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Johnson's Russia List
3 July 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Russia Premier Confident Over Loan.
2. Los Angeles Times: Tyler Marshall and Richard Paddock, Observers Don't
See Recent Russian Maneuvers as Provocative to West.
3. AFP: Forest fires rage in Russia's heatwave of the century.
4. Moscow Times: Peter Ekman, The Brightest Go West.
5. RFE/RL: Floriana Fossato, Russia: Superpower Feels Frustration.
6. Moskovskiy Komsomolets: Judge's New Term 'Payment' for Skuratov Ruling.
7. Tom White: Entreprenuerial advice.
8. Argumenty i Fakty: Kremlin Analyst on Next President's Tasks.
(Interview with Gleb Pavlovsky).
9. Boston Globe: John Donnelly and David Filipov, NATO rejected Russian
officer viewed as spy. (General Zavarzin).]
Russia Premier Confident Over Loan
3 July 1999
MOSCOW (AP) - Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin said today he was confident
that the International Monetary Fund would soon release a $4.5 billion loan
``A loan will be given to us,'' Stepashin said before addressing the
Federation Council, the upper house of parliament. ``Everything will be all
right with Russia,'' he said, according to the Interfax news agency.
The Federation Council held a special meeting to hear reports from the
government on the country's most pressing financial problems.
An IMF team that visited Moscow this week praised Russia's economic
performance and indicated that lending could be resumed, allowing Russia to
pay off debts due this year and avoid a potentially disastrous default.
Stepashin said parliamentary approval of the government's package of laws,
written in response to IMF conditions for the loan, would set the stage for
Russia's economic recovery.
Approval, he said, ``would provide a reliable base for the government in
talks with international financial organizations and international
The Federation Council approved several of the bills Friday.
Stepashin said the IMF loan would be the first step toward economic recovery.
Los Angeles Times
July 3, 1999
[for personal use only]
Observers Don't See Recent Russian Maneuvers as Provocative to West
Diplomacy: Domestic politics are spurring Moscow's military muscle-flexing.
But some analysts say tensions do exist and can grow.
By TYLER MARSHALL, RICHARD C. PADDOCK, Times Staff Writers
WASHINGTON--Two Russian military operations that carried the whiff of
confrontation with the West signal neither an immediate return to Cold War
tensions nor an imminent crisis in ties with the United States, according
to officials and political analysts in both Washington and Moscow.
Moscow's recent maneuvers have their roots in more benign political ground,
Russian domestic politics, these sources believe. Above all, they seem to
reflect the need for Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin to
showcase--however fleetingly--what remains of his nation's dwindling
military might to soothe anger over NATO's 11-week bombing campaign of
Yeltsin's arch-nationalist and Communist opponents had seized on the
airstrikes to stoke existing anti-NATO sentiment and attack him for his
failure to stand up to the West. That the maneuvers managed to tweak the
West was merely a fringe benefit for Yeltsin, analysts said.
"I don't see any of this as symptomatic of some deepening crisis in
U.S.-Russia relations," said Coit Blacker, a former White House policy
advisor on Russian affairs in the Bush administration who is now at
Stanford University's Institute for International Studies. "It's
muscle-flexing that has most to do with the state of Russian domestic
Yeltsin Signals NATO Not to Be Alarmed
But Blacker and other analysts warn that political undercurrents were
visible, including a deepening disappointment about Moscow's failed
partnership with the West in the post-Cold War order and a growing national
Last week's high-profile war games, in which Russian aircraft skirted the
coasts of NATO allies Iceland and Norway, were trumpeted by Moscow as the
biggest exercises in 10 years. Although not considered overtly hostile,
they created enough concern to prompt four U.S. F-15s to shadow two Russian
bombers near Iceland.
In Moscow on Friday, Yeltsin met with top military officials to review the
exercises, dubbed West 99, which simulated Russia's response to an invasion
by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In brief remarks, Yeltsin seemed
to signal the United States that it need not be alarmed.
"The threat of large-scale military aggression against Russia is still in
the realm of theory," Yeltsin said. "However, the danger of regional
conflicts does exist."
The war games came only two weeks after 200 Russian troops made a dash from
peacekeeping duties in Bosnia to seize Kosovo's only major airport in
Pristina. They arrived just hours before NATO-led peacekeepers were
scheduled to establish their headquarters there.
There May Be Less Than Meets the Eye
Senior U.S. and Russian officials insist that both moves turned out to be
far less than they first appeared.
Unable to obtain supplies or reinforcements, Russian soldiers in Pristina
quickly found themselves begging water from British units. Within days,
Moscow had negotiated an agreement with NATO to deploy more than 3,000
Russian peacekeepers in Kosovo, and Yeltsin was back-slapping with
President Clinton at a summit meeting of Russia and leading industrial
nations, calling for a renewal in U.S.-Russia relations.
More questions about Russia's role in the peacekeeping force surfaced
Friday night when a Pentagon official said NATO and U.S. officials rejected
Moscow's attempt to get overflight rights from Bulgaria, Romania and
Hungary to ferry more peacekeeping troops into Kosovo's main airport.
