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Johnson's Russia List
26 May 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
I am getting tired to dealing with an explosion of bounced email
messages as more and more recipients walk away from unused email
addresses or for other reasons no longer have active addresses. This
produces too much time consuming busy work for me. Try to avoid these
situations, please. Especially if you don't support the work.
1. Interfax: No Violations in Russia Central Bank's Closed Accounts.
2. AP: Khrushchev Son To Become US Citizen.
3. Reuters: Russia's ex-PM Primakov working on memoirs - agency.
4. Moscow Times editorial: Yeltsin Builds His Cabinet a la Caligula.
5. Itar-Tass: Drug Addiction RUSSIA'S Main Enemy Say Specialists.
6. Itar-Tass: Experts Say Russia May Obtain Independent Prosecutor.
7. Albert Weeks: Contra Mr. Weir's predictions/3303.
8. The New Republic: Jacob Heilbrunn, THE WRONG RACE. As the Kremlin
9. Moskovskiy Komsomolets: Stepashin's MVD Student Days Recalled.
10. Newsweek: Henry Kissinger, New World Disorder. The ill-considered war
in Kosovo has undermined relations with China and Russia and put NATO at
11. Sarah C. Lindemann: Response to Paul Goble/3304. (Re NGOs in Russia).]
No Violations in Russia Central Bank's Closed Accounts
MOSCOW, May 24 (Interfax-FIA) - The Audit Chamber,
a budget watchdog, did not find any violations in its audit of Central
Bank of Russia accounts that are classified as a state secret, auditor
Eleonora Mitrofanova told Interfax Monday. The Audit Chamber's board
approved the results of the audit on Friday and have sent them to the
Central Bank and to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which is auditing the bank
for 1998, Mitrofanova said. Georgy Luntovsky, the head of the State Duma
subcommittee on the Central Bank, said earlier that the bank's annual
report for 1998 and the audit results from PriceWaterhouseCoopers are to
be submitted to the lower house of parliament this week.
Khrushchev Son To Become US Citizen
May 25, 1999
SEATTLE (AP) -- The son of Nikita Khrushchev is becoming a U.S. citizen.
Sergei Khrushchev, 63, and his wife, Valentina Golenko, are scheduled to
become citizens on June 23 at the Immigration and Naturalization Service
regional headquarters in St. Albans, Vt., said his Seattle-based immigration
lawyer, Dan Danilov.
``I thought about this decision and I had the freedom to make this
decision,'' Khrushchev said Monday from his home in Providence, R.I.
Khrushchev is a rocket engineer and computer scientist who once headed the
Soviet Missile Design Bureau. He is a senior research scholar and lecturer at
Brown University's Center for Foreign Policy Development.
He had come to Brown in the fall of 1991 for a two-year exchange program. The
following year, he and his wife applied for permanent residency in the United
States. He said at that time that it wasn't a defection from his homeland
because ``our countries are not enemies any longer. We are on the same side
He has published several books about his late father, who ruled the Soviet
Union from 1953 until he was deposed in 1964 and once angrily told Americans:
``We will bury you.''
The son has often had to explain his father's famous remark.
``At the time, he was referring to a socialist centralized economic system,
which he believed would prevail and be more effective than a free market
system,'' he said.
The elder Khrushchev died in 1971.
Russia's ex-PM Primakov working on memoirs - agency
MOSCOW, May 25 (Reuters) - Former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has begun
writing his memoirs about his time in the Russian government, RIA news agency
said on Tuesday.
Primakov, who also served as foreign minister from January 1996 until his
appointment as premier last August, has stayed away from the public gaze
since President Boris Yeltsin sacked him on May 12 for being too sluggish on
Quoting former Deputy Premier Gennady Kulik, RIA said Primakov, 69, was also
trying to overcome a back problem which has dogged him in recent months.
Kulik told RIA Primakov was considering ``several propositions'' for the
future, including a possible return to politics, but said the former premier
first wanted to sort out his health.
Many political analysts say the real reason for Primakov's dismissal was
Yeltsin's jealousy over his prime minister's growing authority and
They have noted that Primakov's successor, Sergei Stepashin, has not
radically reshaped the Russian government since being approved by parliament
Primakov, a former spymaster and foreign minister best known for his
diplomatic skills and cautious style of government, has repeatedly dismissed
media speculation that he might take part in the next presidential race, due
May 26, 1999
EDITORIAL: Yeltsin Builds His Cabinet a la Caligula
President Boris Yeltsin has torn down many an institution over the years, but
he seems to have less talent when it comes to building new ones. Yeltsin has
never allowed a unified team to last for long in government service, and this
new Cabinet seems destined to meet the same fate.
Upon sacking Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Yeltsin apparently told the
speakers of the upper and lower houses of parliament by telephone that his
new choice for prime minister would be Railways Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko.
Hours later he then sent over a letter formally nominating Sergei Stepashin,
provoking the obvious confusion.
