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Johnson's Russia List
9 December 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. RFE/RL: Sophie Lambroschini, Public Opinion Edges Toward Peace In
2. Reuters: Clinton leaves door open to IMF-Chechnya link.
3. The Independent (UK): Andrei Babitsky, Guerrillas reclaim the night
under the noses of Russians.
4. Reuters: Vita Bekker, Mothers fight for Russia conscripts.
5. Moskovsky Komsomolets: Instigators. ALL MEANS ARE GOOD FOR THE KREMLIN’S
FIGHT WITH MOSCOW.
6. Segodnya: Yeltsin Versus Yeltsin. THE SUCCESSOR'S RATING IS WORTH
7. Viktor Kalashnikov): suicides/CPRF/FBI.
8. Norbert Strade: Re: 3666-Medvedev/kavkas.org.
9. Pavel Palazchenko: Gorbachev's US visit.
10. BBC Monitoring Service: ELECTION BROADCAST BY UNION OF RIGHT FORCES
ON 8TH DECEMBER 1999.
11. Reuters: IMF Russia concerns valid, also convenient.
12. Michael Carley: Re: 3670/Chechnya.
13. Andrei Liakhov: Re: Andrew Miller and Russian Education.
14. Dan Cisek: Ruth Daniloff article from the Boston Globe.]
Russia: Public Opinion Edges Toward Peace In Chechnya
By Sophie Lambroschini
The latest polls in Russia show a possible change in the public's attitude
toward the war in Chechnya. Until recently, the public had overwhelmingly
supported Russia's military action in the breakaway republic. But with the
approach of a possible assault on Grozny this weekend, some Russians hope for
Moscow, 8 December 1999 (RFE/RL) -- The perception that virtually all
Russians support the harshest military actions against Chechnya may be an
exaggeration. In polls made public this week by the respected All-Russian
Center for Public Opinion (VTSIOM), about half of respondents said they
oppose an all-out war.
Almost one in five Russians surveyed (17 percent) say they are against the
war if it costs too many soldiers' lives. And close to half (45 percent) say
they think they would support peace negotiations if the idea were proposed by
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, or even by the far less popular President
The results do not mean most Russians have become doves. More than a third
(38 percent) of respondents said they support the war in Chechnya "whatever
the price." However, the polling center's director, Yuri Levada, said the
polls show that a "crack can appear in the monolithic support of the war."
Other experts share his view. Anton Lerner is another VTSIOM researcher who
specializes in qualitative studies of public opinion, as opposed to the
quantitative evaluations shown by polls. Lerner says that his studies, too,
show a budding tendency toward rejection of the war.
This evolution, he says, is mainly restricted to the elite. Lerner says
educated Russians are starting to believe the military's conduct of the war
in Chechnya runs contrary to their own morals.
"Russians are tired of the war. It's been lasting for almost three months
already. And for now, it hasn't given any visible results. In that sense,
especially in the educated layers, among the intelligentsia, certain doubts,
skepticism has appeared. [They have begun to] notice the silence of the media
about what is happening to the Chechens. Already certain notes were struck
where people try to justify or at least to look for a rational explanation
for the terrorists' actions. [They say to themselves], those people must have
been pushed over the edge, they would not blow up houses for nothing. People
are asking themselves, are we right about Chechnya? Shouldn't we begin
Lerner says that, as war fatigue sets in, the use of even a successful war as
a political tool declines. The growth of Putin's popularity on the strength
of his war achievements alone will soon stagnate, Lerner says, as the war
becomes a routine affair.
Analysts have predicted that such a turn in public opinion would come only
once Russian soldiers started dying in great numbers. But Lerner says massive
casualties are not necessary to change people's minds. He says one or two
casualties in a small town are enough to trigger the memory of the first,
extremely bloody, Chechen war. So why did Russians support the war in the
first place if inconclusive results and a few casualties are enough to sway
them? After all, according to another recent VTSIOM poll, 60 percent of
Russians feel hatred and a longing for revenge against the Chechens, whom
authorities have blamed for fatal apartment bombings in Moscow and elsewhere
a few months ago.
Lerner explains that approval of the war in Chechnya has been an expression
of approval for the government's pledge to restore order. Chechnya, he says,
has become a symbol.
"[Russians think that] if Russia can handle this problem, then Russia can
restore order everywhere. Chechnya is not only a question of separatism.