Gen. Wesley K. Clark, NATO's top commander, informed the Russians that
Moscow would not be allowed to add to its troops already in Kosovo until it
agrees to honor the original terms of its participation in the peacekeeping.
U.S. officials said Russia had agreed to scatter its troops but has been
trying to renegotiate to get its military units contiguous, creating a de
Although last week's maneuvers concerned some senior people at the
Pentagon, other U.S. officials and their Russian counterparts played down
the controversy. A White House official described the incident as mainly a
staff-and-command exercise that involved no large ground units and only
four aircraft, none of which violated any nation's air space or the
boundaries established by the United States and Russia to prevent sneak
While initial reports said two TU-95 "Bear" bombers had ventured within
striking range of the United States, that assertion now appears doubtful.
U.S. military experts say the longest-range cruise missile that can be
carried on a TU-95 has a range of 1,865 miles, and the distance between
Iceland and Maine is approximately 2,000 miles.
"The Russians played this up as a big deal to boost morale and boost the
military's profile [at home] to make the pitch for more funding," said a
senior White House official, who declined to be identified. "They said it
was the largest military exercise in 10 years, but we know they've had
others of comparable size."
Others, however, voiced concern about other messages that can be read
between the lines.
NATO's decision to expand its membership, the failure of the NATO-Russia
council to give Moscow a meaningful voice in alliance affairs, and the air
campaign against Yugoslavia all have fed mistrust and disappointment in
Moscow. The Kosovo air war not only ended the view of NATO as a purely
defensive pact, it exposed Russia's inability to influence events.
"It's disturbing because there will be a Russia after Boris Yeltsin," said
Dimitri Simes, director of the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, an
independent Washington-based think tank. "Russia can affect American
interests in a very negative way."
In recent months, there have been signs Russia is trying to define its
position in the post-Cold War world, signing a 10-year military technology
pact with India, selling aircraft and missile technology to China and
talking about a strategic partnership with both. Earlier this week, Prime
Minister Sergei V. Stepashin approved an agreement to supply nuclear
technology to Iran.
Yet Moscow remains tied financially to the West, which has the capital
Russia needs. This is one reason why Yeltsin was so eager to improve
relations with the biggest industrial countries at last month's summit in
State Duma Deputy Sergei N. Yushenkov, a liberal member of the Defense
Committee, said the excursion near Iceland sends a clear signal that it is
too early to write off Russia as a military superpower.
"For quite a while, Russia has not been able to afford such flights for
economic reasons because they are very expensive," Yushenkov said. "But
now, after the events in Yugoslavia, such a demonstration becomes a
Staff Writers Jim Mann and Paul Richter in Washington contributed to this
Forest fires rage in Russia's heatwave of the century
MOSCOW, July 2 (AFP) - Forest fires raged on the outskirts of Moscow and in
several other regions Friday as the death toll from Russia's biggest heatwave
of the century rose to more than 140.
In the Moscow region, some 126 fires engulfed 145 hectares (362 acres) of
forest and bush while 200 ha. (500 acres) were burning near Saint Petersburg,
the ministry of emergency situations said.
"There is no threat to the populated areas," said Tatiana Timoshenkova,
spokesperson for the emergency situations ministry, adding that authorities
were hoping for a reprieve from the heat to try to contain the spreading
"Everything depends on the weather," she told AFP.
Meteorologists said temperatures might drop a few degrees in the coming days
after hovering at 33 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit) for weeks.
Fire fighters were battling an inferno over more than 22,000 ha. (55,000
acres) of taiga in the Far East region of Magadan while 2,500 ha. (6,250
acres) were in flames in the Siberian region of Irkutsk, said Timoshenkova.
Fires were also reported in the Volga region of Nizhny-Novgorod; in the
northern regions of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk; near Kamchatka and Sakhalin in
the Far East; and near Chita and Yakutia in western Siberia, she said.
Authorities declared a state of emergency in many of those regions.
The scorching heat over the past month has left scores dead from heatstroke
and especially drowning as Russians seek to cool off in lakes and rivers
surrounding the capital.
Authorities have pointed to alcohol as the cause for many of the deaths that
have occurred during afternoons of vodka-soaked picknicking.
Eleven Muscovites drowned in just one 24-four hour period, raising the total
number of drowning victims during the month-long heatwave to 140 by Thursday,
Three of Moscow's drowning victims of the last two weeks were children, who
most likely went to swimming holes without proper supervision, according to
city health officials.
Hospitals in Moscow are reporting nearly a doubling in the number of patients
suffering from various heat-related illnesses, including heart attacks and
strokes, said the newspaper Moskovskye Komsomolets.
The temperatures in June have broken all records since 1895, according to
At least five have died in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg and "one or two"
prisoners die daily in the overcrowded jails of Saint Petersburg, according
to local press reports.
Russian television showed images of Moscow zoo keepers hosing down open-air
cages containing the zoo's more northern-acclimated species.