Yeltsin appointed Aksyonenko as Stepashin's No. 2 and flew off to Sochi for a
vacation in the sun. Stepashin announced he wanted Alexander Zhukov, an
economist in the Duma, to be his deputy for economic matters. The Kremlin
panned that idea, and Aksyonenko suggested that instead he would just be in
charge of everything. Stepashin went to see Yeltsin in Sochi to hash matters
out; Aksyonenko barged in, and Stepashin was helpless to do anything about
Next Yeltsin "solved" matters the way he always does - he kept everyone
off-balance by appointing Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov to be Stepashin's
"other" first deputy on economic matters. Zadornov immediately began talking
about the powerful logic of having the finance minister as the "first deputy"
on economic matters. By evening, he had lost the Finance Ministry.
Having several "No. 2" men in the Cabinet is something Yeltsin came up with
some time ago. This time around it has finally reached its logically absurd
conclusion: Stepashin had to clarify Tuesday that Aksyonenko is the "first
first" deputy. Those still confused will find little consolation in the
meaninglessly opaque elaboration that Aksyonenko will be first deputy in
charge of "economic questions," while Zadornov will be the "other" first
deputy for "macroeconomics."
NTV television's popular political satire program Kukly got it right this
weekend. In a spoof that cast Yeltsin as Emperor Caligula, Kukly teasingly
compared the Stepashin nomination with Caligula's mythical demand that a
horrified Roman senate confirm his favorite horse to be the Roman consul.
What Caligula was supposedly saying was: It doesn't matter who the consul is
or what the senate thinks, it matters that I am the all-powerful emperor.
Yeltsin is in effect saying the same when he selects Cabinet ministers with
an air of "what does it matter," and sets them at each other's throats.
No one wins out of this (except, in his own Byzantine way, Yeltsin). But
today at least, those who are fans of Stepashin might spare a pitying thought
for their man. It's no fun being the horse.
Drug Addiction RUSSIA'S Main Enemy Say Specialists.
BELOKURIKHA, Altai Territory, May 25 (Itar-Tass) - Participants in the
All-Russian Conference of chief drug specialists of the Russian Federation's
public health organizations drew the following conclusion: "Drug addiction is
the main enemy of Russia". The conference started its deliberations on
Tuesday in the Altai resort city of Belokurikha, situated in southwestern
The chairman of the State Duma Public Health Committee, Nikolai Gerasimenko,
who is also a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Medical
Sciences, told Itar-Tass: "We gathered here due to the fact that the
expanding scale of drug addiction, toxic cases, and alcoholism in Russia puts
into jeopardy the future of rising generations and the destiny of the country
as a whole."
Drug barons, apart from ruining Russians, are responsible for the deaths of
thousands of people, he stressed. Statistics show that up to 80,000 young
people under 30 annually die due to this reason, although in real fact "the
harvest" of deaths from drugs is much higher.
Deputy head of the Altai Territory administration Yakov Shoikhet, Dr.Sci.
(Medicine), noted that the most worrisome situation with drug addiction has
developed in Siberia which is flooded with drugs, including hard ones, from
the Central Asian countries, coming through Kazakhstan.
The geographic position of Altai -- it has 850 kilometres of common border
with Kazakhstan -- and the presence of the diversified network of highways
and railways, enable drug dealers to supply narcotics to Siberia, and then
throughout Russia, virtually without any hindrance.
The situation in Siberia is aggravated by migration processes, caused by the
deteriorating political situation in Central Asia. Altai alone registered
44,000 refugees and settlers, some of whom are also responsible for drug
Unfavourable ecological and demographic factors brought the Altai Territory
to fourth place among the 89 Russian regions in the number of drug addicts
and second place in the number of drug and toxic cases among children and
According to Shoikhet, it was the unfavourable drug situation in Siberia that
determined Altai as the venue for the working conference of all-Russian drug
Conference participants will share work experiences and exchange new
development studies in preventive activities, treatment, and rehabilitation
of drug and alcohol addicts. During the four days of its work, conference
participants intend to discuss pressing issues of organisation and the
prospects and directions of further development of the Russian drug and
alcohol prevention service. Discussion will also center on its cooperation
with other bodies and departments interested in control over alcoholism and
drug addiction, as well as in prevention of illegal trafficking of drugs.
There will also be discussions on proposals for changing and improving
legislation in this important field of work for the country.
Experts Say Russia May Obtain Independent Prosecutor
MOSCOW, May 24 (Itar-Tass) - The proposal to
introduce the institute of independent procurator in Russia is being
debated by experts of the Federation Council's committee on
constitutional legislation and judicial problems.
The idea presented itself during the study of problems involved in
combating corruption and the analyses of world experience in the area,
experts told Tass.
For instance, the law on government ethics was adopted in the United
States back in 1978 in connection with the Watergate affair, the
investigation of which had almost led to president Richard Nixon's
impeachment. The idea of the law is to restrict control of the US
administration over the investigation of abuses by its officials. A
special attorney to investigate such matters should be appointed by an
independent judicial body.
