This Date's Issues: 3366 •
Johnson's Russia List
29 June 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Russian Bombers Practice Over North Pole.
2. Reuters: Reforms for IMF deal in Russia's interests-Rubin.
3. Itar-Tass: Money for Spent Nuke Fuel Better than IMF Loans--
4. Moscow Times: Melissa Akin, Chubais Picks Up New Title: 'Oligarch'
5. The Russia Journal: Ekaterina Larina, Kremlin sounds out new 'party of
6. Business Week: Russia's Peace Prize: Closer Ties to the West.
7. Reuters: Yeltsin seeks to forge strategy on Kosovo.
8. RFE/RL: Ron Synovitz, Details Of Russian Role In Kosovo Still Undefined.
9. Itar-Tass: Formation of One-Seat Constituencies in RF Chief Task -View.
10. Itar-Tass: Russian Electoral Commission to Guarantee Fair Elections.
11. Fariz Ismailzade: Response to Ira Straus's letter to David/3354
re US attitude vs. Russia in Caucasus.
12. Eric Chenoweth: Re: Fwd: 3356 Darden/Evidence of Russian Imperialism?
13. AP: 1972 Treaty Shouldn't Bar Deployment.
14. AFP: Yukos minnows win round in shareholders' rights case against oil
15. Itar-Tass: Mission of Two Russian Leftist Blocs Comes to
Russian Bombers Practice Over North Pole
MOSCOW (AP) -- Long-range Russian bombers flew over the North Pole and test
fired strategic missiles during recent military exercises, a defense official
The exercises involving Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers were conducted last week as
part of military exercises code named "West 99," air force spokesman Col.
Alexander Drobyshevsky was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency.
The planes made 15-hour flights which took them over the Atlantic before
heading to the Arctic and crossing the North Pole, the spokesman said.
Long-range missiles were test fired and hit targets in southern Russia, he
The six days of exercises, aimed at testing Russia's ability to withstand an
attack along its western border, were among the largest maneuvers held in
More than 30 ships, several nuclear powered submarines, 10,000 troops and a
number of aircraft from Russia's Baltic Fleet took part in the exercises,
which ended Saturday, the Defense Ministry said Monday
Army units in western Russia and Belarus were also involved in the maneuvers.
Russia insisted that the maneuvers were not connected to NATO's bombing raids
in Yugoslavia, which officially ended June 16. But Moscow sees NATO as a
threat, and the alliance's campaign raised calls in Russia to boost military
Moscow vehemently opposed NATO's air war against Yugoslavia and played a
prominent role in mediating a peace plan for Kosovo.
Reforms for IMF deal in Russia's interests-Rubin
WASHINGTON, June 28 (Reuters) - It is in Russia's own interest to include
significant reform elements in a deal with the International Monetary Fund,
outgoing U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin said on Monday.
"The IMF and Russia are going to have to continue to work and see whether
they can reach an accord where Russia takes steps that are significant in
terms of reform," Rubin told a small group of reporters.
He added: "Reform in Russia and taking the full range of measures that are
necessary to have a successful economy is a long run matter... It's in
everybody's interests -- in Russia's and in the rest of the world's -- that
Russia has been struggling to meet the terms of a reform package which would
underpin a proposed $4.5 billion IMF loan, and a team of IMF experts will
visit Russia next week to check on Moscow's economic progress and plans.
Rubin said there seemed to be "a lot of goodwill" on both sides. "What the
IMF is trying to do is to help that (reform) process move along," he said.
The loan, agreed in principle in April, would provide Russia with money to
repay credits extended in previous years.
But in an unusual development, the money would never reach Russia but would
be simply transferred from one IMF account to another and used for debt
Money for Spent Nuke Fuel Better than IMF Loans-- Adamov.
OBNINSK, June 28 (Itar-Tass) - The Russian Atomic power ministry wants to get
a permission to process and bury in Russia nuclear waste from all wishing
clients saying that would bring considerable profits.
"To get money for the reprocessing and dumping of spent nuclear fuel is
better than borrowing money from the IMF," Atomic energy Minister Yevgeny
Adamov said on Monday. He added that the proceeds could go to cash-strapped
national pension and insurance funds.
At present Russia's environmental law bans the dumping in Russia of waste
nuclear fuel from countries whose nuclear power plants Russia did not help
Adamov said his ministry was going to make to parliament a "proposal to
change this article of the law".
He insisted that a priority for the atomic industry is Russia's presence on
the service market in reprocessing and dumping of spent nuclear fuel.
June 29, 1999
Chubais Picks Up New Title: 'Oligarch'
By Melissa Akin
Yevgeny Kiselyov, the host of NTV's "Itogi" program, casually put the
all-but-official seal on Anatoly Chubais' new career by deferentially
referring to the electrical utility boss by an unaccustomed title:
With Kiselyov's anointing on Sunday, Chubais completed a remarkable
transition. As government official, he helped create the oligarch phenomenon
through his privatization program, which transferred vast wealth to the
country's politically-connected business class.
But now, as unchallenged head of Russia's second-largest company, he no
longer makes oligarchs. He is an oligarch.
