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Johnson's Russia List
21 June 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Clinton Urges Russia on Reforms.
2. AP:yeltsin Mulls Revising Missile Pact.
3. Reuters: Stiff Yeltsin grins away questions at summit.
4. Robert Devane: re DJ comment on anti-Russian views.
5. Boston Globe: Marshall Goldman, Let's admit it: Russia needs a Balkans
6. Los Angeles Times: Patricia Daganskaia, Two Brothers, at War and in
Peace. Politics and sibling rivalry have split directors Nikita Mikhalkov
and Andrei Konchalovsky. Still, there is some common ground.
7. Rossiyskaya Gazeta: Russian Media Critics of Dash to Pristina Rapped.
8. Moscow Times letter: Falk Bomsdorf responds to Pavel
9. RFE/RL: Paul Goble, From Kosovo To Karabakh?
10. Job postings for NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR EURASIAN AND EAST EUROPEAN
11. Itar-Tass: Radical Rightists Have Rally in Downtown Moscow.
12. Zavtra: Tablo: A Den Security Service Intelligence Report.]
Clinton Urges Russia on Reforms
June 20, 1999
MOSCOW (AP) - President Clinton, in an interview with Russian television
Sunday, said no amount of outside help can bolster Russia's economy unless
the nation makes some fundamental changes.
``No matter how much the (International Monetary Fund) tries to help
Russia, until your country makes the basic changes every country must make
to function in the global economy'' Russia will not prosper, Clinton said
on the program Itogi.
He was speaking from Cologne, Germany, after a Group of Eight summit at
which he met with Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
Russia's government is pressing the Communist-dominated parliament to pass
a reform package that the IMF is demanding before it releases a $4.5
billion loan. The fund froze lending to Russia when its markets collapsed
Clinton also welcomed Russia into the Group of Eight, or G-8, comprised of
seven nations considered the world's richest, plus Russia. ``There is a
G-8. Russia is a full member,'' Clinton said.
Clinton said Yeltsin, who has been plagued by health problems for years,
looked strong and spoke clearly.
Clinton played down the dispute over Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo, and
stressed the importance of Russian participation in the overall
peacekeeping force. He also thanked Viktor Chernomyrdin, Yeltsin's special
envoy to the Balkans, for his mediation efforts in the Yugoslavia conflict.
Yeltsin Mulls Revising Missile Pact
June 20, 1999
By TERENCE HUNT
COLOGNE, Germany (AP) - Eager to mend bomb-strained ties with President
Clinton, Russian President Boris Yeltsin agreed Sunday for the first time
to consider revising a landmark treaty banning American and Russian
``The two countries are back in business,'' National Security Adviser Sandy
Berger reported after a friendly, hour-long meeting between the two
presidents. Their decision to discuss the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile
treaty was ``very significant,'' Berger said.
Frail but feisty, Yeltsin came to the closing day of a summit of world
leaders even as NATO was declaring an end to the Kosovo conflict and 78
days of NATO bombing that had outraged Moscow.
Striking a conciliatory note, Yeltsin declared, ``The most important thing
is to mend ties after a fight.'' Clinton thanked Yeltsin ``for not giving
up on our relationship'' during four months of tension, Berger said.
``This entire difficulty in Kosovo has been a great test for the
relationship ... but it is a test I believe that both countries have
passed,'' Clinton said in a Russian television interview.
Clinton and Yeltsin agreed not to look back, but to move ahead to tackle
thorny nuclear arms-control issues. Even so, Berger acknowledged, ``Kosovo
has left some scars, presumably on both sides.''
Though ailing, Yeltsin pounded his fist in disagreement with his ministers
at times and wagged his finger at note-takers to write an accurate report
of the meeting. He invited Clinton to come to Moscow but it was not decided
when that might happen.
When Clinton expressed concern about anti-Semitic statements by Russian
nationalists, Yeltsin declared, ``Provide me with all of the material you
have and I will really sit on them,'' Berger recounted.
Clinton described Yeltsin as ``clear, concise and direct and strong.'' In a
CNN interview, Clinton said ``We got a lot done.''
The two presidents agreed to hold U.S.-Russian talks in the fall on deeper
cuts in nuclear arms and on possibly reopening the 1972 ABM treaty, Berger
``This is very significant,'' he said, ``because for the first time the
Russians have agreed to discuss changes in the ABM treaty that may be
necessitated by a national missile defense system, were we to decide to
Congress is pressing Clinton to deploy a shield against limited ballistic
missile attack. Critics say that would require changing the ABM treaty -
something Moscow has opposed fiercely. Clinton has until next June to
decide whether to field a system, and building it would take an additional
Clinton told Yeltsin the United States was committed to the ABM pact and
would negotiate with Russia if any changes are required, Berger said. ``And
this ... is a recognition on the part of the Russians that they're prepared
to have that discussion.''
