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Johnson's Russia List


June 30, 1999    
This Date's Issues: 3368 3369 3370 

Johnson's Russia List
30 June 1999

[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: 625,000 Russian Kids Said Abandoned.
3. Moscow Times: Melissa Akin, Vigilant Legislators Bivouac in Duma.
4. AP: Russia Looks To Safeguard Elections.
5. RFE/RL: Mark Baker, The East: Ministers List Lessons Learned During 
Transition From Communism.

6. AP: Russian Premier Against Corruption.
7. NTV: Poll Shows Stepashin's Popularity Rising.
8. Interfax: Communists Lose Ground in Popularity Ratings.
9. San Diego Union-Tribune: Paul Saunders, U.S.-Russia Relations Are Still 
Badly Frayed.

10. Interfax: Chubays Says Stepashin Cabinet Stable.
11. NTV: Russians Unenthusiastic About Kosovo Involvement.
12. Moskovskiy Komsomolets: Aleksandr Budberg, Yeltsin Upsets the

He May Quit Before the Elections.
13. Jerry Hough: 3366-Akin/Oligarch Chubais.] 


625,000 Russian Kids Said Abandoned
June 29, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia has at least 625,000 abandoned children - many of them 
deserted by impoverished or alcoholic parents - and the number is rising, the 
ITAR-Tass news agency reported Tuesday.

Thousands of children in Russia run away from home, usually to escape 
alcoholic or abusive parents who rarely try to find them later, the report 
said. Some newborns are left at maternity clinics by mothers who either 
cannot afford, or do not want to raise, a child.

All abandoned children are all categorized as orphans under Russian law, 
though just 10 percent have lost their parents, ITAR-Tass reported.

Sixty-six percent of abandoned children are adopted, usually by family 
members, the report said.

The number of adoptions, however, is declining, as economic troubles make 
prospective parents unable to afford to care for a child.

Children who are not adopted are sent to orphanages, most of which are 
underfunded and in miserable condition.

Communists and other hard-liners, who together dominate Russia's parliament, 
are seeking to make adoptions by foreigners illegal, arguing that Russian 
children should stay in their homeland.

President Boris Yeltsin last year signed an adoption law that contains a 
watered-down version of restrictions demanded by parliament.


RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 126, Part I, 29 June 1999

YELTSIN TAKING UP OLD HABITS? President Boris Yeltsin on 29
June announced that he is unsatisfied with the way the
Justice Ministry is checking whether certain public
organizations and political parties, such as the Communist
Party (KPRF), are complying with Russian laws. He called on
the ministry to redouble its efforts. Yeltsin said he has
still not received information that he requested about
possible violations by the KPRF of the constitution, Interfax
reported. Earlier this month, "Segodnya" reported that
Yeltsin had drawn up a decree calling for the removal of the
corpse of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin from Red
Square, which prompted an angry reaction from KPRF leaders.
That report has not yet been verified, however. On 29 June,
"Moskovskii komsomolets" reported that Yeltsin has been
filmed for the first time in recent months with a glass in
his hand, toasting Russia's "excellent campaign in Kosovo and
Yugoslavia." The daily noted that it is unclear what the
president was drinking. JAC


Moscow Times
June 30, 1999 
Vigilant Legislators Bivouac in Duma 
By Melissa Akin
Staff Writer

The Communists in the State Duma have decided it's too dangerous to go on 

The Duma let out for the summer on Friday, and most of the deputies are off 
to their regions, their dachas, and the beach until September. At the lower 
house of parliament, the corridors are nearly empty and the hearing chamber 
is locked. 

But in stuffy offices, about 30 Communists are busy with paperwork, telephone 
calls, visitors, committee meetings and planning for December elections. 

The reason: Threats to ban the Communist Party and remove Lenin from his 
mausoleum for reburial are echoing from the Kremlin. And fearing dirty tricks 
from their archenemy, President Boris Yeltsin, the ever-vigilant Communists 
arerefusing to abandon their fortress on Okhotny Ryad. 

"We have compiled our vacation list so that a minimum of 30 people will be 
keeping an eye on things at all times," Gennady Zyuganov, leader of the 
Communist Party, said at a news conference last week. 

Zyuganov, always in the vanguard, took the first vacation. He promptly headed 
off for his native Oryol region in Central Russia when the chamber broke up 
for the summer last Friday. He left his No. 2, Valentin Kuptsov, to hold the 

A Communist spokeswoman read out Tuesday's watch list: "Gubenko is here. 
Zorkaltsev, Viktor Ilyich is here. Kuvayev is conducting an event. Kuptsov is 
here. Lukyanov is holding a seminar for young lawyers. Melnikov is here. 
Nikiforenko is here. Podberyozkin, Alexei Ivanovich is here." 

They received the summer's first volley from the Kremlin on Tuesday, when 
Yeltsin dressed down Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov for failing to 
find legal violations during a Kremlin-ordered investigation of the Communist 

Yeltsin said he ordered Krasheninnikov to investigate "constitutional 
violations" by the party. But Krasheninnikov's investigation turned up no 
violations f and Yeltsin said that wasn't good enough. 