At a shareholders meeting Friday, Chubais received what analysts believe is
near-unshakable control over RAO Unified Energy Systems electricity monopoly.
At a shareholders meeting Friday, the government, which holds 52 percent of
UES, ceded its right to hire and fire Chubais by going along with a measure
to require a three-quarters majority of the shareholders to remove him f
instead of a simple majority of the directors or shareholders.
That gives foreign shareholders, who own a combined 33 percent stake, a
blocking vote should the Kremlin try to remove him. Chubais, a darling of
foreign investors, thus got political insurance against a snap decision by
President Boris Yeltsin to have him fired, which has happened four times in
He moved to UES in April 1998 after a book royalty scandal cost him his
finance minister portfolio and undermined him as deputy prime minister in
charge of economics and finances. Earlier, he had served as the head of the
Kremlin administration and head of the privatization program.
"Now whoever the prime minister is, no one can give the command [to remove
Chubais]," said State Duma Deputy Pavel Bunich, who heads the Duma's
privatization committee. "He is in a unique position. Not one chief executive
of any company is in that position."
Even Rem Vyahkirev, head of the Gazprom natural gas monopoly, has to put up
with talk that the government should revoke a trust agreement under which he
manages a 37.5 percent stake that is part of the government's 38.4 percent
share in the company.
Chubais also has insurance against a revenge attempt by his Communist
enemies, who blame his privatization program for corruption and the excessive
wealth of a few. They could only get rid of him by re-nationalizing UES, a
possibility analysts call unlikely.
"Nothing threatens Chubais now," Bunich said.
"It's not important how you get control over a big company, whether you
personally control it or control it through your people," said Andrei Ryabov,
an analyst with the Carnegie Endowment. But having that control "is one of
the main characteristics of the status of oligarch."
Along with Vyahkirev, other oligarchs would include people like Boris
Berezovsky, who built a fortune selling cars, then branched out into opaque
holdings in oil, media and the national airline, Aeroflot, though he denies
some of those holdings. Others include Interros head Vladimir Potanin, who
controls Norilsk Nickel and Rosbank; medial mogul Vladimir Gusinsky; LUKoil
head Vagit Alekperov; and others.
Sunday's NTV television interview was a sort of coming-out party. Chubais
said he didn't object when NTV news anchor Yevgeny Kiselyov called him "the
strongest player on the political scene."
And when Kiselyov wished him success in his capacities of chief executive of
the national electric company and "political oligarch," Chubais smiled like
Making Chubais an oligarch in his own right appears to be one element of the
Kremlin's strategy for 1999 State Duma elections and the 2000 presidential
Analysts said, however, that while Berezovsky admitted to supporting Yeltsin
to protect privatization-era gains from a communist comeback, Chubais is
motivated at least to some extent by his free-market ideology.
"He doesn't bear any relation to the likes of Berezovsky," said Andrei
Piontkovsky, head of the Center of Strategic Studies. "He has aims other than
simple personal enrichment."
Chubais "is more oriented toward the national interests," said Ryabov of the
Moscow Carnegie Center. "He thinks on a different scale. He has his own
models of Russian politics and the Russian economy and he is working to
Chubais has a nominal partisan membership as a leader of the Right Cause
movement together with free-market ideologist Yegor Gaidar and fellow "young
reformer" Boris Nemtsov. But Right Cause ratings are dismal and, as UES head,
Chubais has much stronger levers of power in his hands already.
UES may be wracked by debt (it receives payment for only a fraction of its
deliveries, and only 20 percent of that in cash), but that is enough of a
cash flow to merit the interests of Kremlin election strategists.
And in addition to his unchallenged control over the national power grid,
whole cash-strapped regions of Russia that fail to pay their electric bills
are literally in hock to Chubais.
An announcement Monday that Yeltsin's chief of staff, Alexander Voloshin, was
elected to head the UES board of directors apparently complements the hands
of both Chubais and the Kremlin.
Piontkovsky said the "Chubais-Voloshin tandem" could use UES influence and
resources in a campaign to make Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin a winning
The Russia Journal
June 29-July 5, 1999
Kremlin sounds out new 'party of power'
Ekaterina Larina/The Russia Journal
Russian media reported last week that the presidential administration has
begun creating a new political bloc uniting various political parties.
The Kremlin's move to set up a new so-called "party of power" comes ahead of
upcoming parliamentary elections. The list of participants in the new
alliance sounds like a recipe for a complicated cocktail.
The Right Cause coalition, Our Home is Russia (NDR) - the former party of
power - and the New Force movement created by former Prime Minister Sergei
Kiriyenko will represent liberals and right-leaning centrists in the bloc.
Vsya Rossiya (All Russia), Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiev's movement,
and Samara Governor Konstantin Titov's Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia) will
represent regional leaders. Even the "patriotic forces" could have their
place if Alexei Podberyozkin's Dukhovnoye Naslediye (Spiritual Heritage)
joins the alliance.
But support from Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, who would play a leading
role in the new union, will be most important.