While the United States considers erecting a missile shield, a financially
strapped Russia wants to press ahead with deeper cuts in nuclear warheads.
Clinton agreed to preliminary discussions on more reductions - but not to
hold formal negotiations until Russia ratifies the 1993 START II treaty
that requires cutting back to a maximum of 3,500 warheads on each side.
The follow-on agreement - a START III - could bring warhead levels down to
2,000 for each country. There already have been some discussions looking
ahead to START III.
The START II treaty has languished in the Russian parliament despite
repeated pledges by Yeltsin to get it approved. It appeared headed for
ratification earlier this year but was shelved when NATO began bombing
Yugoslavia. The U.S. Senate approved it in 1996.
Yeltsin, in a show of good will, presented Clinton with information culled
from Russian archives about President Kennedy and his assassination.
Berger said he did not know what was in the files but it presumably
concerns information about accused gunman Lee Harvey Oswald, who defected
to the Soviet Union in 1959 but returned home less than three years later,
disenchanted with life in the communist world.
Clinton was unable to offer Yeltsin much in the way of economic help,
Berger acknowledged. The president urged Yeltsin to press Russia's
parliament to approve austerity measures required by the International
Monetary Fund before releasing $4.5 billion in aid.
Unless Russia adopts economic reforms, Clinton said, ``the private money
will not flow into Russia that will really bring it back to the position
that the Russian people deserve, and that frankly the rest of the world
Raising a recurring irritant, Yeltsin complained about the requirement to
seek annual waivers exempting Russia from trade restrictions imposed during
the Soviet era. Clinton said he wanted to repeal the measure, known as the
Jackson-Vanik amendment, but that there were concerns about Russian
Stiff Yeltsin grins away questions at summit
By Alastair Macdonald
COLOGNE, Germany, June 20 (Reuters) - ``Many, many, many, many, many
questions,'' a grinning Boris Yeltsin intoned on Sunday, holding his arms
wide in an expansive gesture.
He was referring to the content of talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton
at the Cologne summit of the Group of Eight -- the Group of Seven leading
industrialised countries plus Russia.
His stiff, puffy-faced and tottering appearance and brief and simple public
utterances left many questions unanswered -- such as how far the ruler of
the world's biggest territory and commander of its second biggest arsenal
was master of his own actions, let alone the levers of power in Moscow.
>From the slow descent from his Ilyushin jet on the arm of his wife Naina to
his departure eight hours later on the final day of a summit that had
lasted three days for the other world leaders, the 68-year-old president
cut a figure of less than total health but seemed determined to put on a
As aides tried to shepherd him into the waiting limousine at the airport,
the tall and bulky Kremlin leader spied reporters and brushed them aside.
Helped by a bodyguard he delivered his key message for the day, that East
and West must ``make up after our fight'' over the war in Yugoslavia.
Stepping from a hotel to another waiting car, his personal doctor hovering
in attendance, he shook off anxious officials again to sign a slightly
shaky autograph, losing his balance briefly as he did so before being caught.
A bear hug for a slightly discomfited German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
looked as if Yeltsin, whose drama-filled decade in power is due to end next
year, was seeking support.
In Moscow, officials concede Yeltsin's workload is limited and reports of
palace intrigues among ambitious advisers and members of his family are
Sitting with fellow leaders, he engaged in a bit of playful arm-wrestling
with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien. Yeltsin, who had a quintuple
heart bypass in 1996 and has had a series of other ailments, seemed keen to
show off his strength.
His allies rallied round as they have done so often in the past -- as they
did when he stood up a prime minister by failing mysteriously to get off a
plane or leapt to conduct a military band after a champagne lunch in Berlin.
``I thought he was very much in charge,'' said White House National
Security Adviser Sandy Berger, who sat across the table from Yeltsin at an
hour-long meeting between Clinton and the Russian leader. ``I thought he
seemed strong, in good humour.''
``He looked robust,'' said Berger, adding that he believed it was one of
the best ever meetings between the two men. ``He walked a bit stiffly, but
he was very forceful -- the fist was pounding.''
Yet on his first trip since a flying visit to Jordan for King Hussein's
funeral in February and an illness-curtailed tour of Central Asia last
autumn, Yeltsin's own advisers seemed happy simply that he should make the
journey and return on schedule.
``Thank God, it went well. We're very happy. The president feels fine,''
one said. ``He didn't have any major problems.''
