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Johnson's Russia List
27 June 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Todd Lewan: Khrushchev's Son Happy in U.S.
2. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Borisova, Cabinet Backs First Ever Plan to Run
3. Los Angeles Times: Richard Paddock, Amid Public Outrage, the Kremlin
Shuts Doors of Russia's Death Rows.
4. Radio Rossii Network: Kiriyenko on Moscow, Luzhkov, Yeltsin.
5. Moskovskiy Komsomolets: Inara Filatova. 'The Kremlin Community' On
Street. What Are The Defectors Doing At Luzkhov's?
6. Sabirzyan Badretdinov: WHAT IS SHAIMIEV UP TO?
7. Izvestia: Tbilisi -- Paving the Way to NATO.]
Khrushchev's Son Happy in U.S
By Todd Lewan
June 26, 1999
CRANSTON, R.I. (AP) -- Sergei Khrushchev is home.
Home, for the favorite son of the late Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, is
a clapboard ranch house in the Providence 'burbs -- a two-bedroom model
surrounded by look-alike houses, driveways full of Buicks and Dodges and
finely Lawn-Boy'd grass.
And why is a rocket engineer who designed missiles that were pointed at the
United States at the height of the Cold War now living out his years on the
corner of Neptune and Laurelton, across from the Garden City school
This half-acre of suburbia, he says, is ``retirement paradise.''
Oh, it's no Varadero, Cuba. But Cranston can sizzle in the spring, as on
this June afternoon. Big, heavy sun. Cloudless sky. Temp pushing 88. It's
enough to make a 63-year-old communist -- uh, former communist -- feel
What could better illustrate how the Cold War has come full circle than the
sight of this barbecue-loving, proud-to-be-a suburbanite dabbling about his
This is no ordinary Russian immigrant. This is the son of the bald-headed
nemesis who banged his shoe on the table at the United Nations.
The guy who declared, not too tactfully, ``We will bury you.''
The guy who oversaw the building of the Berlin Wall, who ordered Soviet
tanks to crush a revolt in Hungary, who cost the world sleepless nights by
sending nuclear missiles to Cuba in 1962.
And now his son, Sergei, wants to become an American. Just days shy of his
64th birthday -- the same age his father was at the height of his power --
he is applying for U.S. citizenship.
(He took the test in Providence on Wednesday and nearly aced it -- he got
19 of 20 questions right. His wife, Valentina, did him one better, with a
perfect score. They will take their pledge of allegiance on July 12.)
On this day, he's shelved his U.S. history books and put aside the multiple
choice practice quizzes (``How many stars are on the U.S. flag?'' ... ``For
what famous Civil War speech is Abraham Lincoln known?''). He has slipped
into clothes appropriate for South Florida: khaki shorts, leather moccasins
and a short-sleeved, tangerine-colored shirt with embroidered, white
swirls. A little something his wife, Valentina Golenko, picked up at the
Rhode Island Mall.
Khrushchev sets a couple of plastic patio chairs down in his backyard under
his latest achievement -- a latticework to accommodate three grapevines
he's just planted -- and sinks into a chair, gingerly, as if settling into
a hot tub. Arthritis in both hips makes sitting a chore.
He undoes a third shirt button.
``Ah, I love the heat,'' Khrushchev says in flutey, Russian-accented
English. ``And this sky, it reminds me of Ukraine sky.'' He pours some
Shaw's Lemon-Lime soda into a whiskey glass for his guest. What? No
``Too hot for vodka,'' he explains. Then a hefty chuckle. ``This is spring
in Rhode Island, not Moscow.''
Life, American style, could be worse.
It means waking to the chik-chik-chik of lawn sprinklers, shopping for
mulch and paneling and paint at the Home Depot (``I love Home Depot -- it
pushes you to some creation.''), browsing at flea markets, growing pink
roses in the front yard and strawberries, gooseberries, lettuce, cucumbers
and tomatoes in the back.
Khrushchev now has time to water his night violets, prune ``Nicholas'' and
``Veronica,'' his pear trees, trim his two yews, and putter with his
collections of African butterflies and Cuban seashells.
And on Saturdays, from November through late March, he and Valentina work
up a sweat in their basement ``banya,'' the traditional Russian steam bath,
thwacking each other's bare backs and bottoms with bundles of birch twigs.
``We did all of the paneling in the basement ourselves,'' Khrushchev says
in a proud moment while giving a visitor a tour of his home. ``We built our
On the paneled walls of his basement, on the walls of his study, living
room, dining room, giants of history stare from black-and-white photographs
taken during a time when the downing of a U-2 spy plane made a newly
nuclear world hold its breath:
Nikita Khrushchev, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Mrs. Nina Petrovna Khrushchev,
grinning, albeit nervously, on the steps of the U.S. president's retreat at
Camp David, Md.; Papa Khrushchev, Sergei, and his toddler, Nikita Jr.,
strolling the grounds of the premier's Moscow country gardens in 1962;
Sergei with Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth.
A bronze ``X'' atop the fireplace mantel -- a gift from Ernst Neizvestny,
the dissident Soviet sculptor who, despite a violent shouting match with
the Soviet leader in 1963, designed the monument that has stood at
Khrushchev's grave in Novodevich cemetery since his death in 1971.
Rows and rows of books on his father's life, reports and speeches, in
Russian, lining shelves along the wall in his cellar.
