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Johnson's Russia List
30 May 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AFP: Who runs Russia? The flower lady knows.
2. The Independent on Sunday (UK): Phil Reeves, Russian internet boss
stands up to spies.
3. New York Times: Celestine Bohlen, A Plea to Yeltsin: Free Russia
>From `Puppet Masters.' (Views of Gaidar).
4. Vladimir Gusev: Re: 3312-Wheeler/Visas.
5. AP: Japan Wants Russia To Sign Treaty.
6. Jerry F. Hough: Re: 3312-Liakhov/MENATEP,
7. Reuters: Russian firebrand Zhirinovsky runs for governor.
8. Los Angeles Times: Maura Reynold, Sullen Russia Feels Snubbed by West.
9. Itar-Tass: Vice-Premier Rebukes Unlucky Producers of Consumer Goods.
10. the eXile: Edward Limonov, Portrait of Dirty Harry as Prime Minister.
11. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Vladimir Lapskiy, NATO Is Playing, Everyone Is
Losing. Two Months of the Balkan War. Interim Results.]
Who runs Russia? The flower lady knows
MOSCOW, May 30 (AFP) - Anna Valentinova sells roses to the bustle of Moscow
with an idea about who is running her country -- and it has little to do with
President Boris Yeltsin.
"Yes, all these changes," said the young woman inside one of the hubs that
surround the Russian capital's metro stations. "But what else is new? Today
there is Berezovsky. Tomorrow it will be his friend."
Other Muscovites agree. The name Boris Berezovsky and his friend Roman
Abramovich have become folklore in a Russia that sees one government
inexplicably transform into another.
Russians have been introduced to four different cabinets in just over a year.
Who makes decisions to sack or keep these ministers has become a sidewalk
debate as Yeltsin's power and health steadily dim and his inner-circle's
repute grows wider.
Some of the most experienced journalists in Moscow concede that they only
report rumours and have little precise information about what makes the
reclusive Yeltsin hire or fire his troops at will.
"I have met Abramovich once, so I know that he really exists," said Echo
Moscow radio editor Alexei Venediktov, a journalist who likes to break news.
"I don't know how Abramovich became this big. But he says that he is bigger
Russia eight years after the fall of Communism stands a nation which is --
reportedly -- run by The Family.
That is how Russia's aging and nearly invisible president's trusted Kremlin
advisors are referred to both in the Moscow media and on the street.
"His little daughter is running the country," declared one Moscow cab driver.
"I doubt she has the time for me."
The Kremlin line-up according to conventional wisdom consists of Yeltsin's
daughter Tatyana Dyachenko -- she holds an official post as her father's
image maker -- Abramovich, Berezovsky, former chief of staff Valentin
Yumashev and his successor Alexander Voloshin.
Abramovich is Berezovsky's hand-picked replacement at the head of Russia's
seventh-largest oil company Sibneft.
These five hold power because, as some say, they have a say in what Russia's
ailing president knows.
"I am not certain that all the information reaches the president," remarked
Sergei Kolmakov, deputy head of the influential Fond Politika institute.
"Channels by which Yeltsin receives news are strictly monitored by the
In essence these sentiments are not new. Yeltsin has been sick many times
before and others, including the reformer Anatoly Chubais, have been accused
of once acting as the Kremlin chief's gate-keeper.
But now Yeltsin and his latest premier, former top police and interior
ministry troops chief Sergei Stepashin, are having big problems actually
having a government stick together.
And Russians blame this on fierce infighting between the president's family
and other economic groupings striving for power -- a battle which Yeltsin has
done little publicly to mediate.
The finance ministry post for one has turned into Moscow journalistic legend,
the Kommersant daily sarcastically reporting that it belonged to three people
It has been reported to belonged to Mikhail Zadornov -- now retired -- Vitkor
Khristenko and Mikhail Kasyanov at once. The post which decides who gets how
much money in Russia remains unassigned.
The Kremlin, if reading official dispatches, says it is happy that the
government's formation is going -- while slowly -- quite well.
But some people on Moscow streets have a view that would make Russian
"Yeltsin is helpless," the flower lady said. "His government is helpless.
What we have is a disgrace."
The Independent on Sunday (UK)
May 39, 1999
[for personal use only]
Russian internet boss stands up to spies
By Phil Reeves in Moscow
FOR THE first time, a Russian internet provider is threatening to go to court
to prevent the security services from spying on his clients, and secretly
reading their electronic mail.
Nail Murzakhanov, who runs the company in Volgograd, took the risky and
highly unusual step of refusing to allow agents from the Federal Security
Service (FSB from its Russian initials) access to his system.
His case is a chilling example of the Russian security services intense
efforts to bring internet activity under surveillance, allowing them to
monitor electronic mail and on-line activity of individuals and businesses
without a warrant.
The officials cite a regulation, issued last year by the FSB and Goskomsvyaz,
the government's communications committee, which not only requires internet
providers to give on-line access to their agents, but makes the companies pay
for the technology.