Chechnya also raises the question of criminality, of corruption in Russian
power structures. [Chechnya] is a [reflection] of everything people associate
with today's Russia, with the situation in Russia today. Chechnya takes on
the form of a kind of symbol, and restoring order in Chechnya first and
foremost means restoring order in Russia. Public opinion doesn't support the
war so much as [the idea] of restoring order."
One prominent politician, the reformer Grigory Yavlinsky, seems to have
grasped this need to promise order in a speech recently when he promised a
war against corruption coupled with a possibility of peace in the North
Caucasus. Lerner thinks, however, that for now, support for peace is still
too embryonic to win any candidate political points in December 19
Clinton leaves door open to IMF-Chechnya link
By Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - President Bill Clinton on Wednesday left open
the possibility of withholding U.S. support for international loans to Russia
to raise pressure for a political settlement over Chechnya.
Clinton also told a news conference ending direct U.S. aid to Russia was not
in the U.S. interest, but said Russia's continued military offensive in
Chechnya was bound fail strategically and would affect its international
``It will affect the attitude of the international community over a period of
time in ways that are somewhat predictable and in some ways unpredictable and
that is a very heavy price to pay,'' he said. ``It's a bad thing for this to
be the number one issue both inside the country and in our relationships with
Referring to the possibility of withholding U.S. support for International
Monetary Fund loans, Clinton said the issue was not timely because Russia had
failed to meet economic conditions laid down by the IMF for receiving a $650
million instalment on a $4.5 billion lending package.
``Now there is no pending IMF transfer because of the general opinion by the
IMF that not all the economic conditions have been met. But that's a bridge
that we'll have cross when we get there,'' he said.
Clinton faces growing pressure, from Republican presidential candidates
calling for a cutoff in U.S. aid to Russia and from some European nations, to
increase economic pressure on Moscow.
Clinton told a news conference that two-thirds of U.S. aid to Russia went for
programmes to safeguard Russia's nuclear materials. ``I think it is plain
that we have an interest in continuing that,'' he said.
The remainder of the direct aid was aimed at building democracy in Russia,
such as through programmes for an independent news media, student exchanges
and small businesses. ``I don't think our interests would be furthered in
terminating that,'' Clinton said.
Clinton's careful comments on the IMF echoed those of other administration
officials, who have kept a subtle threat simmering of a cutoff in IMF lending
without actually throwing down a challenge.
A White House official said earlier on Wednesday that the United States was
reluctant in principle to link IMF lending for economic stability programmes
to political disputes. But there were cases, such as during the dispute with
Indonesia over East Timor, where such a link might be appropriate.
``From time to time there comes a point where it is almost impossible to
separate political stability from economic stability,'' he said.
Clinton also said Russia's veto power in the United Nations security council
would rule out any sanctions through that body.
The Independent (UK)
9 December 1999
[for personal use only]
Guerrillas reclaim the night under the noses of Russians
By Andrei Babitsky in Kater-Yurt, Chechnya, with the Chechen guerrillas
Andrei Babitsky is a journalist with Radio Liberty.
Chechen guerillas are reclaiming the night, moving from district to district
in the safety of darkness under the noses of the Russian troops glued to
The Russians stay inside their heavily defended positions in order to avoid
clashes with the locals fighters who are intimately familiar with the
But there is also a balance of fear between the two sides who make efforts to
avoid each other. On a recent evening we walked unnoticed for several hours
parallel to the federal troops' positions.
The Russians surround their posts with armoured cars and keep the headlights
switched on to light up the area around them. Of course, they do it out of
fear of being attacked at night. But the brightly lit, bustling scene is like
Kutuzovsky Prospekt (Moscow's main thoroughfare) in the week before
With the engines grumbling, the soldiers did not hear as the Chechen fighters
walked right past their positions. The road is barely visible and churned up
by the caterpillar tracks of the armoured cars.
We stumbled and fell noisily, but we passed all the Russian posts and the
guerrillas greeted a group of armed Chechens coming in the other direction.
The village of Kater-Yurt, 20 miles (30 kilometres) south- east of Grozny,
has become a kind of safe zone which has attracted refugees from all over
Chechnya. So far, about 10,000 have made their way here.
Under pressure from the Russians, the local elders managed to persuade the
Chechen fighters to leave, allowing Russian interior ministry troops to comb
the village to make sure they had gone.
Five women arrived in the village yesterday after crawling along a dry
riverbed by night, from the village of Alkhan-Yurt, which is 10 miles (15
kilometres) away. They said that in Alkhan-Yurt, there were many dead because
federal soldiers had been throwing grenades into basements; corpses lay in
the cellars and out on the streets because there was nobody to bury them.
