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Johnson's Russia List
18 June 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Moscow Times: Lawmakers Want Cabinet's Respect.
2. Reuters: Russian PM under microsope at G8 summit.
3. AFP: First Russian drive-in movie theatre opening in Moscow.
4. Itar-Tass: STEPASHIN, NEMTSOV DISCUSS ANTI-CORRUPTION PROPOSALS.
5. Itar-Tass: YELTSIN HAS NO PLANS TO DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT -
6. The Economist: Igor Ivanov, Russia’s Balkan voice.
7. Robert Chandler: THE CENTRE DOES NOT HOLD.
8. Wall Street Journal Europe: Michael McFaul, Russia’s Pyhrric ‘Pristina
9. Job postings for NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR EURASIAN AND EAST EUROPEAN
10. Express-Chronicle: Two Cows and Ten Political Regimes.
11. www.polit.ru press summaries re Primakov, Malashenko, and
12. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Borisova, State Audit Slams Cost of Kremlin
13. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: Audit Heaps More Shame On Kremlin.
DJ: The issue of crime and corruption deserves much more exploration. What
interests me is whether the United States has cooperated fully in those
that have been launched, for example under Primakov and at the initiative of
the State Audit Chamber, the Duma, and former prosecutor Skuratov. Part of
the problem, I suspect, is that having played a large role in the construction
of the kleptocracy, the United States talks an anti-crime game in Russia but
is inhibited from a no-holds-barred effort to help those Russians who really
want to crack down. Much of the billions provided to the Yeltsin regime by
Western institutions were given to help keep Yeltsin in power and exactly
who ended up with the money--and where-was a very secondary issue. Up until
recently when distancing from the Yeltsin catastrophe has become more the
of the day. So I'm interested in recipients' views and information on the
of US crime fighting in Russia. What goes on? What does NOT go on? And why?
It's kind of a test case for determining real priorities.]
June 18, 1999
Lawmakers Want Cabinet's Respect
The State Duma gets no respect.
Not from some members of the government anyway. Government officials tend to
show up in the lower house of parliament when they want to lobby an unpopular
But when the Duma wants them to show up - say, to answer for graft charges or
wage nonpayments - they often refuse the Duma's invitations.
When First Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko said he was too busy to
turn up for a grilling about preferential treatment of rail forwarding
companies when he was railways minister, it was apparently the last straw.
The Duma is miffed. "Recently," the house said decorously in a declaration
adopted Thursday, "certain members of the government have permitted incidents
of nonattendance of the chamber's sessions to answer questions."
The declaration asks Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin to remind his deputies
to maintain an attitude of respect toward deputies in accord with their
exalted legal status. And if ministers themselves have a "respectable reason"
to decline, they should send their own first deputies.
Russian PM under microsope at G8 summit
By Timothy Heritage
COLOGNE, Germany, June 17 (Reuters) - Sergei Stepashin faces a tough test
on Friday when he makes his first trip to the West as Russia's prime
minister for a summit with seven world leaders.
Stepashin, who has been prime minister for barely a month, is standing in
for President Boris Yeltsin on the first two days of the summit of the
Group of Seven (G7) rich democracies and Russia in the German city of
Yeltsin, who has been unwell and has travelled abroad only once this year,
is due to attend only Sunday's political talks, referred to as the Group of
Eight (G8), and have a separate meeting with U.S. President Bill Clinton.
This leaves Stepashin, 47, to represent Moscow in the talks on financial
matters, which are set to include potentially difficult discussions of
Russia's crippled economy.
Russia's relations with the West are at a low ebb because of the Kosovo
crisis and are complicated by an economic crisis which has left Moscow
desperate for loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ease a
huge debt burden.
Stepashin will be closely watched by Western leaders who know little of
him. His every step will also be followed in Moscow, where any move seen as
belittling Russia or undermining its standing in the Group of Eight will be
``How will the premier explain that it is necessary for the Group of Eight
to support Russia in negotiations with the IMF and other international
finance organisations?'' the Russian newspaper Vremya asked.
``The new prime minister will have to undergo a very difficult test because
his failure would cost Russia too much -- its membership of the Group of
Eight would be questioned.''
Russia, as ever, is the odd one out at the annual summit with the leaders
of the United States, Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Britain and Italy.
Economically Russia is weaker than the other seven. It is also at odds with
the West on a number of issues, including the Kosovo peace force, in which
Moscow wants to control its own sector and does not want its troops under
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder ruled out immediate relief for Russia's
huge debts on Wednesday but said: ``We are ready to help Russia if it is
ready to help itself.''
Schroeder said the G7 would encourage Russia to revive economic reforms
with new energy and that the Russian people needed clear signs that the
West wants cooperation.
Stepashin has little experience of foreign affairs and his one foreign trip
since becoming premier was to Belarus.
He was until May Russia's interior minister and rose through the security
forces. He played a role in the 1994-96 Chechnya war, which will not help
Western leaders warm to him.