Observers say the presidential administration has come up with a strategic
plan to prepare for the elections. The aim is clear: to ensure the next Duma
is neither Communist nor pro-Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov. The Kremlin's
strategy of bringing together all parties and movements that could reasonably
be called center-right is straightforward. The logic is that to win the
parliament's backing, the president must have his own political organization
to draw votes away from the Communists and Luzhkov's Otechestvo (Fatherland)
Currently, none of the parties the Kremlin would support individually stand a
chance of passing the 5 percent of popular vote threshold required to win
seats in the Duma. But there is no time and few resources to create a new
party from scratch, even if electoral law did not state that only parties
registered at least one year before the elections can participate.
The only way out for the Kremlin is to offer suitable candidates moral and
material support and, more important, information and publicity. In return,
parties and movements willing to enter the alliance would bring the Kremlin
their voters. The question is how many votes a political hybrid might
actually hope to win. Even out-and-out pessimists give the Kremlin's new
alliance every chance of breaking the 5 percent barrier, but many say the
group would not win more than 10 percent.
July 5, 1999
Russia's Peace Prize: Closer Ties to the West
By Margaret Coker in Moscow, with Richard S. Dunham in Cologne
EDITED BY PATRICIA KRANZ
Happily administering bear hugs to his Western counterparts in Cologne at the
Group of Eight summit on June 20, Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin was
ready to celebrate. By brokering a peace between NATO and Yugoslavian
President Slobodan Milosevic, Yeltsin had earned the West's gratitude and
restored Russia's image as a force to be reckoned with. At the same time, his
daring gambit to dispatch 200 Russian troops to Kosovo ahead of the NATO
force had silenced domestic criticism that he was kowtowing to NATO.
Yeltsin's twin public-relations victories could well mark one of the last
big political maneuvers of his 8-year-old presidency. By playing his cards
the way he did, Yeltsin has shored up his longstanding policy of cooperation
with the West--despite growing anti-American sentiment at home. As Russia
heads into election season, politicians of every stripe will increase their
anti-Western rhetoric. But at least for the next few months--and possibly
until the end of his term--Yeltsin seems determined to pursue smoother
relations with the West because of the economic and strategic benefits they
The Russian President flew home from Cologne with a fistful of trophies
and is looking for even more. In return for making concessions on the role of
the Russian military in Kosovo and renewing his commitment to arms-control
talks, Yeltsin won for Russia a permanent seat at the table with the world's
seven most powerful economies. The G-7, now formally renamed the G-8, is
promising to help Russia restructure some of its $70 billion in Soviet-era
debt owed to governments and banks, as well as the $4.5 billion Moscow owes
the International Monetary Fund this year.
But Russia's biggest spoil of the war is the promise of much closer ties
with Europe. Kosovo made the issue of European security more urgent for both
Russia and the European Union. Russians were frightened when NATO began
dropping bombs on Serbia, which used to be in the Soviet orbit. European
members of NATO supported the bombing, but were shaken by the outbreak of war
in Europe and their own inability to launch a military operation without U.S.
So even as NATO's bombs were falling, newly appointed European Commission
President Romano Prodi wanted to make better cooperation with Russia one of
the EU's priorities. On June 3, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder and other
EU leaders approved an EU Common Strategy on Russia. The pact calls for
increased cooperation on economic and political issues, from bringing Russia
into the World Trade Organization and encouraging development of Russia's
pipeline system to creating a stability pact for Kosovo.
Even before Kosovo, Europe and Russia were allied in their opposition to
the more hawkish U.S. policy toward China and Iran. Closer cooperation could
result in a common policy for the development of Caspian Sea oil, where U.S.
policy has sought to marginalize Iran. ``More and more, it appears that the
U.S. does not know how to engage Russia, but more and more, it appears Russia
and Europe are thinking alike,'' says Alan Rousso, director of the Carnegie
Moscow Center think tank.
Yeltsin and his government still have to watch out for an anti-Western
backlash at home. Even traditional supporters of Yeltsin are demonizing
America and the West. NATO has no right to police the world ``and commit
murder in the name of human rights,'' declared Boris Fyodorov, a
reform-minded banker and former Finance Minister, recently. It's up to the
wily Yeltsin to strengthen Russia's Western ties before he departs the
Yeltsin seeks to forge strategy on Kosovo
By Adam Tanner
MOSCOW, June 28 (Reuters) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin on Monday pledged
to work out a ``strict'' policy for Kosovo, while Russia sent more planeloads
of equipment and supplies for its peacekeepers in Kosovo.
``Now we must work out a very, very strict strategy for the future of Kosovo
and Yugoslavia as a whole,'' Yeltsin said in televised extracts of a Kremlin
meeting with Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev.
He gave no details of Russia's plans for Kosovo, differences over which drove
Moscow's relations with the United States to their lowest ebb since the Cold
War, before Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton held talks in Cologne on
Russia strongly opposed NATO's recent bombing of Yugoslavia and wants to play
an important role in the peacekeeping process, partly to ensure the safety of
fellow Slav and Orthodox Christian Serbs in Kosovo province.
