This Date's Issues: 3381 •
Johnson's Russia List
7 July 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Bush adviser sees limits on U.S. foreign forays
2. Jacob Kipp: When is a "Bear" not a bomber.
3. Judith Shapiro: Re:3380-Why the inaccuracy in reporting about Russia.
4. Pavel Palazchenko: RUSSIA AND THE WEST: BACK IN BUSINESS?
5. Reuters: Despite weakened state, Russia still a big problem.
6. Moscow Times editorial: A Lousy Day In Russia For Free Speech.
7. Dale R Herspring: Ermarth, Merry, Hough, etc.
8. Melvin Goodman: The Mythology of Fritz Ermarth.
9. Reuters: Russia court eases opposition fears over PM powers.
10. Interfax: Poll Shows Russians' Attitude to Kosovo Deployment.
11. Radiostantsiya Ekho Moskvy: Kozyrev Laments Country's 'Political
12. Interfax: Aksenenko's Views on Yeltsin, Chernomyrdin.
13. Stratfor commentary: Yeltsin Keeps Eye on Security Service Heads.
14. Boston Globe: David Filipov, Russia raids Chechnya as war tensions
15. Moscow Times: Yulia Latynina, INSIDE RUSSIA: Kompromat's Impact Begins
To Wear Off.
16. AP: Russian Prime Minister To Visit D.C.]
Bush adviser sees limits on U.S. foreign forays (Condoleezza Rice)
By Alan Elsner, Political Correspondent
PALO ALTO, July 6 (Reuters) - The United States should not intervene
militarily in foreign humanitarian disasters, no matter how terrible, unless
it has a clear strategic interest at stake, says a chief foreign policy
adviser to Republican presidential front-runner George W. Bush.
Condoleezza Rice told Reuters in an interview she would urge Bush to get away
from the Clinton administration's policy, which she said was based on trying
to establish "international humanitarian norms," and return to one based on a
cold analysis of U.S. interests.
The Texas governor leads the field for the 2000 Republican presidential
nomination by a wide margin. Bush also is leading Vice President Al Gore, the
front-runner for the Democratic nomination, by 15-20 percentage points in
most recent polls, increasing speculation about what he might do if elected.
"What do you do about the horrible humanitarian, ethnic disturbances that are
there in various corners of the globe? It is not a sufficient condition for
the deployment of American force that there is a humanitarian disaster," Rice
said on Friday.
"Ideally you would intervene whenever you could to avoid or to stop man's
inhumanity to man. But there are limitations on what you can do," she said.
Rice, 44, served on the National Security Council under Bush's father, former
president George Bush, as an expert on arms control and Soviet affairs.
She recently stepped down as provost of Stanford University to become a
member of the 10-member Bush presidential exploratory committee and has been
tipped for a top foreign policy job, perhaps National Security Adviser,
should he win.
Rice's chief criticism of President Bill Clinton's foreign policy was that it
lacked focus and had become hostage to a kind of international humanitarian
"There's a tendency to want to have everything be clothed in humanitarian
terms, to be somewhat uncomfortable about the exercise of American power in
the service of American interests rather than in some larger international
interests that are somehow norms-based," she said.
Asked about U.S. policy toward Moscow, Rice said the Clinton administration
had become too involved in Russian internal politics, trying to prop up
President Boris Yeltsin. As a result, the United States was deeply unpopular
with the Russian people.
"The challenge for the United States is to find a way to deal with the
Russians on the issues we really have to deal with: further destruction of
nuclear warheads, safety issues around nuclear command and control and
proliferation issues, both intentional and leakage," Rice said.
Expressing pessimism about Russia's short-term future, Rice said it might be
a generation until the Russians were ready for real economic reform.
"I'd make very clear to the Russians that when and if they are ready for real
economic reform, that the United States and the Western world will be
prepared to try and help with that process," she said.
"But I now believe that might be a generation. It seems to me that things are
so broken now, that they are so concerned about stability that the ability to
do anything for the long term of the economy looks to be lacking."
Looking ahead to the Russian presidential election next summer, Rice said her
chief hope was for the emergence of a new leader who was not connected to
"The state has become so weak that organized crime is effectively doing the
function of the state now. It's the policing function of the state, it's the
protection function of the state and I'm often asked, who would you like to
win the election in June 2000? My answer to that is: I would just like to see
the Russians find someone who is not corrupt, who is not on the take
personally," she said.
Rice, who supported NATO expansion to include Poland, Hungary and the Czech
Republic, said she was not ready to contemplate any further expansion any
"While we should leave the door open for future expansion, we should be very
slow about it now. ... A military alliance can't just be a gardening party.
Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic made sense strategically. You now have
to think both about what the strategic rationale would be for the inclusion
of other countries," she said.