July 3, 1999
The Brightest Go West
By Peter D. Ekman
Peter Ekman, professor of finance at the American Institute of Business and
Economics, an MBA program in Moscow, contributed this comment to The Moscow
Times. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the things about teaching business in Moscow that makes me very proud
f but also sorrowful f is a party that we hold every summer to bid farewell
to our students who are continuing their studies abroad.
The tradition of holding these farewell parties began several summers ago
when Igor f perhaps the most brilliant student I've met in a dozen years of
teaching f was accepted to the Wharton School of Business and received a
Muskie Fellowship f the only way he could have afforded such an expensive
school. John, an economics teacher, and I decided that Igor needed some new
luggage to begin his new life, and we invited a dozen of Igor's fellow
students over to celebrate. At the last minute we found out that Dmitry,
who'd be coming to the party, had just been accepted to Indiana University.
In a mad dash to Global USA, I secured both cold beer and another piece of
luggage. Nevertheless, I was slightly embarrassed at the party when Margarita
showed up and announced that she was going to Brandeis, and we had no going
away present for her.
We've quit giving away luggage to students who leave Russia for further
studies, much to the detriment of Samsonite's share price. In the long term,
the loss of Russia's most talented young people is an even more important
problem than the loss of financial capital. Students who want to return to
Russia now know that the best strategy is to get several years experience in
the West first. After getting this experience they'll hardly want to take a
pay cut to return to Russia.
I'm sad that many of these students will not be able to find appropriate work
in Russia. I'm sad that they can't continue their studies in Russia, even
though we can educate 20 students here to a similar standard for the cost of
sending one student abroad. I'm mostly sad for Russia. The future of the
entire country is diminished when the best and brightest leave.
I should apologize to Oleg, Olga, Yulia, Leonid, Kirill and Dasha, among
others. Not all of our best students have left Russia. Oleg worked his way up
to director of corporate finance at a major international investment bank in
Moscow. His career wouldn't be helped at this point by an MBA from even the
best school. Olga specializes in Russian tax law and can't learn anything on
this topic abroad. Yulia stays to be with her husband, who won't leave Russia
for even the best opportunity abroad. But these people are the exceptions
that prove the rule. Leonid and Kirill are saving their money and working on
their resumes in order to get into the best possible Western schools. Dasha
will probably stay in her consulting job for another year or two before being
sent to the West to study by her firm. I hope, dear friends, that you will
keep in touch with us, and let us know how you're doing. I hope you remember
where you came from and the people that you've left behind. I hope that
you'll return to Russia f even if it can only be to give a guest lecture in
your new specialty to future students. And most of all, I hope that Russia
develops an economy that makes it possible for you to return for good, so
that you and future students can live, develop your careers and contribute
economically in your own country.
Russia: Superpower Feels Frustration
By Floriana Fossato
With the Kosovo crisis now receding, Western officials and media continue to
ponder the reasons behind Russia's recent actions in the Balkans. RFE/RL's
Moscow correspondent Floriana Fossato suggests that the motivations are
actually quite clear.
Moscow, 2 July 1999 (RFE/RL) -- Western analysts pondering Russia's surprise
deployment of 200 troops to the Pristina airport on June 12 seem to
underestimate the psychological factor in Russian decision-making.
A good example was a recent article in The Washington Post (June 25). The
article quotes unnamed senior Western intelligence analysts reconstructing
events surrounding the Russian move. The analysts disagree over whether
Moscow's intention was to seize a Russian zone in Kosovo, or simply to create
a presence on the ground to be used as a bargaining chip in negotiating
The Post reported that the analysts were puzzled over "why the Russian
military took the risk it did and what role President Boris Yeltsin played in
Seen from Moscow, these questions seem rather cut off from Russian realities.
Most Western reporters posted in Moscow have witnessed over the last eight
years a growing level of frustration in all layers of Russian society over
the country's role in the world. In short, Russians seem to feel a growing
anger over the loss of the main achievement of the Soviet era -- superpower
status. The frustration was clear well before the start of NATO airstrikes
against Yugoslavia and fed the strong reaction that the operation sparked in
Russian politicians, military officers and the public alike share the
frustration. And it is only fed by an economy in disarray and seemingly
constant political power intrigues. Regaining a prominent world role is thus
of paramount importance for Russia, as the country struggles to find its
identity in the post-Soviet world.
Western correspondents in Moscow who listened to Russian acquaintances
commenting on the unexpected deployment into Kosovo heard widespread praise
for the action, which boosted the country's collective self-esteem, at least
for a while. The deployment of troops clearly touched a patriotic chord.
The feeling found expression in an interview in the Russian parliament's
official organ "Parlamentskaya Gazeta" published last week. General Georgy
Shpak, commander-in-chief of Russia's Airborne Troops, said that, quoting:
"acting on the orders of the General Staff, a group of paratroopers on 16
armored personnel carriers and 20 vehicles was prepared in our Bosnian
brigade to enter Kosovo as the first detachment. Displaying their ability to
get ready for a mission so that nobody noticed anything until it was already
too late, our servicemen drove 430 kilometers to the Kosovo border in seven
and a half hours."
