'' Stepashin said.

Stepashin and the head of the Kremlin administration, Alexander Voloshin, are 
to travel Monday to the Black Sea resort Sochi to consult on the Cabinet with 
President Boris Yeltsin.

Yeltsin traveled to Sochi on Friday for vacation after Stepashin easily won 
confirmation as prime minister from the Duma.

Stepashin said he and Yeltsin would go over the candidates for the key posts 
on Monday, ``not dragging out this process but at the same time not rushing 
it, either.''

The final composition of the Cabinet will probably be decided next week, he 

Before leaving for Sochi, Yeltsin reappointed Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, 
Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu and 
Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov to their posts. He also promoted 
Nikolai Aksyonenko, former railways minister, to the post of first deputy 
prime minister, and named Vladimir Rushailo interior minister.

As Stepashin was working Sunday to put together his team, a centrist 
parliamentary leader said Russia's future political stability depended on a 
fundamental power shift from the presidency to the legislature, the ITAR-Tass 
news agency reported.

Vladimir Ryzhkov, head of the Our Home Is Russia group in the Duma, said the 
government should be formed by the parliamentary majority instead of the 
president. Such a reform could be implemented only after 2000, when Yeltsin's 
term expires, he said.

``If the new president is a wise man, he will pass over a substantial part of 
his powers to the parliamentary majority,'' Ryzhkov was quoted as telling an 
academic seminar in Golitsino, 12 miles southwest of Moscow.

The constitution, which was passed by referendum on Dec. 12, 1993, gives the 
president huge powers and leaves little real authority to either the 
parliament or the prime minister.

Yeltsin and the Communist-dominated lower house of parliament have long been 
at loggerheads. As a result, much of the legislation drafted by the 
government has languished.


The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
23 May 1999
[for personal use only] 
Russia faces 'new Chernobyl' disaster
By Greg Neale, Environment Correspondent in Murmansk 

WHAT a Russian energy minster has called a "Chernobyl in slow motion" is 
unfolding in the country's far north where nuclear submarines are falling to 
pieces at their moorings and a decaying nuclear power station has been 
refused European Commission aid to buy vital safety equipment. 

Russian officials admit that dozens of nuclear submarines in the former 
Soviet Union's Northern Fleet are in such a poor state of repair that they 
could cause widespread radiation pollution. In the same area is the Kola 
power plant, where some nuclear safety experts believe its two oldest 
pressurised water reactors, built in 1973, should be closed immediately. 
Vassily Omeltchuk, the chief engineer at the Kola plant has told The 
Telegraph that most of its appeals for European Commission aid have been 
refused. "We are in despair," he said.

The Commission's rejection of an application for new fire detection and 
protection equipment had left the plant vulnerable. To compensate, it had 
employed additional firemen but even their equipment was not up to the job, 
they said. "Much of our equipment is obsolete," said Captain Gennadi 
Chernukin, head of the fire team. The bravery of Russia's nuclear 
fire-fighters is beyond question. When the Chernobyl reactor exploded in 
1986, firemen went into the blazing reactor building knowing they were facing 
near-certain death. But they and others in the country's nuclear industry are 
having to keep equipment working well beyond its designated lifetime.

Documents passed to The Telegraph show that EC officials have rejected five 
applications for aid from the Kola plant, although four projects have been 
approved. They included assistance with replacing safety valves, improving 
liquid radioactive waste treatment and the burners in Kola's incineration 

A Brussels official said some applications were turned down because of 
difficulties in finding suitable western energy companies to work with the 

Mr Omeltchuk said that although some experts wanted to close down the ageing 
reactor units - the same type as the ill-fated American Three Mile Island 
reactor - the plant supplies about 40 per cent of the region's power, and the 
authorities are unwilling to lose its capacity. Its fate will be discussed 
urgently at a conference this summer. Meanwhile much aid is being directed to 
improve standards in Russia's nuclear industry, particularly from 
neighbouring countries such as Norway, Sweden and Finland, which are in the 
front line for any potential pollution.