A black, lacquered silverware box decorated with a hand-painted,
Velasquez-like portrait of Nikita Khrushchev, the Champion of Communism,
somber in his navy blue uniform, three gold stars pinned to his left breast
>From the side, Sergei Khrushchev looks -- it's almost spooky -- like Papa:
the sapphire-blue eyes, the shoe-button nose, the white tufts of hair
rimming square forehead, the round, beefy jowls.
The resemblance is so striking that when he first came to the United States
to lecture at Brown University in September, 1991 -- nine months after the
Soviet Union collapsed -- students, faculty, even mailmen, would stop and
stare ``as if I were a white elephant.''
Even today, he says, little old ladies with pushcarts sometimes stop him in
the supermarket aisle and ask: ``Didn't I see you the other night on the
The surname, the Nikita look, can sometimes be a nuisance: Khrushchev
recalls having once had an invitation to a dinner party canceled because
the host, a retired U.S. army general, wouldn't have a communist in his home.
In fact, Sergei Khrushchev says he stopped believing in communism's
ultimate triumph as early as the 1970s.
The ``we will bury you'' remark was misunderstood, he insists. ``He meant
that capitalism would die and that the Soviet economic system would bury
it. But my father was a part of the Cold War, a war of propaganda, and so
these words were used against him and misunderstood by Americans.''
``But all of us make mistakes. You can't live in paradise surrounded by
Khrushchev harbors no bad feelings, though. He's gregarious, neighborly,
charming. He often invites his neighbors over to show off his green thumb
or for steak barbecues. He loves American steaks, but only those cooked at
home on the grill, unless, of course, he's traveling in Kansas. ``Kansas
steaks are the best.''
No, this is not the life young Sergei and his three sisters knew as Cold
War kids in a world of Communist Party privilege: chauffeured limousines,
massive downtown Moscow apartments, access to scarce Western goods and the
best schools, hunting and fishing trips with Papa Khrushchev on the
premier's country estate.
It's a far cry from being chief of the Soviet Missile Design Bureau from
1958 to 1968, first deputy director at the Control Computer Institute in
Moscow, and a professor of missile guidance systems at Moscow Technical
And he's certainly beyond the glory days when he won the Lenin Prize and
the Prize of the Council of Ministers of the U.S.S.R. for his work with
missiles and computer-guidance control systems.
But in the mornings, Khrushchev can rise when he wants (usually 7 a.m.),
have a cup of plain yogurt, perhaps some smoked fish and coffee, switch the
tweeting phone to answering-machine mode, and sit at his mahogany desk to
For five hours at a stretch, he scratches out his memoirs in longhand. Then
Valentina scoops up the scribble, sits on a stool in the kitchen and types
it out on an electric Olympia.
In his three books published in America, Khrushchev does his best to soften
history's verdict of his father. He describes Papa's love of family, Papa's
fight to provide cheap housing for all Soviet citizens, Papa's attempt to
get Soviet farmers to plant corn, Papa's push to produce more consumer
goods and trim the military budget.
As it turned out, the peasant-turned-premier tumbled abruptly from power
after 11 years, on Oct. 24, 1964, the first Soviet leader who didn't die in
office. After his fall, the man with the hands-flying, jaws-working,
piggie-eyes-darting style plunged into a deep depression, often dissolving
in bathetic tears.
To pull him out his funk, his wife, Nina, gave him a German tape recorder
and he took to dictating his memoirs on a bench in the family garden.
Eventually, the tapes were smuggled out to the West and fashioned into a
two-volume best seller.
Nikita Khrushchev died an ``unperson,'' in classic Soviet fashion,
unlamented and unloved by the general Soviet public, edited out of books,
airbrushed out of photographs, the mere mention of his name a crime.
But today, in a Rhode Island suburb halfway around the world, trumpeting
the Khrushchev name is no longer a crime. So his son works and works and
works to write ``more truthful portraits of my father.''
His fourth book, ``Creation of Superpower,'' by Penn State Press, is to
arrive in bookstores in the winter of 2000. ``I feel pressure, on the
inside, to fulfill an obligation to myself, my father, my country, to
America, to the world.''
When Khrushchev finishes his morning writing, he lunches, then climbs into
his 1994 Buick Century and drives 20 minutes to a drab, colonial-style
house on a leafy Providence street, Brown's Center for International
Studies. There, he reads the Russian papers, maybe a passage from Gogol,
Pushkin, Dickens. And he never misses the Moscow evening TV news, live in
his tiny office via satellite.
Only on Fridays does he return home late. That's the one day a week he must
lecture to undergraduate seniors on ``Relations Among Post-Soviet States.''
Otherwise, he's free to speak as he pleases, wherever he pleases.
And speak Khrushchev does: At CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.; at the
Naval War College in Rhode Island; on Royal Olympic cruise ships; at farm
forums in Montana, at political science conferences from Florida to
``If there's one bad thing I picked up from my father,'' he says, ``it
would have to be that I talk too much.''
Khrushchev has three sons: Nikita, 39, who works for a Moscow publishing
house; Ilyad, 29, a computer engineer who sells communications equipment;
Sergei Jr., 25, a college student in Moscow. Whenever they phone, they urge
their parents to come home.
No way, says Khrushchev.
Not even for a visit?