An independent procurator in Russia can be appointed by the Federal
Assembly as this can be done by a representative collegiate body, jurists
say. They believe an independent procurator can investigate lawsuits
instituted against high officials. Pressure by them can thus be avoided,
and the system of checks and counterbalances in the structures of state
authority can be supplemented. It is not precluded that various officials
appointed for dealing with some specific lawsuits can act as independent
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999
From: Albert Weeks <AWeeks1@compuserve.com>
Subject: Contra Mr. Weir's predictions/3303
May I take issue with our estimable correspondent,
I would suggest--from my daily contacts, reading and
50-year experience tracking events in Russia--that
Communist support in that country has never been lower
than it is today.
Mr. Weir suggests that the Communists likely will
get a new lease on life by the time of the December
parliamentary elections. I do not think so. They have
suffered from their various non-starter stands in the Duma
over the years, the latest being their impeachment gambit
against Yeltsin. Too, they are seriously divided within
their ranks. They cannot even get out a single newspaper that
fully represents their views!
Moreover, on the Leninist calculus of "worse is better"--a
Communist standby-- the country is slowly but surely
making economic progress, according to the latest
statistics. And noticeable progress does not abet
May I be frank? I think some writers' sanguinity
about the Communists stems from the fact that somehow
they still think of these "socialists" as "children of light,"
if errant ones. A given writer's bias in favor of "some form of
socialism" (in his book, 'Revolution from Above" with David M.
Kotz, Mr. Weir makes a strong pitch for socialism and the Welfare
State idea as seen in the Soviet period) may likewise be
operative here qua rose-colored glasses. Mr. Weir, after all,
interviewed Martin Shakkum, a Russian Social-Democrat,
in the context of making his predictions about December.
However, I think we will find by the time of the elections,
just as when the Soviet system collapsed, that the great
majority of Russian voters regard Communists
as tainted "children of darkness," not light.
Moreover, Russia today seems clearly to be moving
toward the political center, even toward the democrats.
In other words, political soul-mates of Chernomyrdin or a
Luzhkov, even Yavlinsky, stand a better chance of popular
support today and near-future than those among Duma
candidates from the left or even natrionalist
side of the political spectrum. .
I wouldn't be surprised to see the left red-brown bloc whittled
down to about 30% of the Duma seats.
Perhaps, though, we should all humbly agree that the
electorate is volatile, that it is still too early to make forecasts.
The outcome also greatly depends, obviously, on how fair
and representatively the campaigns and elections
The New Republic
JUNE 7, 1999
[for personal use only]
THE WRONG RACE
As the Kremlin Turns
by Jacob Heilbrunn
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, two Western camps have emerged
to argue about the Russian future. The first camp, led by Zbigniew
Brzezinski, emphasizes the immutable character of an authoritarian Russian
political culture. The other camp, championed by Deputy Secretary of State
Strobe Talbott, takes a more upbeat view: no matter how bumpy the Russian
road to democracy may be at any given moment, the country is still headed in
The tumultuous political changes in Russia a week ago gave a bit of
sustenance to both camps. When Boris Yeltsin fired Prime Minister Yevgeny
Primakov, The Economist expressed the bleak view: "[C]onfusion--and the
possibility even of bloodshed and the demise of Russia's frail democracy--are
back with a vengeance." But, now that Yeltsin has exposed the Duma's threat
to impeach him as empty and his candidate to replace Primakov as prime
minister, Sergei Stepashin, has been approved by the Duma, it's the
optimists' turn. "good news for the pro-westerners?" asked the May 24
Newsweek. The Carnegie Endowment's Anders Aslund, who has been closely
associated with Russian economic reform efforts, argues that Yeltsin's
peaceful victory over the Duma's push for impeachment showed that Russia has
passed a major constitutional test.
But what if neither camp has it right? Instead of Russia being poised between
old-style Soviet authoritarianism and full-fledged democracy, the events of
the past week may end up ratifying the power, not of a reform movement, but
of a group of industrial oligarchs who have selectively applied economic
reforms in order to enhance their own power. The Communists most likely had
their last hurrah in attempting to impeach Yeltsin. But this only means that
the country confronts another problem: Russia may be mutating into a kind of
hybrid democratic state that has free elections but remains under the control
of a corrupt oligarchic industrial elite--something resembling what Foreign
Affairs editor Fareed Zakaria has identified as "illiberal democracy."
Like Stepashin, the leading Russian "reformers" hail from St. Petersburg,
where they formed a clique headed by politician Anatoly Chubais, now head of
the multibillion-dollar Unified Energy Systems corporation. In the early
years of Yeltsin's presidency, Chubais assembled what his friend Deputy
Treasury Secretary Larry Summers called a "dream team" to handle most of the
Western aid flowing into Russia. But the Chubais team ended up supervising
rigged privatization schemes that benefited themselves rather than the
country; according to Janine R. Wedel's book Collision and Collusion, the
reformers "obstructed reform when such initiatives originated outside their
own group or when the initiatives were perceived as conflicting with [their]
agenda." The reign of this clan came, or seemed to come, to a close with the
economic crash in August and Yeltsin's removal of Prime Minister Sergei
With the installation of Yevgeny Primakov as prime minister, Yeltsin seemed
to be moving back toward a Soviet-style command economy. At a minimum, the
selling off of the state to a few wealthy entrepreneurs came to a grinding
halt. Furthermore, Primakov actually attempted to combat economic corruption.