FEATURES-Mothers fight for Russia conscripts
By Vita Bekker
December 8, 1999
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Plainclothes police came to Alexei
Konstantinov's hospital room on his 20th birthday and dragged him to St.
Petersburg's overcrowded Kresty jail.
The arrest brought to a head a yearlong battle with the military during which
he said he had been raped by another conscript. He spent a year in and out of
mental hospitals pleading for release from the army on health grounds.
``I was very scared ... people around me were getting beaten and I was afraid
I would too so I didn't even ask to go to the bathroom,'' he said of his stay
For the Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg, a group that is part of a
national grass-roots movement to protect young Russian men from a system of
conscription they regard as arbitrary and brutal, Konstantinov's case is
Claiming to be ``astounded by the particularly cruel and illegal abuse of
power,'' the mothers appealed to human rights organization Amnesty
International to help Konstantinov.
``Alexei (was) being punished for deserting the army as a result of the army
failing to investigate his claim of being raped by a fellow conscript,'' the
mothers wrote. ``It is not difficult to imagine the psychological effect this
newest experience will have on a mentally ill patient.''
Through a military prosecutor, they secured Konstantinov's release. But the
mothers say fighting the army is not always easy for soldiers who are young,
scared and poor.
CHECHEN WARS BRING ATTENTION TO HARSH ARMY LIFE
Russian soldiers' mothers attracted world attention during the war in
breakaway Chechnya in 1994-96 when groups marched in protest against the war
and some individual mothers wandered through the battle zone in search of
They often negotiated directly with Chechens for the release of prisoners of
war Russian commanders described as deserters. ``Prisoner of the Mountains,''
nominated for an Oscar in 1997, told the story of a mother trying to free her
soldier son from Chechen captivity and getting no help from the army.
Forlorn mothers crossing front lines, showing photos of their lost sons to
Chechen fighters and Russian troops alike, were among the disturbing images
of the war that divided public opinion and eventually persuaded Moscow to
But the current second Chechen campaign, now in its third month, is widely
popular and the soldiers' mothers groups are an increasingly isolated voice
Military officials say the mothers sometimes encourage healthy young men to
avoid their required service. Konstantin Barishnikov, a deputy military
prosecutor in St. Petersburg, said he ``always (has) people come and say
their sons have medical problems, but it's not true a lot of the time. This
is not a food market -- you can't give mothers what they want.''
The mothers say many conscripts are unaware of their right to exempt
themselves from military service. They visit military units to inform
soldiers of their rights and distribute brochures outlining the laws.
They are also trying to persuade local army commanders to establish a
database where this information can be accessible to soldiers. And they have
initiated a program of sending psychologists to units to run sessions with
officers and tackle the systematic problem of abuse in the military.
Catherine Sharpe, a British student who knows the mothers, said soldiers
attending at a recent lecture in a military base not far from St. Petersburg
seemed ``doubtful, as if they didn't believe what they were hearing. They
looked extremely shocked ... some were openly laughing because we were
basically telling them they didn't need to be there,'' she said.
The organization helps mothers locate sons who it says are often sent to
Chechnya with little notice and without the minimum training guaranteed by a
presidential decree. In the past two months, at least 50 parents have turned
to the group for help in finding exactly where their sons are. They say
military commanders had refused to answer their inquiries.
``I am scared ... how many kids must die?'' asked Tamara, whose son was
conscripted in September. ``They treat children like toys ... they just throw
them into the war,'' she said.
Nadezhda Seleznyova, a mother who has sought the group's advice on how to
prove her newly conscripted son was medically unfit to serve, said ``the way
the army is today I wouldn't want my son there -- healthy or sick. It
shouldn't be this way, that little boys who are not trained with guns have to
go fight experienced rebels in the war in Chechnya.''
Russia Today press summaries
December 8, 1999
ALL MEANS ARE GOOD FOR THE KREMLIN’S FIGHT WITH MOSCOW
Not to allow honest elections or elections at all this is the main task of
the people who are in power now. This is why after Dorenko’s programs didn’t
have the expected effect (everybody understands that he is just a “talking
head”), the Kremlin decided to use extreme measures. It is ready to go all
the way for the physical elimination of Moscow mayor in order to put the
capital in a state of siege.
There are only eleven days before the critical one December 19. Now all
means will be good.