He shakes his head.
``No, no, no. I want to live the rest of my life here. I'm comfortable
here. I like the heat in Rhode Island. And what would I do in Russia? I
cannot return to the job I left in 1991, at the Soviet Control Computer
Institute. Someone else has the job. And my contacts? Well, there is no
more Soviet Union.''
His retirement rubles and pension have all been devoured by Russian
inflation, he says. ``My son called me once, asking for a little money, and
I said, 'Sure, take what's in my bank account. He said, 'Papa, it wouldn't
be enough to pay for a Driver's-Ed course.'''
So what's next for Khrushchev?
After months of brushing up on Americana, he can't wait to get his hands on
that U.S. passport. Not that he needed to bother with a citizenship test.
Six years ago, Khrushchev received permanent resident status, thanks, in
part, to supporting letters from former President Richard Nixon; Robert
McNamara, defense secretary in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations;
Thomas J. Watson Jr., chairman emeritus of I.B.M.; and a former C.I.A.
official, David Gries.
But to Khrushchev, citizenship is special.
``If you are living in a country, and you plan to live in that country for
a long time, I think it is your obligation to become its citizen,''
Would his father approve? ``I would hope that my father would be
supportive,'' he says. ``After all, it's not as if I am defecting.''
June 26, 1999
Cabinet Backs First Ever Plan to Run State Property
By Yevgenia Borisova
The Cabinet has approved Russia's first plan for managing federal
property, a step that government officials hope will in part prevent any
more privatization of valuable assets at dirt-cheap prices.
But at least one federal official said the idea would never make it off
the drawing board because the government lacks the funds and incentive to
Calling it "crucial for our country," State Property Minister Farit
Gazizullin presented the management plan for the Cabinet's vote Thursday.
Under the proposal, which was passed on the condition that the State
Property Ministry make several amendments, the state cannot sell off a
stake in a profitable company for less than its market value. A stake in an
unprofitable enterprise can be sold cheaply, but with the stipulation that
the winning bidder pledge to help get the company back on its feet.
The privatizations of billions of dollars in state property that sold for
pennies to the dollar in the early and mid-1990s has irked many government
officials and sparked angry protests from lawmakers in the Communist-led
State Duma, the lower house of parliament.
Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin praised the property ministry for its
plan, saying he regretted that such a program had not been discussed back
in 1992 when the government started unloading property.
"We have made many mistakes, but it is good that we have come to this
document now," he told Interfax.
Also in the plan, state representatives at state enterprises will have to
work harder to make the companies pay dividends to the government. The
state has stakes in 3,896 companies, of which 700 are insolvent and the
rest have zero or close to zero profits.
Last year only 275 companies paid dividends, earning the state $54 million.
The proposal also calls for the government's 337 million square meters of
real estate to be rented out at prices close to market levels, and the
directors of Russia's 14,000 fully state-owned enterprises to be hired
under contract, instead of being appointed.
Despite the optimism over the management plan, the Cabinet told the
property ministry it still needs to hammer out some details, mainly how it
will share the task of managing more than 37,000 state enterprises.
Another major issue is not even mentioned in the plan: financing the
activities of state representatives in joint stock companies. For several
years, there has been no system to pay for their travel and other expenses,
making it virtually impossible for them to serve on the boards of
companies in far-flung regions.
These gaps in the proposal, as well as the lack of funds in the government
coffers, has led Vladimir Musarsky, head of the property fund in the Far
Eastern town of Nakhodka, to believe it will never become reality.
"I think nothing is going to happen," Musarsky said.
State Property Ministry officials themselves could not say when a property
management program would be implemented. The program cannot be set up until
some 30 new federal regulations are drafted and authorized. Those rules
are expected to be drawn up by the end of this year.
Los Angeles Times
June 26, 1999
[for personal use only]
Amid Public Outrage, the Kremlin Shuts Doors of Russia's Death Rows
Justice: Yeltsin has canceled executions of more than 700 prisoners.
Meeting European human rights standards is a way for him to strengthen
By RICHARD C. PADDOCK
When serial killer Vladimir N. Retunsky was sentenced to death last
month for the murder of eight young women and girls, the victims'
families and friends offered to carry out his punishment on the spot.
"Give him to us!" they shouted in court as a panel of judges handed
down the sentence. "We'll tear him to pieces!"
Under heavy police guard, the murderer was hauled off to death row,
but he wasn't there for long. Earlier this month, President Boris N.
Yeltsin commuted his sentence to life in prison. It was the final step in
a long-running effort by the Kremlin to abolish capital punishment.
Retunsky, 49, was the last man facing execution in
<strong>Russia</strong> when he
received his presidential reprieve. Over the past few months, Yeltsin has
commuted the sentences of 715 other death row inmates, sentencing them to
25 years or life in prison. Yeltsin's acts of clemency fulfill a 1996
decree he issued banning capital punishment--an order often ignored by
An Indifference to What the Public Wants
Unlike California, where the state began executing death row inmates
again in 1992 by popular demand, Yeltsin has simply ignored overwhelming
public support for capital punishment and blocked executions in Russia
for nearly three years.
The president is motivated not just by mercy but by a desire to bring
Russia into the European mainstream and improve ties with the democracies
of Western Europe, where the death penalty is banned.
