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Johnson's Russia List


September 9, 1999   
This Date's Issues: 3489 3490   

Johnson's Russia List
9 September 1999

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Boston Globe: Brian Whitmore, Yeltsin's power teeters atop spiral of 

2. Reuters: U.S.-Russian relations will survive scandal-Talbott.
3. Washington Post editorial: Shrugging Off Corruption.
4. Sian Glaessner: Re: 3489-Guardian/Yeltsin Unfit,Steele/Yeltsin May Quit.
5. Newsday: James Klurfeld, Let's Not Have Any Guilt Trips About Russia.
6. New York Times: William Safire, Welcome to Kremlingate.
7. Michael Neubert: URLs for Russian regional web sites.
8. Reuters: Moscow blast kills 20, cause unclear.
9. The Guardian (UK): Jonathan Steele, Insider dealing claim levelled at 
Russian cabinet. Former head of anti-corruption team says many MPs also have 
illegal accounts.

10. Interfax: Oleg Klokov, Yeltsin Unlikely To Resign.
11. NTV: 'Big Money' on Money Laundering Scandal.
12. Washington Post: David Hoffman, A State of Lawlessness.
Corruption, Coercion Reign in Russia.] 



From: "Sian Glaessner" <>
Subject: Re: 3489-Guardian/Yeltsin Unfit,Steele/Yeltsin May Quit
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 

What most intrigued me in the Guardian article was the repeated assumption
that Yeltsin himself is in control enough to be held responsible for the
mismanagement of the various situations the author mentions.
Constitutionally, of course the president can or must be held accountable,
but surely the situation demands a more detailed analysis of who really
makes the decisions. Perhaps I have misunderstood the intention of the
author, who may have been using the name "Yeltsin" as a kind of generic
term to indicate the Yeltsin clan, with their associated media groups,
business links, political clique which case I apologise for making
such an obvious comment, but as I said, it intrigued me that an article
aiming to prove the President's incompetance, should credit him with so


Date: Wed, 08 Sep 1999
From: Michael Neubert <> 
Subject: URLs for Russian regional web sites

someone sent me a message at work thinking I would be interested in the
message that included URLs for Russian regional web sites. I has received
this earlier as it turns out and have marked it up in HTML (with the
permission of the message's original author). 

It is at

Some of your readers might find that more convenient than typing in URLs.

Although I am a librarian at the Library of Congress, I did the web page
referred to above on my own time and it is not an official LC product (so
to speak).

Michael Neubert 
Library of Congress
European Division 202 707-3706
Washington, DC 20540-4830 fax 707-8482


Russian Commentator: Yeltsin Unlikely To Resign 
By Interfax political observer Oleg Klokov 

MOSCOW. Sept 7 (Interfax) - As the scandal over 
corruption in Russia's high places and the laundering of Russian money is 
raging, political figures and mass media speculate about what President 
Boris Yeltsin is likely to do. His early resignation would make a 
powerful impact on the balance of political forces in the country and 
embarrass his political opponent, some say. In particular, La Stampa, an 
influential Italian newspaper, says that some people in his entourage 
might urge him to do so. Those who believe that this move is possible 
argue that, because there will be no strong pro-Kremlin group with a 
possible exception of the Liberal Democratic Party in the next Duma, the 
Kremlin should do its utmost to undermine the opponents of Prime Minister 
Vladimir Putin, Yeltsin's heir-apparent, especially Moscow Mayor Yuri 
Luzhkov and former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov. Luzhkov, the leader 
of the Fatherland movement, says now that he would not take his seat in 
the State Duma even though his name is among the three on the Fatherland 
- All Russia's federal list because he wants to remain Moscow's mayor. If 
Yeltsin leaves, the presidential, parliamentary and Moscow mayoral 
elections may be held on the same day, December 19, and Luzhkov will find 
it hard to explain why he is running in all of them. What is more, 
Luzhkov capitalizes on confrontations with the Kremlin. With Yeltsin out, 
he would have to think of other postures. Primakov would also have to 
make up his mind faster than he used to. He says he will run for 
president if his bloc does well in the parliamentary elections. What will 
he do if both the parliament and the president are to be elected on the 
same day. Some political scientists think that Yeltsin might trade his 
resignation for immunity guarantees which would come in very handy now 
that serious accusations are leveled at the Kremlin. We will know in less 
than two weeks whether this scenario is on the agenda. Under the 
Constitution, if the president resigns voluntarily, presidential 
elections should be held within three months after his resignation. In 
effect, if he plans to embarrass his opponents in this way, Yeltsin must 
do so prior to September 19. Political figures who know him well do not 
believe this is likely to happen. There will be no early presidential 
elections in Russia, Duma Chairman Gennady Seleznyov said at a news 
conference at Interfax on Tuesday. Nor does he think that parliamentary 
and presidential elections can be held on the same day, especially so 
because this story seems to have been planted in a secretive way. 
Speaking about speculations that, as early as September 19, Yeltsin will 
resign and tell Putin to act as president prior to the elections, 
Seleznyov said that Yeltsin's resignation would be beneficial to Russia 
but this is too good to be true. Officials in the presidential 
headquarters dismiss this rumor. "Boris Nikolayevich [Yeltsin] is an 
active president who intends to serve the whole of his term. There is no 
good reason for him to resign earlier," his press secretary Dmitry 
Yakushkin has told Interfax. Yeltsin is thinking of how he will go down 
in the country's history, he said. "The president believes it is a matter 
of honor for him to transfer his powers in an orderly and civilized way 
as provided for in the Constitution," Yakushkin said. It is very 
important for Yeltsin to create a precedent, for not a single occasion in 
Russia's recent history has seen the head of state replaced in a 
democratic way, he said. Other people close to the president say that 
Yeltsin is in love with power and will never part with it voluntarily. 
When he was to undergo a heart bypass surgery in November 1996, Yeltsin 
gave his authority to the then Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin for 
just six hours when he was under anaesthetic and signed a decree 
restoring his powers immediately after coming to, they say. Anyway, 
analysts can only guess what Yeltsin himself is thinking. He is known to 
have a way to outmaneuver his opponents. 



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