General Shpak went on to explain that "by being the first to enter the
territory of the province, we spoiled NATO's mood. Thousands of reporters had
been sent there to report the victorious march of Americans, English,
Germans, and French. Instead, all they saw were our servicemen."
Images of their tanks entering Pristina, greeted by Serb civilians,
undoubtedly brought back memories for many Russians of documentaries about
territories liberated by the Red Army during World War Two.
Several Russian political analysts acknowledge that self-esteem and a
desperate attempt to be "part of the game" play a very important role in
Russia's foreign policy these days. Analyst Andrei Piontkovsky says that the
political reaction to events in Kosovo made clear that Moscow is "interested
exclusively in its own elite status in world politics."
Russia's recent past also helps explain something else that western analysts
have been pondering -- the apparent tension between Russia's military and
civilian leaders. Russia's generals, whose reputation was tarnished by the
humiliating experiences of Chechnya and Afghanistan, are openly distrustful
of the country's diplomacy and political leaders.
When Russia's special Balkans envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin negotiated a deal
with the West to end the Kosovo crisis, military officers were among his
harshest critics. And there were widespread reports of open disagreements
between Russian military and civilian officials at talks with western
officials on Kosovo.
Our correspondent has witnessed many occasions in both the Soviet and
post-Soviet eras when military officials seemed uncomfortable with the notion
that they serve under civilian authorities. In 1991-92, even parliamentary
delegations and Kremlin officials wishing to inspect sensitive military
installations faced considerable difficulties obtaining permission from the
But even if Russian generals planned the recent move of forces into Kosovo
ahead of NATO, it seems unlikely that Yeltsin would not have had the final
word on such a sensitive step. Yeltsin cherishes more than anything his role
as commander in chief of Russia's military forces.
Russian analysts also say it is unlikely that Yeltsin, just before the G-7
plus Russia summit in Cologne, would have failed to realize how the move
could strengthen Russia's hand in negotiations over Kosovo peacekeeping --
and over western help for Russia's economy.
When NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia began, Yeltsin had said that Russia
was "morally superior" to the West. After the Pristina operation, Yeltsin
announced to the heads of leading industrial nations in Cologne that he was
Judge's New Term 'Payment' for Skuratov Ruling
1 July 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Report by Aleksandr Khinshteyn: "Price of Judge's Robe. Kremlin Pays Up"
There is a Federation Council session tomorrow. One
of the questions on the agenda is the extension of Supreme Court Chairman
Vyacheslav Lebedev's powers, whose term is coming to an end. In itself an
entirely ordinary event.
But our sources in the Kremlin administration claim otherwise. According
to them, Lebedev's new term is a payment for the decision made by the
Supreme Court on the Skuratov case. (As is known, the Supreme Court
handed down a verdict which was absolutely necessary to the Kremlin; the
case against the general prosecutor was instituted lawfully, which means
that he was justifiably removed).
There is much to confirm this theory. There is information that the
representation regarding Lebedev was sent to the Federation Council
virtually the day after the Skuratov verdict. This is in addition to the
fact that Lebedev has headed the Supreme Court for 10 long years, does
not participate in any political games, and is committed to the party cause.
Back in the spring Yeltsin promised to return Lebedev for another term.
He might have promised but he did not take any specific action. It would
seem that nothing could have been easier: All he had to do was sign the
representation. But no, it was dragged out to the last. Taking the
president at his word is a thankless task.
It cannot be ruled out that the Kremlin deliberately kept Lebedev on
the hook, letting him know that the chairman's future depended on the
decision on the Skuratov question. At the end of the day, even if the
court had started to be guided by the law and not political expediency
and the verdict had been in the prosecutor's favor, Lebedev would always
have kept the opportunity to make a protest up his sleeve. True, such
resolute measures were not required. Everything was decided at the very
first stage. The ball is now in the senators' court....
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 1999
From: "T. S. White" <email@example.com>
Subject: Entreprenuerial advice
Since I siezed upon your invitation to submit comments on JRL I have
decided to take some of my own medicine. Thus I am submitting a series
of brief articles on some of the practical obsticles and pitfalls
encoutered while doing business in Russia.
To any businessman from the West a venture into Russia is repleat with
new challenges and hurdles to get through and over. As a small
businessman with two years of experience begining with nothing and
resulting in a successful market entry I would like to pass on some
points of interest in the Russian culture that may make things easier
for my successors. For the first discussion of these challenges facing
the western businessman I will focus on the use of an interpreter.
The first thing most western businessmen will need to deal with is the
language barier. I began with a twelve week course in conversational
Russian that would have left me homeless and hungry in Russia. The
logical solution is, of course, an interpreter. An interpreter in
Russia will constitute one of the larger ongoing expenses for an
entreprenuer. Interpreters can be hired for as little as five dollars
and hour, for an english student, up two hundred dollars an hour for a
specialist in nuclear physics. Aside from the cost there are several
problems attendant to hiring a competent and trustworthy interpreter.