Russia rushed about 200 soldiers to Slatina airport in Kosovo's capital,
Pristina, earlier this month in a surprise move which enabled them to arrive
before NATO forces.
Yeltsin said the airport had a ``serious strategic importance'' and that he
was carefully coordinating the shaping of policy on Yugoslavia with Sergeyev,
whose performance he praised during the Kosovo conflict.
``I agree with Igor Dmitriyevich (Sergeyev) on everything. In no case is
anything here decided alone,'' Yeltsin said.
The surprise deployment caused considerable confusion at first, and Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov was briefly caught off guard. He initially called the
deployment a mistake.
But tension has receded, and Russia and has since agreed on terms with NATO
for its role in the Kosovo peacekeeping force.
In a sign that wounds with NATO are healing, a group of Russian officers was
due to go to Brussels on Monday for talks with NATO on the Kosovo deployment.
But Ivanov said Russia was not yet resuming full ties with the military
alliance, broken when the bombing of Yugoslavia began three months ago.
Three military transport planes took off on Monday from Ryazan, south of
Moscow, carrying technical equipment, food and medicine, a Russian Air Force
Three Russian aircraft also flew to Kosovo over the weekend with supplies for
its small contingent of troops at the airport, paving the way for about 3,600
Russian troops due to arrive in the next few weeks.
A refurbished airfield is needed to ease the arrival of humanitarian aid to
returning refugees and to bring in more international peacekeepers. Russian
officials say several days of work are needed to make the airstrip fully
Moscow's military capability has fallen since the Soviet Union collapsed, but
it has sought to remind the world of its military prowess in recent days.
Last week it held the largest armed forces exercises of their kind in Russia
Yeltsin underlined this at a Kremlin ceremony for graduates of military
``The country is now in a tough economic position,'' he said. ``Despite this,
I want to assure you as commander in chief that the government's defence
capabilities and social defence of servicemen and their families is
constantly in my line of sight.''
Yugoslavia: Details Of Russian Role In Kosovo Still Undefined
By Ron Synovitz
A contingent of Russian troops landed at Kosovo's Pristina airport over the
weekend as part of an advance unit for a force that is eventually to include
some 3,600 soldiers. Their arrival came as no surprise to NATO -- in sharp
contrast to the arrival of some 200 Russian paratroopers at the airport
earlier in the month. The earlier move set off difficult talks over the role
that Russian troops are to play in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. RFE/RL
correspondent Ron Synovitz is in Kosovo and reports on the current situation
confronting Russian soldiers in the province.
Pristina, 28 June 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Since their arrival at Pristina airport
two days ago, a small team of Russian soldiers has been traveling around
Kosovo to inspect the sectors where Russians are to serve as part of the KFOR
NATO spokesman Major Jan Joosten told our correspondent in Pristina that
precise deployment sites for about 3,600 Russians due to arrive in Kosovo in
the coming weeks have not yet been agreed upon. But he said KFOR and Russian
army officers will meet in Brussels today with General Wesley Clark, NATO's
supreme commander of allied forces in Europe, to finalize those locations.
Under a general agreement reached with the United States in Helsinki ten days
ago, two battalions of Russian peacekeepers are to be deployed in the U.S.
sector of southeastern Kosovo. Another two battalions will be stationed
within the French sector in the north and one battalion will go to the
southwest where German soldiers are deployed. Rather than serving directly
under NATO, Russian troops will remain under a Russian command that is
integrated into what NATO is now calling a "multinational division."
Western powers have refused to grant Russia its own sector in Kosovo, saying
that such a move might lead to a de facto partition of the province because
of Moscow's pro-Serb sympathies.
Russia is distrusted by much of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian population. That has
raised questions about whether it is appropriate to station a large number of
Russian troops in areas that are strongholds of the Kosovo Liberation Army
(UCK), such as the town of Malisevo in the central part of the province.
The deployment of Russians in the tense city of Mitrovica is another question
still being negotiated by Russian and NATO military leaders. Armed Serbs last
week set up a blockade on a bridge across the Ibri River, effectively
preventing ethnic Albanians from traveling to the northern part of the city
where the main hospital is located.
Crowds of angry ethnic Albanians have been gathering daily in southern
Mitrovica to protest the blockade. French peacekeepers are trying to defuse
the situation by providing escorts for both Serbs and ethnic Albanians to the
opposite sides of the city.
General Clark has called the armed Serbs "paramilitaries" and threatened that
"appropriate action" will be taken by French peacekeepers unless they
surrender their weapons. He also insists that Mitrovica will not be
partitioned in a way similar to East and West Berlin during the Cold War. But
it appears likely that Russian troops will soon be deployed in Serbian
neighborhoods on the north side of Mitrovica. NATO's Major Joosten told
RFE/RL that such a move would be logical:
"Of course you can expect that the Russians will be deployed in areas where
the majority are Serbs. For example, Turks will be deployed in an area where
there is a Turkish minority and that makes sense. The people understand each
other and that's the best way of trying to create a secure and safe
Until the bulk of the Russian forces arrive in Kosovo, Russia's role will
remain focused on Pristina airport about 20 kilometers west of the provincial
capital. The 200 Russian soldiers who dashed to the airport overland ahead of
NATO's entrance into Kosovo earlier this month still control all of the
airport's entrance roads.