"The decision to commute the last death sentence in Russia is more of
a foreign policy move than a domestic one," said retired Col. Gennady N.
Oreshkin, who once headed Russia's notorious Butyrskaya prison. "It is
not a gesture of goodwill toward the convicts on death row or a
manifestation of humaneness. It is a carefully calculated step expected
to impress a foreign audience."
Russia had loudly criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's
bombing campaign of Yugoslavia but has worked quietly to maintain and
build economic links to many of NATO's member nations.
In particular, Yeltsin's commutation of the 716 death sentences was
designed to maintain Russia's membership in the Council of Europe, a
41-member organization that sets human rights standards in Europe. The
council requires that member nations ban capital punishment within three
years of joining.
"If Russia is determined to move along the path of becoming a more
civilized country, then abolishing capital punishment should become one
of the steps toward achieving this goal," said Anatoly I. Pristavkin,
chairman of Russia's Presidential Clemency Commission. "The Council of
Europe prodded us a little bit to move faster toward civilization."
Human Rights Linked to Financial Assistance</b>
The little-known organization has significant influence in Europe. Any
country that wants to join the 15-member European Union, for example,
must first meet the council's human rights standards.
"The Council of Europe is seen as very prestigious," said Diederik
Lohman, director of Human Rights Watch's Moscow office. "It's a political
organization that has very strong credentials on human rights issues. For
Russia, it's really important to keep these kind of ties to the West,
with an eye to financial aid."
Russia joined the council in February 1996--a time when relations with
the West were far better than today and Yeltsin was seeking international
support for his reelection bid that summer.
The Duma, the Communist-dominated lower house of parliament, blocked
any attempt to halt executions, arguing that Russia needed strong
punishment to keep social order. But Yeltsin, who possesses vast powers
under the constitution, simply decreed an end to capital punishment--an
"I think that our state exceeded the limit of executions a long time
ago," Pristavkin said. "The abolition of capital punishment makes Russia
more humane, and in this sense it is aimed more at shaping the children's
mentality--they will learn to live in a country where the state does not
kill its own citizens."
Pristavkin, however, holds a minority view. Most Russians believe in
tough penalties for criminals, and sentiment in favor of capital
punishment runs high. Prisons are harsh, tuberculosis is rampant, and a
prison term of 10 years can easily be a death sentence.
In Retunsky's case, chief Judge Mikhail A. Avdeyev said the
three-judge panel knowingly violated the moratorium and the high court
ruling because the killer's crimes were so heinous.
Between 1990 and 1996, he said, the truck driver prowled the Voronezh
region, kidnapping girls as young as 14, raping them, strangling them and
burying them in the woods. He showed no remorse at his trial, Avdeyev
said, and the judges were unanimous in defying Yeltsin and sentencing
Retunsky to die.
"A murderer of innocent women and children should not live," Avdeyev
said. "We should not just blindly follow the pattern of Western
countries, borrow their legal practices and apply them to Russia. By
executing criminals like Retunsky, we will protect society from a tide of
The relatives and friends of Retunsky's victims who crowded into the
courtroom for the sentencing May 6 were in no mood to accept anything
less than the death penalty. Avdeyev said some were worried that
Yeltsin's moratorium on executions would land the murderer a prison term
of as little as 15 years.
After the sentence was read, police had to form a human corridor to
get Retunsky safely from the courtroom.
"They wanted him to be executed right there and right that second,"
the judge recalled. "If we had not [sentenced him to death], I am afraid
we could have had the same fate as him. The people would have torn us to
Alexei V. Kuznetsov of The Times' Moscow Bureau contributed to this
Kiriyenko on Moscow, Luzhkov, Yeltsin
Radio Rossii Network
24 June 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Interview with Sergey Kiriyenko, former Russian Prime Minister and
leader of the New Force movement, by Dmitriy Gubin; from the "Persona
Grata" program -- live
[Presenter] Good afternoon. Dmitriy Gubin is at the microphone.
[passage omitted: introduction]
Sergey Kiriyenko [Russia's ex-premier and current leader of the New Force
movement] is being interviewed live on Radio Russia.
Good afternoon, Sergey Vladilenovich.
[Kiriyenko] Good afternoon.
[Q] You know, before we start reaching the depths of the Kremlin
politics, particularly under the accompaniment of Moscow chimes, please
may I ask you a question which has to do solely with your everyday life.
[A] You are welcome.
[Q] You once remarked that you had not obtained either the right to
reside in Moscow permanently or a place to live in. Have you got a flat
now? If yes, did you buy it with your own money or was it provided,
according to a good tradition by Pavel Pavlovich Borodin [manager of the
administrative office in the Russian president's administration]. If no,
what do you say to Moscow militiamen when they stop you and, under law No
33, drag you to a militia station in a bid to fine you for illegal
residence in the capital?
[A] Well, I understand you. It seems that they have not yet tried to
drag me to a militia station. As regards my family, there was such an
instance - one they tried to detain my wife because her passport had a
registration mark showing that she permanently resides in Nizhniy
Novgorod. I have not had time to obtain a flat in Moscow using any of the
methods you have just mentioned. Therefore, I have neither permanent
residence nor permanent housing in Moscow.
[Q] Do you think that the incident involving your wife could serve as a
pretext, rather than a cause, for the outburst of your harsh criticism
against [Moscow mayor] Yuriy Mikhaylovich Luzhkov?