But he has provided a steady hand in his first few weeks as premier and has
fought hard to win parliament's approval of revenue-raising laws required
for the IMF to release new loans.
IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, visiting Russia on Wednesday,
praised Stepashin. ``We see each other eye to eye on what needs to be done
for the next few months,'' Camdessus said.
But the outcome of the battle with parliament is still in doubt and the
lower house rejected one of the key laws at a first reading on Thursday.
First Russian drive-in movie theatre opening in Moscow
MOSCOW, June 17 (AFP) - It may snow in Moscow in May but at least one private
company feels this is no reason to deny the Russian capital an outdoor
drive-in movie theatre.
The US-style "Kinodrome" drive-in, located on a cycle track in a prestigious
southwest region of Moscow, which opens Thursday, claims to be the first
outdoor drive-in theatre in the former Soviet Union.
On opening night, the cinema will show "The Sky Sprinkled With Diamonds"
directed by Vasily Pichul, best known for his perestroika-era cult film
Organizers declined ahead of the formal opening Thursday night to name
Kinodrome's owners or reveal the cost of the tickets, which include drinks
and snacks along with the movie.
The theatre will be open daily year-round and even when temperatures fall --
as they often do in Moscow -- to minus 35 degrees Celsius (minus 31 degrees
Fahrenheit) in winter.
This week there will be two show-times -- 11 p.m. when twilight falls in this
northern region, and a later one at 2 a.m.
STEPASHIN, NEMTSOV DISCUSS ANTI-CORRUPTION PROPOSALS
MOSCOW, June 17 (Itar-Tass) - The leader of the Right Course movement,
Boris Nemtsov, presented his proposals to combat corruption in the
higher echelons of power, at his meeting with Russian Prime Minister
Sergei Stepashin on Thursday.
Nemtsov said they had discussed the anti-corruption struggle and
relations between executive bodies and large Russian businesses, his
spokeswoman Liliya Dubovaya told reporters.
He declined to elaborate on the proposals but noted that Stepashin
found his idea interesting and that he hoped the premier would consider
Nemtsov and Stepashin discussed the revival of the housing program for
the military. At present, some 210,000 discharged officers and their
families need apartments.
According to Nemtsov, the premier promised to consider this acute
problem at a cabinet meeting.
The meeting also focused on the problem of setting up trustee councils
at Russian schools. Nemtsov said Stepashin had decided to head such a
council at a St. Petersburg school and to propose to all the cabinet
officials to participate in this program, in order to set an example
for the country's cultural, political, and diplomatic elite.
YELTSIN HAS NO PLANS TO DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT - OFFICIAL
MOSCOW, June 17 (Itar-Tass) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin has no
plans to dissolve the parliament, the presidential envoy to the State
Duma lower house of parliament told reporters after his meeting with
the head of state on Thursday.
Alexander Kotenkov said the president had ordered him to follow a firm
course of compromise with the State Duma lower house of parliament, and
"by no means allow confrontation."
Kotenkov said they had discussed a number of issues concerning "ways to
improve interaction with the Duma."
He noted that the persistent rumours about the president's intentions
to dissolve the house have nothing to do with reality.
Yeltsin said "one should seek compromise and mutually acceptable
solutions wherever possible, according to Kotenkov.
The dissolution of the Duma is the issue "excessively fanned by the
press," the envoy said, adding that "I have never heard anyone in the
presidential administration talk about the necessity to dissolve the
In his view, the steps to settle the situation in Yugoslavia which
Russia is taking and planning, are "very powerful and strong."
Kotenkov said he had requested the president to elaborate on Moscow's
steps to settle the Yugoslav situation because of the on-going and
heated debates of this issue in the lower house of parliament.
"What is taking place at the Duma happens because lawmakers are unaware
of what Russian diplomats and military are doing," the envoy said.
At the meeting, Yeltsin set concrete tactical objectives concerning the
parliament's approval of the Land Code. The issue will foremost be
coordinated with the government, to be followed by work with the Duma,
according to Kotenkov.
The land issue is becoming pivotal at present. The land is mostly
ownerless and the country is losing a tremendous amount of money
without legal regulation in that sphere.
Presidential press secretary Dmitry Yakushkin said Yeltsin had praised
Kotenkov's work at the meeting.
June 19, 1999
[for personal use only]
Igor Ivanov, Russia’s Balkan voice
PICTURE yourself as the foreign minister of a nuclear power. You are
sidelined as your country tries to stop a war—the most important diplomatic
task you have faced for years. Then you are humiliated by your military
colleagues, who launch a spectacular stunt abroad without telling you. When
you describe this as “a mistake”, your country’s president promotes the
errant general and gives you the cold shoulder. Time to resign?
No, at least not in Russia, where Igor Ivanov is suavely running his foreign
ministry as if nothing much has happened. That all this is regarded as only a
little unusual is a sign of most people’s low expectations of Russia. It is
hardly surprising that a country with such mystifyingly opaque domestic
politics should fail to present a single, easily recognisable, face abroad.