"I never got information about those violations," Interfax quoted Yeltsin as 
saying to the justice minister. "I never got information about the completion 
of the president's task. I don't work this way." 

Krasheninnikov, in his turn, informed reporters Tuesday that he had the power 
to "take action" against the Communist Party "to prevent outbursts of 
political extremism," Itar-Tass reported. 

Harassing the Communists is a favorite sport in the Kremlin, and the 
president's circle has been especially active in recent weeks, dropping hints 
that it just might be time to bury the body of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin. 

But a ban on the Communist Party f which many Communists say is the fondest 
wish of Yeltsin f would be the most devastating step. If the Communists were 
banned, that would exclude the party f which leads opinion polls f from 
elections to the State Duma, scheduled for December. 

That would all but erase their chances to win presidential elections next 
June. And since the party depends on an ageing electorate, many observers 
view the upcoming elections as their last, best chance. 

In their offices f which lack air conditioning f deputies fumed at Yeltsin's 
latest dig. 

"It's very useful for the presidential structures, the country's acting 
authorities, to whip up psychosis and an unstable situation in which you 
could forbid any party with opposition views," said Communist Deputy Viktor 

"It's a secret to no one that a decree banning the Communist Party is already 
prepared, as well as a decree dissolving the Duma," Ilyukhin added. He said 
he expected those decrees, along with the alleged secret program to bury 
Lenin, would be put into action toward the end of July or beginning of 

By then, the International Monetary Fund is expected to decide whether to 
issue new credits to Russia. Many Duma deputies believe if the decision is 
no, the Kremlin will punish the Duma, which killed an IMF-desired gasoline 

And so, even at night, someone keeps watch in Zyuganov's office. 

"We always have to keep an eye on the situation, which can take sudden turns, 
because our head of state is like that," said another Communist deputy, Yury 
Nikiforenko. "He constantly acts unilaterally, without thinking. He's a bull 
in a china shop." 

Some observers simply write off this summer's regime of ***dezhurstvo***, or 
standing watch, as a publicity stunt, since the Communists have yet to 
explain how they would prevent Yeltsin from decreeing a ban on the party or 
locking the Duma doors. 

Such a standoff would recall October 1993, when leftist and nationalist 
deputies barricaded themselves in the White House after Yeltsin ordered the 
Supreme Soviet, the holdover Soviet parliament, dissolved.Yeltsin used tanks 
to dislodge them. 

The Communists' allies agree that Yeltsin is unpredictable, but even they 
find camping out in the Duma a bit extreme. 

"This is just politics," said a spokesman for the Communist-allied Popular 
Rule group, rolling his eyes. Popular Rule has mostly cleared out for the 
summer, he added. "We take care of politics in our regions, and we take care 
of Duma business in the Duma. We're not involved in this dezhurstvo." 

The other leftist group, the Agrarians, have a simpler quick-response plan: 
Agrarian deputies would just come back from their vacations in an emergency. 

Even among Communists f who have the best attendance record in the Duma 
anyway f deputies' vigilance has been found wanting. 

"I don't know anything about this," said Vadim Filimonov, a senior Communist 
and a leader of the recent failed attempt to impeach Yeltsin. "I just got 
back from a business trip in Europe." 


Russia Looks To Safeguard Elections
June 29, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) - Russia's prime minister urged security forces on Tuesday to 
stem extremism and prevent ``criminals, bandits and swindlers'' from 
overrunning this year's parliamentary elections.

Corruption is rife in Russia, and criminals are widely expected to support 
parliamentary candidates they believe will advance their interests in the 
State Duma. The next election is scheduled for December.

``The chief task of law enforcement bodies and the government ... is to erect 
an effective and reliable barrier in the path of those political parties, 
associations, and persons that destabilize society and stir up ethnic 
strife,'' Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin told a meeting of the Federal 
Security Service, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

``Our chief task now is to prevent criminals, bandits and swindlers from 
getting into the bodies of power,'' he said.

Vladimir Putin, the head of the security service, said his agents would 
control campaign funds and root out irregularities, the ITAR-Tass news agency 
reported. However, he vowed that the agency would act within the 
constitution, and would not exert pressure on voters or violate human rights.

President Boris Yeltsin recently approved a Duma bill that requires 
candidates to fill out declarations of income and property holdings, as well 
as any previous criminal convictions.

The bill's authors hope the provisions will make elections more open and 
discourage potential candidates with shady records or a criminal past.

Stepashin, a staunch Yeltsin loyalist, said the makeup of the next parliament 
would affect the outcome of the 2000 presidential elections as well.

``A great deal in the future, particularly the political atmosphere just 
before the election for the Russian president, will depend on whom we elect 
to parliament,'' he said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Meanwhile, Yeltsin scolded Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov for failing 
to find evidence that the Communist Party had broken the law in recent verbal 
attacks on the president and Russia's Jewish community.