But while Russia's nuclear power station workers struggle to keep plants 
running, the condition of tens of former Soviet nuclear submarines continues 
to deteriorate and funds to make them safe are in many cases still to be 

"Some dozen or more of these submarines are now being kept afloat by 
continually refilling their buoyancy tanks with pressurised air," said Valery 
Alexeyev, a dockyard official. "Who knows how long this will go on?"

Nikolay Yegerov, Russia's deputy atomic energy minister, described the 
situation in the region as a "Chernobyl in slow motion", the first such 
admission by the Russian authorities.

The Kola Peninsula is now one of the most polluted regions in the world. A 
report prepared by Bellona, a group of environmental activists, tells of 
atomic waste from ships being simply dumped into the Barents and Kara seas.

The United States has contributed funds and technology, largely to help 
decommission some of the atomic-powered submarines and their nuclear missiles.

Europe is also helping to clear up this Cold War legacy. Two months ago, 
Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, pledged more than £3 million in British 
aid to help manage nuclear waste from Russian vessels in the region.

However, a good deal of aid has failed to have any effect. Brussels-based 
officials were criticised this year in an internal European Commission 
investigation which found that hundreds of millions of pounds had been wasted 
on uncompleted projects designed to improve nuclear safety in the country.

But it is not only radioactive pollution which is causing problems. The 
mineral-rich Murmansk region has also suffered through waste from heavy 

Inger Eikelman, an adviser to Norway's Radiation Protection Authority, says: 
"There is so much heavy metal contamination in some places, that economists 
say it would make financial sense to simply mine the pollution." 


Stepashin Would Prefer to Remain Premier till 2000 Elections.

MOSCOW, May 23 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Premier Sergei Stepashin would prefer to 
keep his post till the presidential elections of 2000. 

"To be absolutely honest, the optimum way for me is to be the prime minister 
till the elections of the president," Stepashin said in an interview with the 
NTV Itogi television program on Sunday. The key task "is to show the 
professional capability of the cabinet already this year." 

That task shall be solved by December "when the new Duma discusses the new 
prime minister by law... At that time I will have to report to the president, 
the people and the State Duma what is done," Stepashin said. 

In his words, there are three main tasks -- "to prevent destabilization, 
including that economic," "to consolidate the macro-economic bloc" with due 
account of the future economic development of Russia and to solve problems of 
agriculture and the social sphere. Stepashin called attention to the need to 
"keep paying pensions, salaries and to increase pensions of ex- servicemen 
since June 1." Such tasks can be tackled only by "a government of 
professionals," he said. 

"There shall be one sacred rule: as soon as you join the cabinet you shall 
leave political likes for your spare time. No promotion of your projects or 
lobbying of the interests of your former companions," the premier said. 

"I do not conceal that the government will have representatives of some 
public-political movements. But as soon as they come to the government they 
must stop any contacts in the political sphere. The government shall not be 
affiliated to a party," Stepashin stressed. 


PM Seeks to Create Normal Conditions for Upcoming Polls.

MOSCOW, May 24 (Itar-Tass) - "The main role of the government in the 
forthcoming parliamentary and presidential election campaigns is to create 
normal socio-economic conditions for the polling," Russian Prime Minister 
Sergei Stepashin told the NTV analytical programme Itogi on Sunday. 

"Elections, held against the background of the impoverishment of the larger 
proportion of the population and their discontent over delays in the payment 
of wages, unemployment, and an incomprehensible economic and social policy of 
the State lead as a rule to very serious negative results," the Premier 

Stepashin considers it no less important task in arrangements for the 
"election race" "to create a law-enforcement barrier so that as less crooks 
as possible would get powerful positions, and to maintain the public order. 
In this respect "the situation in Karachai-Circassia is a very serious lesson 
to us", the Russian Premier pointed out. 