From: "Robert Devane" <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 1999
Subject: DJ comment on anti-Russian views
A quick note on your experience at the Central Asia - Caucasus Institute. I
think part of your impression is a reflection of two facts :
(a) America's political culture (and not just America's) is pathologically
in need of labeling everything (i.e. making everything black and white);
(b) America's political culture is very "sound-bite" oriented (i.e. seeks
to capture everything, including complex processes, in three words or
As a result, we're constantly subjected to blanket assessments of Russia. A
golden oldie is "The Evil Empire". You've mentioned "meddler" and "trouble
maker". Just two years ago it was "partner" and other nice things. Over
time, one finds these "mood swings" to be reactionary, trendy, and
opportunistic. That's politics, I suppose.
However, to the extend that there are people, in the US, Russia, and in
third countries, that really want the development of sustainable,
substantive, and constructive Russia-West relations, the "band aid"
approach to Russia policy cannot suffice. It has always been my experience,
that when approaching problems of outmost difficulty, it is best to stick
to basic rules. One of those rules is that every major journey begins with
one small step and consists of many other small steps. Where Russia policy
is concerned, that means that every macro policy must be readily broken
down into a series of easily discernable, focused, short-term steps, with
clearly defined tasks, goals, outcomes, and evaluations of success. The
second rule is the Rule of the Duck: if it walks like a duck, quacks like a
duck, and looks like a duck, it's probably a duck. Over the past several
years there has been a great deal of quacking emanating from Russia. Yet a
great many people were quick to declare it a swan. Now we're seeing the
pendulum swing the other way, where Russia bashing is again in style. Well,
the simple truth of the matter is that Russia is neither good, nor bad.
Russia is Russia. How much we like it or not like it, is just as much a
reflection upon us as on anything else.
June 20, 1999
[for personal use only]
Let's admit it: Russia needs a Balkans role
By Marshall Goldman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Russia has a penchant for rogue nations. Why it befriends countries such as
Iraq, Libya, and Syria remains a mystery. But a visit to Moscow provides a
understanding of why the Russians are so supportive of Serbia and, if need
be, its leader, Slobodan Milosevic.
As Russia held a key airport and NATO allies worked around its
thorn-in-the-paw presence last week until reaching a rough agreement Friday,
it became increasingly clear that the challenge for the West will be how to
integrate Russia's deeply held sentiments with NATO's aims and find a way to
resolve present concerns and future standoffs. This is, after all, the
Balkans, an incubator of eternal blood feuds and countless wars.
Admittedly, for a long time Russia's sympathy and support for Serb actions in
Kosovo were reinforced because only scenes from Yugoslav television - with
their graphic depiction of the NATO bombing of bridges, apartments, and
innocent civilians - were rebroadcast in Russia. There was virtually no
independent coverage and no acknowledgement of the Serb's brutal ethnic
cleansing, as was coming to light at week's end. In the same way, there was
almost no recognition of the plight of the non-Serb Muslim Kosovars.
Americans tend to gloss over Russia's longstanding and intimate relationship
with the Serbs. Not that it has always been blissful. Josef Stalin's vicious
effort to undermine Yugoslavian leader Josef Tito in the late 1940s and 1950s
is a prime example. But with an exception or two, the Russians for more than
a century have come to regard themselves as the defenders of their brave
Serbian little brothers. They see the Serbs as the last bastion in Europe
protecting it against an Islamic sweep. The border between the orthodox Serbs
and the Muslim Kosovars has traditionally been a flashpoint for what
political scientist Samuel Huntington has come to describe as the clash of
What puzzles so many of my Russian friends is why those in Western Europe and
the United States are not more appreciative of not only the Serbs for their
past sacrifices but also the Russians who have faced up to similar struggles
against Islamic militancy in places such as Tadzhikistan and Chechnya on
their southern and southeastern frontiers. It does not help matters when they
are reminded that Hitler felt similarly unappreciated as he fought to hold
back the Bolsheviks from sweeping into the rest of Europe.
Of course, there is more to the relationship than just a standoff between
Christians and Muslims. The Serbs, after all, are Eastern Orthodox
Christians, just as the Russians are. Their beliefs are not identical, but
their practices are close enough. Moreover, the Serbs are Slavic, as the
Russians are. Indeed, the Serbs were one of the focal points of the
19th-century Pan Slavic movement. This was a favorite cause of many Russian
intellectuals, who used the Pan Slavic theme and support for Serbia in their
As Russian television began to present a more balanced portrait of Serbia's
brutality in Kosovo, support for the Serbs, and especially for Milosevic, has
become more nuanced. But the historic affiliations remain dominant. These
feelings are strengthened by the Russian impression that the Slavs in
general, but particularly the Russians and Serbs, are generally regarded as
somehow inferior by other Europeans.
Of course, not all present-day Russians have been swept up in this emotional
and nationalistic crusade. But even those Russians who have long advocated a
greater involvement with the West (and a check on what they see as a
regressive or even moribund cause focusing on the past rather than the
present) find it hard to resist support for the Serbs and the Russian troops
there now. The Russians are particularly bitter because of the way NATO has
acted not only toward Serbia, but also toward Russia itself. They feel duped.