According to information originating in the President’s Administration, a
violent and ruthless plan not only exists, bus is already starting to be
realized. And the attempts to dismiss the head of Moscow’s Internal Affairs
Department (UVD), Nikolay Kulikov, only prove that. This is the starting
point for discrediting the Moscow authorities. And it goes from bad to worse.
The next steps include bringing criminal actions against the top officials in
Moscow’s government: Resin, Muzykantsky, Malyshkov, Nikolsky… and even their
possible arrest. Then, on the wave of raised clamor picked up by corruption
fighters, it will be easy to initiate a couple of criminal cases against
Luzhkov himself. Why a couple? Just like with Skuratov there will be more
chances that at least one of them will stick.
All the details of the plan have been elaborated. Kremlin strategists
understand that Muscovites will not give up their mayor easily. This is why
mass public disorder will be provoked to begin with. (Remember the two big
Moscow explosions, after which Putin’s rating rose to astronomical heights?)
And as a consequence of the disorder a state of emergency in Moscow. Which
means an end to democracy. And cancellation of the elections.
All this is not just a threat, but a reality. Luckily, for now it’s only a
theoretical reality, but…
The methods are quite recognizable. Today, when power in the country is at
stake, it is permissible to openly lie and slander. And tomorrow, when the
time comes to take responsibility for your words, the ‘accused’ will be the
Russia Today press summaries
8 Demember 1999
Yeltsin Versus Yeltsin
THE SUCCESSOR'S RATING IS WORTH INTERNATIONAL ISOLATION
The international financial scandal around Chechnya may result in the
economic and political isolation of Russia. Thus, the question of tranche or
rating has become the number one issue with the Russia’s highest powers.
The "tranche" is the IMF Council of directors' decision to delay allocation
of the next installment of credit to Russia because of the war in Chechnya.
And Europe has displayed an even tougher attitude towards the events in
Chechnya. On Friday European leaders will meet in Helsinki to discuss the
possibility of blocking all international financial aid to Russia.
"Rating" is, of course, Vladimir Putin's rating as the future president of
Russia and Al Gore's rating as the next U.S. president. Pre-election
campaigns in the U.S. and in Russia are equally dirty and full of "black PR".
To save his successor's rating, President Clinton started to play on the
field of the Republicans, saying "Russia will pay dearly for its ultimatum to
The pre-election campaign in Russia is based on two foundations -
compromising materials and the Chechen war, where Putin has earned his rating
as Yeltsin's successor. And nobody knows how much budget money will be dumped
into the black hole of the Chechen war.
In other words, Chechnya not only serves premier Putin’s rating, but also
provides money for this rating. The European Union, IMF or even President
Clinton are unable to take Chechnya away from Russia because, if the war
finishes, nothing will draw citizens' attention to the "successor".
Strange enough, but the deadlock in relations between Russia and the West
suits both sides. The Kremlin realized long ago that "Yeltsin's regime" was
undermined out by the West. And the isolation is good for the Kremlin now
because it means that they do not have to be concerned with the West’s
reactions to its new political "initiatives" - like the deferment of
parliamentary election or shutting down rebel media.
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Viktor Kalashnikov)
According to a recent report in "Nezavisimaya" the number
of suicides in Russia has increased by 150 (one hundred
and fifty) times since 1985. Added by other demographic
data at JRL, this apparently puts situation in Russia BEYOND
any conventional political context. The demographic (in
broader sense) disaster is what really matters in this country
today. It also outweighs in terms of analytical relevance
other issues which still occupy minds, front-pages and,
probably, inside reports as well.
Why does a guy called Chubais play a 'patriot' and 'hard-
liner' these days? To what extent is Putin's 'program'
influenced by the crucial role he played in the Cold war?
Who is the finest in terms of political corruption: Luzhkov or
Berezovsky? These and similar questions may be of some
investigative value. But what particular linkage do they have
to the humanitarian catastrophe evolving across millions of
sq. miles Moscow authorities still pretend to control?
Why not to listen - yet again - to Solzhenitsyn who, in
addressing these problems, says that the breach separating
the clique in the Centre from the rest of Russia is much
larger today than it used to be before 1917 or under
communists? Or, one may read what Ivan Kuzmin, formerly
the leading PGU-analyst, writes on ways of comprehending a
country. As he notes, only a limited set of corner-stone
factors ought to be taken into consideration, with basic
structures of economy and demography on the top of the
list. Neither Putin, nor Primakov, nor even Abramovich will
ever be willing, let alone - able, to break out from that
framework. All of them exist in niches it provides. It's up to
an observer to make a choice between Putin (Abramovich,
Yeltsin, Primakov..) and Russia proper as objects of
The upcoming elections will expectedly change the casting
on the Moscow scene. But what will the 'formal' plot be then
with the federal budget of around $20 billion?