In the process, he did at least two things that got him into hot water with
Yeltsin: he permitted prosecutors to investigate the Kremlin's
property-management company, and he allowed them to issue an arrest warrant
for tycoon Boris Berezovsky.
These developments did not sit well with business leaders such as Chubais and
Berezovsky. Although the two men had fought each other in a media war in
1997, it turned out that they hated Primakov more than they hated each other.
(The weekly Kommersant Vlast says that Chubais has even pressed the Kremlin
to immediately jail Yuri Skuratov, the state prosecutor investigating
Berezovsky.) The reform camp was also worried that the Communists might
eventually gain power under Primakov, and that this might lead to an
expropriation of the oligarchs' assets. And Yeltsin, of course, was
infuriated by Primakov's popularity: "The radical reformers," says Dimitri
Simes of the Nixon Center, "were adding poison to Yeltsin's well-known
predisposition not to have anyone overshadow him."
Stepashin emerged as an attractive replacement. He first drew the reformers'
attention when, as interior minister, he ignored an arrest warrant for
Berezovsky issued by Skuratov. And Chubais, who was closeted with Yeltsin
just prior to Primakov's sacking, pushed for Stepashin. "Yeltsin has a strong
personal affinity for the young reformers, especially Chubais," observes
Andrea Rutherford, an investment banker at Moscow brokerage firm Brunswick
Warburg. Of course, the members of the old reform elite most likely won't
officially make it back into Stepashin's Cabinet since he is pushing for a
centrist government, but they may have something more important than the
trappings of office--Yeltsin's ear. Meanwhile, Berezovsky's puppet Nikolai
Aksyonenko, formerly railways minister, has now been named first deputy prime
minister. Thus, as Andrei Zolotov Jr. cogently observed in the May 14 Moscow
Times, "The same group of oligarchs and political operatives who came
together to secure Yeltsin's reelection in 1996--and then divided up the
Cabinet portfolios and offices in the presidential administration, oil
companies, and television frequencies--are back in action."
Where does this leave the United States? With a cautious government in charge
in Russia and the oligarchs given a free hand, the chance of Russia adopting
any real economic reform is slim--and the likelihood that it will combat the
massive corruption that has infected the political class is even slimmer.
Having loaned billions to Russia only to see those sums funneled into Swiss
bank accounts, Western bankers and government officials have finally become a
bit warier about extending new credits to the Kremlin. But the impulse in the
United States and in Europe to appease Russia can't be ignored, either. It's
not unlikely that, in order to gain Russian cooperation in the Balkans, the
Clinton administration will lean on the IMF to approve new loans, or at least
to forgive debts on the old ones.
Indeed, with the Clinton administration desperate to salvage something from
the relationship it has cultivated with Russia, the firing of Primakov and
the installation of a nominally centrist Cabinet will probably heighten its
ardor to assist Russia. True, Stepashin is already calling on the Duma to
pass fiscal austerity measures--measures the IMF insists upon before it will
release $4.5 billion in credits. But in order to be a successful prime
minister he will have to establish a Cabinet that is acceptable to the
Communist-dominated Duma. The Clinton administration would do well to realize
that, whatever Russian government is appointed, the mess in Moscow is not
about to go away. The Communists may be fading into history, but the
oligarchs surely are not.
Stepashin's MVD Student Days Recalled
15 May 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Tatyana Fedotkina and Aleksey Baranov: "Stepashin Covered..."
The school where, a quarter of a century ago, the
moral and spiritual character of current acting Premier of the Russian
Government Sergey Stepashin was forged was created in 1944 as the Central
School of the USSR NKVD GULAG. But when, in 1973, yesterday's schoolboy
Serega Stepashin graduated from it, the school had already "worked its
way up" to the title of the Leningrad Higher Political School of the USSR
Internal Affairs Ministry. In those days this educational establishment
was incredibly prestigious. Trained there were deputy chiefs/commanders
for political work, or more simply put, political officers. Cadets were
required to be faithful to the ideals of the CPSU, and also to have a
fundamental knowledge of the bases of Marxism-Leninism. The careful study
of Lenin's legacy did not, however, prevent the young people from jumping
the fence for absence without leave, to bring numerous girlfriends to the
school for dances, and even, albeit rarely and in small amounts, have a
nip to drink.
In 1968, the competition to get into the school was considerable - five
people per opening. Applicants were tested orally on the Russian
language, and on composition, geography, history, and physical education.