Mr Ivanov’s thankless task is to represent a country that has, in fact,
several foreign policies.
The most important strand is spun in the presidency, dominated by Boris
Yeltsin (when compos mentis) and his court (when not). This shifts with the
political needs of the day, but the pattern is broadly pro-western. It is
keen on business and foreign investment (though better at words than deeds),
and on good relations with rich countries such as Germany, Japan and America.
Though Mr Yeltsin was furious with NATO for bombing Serbia, he was
nonetheless determined to keep Slobodan Milosevic at arm’s length, and to
save Russia from a really serious row with the West.
Then there are the military and security services, which report to Mr Yeltsin
but have a far more antagonistic view of the world. They distrust NATO hugely
and want Russia still to be taken seriously as a great power. Their favourite
politician was Yevgeny Primakov, recently sacked as prime minister. They
could barely conceal their disgust at Russia’s abandonment of Serbia. Their
response—some say reward—for sitting on their hands during the war, was to
stage the dash for the airport at Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, giving Russia
its first, albeit illusory, wisp of military glory for decades.
Third, there are powerful economic interests, such as the oil and gas
lobbies, which see foreign policy in mercantile terms. For them, Russia’s
interests abroad are ports and pipelines: what is good for Gazprom, so to
speak, is good for Russia. This can mean friendly ties with good customers
such as Germany or Estonia, or chilly ones with countries that have tried to
shut them out, such as Azerbaijan (over Caspian oil) or, more recently,
Mr Ivanov’s job is to keep all three masters happy. In peacetime, this is not
too hard. A typical Russian embassy will do a bit of work for, say, Lukoil,
Russia’s oil giant, coupled with some old-fashioned spying or trouble-making
to make the hawks smile, and a chunk of practical, even peace-making,
diplomacy of the kind that makes even Russophobes doubt their own
Mr Ivanov has had most practice in the third, less stormy, field. His most
important post abroad was as ambassador to Spain, where he is fondly
remembered. By any standard he is friendly, informal, flexible and
approachable. Few foreign ministers, least of all in protocol-conscious
Russia, change into casual clothes and wander down the aircraft to chat to
journalists on the way home from foreign trips, as he does. “A rather
high-quality, civilised colleague,’’ remembers a former British diplomatic
fixer who shared long, boring waits with him in the Dayton meetings about
Bosnia in 1995, where Mr Ivanov, then a deputy foreign minister, represented
Russia. Unlike many Russian diplomats, she notes, he is not a bore, nor out
to score pettyfogging points.
Likeable—but no softy. A Nordic diplomat recalls with awe Mr Ivanov’s ability
to hold punishing four-hour meetings without a break. Journalists note his
near-photographic memory for texts. And since becoming foreign minister in
September last year, Mr Ivanov has hardened. His statements in the early days
of the war were among the harshest, with calls for NATO’s leaders to be tried
for war crimes. “The Ivanov we saw in Dayton has developed into someone more
representative of the old structures,’’ notes a top diplomat in Bonn.
Not that it matters much in practice. Both Mr Ivanov and his boss of many
years, Mr Primakov, were shunted aside when the war started. Mr Ivanov’s own
views (he was thought reluctant to send Russian peacekeepers to Kosovo,
fearing they would be shot) have been brushed aside. And it was a slap in his
(and his fellow diplomats’) face when Mr Yeltsin nominated Viktor
Chernomyrdin, a former gas baron and prime minister, as Russia’s special
envoy to the Balkans.
With hindsight, Mr Ivanov and his colleagues should be quite relieved: Mr
Chernomyrdin moved seamlessly from being the peace deal’s midwife to becoming
the scapegoat for its unpopularity in Russia. This no doubt delighted Mr
Yeltsin, who likes to have his nationalist cake at home while tucking into
the fruits of diplomacy abroad. Now the military command is enjoying its
moment of glory; but in a few days it may well be finding itself suddenly
taking a lot of flak, as the symbolic and tactical pluses of the Pristina
gambit are outweighed by practical and strategic minuses (questions about
Russia’s reliability as a negotiating partner, worries in Eastern Europe
about the re-emergence of Soviet interventionist habits, and so on).
That Mr Ivanov lacks political weight may help him survive in his job, but it
also makes it harder for him to do it effectively. Personal ability and
professional efficiency are no substitute for being kept fully in a loop that
embraces both the Kremlin and the army. The lesson of Pristina airport, well
taken by other countries, is that whatever Russia’s foreign minister says
about his country’s policy is not wholly to be believed.
That was always so. But in the old days, people like Andrei Gromyko and,
latterly, Mr Primakov knew pretty well what was going on behind the scenes.
Russia’s newish prime minister, Sergei Stepashin, now says that policy on
Kosovo should be “co-ordinated” and “synchronised’’, with the foreign
ministry in a “leading role”. Comforting words, but who believes them?
Probably not the shrewd, charming, but ultimately irrelevant Mr Ivanov.