A few hundred meters down the road from one Russian checkpoint, British
Gurkha paratroopers have set up their own checkpoint. Our correspondent also
came across an UCK camp hidden in a wooded area less than a half a kilometer
from the Russian positions. The British soldiers are patrolling the narrow
strip of land between the Russians and the UCK.
While the Russians are allowing British troops to pass on the roads to the
airport, there are still fewer NATO troops at the airfield than there are
Russians. The Russians are still refusing to allow passage to western
journalists unless they have a KFOR escort. Yesterday, our correspondent also
observed the Russians turning away two vehicles carrying task force members
from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
"Tell them that all the people are not here now. They went into the field
because the new ones flew in. Let [the OSCE] come next week and the commander
will communicate with them. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the day after tomorrow."
The situation at Pristina airport has been changing rapidly since Saturday
when a Russian Ilyushin-76 aircraft landed with a team of 39 paratroopers and
engineers. It was the first plane to land at the airport since NATO ended its
air raids against Yugoslavia earlier this month. Minutes after the Russian
plane arrived, a French Hercules C-130 aircraft landed with a cargo of
sophisticated air traffic control equipment needed to help bring the airfield
up to the standards of an international airport.
Two Russian and two NATO planes also arrived yesterday, and another three
from both Russia and NATO are due to arrive today. NATO's Major Joosten
explained to RFE/RL how the alliance's agreement with Russia on reopening the
airport is working:
"We will see some more aircraft landing in the coming period, all bringing in
equipment and personnel to make the Pristina airport able to run as an
operational airport. It will take [a total] of up to ten days, and after that
the airport will be open for military traffic only. For the coming ten days,
what we will see is an equal number of Russian and NATO planes landing every
day. After that, it will depend on what equipment needs to be brought in. It
can be a NATO plane. It can be a Russian plane. It can be a plane of another
country that is going to participate in KFOR. It is going to be a KFOR
For the 200 Russians that have been guarding Pristina airport for weeks,
their mission is nearly complete. A soldier named Nikolai from the Russian
town of Bryansk told RFE/RL that he will be happy to leave because he is
tired of being in Kosovo, especially after serving for more than a year as
one of the Russian soldiers in the SFOR force in Bosnia.
"Soon we will be back home. The time is coming for us. As soon as our forces
arrive from Russia, then we will fly home."
But another Russian soldier said that much remains to be done by Russian
troops and others in KFOR before their job in Kosovo is complete. He told
RFE/RL that the mission will end only when what he called "complete peace" is
established in the province. He said that Russian troops will "have to work
hard and work more" until the job is done.
Formation of One-Seat Constituencies in RF Chief Task -View.
MOSCOW, June 28 (Itar-Tass) - Following the entry into force of the new law
on the election of the State Duma, the chief task facing the Central
Electoral Commission is to work out a scheme of single-mandate
constituencies, commission chairman Alexander Veshnyakov said.
Veshnyakov told journalists on Monday that this scheme has to be formalised
in a federal law before September 9. Otherwise, constituencies will be
established by the old law which was adopted four years ago.
"As long as there are no single-mandate constituencies, neither parties nor
movements can run in them" he explained.
He said the number of single-mandate constituencies will remain the same --
225 -- under the new law. However, some changes are possible. The number of
such constituencies may be increased in some parts of Russia, including in
Dagestan and the Krasnodar Territory, while in the Chita and Murmansk regions
their number will be reduced.
Veshnyakov said the new law creates a "normal legal basis for the election
process in Russia".
He believes that the law "is fully consistent with the law on the main
guarantees of the rights of citizens and their participation in elections and
At the same time, he pointed out that the new law draws on the mistakes made
at the previous elections in Russia.
"There are no longer legislative loopholes for the penetration of power
bodies by criminal elements or for the use of dirty election technologies or
uncontrolled financing of elections," Veshnyakov said.
Russian Electoral Commission to Guarantee Fair Elections.
MOSCOW, June 28 (Itar-Tass) -- Russia's Central Electoral Commission will
hold meetings with representatives of 139 parties and party groups in
mid-July to work jointly on the implementation of the electoral legislation,
Alexander Veshnyakov, the commission's chairman, said on Monday.
The Central Electoral Commission supports "public control, but within the
limits of the law," Veshnyakov told reporters. "We are not against various
public organisations which oversee the 'purity' of the election process, but
it is necessary to remember that the Central Electoral Commission is the main
initiator of fair elections," he said.
The commission is ready to create all the necessary conditions to hold
parliamentary elections in Chechnya, as "we still consider the Chechen
Republic a component part of the Russian Federation," Veshnyakov said.
However, he said that the Central Electoral Commission has not yet received a
reply to its four-month-old request to the Chechen authorities concerning the
number of residents in the republic.