As the Russians see it, they peaceably gave up their military alliance, the
Warsaw Pact, and let it be dissolved in order to make possible a new
post-Cold War order with no ideological or East-West confrontation; in other
words, they went along with the notion of a united Europe. As the Russians
see it, they did their part (leader Mikhail Gorbachev allowed the peaceful
reunification of the two Germanys for what many Russians considered a
pittance) only to watch helplessly as NATO pushed the borders of the
East-West divide eastward almost to Russia's borders.
NATO was benign, we insisted, but then proceeded to welcome the former Warsaw
Pact members, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, into its membership.
This was something that we promised NATO would not do. We also insisted that
NATO was solely a defensive alliance, a characterization that is hard to
substantiate after all that bombing in Serbia.
Nor does it help when NATO makes decisions with barely any effort to seek
counsel from Russia or to seek its agreement for most initiatives. Moreover,
even though the West continues to deny Russia membership in NATO, we insist
that if it wants to play a role in Kosovo, Russian troops should fall within
the NATO command structure and accept NATO's orders. Not surprisingly, the
Russians found this hard to accept, thus the long and delicate discussions
before reaching some middle ground Friday.
No wonder then that those 185 Russian troops who suddenly raced from Bosnia
to the Pristina Airport early in the week became such heroes at home. Even
those few Russians who are willing to place curbs on the Serbs and oust
Milosevic find themselves taking pride in how their ''boys'' outfoxed NATO by
establishing facts on the ground. True, their numbers are small, and their
country can't pay its bills to the International Monetary Fund or anyone
else, but the Russians bottled up the airport, and showed they would be a
factor. Even more important, as they moved in, they were wildly applauded by
the remaining Serbs, an appreciation for Russian troops not seen since the
end of World War II. If that were not enough, the actions of these troops
caused Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to order his plane to turn
around and fly back to Moscow, much as then-Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov
had to reverse his plane on his way to Washington when the NATO bombing first
Given the presence of NATO troops across from Russian ones, what are our
options? As we have seen, some Russian government officials have done their
best to seek a resolution of past differences between NATO and Serbia and,
for that matter, Russia. However, given Russia's deep anger toward the West,
it has become politically risky for those who advocate the search for
Viktor Chernomyrdin, the Russian special envoy whose intervention was
essential for ending the Kosovo standoff, is now being vilified at home. He
may even have jeopardized his chance not only for election as president but
also for election as a member of the Duma, the legislative assembly. But he
did prove to us, if not his countrymen, that Russia has an essential role to
play not only in Europe but also in much of the world. If there is to be a
true end to the Cold War, Russia will have to become involved in exactly this
With patience, luck, and, wherever possible, skilled diplomacy, we should try
to nudge Russia in such constructive ways. That will not always be easy as
demonstrated by the tension over the airport, especially since what appeared
so clever a ploy to the Russians reminded us of a more sinister grab in
Berlin in 1945.
Yet if this is really to be a new era, we must recognize the Russians'
historic interest in the region and work with them to support legitimate Serb
interests. They do, after all, have some. Given the natural inclination both
here and in Moscow to outmaneuver and distrust one another, that won't be
easy. Nor does it help that Russian President Boris Yeltsin is not always
fully in command of himself or of his country, or that in the ensuing vacuum
the Russian General Staff seems to have become more independent and assertive.
Moreover, professionally as soldiers they are the most likely ones to
reminisce about the glories of the Cold War, if not for its ideology then for
its quest for a balance of power and its gamesmanship.
Difficult as it may be to acknowledge, there is a value to having a nation
out there willing to call NATO and the United States to account every once in
a while. It is not just that the Serbs should have someone who is sympathetic
to their side of the story. There is, like it or not, a real danger that in
the absence of a superpower that can challenge the United States now and
then, we, as the world's single superpower, may on occasion lose our balance
and become abusive in ways we find repulsive when we see someone else
The problem is, of course, that the Russians do not always act as neutral
referees when they try to bring us up short. But if we can be ingenious
enough, perhaps we can build on this mutual dependence to find more
compatible ways of dealing with such conflicts and tensions. It won't be
easy. But since we have no other choice, we should give it our best try.
Los Angeles Times
June 20, 1999
[for personal use only]
Two Brothers, at War and in Peace
Politics and sibling rivalry have split directors Nikita Mikhalkov and
Andrei Konchalovsky. Still, there is some common ground.
By PATRICIA DAGANSKAIA
Patricia Daganskaia Is a Researcher in The Times' Moscow Bureau
MOSCOW--Two men. Two directors. Two paths.
One Oscar. One Emmy. One family.
Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrei Konchalovsky. Known to different audiences on
different continents, the two Russian directors are brothers. Their names are
synonymous with complex characters and beautiful cinematography. The story of
their lives reads like a movie synopsis, with political aspirations,
passionate romance and sibling rivalry.