Yeltsin is a staunch opponent of the Communists, and banned the party in 1991 
for more than a year. Some prominent Russians, including business tycoon and 
Kremlin insider Boris Berezovsky, have called for the party to be banned 
again for what they call its tacit endorsement of vitriolic anti-Semitism.

In response to Yeltsin's request for an investigation, Krasheninnikov filed a 
report in April concluding that the Communists hadn't broken any laws and 
that its anti-Semitic remarks and verbal attacks on Yeltsin do not reflect 
the party's general line.


The East: Ministers List Lessons Learned During Transition From Communism
By Mark Baker

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary this year of the fall of communism in 
Central and Eastern Europe, a group of leading officials from six countries 
in the region assembled in Switzerland last weekend to share experiences. 
RFE/RL's Mark Baker sat in on the discussion. He writes that what emerged was 
a realization that there is no single best way to transform a society but 
that certain lessons can be learned and applied. 

Prague, 29 June 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Leading officials of six Central European 
countries assembled this weekend at the Crans Montana economic forum in 
Switzerland to discuss progress made in the past 10 years in the transition 
from communism to democratic institutions.

The discussion included Slovak Finance Minister Brigita Schmoegnerova, Polish 
EU Minister Jaroslaw Pietras, former Hungarian finance minister Peter 
Madgyessy, Romanian Senate leader Petre Roman, Czech Deputy Prime Minister 
for economic policy Jan Mladek and Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov.

Our correspondent writes that the discussion was surprisingly frank. 
Ministers, in turn, discussed the various difficulties they had faced in 
transforming their respective political and economic institutions.

Participants agreed that while there is no set formula for transforming a 
society, there are important lessons to be learned that might be applied to 
other countries.

Poland's Pietras told the group that effective transformation takes two 
things: consistency in policies and the ability to give people credible hope 
for the future.

Responding to Western criticism that Poland has been politically unstable 
this decade, changing its government nine times, he says you have to look 
more at policies than personalities. He says Poland's policies stayed the 
same regardless of whether a left-leaning or right-leaning government was in 

"Don't watch whether the prime minister is being changed. Don't look at the 
ministers that are being changed. Look at policies, because you have to 
verify stability by policies. And when you look at [Poland's] policies, they 
have been quite stable over the past decade. This can be verified by the 
direction of the policies and also by the results."

Pietras says the proof is seen in statistics on the economy. Poland's economy 
has been growing since 1992 and even this year, in spite of recent economic 
crises in Asia and Russia, Pietras says the economy will expand four percent. 

He says in addition to making consistent policies, governments have to show 
people a clear path to a better life. Pietras says this is difficult because 
it depends largely on third parties, such as the European Union, to succeed. 
He says, for example, that people are willing to tolerate hardship more 
readily if they're convinced the hardship will lead to membership in the EU. 
Without this assurance, the chances for success are less. 

Slovakia's Schmoegnerova agreed with Pietras on the need for good policies, 
but says that enforcement of laws is equally as important, if not more:

"Even if you have a very good legislative framework, what is more important 
is the enforcement of the law. This has also been the experience of many 
[other] Central European countries. Having good legislation when there is not 
effective enforcement simply doesn't work. I could give you many examples of 
relatively good laws in Slovakia."

She says at the beginning of the decade, Slovakia developed good policies but 
with the election of former prime minister Vladimir Meciar in 1994, 
enforcement lagged. She says the country's new government, which took power 
last October, is dedicated to democratic processes and enforcement. 

The Czech Republic's Mladek says successful transformation depends on weeding 
out incompetence and corruption in the civil service. 

He told the forum that countries need to find a balance among a market 
economy, a healthy civil society and a competent bureaucracy. The Czech 
Republic has been often been criticized for corruption and a poorly 
functioning judiciary. Mladek says training the civil service has been 

"In my country, former prime minister [Vaclav] Klaus stressed only the market 
economy. Our president, Mr. [Vaclav] Havel, was always stressing the civil 
society, but seeing it in opposition to a market economy and not its 
complement. And so far no one has been pushing through the proper reform of 
civil administration. For the future, we need to find the proper balance 
between these three pillars of modern society." 

Mladek says the poor state of the country's civil service can be tied 
directly to the policy of "rapid privatization" of state assets promoted by 
former prime minister Klaus. He says respect for the law in general and the 
way in which state assets are sold are closely related.

Mladek said that when the Czech Republic sold off many of its assets in the 
early 1990s, the buyers put more energy into weakening the laws to hold onto 
their new power than in restructuring companies:

"It is no surprise afterwards to me that the state of our law is poor, and we 
are criticized for having it. We must do something with that, we must 
harmonize our laws with the European Union. But what should be taken into 
account is that we are in this poor situation with the legal system not 
accidentally but for following the advice of quick privatization."

President Gligorov's position was very different from leaders of the other 
countries given Macedonia's proximity to the wars this decade in Bosnia and 

Gligorov emphasized the countries of southeastern Europe should be brought 
more quickly into the European integration process. He also called for the 
introduction of a single currency in the region and the coordination of 
economic policies.