From: "Jacob Kipp" <KIPPJ@LEAV-EMH1.ARMY.MIL>
Subject: When is a "Bear" not a bomber
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999
We have had much commentary over the last few days of the appearance of two
Tu-95 "Bear" aircraft in the vicinity of Iceland. US F-15s scrambled to meet
the intruders, just like during the Cold War. One strange comment in the
coverage of this event is the insistence that the TU-95 "Bears" were
bombers. As reported by Robert Burns of the Associated Press, "two Russian
long-range bombers flew to within 60 miles of the coastline of NATO member
Iceland last week." A spokesman from the National Security Council, Mike
Hammer, identified the aircraft as bombers and said this was no big deal..
"It wasn't cause for alarm here," adding that the Russian planes did not
violate Iceland's airspace. He said the bombers were escorted around Iceland
by U.S. fighters without incident. "They were completely within their bounds
in doing what they did as part of a military exercise."
Given the theater, the nature of the "Zapad 99" exercise, and the
characteristics of the later models of the Tu-95 [Bears C, D, and E], it
seems more likely that the aircraft were on an elint mission, gathering
electronic intelligence. The Tu-95 did enter service as a long-range
turboprop bomber in the 1950s, but it evolved into a recce-elint platform
with Soviet Naval Aviation in the late 1970s. That is, the response of NATO
air defense forces must have made the day of those aircraft's' crews, after
a long and boring flight out from bases on the Kola. This is an old game
for naval aviation [predominantly shore-based] of Northern Fleet. The
aircraft off Norway were, indeed, modern bombers or more-likely platforms
for anti-maritime cruise missiles operating in an anti-carrier part of the
same exercise. In comparison with Admiral Gorshkov's "oceanic exercises,"
Zapad-99 is a modest affair. It is less a statement of capabilities, than a
statement of intent from the Russian MOD and General Staff.
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999
From: Judith.Shapiro@unece.org (Judith Shapiro)
Subject: Re:3380-Why the inaccuracy in reporting about Russia
Reading JRL 3380 I suddenly had that "aha" sensation we all know too rarely.
(1) As Kalashnikov's brilliant piece states, the Cold War is still on, only
theatre haschanged. .
(2) We all know what the first casualty in war is.
So that is why we can't get any truth, or even accuracy, to be less ambitious
and essentialist. There is a war on.
Still, couldn't the best of us aspire to the best traditions of the best war
Should Reuters really pass on the word of the people selling space at an
and Tobacco exhibition in Moscow that Russians are drinking and smoking more?
I have better evidence to the contrary, available on application.
I know Anna Blundy asked her rhetorical questions about food aid and Kamchatka
best of intentions, and the best of prose, so I hesitate to reproach her. The
right. But the letter has to be right too: surely her father told her that.
Food aid. No food aid arrived until 1 March, mostly because many people in the
notably the deputy prime minister for social policy, were concerned that it
be hi-jacked and misused. The government did not really accept the aid
did it? It was foisted on it. It is bad aid. But anyway it did not come in
Surviving without loans. the reason Russia can't survive without loans is
basically that it has to repay previous ones. Most of the money will go to
debt service. If it had not taken out these, then it won't be in this
debt trap. You can't get out of such a trap by borrowing like this. Ever
tried it yourself''
We can discuss what to do -- me myself (strictly personal
position) I think the Russians should just firmly ask the Bank of
England again what happened to the gold the Bolsheviks handed over
to the Germans at Brest-Litovsk, a treaty over-ruled by Versailles, and
the German money taken back to London. Its quite a lot more than
the present debt I believe. One thing is for sure: fresh loans are not the
If Russia has to take them to avoid being an international pariah, but
we don't have to accept that Western governments and the IMF enforce
these rules in our name.
Kamchatka: they had the money, they couldn't get their act together. I
called it a "grandstand gesture" in The World Today. It expresses the
all-too- understandable attitude Russians have towards any government, but is
not an index of poverty.
Perhaps Anna Blundy thinks that by painting the Russian bear as a teddy the
nasty guys will leave Russia alone. Wrong, I think. The nasty guys want
sight of that upside down tricolour being stuiously tied on a tank at Pristina
which reminded some brilliant Reuters photographer of another flag in
another place. ( I am not for exaggerating Russian might either. In the
long run, truth will out.)
So my favourite role, David, for JRL is to stop being an undrinkable broth of
the news that fits, they print, and to start being more selective and
of upmarket again. as it was before its success.
Chief, Transition Economies Section
Economic Analysis Division
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Palais des Nations
+41 22 917 27 20 Secretary (Victoria Goudeva) +41 22 917 27 53
(this represents my personal views only)
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999
From: "Pavel Palazchenko" <email@example.com>
Subject: RUSSIA AND THE WEST: BACK IN BUSINESS?
My name is Pavel Palazchenko, and I am an adviser to President
Mikhail Gorbachev. I have been his English language interpreter for almost
fiften years and continue to work with him, mostly on international issues.
I would be interested in getting your materials about which I have heard a
lot. Also, I have recently started writing a column for Metro, an English
language newspaper in Helsinki. I am forwarding the first one to you, and
will do so when others appear, presumably once every two weeks. Best
RUSSIA AND THE WEST: BACK IN BUSINESS?