Mr Murzakhanov, 33, told the Independent on Sunday that the FSB approached
him earlier this year demanding that he swiftly applies the regulation -
known as SORM-2 - and provides training for security services agents, showing
them how to carry out the monitoring. A detailed letter, which outlined the
plan, stated that his three-year-old company, Bayard-Slavia Communications,
would lose its operating licence if it refused to comply. He was given until
this month to have the equipment ready for use - an instruction he has
His company is believed to be the first internet provider in Russia to refuse
to co-operate. He bases his defiant and - given the FSB's intimidation record
- courageous stand on the argument that SORM-2 is a draft law, violating
privacy laws and the Russian constitution. But it is also a question of
principle. "I am a family man with two children," he said. "I want them to
grow up in a free society."
More ominously, Mr Murzakhanov, who is general director of his company, says
that the FSB ordered him to provide a list of his clients, including their
internet passwords, phone numbers and addresses, and wanted them updated
monthly. Again, he refused.If applied, he says, the law would enable the
security services to pry into, and even rewrite, electronic mail. "The FSB
will be able to control everything that goes on in the country from their
garrets, bunkers and basements, at the expense of the internet provider.
He said he would co-operate with the security services if they were hunting a
criminal. "But we refuse to work with them secretly, without any control.
Other internet providers have already signed a document committing themselves
to silence, as it is a state secret."
There is some evidence that the FSB's monitoring has been in force for some
time. In the past political groups in Moscow - including liberal group
Yabloko - have complained that their e-mail is regularly delayed, because it
is being intercepted by the security services.
"It all amounts to a violation of human rights," said Mr Murzakhanov. "If it
carries on like this, I believe they will close us down." He has changed all
his clients' passwords and is lodging documents with lawyers.
"I am not afraid," he said. "Now that this case is public, it is in their
interests to ensure my safety. My friends won't be silent. People come to see
me to express their support. They know that I am an honest person, but if
they try to strangle our enterprise I will not be silent." The Federal
Security Services refused to comment.
New York Times
May 30, 1999
[for personal use only]
A Plea to Yeltsin: Free Russia From `Puppet Masters'
By CELESTINE BOHLEN
MOSCOW -- Yegor Gaidar, a former prime minister who began Russia's economic
reforms in 1992, appealed urgently to President Boris Yeltsin on Saturday to
stop the "puppet masters" who Gaidar and several political analysts say are
manipulating the country's 10-day-old government.
"It will be impossible to gain confidence in democracy in Russia, if it
becomes clear to all that the government is not governing anything, that the
puppet masters behind it are guiding and manipulating the government as if it
were a puppet," Gaidar said at the opening congress of a new liberal party
called the Right Cause.
Gaidar's call came one day after a top Cabinet minister's abrupt resignation,
which has threatened to unravel the government of prime minister Sergei
Stepashin, nominated by Yeltsin on May 12 to replace Yevgeny Primakov.
The resignation of former Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov, a respected
financial expert, has seriously undercut Stepashin's authority, and signaled
the tightening grip of a small group of insiders and financiers on the
Kremlin, and through it, on the government.
Stepashin had backed Zadornov's appointment as one of his two top deputies in
an attempt to counterbalance the growing influence of Nikolai Aksyonenko, a
former railways minister who is seen as the agent of a clique lead by Boris
Berezovsky and his onetime business partner Roman Abramovich.
"Surrender," read the headline Saturday in the business newspaper Kommersant,
accompanied by the clarification, "Yeltsin is not president, Stepashin is not
Even by Russian standards, which long ago were stretched to accommodate
widespread corruption and malfeasance in government, the blatant and
seemingly venal struggle over the Stepashin Cabinet is disturbing. In
particular, political observers are shocked by the fight over appointments to
such traditionally lucrative posts as the head of the pension fund, the
customs committee and the giant government arms-trading agency.
On its evening news program Friday night, a reporter for NTV, Russia's
largest private TV channel, warned of an attempt to "privatize the
government." Mikhail Berger, editor of the daily Sevodnya, wrote in a
front-page commentary Saturday that "the small Politburo that has taken shape
inside the Kremlin has practically no limits and most importantly is
absolutely indifferent to all that is said and thought about its actions."
"And that's not a problem," Berger added, "it's a real tragedy."
Aksyonenko, who had publicly challenged Zadornov's authority to conduct
Russia's macroeconomic policy, calmly disputed such alarmist reports. "I
don't feel any crisis," he told reporters. "The crisis exists only in your
Gaidar urged Yeltsin Saturday to step in and protect not only his chosen
prime minister but also his legacy as Russia's first democratically elected
"The developments of the past few days are discrediting Russian democracy in
the world," Gaidar said, "and what is even more dangerous, they are
discrediting Russian democracy inside Russia. We have paid too high a price
for democracy to carelessly dissipate trust in democratic institutions."