Macedonia until now has largely been excluded from the European Union's 
expansion plans, but Gligorov said a Balkan Stability Pact taking shape this 
year foresees a type of free trade status for Macedonia that will set the 
basis for eventual membership in the EU. Observers said Gligorov's position 
on the panel indicates how far Macedonia has come in the wake of the Kosovo 
crisis in gaining European respect. A year ago, they said, it would have been 
difficult to imagine a Macedonian leader on the same panel with the Czechs, 
Poles and Hungarians. 


Russian Premier Against Corruption
June 29, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) - Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin said today that Russia's 
security forces must not allow upcoming parliamentary elections to be overrun 
by criminals seeking to influence Russian politics.

``Our chief task now is to prevent criminals, bandits and swindlers from 
getting into the bodies of power,'' Stepashin said a meeting of the Federal 
Security Service, or FSB, the chief successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

Corruption is widespread in Russian politics, and many politicians and the 
news media have warned that the Russian mob will support candidates it 
believes can advance its interests in the lower house of parliament, the 
State Duma, in elections this autumn.

Stepashin called on the FSB and parliamentary leaders to join forces in their 
efforts to make the elections crime-free and keep them from leading to a 
political crisis.

``If a man is a swindler, he should sit in certain places, and not run for a 
seat in the Duma,'' Stepashin said.

FSB chief Vladimir Putin said security agents would control campaign funds 
and work to uncover information about any irregularities, the ITAR-Tass news 
agency reported.

He also tried to avoid any connection with the old-style KGB control of 
dissent. ``A throwback to the past is out of the question,'' Putin said, 
adding that the FSB wouldn't exert any pressure on voters or violate human 

President Boris Yeltsin recently approved a Duma bill that requires 
candidates to fill out declarations of income and property holdings, as well 
as any previous criminal convictions.

The bill's authors hope the provisions will make the race more open and 
discourage potential candidates with shady records or a criminal past.

Stepashin, a staunch Yeltsin loyalist, said the makeup of the next parliament 
would effect the outcome of the 2000 presidential elections as well.

``A great deal in the future, particularly the political scenario just before 
the election for the Russian president, will depend on whom we elect to 
parliament,'' he said, according to Interfax.

Meanwhile, Yeltsin scolded Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov today for 
not coming up with evidence that the Communist Party broke the law in a 
recent series of verbal attacks on the president and Russia's Jewish 
community, a news report said.

Earlier this year, Yeltsin ordered Krasheninnikov to look into whether the 
Communist Party had broken the law for repeated verbal attacks against 
Yeltsin and for failing to condemn anti-Semitic statements by two prominent 

Yeltsin said today that he had detailed several legal violations by the 
Communists, and was upset that Krasheninnikov hadn't found fault with the 
party, according to the Interfax news agency.

``I didn't receive any information about those violations. I didn't receive 
information on the fulfillment of the task of the president. I'm not used to 
working that way,'' he said.

Krasheninnikov filed a report in April concluding that the Communists hadn't 
broken any laws and that its anti-Semitic remarks and verbal attacks on 
Yeltsin do not reflect the party's general line.

Yeltsin is a staunch opponent of the Communists, and banned the party in 1991 
for more than a year.


Poll Shows Stepashin's Popularity Rising 

June 27, 1999
[translation for personal use only]

[Presenter Yevgeniy Kiselev] Now let us look at 
whom our citizens would have supported had the presidential election 
taken place today. 
Former Prime Minister Yevgeniy Primakov is leading the race as he was a 
week ago. Had the presidential election taken place today he would have 
received 18 per cent of the vote. Communist leader Gennadiy Zyuganov 
would have received 17 per cent as a week ago. Moscow mayor Yuriy 
Luzhkov's rating has not changed either - 13 per cent. 
Yabloko leader Grigoriy Yavlinskiy is up one point with 11 per cent. Prime 
Minister Sergey Stepashin is up two per cent. Now he is supported by 8 
per cent of those polled. Krasnoyarsk governor Aleksandr Lebed would have 
received the same 6 per cent as last week. Liberal Democratic leader 
Vladimir Zhirinovskiy comes last with 5 per cent as before. 
If Primakov does not take part in elections, as he stated many times, 
then Zyuganov has the best chance of winning. He was supported by 19 per 
cent. He is followed by Luzhkov with 16 per cent and Yavlinskiy with 12 
per cent. 
Stepashin has sufficiently strengthened his positions. In the absence of 
Primakov he would have received 10 per cent of the vote. Lebed is 
slightly up with 7 per cent. Nothing changed for Zhirinovskiy, who is 
supported by 5 per cent of those polled. 
Notable is Stepashin's progress. Within the last 30 days his support rose 
from 4 per cent in the end of May to 6 per cent in the beginning and in 
the middle of June finally achieving 8 per cent in the end of the month. 
This progress looks the more impressive in the absence of Primakov. He 
was supported by 5 per cent at the end of May, 7 per cent at the 
beginning of June and 8 per cent in the middle of June. And now he is 
supported by 10 per cent of those polled. 
At the same time the number of people who trust the new prime minister 
is also on the rise. At the end of May 17 per cent trusted him. At the 
beginning of June that figure rose to 20 per cent, in the middle of June 
to 22 per cent. Now, at the end of the month, he is already trusted by 26 
per cent of those polled. [Video shows diagrams with poll results] 


Communists Lose Ground in Popularity Ratings 

MOSCOW, June 25 (Interfax) - If the State Duma 
elections were held next Sunday, the Communist Party of Russia (KPRF) led 
by Gennady Zyuganov, would gain 30% of the votes, down from 37% in May. 
The All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) polled 1,600 
people in May and June. The number of supporters of Moscow Mayor and 
Fatherland movement leader Yuri Luzhkov remained unchanged at 14%. 