By Pavel Palazchenko
In the aftermath of the Kosovo crisis, many international issues and
relationships will need to be reassessed. This task should certainly
include relations between the West and Russia, which were severely strained
by NATO’s air campaign against Yugoslavia. There are few signs, however,
that the Western alliance is about to undertake a realistic reassessment of
this important relationship.
Instead, Western leaders are congratulating themselves for having been able
to keep Russia “in line” while disregarding the cost of that achievement.
After the G-8 summit in Cologne, US National Security Adviser Sandy Burger
was quoted as saying that Russia and the West are “back in business.” Boris
Yeltsin seemed to agree. He said that at the Cologne summit “we got
everything we wanted.”
So, are Russia and the West back in business? Perhaps. But it is highly
unlikely that it will be business as usual. And the relationship was not
that good even before the Kosovo crisis.
NATO’s decision to bomb Yugoslavia angered practically the entire Russian
political establishment. One could argue that much of that angry reaction
was because of the wrong reasons. Indeed, instead of arguing that military
intervention without a specific mandate from the UN Security Council was
contrary to international law, many members of the State Duma - the Russian
parliament - and high ranking officials were invoking Slavic solidarity and
aligning themselves with Slobodan Milosevic.
Yet, Russia’s criticism of NATO’s use of military force should not be
dismissed lightly. If left uncontested, NATO’s unilateral action would set
a precedent that the West itself might one day regret. It is unlikely that
a democratic world order could be built on the basis of what is already
being called the Clinton doctrine of humanitarian warfare.
The leaders who ended the Cold War envisioned, perhaps somewhat vaguely, a
different kind of world order, based on strengthening and reforming the
United Nations and emphasizing preventive diplomacy rather than the use of
force. Unfortunately, little has been done since then to translate that
vision into reality. A good place to start rebuilding international
relations is to see how the West could cooperate with Russia - and with
other countries, including India and China - in advancing those goals.
It is of course true that real cooperation could begin only once Russia got
its act together. A partnership with the West cannot be centered on IMF
handouts or on concerns about the safety of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. But
Russia’s recovery cannot happen under its present administration.
Until now the West’s entire strategy for Russia has been based on
supporting President Boris Yeltsin, forgiving him even the war in Chechnya.
The democratic process has suffered badly as a result. Today, Russia has a
constitution under which a virtually omnipotent president can ignore a
But, whatever the flaws of Russia’s constitution, elections are to be held
soon - of a new parliament in December and of a new president next June.
Any attempt to postpone them or make them meaningless must be firmly
rejected by Russia’s real friends abroad.
The coming elections will begin the process of reshaping Russia’s political
establishment and constitutional order. The emerging new Russia will have
no willingness - and no resources - to engage in a confrontation with the
Western alliance. But unless the West wants to see a whole generation of
Russian politicians become increasingly distrustful of its intentions, it
would do well to reexamine its priorities in dealing with Russia - and with
much of the rest of the world too.
Despite weakened state, Russia still a big problem
July 6, 1999
By Carol Giacomo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite a devastated economy, a weakened military and
an unsettled political system, Russia continues to wield influence and cause
troubles for U.S. national interests.
The world's No. 2 nuclear power, Russia did not go quite as far as some
pessimists had predicted in actively providing military and technical aid to
help Serbia fend off NATO in the just-concluded war over Kosovo.
But as the past few weeks have shown, the rough and tumble period of
unpredictability in U.S.-Russian relations continues even after the guns in
the Balkans have fallen silent.
After signing a deal with NATO last month on terms for Russian participation
in the Kosovo peacekeeping mission, Moscow continued to balk at alliance
It also raised eyebrows when two TU-95 Bear bombers penetrated Iceland's air
defenses on June 25 during a military exercise and were intercepted by four
U.S. F-15 fighters.
But senior Americans officials played down the incident. The Russians
``stayed within the international boundaries, they did not violate anyone's
airspace and so it is not of great moment,'' Defense Secretary William Cohen
Maybe Moscow wanted to ensure its forces were in ``operating order,'' he
said. Others said Russia was testing U.S. reflexes.
A Cold War-like chill was felt anew last weekend when Moscow ordered a U.S.
military attache to leave the country amid hints he was caught up in
tit-for-tat charges of spying.
Similarly, those old days were recalled as Syrian President Hafez al-Assad
visited Moscow this week to rekindle ties with his old patron and seek new
arms to strengthen his hand in expected new peace talks with Israel.
Many officials find little to gain in flaunting NATO's Kosovo victory and
humiliating Russia, which was sympathetic to Yugoslavia during the war and
remains insecure and bitter about its own loss of superpower status.
The recent face-off in Kosovo provoked more overt concern.
The problem began when 250 Russian troops on June 12 rushed to take control
of Pristina airport ahead of NATO.
U.S. General Wesley Clark, NATO commander, told Congress the troops deserted
their posts in Bosnia to speed to Pristina. Command and control for this
maneuver ``came from the very highest levels'' of the Russian military, he
Six days later, Moscow and NATO agreed in Helsinki to merge Russian troops
into the alliance-led peacekeeping operation.