Subject: THE CENTRE DOES NOT HOLD
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 99
From: Robert Chandler <email@example.com>
THE CENTRE DOES NOT HOLD
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia and America have seemed more
than ever like opposites. And I have often wondered which posed the
greater danger to the world: Russia with her chaotic politics, her
imploding economy, her disintegrating armed forces and her decaying nuclear
weaponry, or America with her apparently invincible economy, her gung-ho
faith in the miracles of bio-technology, and the casualness with which,
during the last year, she has exploded bombs in Asia, Africa and now
Timothy Garton Ash has said that, perhaps by accident rather than design,
the West by and large adopted the right policies with regard to the Soviet
Union during the eighties. Reagan was the tough cop; Europe - and above
all, Germany - was the soft cop. Reagan made it clear that the Soviet
Union was bound to lose the arms race; Europe was ready to offer the Soviet
Union a way out of the arms race through negotiation. Garton Ash has also
said more than once that Western Europe has got things terribly wrong in
the nineties, focussing introvertedly on monetary union rather than trying
to help the former Soviet bloc to recover from the traumas of Communism,
Œfiddling at Maastricht while Sarajevo burned¹.
Each year, each month, and now each day, the consequences of the West¹s
blindness to the needs of Russia have come to seem more catastrophic.
NATO has expanded eastwards at reckless speed, we have failed to dismantle
trade barriers against Russian exports, we have consistently opposed
Russian interests with regard to the export of Caspian oil, and we have
bombed first Iraq and then Yugoslavia in spite of Russian opposition. If
we had done more to engage with Russia intelligently and constructively,
today¹s Russian leaders would be more pro-Western, Milosevic would not have
had reason to expect Russian support, and it is probable that the West
could have achieved its aims in Kosovo without the need for two months of
Just as NATO reneged on its original promise not to expand eastwards, so it
has continued to renege on every agreement we make with Russia. The
consequences of this are now manifest at Pristina airport. What brought
Milosesvic to the negotiating table was not so much the success of NATO¹s
bombing campaign as the withdrawal of Russian support. In return for
co-operating with NATO, the Russians naturally expected either that the
peacekeeping operation would be conducted under UN auspices or that they
would be given their own zone in Kosovo. Given our perfidy, it is not
surprising that the Russian military has decided to take matters into its
own hands. It is now possible that Russia will send more troops to
Pristina and that three armies - NATO, the KLA and the Russians - will be
left to fight or bluff it out with no clear overall authority. A
The usual reason given for not allowing the Russians a zone of their own is
that it would lead to the partition of Kosovo. Would this really be such a
terrible outcome? After the events of the last months it is unrealistic to
expect the Serbs and Albanians to live peaceably together. It now seems
likely that most of the Albanian refugees will return and that most Serbs
will flee the province. There are already 500,000 refugees in Serbia,
Serbs who were driven out of Croatia with tacit NATO support. Can we
expect Serbia to become a responsible member of the international community
if they now have to find homes for another 200,000 embittered refugees? If
Serbia has remembered the battle of Kosovo Polje -considered by modern
historians to have been a draw rather than a defeat - for six hundred
years, it is unlikely that they will soon forget a total defeat by NATO.
Europe would be left with a problem as intractable as Palestine.
Western Europe played a constructive role in ending the Cold war. It is
time now for it to reoccupy the centre ground, to force America to accept
something short of total victory and to allow Russia to claim some degree
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999
From: "Mike McFaul" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: wall street journal article
Wall Street Journal Europe, June 17, 1999,
Russia’s Pyhrric ‘Pristina Victory’
By Michael McFaul
It must have been a real thrill to be a Russian soldier in the convoy that
rumbled through Serbia and then into Pristina. Serbian soldiers saluted,
Serbian children cheered, and women blew kisses. It's been a long time
since locals embraced marching Russian soldiers. Such a public outpour of
approval most certainly did not occur in Chechnya in 1994, Afghanistan in
1979, Chechoslovakia in 1968, or Hungary in 1956.
In Moscow, much of Russia's foreign policy establishment and media also
celebrated the bold Russian military move. While some recognized the
unannounced military incursion as both dangerous and irresponsible, even
these critics got an emotional kick out of the Russian defiance of NATO's
plans. The act was devious, confrontational and fun. Boris Yeltsin enjoyed
the bravado of Russian troops on the march in Europe so much that he
promoted the commanding general.
Whatever the immediate pleasures of the Russian move in Kosovo for Russia's
political class and military commanders, the petty act of deviance has
long-term consequences for Russia's reputation as a reliable international
partner. In exposing gross contradictions in Russian foreign policy, the
Russian dash to Pristina will make it more difficult for the United States
and other Western countries to work with Russia in the future.
Whose Foreign Policy?
The problem for Western governments in reading these tea leaves is that
Russia does not have "a" foreign policy. Rather, Russia has several foreign
policies. Which policy line prevails on any given issue depends almost
entirely on who is up and who is down in Moscow on any given day.