[A] No [chuckles]. No, I will somehow manage to provide normal living
conditions for my family on my own.
[passage omitted: Kiriyenko says the militiamen acted in strict compliance
with the existing law.]
I do not have any claims against Yuriy Mikhaylovich. For some reason,
he is trying to present this as reproaches addressed to him personally. I
don't quite understand why, because my question is about something else.
Here's the whole set of my statements: first, I am absolutely against any
postponement of [mayoral] elections in Moscow - it is wrong to postpone
elections in the country's capital to please just one specific
politician. This is clear to everybody, and there is no need to fool
people. He [Luzhkov] should act like a real man at last. It is clear that
Luzhkov is trying to postpone the elections so as not to face the risk of
losing the post of the capital's mayor while joining the presidential
election race and to retain this post for himself, and, if elected
president, to give this post to a reliable, tested and loyal person. He
should have said this openly rather than fool people by telling them
stories about some economic reasons. This is the first thing.
My second question is this: Luzhkov is joining the presidential
election race with a simple slogan: Look what I have done in Moscow. I
will do the same thing in the entire country if you elect me president. A
question arises in this connection - this is not just Moscow's problem:
is it possible to apply the Moscow administrative system to the entire
country? This system is quite effective today because money to fund it is
collected across the country. Taxes paid to Moscow are levied on the sums
that are earned not just in Moscow but throughout the country. The
Russian Gazprom joint-stock company, the Unified Energy System
joint-stock company, oil companies and banking structures earn money on
the territory of the entire country and all this money flows to Moscow.
Therefore, everyone of us here has the right to know how this money is
And, finally, this is the question about possibilities to have a debate.
I have already said that, from the administrative point of view, the
existing system of the president's administration is exactly the same as
the existing system of the mayor's office. In both cases laws are
tailored to suit just one person, and then we suffer and shed tears. But
in some aspects the Moscow system is even worse. At least, from this
simple point of view: you know, one may like or dislike Yeltsin but, at
least, no-one is denied the right to criticize him, this is true. Only
lazy ones are not doing this. One can express in public all their
thoughts about Yeltsin or, for example, about [media tycoon Boris]
Berezovskiy, [oil tycoon Roman] Abramovich or anyone else. But look, how
hysterical they become when at least some doubt is cast on the efficiency
or correctness of the actions taken by the Moscow mayor's office. They
become just outrageously hysterical.
[passage omitted: Kiriyenko says the mayor's office has launched a media
campaign to compromise him, but he is not going to retaliate. He also
admits that the Moscow administration has achieved some success in
certain areas, but people do not have the right of choice when it comes
[Q] As far as I understand, you somehow oppose the bureaucratic or the
administration-by-mere-injunction system of management by what is called
civic society, where citizens themselves decide at what price they will
buy gas or maybe they will buy coal instead or go to a forest and chop
firewood, and so on. Am I right?
[A] No, you are simplifying things too much. True, I really do oppose
the system built to suit just one individual, no matter who that person
is. We once built a system in the country to suit just one person - Boris
Nikolayevich Yeltsin, who enjoyed tremendous trust at that time. And now
we ourselves are trying to blame him for everything and saying that it
was just our bad luck that our kind tsar turned out to be not quite good.
[They say:] Let us leave everything as it is and just replace our kind
tsar by another, a better one, and everything will be okay. But this is
[passage omitted: Kiriyenko says people should be involved in
where it comes to important nationwide issues.]
What is happening in Moscow and in the country as a whole is an attempt
to transfer powers to a successor in the form of inheritance. Don't you
think so? Just look, there is constant talk about successors. The
president's administration is busy looking for all kinds of successors.
The formation of the government turned into a circus show.
[passage omitted: Kiriyenko says the authorities are engaged in the
activities that have nothing to do with people's everyday concerns,
repeats that people should be involved in decision-making.]
[Q] Sergey Vladilenovich, could you comment on your proposal that Boris
Yeltsin should voluntarily resign. The thing is that, generally speaking,
many other people are putting forward the same proposal. But, as a rule,
these people either fail to understand that Yeltsin will never and under
no circumstances - even if a third world war breaks out - step down on
his own good will, or, on the contrary, these people understand this
perfectly well but just want to cause a stir around their statement. You
do not belong either to the first or second category.
[A] I understand you. Well, then let us clarify the essence of my
proposal. It does not boil down to the fact that the president should
simply resign. The resignation itself will produce no result. I was
against the impeachment procedure. I was flatly against it because the
belief that everything will change as soon as one person is replaced is
akin to the belief in a good tsar. Nothing like that will happen.
But now I have another problem to look at: we must change the entire
system of power in the country. It is obvious that if we have failed to
achieve normal economic development over the past 10 years the entire
system of power is bad.
[passage omitted: Kiriyenko says all state leaders and politicians,
himself, should bear responsibility for their mistakes.]
Then we must change the entire system of power, including the State Duma,
the government, the delimitation of authorities - as stipulated in the
constitution - and the president.