But when Russia pressed what Clark called a ``creative reinterpretation'' of
the Helsinki accord to put its troops in unapproved sectors of Kosovo and to
get around reporting to alliance commanders, NATO blocked Moscow from flying
additional forces to the region.
The differences apparently were resolved during NATO-Russia talks in Moscow
on Monday but the tensions with the alliance, and Washington, seem certain to
Leon Aron, author of a book about Russian President Boris Yeltsin, said like
other sectors of Russian society, the military -- once the elite but now
demoralized -- ``is positioning itself for the post-Yeltsin succession
The Kosovo incidents show an increased assertiveness by the Russian armed
forces ``but I don't think it's part of a major shift from civilian to
military leadership,'' he told Reuters.
Yeltsin, hounded by nationalist political opponents at home, expended
considerable political capital in sending an envoy to help NATO negotiate an
end to the war in Kosovo and submitting his troops to NATO command there,
Hence it seems likely the Russian leader has been giving his military some
``leash ... to let out steam'' and show the world it can still be a force to
be reckoned with, Aron added.
Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin will meet Vice President Al Gore in
Washington on July 27 and Cohen is planning a trip to Moscow in late July or
Officials say despite problems, they can best serve U.S. national interests
by engaging Russia on critical issues, like Kosovo, ending nuclear
cooperation with Iran and negotiating bilateral strategic arms reduction.
July 7, 1999
EDITORIAL: A Lousy Day In Russia For Free Speech
There are more depressing sights than the two young Americans who stumbled
truculently through their maiden news conference as the new - and apparently,
utterly unqualified - owners of the Kommersant newspaper.
For example, as depressing sights go, Tuesday also brought us Prime Minister
Sergei Stepashin explaining that the new created-in-a-day Press Ministry will
not exactly be a Propaganda Ministry, but that its tasks will be, "pardon the
old-fashioned word - ideological work."
Ah, yes. Not the Propaganda Ministry, but the Ministry for Ideological Work.
That's different. Mr. Stepashin is so very liberal! It's a relief to know
that he and the FSB will be working together to keep undesirable elements out
of the next parliament.
Just yesterday the nation was reading Boris Yeltsin's interview with
Izvestia. "The main task, of course, is the elections," Yeltsin was quoted as
saying. They need to be carried out with "dignity," they should be "honest
and open," they should bring to power new political leaders "chosen by the
For those of us who believe Yeltsin is a complicated man, one whose
motivations and beliefs pull him in different directions, this was a
moderately hopeful moment: Yeltsin was talking of a constitutional transfer
of power, of the need to protect besieged democratic institutions.
Russia's successes in building democracy may be debatable, but there has been
one quiet achievement of enormous significance: People expect to vote. They
expect to choose their political leaders.
And here was Yeltsin in Izvestia, reaffirming that expectation. Perhaps he
was ready to cross "the family" and follow his conscience into retirement;
maybe he didn't know his aides were frantically building a Trojan Horse union
with Belarus, as a way to keep Yeltsin and his courtiers in the Kremlin.
What a difference a day makes. Now, instead of pondering Yeltsin's noble
rhetoric, we are parsing the Kremlin's ominous bureaucratic reorganization.
Mikhail Lesin, the Kremlin insider and gray cardinal of RTR television, has
been put at the head of a new ministry in charge of Russia's mass media.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Yakushkin said: "This decree [creating it] affects
all journalists engaged in writing and television."
How? We don't know yet.
Kommersant editor Raf Shakirov probably has the right idea. He is taking a
wait-and-see approach: If wunderkind Kia Joorabchian, his new boss, decides
to meddle in the news room, Shakirov and his team of journalists can always
But if by then the new Minpravdy is meddling in every other news room in the
nation, where will they go?
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999
From: Dale R Herspring <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Ermarth, Merry, Hough, etc.
I would like to suggest a few other factors that were at play during the
end of the USSR period. I say this as one who played this game not only
from the vantage point of Moscow and the State Department -- but from that
of the Hill as well.
Having known Fritz for many years and having been in meetings with
him, one thing is clear. He was never afraid to express his point of view
-- regardless of what others thought. This brings me to my first point.
It is true that there are problems with political appointees in any
administration (I can remember the early Reagan Administration when
anything but the "party line" was almost equated with treason). There are
other, more difficult forces lurking in the background, however. In this
case I have in mind the Hill. Some on the far left or far right don't
want to hear news they don't like and I have seen some bureaucrats do
absolutly silly things because they were worried about a back lash from
the Hill. (When we had Peacekeeper 95 at Fort Riley, one Kansas
Congressman spoke of this as part of a UN "takeover" of the US).
Suggesting that our number one nemises was about to collapse in those days
represented not only an ideological threat, but a challenge to all kinds
of budgetary items.
A second point that may be hard for those who have become interested in
this part of the world since the end of Cold War to understand, is the
mind-set that was Washington. Permit me one example. I spent three days
with the Chief of the East German General Staff in Vienna (in early 90).