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999
From: Vladimir Gusev <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 3312-Wheeler/Visas
Dear Mrs. Wheeler,
Although the hours of operation of the US embassy in Kiev did not change,
the number of visitor's visas issued decreased dramatically. This hit the
relatives of the US residents hardest. People who regularly used to visit
with their children and grand children permanently leaving in the US cannot
do this anymore at least since the last fall. Their applications are a
subject of a blanket rejection on the premise that their ties with the
Ukraine are not strong enough to prove that they will not become
immigrants. In his letter, the US Consul in Kiev explains to the US Senator
S. Dodd, that a 66 year old applicant, who wishes to visit the family of
his son in the US (including a newborn she never met), has a $70 monthly
salary, is unmarried and thus is to be considered an immigrant. Consul
cheerfully suggests that if her circumstances change, she may get a visa in
the future. However, what chances does she have of changing her standing in
the eyes of the US Consul? Her salary is about the average in the Ukraine,
but will not reach the US average salary in her lifetime. At her age, she
is not going to marry or give birth to a child. This means that unless the
rules of issuing visas do not change, the people like her will have to kiss
iron curtain each time they want to visit the loved ones in the US.
Besides this, according to an eyewitness, the embassy's homemade leaflets
say that due to the increase in the number of the terrorists penetrating
into the US, the number of visas issued has been decreased, and rejected
applicants should not worry. Now, what terrorists are they talking about? A
provocative fax sent to a Serb church in the US makes it to the headlines,
while "increased number of terrorists" goes completely unnoticed?
However, there are some lucky ones, who after filing sixth or tenth
petition could get the visa. The rumor has it that this is possible if one
is persistent, packages the same facts into a different wrap up, applies
$45 fee, and does it consistently multiple times.
I recall the times when ordinary soviet people were not allowed to travel
beyond the Soviet Union, while the United States played a role of the
world's human rights advocate. Is the US assuming a role of the offender
now, by refusing the right of people to see their relatives?
Japan Wants Russia To Sign Treaty
May 29, 1999
By JUDITH INGRAM
MOSCOW (AP) -- Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi has sent a letter to
Russian President Boris Yeltsin urging the completion of a long-delayed peace
treaty to finally put a formal end to World War II.
Masaki Okada, the Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman, told the Interfax news
agency on Saturday that Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura had delivered the
letter to his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov on Saturday.
Russia and Japan never signed a treaty because of a dispute over four islands
in the Kuril chain seized by Soviet troops at the end of the war. Okada said
that the territorial issue remained ``one of the most important problems in
bilateral relations,'' Interfax said.
Japanese officials would like to sign a treaty by the end of the year.
He said the Japanese delegation had put forward proposals on helping the
inhabitants of the islands, on joint Japanese-Russian economic projects there
and on free travel to the islands by Japanese citizens who once lived there.
In 1993, Yeltsin and then-Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa issued the Tokyo
Declaration in which they agreed to work toward a peace treaty.
Komura also met with Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, discussing Japanese
proposals on cooperation in nuclear disarmament and environmental protection.
Okada said Japan was also prepared to serve as an intermediary between Russia
and the International Monetary Fund and urge the IMF to provide loans quickly.
Stepashin pledged that Russia would continue to work closely with Japan.
``Japan is a constant priority in Russia's foreign policy,'' Stepashin was
quoted as saying by Interfax.
Also on the agenda were preparations for Yeltsin's visit to Japan, which is
scheduled for the autumn, although no firm date has been set.
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 3312-Liakhov/MENATEP, Hahn/Khodorkovskii
My comments on Menatep have brought many interesting comments in
your paper and to me privately. They all, however, miss a point that I
think important. Everyone is focussed on corruption, but I think there
actually may have been less than assumed.
It is absolutely clear that from the first the Russian government
was determined to keep budgetary expenses down because of IMF pressure.
It decided to put subsidies off budget. I differ from others only in
thinking that these subsidies were even bigger than most thought and that
they began from the first weeks of 1992. A substantial part went
through the various banks as "loans." But where did the banks get the
money to make loans? The Central Bank gave direct credits, the banks
were allowed to engage in currency speculation, the banks eventually were
given high interest rates on GKOs, the banks were allowed to sell bonds,
I am sure that it went much further. I am confident that the
banks handling foreign currency transactions were forced to take a
proportion off and use it for subsidies. Juliet Johnson in her dissertation
writes about the Riazan Bank being obtained by one of the foreign trade banks
from early days. That was not corruption or bad business judgment, but
state-directed subsidy. I suspect that a lot of the corruption was
scapegoating for what was fairly regularized subsidization. I would suspect
that much of the criticism of Kulik is for money that went into the
agricultural sector. I suspect that a lot of the graft was legal--the
dividends the banks paid to their shareholders.