Nearly 10 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, what is still
striking about Russia's new democracy is the deep divisions over policy
issues--even within the Yeltsin Administration--as well as the lack of
institutional coherence within the Russian state for implementing policy.
Add a weak, sick and erratic leader at the top and the result is
unpredictable policies, be it in the changing of the government, the
implementation of federal reforms, or the sale of weapons abroad. Kosovo is
a typical example of this kind of decision-making. This was never more
evident than in the way Russian policy on Kosovo changed throughout the
Over the last several months, Russia has had four policies towards the
Kosovo crisis, not one. The first Russian foreign policy response to the
NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia was passionately negative. Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov called the NATO bombing the worst aggression in Europe
since World War II. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov compared "NATO
ideology" to "Hitlerism," while several members of his party advocated a
None of this rhetoric, however, translated into actual policy. As the
initial point person on the Kosovo crisis in Russia, then Prime Minister
Yevgeny Primakov understood that Russia's interests would not be served by
a military conflict with NATO as Russia still needed engagement with the
West--and foremost, the IMF--to address its economies woes. Rearming
Milosevic would insure that Russia would be treated as a rogue state on the
periphery of the international world system for years to come. Just the
same, short of war Mr. Primakov and his allies welcomed any development in
the crisis that might undermine NATO's resolve.
The Primakov policy on Kosovo--talk loud and carry a small stick--did not
last long. President Yeltsin loathed Mr. Primakov's place in the spotlight
and moved fast to clip his Prime Minister’s wings by appointing former
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin as his special envoy for Yugoslavia.
Although he had little mediation experience and no background in the
Balkans, he did have good friends in the U.S., including Vice President Al
Gore. While the tough talk continued in Moscow, Mr. Chernomyrdin quietly
sought a solution of mutual benefit for the West and Russia.
Had Mr. Chernomyrdin enjoyed solid domestic support in the Russian
parliament or within the ministries of defense and foreign affairs, he
might have been able to portray his accomplishments as a negotiator as a
win for both NATO and Russia. As a mediator, Mr. Chernomyrdin, after all,
could claim to have stopped the NATO bombing campaign, preserved the
territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, internationalized the peacekeeping
force, and brought the settlement under the auspices of the United Nations.
Mr. Chernomyrdin's efforts also helped to counter the negative image in the
United States of a jingoist anti-Western Russia.
But Mr. Chernomyrdin, who has never had a solid following within Russia,
and got little credit for any of this. And once he had outlived his
usefulness to President Yeltsin, who originally appointed him to undermine
Mr. Primakov, Mr. Chernomyrdin became an easy target for those dissatisfied
with the peace settlement.
Last weekend, these forces, under the orders of Generals Ivashov and
Kvashnin, decided to move troops into Kosovo. The de facto division of
Kosovo into NATO-dominated sectors deeply offended Russian military
commanders who had expected a U.N. unified command and a Russian sector.
Sensing that NATO was presenting Russia with a fait accompli, it appears
that Russia’s generals decided to create their own facts on the ground by
moving into Kosovo before a political agreement about Russian military
participation in the peacekeeping mission had been reached.
This decision was almost certainly not, as some analysts have suggested,
made independently of the Kremlin. Although details are still sketchy, past
patterns of behavior suggests a similar logic in this latest decision about
Russian troop deployment. Indeed, this latest maneuver is classic Yeltsin,
very reminiscent of the way he "decided" to invade Chechnya. In both
situations, Mr. Yeltsin deliberately developed two camps--hawks and
doves--within his Administration. In Chechnya, he gave a vague set of
orders to Russian armed forces about preserving law and order in Chechnya.
He then disappeared (for an operation on his nose) and allowed the hawks to
take the initiative. If they failed, Mr. Yeltsin could always distance
himself from them. If they succeeded, he could take the credit.
The Russian decision to race to Kosovo underscores the impediments to
constructive engagement that will haunt the Russian-Western relationship
for some time to come. Which foreign policy will it be next week? Which
Yeltsin will be in charge--the hawk or the dove?
That Russian foreign policy is the product of the interplay of competing
domestic groups is, of course, a vast improvement over the Soviet system of
foreign policy making. Russia today is not a totalitarian state ruled by a
Communist Party with a single and clearly articulated foreign policy of
expanding world socialism and destroying world capitalism and democracy.
But until Russia gets its own house in order, it will be unable to conduct
a responsible and coherent foreign policy. The West must accept that, as
long as Mr. Yeltsin remains President of Russia, the decision-making
process in Moscow on any issue, including Kosovo, is likely to remain
muddled and erratic.
In taking a joyride through the Kosovo countryside, Russian forces may have
delivered a brief sense of exhilaration to Russia's foreign policy elite.
For the first time this decade, Russia openly and deliberately defied the
West. It must have felt good. But the short-term high came at a real cost
to Russia's long-term national interests.
Western governments will no doubt continue to engage Russia in a dialogue
over Kosovo, especially with Russian forces on the ground there. But when
the next international crisis comes around and Western leaders do not
bother to phone Moscow, Russia's foreign policy community should pause and
remember their "Pristina victory" before complaining again about how they
never get any respect.