In February, the 53-year-old Mikhalkov staged a spectacular premiere in the
Kremlin for his latest film, "The Barber of Siberia." Mikhalkov, who won a
best foreign-language film Oscar for his 1994 movie "Burnt by the Sun," drew
Hollywood stars Julia Ormond, Robert Duvall and Shirley MacLaine to the gala
affair. The $45-million "Barber" is the most expensive Russian movie to hit
theaters since the 1967 film "War and Peace."
The director, who favors the idea of a constitutional monarchy for Russia,
cast himself in the film in the role of Czar Alexander III. Some said he was
trying on the crown. While promoting the film, Mikhalkov said he would run
for the Russian presidency next year "if the people insist."
"The Barber" opened the Cannes Film Festival last month and was quickly
panned by critics, including some who walked out after only an hour. One
called the three-hour film "the longest political broadcast in history."
Meanwhile, big brother Konchalovsky, 61, who won an Emmy for directing 1997's
NBC television miniseries "The Odyssey," in February published "Lofty
Deceptions," a second volume of tell-all memoirs that has quickly become a
bestseller in Russia.
A sequel to "Home Truths," which was also a Russian bestseller, "Lofty
Deceptions" expands on the tales of Konchalovsky's life and loves in
Hollywood. The book, so far published only in Russian, boasts of his affairs
with MacLaine and Juliet Binoche. He writes about his early days in 1980s
Hollywood and claims he sold smuggled black caviar to Barbra Streisand and
Milos Forman. He tells of his dispute with Sylvester Stallone in the making
of "Tango and Cash" and about directing "The Odyssey," which at $44 million
was the most expensive miniseries ever to appear on American TV screens.
While Konchalovsky has been a big spender in Hollywood, Mikhalkov is now
facing criticism in Russia for following suit with the "The Barber of
Although the film is a Russian box-office hit, members of parliament have
launched an inquiry into whether it was proper for the Russian government to
spend $11 million on the film and its premiere. Mikhalkov says the government
kicked in the money because the movie "would be good for Russian morale."
Mikhalkov's movie has tapped into Russian nostalgia and inspired hopes of a
return to greatness. It also has managed--temporarily, at least--to unite the
country's political elite, from Communists to nationalists to pro-Western
Among those attending the Kremlin premiere were then-Prime Minister Yevgeny
M. Primakov, former Prime Minister Viktor S. Chernomyrdin, former Soviet
President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Communist Party leader Gennady A. Zyuganov
and pro-market Yabloko Party leader Grigory A. Yavlinsky.
"The Barber" depicts a beautiful and untouched pre-Communist Russia inhabited
by a noble and honest people. Their peaceful existence is disrupted by the
arrival of an eccentric American (Richard Harris) who creates the Barber, a
horrendous machine designed to hack down Siberia's virgin forests. Harris is
accompanied by Jane (Ormond), a femme fatale who leads the innocent Russian
hero Andrei Tolstoy (Oleg Menshikov of "Burnt by the Sun") astray.
Eventually, the Americans are run out of town in a rejection of Western
The film seems to mirror Mikhalkov's own support of all things Russian. "I
love my country," he said recently at a news conference. "Yes, we have a
crisis, corruption, default, but we also have a great country that produces
excellent caviar, vodka, chess players and ballerinas."
The more Westernized Konchalovsky, in contrast, is scathing in his criticism
of Russia's political culture. "I hated the Communist Party. A Soviet
passport was a slave's passport. I was embarrassed to live in this country,"
he writes in "Home Truths."
His thoughts are equally pessimistic on what lies ahead for his native land.
"Russia's future lies in its past. It has an immense propensity for
authoritarian systems," he said in an interview. "They don't know what
democracy is yet, and every attempt to bring it here will be the same as
America's attempt to bring democracy to Mexico."
This chasm between the brothers' political views can be traced back to their
star-studded yet turbulent family history.
They were born into a long line of Russian writers, painters and nobility
that Mikhalkov says extends back to Catherine the Great and Leo Tolstoy.
Grandfather Pyotr Konchalovsky was an Impressionist painter who got away with
refusing to paint Stalin's portrait. Mother Natalia Konchalovskaya was a
member of the aristocracy who opposed the Russian Revolution. Their father,
Sergei Mikhalkov, embraced Communist ideals, penned the words to the Soviet
national anthem and wrote a poem for Stalin's daughter, Svetlana.
It was this hybrid of aristocratic and Communist roots that led the brothers
along separate paths.
After taking his mother's maiden name, a protest against his Communist
father, Andrei Konchalovsky emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1968 by
marrying a French woman.
Although Konchalovsky invited Mikhalkov to join him in the West, the younger
brother refused to leave Russia.