The necessity of fair elections was also mentioned at the handing of honorary
diplomas and prizes to students of the Russian law institutes, which took
place earlier on Monday, Veshnyakov said, praising the students'
professionalism and scientific approach towards the problem.
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999
From: Fariz Ismailzade <email@example.com>
Subject: Response to Ira Straus's letter to David/3354
My name is Fariz Ismailzade and I am a visiting scholar from Azerbaijan
at CSIS. I would like to ask you to include my respond to Ira Straus's
letter to David in the Johnson's Russia list. I appreciate your time
and help in advance,
Dear Mr. Straus,
I thought you might be interested to hear some comments on your reply
to David about Us attitude vs. Russia in Caucasus and Central Asia.
Please, allow me to comment solely on the Caucasus part due to my
inexperience with Central Asian politics. Namely, I would like to
respond to your description of Russia's role in the Caucasus and then
to your "geopolitical checkerboard" taking place in the region.
You talk about the Western assumption of Russian influence in the
region as "bad, dangerous, imperialistic and disruptive" and that
continuation of this perception by American decision makers leads to
"inevitability" of hostile struggle between the West and Russia.
Therefore, you propose "influence of Russia in Central Asia and
Caucasus should continue". It seems to me that you come up to this idea
not because you believe that Russian influence is not disruptive and
dangerous, but because you are somehow afraid of angering Russians. At
this point, it must be noted that Russia's open support to Abkhaz and
Karabakh separatist movements, coups and internal instability in
Caucasian republics and finally the war in Chechnya greatly
destabilized the region and helped to keep political and economic
independence of Newly Independent states down. If you agree with that,
then you must also agree that one must fight this destabilizing and
dangerous policies of Russian Federation, due to the fact that they
threaten stability and economic development of the region. At the very
least, the West has already invested into the region and now it must
help to preserve the stability and independence of the Caucasus. The
fear of Russian anger must not be a prerequisite for American policies
in the Caucasus because in this case America will never be able to
increase its influence. Russia will always object to the West's
advancement in the region. However, that must not stop the Western
support to the newly emerging republics.
In addition to that, your description of America's policies in the
Caucasus as "strengthening their independence from Russia, not from
America or Turkey" also does not reflect the reality. Azerbaijan and
Georgia chose to be on the side of the West, whereas Armenia decided to
ally itself with Russia. The countries are making their choices
according to their security demands and America's is not to be blamed
for this choice. Even if you think that there is a "western
imperialism", I must say that it is always better to join the lesser of
the two evils. Western Europe's development is the best example for
Finally, I must comment on your "geopolitical checkerboard" paragraph.
You say that, Russia is better off because it has ended up with the
more liberal and democratic regimes of Armenia, Kazakhstan and
Kyrgistan and America is worse off for allying itself with "less
democratic" Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. First of all,
America's policies in the region are greatly derived from the energy
interests and Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan posses vast
amounts of natural gas and oil. Second, if you think that Russia failed
to submit "non-democratic" Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan,
then it is a sad conclusion that one must be a "non-democratic" country
in order to get rid of Russian influence. Finally, while questioning
the whole ranking of above mentioned countries into democratic and
non-democratic (Armenian President, for example, in January 1999
received two letters from the Human Watch Group about the terrible
human rights situation in the country, not even mentioning the fraud
Presidential Elections of 1996, 1997), I must say that American
policies in the Caucasus and Central Asia follow primarily geostrategic
interests, rather than human rights. It would be naïve to talk about
pure democracies in the region, which emerged from the Soviet Union
only 8 years ago. It will take time for those states to create Western
I hope that the realization of the urgent need of the Caucasian and
Central Asian countries in the Western aid and giving clear preferences
to the geostrategic and economic interests will help to strengthen real
independence of the above mentioned countries from Russian imperialism.
After all, misrepresented policies like the one described by you lead
to the actions of US Government, like Section 907 of FSA, which
prohibit US assistance to Azerbaijan in promoting democracy and human
rights. What kind of "democratic and non-democratic" regimes can one
talk after this?
Visiting scholar at CSIS from Azerbaijan
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999
From: Eric Chenoweth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Fwd: 3356 Darden/Evidence of Russian Imperialism?
Many thanks to Keith Darden (JRL #3356) for his lengthy response to my
request for finding "positive" as opposed to
"imperial" Russian behavior towards the former Soviet
republics. It is indeed a worthwhile discussion. I think, however, that
Mr. Darden's answer (as well as Mr. Strauss's interventions in JRL #s
3354 and 3358) demonstrates an opposite pro-Russian bias: he chooses to
interpret all Russian foreign policy behavior as positive, and
allegations of Russian "meddling" are seen as less than
For example, Mr. Darden says that Shevadnardze and Aliyev, being both
leaders of Caucasian states, obviously cannot be taken at their word when
they allege Russian participation in assasination attempts. But one
needn't take their word for it: Russian authorities have openly harbored
the suspects behind several assassination attempts for years. The
participation of the Russian army in multiple coup attempts in Azerbaijan
has been clearly demonstrated (including the one that brought Aliyev to
power), as has Russia's participation in the Armenian takeover of
Nagorno-Karabakh. If Mr. Darden wishes to believe that the Russian
military would continue to maintain its protection of Abkhazia for purely
non-imperial reasons, he is free to do so. The Georgian view, and one
shared by many others, is that the Russian-backed separatist movement in
Abkhazia began as and remains a weapon of blackmail to ensure continued
Russian military bases and communication posts--one might even call this
classic imperial behavior.