In case the acting Kremlin 'entourage' being removed, the
new one will immediately step into its place. Berezovsky is
an institutional rather than just criminal agent. It's impossible
to keep semblance of power over Russia without a
Berezovsky (with all his devises) firmly on your side.
As to public opinion & support, 93 percent of Russian voters
have, according to VTsIOM, still no idea on how they will
vote on 19 December. The reason is obvious: the Duma will
have little to offer in terms of basic life conditions as to
bother much about who will seat there. The 'will of the
people' is to take shape upon bargainings just underway in
localities: "your votes against spring-months salaries -
All these media-events aside, Russia is still stumbling on the
edge between military dictatorship and a quasi-communist
regime (both never to be complete, Russian style). Hence,
the REAL political chances are to be cast somewhere along
this basic alternative. The communist option seems to be the
preferable one. The CPRF-led block would be the only
organisation capable of effectively containing chaos where
its escalation might become most dangerous - on the local
level. Compared to generals, communists will, at this stage,
be less inclined to adventures, both domestically and
internationally. To the West, this come-back may cost some
rhetorical rearrangements for the sake of more security.
Another actor with rising impact on psychological climate in
Russia is, of course, the FBI. The news about yet another
'oligarch' hit by foreign investigators reach an ordinary
Russian like a shimmer of justice, hardly thinkable in the own
country. As a matter of fact, Gorbachev's fate was decided
after the West had signalled that support for the father of
perestroika had to be fazed out. Gorbachev's associates
immediately switched to a more sound option then. A similar
thing is now, apparently, happening to Yeltsin. The affairs
around BONY, with Gaidar-Chubais group being so
mercilessly exposed, have been conceived by many in
Moscow as an indication that the 'dream-team' would be
soon given free for eating them up. The major 'reading' of
the well-orchestrated TV-debate between Yavlinsky and
Chubais was just about that (don't you know, btw, that
foreign journalists are sometimes involved into such
scenarios?). It only remains to suppose that those initiating a
renewed recombination within political class in Moscow
know what they're doing. As to Yavlinsky, he may have
appeared weak or provincial (not so bad in the
predominantly anti-Moscow Russia, anyway). But one should
nor forget that it was he who nominated Primakov for
premiership last year.
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999
From: Norbert Strade <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 3666-Medvedev/kavkas.org
I'm sorry that another correction to the www.kavkaz.org discussion is
On Mon, 06 Dec 1999, Sergei Medvedev wrote about the mentioned site:
> The Russian hackers have several times broken this site (and its twin site
> www.amina.com), but it always remains alive and kicking.
Please note that www.amina.com *isn't* a twin site of www.kavkaz.org,
but a Chechnya-related website owned by a private person, who at a
certain point allowed the content of Udugov's kavkaz.org to be placed on
his server. The result of this was an attack by the mentioned Russian
group who by fraudulent methods (they sent a forged document to the
provider in the name of the owner of amina.com, claiming that he wanted
to move his site to a Russian-controlled provider, which the US provider
did without checking (!)) got both www.amina.com and www.kavkaz.org
under their control for a while, and placed offensive material on the
index pages. The site thus wasn't broken by hacking, but simply stolen.
After this episode, the kavkaz.org content was moved to another server.
Now there's just a link to it on the amina.com page.
The www.amina.com page, though it claims to be "monitored by the Chechen
government", mostly features some interesting historical and cultural
material about Chechnya and the Chechens, plus some infrequently updated
news coverage which is relatively neutral with regard to the internal
Chechen political conflicts.
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999
From: Pavel Palazchenko <ppalazchenko@MAIL.COLGATE.EDU>
Subject: Gorbachev's US visit
David, the following is to be published at Metro/Helsinki as my column. I am
sending it to you because it gives a fuller and more accurate account of
Gorbachev's statements, particularly re Chechnya, than the one from Reuters
published in JRL/3662.