"Nikita is a patriot, more Slavophile than me," Konchalovsky once said. "I am
more cosmopolitan and rational; he is more emotional, and that makes him
impassioned and intolerant, as real Russians are."
Evidently, there has been some friction between the siblings. "He was my
little brother. I took him to film shoots," Konchalovsky wrote. "But before I
knew it, the boot was on the other foot and he was flying the family flag. I
have to say that I quickly became jealous of him and his success."
When they met at Cannes in 1988, their reunion was fraught with envy. "It is
very difficult competing against a member of your own family," Konchalovsky
Luckily for them, both left as winners. Mikhalkov's Italian-language film
"Dark Eyes" won a best actor award for Marcello Mastroianni. Konchalovsky's
"Shy People" won a best actress award for Barbara Hershey.
* * *
The emigre Konchalovsky followed the traditional route to Hollywood, arriving
in Los Angeles in the early '80s with very little money, but with friends in
high places. He names Francis Ford Coppola as one who often helped him. By
immersing himself in Hollywood, Konchalovsky turned out American tales with a
touch of the Russian soul, such as "Runaway Train" (1985), starring Jon
Voight, and "Homer and Eddie" (1989) with Whoopi Goldberg.
Mikhalkov, on the other hand, entered Hollywood by bludgeoning his distinctly
Russian films into mainstream international cinema. While enjoying his
success, he seems to take pride in never pandering to the West.
He also enjoys promoting himself at the expense of American stars. "During a
reading for 'The Barber,' Andie MacDowell asked me if I was directing my
first film," he frequently tells reporters in Russia. "I explained to her
calmly that I had just won an Oscar the year before."
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, the brothers have found it
easier to reconcile their differences. The emigre has even started to make
peace with the country his brother loves so much.
"I appreciate Nikita's love for Russia," Konchalovsky writes. "If it weren't
for him, I would never have returned. I love Russia more because of him."
They also agree on a few other things. "I don't watch new films,"
Konchalovsky said at a news conference to promote his book. "They're all the
same. All Tarantino does is make a cocktail of other films. In the old days
you would end up in court for that."
Mikhalkov agrees: "I find them to be like McDonald's--fast, cheap and
As for the future, the siblings plan to continue on their separate but
reconciled ways, taking in Hollywood and Russia along their paths.
Russian Media Critics of Dash to Pristina Rapped
June 16, 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Yuriy Vasilkov under the "Rejoinder" rubric: "The Grand Gesture"
The bold military-political maneuver which made it
possible to dramatically improve Russia's position among the Kosovo
peacekeepers has produced an odd reaction by some Russian commentators.
Although even the NATO leadership has acknowledged that the sudden dash to
Pristina by a group of Russian airborne troops involved no violations of
the law at all, our television commentators have suddenly exhibited
incredible skepticism and concern. Not stinting on air time, they have
launched a barrage of rhetorical questions which would sound more
appropriate coming from the lips of foreigners depressed by the Russians'
resourcefulness. Who gave the order for the operation? Why was the plan
for the operation not discovered by representatives of the alliance in
good time? And here, as a summary, is the question asked by Ye. Kiselev:
"How will we build our relations with the West after such a 'grand gesture?'"
We will build them in line with Russia's legitimate interests. If
someone employs every kind of ruse to try to prevent our tackling
important questions, including the question of our security, it is no bad
thing to resort to a certain cunning. We are not the first to do so in
the history of diplomacy, nor will we be the last.
Of course, the move involving the airborne troops is only the first of
the steps to secure by further effective action the maintenance of
Russia's prestige and the peaceful solution of the Kosovo problem to the
detriment of none of the ethnic groups [natsii] which populate the
province. But, as people say, the fatherland has the right to know the
faces of those who carried out this bold and dangerous action.
Unfortunately, for the time being the Russian airborne troops' bold foray
is merely being used to frighten us and we are not being acquainted with
the heroes themselves.
As for the really important questions which the commentators could try
to answer in some way, the main one is -- who will ultimately answer for
the numerous bombing raids on Yugoslavia, for the death of thousands of
completely innocent people, and for the extreme exacerbation of ethnic
conflict in the heart of Europe, which has developed into a humanitarian
catastrophe with the help of the valiant men of NATO who have destroyed
power stations, factories, hospitals, television stations, and even the
embassies of foreign states? Who will answer for the catastrophic
devastation of a country which only yesterday was flourishing? Against
this tragic backdrop, the small Russian assault force, which was greeted
with flowers and cheers in Kosovo, has aroused the lingering hope of a
successful resolution of the conflict.
Yes, there is a lot that is not going right in our country at present,
and we often lose. But when we do win -- should we really repudiate our
success?! And the soldiers who have achieved it?!