In Russia anyone that has any basic level of English skills refers to
themselves as "Interpreters". This label conceals a myriad of cultural
habits and liabilities that only experience is going to resolve for most
The first problem is that while many interpreters speak English a large
percentage of them do not understand the language. They can assimilate
basic information but do not have the skills to translate even
fundemental business or social phrases into Russian. They will conceal
this fact as long as possible and the only clue you will receive is when
the results of the conversation are entirely different that those which
would be predictable.
One would assume that simply interviewing your interpreter would resolve
most of the problems with the understanding of foreign languages. This
is not always the case. Some interpreters have good skills in specific
areas and are ignorant in more general conversation. A case in point
was my first experience with an interpreter. She had basic English
skills and could speak well. Her full time job was as an accountant.
When we were speaking about accounting her understanding was good and
the conversation was coherent. However, when the conversation became
general, i.e. I invited her to leave since our business was concluded,
she could not understand the meaning of "We have finished it is time for
you to leave".
The task of finding reliable interpretation is one that must be
resolved. Thus the next logical step might be to ask one's travel agent
for referrals. This invariably produces a tour guide whose English
skills may or may not be acceptable. The cultural infussion of the
tour guide will, however, influence your ability to conduct business.
This may lead to a period of unrequested cultural education at the
expense of business conduct. It, in the least desirable scenario, can
lead to direct interference with the progress of the business if the
interpreter believes, right or wrong, that your business is unnecessary
Certainly there is a fast solution to all these problems with the
inpterters. All one needs to do is to hire their interpreter from a
reliable business service office. What this will produce is another
tour guide, at twice the price charged by the travel agent. As for
english skills they may be somewhat better. However, the fact is that
the person that you get as your interpreter is probably the one who
offerred the largest "Commission" to the business service office.
Now for the sake of discussion lets say you have found an interpreter
with the necessary English skills to allow you to conduct business.
This should allow you to proceed. Unfortunately this is rarely the
case. What will be encountered next is the cultural misunderstanding or
outright objection to a westerner doing business in Russia. This
cultural hurdle may entail lengthy debates with the interpreter about
the justification for the simplest business activities. Often your
requests will be met with, "We do not do this in Russia" or "A Russian
will never do this". Rest assured that they do "Do this" in Russia if
you can get past your interpreter. In the best of situations you may
expect to spend a considerable amount of time educating the interpreter
as to what is necessary in the normal conduct of your business.
If the businessman is successful to this point at finding and hiring an
interpreter with the necessary level of english skills, and the cultural
breadth to accept and respond to business instructions, the task is just
begining. Now the businessman must face the really sinister levels of
cultural traits in the Russian business system.
When working through an interpreter the first cultural nuance that a
businessman must be aware of is the "Commission system" in Russia. In
Russia it is expected and normal for the interpreter to direct the
businessmen to preferred people who will pay the interpreter a
commission ranging from 10% to 50% of the dollar amount of business
done. The businessman will meet these people as pretenders to the task
at hand or introduced as solutions to problems. Rest assured that if
your interpreter says, "I have just the person to help you with this
problem" that the interpreter's only goal is to receive a commission.
To avoid this problem the astute businessman will avoid doing business
with those people recommended by the interpreter. This should surely
eliminate the problem of charges inflated by commissions; unfortunately
not this is not the case. The commission system in Russia is so
pervasive that your interpreter can request a commission from any
Russian businessman you deal with and expect to receive the commission
without resistance. Thus any use of an interpreter will necessarily
increase business costs by a percetage of the business actually done.
Another form of cultural trait the Russian business system holds in
store for the westerner is what I call the cultural alliance. It is the
practice of some Russians to charge westerners the most they possibly
can. The interpreter will often participate in alliances, formal or
unstated, with other Russians the businessman comes into contact with to
extract as much money as possible from the client in the shortest period
of time. This can begin with the interpreter instructing the cab
driver to double or triple his normal rate and has no predictable end.
This cultural alliance works in both directions for the Russians. It
does not need to be initiated by the interpreter. The Russian
contacting the businessman can offer products or services at prices the
interpreter knows to be ridiculously inflated and expect the interpreter
to fully support to the price.
The Russian culture also contains a patriotic alliance. This alliance
eminates from the belief that it is always better for a Russian to make
money than a westerner. Russians have an inherent resentment toward
western businessmen profiting on their economy. To satisfy this
resentment they will engage in business espionage to give products and
ideas to Russians in competition with their western employer. The
interpreter is the first line of information for this espionage. The
interpreter will gladly give any and all of their knowledge about your
business to a Russian and will do so without a commission. This
espionage is seen as their patriotic duty.
The problems discussed thus far only represent the glaring faults of
working with an interpreter. The are subtler nuances the businessman
will encounter that vary between individual interpreters. These reach
far beyond the scope of this discussion.