Mr. McFaul is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace in Washington and a professor of political science at
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1999
From: Bthnceeer@aol.com (Robert Huber)
Subject: NCEEER Job Postings
PROGRAM OFFICER, MOSCOW OFFICE, NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR EURASIAN AND EAST
EUROPEAN RESEARCH (NCEEER)
NCEEER seeks a Program Officer in its Moscow office to assist in the
administration and development of research, exchange, and curriculum
development programs involving American scholars and their counterparts in
the New Independent States (NIS) and Central and Eastern Europe.
The successful candidate will be required to:
administer and monitor academic programs administered by NCEEER;
demonstrate experience in working with members of the scholarly community
concerning the administration of fellowships and tracking of program alumni;
indicate evidence of ability to work with other non-profit organizations in
collaborative settings; and
demonstrate credible computer skills, including the ability to work with
database, word processing, and graphics programs, as well as web page
Candidates should preferably have an M.A., and have at least one year
experience in administering research, training, and exchange programs in
the the NIS. Strong Russian language skills strongly preferred. NCEEER
expects that successful candidates will be able to begin employment no
later than January 3, 2000. Candidates should send resumes and reference
PROGRAM OFFICER, NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR EURASIAN AND EAST EUROPEAN RESEARCH
NCEEER seeks a Program Officer to assist in the administration and
development of research, exchange, and curriculum development programs
involving American scholars and their counterparts in the New Independent
States (NIS) and Central and Eastern Europe.
The successful candidate will be required to:
administer and monitor academic programs administered by NCEEER;
demonstrate experience in working with members of the scholarly community
concerning the administration of fellowships;
demonstrate credible computer skills, including the ability to work with
database, word processing, and graphics programs;
Candidates should preferably have an M.A., and have at least one year
experience in administering research, training, and exchange programs with
the NIS and CEE, and have intermediate language skills in at least one
language of the region. Experience in working on newsletters and other
publications also preferred. Candidates should send resumes and reference
Robert T. Huber, President
910 17th Street, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 822-6950 (Phone)
(202) 822-6955 (FAX)
Express-Chronicle N24(579), 14 June 1999
Two Cows and Ten Political Regimes
[translated by Rachel Dubin; words between double slantlines were published in
bold in the original]
This anonymous text is circulating in various forms on the Internet. So,
imagine that you are the master of two cows under various types of social
You sell one cow and buy a bull. The herd grows up and your farm expands.
Finally, you retire and live off the interest from the capital in the bank.
Your neighbors help worry about your cows, but you divide the milk amongst
The state takes away both cows, hires you to look after them and allows you to
buy from it a part of the milk you have received.
It turns out that your nationality does not suit the state's leaders. The
are taken away, after which it is discovered that their nationality does not
suit the ruling party. And all of you are sent off to a concentration camp.
Your neighbors decide who will get the milk.
Your neighbors choose the person who will decide who gets the milk.
The government promises you two cows if you'll vote for it. After a
election, they want to subject the president to impeachment for speculation on
cow futures. The press gives this scandal the name "Cowgate," but supports
president. The cows sue you for breach of contract. Your lawyers' fees are
higher than your income from milk. You come to a peaceful settlement with the
cows and declare bankruptcy.
At first, the government decides what you will feed the cows with and when you
will milk them. Then it starts to pay you a stipend on the condition that you
not milk them. Subsequently, the government buys both cows, kills one, milks
one and empties the milk into the sewers. And at the end, a written answer as
to exactly where you put the two cows, who had been at your disposal, is
demanded from you.
//Democracy, South America-style//
The state takes the cows away, you are shot, and the state sends the beast off
to a Swiss bank, after which it retires and emigrates.
The state covers you with a tax on milking, which is three times higher than
the value of milk for sale. Taxes are slapped on the purchase of milk from
abroad. At year's end the tax police requisition your cows for non-payment of
taxes. They give one cow to the local mafia as a gift and sell the other to
you at a doubled price. All your time is free from milking and you search for
where you could buy one more cow.
June 15, 1999
Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov commented on events in
Yugoslavia in his report "The World on the Threshold of the 21st Century"
delivered at an international forum at Interlaken, Switzerland. Kommersant
prints a summary of the report. According to Yevgeny Primakov the events
around Yugoslavia marked the "starting point" of the development of
international relations in the next century. According to the former
Russian Premier the situation may follow one of two scenarios. Under the
first one, the NATO countries will realize "that they have made a strategic
mistake." That will enhance the role of the U.N. and the Security Council
"whose decision will be mandatory for taking any military actions." The
second scenario which Yevgeny Primakov considers is Washington's increasing
reliance on NATO, the sidelining and "neutralization" of the U.N. and the
Security Council and a Russian military buildup. That, in his opinion,
"will make the course of democratization and reform in our country more
difficult," "will encourage an isolationist trend that runs counter to the
interests of Russians and the world community." "Of course, we should
always remain optimistic," thinks Yevgeny Primakov. The future generations
should remember this complex period "with pride and satisfaction and not
with the bitterness of unrealized hopes," he stresses.