Those who say that Menatep came out of Komsomol are right, but
surely it got some party money too. But the question is why it survived
after December 1991. When I use the word "bag man," I do not mean to
imply that everything was corruption. I think that the bureaucracy was
very patrimonial and the bank was attached to a high official as part of
his responsibility for a sector in society. That is, if Menatep was
tied to Primakov, I assume that meant it had the responsibility, among
others, for financing his foreign intelligence operation off budget.
Now some other bank will have that responsibility.
If this is true, it raises interesting questions. For example,
a man who seemed to be knowledgeable wrote me that the Russian government
asked that the early US agricultural aid be routed through Menatep and that
this was done. Sachs and Aslund say there was complete corruption with
this aid as people played with the exchange rates. But their version is
that various crooks, mafia, Yeltsin's tennis partner palmed the money.
To be frank, it never seemed altogether credible that they could have
done it on such a grand scale. But it does seem more credible that the
game was played at Menatep, and it got the money. If so, I do not assume
Khorodovsky walked off with it, but that much of it went to finance
government operations, perhaps Primakov's. Yeltsin was the type of man
who would have got a special kick out of financing foreign intelligence
out of US aid and then telling the Americans that it had been stolen by
the mafia. What a wonderful cover.
We are in the realm of speculation, but I would put the
hypothesis of the last paragraph at near 50-50. But I do know one thing for
sure. The literature on Russia does not make sense. Everyone knows
Yeltsin is highly authoritarian and that he is paranoid about people who
seem to be stepping on his power. Yet, the literature on economic
reform assumes that Yeltsin had no power--that the Central Bank, the
commercial banks, the enterprise directors, the regions, the petty
crooks--just walked all over him. It just doesn't make any sense, and I
don't think it is true.
It is not conspiracy thinking to say that Russia did not have
governmental anarchy, a "weak state." I think Yeltsin exercised
great power, at least until recently. Is it really credible that
he gets uptight about premiers and everyone else, but that Khorodovsky's
or Gerashchenko's enormous "independent" power does not phase him?
Menatep somehow was part of Yeltsin's system of rule. It was a
patrimonial system in Weber's terms that allowed lieutenants to rake off
within limits. Our job, I think, is to try to start exploring just how
that system worked, just what Menatep's role was within the system of
subsidies. If it didn't include foreign intelligence, it certainly
included something. It was as hidden as that which I described in The
Soviet Prefects, but the Prefects showed that it is possible to go behind
the facade in an authoritarian system. We should be doing it, and I
think the Menatep discussion shows we have a lot of common knowledge if
only we pool it.
The issue is not simply academic. The IMF has been used as a
scapegoat by Treasury (Stanley Fischer, for example, was quite
sophisticated about privatization until he had to toe the line), but
wherever the decisions are made in the US, the US needs to think
seriously about Russian economic reform and not just take doctrinaire,
unrealistic positions that the Russian government just twists to continue an
off-budget subsidy of consumption that everyone on all sides of the spectrum
must agree is terrible. Only if we agree with Gerschenkron that the
state has a special role in the early stage of capitalism in countries
where it came late, especially in promoting investment, will we be able to
talk honestly with the Russians in building a role for the state that is
productive instead of counterproductive.
Russian firebrand Zhirinovsky runs for governor
MOSCOW, May 30 (Reuters) - Flamboyant ultra-nationalist lawmaker Vladimir
Zhirinovsky was hoping to launch a new stage of his political career by
running on Sunday for the post of governor in Russia's southwestern
Zhirinovsky, whose Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) is the third largest in
Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament, would gain a seat in the
upper chamber Federation Council if he won Sunday's election.
His main rival was incumbent Yevgeny Savchenko, a lifelong resident of the
largely rural region which borders Ukraine.
The poll will be considered valid only if 50 percent of eligible electors
turn out to vote.
Russian newspapers say Zhirinovsky, who has no previous known links with
Belgorod, is seeking the governorship because his LDPR might not reach the
required five percent threshold to win seats in the next Duma election due
later this year.
Zhirinovsky has long been best known for his zany antics, love of publicity
stunts and colourful rhetoric. He likes to boast of his friendship with
international pariahs like Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and during the
Kosovo conflict has been drafting volunteers to fight on the Yugoslav side
But Zhirinovsky no longer cuts the sinister, disturbing figure he did in
the early 1990s with his demagogic calls for a revived Russian empire and
vision of Russian troops washing their boots in the Indian Ocean.
Now widely dubbed ``the court jester'' of Russian politics, Zhirinovsky has
loyally backed President Boris Yeltsin in his tussles with the main
opposition Communist Party, most recently helping to defeat the Duma's bid
to impeach the Kremlin leader.
Zhirinovsky's faction also backed Yeltsin's candidate for prime minister,
Sergei Stepashin, who was approved by the Duma on May 19.
Los Angeles Times
May 30, 1999
[for personal use only]
Sullen Russia Feels Snubbed by West
Diplomacy: Indictment of Milosevic seen as an affront to Moscow's efforts
to broker a solution.