I have spent these past few months in the United States, teaching at Colgate
University while maintaining my association with the Gorbachev Foundation in
Moscow. So when Mikhail Gorbachev came to Atlanta, Georgia, for a brief
visit, I joined him there to see how he is doing and to help with
I found Gorbachev active and vigorous, and in excellent intellectual
shape. The loss of his wife Raisa last September was a devastating blow but,
says the former Soviet president, life goes on. His commitment to the causes
that he cares about is as passionate as ever, and his focus on the issues is
On this trip, Gorbachev's main focus was on the environment. He is
president of Green Cross International, a global non-governmental
organization whose goals include ecological awareness, post-Cold War
clean-up, and resolution of water conflicts. At a forum on the environmental
legacy of the arms race at Georgia State University, Gorbachev's keynote
theme was the unfinished business of destroying nuclear, chemical and
Russia and the United States, he pointed out, have the greatest
responsibility in abolishing weapons of mass destruction. This, after all,
is their obligation under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. "But,
watching these nations drag their feet, other countries are tempted to rely
on nuclear weapons for their security. Today, there are at least two dozen
so-called threshold nuclear powers. India and Pakistan have already crossed
that threshold. Others could follow, further undermining global security."
The United States and Russia, Gorbachev emphasized, hold 90 percent
of the world's chemical weapons stockpiles. And, given Russia's economic
woes and the severe shortage of funds for arms reduction programs, the
United States should help Russia to get rid of its stockpiles. "This is not
charity. It is in the best interests of both nations - and of the world."
Of course, Russia was very much on Mikhail Gorbachev's mind during
this US visit, and no press conference or photo opportunity passed without
reporters asking questions about it. Some of the questions concerned the
economy or the coming elections. Most, however, were about the developments
Replying, Gorbachev sometimes lamented the media's tendency to focus
almost entirely on the "issue of the day" while forgetting about the larger
picture. A few weeks ago, it was the money laundering scandal; now it is
Chechnya. Nevertheless, concern about what is happening there is legitimate,
he admitted. "This is a tragedy for Chechnya, a tragedy for the Russians who
live there, a tragedy for the whole country."
All of this, Gorbachev insists, could have been avoided. "This
ongoing drama is a result of a chain of misguided policies, particularly
Yeltsin's disastrous decision to present the Chechens with an ultimatum in
1994. I warned him publicly that it would lead to a bloodbath. [Chechnya's
president] Dudayev was ready to negotiate and asked me to mediate the
situation. A political solution was then possible, but the opportunity was
After the war, Gorbachev says, both the Russian government and the
Chechen leaders were to blame for Chechnya becoming "a kind of black hole, a
haven for bandits and terrorists." Drug trafficking, kidnapping for ransom,
murders and disappearances of thousands of people, and incursions into
neighboring regions eventually made the situation intolerable.
"Today, there is a consensus in Russia among all political parties and the
people that the bandits have to be defeated. But the military must not cross
the line beyond which the campaign against terrorists becomes a war against
the Chechen people. Unfortunately, this line was crossed" on a number of
occasions, Gorbachev admits.
Still, he insists that the larger picture must always be born in mind. It
would be a terrible mistake for the West now to turn its back on Russia or
try to isolate it. "We must by all means avoid another confrontation, a new
division of the world."
A point well taken, but isn't Gorbachev worried that the jingoism
accompanying Russia's military campaign in Chechnya could affect the outcome
of December 19 parliamentary elections, and then the presidential elections
next summer? Ever the optimist, Gorbachev seems not to share my concern.
"The elections will mark the end of an era. It was not a good one for
Russia. But now, there is understanding - in fact a consensus throughout
Russian society - that all those "shock therapies" and magic remedies don't
work. What we need is years, probably decades of patient work to build the
institutions of civil society and market economics. The people are now ready
for this work. And the new parliament and new president will have to reflect
RUSSIA: ELECTION BROADCAST BY UNION OF RIGHT FORCES ON 8TH DECEMBER 1999
BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom
[Presenter] The Union of Right Forces continues our programme.
[Passage omitted: vox pops recorded in Krasnodar with people talking about
the advantages of having young politicians in power]
[Union of Right Forces leader Sergey Kiriyenko, speaking at a news
conference] The individual is superior to the state. This is the main
provision of our programme which makes us different from our rivals.
[Passage omitted: repetition: vox pops with people praising Kiriyenko]
[Kiriyenko] The new generation of skilled and energetic young people is the
basis for the fulfilment of this programme. After all, this generation is the
one which has contracted this programme.
The aim of this programme is to build a state similar to Western European
states, which involves the inclusion of Russia in the EU, a democratic state
structure, a market economy, private ownership and human rights.