Kommersant-Daily carries an interview with Igor Malashenko, deputy chair of
the Board of Directors of the Media-Most holding, under the title "If
Yeltsin Dies, We Will See Such an Absurd Fight That God Help Us...") In
particular, Malashenko believes that Boris Berezovsky and Anatoly Chubais
exaggerate their roles in the latest political developments in the country:
"Boris Yeltsin outweighs everyone and everything." As for Berezovsky, to
him "a person who says the truth, namely, that the king is naked, is the
most fearful person. However, this is the truth that more and more people
are realizing today." Malashenko also argues that Anatoly Chubais also "is,
in many ways, one of such people. Today we are witnessing a heart-rendering
sight of Anatly Borisovich making every effort to demonstrate to everyone
that in reality he has indeed played a very important role in putting
together the government, that he also is a 'king-maker.' And he is in a
great hurry as well to say it is none other than he that is making the
president out of Stepashin - so that, God forbid, Berezovsky or someone
else should not beat him to it."
Again About Skuratov
L. Krutakov in his article "Pillars of Power" notes that on making an
analysis of newspaper articles dealing with the "Skuratov affair" he has
arrived at the conclusion that "precisely the Prosecutor General's
investigation of the repair work in the Kremlin had prompted the 'Family'
to make public the video cassette showing Skuratov's amorous adventures".
The journalist stresses that "among the reasons why NRB and its head A.
Lebedev had agreed to do such a dirty job (arrangement of the filming) two
are named. The first is that Lebedev, too, had been a visitor to the 'bad
apartment' at Bolshaya Polyanka. Moreover, the form of his recreation did
not always accord with generally accepted traditions. Lebedev could have
well been 'put on the hook' for this. The second cause -- poor relations
with the Prosecutor General's Office".
In the opinion of the author, "an attempt to bring the situation with
Skuratov to conclusion is fraught with the danger of a public opening of
'suitcases full of shit'. And hardly anybody has any doubts that it is this
that Yuri Ilyich eventually will do. In fact, he will be simply forced to
do this. Today this is the main if not the only possibility of
destabilizing the situation in the country. And it is the 'Family' that is
interested in such a destabilization most of all because its chances to
retain power if elections are conducted in a calm atmosphere are zero."
June 18, 1999
State Audit Slams Cost of Kremlin Refit
By Yevgenia Borisova
The State Audit Chamber has completed a confidential audit that says
President Boris Yeltsin's administration spent $488 million restoring the
president's Kremlin residence and secretively sold off hundreds of rare and
historical artifacts at bargain basement prices.
The State Audit Chamber's investigation into the renovations of what is known
as Kremlin Building No. 1 found no criminal wrongdoing. However, auditors
criticized the lavish cost - which amounted to $14,087 per square meter - at
a time when the Russian government was struggling to pay pensions and wages
and to defend the currency while building up billions of dollars in debt that
it was eventually unable to pay.
"The investigation has revealed plenty of evidence regarding the irrational
usage of budget funds and of state property," said Yury Boldyrev, deputy head
of the Audit Chamber.
"Look at the figures: If $18 million was spent during the reconstruction of
Kremlin Building No. 1 just to build two winter gardens, anyone can assess
the rationality of such a use of budget cash when considering Russia's
economic situation at the time," Boldyrev added.
Thus far, the auditors have not been able to assess the total cost of the
renovation. Pavel Borodin, head of the presidential property department,
assessed the project cost $488 million, but auditors believe even this
excessive figure could be just a base price.
Borodin's assessment may well turn out to understate the final cost because
the cash flows to repair the Kremlin, State Duma and Federation Council
buildings - all of which were funded from state coffers - were mixed
together, said Alexander Kushnar, the auditor in charge of the investigation.
However, more disturbing than the costly repair work at Yeltsin's Kremlin
residence was the secretive disposal of a treasure trove of historic
artifacts - from tsarist-erachandeliers to Josef Stalin's office furniture -
that had been either stored at Kremlin warehouses or were part of the
All these items were sold - apparently for very minor sums - to anonymous
individuals through direct, secretive sales that must have cost the state a
lot of money in lost profits, said Kushnar.
Kushnar was particularly interested in the fate of the furniture and fittings
that had once adorned the offices of Stalin, his infamous security chief
Lavrenty Beria and Georgy Malenkov - Soviet Premier in the early 1950s - back
when those Soviet potentates worked in the building.
"I asked [the Presidential Economic Department] where is the furniture from
the 200 square meter office of Stalin, and they said it was sold to some
private persons - who are listed nowhere. The same for the other offices,"
Kushnar said. "They also sold 227 huge historical crystal and bronze
chandeliers to 'random' people for a total of just 3.7 billion rubles [about
The money went into the same, opaque pool of funds being used to finance
reconstruction works on major presidential buildings.