I spoke extensively with him about the situation inside the East German
military -- a topic I had written a book and several articles about. It
was clear to me that the military was on its last legs especially when I
asked him where he thought it would be in six months. His response, "I
don't even know if I will have a job next week, let alone six months from
now." I sent back a cable to that effect and I was subsequently told by
my colleagues that it was good for a laugh. On October 3, the NVA was
assigned to the ash heap of history. I say this only to point out how
hard it was for many in Washington to grasp the magnitude of what was
happening. The world was being turned up-side down. Furthermore,
Embassies are often ignored or not paid attention to by Washington
policy-makers on all kinds of issues. Anyone who has served in an embassy
abroad can give numerous examples. C'est le guerre.
Ermarth, Merry and Hough are all right -- and having worked closely with
Larry Eagleburger I can only second Fritz's comments about him. He knew
that part of the world well, and more importantly when I dealt with him on
the Polish crisis, I found him willing to listen to others. His mind was
not made up as was the case with those of a more ideological bent. But as
Fritz points out, coming up to "solutions" is not always as easy as some
think. Indeed, in reading this exchange I am reminded of something the
famous French political scientist Bertrand de Jouvenel once said,
"What characterizes a political problem is that no answer will fit the
terms of the problem as stated. A political problem therefore is not
solved, it may be settled, which is a different thing altogether."
That we were not able to "solve" the riddle of "Whither Russia" in those
days of upheaval should not seem so surprising
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999
From: Melvin Goodman <GOODMANM@NDU.EDU>
Subject: The Mythology of Fritz Ermarth
Fritz Ermarth continues to propagate the myth that the Bush
administration and its "top national security team" was
among the best in dealing with bad news from the
intelligence community. Nothing could be further from the
truth. Ermarth calls the national security team "very
experienced and professional." Also mythological. The Bush
administration was more anti-Soviet than the second Reagan
administration which was led by Secretary of State George
Shultz. Bush worked hard to reverse the successes of Shultz
and ignored intelligence that dealt with nationality
problems in both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia as well as
the decline of power in the Soviet Union. Bush's NSC was
particularly contemptuous of intelligence that called
attention to the political weakness of Gorbachev and the
emergence of Yeltsin. The Bush administration drove
unnecessarily hard bargains on arms control which
compromised the political position of Gorbachev and
Shevardnadze and delayed various arms control agreements
unnecessarily. The CIA for its part was extremely timid
during the period and spun its analysis in order not to
irritate the policymakers of the White House and NSC. If
you want a model of how intelligence officers should deal
with hostile and skeptical policymakers, then you have to go
to the CIA under Richard Helms during Nixon's first term.
During that period, Kissinger was extremely hostile toward
CIA estimates of Soviet weapons systems, including the ABM
potential of Moscow's SAM system and the capability of the
SS-9. The CIA took on the policy community, particularly
the NSC and the Pentagon, and at great cost to the
institution won the debate and paved the way for both SALT I
and the ABM treaty. One more item: the only institution
that did serious contingency planning for the possible
breakup of the Soviet Union was the SECDEF and the JCS under
Cheney and General Powell. Bob Gates' memoir should be read
very carefully. Cheers...Mel Goodman
Russia court eases opposition fears over PM powers
MOSCOW, July 6 (Reuters) - Russia's Constitutional Court, in a decision
likely to satisfy the Communist-led opposition, ruled on Tuesday that a prime
minister has no right to dissolve parliament while standing in temporarily
for the president.
The State Duma lower house, the powerbase of the opposition Communists, had
asked the court to clarify the prime minister's powers in such a situation
because of uncertainty over President Boris Yeltsin's health and the
vagueness of the constitution.
Under Russia's post-Soviet constitution, if the president resigns, dies, is
incapacitated by illness or is impeached, the prime minister takes over his
duties pending a new presidential election within three months.
The court said in a statement, a copy of which was faxed to Reuters, that a
prime minister serving temporarily as president would also be barred from
proposing amendments to the constitution.
It said the president could regain his powers in full if he handed them only
temporarily to the prime minister.
Yeltsin handed his powers to then prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for
several hours on November 5, 1996, while he underwent a quintuple heart
bypass operation. He resumed power immediately after regaining consciousness.
Since then Yeltsin has remained dogged by health problems, spurring interest
among the political elite in what might happen if he died in office or quit
before his term expires in June 2000.
Yeltsin, 68, has made clear he intends to serve out his full term, although
the constitution bars him from running for the presidency again.
Yeltsin's Communist foes in the Duma recently led a bid to impeach him for
alleged misrule during his eight years at the helm but they failed to muster
Poll Shows Russians' Attitude to Kosovo Deployment
MOSCOW. July 2 (Interfax) -- 85% of Russians are
aware of the deployment of Russian troops in Kosovo, according to an
opinion poll of 1,500 Russians conducted by the Public Opinion Fund on
June 19. One third, 33% were worried when they first became aware of
Russia's Kosovo "dash," 21% felt pride for their country, and 10% -
perplexity. Five percent experienced feelings of protest, annoyance,
dislike, fear, bitterness and shame. Over half, 56% of the respondents
are sure that it was the country's leadership, who made the decision. 12%
of those polled said military commanders gave the order. Russia won
respect of the Western powers by this action, 44% said. Some 46% of the
respondents said this deployment did not change their attitude towards
the top leadership, 17% began to respect it more and 16% - less.