How does the businessman in Russia protect himself from these kinds of
activities from his interpreter. So far the best answer I have is that
the answer lies within. That is the answer lies within the
interpreters. The interpreters engage in a subtle kind of cut throat
competition. Naturally each of them realizes that a good business
client can means thousands of dollars in commissions to them. Thus they
will compete with each other on the same ethical basis they use to
conduct business with westerners. When you change interpreters the
first thing you may encounter is a short series of statements impinging
the character of the previous interpreter. The new interpreter may
reveal some deceits the previous interpreter has led the businessman
into. The new interpreter will swear undying alliegance to the
businessman and the cycle will begin anew. Interpretation is, however,
a strenous assignment and interpreters do not like to work long
continuous hours on consecutive days. So give your interpreter a day
off regularly and ask them to recommend another interpreter to replace
them for the day. Repeat this process several times with successive
interpreters. Whether the new interpreter is a life long friend,
business associate, or enemy of the old interpreter the competitive
process will develop. Then develop a stable of interpreters that offer
the language skills necessary and rotate them regularly. When the
clients the businessman deals with realize that the same interpreter is
not returning to their meetings they will begin using the commission to
their own advantage by discounting. Then never let any of the
interpreters discover all the components to any product or process or
you will see the product on the black market before you can frisk a
Kremlin Analyst on Next President's Tasks
Argumenty i Fakty
29 June 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Article from the "Analysis" column by Tamina Netreba: "Russia After
Yeltsin -- Next President Must Not Be a Revolutionary" -- assigned to
press 29 June; first paragraph is an introduction published in Italics,
slantlines indicate passages in boldface
Of late this person has gained a firm reputation
for being "the grey cardinal of the Kremlin". His surname came sixth in a
recent assessment of shadow influence. Head of the Effective Policy
Foundation and freelance advisor to the head of the presidential
administration /Gleb PAVLOVSKIY/ is interviewed by /Tamina Netreba/.
The president wants to leave
[Netreba] /Preparations for the parliamentary and presidential elections
in full swing in the Kremlin. What do you think the demands on the new
president will be?/
[Pavlovskiy] First of all, he should not be a second Yeltsin, he should not
revolutionary. After replacing Gorbachev at the end of the eighties and
beginning of the nineties and destroying the old system, [Russian
President] Boris Nikolayevich [Yeltsin] carried out a democratic
revolution. And he has had to remain the leader of the revolution up
until the present day, because none of the revolutionary achievements of
the Yeltsin era - freedom of speech, the press, private ownership and so
forth - has been consolidated. They only exist because Yeltsin, as the
leader of the revolution, likes freedom.
The next president must consolidate what has been achieved and resolve
the tasks of building a normal, dull state. Someone has to stop the
revolution in order to secure its fruits.
[Q] /This means that you agree that the president and revolutionary is
to blame for all today's shocks?/
[A] To be more exact, the incomplete revolution is to blame. The creator
of a system is always to blame and bears historical responsibility for
everything. But Yeltsin is also a hostage of this system. And everything
that he does, he is forced to do to a certain extent. (For we supported
him in the referendums, approved the transformations he wrought.) After
he created a system in which his role as the leader of the revolution was
not outlined, he then caused the State Duma [lower house of Russian
parliament] to be created which constantly struggles against the leader
in attempt to bring him within a certain framework. This is not a normal
part for the Duma to play. In a new system of power it should be
[Q] /What do you think the new parliament will be like?/
[A] The main thing is that it should not be formed on the principle of
opposition to the outgoing president. Yeltsin will be leaving in the year
2000 anyway. And the Duma will be the only legitimate power in he country
for a time. It will be the strongest and most authoritative power. The
outgoing president cannot be either strong or authoritative. The new head
of state will still have to prove that he is strong. And, if we elect the
parliament on the principle of opposition to Yeltsin, we may bring a new
misfortune upon ourselves, an unbridled Duma in circumstances where the
president is weak and there is an absence of authoritative power in the
country. Therefore criticism of Yeltsin should not be a pointer in
choosing candidates to the State Duma.
[Q] /Are you sure that Yeltsin is really ready to go in the year 2000?/
[A] It is in Yeltsin's interests to surrender his powers in the term
established by the constitution. He will thus confirm his adherence to
the principles of his own constitution, to his own political programme
and to the ideology that he brought with him.
[Q] /But do you think it is possible that Yeltsin might remain president
after the year 2000?/
[A] I think it might happen because I cannot rule out a catastrophe
If the revolutionary gains - freedom, ownership of private property,
the country's security - are challenged by someone, then Yeltsin will
probably behave in a very tough manner in these circumstances. Like any
revolutionary, the feeling of his personal historical responsibility for
what has happened will be greater for him than "official formalities"
Therefore we should allow Yeltsin to go quietly and not play with crises. We
shall only get the real opportunity to transform the revolutionary state
into a normal democratic one after he has left peacefully. The revolution
will go away with him.
[Q] /But as a person Yeltsin is most probably worried about what will
happen to him, to his family, after he lays down his presidential powers?