Yabloko party leader Grigory Yavlinsky collected 14% of votes in June, up 
from 13% last month. At least 7% of voters said in June they would cast 
their ballot for the Popular Republican Party led by Alexander Lebed, up 
from 4% in May. The ratings of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia 
(LDPR) led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky stood at 6% and 8% respectively; of 
former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko's New Force reached 5% and 4%; of 
Our Home Is Russia (NDR) led by Viktor Chernomyrdin totaled 4% and 5%. 

Just 3% of voters support the Agrarian Party led by Mikhail Lapshin, down 
from 4% last month. The Just Cause Party led by Boris Nemtsov and Boris 
Fyodorov gained 2% in June and 1% in May. Some 14% of the respondents 
found it difficult to make a decision in June, up from 11% last month. At 
least 19% of those polled said in June they will not vote, compared with 
20% in May. Furthermore, 29% doubt they would exercise their right to 
vote, up from 28% last month. One fifth, 20%, are likely to cast their 
ballot, up from 17% in May. Thirty percent of Russians will vote by all 
means, down from 33% who said so in May. Two percent did not answer this 
question in both polls. Analysis of the ratio between such polls and the 
real turnout reveals that around 40% of voters would show up at ballot 


"U.S.-Russia Relations Are Still Badly Frayed,"
by Paul J. Saunders (Mr. Saunders is Director of The Nixon Center.) 
from The San Diego Union-Tribune, June 27, 1999. 

Although the Clinton administration would like to portray the meeting
between President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin in Cologne,
Germany last weekend as putting U.S.-Russian relations "back in business"
(in the words of National Security Adviser Sandy Berger), the problems in
relations with Moscow are far too complex to be solved in a brief
conversation between leaders. The apparent resolution before the meeting of
Russia's role in KFOR, NATO's peacekeeping force in Kosovo, and subsequent
encouraging statements by Yeltsin on arms control issues conceal more than
they reveal. 

The ambiguity of KFOR's command arrangements is a cause for serious
concern. The agreement between NATO and Russia seeks to finesse the
question of command over KFOR by placing Russia's troops under the
commanders of the American, French, and German sectors of Kosovo while
installing Russian "liaison officers" at each level of NATO's chain of
command. Each side has interpreted the agreement in its own way, however,
and Russian officials claim their forces can disobey any orders they
choose. Given the Russians' sympathy for the Serbs -- and the Kosovar
Albanians' likely resentment of the Russians -- this could be a ticking
time bomb. 

It is surprising that the Clinton administration and NATO have not yet
learned the dangers of such ambiguity; the vagueness of the NATO-Russia
Founding Act -- the 1997 agreement under which Russia agreed to NATO
enlargement in exchange for a role in the alliance's
deliberations--contributed significantly to Russian outrage over the NATO
air campaign against Yugoslavia by encouraging excessive expectations on
the part of many Russian leaders. When those expectations were not met,
disillusionment led to resentment and questions about NATO's intentions.
Given "a voice, but not a veto" within NATO, Moscow could not but have felt
marginalized by NATO's decision to proceed with the bombing over its

Russian President Boris Yeltsin's announcement at the G-7 summit that he is
willing to discuss changes in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, that
he will push for ratification of the START II arms reduction treaty, and
that he wants to continue discussions on a START III agreement has little
significance when measured against his past behavior. Yeltsin frequently
makes such declarations on arms control matters at summits -- often more
dramatically -- as a way to draw attention to himself. He uses these
statements to highlight his membership in the elite club of world leaders
and to emphasize the one area in which Russia can claim superpower status:
nuclear weapons. 

But Yeltsin's grandstanding usually lacks operational significance. The
Russian president has pledged to work for the ratification of START II at
summit after summit but has never delivered. His endorsement of START III
negotiations for deeper reductions in nuclear weapons is similarly no
surprise; the treaty is more in Russia's interest than America's -- Moscow
cannot maintain even the START II force levels under current economic
constraints -- and has generally been seen as a means to encourage the
ratification of START II by the Russian parliament. 

Although the parliament's lower house, the State Duma, is increasingly
well-disposed toward START II because of growing understanding that Russia
cannot afford not to reduce the cost of its nuclear force, it has a much
different view of the ABM Treaty. There is strong opposition in the Duma to
amending the treaty, which is seen as benefiting primarily the United
States. As a result, it is unlikely that Yeltsin's commitment to discuss
the treaty -- which even he qualified by noting the resistance to changes
in Russia -- will bear fruit before he leaves office in 12 months. This is
especially true given Yeltsin's own poor health, the complexity of the
issues involved, and the fact that both Russia and the United States are
approaching legislative and presidential elections. 