Here, the schoolchildren of yesterday, and among them the 17-year-old
Stepashin, had to compete for the right to enter the coveted educational
establishment with grown men, many of whom had already gone through
worker's youth school and served in the Army, and who had work
experience. For every holder of a job reference, there was one high
school graduate. It is clear that it was the brainiest lads from the
high-school bench who ended up at the school. The future head of the
government was just one of these.
"The fact that half of the guys from our year had already smelled
gunpowder by the time they matriculated, and the rest were still
completely green, did not bother us in the least," recalls the deputy
chief of what is now the Internal Affairs Ministry of Russia St.
Petersburg Military Institute of the Internal Troops, Stepashin's
classmate Aleksandr Vasilyevich Orlov. "We taught them about Army life,
showed Stepashin and the rest of the schoolboys of yesterday how to wind
up their foot-bindings correctly and how to disassemble and clean a
weapon, but at the same time, we pushed them forward at the seminars; our
knowledge was lacking. But there was not even a hint of any hazing. And
what kind of hazing could there have been if each of the seven platoons
was looked after by a course officer, a battalion commander, a deputy
commander for political affairs, a party organization secretary, and also
a Komsomol secretary."
The future commissars were kept on a short leash. Each cadet was
strictly monitored - behavior, performance, moral character - in all of
this, the future party educator among the troops was obligated to be
above reproach. In addition, representatives of fraternal peoples -
Czechs, Poles, Afghans, Bulgarians, and even Africans - studied - within
these political walls. They, clearly, had to be shown only a positive
example. Shchelokov and Churbanov personally took an interest in the
school. But then, the leadership was never refused when it came to funds.
"Almost all of our military leadership, from Lieutenant Vasiliy Paramonov to
the Battalion Commander Yuriy Aleksandrovich Shishkin, were from among
the cadets," recalls Orlov. "This cadet spirit was cultivated within the
walls of the school as well. If someone within the school addressed a
cadet by the informal pronoun - Lord forbid! Only the formal pronoun.
Shishkin was altogether a blue blood. And our class was called,
accordingly, the 'Shishkarites.'"
The political cadre forge hammered away with a vengeance. The cadets
were thoroughly taught the history of the CPSU, social sciences,
political economy, and scientific Communism, and at the same time
instructional hours were set aside for military training as well. A
lieutenant graduating from the school was in a position to command
military formations up to and including a battalion. An important event
in the life of cadet Stepashin, as it was in that of the whole staff, for
that matter, was the exchange of party documents, which took place in
accordance with the decision of the 24th CPSU Congress; the school's
party organizations were given the honor of being among the first to
begin that "major organizational and political measure." As was reported
in the reports of that time, "This has led to the further raising of the
fighting spirit, an increase in the activity of Communists, and an
improvement in the quality of the educational and instructional process
and of all mass-scale political work."
"Stepashka (we all were called that way, in keeping with our last names; I,
example, was called Orel) was a guy with brains," recalls Orlov. "All
disciplines came very easily to him. He was constantly writing all kinds
of summaries, giving reports, he spoke freely and interestingly. But with
all that, he remained a normal guy. But really, you know, there was once
an incident with our cadet. He got married in the third year, and began
to leak out of the barracks every night. And we, well, naturally, we were
happy for the man, covered for him, thinking that he was running off to
his young wife. But one time we were out late, and we looked, in the
attic a light was twinkling. And what do you think? The poor guy was
sitting there, studying Lenin's works by the light of two candles and
munching a pretzel. Just like in the old joke - 'to the attic - and
study, study, study!' Serezhka, of course, did not go to such lengths. He
could joke, too, and sit around in the smoking lounge with us. He did not
smoke, but to crack jokes and strum the guitar - he was always ready for
that. In general, he was a normal guy; he ran off absent without leave
like the others, and would take a drink on a par with all of us."
"In general, we were pretty well disciplined," says Vyacheslav
Semenovich Alekhov, who was a year ahead of Stepashin in school. "Well,
we could, for example, say that we were going for a run in the park
nearby, that was encouraged, and then cruise around for three hours or so
on our own business; one time, I remember, I left at night to the
doctor's, although my appointment was for noon. We also had a little to
drink. Just once, a classmate of ours was expelled for use of alcohol.
And the decision on such an extreme measure was taken by Lieutenant
General Kotov himself, who by that time had replaced Churbanov. The guy
really did put it away on a systematic basis."
There were also dances at the school. The first section was waltzes, the
second, the fox trot. The girls were escorted in this way: The cadet came
out to the entry checkpoint, called his girlfriend by name, and escorted
her on his arm onto the territory. There first romances were struck up.
According to the recollections of cadets in his group, Stepashin also
found his life companion "at the dances." By the third year, an
indulgence went out to the future political officers - freedom to leave
the school plus permission to spend the night away from barracks.
Stepashin spent five years within the walls of the school. Having passed
examinations on the disciplines "the international Communist workers
movement," "party-political work," "tactics and special training," and
"scientific Communism," he received his diploma, which stated in black
and white, "Political worker with a higher political education."