Kozyrev Laments Country's 'Political Virus'
Radiostantsiya Ekho Moskvy
2 July 1999
[translation for personal use only]
Former Russian Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev presented
his regular "Special View" slot on Russian Ekho Moskvy radio. In the
five-minute talk, he compared Russia's dispatch of peacekeepers to Kosovo
to the spread of tuberculosis in Russia - a virus which has adapted to
medicines in such a way that it cannot be treated.
He said: "The main thing is that this is being presented almost as a
grandiose patriotic undertaking, which consists of expending our strength
and our money not at home but abroad. It's strange, but it's probably
even stranger that this undertaking is being regarded almost as a
challenge to the international community. It's as if we were doing this
against them - with them, but against them. When you listen to some of
our political analysts and some of the military people, you are reminded
of the times of the Soviet Union, when peaceful coexistence, and then
detente itself, were presented here as a form of class struggle, that is
as a continuation of the irreconcileable struggle against imperialism."
Kozyrev continued: "If we approach this as a form of class struggle, then we
are spending money in order to continue to develop the virus, a virus
which will no longer respond to treatment. But this virus is now a
political one and this will take us further away both from a solution of
the problem of tuberculosis and from the solution of all our other problems."
Aksenenko's Views on Yeltsin, Chernomyrdin
MOSCOW. July 3 (Interfax) -- Russian President
Boris Yeltsin is the country's most significant politician, First Deputy
Prime Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko said Friday. Yeltsin is "a colossal
figure," Aksyonenko said to journalists. Yeltsin makes decisions
independently, he said. "It's hard to reason with him. Maybe someone is
able to exert influence, I do not know. I can say one thing: if the
president made a decision," he did it on his own, he said. Asked about
the election of Viktor Chernomyrdin, formerly prime minister and today
leader of the Our Home is Russia political party, chairman of the Gazprom
board of directors, Aksyonenko expressed the hope that Chernomyrdin's
experience and knowledge would help him there. A lot will depend on
Chernomyrdin's choice of methods for resolving Gazprom's problems, he
said. Aksyonenko hailed the election of presidential Chief of Staff
Alexander Voloshin chairman of the board of directors of Russia's
electricity monopoly Unified Energy Systems. "Voloshin is a very
reasonable and hard-working person," he said Regarding the upcoming State
Duma elections, Aksyonenko said tha Communist Party of Russia (KPRF) is
unlikely to win majority in the lower house. "I know that it will be
difficult for the Communists to win. Centrifugal forces inside the
popular patriotic block are too strong" for that, he said.
2005 GMT, 990706 – Yeltsin Keeps Eye on Security Service Heads
Russian Security Council Secretary Vladimir Putin told reporters at the
Kremlin on July 6 that Russian President Boris Yeltsin has ordered weekly
meetings of the Security Council under the chairmanship of Prime Minister
Sergei Stepashin. Yeltsin reportedly claimed the scheduling of frequent
meetings "very strongly disciplines the security agencies which know that the
president of the Russian Federation is watching them." Yeltsin went on to
joke that the security forces’ chiefs "are usefully afraid" of the president
of Russia. Yeltsin himself will preside over the next meeting of the Security
Council, which is set to discuss military-technical cooperation with foreign
The Russian Security Council is comprised of the prime minister, the head of
the presidential administration, the Security Council secretary, the defense
minister, the interior minister and the minister of foreign affairs. Defense
Minister Igor Sergeyev presided over the decision to rush Russian troops into
Kosovo ahead of NATO forces, apparently without informing Foreign Minister
Igor Ivanov, and possibly without informing Yeltsin. Interior Minister
Vladimir Rushailo, currently carrying out a crackdown in the northern
Caucasus, has been accused by Chechen authorities of fomenting an artificial
crisis in the region in an effort to deceive Yeltsin.
However, Yeltsin is concerned with more than just a passel of loose canons
complicating his foreign policy. He is concerned with the prospect of
Russia’s security services – who are disgruntled to enraged over Yeltsin’s
failure to counteract the noose NATO has thrown around Russia – possibly
threatening his own security in office. Yeltsin has no intention of waltzing
off to a dacha in Yalta like his predecessor, leaving Moscow to the
hardliners and tanks. He so much as said so, with his spokesman brushing off
questions about his vacation plans and stating his explicit desire to keep an
eye on his defense, interior and foreign ministers.