Russian people should live here and speak Russian, but live no worse than the
citizens of any other European country. This is our target.
[Passage omitted: vox pops with people saying young people should be in power]
[Kiriyenko] We are ready to work with all parties, movements and deputies who
realize that there is no other way than development and that the main idea is
the priority of human rights.
[Passage omitted: same type of vox pops; Kiriyenko saying that people's minds
are gradually changing for the better; vox pops with people saying they will
vote for the union]
[Kiriyenko] To fulfil our programme we need power. This is the case. This is
a tool. Power is not a goal in itself.
Power means everything - the cabinet and the legislative authority.
Power means that we are ready to undertake responsibilities and start
working. I am very proud that the Union of Right Forces is not a party of one
leader, but a party of a large number of professional and skilled people. We
are capable of forming not just one but several cabinets.
[Passage omitted: the union's anthem played and vox pops on the same]
Source: Centre TV, Moscow, in Russian 0620 gmt 8 Dec 99
ANALYSIS-IMF Russia concerns valid, also convenient
By Janet Guttsman
WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund's reasons for
refusing fresh funds to Russia go to the heart of deep-rooted economic
problems there, but are also a convenient way to freeze new cash while Moscow
Analysts said the fund, which bent its lending rules in Russia's favour
during Moscow's 1994-96 incursion into the breakaway territory, was playing a
different game this time.
IMF member countries are growing increasingly concerned about the bombing in
Chechnya, which Russia sees as a den of terrorists and thieves. Analysts said
the Group of Seven leading industrial countries is putting the fund under
pressure not to lend.
``This is totally political,'' said Anders Aslund, a Russia expert at
Washington's Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. ``But I am reluctant
to complain about the IMF. This is the G7 using the IMF for political
The IMF professes to rely strictly on economic, not political criteria in its
decision-making -- and sources said the question of Chechnya did not even
come up during informal discussions at an IMF board meeting on Monday.
Russia had not asked the IMF to waive some of the conditions it signed on to
in July, and -- unlike the situation in 1996 -- management had not pushed for
CONVENIENT EXCUSE FOR DELAY
But the economic problems are clearly convenient for the IMF because they
make it easier for a decision to be delayed.
In the first half of 1996, midway through a bloody Russian attempt to crush a
Chechen rebellion, delay was far from the minds of the IMF and the rich
countries which pay its bills and the IMF approved several payments from a
$10 billion loan.
Critics, pointing to low tax collection and Russia's mixed track record on
reform, said Western countries had pushed for the payments to cement popular
support for President Boris Yeltsin before a crucial presidential election in
Managing Director Michel Camdessus, in a statement issued late on Tuesday,
said Russia was doing better than expected this year on the key macroeconomic
indicators which traditionally form the core of IMF economic prescriptions.
But Camdessus said other economic promises had not been kept and the fund
issued an unusually detailed list of five sticking points preventing the
resumption of lending under a $4.5 billion programme agreed in July.
The IMF said the unfulfilled ``structural benchmarks'' included curbing
barter payments for utilities like gas, heating and electricity and a meeting
a long-standing IMF request to change Russian laws to make it easier to close
The fund also wants Russia to audit some key government monopolies including
its pension and other insurance funds, and admits it will take weeks to meet
the criteria, which Russia said in a July 13 letter to the IMF would be met
by Sept. 30.
Other experts say it will take much longer than that. The Russian parliament,
which would have to pass new bankruptcy laws, will not meet until after the
Dec. 17 parliamentary election and bankruptcy may not be high on the agenda.
``They are important criteria,'' said Marshall Goldman, a professor at
Harvard University. ``But there is no doubt in my mind that even if they did
meet all these qualifications there would be no loan forthcoming because of
Chechnya. ... These are fig leaves that they are hiding behind.''
The United States, the world's largest economy and the IMF's biggest single
shareholder, has so far insisted there is no tie between IMF loans and the
But other countries are stepping up their political and economic threats to
Russia, insisting that they could not support new IMF money while civilians
are dying in Chechnya or hinting at new political and economic pressure
``This pressure can be exercised with all means at our disposal, including
economic pressure,'' Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema said on
A German government source said Berlin would not back new IMF loans to
Russia. ``It is hard to see how any cash can flow to Russia in the current
situation,'' he said.
Under the terms of Russia's latest loan agreement with the IMF, IMF money is
not actually reaching Russia but is being used to repay previous credits.
Moscow, flush with tax revenues due to the latest rise in the price of oil,
can afford to repay the fund for now, but the situation could become more
difficult next year.