Stepashin's diploma was a distinguished - Red - one. The graduate
Stepashin placed his bets on a Komsomol career - and he did not go wrong.
Once again, Stepashin returned to the walls of the school, now having
graduated from the Military-Political Academy (VPA) imeni V.I. Lenina,
having done graduate work there and having defended his dissertation on
the topic, "the Party leadership of Leningrad's firefighting
organizations during the years of the Great Patriotic War," and having
received the title of Candidate of Historical Sciences. At his alma
mater, he taught in the department of the history of the Party.
If one is to believe his colleagues, Sergey Vadimovich was loved by the
cadets. He took an active part in student debates and quiz shows. At his
initiative, the political club "Commissar" was formed, and then a
political theater even appeared under its aegis. From the school's
department, Stepashin was nominated a candidate for people's deputy. He
returned to these walls for the third time in the form of a museum
exhibit. When Stepashin took the helm of the Internal Affairs Ministry,
already at that time, Orlov, who taught at the school, gave instructions
to make several stands devoted to the super-graduate.
"I am not ashamed of my instructions," says Aleksandr Vasilyevich.
"Previously, the USSR Internal Affairs Ministry's Ordzhonikidze Higher
Military Command School of the Internal Troops (until 1966 it was called
the Military School of the Ministry for the Preservation of the Public
Peace) put on all kinds of airs - it was the alma mater of the former
deputy chairman of government, ex-Internal Affairs Minister of the
Russian Federation Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kulikov, but now we have outpaced
"But Aleksandr Vasilyevich, has Stepashin forgotten his former
"He did not come to our 25th reunion, which we celebrated last year - he
begged off, citing a lack of time. But I met with him recently. I was
simply in Moscow, called him at his reception room, gave my name, and
said I was a classmate. And, to my considerable surprise, was put
through! Stepashin set a meeting time for a couple of weeks ahead; he had
nothing earlier than that. His aide warned that I had 10 minutes. I
grabbed a pile of photographs from our reunion party, and we sat and
reminisced for a whole 40 minutes! He looked through the photos, happy as
a kid; true, he got all our teachers mixed up. I said to him: "Listen,
Serega, you put on some glasses!" He treated me with great attentiveness,
although his aides did a lot of cursing afterward - I took up so much
Aleksandr Vasilyevich Orlov, after graduating from the school, like many of
his classmates, did a lot of knocking about all of Russia, fought in
Fergana and Chechnya; his length of service amounts to 40 years. Like
many of his classmates, Orlov receives along with his rations 2,660
rubles [R] and does not have his own apartment; the deputy chief of the
Internal Affairs Ministry of Russia St. Petersburg Military Institute of
the Internal Troops still has to rent his housing.
"How did Stepashin's former classmates react to his appointment to the
position of acting premier?"
"I served in Siberia and once went to gather cedar cones. I did not
have a stick and had to saw them off by hand. I climbed all the way up to
the very very top and cut off a branch. But cedar cones grow in clusters.
I got such a drubbing that it was a miracle that I didn't fall! That is
the way it is with Stepashin today. He, of course, became one of the boys
- ended up in the right place at the right time, but he will only be able
to hold on at such a post by a miracle. But Stepashin always had a brain;
he understands everything. And even if they do remove him, he will not
May 31, 1999
[for personal use only]
New World Disorder
The ill-considered war in Kosovo has undermined relations with China and
Russia and put NATO at risk.
By Henry A. Kissinger
A war at the far edge of the Balkans has had political consequences
extending far beyond Kosovo. In Russia, an outraged sense of humiliation
over NATO's actions has spread from the elites to the population at large
and threatens to blight U.S.-Russian relations for years to come. In
Beijing, the virulent reaction to the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in
Belgrade has vented frustrations with the roller-coaster nature of
Sino-American relations that have accumulated for many months. And in
Europe, the seeming unity of the Atlantic Alliance has grown brittle: key
allies are eyeing the exits; domestic opposition is mounting; the newly
admitted members in Central Europe are uncomfortable that their first
allied activity is as part of a NATO-initiated war.
The causes in Russia and China are plain enough. Their leaders are products
of societies that interpret decisions about war and peace according to
whether they enhance a nation's security or other vital interests. If they
can discern no such traditional rationale to U.S. behavior, they ascribe
our motives not to altruism but to a hidden agenda for domination....
Rambouillet was not a negotiationas is often claimedbut an ultimatum. This
marked an astounding departure for an administration that had entered
office proclaiming its devotion to the U.N. Charter and multilateral
procedures. The transformation of the Alliance from a defensive military
grouping into an institution prepared to impose its values by force
occurred in the same months that three former Soviet satellites joined
NATO. It undercut repeated American and allied assurances that Russia had
nothing to fear from NATO expansion, since the Alliance's own treaty
proclaimed it to be a purely defensive institution.
Kosovo has thereby become a symbol of Russia's post-cold-war frustrations.