The Sunday Times (UK)
May 23 1999
[for personal use only]
Inside Moscow
By Mark Franchetti 

Who wears the trousers, Yuri? 

When it comes to elections, there is only one issue that worries chauvinistic 
Russians more than a candidate's political record, and that is his wife. 
Mikhail Gorbachev had Raisa, who was despised for her bossy nature and 
passion for western fashion. Boris Yeltsin has Naina, an unassuming housewife 
admired for the amount of time she spends in the kitchen. The power behind 
Yuri Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow and favourite in next year's presidential 
elections, is a woman without precedent in Russia. 

First, there is the name. Yelena Baturina defied tradition by refusing to 
change it when she married. Then there is the car. While most Russian men 
believe women should be banned from driving, Baturina cruises round Moscow in 
a bright yellow Mercedes. 

Her biggest fault in the eyes of Russian men, however, is that she nearly 
always wears trousers. This is seen as an ominous sign that Baturina, 36, 
calls the shots at home with her 63-year-old husband. To make matters worse, 
Baturina has confessed that she sometimes chooses his clothes. 

Baturina, a successful businesswoman, is said to earn five times as much as 
Luzhkov. She is joint head of Itenko, a company that produces laundry 
baskets, disposable plates and, most notably, plastic stadium seats. 

Itenko supplies plates to Russky Bistro, a fast-food chain owned by the city 
and set up by Luzhkov to "bring McDonald's to its knees". But city hall has 
reacted angrily to suggestions that the mayor used his connections to advance 
Baturina's business interests and Luzhkov, whose first wife died of cancer in 
1980, vehemently denies that he has helped her. 

Many voters may give him the benefit of the doubt. What they would not 
forgive is any indication that Baturina tells him what to do in politics. Or 
in the wardrobe, for that matter. 

The inhabitants of an area of woodland on the outskirts of Moscow have been 
put on the alert after reports that a circus bear is on the loose. The bear's 
trainer had tried to give it to Boris Yeltsin as a present. But the Kremlin 
said there was nowhere to keep the animal. Infuriated by this rebuff, the 
trainer released the bear in woods near a hospital where the president 
undergoes treatment for his various illnesses. Yeltsin and his unwanted gift 
have yet to meet. 

A bugbear for Boris 

The Kremlin's triumph last weekend in seeing off a parliamentary threat to 
impeach Boris Yeltsin took many Russians by surprise. But not those who saw a 
remarkably prescient cockroach race in a nightclub on the eve of voting. 

A cockroach named Zu, after Gennady Zyuganov, the communist leader who 
supported impeachment, got off to a terrible start. He crashed into a wall as 
Boris, the biggest insect, crossed the finishing line. 

The winner, however, was Luzhkok, named after Yuri Luzhkov, Yeltsin's most 
likely successor. 

A Moscow newspaper chose to illustrate a health and beauty section promoting 
city salons with a picture of Svetlana Kotova, a Russian model. A strange 
choice given that Kotova's body was found dismembered in Greece two years ago 
after she became romantically involved with a Russian mafia boss linked to 
several contract killings. 

Parting shot 

President Yeltsin loves sacking prime ministers, but he also likes to shower 
his victims with parting gifts. Viktor Chernomyrdin received a medal and a 
big bunch of roses when he was dismissed last year. But the gift selected for 
Yevgeny Primakov, the latest premier to go, was somewhat strange. 

In a ceremony at a secluded dacha, Primakov was told that his greatest 
achievement during 10 months in power had been to ensure stability and peace 
in Russia. He was then presented with a double-barrelled shotgun so heavy 
that he could hardly lift it. 


Washington Post
23 May 1999
[for personal use only]
Arms Control Damaged By War
U.S.-Russia Tensions Imperil Nuclear Cuts
By David Hoffman

MOSCOW—The NATO strikes against Yugoslavia and resulting tensions with Russia 
and China have created serious new threats to nuclear arms reduction measures 
and other global arms control efforts, many of which were already faltering, 
according to policymakers and specialists.