For any leader of a country the descent from the heights has always ended
in an unfortunate manner, or even a tragic manner./
[A] I think that this is by no means what is worrying Boris Nikolayevich
most. He is much more concerned about actual policy. He is not finding
support among the political elite for the transformation of power. He is
not looking for a "successor", but a succession of the achievements. They
are important to him personally. Yeltsin rarely acts according to
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation will lose the elections
[Q] /How real are the prospects for banning the Communist Party of the
Russian Federation [CPRF]? Is it true that the relevant decree has
already been drawn up in the Kremlin?/
[A] Only the CPRF itself needs a ban on the CPRF. Yes, the CPRF does
remain a force which presents a danger to the constitutional system. But
a ban on it would be the last way of saving the Communists from disgrace
at the December elections, from a defeat after which its candidate for
president would not even be able to enter the last round of voting. The
maximum number of votes that they can get in December is 12-15 per cent.
Crises have provided the Communists with all the rest. Sometimes Boris
Nikolayevich himself has tried to combat them. That party has every right
to enter the elections and to lose them.
[Q] /Who in the administration actually influences the decision-making
[A] Various groups of interests naturally have their own influence in
the Kremlin. But Boris Nikolayevich takes the final decision for all
that. It is dangerous to underestimate his strength and his intuition.
Recently we had another individual who was almost as strong - [former
Prime Minister] Yevgeniy Maksimovich Primakov.
[Q] /But why "had"? Rumour has it that he will return to big politics
again in the autumn./
[A] He is already lost to big and dangerous politics. He can no longer
become a leader of the "left-wing's Thermidor". He could not return by
simply offering the nation a new programme. In his intellectual and moral
qualities he is capable of that. But I am afraid that in his traits of
character he is not. He had the opportunity to display his state-building
strategy when he was the prime minister. But, instead of that, Primakov
tried to outdo Yeltsin in apparatus intrigues. He is quite likely to
enter the elections as the head of some kind of political force. But
Fatherland cannot be that force since Primakov and [Moscow mayor Yuriy]
Luzhkov are not compatible - either in style, form or culture. The
strengthening of one would get in the way of the other. What is more,
they are both laying claims to the Kremlin, and that is a place where two
is one too many.
Stepashin does not have a chance yet [subhead]
[Q] /People say that it is precisely those in the presidential
administration who have been charged with drawing up a plan of attack on
the mayor of Moscow./
[A] It is the newspapers and those in the Moscow mayor's entourage who
say that, isn't it? I think it is precisely the mayor who needs such a
plan. You see the Kremlin is not mounting any attack, but at least there
will be a plan to attack. I think that Yuriy Mikhaylovich [Luzhkov] very
much wants to become the Kremlin's "victim". It is as if we are being
shown an old propaganda film. Don't you remember how in its time
precisely a Kremlin attack helped Yeltsin to gain a triumphant victory at
the elections for the USSR deputies? But Yeltsin will not try to play
[Q] /Are you trying to say that those in the Kremlin are watching
impartially how the mayor of Moscow's rating is going up in the
presidential election polls?/
[A] Well, why do they have to be impartial? I think people there are not
averse to seeing Moscow's mayor among their allies again. And I think he
can become one, in spite of the conflict situation that has taken shape.
All kinds of scenarios are possible in politics. A strong politician
does not proceed from a personal sense of grievance over some helicopter,
but from logic and expediency. In certain circumstances, even Luzhkov may
become the next president.
[Q] /To be honest about it, it is hard to imagine a situation in which
the Kremlin would support Luzhkov in the presidential elections./
[A] I am not talking about support, but about Luzhkov's chances. For the
moment there is no sense in the presidential administration supporting
any of those standing for Yeltsin's post. When the executive power
carries out political activity in the interests of one candidate or
another, that is dangerous for everyone. In so doing, it not only turns
the rest of the political elite against it, but inevitably pushes the
situation into a crisis. It is precisely during the course of this crisis
that the opponent would be able to gain an advantage.
[Q] /So, it turns out that the concept of "the president's successor" is
a completely senseless one?/
[A] We have already had a series of "successors" You yourself know where
they are now. The last one - Primakov - is a vivid example. This is
because any successor of the leader immediately starts to arrange his own
system of leader's power. Yeltsin will not tolerate anyone like that
[Q] /This means that in naming Sergey Stepashin the president's
successor recently, the head of the Kremlin administration simply framed
[A] [Chief of presidential staff Aleksandr] Voloshin merely introduced
the prime minister into the circle of politically acceptable candidates.
You have to agree that that is something different.
[Q] /Does Stepashin have a chance of becoming the next president?/
[A] Only if he announces some kind of programme and an actual force
recognizing him as its leader before the presidential elections. I do not
see either one or the other at the moment.
The trouble is that we keep on looking for a person who is up to taking
a post which should be abolished, namely that of the leader of the
revolution. And we do not even think about the main tasks to be tackled
by the future president. If we choose a candidate for the "part of
Yeltsin", without forming a new policy, then in the year 2000 even a nice
person might turn into a monster when he sits on the presidential throne.