The tribulations of Yugoslavia, Moscow's traditional friend (leaving aside
the interruption of the Tito years), emphasized Russia's decline and have
generated a hostility toward America and the West that may produce a
nationalist and socialist Russiaakin to the European Fascism of the 1930s.
This would be a sorry end for the administration's policy of supporting
Russian reform and coaxing Russia closer to the West.
This is why the expectations attached to the Russian mediation in Kosovo
seem excessive. Russian leaders would hardly be brokenhearted if the
outcome in Kosovo weakens NATO. A Russian intermediary faces a double
dilemma: if he is seen as supporting the NATO program, he will lose
standing at home; if he induces us to reduce our demands, he will become a
scapegoat in the American domestic debate over compromising our war aims.
Russia's most constructive role in my view would be as full participant at
a conference for political arrangements in the Balkans following a
To its credit, the administration from the beginning has recognized the
importance of bringing Russia into the international community. But it has
identified this effort primarily with democratic reform and market
economics inside Russia and nonproliferation abroad. All this accentuates
the Russian sense of having come under a kind of colonial tutelage. Russia,
in turn, has clung to many aspects of its traditional diplomacy: seeking to
reduce our influence, especially in the Middle East. Russia's image of
itself as an historic player on the world stage must be taken seriously.
This requires less lecturing and more dialogue; less sentimentality and
more recognition that Russia's national interests are not always congruent
with ours; less sociology and more foreign policy....
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999
From: "Sarah C. Lindemann" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Response to Paul Goble/3304
I do not share Paul Goble's alarmist reaction to the re-registration of
NGO's. His argument demonstrated a genuine lack of understanding of what
we call the Third Sector here, and the overall process of civil society
development, that is taking place. I can only speak knowledgeably about
Siberia where I have lived for 7 years,the last five of which my
organization, ECHO, has been dedicated solely to supporting grassroots civil
First of all, it is important to point out that the legislative base
established to support the existence of these organizations, the Law on
Social Organizations (May 19,1995), the Law on Charity Activities and
Charity organizations (August 11, 1995) and the Law on Non-Commercial
Organizations (January 12, 1996) pertains to political parties and religious
organizations as well as those whose mission is devoid of ideological bent.
The name Third Sector evolved as a way of describing groups that were not
political or religious in nature. Certainly, one element of this
indentification was related to support from Western funders which precluded
grants to political or religious groups. However, it was also the expressed
desire on the part of many activists to keep the movement from becoming
politicized into oblivion. That approach has proven to be very effective
and the sector has grown substantially in size, professionalism and respect
amongst the other sectors. It is also necessary to point out that even
within the non-political/non-religious groups there are two forms of
organizations. Those that were created during the Soviet Union and those
that are truly grassroots groups. In Siberia many groups that fall into the
former category now apply democratic principles to their work, while others
continue to be frustrated by the open field that has now been created
forcing them to compete for financial support and be accountable for the
money they receive.
Second point, there is actually a solid rationale for requiring
re-registration. The list of registered organizations currently on file at
local Departments of Justice is virtually meaningless. Over 2,000
organizations are currently registered in Novosibirsk Oblast. In a
directory of Novosibirsk NGO's published last fall by the Siberian Civic
Initiatives Support Center and the Novosibirsk Oblast Department for Social
Relations approximately 500 organizations are listed. These are
organizations that responded to mailings and fit the Third Sector profile.
Certainly, there may be some who chose not to be included or for some other
reason did not reply but in all 12 Siberian cities where we publish a
directory the 25% of registered organizations is the norm. A percentage of
those not included would be political parties and religious organizations
but the largest percentage are surely organizations no longer operating.
Of these many were sports and other hobby related clubs. The first 12 city
edition published in 1996 contained 400 organizations, the 1998 version
1,740. During the April quarterly meeting of coordinators for the Siberian
Center statistics showed an 8% increase in organizations registering for
services provided by the support centers. This was particularly significant
because the August crisis not only resulted in a significant decrease in
registered commercial organizations in Novosibirsk but also in the potential
for business sponsorship for organizations. Still, new organizations are
forming every week, seeking training and access to incubator services.
Throughout Siberia organizations in many cities are busy preparing for
Independence Day (June 12) NGO Fairs. Organizing committees include NGO's
as well as representatives of city, Oblast/Krai/Republic administrations.
In Novosibirsk this is the 4th annual such inter-sectoral partnership event.
A record number of over 90 organizations have already signed up to
participate and for the second year there will be a grant competition with
funds collected from business and government. The judging committee will
be made up of representatives of all three sectors. Thus, in Siberia it
is wholly inaccurate to say that re-registration will "inevitably cast a
chilling shadow over the development of this key element of civil society."