Russia's anger over the assault on Yugoslavia has created complications with 
the United States that jeopardize the long-delayed Strategic Arms Reduction 
Treaty (START II), which aims at slashing both countries' long-range nuclear 
weapons. Also at risk are efforts to control the thousands of short-range, or 
tactical, nuclear weapons that were never covered by a treaty.

The worsening in U.S.-Russian relations threatens the Comprehensive Test Ban 
Treaty, efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction, revisions 
on a treaty on troops and conventional arms in Europe, and plans for joint 
early-warning cooperation to avoid an accidental missile attack.

"What will happen in the next two years is the total collapse of arms 
control" unless U.S. relations with Russia are repaired, said Sergei Rogov, 
director of the USA/Canada Institute here.

"We may be looking at the end of bilateral, negotiated arms control," said 
Joseph Cirincione director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie 
Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "This is not too radical to 
contemplate. It is possible [President] Clinton will leave office without 
ever negotiating and signing a strategic arms reduction agreement."

The problems were aggravated by the accidental NATO bombing of the Chinese 
Embassy in Belgrade May 6. China announced suspension of current top-level 
military and arms control contacts with the United States. China has been a 
key focus of U.S. efforts to prevent the proliferation or spread of missiles 
and nuclear materials to Iran and Pakistan, among other places.

"All of the principal nonproliferation regimes are under siege," said William 
C. Potter, director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, 
Calif. "Without a concerted effort in Washington and Moscow to revive 
cooperation of the past, the regimes run the risk of major defections and 

Moreover, the troubles on arms control and proliferation come at a time when 
other regions are provoking fresh worries. In South Asia, a year after India 
and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests, both countries have embarked on a new 
missile race. In Iraq, the United Nations' effort to root out weapons of mass 
destruction appears to have ended. Iran continues to pursue a ballistic 
missile program, as does North Korea.

When the bombing of Yugoslavia began in March, Russia reacted with sharp 
criticism and suspended all military links to NATO. Russia is friendly with 
Yugoslavia, a fellow Slavic and Eastern Orthodox country. The existing 
bilateral U.S.-Russian nuclear and chemical disarmament programs, for which 
Russia is receiving hundreds of millions of dollars, so far have not been 
seriously hampered.

Since the bombing began, Russia also has sought a role as a mediator between 
NATO and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Although this has put Russia 
in a less confrontational approach than in the early weeks of the crisis, 
specialists said, the negative reaction to the NATO airstrikes in parliament 
and among the Russian political and military elite has seriously clouded 
future arms control and nonproliferation efforts.

The first major casualty of the NATO strikes was the START II strategic arms 
treaty, signed in 1993 by Presidents Bush and Boris Yeltsin and ratified by 
the Senate in 1996 but never ratified by the Russian State Duma, the lower 
house of parliament. The treaty was close to approval before the Kosovo 

The treaty would slash both sides' nuclear arsenals from 6,000 warheads each 
under the START I treaty, signed in 1972, to between 3,000 to 3,500 each, 
although experts say Russia cannot financially support such an arsenal. 
Moreover, ratification would open the way to negotiations for a follow-on 
treaty, START III, which would lead to even deeper cuts, to between 2,000 to 
2,500 warheads for each side under a preliminary 1997 agreement between 
Clinton and Yeltsin.

The START II treaty was making headway in December, but the Duma, dominated 
by Communists and nationalists, recoiled after the bombings of Iraq. 
Strenuous lobbying by then-prime minister Yevgeny Primakov moved the treaty 
back on the agenda in March, but the Duma backed off again after the NATO 
strikes on Yugoslavia. The U.S. decision to move ahead on antimissile 
defenses also hurt Russian ratification efforts.