Clearly a power struggle is raging behind the scenes in Moscow, and while it
is unclear whether weekly meetings can rein in the security services, at very
least Yeltsin wants them to know that he is not napping. This raises another
question: Does Yeltsin have control of the Federal Security Service (FSB),
the successor to the KGB? During his short tenure as prime minister, former
KGB official Yevgeny Primakov reportedly purged the FSB of officials put in
place by Yeltsin ally Boris Berezovsky, replacing them with allies of
Primakov. If he cannot rely on his intelligence services, Yeltsin may have
done nothing more than illuminate his fears – showing more weakness than
strength – and put his fate in the hands of shaky allies both inside and
outside of Russia.
July 6, 1999
[for personal use only]
Russia raids Chechnya as war tensions return
By David Filipov
MOSCOW - As Moscow wrangles with NATO over its role in keeping the peace in
Kosovo, Russia's own Muslim-dominated breakaway region - Chechnya - is
sliding back toward war.
Russia said yesterday that its helicopter gunships and artillery had launched
raids against a large group of gunmen in Chechnya. The attack followed a
pledge by Russia's top police official to bring order to the Caucasus region,
where Moscow fought a brutal campaign from 1994 to 1996, in an unsuccessful
attempt to end a separatist rebellion.
Yesterday's attack was met by threats of retaliation from Chechnya's leaders
in the capital Grozny and speculation of sinister political intrigues in
Moscow. The dark theory held by many observers here is that the Kremlin plans
to foment violence in the Caucasus to create an excuse for canceling upcoming
parliamentary and presidential elections.
Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, who heads Russia's police force and
large internal army, said his troops struck at a group of 150 to 200 Chechen
militants just over the region's eastern border with the rest of Russia.
Rushailo said the strike came in retaliation for a rash of attacks by Chechen
gunmen against border posts near the separatist region that have left dozens
of Russian troops dead. He promised the attack would not be the last.
''We will strike against them without waiting for them to attack us,''
Tens of thousands died in Chechnya during the two-year war, but the region
remained under rebel control after Russian troops withdrew in early 1997. The
region elected a president, Aslan Maskhadov, who commanded the Chechens
during the war, but whose authority has been greatly reduced amid infighting
among armed factions. Moscow says Maskhadov has no control over armed gangs
numbering in the thousands that conduct raids in neighboring Russian regions
and hold hostages for ransom. Chechnya's leaders do not acknowledge the
existence of any armed gangs on their territory.
Rushailo's words were met by a threat of terrorist acts against Russia from
the rebel government in Grozny.
''For each explosion of a shell or bomb in Chechnya, tens of thousands of
explosions will rock Russia,'' Maskhadov's press secretary, Mairbek
Vachagayev, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
In Moscow, a prominent liberal member of Parliament suggested the new
violence in Chechnya was one of several strategies being tried out by the
Kremlin to keep President Boris N. Yeltsin in power after his term is due to
end next summer.
The legislator, Yury Shchekochikhin, published what he said was a copy of a
presidential decree declaring a state of emergency over violence in the
''Answering the terrorists' next raids, `surgical' strikes will be carried
out against the bases of the Chechen fighters ... using the experience of
NATO in Yugoslavia,'' Shchekochikhin wrote in the weekly Novaya Gazeta. ''The
`surgical' strikes will provoke the most boisterous Chechen commanders. The
result is a state of emergency, and all that goes with it, including
postponing'' parliamentary and presidential elections.
Yeltsin, in an interview being published today in the newspaper Izvestia,
says he has no intention of hanging on to power when his term ends in July
But much of Moscow's political establishment is convinced that Yeltsin's
Kremlin entourage, known as ''The Family,'' is scheming to make it possible
for the president to stay on.
Speculation that Chechnya might be used to this end heated up last week after
Russia's official news agency Itar-Tass published an anonymous report
detailing recurring violence against the ethnic Russian minority living in
Chechnya. The report said that 21,000 Russians had been killed in Chechnya
since 1991 - not including casualties of the war - and that about 800 were
still being held hostage. The document also said that 46,000 people had been
forced into slavery and that 100,000 apartments of ''non-indigenous people''
in Chechnya had been seized.
The document never mentioned Kosovo, but the unspoken parallels were clear,
as was the hint that action needed to be taken. On Saturday, Rushailo told
the Federation Council, the upper house of Parliament, that he had ordered
the ''preventative airstrikes'' against armed gangs in Chechnya. The house,
composed of Russian regional leaders, asked Yeltsin to take ''decisive
measures'' to protect Russians in the region.
''For some reason, when we are talking about the Kosovo conflict, we find the
means and the political will, but in our own house we can't put things in
order,'' said a Federation Council member, Alexander Shiyanov, who is from
Stavropol, a region just across Chechnya's border that has been plagued by
kidnapping and armed raids.
July 7, 1999
INSIDE RUSSIA: Kompromat's Impact Begins To Wear Off
By Yulia Latynina
An epidemic of kompromat is rampaging across Russia. All politicians and
oligarchs, it seems, are coming down with little viruses carried in press
articles. Naturally, the epidemic is having the effect of creating an
immunity to the disease. Just as cockroaches quickly get used to insecticide
dust and only breed more zealously, Russian politicians have now received an
inoculation from compromising materials about their commercial activities.