By MAURA REYNOLDS, Times Staff Writer
MOSCOW--If Washington wanted to restart the Cold War, it might consider the
First, provoke a conflict within Russia's sphere of influence that
would show the former superpower to be militarily and politically impotent.
Second, placate the Russians' sense of injury by suggesting they make
themselves useful through diplomacy. Third, pull the carpet out from under
The result: a Russia isolated, powerless and angry.
As far as the Russians are concerned, this is precisely what has
happened to them over the last few weeks amid the crisis in Kosovo.
"The West has deceived Russia and buried Balkan diplomacy," read a
banner headline Friday in the generally pro-Western newspaper Nezavisimaya
Gazeta. "The West has successfully reduced Russia's peacemaking to naught,"
the article said. "The Kremlin now has every reason to remove itself as a
The latest blow to Russia's prestige came Thursday with the U.N. war
crimes indictment of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Russia's lead
negotiator on Kosovo, Viktor S. Chernomyrdin, who is considered a moderate
in both Moscow and Washington, accused the West of deliberate sabotage.
"It seems as if someone needed to complicate the peace dialogue," he
groused. "It reminds you of a political charade."
If NATO is convinced of its honorable intentions and humanitarian aims
in Kosovo, most Russians are just as convinced of the opposite: that NATO
is an aggressor actively seeking to expand its own sphere of influence.
The difference is not a result of state-controlled media coverage or
propaganda. Russian officials and news reporters have access to a wide
variety of information from all over the world.
Instead, the divide results from much deeper differences of
perception. And if the West thinks it is making efforts to find common
ground and common principles with the Russians, these efforts are making
In the diplomatic arena, Russian officials have frequently expressed
frustration with NATO's unwillingness to compromise. While the alliance may
think it is demonstrating resoluteness, to Russians this comes out as
And there is no doubt that the West is not listening very carefully to
the Russians. For the last few weeks, Russian officials have said
repeatedly that they would consider withdrawing from the peace effort
unless NATO became more amenable. But officials in Washington reacted with
surprise when Chernomyrdin made the same statement last week in an opinion
piece in the Washington Post.
With Russians already feeling as if they have been shouting into the
wind, it seems perfectly obvious to most people here that the Milosevic
indictment was timed to undermine their diplomatic work.
"It cannot be coincidental that this step was taken precisely at the
moment when Kosovo negotiations reached the most critical stage," the
Foreign Ministry said. "As a result, the negotiations have become
significantly more complicated."
For Russians, the overriding concern about the crisis in Yugoslavia is
NATO's decision to attack a sovereign country.
"In the West, the Kosovo story is about ethnic cleansing and refugees
and a Serb dictator," said Masha Lipman, deputy editor of the respected
weekly Itogi. "Here, the Kosovo story is NATO airstrikes and their
No matter what Milosevic may or may not have done, Russians say, NATO
was wrong to attack another country. It's a view expressed nearly
universally, from the park bench to the Kremlin.
"Maybe Milosevic deserves to be indicted," said Andrei Merzlikin, a
30-year-old Muscovite taking a break Friday in a Moscow park. "But there's
no need to bomb, no matter what."
Moreover, there is no doubt in the Russian mind that NATO is not
setting things right in Kosovo but merely compounding the wrongs.
"I don't know the truth about what Milosevic has been doing. But why
hasn't NATO been indicted? Both sides are at fault, but NATO is worse,"
said 42-year-old Tatyana Kostareva.
There are several reasons for this conceptual divide. One is that
Russians are generally unfamiliar with charges of war crimes committed by
Serbs earlier this decade in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Russia played a relatively
small role in that conflict and was preoccupied for much of the time by its
own horrific war in Chechnya.
Moreover, Russia's own geopolitical weakness makes it hypersensitive
to the slightest indication of Western superiority. And the West,
accustomed to its power, seems oblivious to the slights it can make to the
rest of the world.
"No one takes Russia into account anymore," sputtered Ilya Konovalo, a
44-year-old cabdriver. "We can protest all we want, but we're on the same
level as untamed Africa."
To most Russians, it seems perfectly obvious that NATO seriously
misunderstood the historical and cultural milieu of the Balkans and that
these misperceptions led to serious miscalculations.
"I am a Westernizer," said Lipman. "But this is terribly
disappointing. You think you're right. You think you're good. But good
values are not enough. At a minimum, you need good knowledge and a profound
understanding of the region."
The danger now for the West is that the difference of perceptions will
widen into an unbridgeable gulf, forcing a country with a formidable
nuclear arsenal deeper into political isolation.
And if the West thinks it has been making efforts to close the gap,
these gestures appear mostly to have backfired. Diplomatically, for
instance, the Russians are increasingly convinced that NATO is going along
with the peace talks more to pacify them than to genuinely seek a deal with
On Saturday, Foreign Minister Igor S. Ivanov observed: "To be
completely frank, the situation is tough. Russia's efforts, and in
particular those by Viktor Chernomyrdin, are finding no understanding or
support on the part of NATO's leadership."