The negative reaction over Yugoslavia may be impossible to overcome. Analysts 
say START II is all but dead. The Duma will be facing an election campaign in 
the fall. "It's clear the treaty cannot be ratified," said Alexander Pikayev, 
an arms control and nonproliferation specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for 
International Peace.

A prominent group of arms control specialists called on the United States in 
February to try to leapfrog START II and secure new reductions of warheads 
and take missiles off hair-trigger alert. But the Clinton administration has 
refused to move ahead until START II is ratified.

If it is not, Russia may decide to prolong the life of older multiple-warhead 
missiles that were due for retirement.

The arms control deadlock may also extend to the Comprehensive Test Ban 
Treaty, a centerpiece of the Clinton administration's disarmament efforts. 
Ratification was blocked by in the Senate by Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) and may 
fare no better in the Duma. "The plan was to submit it after START II," said 
Pikayev. But, he added, "There is a general negative attitude in the Duma 
toward all arms control and nonproliferation, and the Comprehensive Test Ban 
Treaty is seen by some as a way of diminishing Russia's nuclear might."

One of the gravest new threats to arms control has been the prospect that 
Russia may reactivate short-range, or tactical, nuclear weapons, which are 
not covered by any treaty. Yeltsin recently discussed modernizing such 
weapons at a meeting of the Kremlin Security Council.

"It's obvious that we will have to carry out limited modernization of our 
tactical nuclear capability and strategic nuclear force, and probably not 
even modernization, but take a series of measures to increase their combat 
readiness," Sergei Karaganov, deputy director of the Institute of Europe, and 
chairman of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, told reporters 

When the Soviet Union was falling apart, both Bush and Soviet President 
Mikhail Gorbachev took unilateral actions to pull back tactical nuclear 
weapons. Bush announced on Sept. 27, 1991, that the United States would 
eliminate its entire worldwide inventory of ground-launched tactical nuclear 
weapons and would remove all nuclear weapons from surface ships and attack 
submarines. Gorbachev followed Oct. 5 with a similar pronouncement.

But the initiatives were never codified and could be reversed. Although 
little is known about Russia's arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons, the 
Monterey Institute has estimated that it retains 7,740 warheads.

Potter said that the relationship between Russia and the United States was 
the pillar of nonproliferation efforts but now is "greatly weakened and may 
soon collapse altogether." Among other signs of trouble, he pointed to 
Russia's economic plunge, continued difficulty in securing Russia's nuclear 
materials and its growing reliance on nuclear weapons for deterrence. Other 
problems are the Indo-Pakistani arms races, Iraq's defiance of the U.N. arms 
inspections and North Korean "missile brinkmanship."

"There are circles of impact," said Cirincione. "How does the Russian 
relationship change with the states on their borders, Iraq and Iran? . . . 
You could see increased trade, exactly the kind we don't like, with Iraq and 
Iran." What's more, experts say Russia may instigate new arms sales with 
other states to offset NATO. Already, there have been reports of Russian 
plans to sell antiaircraft systems to Libya. Russia also may find itself 
increasingly looking to alliances with China and India and less responsive to 
U.S. pleas to halt proliferation through its huge and weakened 
military-industrial complex.

Russia's defense minister, Igor Sergeyev, also threatened recently to 
reconsider a just-concluded agreement on revisions to the Conventional Forces 
in Europe treaty. Signed in 1990, the treaty limits heavy conventional 
weaponry held by members of NATO and the former Warsaw Pact. The collapse of 
the Soviet Union and admission of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to 
NATO led to negotiations to revise the pact, replacing the Cold War blocs 
with national limits on arms. In early April, a compromise was reached, which 
was expected to be signed later this year.

Yet another casualty of the Kosovo crisis may be a planned U.S.-Russia 
temporary joint center to share early warning information about a possible 
missile attack. Russia announced after the NATO strikes that it was 
abandoning military-to-military contacts on the project, part of a larger 
effort to cope with the Y2K millennium computer bug. 