In Tajikistan, Russian "meddling"--i.e. its backing for coups
in Tajikistan through the instrument of the 201st armored division--is
also well documented. Russia's initial imperial reason for meddling was
presumably to prevent a generally pro-democratic Islamic-leaning
government from taking power out of fear of then non-existent ties to
Iran and Afghanistan; but of course imperial actions often backfire.
Thus, while some may assert that Russia's imperial interests were
ill-served by its Tajik interventions, it is hard to dispute that the
results were in large measure the result of Russia's imperial thinking
that it could regain control over Tajik sovereignty.
A cursory review of CIS history shows the majority's rejection of
repeated Russian Federation pressure to impose blanket currency, import,
tarriff, air, and defense agreements that would serve primarily RF
economic and military interests. As a result of Russia's attitudes and
policies within the CIS, many of the states have recently questioned the
worth of its continued existence. The Central Asian states (and Russian
policy towards these started the discussion) have instead established
their own regional economic organization, without Russia--again an
example of the backfiring of imperial thinking.
Certainly, there are positive relationships between Russia and some of
the former Soviet republics, as rightly noted by Mr. Darden; these are
usually with countries that are supportive of Russian foreign and
economic policies, like Belarus, Armenia, and until recently Kazakhstan.
But the issue is whether Russian foreign policy has changed in character
and ceased to be imperial in nature. If this is demonstrably the case,
then certainly an exclusive focus on "Russian meddling" would
reflect a clear anti-Russian bias. If it is not demonstrably the case,
and Russian foreign policy has either in part or in full retained an
imperial character that many of the new independent states find
threatening to their newfound sovereignty, then the charge of bias should
be proven through debate and example, and not simply alleged and assumed
A few words concerning Mr. Strauss's interventions (JRL #s 3354 and
3358): he is querulous that anyone might interpret his words as generally
anti-Islamic and thus racist as Loren Gerlach does. Yet, his entire
missive is an apologia for Russian imperialism as a civilizing and
modernizing influence over otherwise uncivilized, mostly Muslim nations;
the main problem for the region is that the Russian population is leaving
Central Asian and Caucasus countries, and this will leave their
populations without direct European influence! His two distinct
references to the dangers of Islamic influence are general and not
specific, making it appear that all Islam is generally extremist,
anti-modernist, and dangerous and the only issue is what level of danger
it poses at any given time.
In my view, the responses to David Johnson's original point have
generally gone to demonstrate the dominance not of an anti-Russian bias,
as originally alleged, but rather a pro-Russian bias that lacks the least
bit of sympathy for the strivings for independence of the non-Russian
former Soviet republics--especially the states with a Muslim
majority--and their desire to be free of Russian dominance. In this view,
those who perceive Russian Federation foreign policy behavior as
attempting to maintain dominance over these new states or to reverse
their independence, and who see the cost in such behavior in lost lives,
displaced peoples, destruction of economies, and the institution of
dictatorship, are imagining things and simply have mistaken Russia's
positive "civilizing" and "modernizing" actions for
Director of Publications
Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe (IDEE)
2000 P. St., NW Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20036
Tel: (202) 466-7105
Fax: (202) 466-7140
1972 Treaty Shouldn't Bar Deployment
June 28, 1999
By TOM RAUM
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States should not be bound by a landmark 1972
arms-control treaty in moving toward deployment of a national missile defense
system, the Clinton administration's top arms-control official said Monday.
John Holum, acting undersecretary of state for arms control and international
security affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that deployment
decisions should be based on what best serves the national interest.
His comments, which echoed those of congressional Republicans, followed
Russian President Boris Yeltsin's agreement earlier this month to consider
reviewing the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, which bans both American
and Russian missile-defense systems.
The threat of a nuclear attack by a rogue nation ``is clearly very
prominent'' as an area of concern, far more so than just a few years ago,
when the administration believed such a threat was still years in the future,
The Clinton administration earlier opposed moving ahead with a large-scale
missile defense program, saying it would violate terms of the treaty.
But in a compromise with congressional Republicans, President Clinton last
spring agreed to support legislation committing the nation to a
missile-defense system. Top Republican leaders were to rally Tuesday on the
Capitol steps to applaud Clinton's signing of that measure.
``In light of new estimates on the ballistic missile threat, in particular
from North Korea and Iran, national missile defense is now closer to becoming
another integral part of our strategy against proliferation,'' Holum
Holum appeared at a nomination hearing to be the first person to serve in the
new post. He had served since 1993 as director of the Arms Control and
Disarmament Agency, but that agency went out of business on April 1 when its
functions were merged with the State Department.
Holum's nomination was expected to be approved by the panel, perhaps as early
as Wednesday, when it also votes on the nomination of Richard Holbrooke to be
United Nations ambassador.