Rooms full of other historic furniture were disposed of in similar fashion.
And while it is difficult to say exactly how much these items could have
fetched at auction, it is certain they went for well below a fair price,
"If sold at a proper auction for their historical significance, these things
would have brought Russian coffers at least ten times more than they did," he
As a result, items of historical significance that should have been either
sold in an open, transparent fashion or donated to a museum, have effectively
just vanished, he said.
"They have their own system of sales of such things which keeps no track of
where they went," Kushnar added.
The audit chamber investigation into the repair works has run parallel to
allegations by the General Prosecutor's Office that the Swiss-based Mabetex
firm bribed Kremlin officials in order to win lucrative construction
contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Some of the contracts were alleged to have been those that Mabetex won for
rebuilding the Kremlin.
When the Mabetex scandal first broke in March, Borodin played down the
company's role in a series of interviews with the Russian press.
He told Komsomolskaya Pravda that the Swiss firm had been one of about 100 or
so contractors working on the Kremlin and that it had carried out about a
fifth of the work.
The investigation into the relationship between Mabetex and Borodin's
department has played a major role in the conflict between the Kremlin and
General Prosecutor Yury Skuratov. It has also been the cause of a
prosecutor's raid of the Kremlin itself to take away documents relating to
the contracts. Later, allegations emerged that Borodin holds a joint bank
account with Mabetex through which millions of dollars had been transferred
to him and also to Yeltsin's daughter Tatyana Dyachenko.
Borodin, who was unavailable for comment this week, has strenuously denied
Kremlin Building No. 1 is located right behind the section of the Kremlin
wall that is next to Lenin's Mausoleum. Built in 1787 by Russian architect
Mikhail Kazakov, the 34,640 square meter, three-story building originally
housed the Russian Senate.
Later, after the Soviets moved the seat of government back to Moscow from St.
Petersburg in the early 1920s, it became the residence and work place for
Communist Party leaders and their chief aides. Vladimir Lenin had his office
there as did Stalin.
When President Yeltsin ordered its restoration in 1993, it had not been
seriously repaired since the mid-19th century.
The Audit Chamber agreed that by that stage it was truly overdue for
restoration, but the scale of the expenditures was deemed inappropriate.
The $14,087 per square meter expenditure on the building is well in excess of
the $2,000 to $3,000 standard that real estate experts said is the norm for
bui lding and fitting out top range office blocks in Moscow.
It is also considerably more than the $3,300 per square meter spent on the
highly controversial construction of the Ronald Reagan building and
International Trade Center in Washington, completed a couple of years ago.
That 270,000 square meter complex of buildings set back U.S. taxpayers some
$818 million and was savagely criticized in the American press for
overspending budget money.
June 18, 1999
EDITORIAL: Audit Heaps More Shame On Kremlin
The State Audit Chamber's preliminary findings on the repairs carried out on
the president's Kremlin residence between 1993 and 1995 reveal yet another
shameful chapter in the abuse of power that has become the hallmark of the
At a time when millions of average Russian citizens were going without,
thanks to the state's inability to pay out what it owed in social benefits,
wages, payments for defense industry orders and other obligations, it's hard
to find a justification for spending almost half a billion dollars on one,
not especially large building inside the Kremlin.
Even though the Audit Chamber declares there was nothing illegal in the
renovations, it doesn't make pretty reading.
For a start, the repairs were carried out in a secretive fashion that allowed
not the slightest possibility for reining in the indulgent instincts of top
Even worse, the manner in which an Aladdin's Cave of Soviet and tsarist
furniture and fittings were sold off for kopeks on the ruble - to whom, it's
not exactly clear - represents the kind of questionable dealing that has been
the hallmark of Yeltsin's declining years.
State property was sold off in what amounts to Kremlin garage sale with
complete disregard for its actual worth.
It's difficult to shock anyone with all of this - after all Yeltsin also must
accept responsibility for the parceling out of enormously valuable companies
such as Norilsk Nickel, oil majors Yukos, Sidanko and Sibneft, for a fraction
of what they were really worth, to well-connected insiders.
Remarkable new proof of how coarsened political life has become came this
week from Yeltsin's old stomping ground, Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains.
The city that Yeltsin ruled as party boss back when it was known as
Sverdlovsk has witnessed the birth of a political party that is not only
comprised almost entirely of people with criminal records but is also brazen
enough to have called itself Uralmash - a name it shares not only with the
areas biggest heavy machinery manufacturer but also with one of Russia's most
notorious crime gangs. The leaders, however, don't work at Uralmash - at the
factory, that is.
There is no proof that any of the members the Uralmash political party are
involved in organized crime, but their actions are something akin to an
Italian political party calling itself La Cosa Nostra, or a New York one
deciding to go by the name Corleone.
To have the local governor and anti-organized crime squad be as accepting of
the move as they have been simply underlines the fact that power in today's
Russia is about as lawless a game as can be.