June 19, 1999
Same Old Song
In response to "Serbs Sold Down the River," a June 10 column by Pavel
In my first letter to you since I became a regular reader in 1993 I would
like to pose a riddle and ask a question.
First, the riddle: Can you name the man who denied that the destruction by
Russian troops of the Chechen village of Samashki, along with many of its
inhabitants, ever happened? Neither in Chechnya, nor in Bosnia, nor now in
Kosovo has he been on the side of the victims. He relates self-serving
details of his constant conversations with highly placed military
representatives and politicians, although nobody knows whether these meetings
actually took place.
As the new nightingale of the Russian General Staff, he has convincingly
proven that he is one of the more unenlightened members of the Moscow
political class, with a very strange and old-fashioned understanding of
security policy. In times of war, like the Yugoslav conflict, he is at his
best: He advises U.S. President Bill Clinton to take Russian threats of the
use of nuclear weapons seriously, warning that otherwise the United States
might go up in smoke.
He repeatedly predicts (or demands?) a putsch by the Russian military and
security forces and the installation of a radical nationalist, pro-Communist
government (in which he would probably have no difficulties finding a job).
He puts NATO generals on the same level as Serbian war criminals, and asserts
that coverage of the war in the Balkans by Russia's major TV channels is
The answer: Yes, it's your own Pavel Felgenhauer, the de facto defense
correspondent of The Moscow Times - a newspaper that, aside from
Felgenhauer's editorials, has made my life in Russia much more enjoyable. And
he has written everything mentioned above, which either does not correspond
to the facts or is a very one-sided position, to put it mildly, to be making
its way onto the pages of The Moscow Times.
And now my question: Why Felgenhauer, when there are security experts worth
reading? Pluralism is, of course, a good thing. But do you really have to use
Felgenhauer to prove the point? Or is Andrei Piontkovsky on Page 8 to please
Western readers and Felgenhauer on Page 9 to attract Russian ones?
Dr. Falk Bomsdorf
Yugoslavia: Analysis From Washington--From Kosovo To Karabakh?
By Paul Goble
Washington, D.C.; 18 June 1999 (RFE/RL) - Even before the Kosovo settlement
has been fully implemented, some governments are calling for NATO to live
up to its newly proclaimed role and intervene elsewhere to prevent what
they believe are analogous incidents of ethnic cleansing and violations of
But many other governments -- including some in the Western alliance itself
-- and even more commentators on national security issues around the world
look on such appeals with alarm, even to the point of questioning the basis
of NATO's actions in Kosovo. And those holding this view are likely to see
two events this week as justifying their view.
Azerbaijan's Defense Minister Safar Abiyev said on Thursday that Baku
"would like NATO to get involved in the resolution process of the
Armenian-Azeri conflict" over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Abiyev's statement, made to the Italian ambassador there, comes during a
week when Azerbaijani troops and Armenian forces who occupy a significant
portion of Azerbaijani territory have again exchanged fire.
A senior Azerbaijani official had suggested earlier this year that his
country would welcome the establishment of NATO bases on its territory. But
this is the first time that Baku has indicated it would like the alliance
to intervene directly to help solve the dispute over an ethnically Armenian
region inside Azerbaijan which has been occupied by Armenian forces for the
Baku's decision to issue such an appeal appears to reflect a widespread
belief there that a clear analogy exists between Kosovo and
Nagorno-Karabakh and a growing conviction that NATO is perhaps the only
international organization that could provide Baku with help against the
Armenians who have received significant military and diplomatic support
Moreover, Azerbaijanis may believe that their involvement with the Western
alliance gives them a right to expect such treatment. They have already
offered to send peacekeepers to Kosovo and this week a platoon of
Azerbaijani soldiers went to Canada to participate in a NATO-organized
Partnership for Peace exercise.
But if Baku sees such a possibility in a positive light, many other
governments and analysts do not. Russian anger about NATO's role in Kosovo
continues to grow. On the one hand, President Boris Yeltsin this week
suggested that the alliance must agree to give Russia its own
military-administrative zone in Kosovo, a demand Moscow had laid the
ground for by its stealthy introduction of troops into Kosovo a week ago.
And on the other, the Russian Duma on Thursday unanimously passed a
resolution accusing NATO Secretary General Javier Solana of being a war
criminal and demanding that he be punished for his role in initiating the
alliance's air campaign against Yugoslavia.
This Duma action is non-binding, but it reflects mounting Russian
unhappiness about NATO's role in Kosovo, about the marginalization of
Moscow in international affairs, and about possibilities that NATO might
intervene elsewhere -- including in the Caucasus or Central Asia, regions
which most Russians believe are properly part of their sphere of influence.