If NATO remains unwilling to compromise and the negotiations collapse,
Russia is likely to be angrier and more alienated than ever.
"The final phase of the Western plan, which began with the indictment
of Milosevic, is the total occupation of Yugoslavia," Nezavisimaya Gazeta
concluded. "This seems entirely likely. And that will raise the threat of a
Marisa Robertson-Textor of The Times' Moscow Bureau contributed to this
Vice-Premier Rebukes Unlucky Producers of Consumer Goods.
KEMEROVO, Western Siberia, May 30 (Itar-Tass) - First vice-premier Nikolai
Aksyonenko who arrived in Novokuznetsk on Sunday during his working tour of
the Kemerovo Region, cited production of consumer goods by the
West-Siberian iron and steel works as an unlucky example of a market economy.
The vice-premier visited workshops producing metalware at the works. Many
dozen million dollars were invested in their construction and equipment.
However, Siberian citizens have not received either furniture or
European-standard hygiene equipment.
Specialists from the works told Itar-Tass that another 50 million U.S.
dollars would be needed to start production. Aksyonenko noted that a
factory producing railway coaches was built in Russia for this sum.
Besides, the vice-premier expressed doubt that Siberian consumer goods
would be in great demand. He said that a similar undertaking was made in
the Altai Territory (South-Western Siberia), but it failed.
Therefore, the following conclusion should be made, the vice-premier
continued: steelmen should be preoccupied with their direct business --
steel smelting and production of rolled stock.
Aksyonenko continues his two-day working tour of the Kuznetsk coal basin,
situated in the Kemerovo Region. On Sunday, he will call a meeting with the
Novokuznetsk business community and will visit Anzhero-Sudzhensk on Monday.
Then, the vice- premier will hold a meeting with the regional leadership in
May 20-June 3, 1999
Portrait of Dirty Harry as Prime Minister
By Edward Limonov
Knowing that he has no support of Russian society whatsoever (recent polls
showing that his policies are disapproved by 98% of population), our tyrant
Yeltsin, or rather leftovers of Yeltsin's decaying corpse, have created
super Police State. Police general, Minister of Interior Sergei Vadimovich
Stepashin was appointed as an acting Prime Minister of Russian Federation.
Yeltsin did it in show-off style just a day before start of procedure of
Yeltsin's own impeachment by a State Duma. Sinister Mr. President, having
one foot in grave, cannot refuse himself a perverted pleasure to rape his
country one more time. (Yes, I see him raping naked beautiful Russia, his
old face shining of pleasure...) What was a reason for a rapid ascension of
Mr. Stepashin, rather narrow-minded police officer? Even more, Stepashin is
lousy police officer, the failure.
On June 30, 1995, Stepashin was discharged of his job as a head of FSK
(Federal Service of Counter-Espionage) because of blood assault of Shamil
Basaev's band on Southern Russian city of Buddionovsk. FSK (ex-KGB,
nowadays it called FSB) couldn't notice and stop a band of Chechen warriors
in full military gear to cross whole Stavropolsky Krai, as city of
Buddionovsk located almost 150 kilometers north of frontier with Chechnya.
Just recently as Minister of Interior Mr. Stepashin was responsible for the
terrible fire of police headquarters in city of Samara, where 69 police
officers have perished. That fire was not an act of some criminal
vengeance. Hellas for Mr. Stepashin, it was a vulgar fire in dilapidated,
old, overcrowded building. Most of police stations of Russia are like that
of Samara, unkept, old, dilapidated ,and overcrowded. Mister Stepashin, as
many Ministers of Interior before him, is too busy to do politics. He has
no time to devote to well-being of his police. Mr. Stepashin is not very
bright also. Otherwise how come he could let his "comrade-in-arms" (police
general also) General Schpigun to go to Grozny--capital of Chechen
Republic? Where the very same Mr. Schpigun during Chechen War was a
commandant and responsible for the detention camps, how come?
Mr. Schpigun himself obviously is an example of astonishing recklessness,
bordering with idiocy, but Mr. Stepashin, his superior, why did he send a
stupid general to Chechnya? Chechens many times have had announced that
General Schpigun is one of their worst enemies. Chechens have declared
General Schpigun a war criminal. But Mr. Yeltsin have decorated General
Stepashin after Schpigun's kidnapping and after fire in Samara.
Who is Mr. Yeltsin himself? Is he all right in his head?
No, he is obviously not. Mr. Yeltsin said that Mr. Primakov couldn't make
it with the economy, so economy is not improving. So, now, Russian economy
will be improved by police officer with such a bad record, that in any
country he would be discharged without retirement pension as a Dirty Harry.
What a bullshit! What economy?!