We are entering the year 2000. The most important thing today is to
build a system under which the transfer of powers will be exercised in a
normal and peaceful manner. Enough revolutions in Russia. But there will
be attempts and there will be a clash between successors. There will be
an attempt, generally speaking, to transfer ourselves in the form of
inheritance, and anything can happen here. How can all this be done in a
normal and peaceful manner, so that this is not a transfer of
inheritance? The president can play an essential role here. I put forward
my proposal precisely because I know him too well. He will never resign
under pressure. He will never step down as a loser. He would have never
resigned as long as he was under the pressure of the impeachment
But the situation has changed. As a matter of fact, I propose that
Yeltsin should essentially finish the cause which he once initiated. He
once started the process of market and democratic transformations in
Russia. This process should be completed in a worthy manner, not with
another revolution and a fight between successors but with a normal
procedure for transferring powers. The president can lead the process of
his own resignation. This is exactly what I mean. Well, but then he will
have to make some concessions.
There is plan - we have drawn up a plan of transferring powers. Under one
of the provisions of the plan, the president, who is helping to implement
it, says: I am also ready to step down, together with all his successors
and the host of bureaucrats-embezzlers and incompetent managers.
Simultaneously, an appraisal - you know there was a good practice here,
and in the world or in Eastern Europe this was called lustration - should
be carried out to replace top officials by contest. However, this should
be done taking into account their professional abilities rather than
political orientation. This programme can be implemented if the president
obtains the moral right to implement it and if he himself is ready to
surrender his powers ahead of time. We can discuss the deadline for its
implementation, but it seems to me that this should be done before June
2000, so that all this change of the system of power could be carried out
quite consistently and so that we could have a new State Duma, a new
president and a new structure of power in the year 2000.
So this is not an attempt to kick the president. Only lazy ones are not
doing this now, but I will not take part in this. This is not an
ultimatum. This is a proposal. In our opinion, this is a worthwhile
proposal. It enables the president to finish in a spectacular manner the
work which he once started and to help society change the system of power
rather than stand in the way of the change.
Generally speaking, this is all. Will the president accept this proposal or
reject it is up to him, but I consider it to be of fundamental importance
for me to declare this in public, because we do have such a plan. If he
rejects it, we will act in a different manner, although our task will
remain the same: to change the entire system of power and replace not
just one person but the whole section of managers in the country.
[passage omitted: Kiriyenko says left-wingers have slim chances for success
at the forthcoming parliamentary elections]
Luzhkov Seen Benefiting From Kremlin Vets
21 June 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Inara Filatova: "'The Kremlin Community' On Tverskaya
Street. What Are The Defectors Doing At Luzkhov's?"
The relationship between the Kremlin and Moscow
City Hall is becoming more tense day after day. And it would seem that
matters are proceeding toward open war. The mayor of Moscow has, however,
gained one significant victory over the Kremlin. In six months, quite a
number of notable people have "migrated" from Red Square to 13 Tverskaya
Among these are the former Kremlin press officer, [Sergey] Yastrzhembskiy,
the former Security Council Secretary, [Andrey] Kokoshin, and the former
deputy head of the Presidential Staff, [Yevgeniy] Savostyanov.
What are these people doing now?
"Yastrzhembskiy's misfortune is that he went straight from the diplomatic
behind the Kremlin wall, where everything looks rosy. And now he has
encountered real life," "well-wishers" are saying about the vice premier
of the Moscow government, Sergey Yastrzhembskiy. His retinue at City
Hall, almost all brought in from the Kremlin, leads a secluded life in a
limited space which ends where the boss's waiting-room is.
Yastrzhembskiy was given authority over a PR organization: "The Agency for
With the Public". And, at the same time, the problems of its former boss,
Olga Kostina, who had been in conflict with Luzhkov's press service over
the differences in their methods of portraying the mayor's personality in
the press. There are currently at least five PR agencies for Luzhkov, and
these are carving up the common spoils. In what way is Yastrzhembskiy's
organization taking part in this? "We observe, we gather information, and
we read the papers every day," his employees say laconically. Another
information-related task entrusted to Yastrzhembskiy is also at the
"observation" stage: that of finding a "new look" for the Center TV
The "gathering" of useful information is supplemented by the
Yastrzhembskiy retinue's sacred faith that victory in the PR-partition
will, in any event, be achieved by their boss because he is talented. A
few days ago, Yastrzhembskiy's subordinates replied, to a question as to
why the clash between Kiriyenko and Luzhkov has taken such an odd form:
"It is simply because Sergey Vladimirovich [Yastrzhembskiy] flew back
only late last night. You will see that now everything will change."
But, maybe above all else, the mayor [Luzhkov] values, with regard to the
vice-premier, his international connections and experience, gained during
his period in Yeltsin's service.
The routes of Luzhkov's latest overseas trips coincide exactly with
those on which the former deputy head of the Kremlin Staff
[Yastrzhembskiy] managed to take the President: Sweden, Germany, France,
and Italy (the latter including a visit to the Pope). Similarly,
Yastrzembskiy knows no equal when it comes to mobilising foreign mass
media in the service of Fatherland: "He knows precisely which foreign
channel to invite to this or that event. Others do this on the off-chance
and often get their fingers burned."
The former Security Council Secretary, [Andrey] Kokoshin, misses the
super-technology of his previous job. Andrey Afanasyevich liked it very
much when his subordinates, peering into special instruments, reported
what a satellite is doing in orbit. Now Kokoshin is negotiating with
Luzhkov about being equipped with a computer so that he can connect
instantly to any point on the Earth. But it looks as if this member of
the Fatherland political council will have to get his computer himself.