What, then, is the real status of the U.S.-Russian relationship? In brief,
it is poor. Notwithstanding Yeltsin's urge "to make up after our fight,"
many Russians remain deeply skeptical of NATO and particularly American
behavior and intentions. This skepticism has three primary sources: NATO's
action in Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Kosovo) combined with its expansion and
redefined mission, America's spotty record in promoting reform in Russia,
and American support for Boris Yeltsin. 

NATO enlargement in and of itself was not a major issue in Russia; most
Russians cared much more about being paid on time than about who was or was
not invited to join the alliance. However, when NATO redefined its mission
to include out-of-area action in Yugoslavia -- and particularly when it
launched airstrikes against Yugoslavia without a U.N. mandate -- NATO
became a very significant political issue. The fact that the defensive
character of the alliance was used as a key argument in winning Russian
acquiescence to NATO enlargement also raised important questions among
Russians about American intentions. They felt deceived. 

Coming as it did on top of growing resentment of American insistence on
particular reform measures which are seen as having worsened Russia's
economic condition and facilitated the growth of corruption, this sense of
deception has led many -- both leaders and ordinary individuals -- to
believe that the United States has deliberately sought to keep Russia weak. 

American support for Boris Yeltsin -- and the support of the International
Monetary Fund, which is seen as an American proxy -- in recent years
(especially during Russia's 1996 presidential campaign) only heighten these
concerns because Yeltsin has been so agreeable (generally) to Washington's
foreign policy preferences. Russian public perceptions of the Kosovo
settlement as dictated by NATO and delivered to Belgrade by Yeltsin special
envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin further contribute to the problem; Yeltsin is
accused of having "sold out" his fellow Slavs in Serbia to NATO. 

While it is useful for American presidents to maintain favorable personal
relations with other foreign leaders, especially in times of crisis -- when
personal impressions can make a crucial difference -- it is important not
to allow those ties to overshadow the broader relations between countries.
Unfortunately, despite years of criticism on precisely this point, the
Clinton administration has yet to distinguish clearly between
Clinton-Yeltsin relations and U.S.-Russian relations. While Sandy Berger
may be right that the former is "back in business," the latter has a long
way to go. 

This is especially important because of the impending presidential
elections in both countries. In just over a year, Clinton-Yeltsin relations
will have no significance whatsoever; Yeltsin will be gone and Clinton will
be a very lame duck. If the administration does not make a serious effort
to rebuild bridges to the rest of Russia -- especially the parliament and
the Russian people -- there may be little left of a "relationship" between
our countries. 

In the long run, of course, the only way to have a successful relationship
with Russia will be to give serious attention to Russian concerns. This
does not mean sacrificing important American interests -- but it may mean
compromise on some unimportant ones. Reveling in America's status as the
sole superpower, and its booming economy, the Clinton administration has
been unwilling to do much for Russia so far. The administration would do
well to remember that Russia will not be on its knees forever -- and that a
resentful, mistrustful, and recovering Russia could seriously threaten
American interests around the world. A little more understanding now could
pay important dividends in the 21st century. 


Chubays Says Stepashin Cabinet Stable 

MOSCOW, June 28 (Interfax) -- The Sergei Stepashin 
Cabinet is stable enough to keep the situation in Russia under control 
and make a significant step forward. So thinks Unified Energy System 
Board of Governors Chairman Anatoly Chubais who spoke in a TV program on 
Sunday. He effectively confirmed that he had given advice to the 
president and the prime minister on the formation of the Cabinet. 

Stepashin's recent remark that he could take up a teaching job soon was a 
joke which should not lead to global conclusions, Chubais said. He 
believes that Stepashin has qualities which make him eligible for 
presidency. On the other hand, Chubais strongly opposes the view of 
former Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko that President Boris 
Yeltsin should resign before his term ends. It is extremely important 
that the president serve the whole term of his office if stability in the 
country is to be maintained, he said. On the other hand, Chubais 
described Kiriyenko's decision to run for mayor of Moscow as "a natural 
process." Asked by the anchor about the role played by Yeltsin's "family" 
in political decision making, he said he did not understand what the 
controversy was about. Yeltsin's daughter Tatiana Dyachenko is a 
presidential adviser. So is Valentin Yumashev while Alexander Voloshin is 
his chief of staff, Chubais said. They must draft decisions and submit 
them to the president who has the right to accept or reject them, he 
said. The forthcoming parliamentary elections must end the communist 
domination of the Duma, Chubais said. Nothing has done so much harm to 
the country as communist activities over the last 10 year, he said. The 
UES and the Cabinet could not prevent the energy crisis in Kamchatka but 
the situation has changed for the better in the last three days, Chubais 
said. The Cabinet has decided to allocate 50 million rubles to help 
Kamchatka, he said. 