You see, not everyone of those who are laying claim to the Kremlin will
be able to resist the temptation to simultaneously acquire the place of
"leader", once they have received the enormous powers invested in the
head of state by the constitution. And leaders never read old
3 July 1999
[for personal use only]
NATO rejected Russian officer viewed as spy
By John Donnelly and David Filipov,
WASHINGTON - NATO earlier this year refused to accept a Russian officer
appointed by Moscow as a liaison to its military headquarters in Belgium
because it believed him to be a high-ranking spy, two alliance officials
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Globe that
the NATO supreme commander, General Wesley K. Clark, rejected Moscow's
nomination of then-Lieutenant General Victor Zavarzin to the post. Clark,
the officials said, feared Zavarzin would pass on NATO's military plans to
Zavarzin was to have been the NATO liaison to Russian troops in Bosnia.
After being rebuffed, Zavarzin went to Bosnia when NATO's air strikes began
March 24. Three weeks ago he became a Russian hero when he led about 200
troops into Kosovo to take over the Pristina airport just ahead of NATO
peacekeeping forces. President Boris N. Yeltsin immediately promoted the
general to three stars.
Russian officials in Moscow and Washington could not be reached for comment
yesterday on the allegation that Zavarzin was a spy. But Pavel Felgenhauer,
a knowledgeable defense analyst for the Segodnya newspaper in Moscow, cast
doubt on it.
''He's too high-ranking an officer to be a spy, and even if he was from
military intelligence, that shouldn't be a problem with the liaison
position - they often come from intelligence departments,'' Felgenhauer said.
But the appointment of Zavarzin greatly angered Clark, according to the
NATO officials, and it added another chafing point to the increasingly
frayed relationship between the alliance and Russia.
In addition to the Zavarzin-led dash to the Pristina airport, the Russian
military command has recently irked NATO and US leaders by attempting to
reopen the terms of the Kosovo peacekeeping operation and by holding a
military training exercise in which two Russian TU-95 Bear bombers flew so
close to the coastline of Iceland that a pair of US Air Force F-15 fighters
were scrambled to escort them around the island.
The ''West 99'' military exercises last week, like the seizure of Pristina
airport, apparently were meant to send a message that Russia remains an
important force and will maintain a state of heightened readiness, despite
a decade of drastic cuts in troop strength and equipment. The exercises, in
fact, appeared to be designed to show how Russia might have mounted a
military response to the NATO action in Yugoslavia.
Still, US officials showed little alarm. For one thing, they noted that the
TU-95 bombers represented a bygone era, built in the 1950s, powered by
''I think we are going to see more of these kind of things, with the
Russian military attempting to flex its muscles,'' said a Clinton
administration official, speaking on the condition he not be identified.
''I think they are looking for any opportunity to show that they still have
the capability of keeping us on our toes. They want the world to know they
are out there, and they want to be seen as relevant.''
In Moscow, though, the issue goes beyond relevance. NATO's decision to wage
war without a United Nations mandate was seen as a dangerous precedent that
could be repeated against Russia. Another point of contention developed
when the alliance recently broadened its doctrine to include the option of
military response anywhere NATO feels that its interests are threatened.
After Russia announced the Zavarzin appointment in February, officials at
NATO military headquarters in Mons, Belgium, ''asked Russia to nominate
someone else,'' said one NATO official.
''He was not a field commander of any kind. He was a professional
intelligence guy, and from a NATO standpoint, that was unacceptable,'' the
official said. ''He never showed up.''
Zavarzin was then working at NATO's administrative headquarters in
Brussels, which serves as the center of political activity for the
19-country alliance. His assignment began in October 1997, a NATO spokesman
said. Russia recalled Zavarzin and its other officials when NATO's air
Russia has had a liaison since 1996 at NATO's military headquarters in
Mons, a position created to lessen Russia's objections to the alliance's
eastward expansion and to help resolve any issues between Russian and NATO
peacekeepers in Bosnia. NATO officers have given the Russian troops
relatively high marks for their work with US peacekeeping forces.
The first serious problem arose only this past June 10 - when the 200
Russian soldiers, commanded by Zavarzin, left their posts without the
requisite advance notice to NATO and then drove to Pristina.
Clark said this week in Washington he expected no problems with the new
peacekeeping arrangement in Kosovo, which calls for Russian troops to be
spread among US, French, and German soldiers. However, The New York Times
reported today that Clinton administration officials said NATO has thwarted
an attempt by Russia to bring in peacekeepers this weekend. According to
the Times, the officials said Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria refused Russia
use of their airspace after consulting with the United States and NATO.
Under the Kosovo arrangement, a Russian liaison officer will be based at
Mons, but the NATO officials said they will not accept Zavarzin.
Michael O'Hanlon, a specialist at the Brookings Institution on US defense
strategy, said it was important to allow a Russian military officer access
to NATO plans.
''That's a price we've decided to pay for the broader good of the
relationship,'' O'Hanlon said. ''I'm glad that Russia is in a position to
get more intelligence because that will allow them to see that NATO has no
malicious intent vis a vis Russia, and we want them to find that out
through every possible way, using every possible channel.''
Donnelly reported from Washington; Filipov, from Moscow.