Incidentally, this by no means signifies that the mayor does not value
his associate. Kokoshin's entourage considers it a positive sign that
their boss is occasionally asked to conduct some events organized by the
movement: "because he is the brains" (in the sense that he is very clever
and can express his thoughts). Luzhkov sits alongside during such events,
which means that Kokoshin has access to the leader. In Fatherland the
former Kremlin man is in charge of two areas of policy: foreign and
economic. Both, in fact, "in outline." If Yastrzhembskiy leads Luzhkov
almost by hand in foreign countries and introduces him to eminent people,
planning of the visit is Kokoshin's prerogative. It is said that
Yastrzhembskiy was in Paris when NATO started to bomb Yugoslavia.
Kokoshin helped Luzhkov to take a decision whether "the mayor should fly
to 'hostile' France."
He spent a week phoning the relevant people and advised: "Fly". Even
the President received Yuriy Mikhaylovich [Luzhkov] at that time, and
gave him some assignments, as he was going to be the only Russian
politician in an aggressor country.
Why Kokoshin was entrusted with the economy in Fatherland is a puzzle
even for him. According to some sources, the reason was precisely Andrey
Afanasyevich's [Kokoshin] remoteness from the economic issues: "Imagine
what would have happened if they had given this brief to a progressive
and aggressive liberal economist. Someone like Gaydar or Chubays. He
would have quarrelled in no time with all the ministers in the Moscow
government." Kokoshin, on the other hand, can, like Luzhkov, aspire to
the role of a seasoned business manager. "Luzhkov built the 'Christ the
Saviour' Cathedral. Kokoshin a lot of effort into the building of the
'Peter the Great' cruiser." What else makes Kokoshin useful to Luzhkov?
Again, his contacts from past Kremlin years. Occasionally, at private
meetings of the Fatherland political council, he is asked to press these
into service. This is of particular importance now because there are not
many means of influence left to the mayor at the federal level.
The former deputy head of the Presidential Staff, Evgeniy Savostyanov,
obtained a job with substantial prospects. He became head of the "Fund of
Presidential Programs". It is planned to place within this the main
financial and human resources for the forthcoming election campaign. Why
such a gift? For the services which Savostyanov rendered to the mayor.
These have not been limited, as in the cases of Yastrzhembskiy and
Kokoshin, to getting the sack from the Kremlin for pushing the idea that
"Luzhkov should become premier". Savostyanov, for example, in 1994, lost
his post as head of the Federal Counterintelligence Service [FSK] in
Moscow after he had tried unsuccessfully to prevent the notorious
"Sniffing in the Snow" ["mordoy v sneg"] operation which [Aleksandr]
Korzhakov conducted in the office of the Most Group.
Many people in the mayor's entourage view Savostyanov's current
appointment with scepticism. The reasons? The degree of successes in the
previous job. Savostyanov became renowned at the Kremlin for "the
settlement" of the Nizhniy Novgorod scandal - when a mayoral election
there was won by "a criminal" [Andrey] Klimentyev. Everyone clearly
remembers the result. As a matter of fact, Yevgeniy Savostyanov's
supporters try not to mention this, and they maintain that, on the
Presidential Staff, he concerned himself solely with personnel matters.
And although one may doubt that the latter yielded any positive results,
it seems likely that personnel matters will also be Savostyanov's main
task at the Fund.
Be that as it may, the presence of "Kremlin people" on the Luzkov team
is a huge plus for the mayor. After all, it is not the worst experts who
have left the sinking ship of the Presidential Staff. And certainly not
the most unprincipled ones.
From: Sunset4642@aol.com (Sabirzyan Badretdinov)
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999
Subject: WHAT IS SHAIMIEV UP TO?
WHAT IS SHAIMIEV UP TO?
A few weeks ago a group of Russian regional leaders, including Tatarstan's
President Mintimer Shaimiev, founded a new political movement "Vsya
Rossiya." President Shaimiev is considered to be the leader of the new
movement, often referred to as an electoral bloc. Indeed, its main
objective is winning the majority of seats in the Duma, the Russian
parliament's lower house, currently dominated by Communists and Russian
The Tatar opposition reacted negatively to President Shaimiev's active
involvement in Russian politics. The Tatar Public Center (TPC) issued a
statement condemning Shaimiev for paying more attention to Russian affairs
than to the needs of the people of Tatarstan. According to the TPC,
Shaimiev, knowingly or unwittingly, is strengthening the unity of Russia
rather than the sovereignty of Tatarstan.
Is the Tatar opposition correct in its condemnation of President
Shaimiev's recent political activism on the federal level?
Detractors suggest that Shaimiev, indeed, deserves criticism: Tatarstan's
economy is deteriorating, its political system is in dire need of democratic
reforms, Tatar culture is stagnating and Tatarstan's hard-won autonomy is
threatened by Moscow. According to his detractors, Tatarstan's president is,
at least partly, responsible for all these negative trends. Nevertheless, as
the President's supporters would undoubtedly suggest, the political and
economic situation in Tatarstan is hardly worse than in the rest of Russia.