The administration says it will make decisions on missile defense system
details next June.
Rather than blindly following the ABM restrictions, ``I believe our missile
defense should be geared toward threat'' and toward technical feasibility,
Holum said. ``We want it to work.''
The administration still intends to withhold from the Senate modifications to
the ABM treaty agreed to in 1996 by Clinton and Yeltsin, Holum said.
He reiterated the administration view that the modifications, mainly dealing
with impact on the agreement of the breakup of the Soviet Union, should be
delayed until after Russia ratifies a 1993 treaty calling for reduction in
After delays caused by airstrikes against Iraq and Yugoslavia, the Russian
Duma may consider the so-called START II measure when it reconvenes in
September, Holum said.
``We fully expect the Russians to ratify START II,'' he said.
Chairman Jesse Helms, R-N.C., and other Senate Republicans have complained
about the administration's tactics, and wanted the ABM modifications
submitted to the Senate immediately.
However, Yeltsin's agreement to reopen the part of the agreement dealing with
missile defense has appeared to ease some of the GOP objections.
Yukos minnows win round in shareholders' rights case against oil magnate
MOSCOW, June 28 (AFP) - Minority shareholders in a subsidiary of Russian oil
giant Yukos were celebrating a court victory on Monday against a
controversial share issue which would have seriously diluted their stake.
The arbitration court in the Volga region of Samara struck down a decision at
a shareholders' meeting on March 23 to issue a controlling block of shares in
Samaraneftegaz to offshore firms controlled by Yukos and its allies.
A director of Arrowhead Enterprises, John Papesh, which holds 12 percent of
the company, welcomed the court decision as a victory for the rights of
foreign and Russian minority shareholders.
Yukos, run by oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was not immediately available
to comment on the court ruling.
"This may be one of the first instances where a foreign shareholder was
victorious in obtaining a court ruling in its favour," Papesh told AFP.
"The dilutions that Yukos would like to take place are just blatant
violations of the law," he said.
"This was a victory for Arrowhead but also for all shareholders in
Samaraneftegaz," he added. Had the move gone through, minority stakes would
have been heavily diluted, Papesh said.
The Samara court ruled in Arrowhead's favour on three issues: that it had
been illegally excluded from proposed share issue, that the shares were
undervalued, and that the owners of the new shares had been kept secret.
"The implied value for the entire company was 3.1 million dollars (3.0
billion euros), and this is a company that produced oil last year that at
current market prices would fetch something like 700 million dollars,"
"Plus the kicker is that they were not going to pay in cash, they were going
to pay in promissory notes in one of the other production facilities (owned
by Yukos) in the future," he said.
Earlier this month minority shareholders in Samaraneftegaz, Tomskneft and
Yuganskneftegaz won six court injunctions suspending share issues to offshore
companies controlled by Yukos in Ireland, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands,
the Isle of Man, the Marshall Islands and the South Pacific island of Niue.
Industry analysts however said the court victory was just one stage in the
long-running saga, saying the Russian legal system had a track record of
overturning decisions by lower courts.
"They are not out of the woods yet by any means," said one oil industry
Mission of Two Russian Leftist Blocs Comes to Khabarovsk.
KHABAROVSK, June 28 (Itar-Tass) - A mission of two Russian ultra-leftist
opposition movements, the Union of Russian Officers and the Labour Russia,
has come to Khabarovsk for a trip nicknamed "The March for the Revival of the
The mission is headed by Viktor Ampilov, a leader of the Labour Russia,
Stanislav Terekhov, a leader of the Union of Russian Officers, and Yevgeny
Dzhugashvili, the grandson of authoritarian Soviet leader Josef Stalin.
"We want to carry the USSR flag throughout the whole country as a symbolic
motion; we hoisted it in Brest and intend to hoist it in Kunashir. Sooner or
later, it will go up above the Kremlin again," Ampilov said upon arrival in
Kunashir is the easternmost and second-largest island of the main Kurile
Islands chain in the Sea of Okhotsk.
Ampilov said also that the aim of the tour was a "search of leaders in
provinces, who will engage in an uncompromised struggle for the Soviet
The delegation came to Khabarovsk by train from another eastern Russian city,
Blagoveshchensk, and is planned to also visit Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Far
Yevgeny Dzhugashvili, who also spoke in Khabarovsk, called the current
Kremlin leaders "the foes of the people who have led the country to
devastation and will further destroy it."
Asked about his attitude to Stalin, Dzhugashvili said that he bore Stalin no
malice despite the latter had refused to exchange Dzhugashvili's father Yakov
for German Field-Marshal Friedrich Paulus when both were prisoners of war in
the times of the World War Two.
Yakov Stalin died in captivity. Dzhugashvili, currently on a government
pension, graduated from Suvorov's officer school, a military school, and a
military academy. Before pension, he was an instructor at several academies,
including the Academy of the Main Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
His grandson, Josef Dzhugashvili is a resident of Tbilisi, the capital of
Georgia where Stalin had been born. He bears the same first name and
patronymic as Stalin.
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