Stepashin's only quality is the fact that old tyrant Yeltsin strongly
believes that General Stepashin is totally loyal to him. So, tyrant have
had appointed a general in order to stay in power by police violence, as he
cannot anymore cheat people of Russia by "democratic" means. What we will
see in coming year is tyranny of dying President, supported by bayonets of
General Stepashin's OMONs, SOBRs and others well-paid, heavily-armed SBIRs.
Mr. Stepashin have had started to prepare himself to such a job long time
ago. In 1989 he largely contributed to a collective book The Forms And
Methods Of Work of Interior Ministry Forces Against Self-Made
Organizations. Under the notice "For Service Use Only," that practical
manual was published by Political Department of Ministry of Interior and
distributed to police officers.
As I am a Chairman of exactly "self-made organization," I know how
Stepashin works with us. On February 20th, Interior Ministry forces have
been storming in headquarters of National-Bolsheviks Party. They calculated
that box with Molotov cocktails been send to us by those very forces 40
minutes earlier, is still there. So they have invited NTV people, program
Dezhurnaya Chast', photographers from some news agencies. Hellas, we have
carried those planted Molotov cocktails to a nearby police station
immediately after finding them on our doorsteps. Stepashin's police haven't
read Stepashin's book, or Stepashin's book isn't good enough?
Now he is a Prime Minister. Dirty Harry, appointed by President. He was
born on March 3, 1952, in Port Arthur, now China's territory. I wonder how
and when he will die.
Balkan War's Long-Term Consequences Viewed
26 May 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Rossiyskaya Gazeta Political Observer Vladimir Lapskiy:
"NATO Is Playing, Everyone Is Losing. Two Months of the Balkan War.
In NATO's 50 years of existence the bloc's
politicians and generals should in theory have accumulated a great wealth
of experience; they have been very well aware of each other's potential
and the potential of their partners and their enemies. First-class
players, it would seem that they would know how to calculate their
actions many moves ahead. But, as an ancient philosopher said, knowing a
great deal does not make you intelligent. NATO has deluded itself. There
is no end in sight to the Balkan war, which they had intended to resolve
in a few days. And the alliance does not want to or cannot now "retreat,"
and is displaying the same obstinacy and pushiness as its main opponent,
Slobodan Milosevic. With the help of topographical maps, one of the most
picturesque countries in Europe is being systematically destroyed,
hundreds and thousands of civilians are dying, and enterprises,
hospitals, and historical and cultural monuments are being demolished.
Europe has not experienced such barbarity since the times of World War
I will not try to guess how the Balkan war will end, when this will
happen, and who will consider himself the victor. Something else is clear
today: In real terms everyone who has participated or not participated in
it has lost. Europe and the United States may be paying for it for
decades. Already this war is costing the West 300 billion euros, and how
much more is yet to be smashed and destroyed, burned down or ruined?! But
this is not just a question of material damage.
The old world order formed after 1945 has been consumed by the flames of
the Balkan war, along with the achievements of the past 10 years, when
people believed that we could live in cooperation and mutual
understanding. In the past two months an essentially new political
psychology has emerged, and mistrust and fear lie at its heart.
Why did the United States and NATO need the Balkan war? To my mind,
there are several reasons.
The United States and its allies needed to change the political
situation and the geopolitical situation as a whole in the Balkans to
their own advantage. Averting a humanitarian disaster in the province was
the pretext for NATO interference. This, however, has led to a far more
terrible disaster. And it is symptomatic that there is no clear sign that
in the prevailing dramatic events NATO is prepared to end the war. That
is, it has turned out that people's lives do not particularly worry NATO,
and that the pretext was a forced one.
NATO is dragging the Yugoslavs' neighbors -- Albanians, Bulgarians,
Macedonians, and others -- into the war against them and is creating a
kind of collective security system. Why? The answer is plain: The bloc
needs an extensive Balkan springboard. I would like to note in passing
that it is appalling how easily Yugoslavia's neighbors are allowing
themselves to be drawn into the conflict, making their territory and air
space available to the bloc's forces. Sometimes it looks as if NATO's
feeling of impunity has been passed on to them.
Another reason is to prove "in practice" the continuing need for NATO, which
logically should have disappeared 10 years ago. "This organization has
been deprived of its traditional role of an anti-Soviet gendarme," the
Canadian Le Devoir newspaper writes. "And it has not acquired a specific
new role in the present international situation." Strong-arm intervention
in Yugoslavia was in theory supposed to show that NATO is needed by the
democratic world as the guardian of civil rights and humanity.
Admittedly, what has happened in the Balkans is the exact opposite.
Finally, the U.S. desire to establish a world order in which it will be the
unquestionable leader in everything is clearly visible in the bloc's open
aggression. The Americans have already proved their economic might and
political influence, and now it is time for them to flex their military
muscles too. "Only the United States has the military capability to
launch Tomahawk missiles, cruise missiles, and other weapons," the Voice
of America broadcast a few days ago. "We have the world's greatest
capability in terms of rear services support. We have the best satellite
communications, which provide intelligence information about the
situation throughout the world." So, first in everything.