I read of a case this week from Western Russia where a group was refused
registration so I am aware there is always the potential for abuse. To
date, however, lawyers working in the 12 Siberian Center affiliates have
not received a single request for legal support by any group in our region
who has been refused. Independent of re-registration it is clear that
the dynamic growth of the sector has made it a recognized factor in social
development and the significance of this is accelerated during election
time. A coordinator in one of our cities was subjected to a very rigorous
inspection by local government because they considered them a competitor but
they came through with flying colors. Several city and Oblast
administrations have asked NGO support centers to sign agreements of
cooperation. Novosibirsk is one of those cities but the agreement was
developed on a mutually beneficial basis with full cooperation of both
parties and in no way compromised the independent operations of the Siberian
Center. Some organizations will be co-opted by candidates with a promise of
financial support for political support. Those that are not vulnerable to
such attempts because they are financially viable thanks to Western support
may find themselves targeted by conservative forces. The Siberian Center
recognizes this possibility and in the latest edition of our journal, "The
Effect of Being", offers advice on what an organization can do if they are
subjected to such an attack.
None of this should be discouraging, this is a transition environment.
Change is always threatening and change is the essence of any democratic
development process. In fact, this interest should be taken as a positive
sign. Four years ago political parties and local governments paid very
little attention to the Third Sector. The greatest testimony to the
successful development of the sector is that they are now taken seriously.
The critical questions should be: are organizations strong enough, wise
enough and committed enough to maintain their integrity? Time will tell but
every indication I have from here would say, yes.
Another important point is that we must not identify the development of
civil society solely on the basis of the Third Sector. What is important is
that citizens become active. In America many of my friends are not members
of any NGO but they are active citizens in their community when a specific
need arises. In Krasnoyarsk, ECHO created the first school based community
development center in Siberia. While it has lead to the founding of 21
school-parent foundations and other NGO's in five Siberian regions, the
majority of people who have become active as part of this program are doing
so on a strictly project oriented basis. Three weeks ago we conducted a
Week of Happiness in which 5,000 citizens from 4 cities in Krasnoyarsk Krai
took part in 71 actions to improve the quality of life in their communities.
It is a perfectly legitimate choice for a group of citizens to decide to
work informally. In fact, we encourage this. Anyone can write an "ystav"
and register an organization. That is the easy part. The hard part is
conducting effective programs that address the needs of local communities.
Once an organization is created that organization must be sustained and this
takes time and financial resources which are scarce. We recommend that
people work together first and if it is clear that attaining legal status is
the best way of effectively achieving their goals, and they have the
capacity to sustain this activity, then register. Otherwise, continue on
as an initiative group.
What is positive about Goble's "Analysis From Washington" is that he is at
least drawing attention to civil society development. There is much too
little written or studied about the process that is taking place. This lack
of solid information results in the unsupported assumptions he puts forth.
It is ironic that while local governments in Russia are recognizing civil
society development as a major force, Western academics, governments and
funders continue to relegate it to the role of supporting player to politics
and economics . A comprehensive look at the evidence over the last 9 years
would indicate this is not appropriate. The West can continue to play an
incredibly important role in this process. Continued support for civil
society development is the best possible mechanism for supporting overall
democratic development. Economic and political programs have either failed
or shown minimal results. Support for civil society development projects
has demonstrated measurable and increasing positive change. Equally
important, as we come up to election time, it allows organizations who are
providing services that are inspiring civic activism, as well as the
creation of NGO's, to remain independent.
That said, Western funders can do a better job at insuring that the right
groups get funding. In my 7 years here as an activist ECHO has only been
attacked once. It came in the form of a newspaper article written under a
pseudonym in a "yellow newspaper" which lead to inspections of our Russian
partner organization by the tax office and Department of Justice. The irony
is that the author of the article turned out to be a member and lawyer for
the regional affiliate of an organization that is recognized in the West as
one of the great democratic organizations in Russia and receives funding
commensurate with that status. As true testimony to the strength of
democratic processes in Siberia, the investigations resulted in an official
acknowledgment that we are complying with all laws. Still, we recognized
that in a democratic society there are two courts, the legal one and the
court of public opinion. So we conducted a very aggressive public relations
campaign which was supported by the most respected newspaper in the City.
When presented with the facts they interviewed our clients for supporting
evidence and wrote a positive article. We collected over 500 signatures in
-40 degree weather when most schools were closed and the Krai Administration
wrote a very strong support letter. There are hundreds of wonderful
organizations working in Siberia. There are also a small percentage of
people who have learned how to talk the talk that sounds impressive in
Washington, Moscow or Brussels but to those in the region it is clear they
don't walk the walk. Most all-Russian competitions continue to be decided
by committees who are composed of Muscovites. Western funders can truly
enrich the process of civil society development by improving their grant
evaluation process to insure it is responsive to the needs of the region
which means giving voice to the local people. Otherwise, we are only
reinforcing the oligarchic tendencies that proved so counter-productive in
the economic sphere.
We welcome Paul Goble and other Russia specialists to come to Siberia and
spend some time meeting with the organizations and citizens that are working
hard to improve the quality of life in their communities. The Siberian
Center has just published a booklet detailing some of these accomplishments
which we would be happy to send to anyone interested. The booklet about
community school development will be available in September. Requests can
be sent to me at ECHO@mail.nsk.ru.
President, ECHO, Inc.