Russians Unenthusiastic About Kosovo Involvement 

June 27, 1999
[translation for personal use only]

[Presenter Yevgeniy Kiselev] It is interesting to 
know the voters' attitude to this step by the Russian military [forced 
march from Bosnia to Pristina]. The Public Opinion Foundation conducted a 
poll on this issue. 
Up to 44 per cent of those interviewed said that the famous forced 
march by the Russian assault force on Kosovo will increase the West's 
respect for Russia by the West, while 22 per cent think that Russia will 
be less respected after it. Almost half of those polled, or 46 per cent, 
say that their own attitude to Russia's top leaders remained the same 
after this action, 17 per cent began to respect them more, and 16 per 
cent changed their attitude for the worse. 
One third of those questioned felt disquiet when they learned about the 
paratroopers' march on Kosovo, while 21 per cent were proud of their 
country, 10 per cent remained indifferent and 10 per cent described their 
feelings as perplexity. 
More than half of those polled, or 55 per cent, see no reason for 
allocating funds to Kosovo peacekeeping, estimated by Prime Minister 
[Sergey] Stepashin at 150m US dollars, while 28 per sent say that this 
spending is justified. 
Overwhelming majority, or 72 per cent, are sure that our contingent in
must be neutral, while 11 per cent say that the Russian military should 
mostly protect the Serbs, and 2 per cent favour ethnic Albanians. 
Thirty-nine per cent of those interviewed forecast that the Yugoslavs will 
remember for a long time that Russia is their friend and ally, while 40 
per cent said that they will forget about this soon. 
Answering the question on Russia's preferable partners, 23 per cent of
polled favoured strengthening economic and political ties with Western 
Europe and 18 per cent - with the USA and Canada. Almost half of those 
polled, or 47 per cent, stated that Russia benefits from cooperation with 
the West, while 31 per cent said that contacts with the USA, Great 
Britain and France are more harmful than useful for this country. [Video 
shows graphic saying the poll was conducted among 2,500 people on 
19th-20th June in 56 cities and towns in 29 constituent parts of the 
Russian Federation. 


Yeltsin May Stage 'Active Departure' 

Moskovskiy Komsomolets
25 June 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Aleksandr Budberg: "Yeltsin Upsets the Applecart. He May 
Quit Before the Elections" 

Military academies are still fond of citing the 
example of how Napoleon got the better of the Russians and Austrians at 
Austerlitz. The allies had elaborated a plan on the basis that Napoleon 
had already taken up his positions. On the last night the French emperor 
upset the applecart by changing his disposition of forces, in defiance of 
accepted rules. 

What is now happening with the preparations for the 1999-2000 elections 
is very reminiscent of that approach. Everyone is proceeding on the 
assumption that things will develop quietly and calmly as they are doing, 
that one president will smoothly succeed another, and that the new State 
Duma will be a repetition of the current one. Well -- none of this will 
happen. It will not happen because that sort of thing could never happen 
-- an imposing era is drawing to an end in Russia. An era entirely linked 
with the name of Yeltsin. And one era does not simply succeed another -- 
not in Russia, at any rate. 

The Communists are in the worst situation of all. They have lived 
comfortably in a bipolar world. The CPRF [Communist Party of the Russian 
Federation] alone unites dozens of extremely diverse movements and forces 
whose only common ground is hostility toward Yeltsin. Remove Yeltsin, and 
the only linchpin of the left-wing opposition's unity disappears. An 
equally pitiful impression is made by the Kremlin strategists of all 
kinds who are attempting to form a single bloc by merging everything they 
can: from Shaymiyev to Kiriyenko. It is perfectly obvious that no such 
association will be able to win anything. If only because a party of 
power must have just one leader. If the authorities put forward a 
candidate, but Yuriy Luzhkov (certainly one of the main representatives 
of power in the last elections) contests the elections in addition to 
that candidate, there will be no unity and it will be impossible to stage 
a repetition of 1996. 

But even that is not the main reason. The public at large thinks that 
Yeltsin is no longer making decisions, that he is easily manipulated, and 
that he is incapable of performing even ceremonial [prestavitelskiye] 
functions. But in reality, in order to understand the true situation, you 
need to tear yourself away from the TV screen and imagine how all this 
will look in 10 years' time. And it will look like this: A sick Yeltsin 
who has difficulty walking is organizing and lining up allies and 
adversaries, parliament and government, the Foreign Ministry and the Army 
as he thinks fit. Even with NATO he is contriving to achieve results 
which fundamentally satisfy him. Wherever he has no interest -- daily 
routine running of the state -- he can allow himself to be manipulated. 

Wherever he sees room only for himself, the trick will not work. It is 
this that explains the fact that while Yeltsin is sick the cunning 
Berezovskiy, the tough Chubays, and the silver-tongued Dyachenko can do 
nothing. They can do anything only when B.N. [Yeltsin] gets out of 
hospital and appears at their shoulder. Without B.N. they would last no 
more than a month on the political scene. 