Two months of war have brought a new dimension to international life.
"The new model of alliance behavior has given the signal for a revision
of Western countries' attitude to the world order," Britain's The Times
writes. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has defined the international
relations of the future as "new internationalism." The newly coined term
means that after the Yugoslav precedent NATO will interfere in the
affairs of sovereign states as it sees fit. The Times also noted in this
connection that "The West now has a powerful and dangerous mechanism for
standardizing social, ethnic, and legal principles throughout the world
according to its own model." Note: throughout the world.
The Balkan war has muddied the relationships that Russia had so
painstakingly built up with NATO and its individual members. The
Fundamental Act has been frozen, and our representatives have been
recalled from Brussels and Mons. By not taking the Russian stance into
consideration, the alliance has wrecked European peace, and this means
that there can be no partnership. Russian politicians and the military
commonly believe that there is no question of cooperation with the
alliance on the previous principles in the foreseeable future, that it is
more likely to be a question of suppressing it. Appeals to build up
nuclear forces can already be heard. Might NATO not be tempted one day to
try to settle an interethnic conflict in Russia by the proven method?
Is this paranoia? "Henceforth operations such as the Yugoslav one will
be a routine task for NATO," Bill Clinton said at the jubilee assembly in
Washington. "The alliance's members are stating that, to strengthen their
own security, they will now have to be prepared to operate not only on
the territory of member states but also on territories both
geographically and essentially connected with NATO." It could not be
stated more plainly.
For its part the West has started talking about how a "strategic
triangle" of Russia, China, and India could emerge as a reaction to
NATO's challenge, on the grounds that the modern world is unthinkable
without a second focus of power. Speculation on this subject intensified
when a NATO bomb hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade. By the way, those
who are talking about the "triangle" include the major American political
analyst Ariel Cohen.
The Russian government has no intention of suggesting the formation of a
military alliance to Beijing and Delhi because the consequences of this
are easy to calculate: The world would go back to a Cold War once and for
There is another unpleasant consequence of the NATO aggression: It is
launching an arms race everywhere. India has started talking about
reinforcing its defense, and the Ukrainian parliament has questioned its
country's non-nuclear status. There are plenty of examples. The danger
has emerged that many so-called "threshold states," which have the
potential to quickly create their own nuclear weapons, will start doing
so contrary to UN admonitions.
And what role has this venerable organization played in the new
circumstances? The question is also being asked about what role it will
be allotted in the "post-Balkan world." The United Nations has received a
lot of censure for being practically powerless to do anything effective
to stop the war. General Secretary Kofi Annan did visit Europe, but his
trip left practically no trace. The United Nations has found itself
unable to carry out its own charter. This says, among other things, that
it is obliged to take effective collective measures to remove threats to
peace and suppress acts of aggression.
Has the United Nations now become obsolete? It seems not, and that the
weakness of will it has displayed in the Balkans is a temporary
phenomenon. It is clear, however, that its structure must be changed,
that its Security Council must be effective in any critical situation
like the Balkan one. How should this be done? There are no stock
remedies. To my mind it could possibly be done by expanding the Security
Council, including among its permanent members representatives of major
and developed countries such as, for instance Japan, India, Brazil,
Egypt, and neutral states. The successor to the League of Nations must be
capable of putting any violator of the world order in his place, even
such a strong and self-confident one as NATO.
The Balkan war has also influenced NATO itself, in which both
centripetal and centrifugal phenomena have been strengthened. On the one
hand, serious differences have taken shape between the NATO countries and
within them (a few days ago a BBC commentator stated unambiguously: "The
assumption is being expressed that the NATO operation in the Balkans will
be the beginning of the end of the North Atlantic alliance."). Positions
have become utterly polar. Some (for example, Greece, Italy, and the
Czech Republic), are in favor of the immediate cessation of hostilities,
others (Britain) are in favor of conducting full-scale, that is, ground
The war has raised a major wave of anti-NATO feeling practically
everywhere: There has not been such a reaction since the aggression in
Vietnam. In Germany the Green Party, which is in the government
coalition, has split over the Balkan question. The war has divided Europe
into camps and has instilled panic in the hearts of Europeans who until
recently lived in peace and comfort.
An awareness is growing in Europe that the European members of the
alliance are following the Americans without a murmur, indulging them in
everything, not always seeing the danger for themselves in this. An event
occurred in mid-May which was written and spoken about quite glibly but
which was, to my mind, very symptomatic. A conference of foreign
ministers and defense ministers of the Western European Union [WEU]
countries -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and
Luxembourg -- was held in the German city of Bremen. The ministers
concertedly advocated the revival of this strictly European defense
structure. No, they did not directly set the WEU against NATO. In an
evasive way, however, they made it clear that critical situations may
emerge on the continent in which the interests of the Europeans and the
Americans will be at variance, and then the Europeans will act
independently, without U.S. commanders. Europe wants a new style of
relations with the United States.