The Azerbaijani request for NATO's assistance will only exacerbate these
fears, even though NATO is unlikely to get involved there or elsewhere on
the territories of the 12 countries that once formed part of the Soviet
Most if not all NATO governments appear likely to be opposed to any further
expansion of NATO's new role in the near future. Moreover, all of them
appear committed to avoiding any steps that would further alienate the
Russian government from the West and redivide Europe.
During the course of the Kosovo conflict, alliance leaders have begun to
refine the meaning of NATO's Washington Declaration by underscoring that
NATO is not committed to becoming involved in all conflicts -- even in
Europe or around its borders -- and that the alliance will decide when and
where to act on a case by case basis.
Nonetheless, NATO's willingness to act in Kosovo is clearly generating
expectations -- as in Azerbaijan -- and concerns -- as in Russia -- that
the alliance appears likely to find very difficult if not impossible to
manage. Regardless of what choices it now makes, the alliance is likely to
offend some and disappoint others, a pattern that may corrode the loyalty
of its current members and its effectiveness more broadly as an
international security organization.
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)
Radical Rightists Have Rally in Downtown Moscow.
MOSCOW, June 20 (Itar-Tass) - About 100 radical rightist young men had a
rally near the Lenin Library in downtown Moscow on Sunday to demand the
annulment of article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code which sets a
punishment for stirring up inter- ethnic discord.
The young skinheads wearing black are members of the National Front
movement, the People's National Party and the Movement "For Belief and
At first, they planned a march along the Arbat street, but the march was
not permitted by the Moscow authorities under the pretext that the street
was a zone for pedestrians. Thus, the rally took place behind the monument
to writer Fyodor Dostoevsky and was watched by some 100 correspondents and
The authorities could not find an official excuse for banning the rally.
The Justice Ministry has no claims to the organizations' symbols, leader of
the National Front Ilya Lazarenko told Itar-Tass. The ominous black crosses
on the banners appeared to be the crosses of Novgorod and Jerusalem. "We do
not use the swastika although we think that the ban on that symbol is
illegal," Lazarenko said. However, the rally participants raised their
hands in the notorious greeting gesture.
In the words of Lazarenko, they want article 282 to be annulled as a
survival of the communist past and the limited freedom of speech. One
should speak aloud about the inter-ethnic discord because otherwise "the
disease will be driven inwards and cause the amassment of malice," he
noted. According to Lazarenko, his movement has contacts with the Russian
National Unity (RNE) of Alexander Barkashov but the relations are generally
cool because the radical rightists view the policy of the RNE as
Negotiations are underway to form the "Empire" nationalist election bloc,
Lazarenko said. In his opinion, the bloc can be supported by 50 percent of
Russians who share the "Russia for Russians" slogan.
Leader of the Movement "For Belief and Fatherland" Rev. Nikon views the
rally as a step towards a coalition of radical rightists in the future
elections of the State Duma. He does not think there are genuine rightists
amongst candidates to the State Duma. "One cannot describe Chubais, Gaidar
or Kiriyenko as rightists," he said.
Zavtra No 23 'Tablo' Feature
Zavtra, No. 23
[translation for personal use only]
"Tablo: A Den Security Service Intelligence Report"
Just as SBD [Den Security Service] experts conjectured, the "hunting
season" against Luzhkov by the Dyachenko-Berezovskiy grouping in the
Kremlin began as soon as "scores with Primakov" were settled. The
defamation of the Moscow mayor should be accompanied by the opening of a
number of cases against major economic and banking structures close to
the Moscow government. Members of Luzhkov's family are already "under
secret surveillance." At the same time, the Moscow mayor is to be
isolated from the Communists by activating the idea of "removing Lenin
from the Mausoleum," and after that their destruction separately during
the constitutional coup will become a political reality. Berezovskiy's
extremely vigorous actions on the mass media market (notably, the
purchase of TV-6 and the newspaper Kommersant Daily) should be viewed in
the same way...
People in the Kremlin figure that the votes of the KPRF [Russian Federation
Communist Party] and some of the systemic opposition in the State Duma
for draft laws that raise taxes and prices for energy media will make it
possible to use the main TV channels to represent the Communists as the
chief culprits in the further deterioration of Russian society's standard
of living. As a result, the banning of the Communist Party planned for
August-September (Berezovskiy talked about that at the last press
conference) should go very smoothly...
Yeltsin's state of health is characterized by a decline in memory and
fluctuation in his psychoneurological condition--a secret report from one
of the U.S. special services to the White House asserted. However, the
report notes, "the existence of top quality medicine in the RF" makes it
possible to keep him in this "semi-unconscious condition" for an
indefinite time, while at the same time preparing a new candidate for
A source in one of the Russian special services conducting
surveillance of top-ranking members of the Yeltsin hierarchy reports
widespread "same-sex love" among top officials of the new cabinet. Among
other things, the Kremlin is accumulating these materials for subsequent
"releases" in the event that some cabinet figure or other is