But what Yeltsin is certainly not going to do is go quietly and calmly. 
He has long been fighting for his place in history. He knows his destiny. 
He has repeatedly spoken of this himself -- it is to defeat communism. 
Yeltsin's other idee fixe is the burial of Lenin. And there can be no 
doubt that it would be a worthy "czar-like gesture" for him to bury 
Lenin, ban the Communist Party, and go without waiting for the election 
of a successor and anti-Yeltsin demonstrations after the ban on the CPRF. 

After all, by virtue of its sensational nature the early departure of the 
president would easily divert society's attention from any other events. 
This possibility seems sheer fantasy. But at the same time it is 
absolutely in keeping with B.N.'s character. Moreover, if the CPRF 
remains in parliament after Yeltsin goes, it will extend its death throes 
by a couple of years. But if Yeltsin removes it before he goes, it will 
be impossible to revive the CPRF after his departure. And the excuse for 
the ban could be the Communists' reaction to the burial of Lenin. They 
would be unable to avoid reacting. 

The theory of an "active departure by Yeltsin" probably seems 
unrealistic even to his inner circle. But the point is that everything 
will be decided by the president, not his entourage. Incidentally, people 
with keen antennae are already preparing. The Communists are trying to 
defend themselves from the burial of Ilich [Lenin], and Kiriyenko has 
declared that Yeltsin should go in December. This would be to Kiriyenko's 
advantage, of course. Luzhkov would have to switch immediately to the 
presidential elections, and in Luzhkov's absence Kiriyenko would have a 
realistic chance of fighting for the post of Moscow mayor. In other 
words, forces are emerging which, by urging or opposing an "active 
departure," are in principle creating the possibility of this development 
of events. But there can be no doubt that at the last moment Yeltsin will 
certainly try to upset the applecart and make an "impressive" departure 
into history. And the winner will be whoever can fathom how the "black 
box" called B.N. is going to decide to do this. 


Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <>
Subject: 3366-Akin/Oligarch Chubais,

It is striking to read and reread the Western analyses of the Russian 
economy, even relatively recent ones and then to read the articles that 
stream across your news letter. The most recent is the glowing article 
in Moscow Times about Chubais's attempt to make himself impervious from 
control in United Electric Company, at least in conjunction with foreign 

What does it mean, as Chubais reported, that the electric utility 
company gets little more than 20 percent of its payments in cash? No 
doubt, it gets some payment in real goods, but it means that "barter," 
like "inter-enterprise loans" in the past, normally means the providing of 
off-budget subsidies in a totally personalized manner to enterprises and 
regions. If you cross the powers in Moscow, you don't get your free 
electricity. Judging by a recent article, Gorbachev is on the outs and 
his foundation sits in the dark. But when will we assimilate that 
regions are not in the danger of disintegrating, they are not creating 
money, the enterprises are not businessmen engaged in "barter?" This 
is Gosplan distributing electricity except that Gosplan did it in a 
regularized manner. This is what the Russian economy has been for 8 years.

What does it mean for democracy? In any semi-normal democracy, 
broad parties would be forming prior to the 1996 election. There are a 
number of governors who have accumulated the political and administrative 
experience to make decent presidents. Some are on the left-center like 
Stroev, some are on the right-center. But they should be forming 
parties. But how can they if the great democrat Chubais will cut off 
their electricity if they dare to pose a political threat to Yeltsin in 2000.
When are those like McFaul and Aslund, like the New York Times and the 
Washington Post, who keep talking about supporting democracy in Russia, 
going to denounce this kind of nonsense as an utter perversion of
These are people who were disgusted with the Republicans in the 1960s 
and 1970s for supporting all right-wing, pro-American dictators as 
democrats and for denouncing their opponents such as Mandela as 
Communists. Now they are supporting an odious right-wing dictator who 
has killed more people than Marcos or Somoza or the Shah ever did because 
he will rubber-stamp American policy. Don't they understand what kind 
of impression they create? 

And what is this silliness about Chubais being an oligarch? 
Yeltsin is absolutely paranoid about anyone who challenges his power and 
who might conceivably be a threat to his power. He became frightened at 
Primakov and now he seems nervous about Stepashin. Does any reader 
really think that he is allowing an independent person have control over 
the most crucial instrument of distribution of economic patronage? 
Chubais came to power saying that privatization meant depolitization. 
Instead it has meant the replacement of a reasonably predictable (too 
predictable) bureaucratic economic system by a purely politicized one. The 
fact that Chubais has survived so long means that he is fully accepted as a 
member of the Family along with Diachenko and Berezovsky. That was the 
alliance one saw in 1996 in the showdown over campaign funds with 
Korzhakov, and it still is in place. Since Yeltsin is determined not to 
leave office, he must trust Chubais to help keep him in place. No 
doubt, his trust is misplaced and Chubais is looking for some other 
dictator to support. But like the rest of the Family he is not likely 
to make the transition. But that's okay. He is our odious person. When
he and the rest of the Family flee Saigon (if they get out), he will get a
distinguished post at some distinguished American university. After all,
it is our duty to support democracy.



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