In the wake of the adventures of the man who looked like Prosecutor General
Yury Skuratov in an infamous video cavorting with prostitutes, previous
scandals - like when Anatoly Chubais was forced to leave his Cabinet post
because of a suspicious-looking advance for a pathetic book, or when Valentin
Kovalyev was removed as justice minister because of his gangland sauna
session - seem like something out of the quaint past.
Inasmuch as kompromat has proliferated to the point that journalists will
soon be able to circulate it from any fax, it is worth considering who
produces the best kompromat.
I have come to the conclusion that the special services produces the
worst-quality kompromat. I had occasion to read "analytical notes" penned by
the special services in which the Transworld Group was called the Transford
group and Oleg Deripaska, the general director of the Sayansk aluminum
factory, was called Oleg Deripasko. This did not stop the authors of this
"analytical" paper from giving strategic advice on how to protect Russia's
national interests, pitting the aforementioned Deripaska against the
aforementioned Transford group.
Low salaries plus absolute irresponsibility are corrupting the employees of
the state security services. Cases brought by them collapse in court because
of their complete legal incompetence.
The material collected by corporate security services, or by private
structures specializing in the sale of information, is much more solid. It is
not a mixture of fantasy and badly monitored conversations. It is elegantly
constructed, usually proving what the person who ordered it needed.
Most interesting, however, is that just as 80 percent of the information
gathered by an intelligence agent comes from open sources, 80 percent of the
most malicious Russian kompromat is contained in presidential decrees and
Not one act of illegal fraud cost the budget as much as the completely legal
Not one illegal operation transferring money abroad can compare with the $8
billion debt that the Central Bank, in front of everyone, spent on a hopeless
effort to support the ruble.
No thief who has stolen a shipment of grain using false documents has caused
Russian farmers more injury than the "food aid" so heavily lobbied by former
deputy prime minister Gennady Kulik.
This is why Russia has become immune to little kompromat - the kind
discovered with the aid of a video camera. It is, for example, somehow
awkward to jail Berezovsky for illegally tapping telephones if everyone knows
that he basically took ORT national television and the Sibneft oil company
from the people. And for ORT and Sibneft he will also not be jailed, because
it was all carried out completely legally.
Russian Prime Minister To Visit D.C.
July 6, 1999
By BARRY SCHWEID
WASHINGTON (AP) - Russian Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin is due in
Washington at the end of July to talk with Vice President Al Gore, to take a
close look at major American corporations and possibly to pocket a fat loan
from the International Monetary Fund.
The July 27 visit will be Stepashin's first as prime minister and will mark
the first meeting in a year of the U.S.-Russian Joint Commission on Economic
and Technological Cooperation.
The meeting may last only a few hours. Only a few of the commission's 10
committees may be ready to grapple with such items as business development,
energy, health, environment, science and technology.
Stepashin is likely to meet with President Clinton while he is in the
capital, however. And with Russia's economy reeling, the IMF is ready to
approve $4.5 billion in new loans, beginning with an initial $630 million.
IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus said Monday that Russia is meeting
conditions laid down by the IMF. An IMF delegation went to Moscow last week
and praised Russia's latest economic moves.
The Russian parliament has approved fiscal consolidation, tax laws and
changes in the banking system.
The IMF board here is waiting for completion of an audit of foreign exchange
operations Russian's Central Bank carried out with a foreign financial
institution called FIMACO.
Stepashin, who has talked with Gore several times by telephone, plans to
bring government economic specialists with him for talks with leaders of
American corporations, Gore's office said Tuesday in a statement.
The prime minister is expected to stop July 25 in Seattle to meet with
officials of Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co., then travel to Detroit July 26
to see officials of Ford Motor Co.
Economics Minister Andrei Shapovalyants reported last weekend that
first-quarter foreign investment in Russia slumped 40 percent this year
compared with 1998. He promised changes to attract investors unnerved by
Russia's financial troubles.
Total foreign investment in Russia was $1.5 billion in January-March, down
from $2.5 billion in the corresponding period last year. Direct investment
totaled $600 million, down 20 percent.
Former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov was on his way here in March for a
commission meeting when he turned around his jet and went home rather than be
in Washington for the announcement that NATO warplanes had begun bombing
Yugoslavia to force a settlement in Kosovo.
Gore said the commission was useful in helping the two sides to ``expand our
areas of agreement and open channels we can draw on during periods of
Russia objected to the NATO assault but helped arrange a settlement that
removed all Serb troops and special police from the province. Russian troops
are serving as peacekeepers.
A minicrisis erupted when 200 Russian troops were rushed to Pristina, the
Kosovo provincial capital, without notice to Washington and remained there
even after Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov assured Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright they would be withdrawn.
At a summit meeting in Germany, however, Clinton concluded agreements with
Russian President Boris Yeltsin on several fronts, including approval of the
administration's program to build an antimissile defense, and Russian troops
are now being blended in with NATO peacekeeping forces.
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