Our Home Is Russia Faction Leader Urges Reform of Power.

GOLITSINO, the Moscow region, May 23 (Itar-Tass) - A political stabilization 
in Russia is possible only on condition of a profound reform of the power 
system. That reform must result in the government's formation by the 
parliament majority, leader of the Our Home is Russia faction Vladimir 
Ryzhkov said at a federal seminar of the Moscow Political Studies School on 

Such a reform will become possible only after the presidential elections of 
2000. "If the new president is a wise man he will pass over a substantial 
part of his powers to the parliament majority," Ryzhkov said. In his opinion, 
"not a single government is able to implement any strategy" due to 
peculiarities of the Russian legislation. 

He does not think that Russia shall abolish the presidency even in the 
distant future "because of the immatureness of parties and the parliament." A 
mixed parliamentary-presidential model of the French and Polish type is the 
best system for Russia, Ryzhkov said. 


Russia's new premier seeks strong economic supremo
By Oleg Shchedrov

MOSCOW, May 23 (Reuters) - Russia's newly-appointed Prime Minister Sergei 
Stepashin said on Sunday he would meet vacationing President Boris Yeltsin on 
Monday to push for a strong economic supremo in his cabinet. 

Former Interior Minister Stepashin, 47, shrugged off suggestions his 
government could become a puppet in the hands of powerful political and 
financial groups and vowed to strictly scrutinise future ministers. 

"I think that the first deputy prime minister in charge of the economy -- who 
will in fact work out the budget, economic and financial policy of the 
government -- should be a figure with strong powers in the cabinet," he told 
NTV television in his first major interview since parliamentary approval on 

Stepashin, who replaced compromise Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, won 
overwhelming approval in the confirmation vote last Wednesday. 

But most parliamentary parties have distanced themselves from the premier, 
who lacks personal experience in handling a national economy, saying the 
selection of ministers was crucial in their attitude towards the government. 

Stepashin made clear he wanted another person to mastermind the economy and 
finance in his cabinet rather than little known former railway chief, Nikolai 
Aksyonenko, appointed as first deputy premier by Yeltsin. 

"I will ask Boris Nikolayevich (Yeltsin) to support my idea of having two 
first deputy premiers in the cabinet," he said, outlining his plans for a 
visit to the Black Sea resort of Sochi where Yeltsin unexpectedly left for a 
fortnight's vacation on Saturday. 

Stepashin said he expected the core of his government to be approved by 

Stepashin said he had several candidates for economic supremo, including 
moderate reformer Alexander Zhukov, the head of the budget committee in the 
lower house of parliament. 

Stepashin, who has praised Primakov for keeping the economy afloat after last 
August's financial collapse, made clear he could no longer use the devalued 
rouble and partial default on foreign debts as an instrument of maintaining 

"The resource of the default will be over by autumn and we need to move ahead 
very radically," he said without elaborating. 

Stepashin said he favoured keeping Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov and 
deputy prime minister in charge of social affairs, Valentina Matviyenko, but 
refused to comment on other names. 

So far, Aksyonenko remains the only member of the so-called "economic bloc" 
of the government confirmed by Yeltsin. 

Stepashin dismissed suggestions by some political analysts that the formation 
of the government had provoked a fierce under-the-carpet struggle involving 
powerful financial tycoons, political parties and Yeltsin's administration. 

"I spent the weekend in the White House (government headquarters), but saw no 
one under the carpets," he joked. "I will ask Alexander Voloshin (Yeltsin's 
chief of staff) to check whether he has anyone under his carpets. Just in 

Stepashin asked the media to stop speculating about the criminal record of 
some potential candidates and their personal ties with powerful financial 
magnates and political parties. 

"I have been an interior minister and we will use law enforcement bodies to 
check every candidate," he said. 



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