Overall, the standard of living in post-Soviet Tatarstan has been higher than
in other parts of Russia. It is most difficult, of course, to attribute
responsibility for any of these trends -- favorable or not -- to the
Supporters of the President maintain that Shaimiev's new political movement
has the potential to change Russia so dramatically that Tatarstan will
receive significant and unexpected benefits: Namely, both a greater degree
of autonomy and more influence on federal politics.
The current situation in Russia is amenable to change in the near future as
a result of "Vsya Rossiya." The Russian Constitution formally divides
authority among three branches of government: the Presidency, the Parliament
(the Duma of 450 deputies and the Federation Council consisting of regional
leaders) and the Supreme Court (13 judges appointed for life). But the
given to the president are so disproportionately great that this division of
authority is mostly symbolic.
The division of power at the regional level is similarly unbalanced: local
constitutions or regional charters bestow most power on the governor or the
local president. Most Russian leaders, acting on behalf of local economic
elites, are trying to strengthen regional autonomy and are quietly taking
more and more power away from Moscow while only paying lip service to
Russia's unity and territorial integrity.
Many regional leaders would prefer to have more influence on the federal
government. The growingly powerful regional leaders don't like the Russian
president's unpredictability, unaccountability and imperious manner of
exercising authority. Governors resent the independent actions of the
deputies of federal Duma, elected in their regions. Ideally, the governors
would prefer to control the deputies and to appoint Russia's head of state.
Shaimiev's new electoral bloc can help achieve the goals of the regional
leaders by providing them with a perfectly constitutional way to take control
of the federal organs of power. The Duma can be controlled simply by winning
a majority of seats there. "Vsya Rossiya," in alliance with one or two other
regional electoral blocs, can easily do so.
The governors may obtain the power to appoint the head of state only if
the Russian Constitution is amended or replaced. Regional dominance over
the Duma would allow amendments to the Constitution more easily. According
to articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the federal constitution, an amendment
can be adopted only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the
Duma, three-fourths of the members of the Federation Council and
two-thirds of the regional parliaments.
A new constitution can be adopted only by a special constitutional assembly
which may be convened by three-fifths of the Duma deputies and three-fifths
of the members of the Federation Council. Such an assembly can theoretically
even introduce a parliamentary system in Russia -- something that would make
any future prime minister or head of state totally dependent on the regional
leaders. At the same time, such profound changes in the constitutional order
would almost inevitably turn Russia into a real federation or a
Conceivably, the constitutional assembly may even decide to introduce a
rotating presidency in Russia whereby each regional leader or representative
could serve as Russia's president.
It is not surprising that "Vsya Rossiya," the brainchild of President
Shaimiev's top advisor Rafael Khakimov, is being viewed as a threat by
Russian nationalists and Communists who are obsessed by the need to preserve
a "united and indivisible Russia." Even President Yeltsin, who initially
praised the bloc, recently expressed some reservations about it. Ironically,
Shaimiev's bloc is President Yeltsin's only hope to remain in power after the
year 2000 so long as the two-term limit imposed by the Constitution is
Yeltsin and Shaimiev can to make a deal that would allow Yeltsin to continue
serving as Russia's honorary president indefinitely while most real power is
transferred to a prime minister designated by the party holding a majority in
The author is a member of the Editorial Board of Turkistan-N Newsletter, an
e-mail publication and a former staff member of the Tatar-Bashkir Service of
RFE/RL. A prior version of this article appeared on the internet Tatar
June 24, 1999
Tbilisi -- Paving the Way to NATO
By Yevgeny Krutikov
Georgia is paving its way to NATO, writes IZVESTIA. Its President Eduard
Shevardnadze stated recently that he associated his country's security with
Georgian army is turning towards NATO at a high pace. The last obstacle
to it has been removed with the appointment of David Tevzadze, an advocate
of NATO membership and of the Western military doctrine, at the post of
Defense Minister. Tevzadze insisted on reinstating General Johnny
Pirtskhalaishvili, one of the most capable Georgian commanders, as Chief of
the General Staff, and arranged the arrival of a special NATO
commission in Georgia. Upon receiving required information, its members
were to formulate a new defense concept of Georgia to draw up a plan of
reforming the Georgian army. This work has been completed.
The other day, Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Zurab Zhvania accused
Russia of failing to comply with the Tashkent accords on dividing the USSR
Army and to hand over a sufficient amount of armament to Georgia. This
accounts, he said, for the massive deliveries of military equipment to
Georgia from the NATO countries. By the end of the year, the paper says,
the U.S. will deliver 10 military transport helicopters to Georgia free of
charge, and in July Americans will start training Georgian pilots.
Georgia's NATOization is in full swing. This process is controlled by
U.S. and British military experts and Turkey cares for the political
aspect. However, not all political forces in Georgia are for a break of
military relations with Russia.
In this situation, the Russian peacekeeping force in South Ossetia and
Abkhazia is the only element of Russian military presence in Georgia. But
in reality, Russia's strategic interests in Georgia, which recently were
regarded as priority ones in the whole of the Caucasus, are practically not
confirmed by anything. Meanwhile, the Georgian army is controlled by NATO
military advisers, and Georgian officers are trained in Western military
According to another paper, OBSHCHAYA GAZETA [06/24/99, p. 2], the
Georgian leadership has proposed that NATO peacekeeping troops enter the
disputed territories in the conflict between Georgia and Abkhazia, to force
the local guerrillas to lay down arms, as it has been done in Kosovo.