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999
From: "Michael J. Carley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: 3670/Chechnya
Dear David Johnson, At the risk of drawing the opprobrium of other
subscribers, I cannot forebear to comment on the hypocrisy of a good deal
of western opinion on Russian military action in Chechnya. The Russian
army cannot win, so the line goes: Russia should let Chechnya go; the
Russians are deliberately killing civilians and waging war ruthlessly. The
US., British, and Canadian governments, among others, have also weighed in
It was only a few short months ago that the United States and its NATO
allies launched a sweeping bombing campaign in Yugoslavia to drive the
Yugoslav army out of Kosovo. Hundreds of sorties were flown each day.
Because US and NATO forces could not serverely hurt the Yugoslav army, they
deliberately attacked and destroyed much of the Yugoslav civilian
infrastructure. Bridges, water and power plants, refineries, television
stations, buses, trains, it seemed as though scarcely anything was off
limits to the unhindered war planes of the west. True, all the civilian
deaths were accidental, "collateral", a shame. We are sorry, said NATO:
after first claiming it was only Yugoslav propaganda. But the civilians
were no less dead.
Now that "war" is over--some said it was merely a NATO shooting
gallery--hence, my use of quotation marks. But who would have thought that
only a few months after the U.S. and NATO attack on Yugoslavia, the weak,
corrupt, and disintegrating Russia, would use the U.S./NATO precedent to
strike at violent and lawless Chechnya. How many of the commentators
criticizing the Russians now also criticized the U.S. and NATO for their
attacks on civilians? Many informed Rusians are no doubt asking that very
question. Pot calling kettle black, they might say, or _Deux poids, deux
Now the IMF has weighed in and held up payment of $640 millions to Russia.
There is a precedent here with the west and the Soviet Union in the 1920s.
The early Soviet Union wanted to trade with the west, obtain credits,
credit insurance, and loans to finance this trade. In some cases, the
Soviet government offered large concessions. But the west--France,
Britain, the United States-- rejected Soviet offers, spurned them in fact.
The western rejection of Soviet concessions for better or at least
business-like relations and for trade contributed to the launching of the
First Five Year Plan. "We can do it ourselves," Stalin said.
The United States and its NATO allies ought to pause a moment before
playing the IMF or other such 'cards'. Russia may be taking the first step
toward reasserting its power; the west should not want to encourage Russia
to go it along, once again. If history offers any lessons, it is that
Russia will regain its strength and will reassert its power in those areas
where over the centuries it has pushed its borders. The United States and
its allies should take care not to encourage the Russian conviction that it
wants a weak, tame Russia, playing by western rules and doing the west's
bidding. Russians want stability, peace, and a modicum of prosperity, but
they are also a proud, tenacious people. It would be dangerous to
Michael J. Carley
University of Akron
Michael J. Carley, Ph.D.
Director, University of Akron Press
Associate Professor of History
Bierce Library 374B
University of Akron
Akron, Ohio 44325-1703
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999
From: "Andrei Liakhov" <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: 3670-Miller/University Education
Re: Andrew Miller and Russian Education
Very rarely JRL makes public such neanderthal attacks on the Russian
educational system - the system which produced inter alia Solzhenitsin,
Sakharov, Rostropovitch, Koroliov - the list may be quite long. It is the
system (of which I'm a very proud product) where O'Henry, Mark Twain,
Charles Dickens (sorry he is English), Theodore Draiser, Jack London are
(sorry - were in my time: late 70ies) mandatory, examinable reading, it's
the system where history of the US is taught from the 6th grade onwards, and
graduates of which can easily name (on average) 49 of 50 US states and the
absolute majoruty of the US presidents. I wonder - can an average American
name 5 famous Russian writers, or our tsars/Chairmen/Presidents 20 (or even
5) years after graduating from secondary school?
I cannot remember any single episode either at school or at the University
when my teachers made any anti western statements, on the contrary I still
remember very vividly how my history teacher in my senior year at secondary
school during the part of the course dealing with modern western history
told us that we have to study US experience very closely as this country has
achieved a great deal even (and I'm citing him) "under the reportedly bad
capitalist management - you will later understand why I have to tell you
this". And he was an ex WWII night fighter pilot - exactly the type
Mr.Miller refers to as "stalinist". He also taught us about what the so much
boasted about Land Lease (I bet Mr.Miller has no idea what I'm talking about
here!) really was and how our allies used us as cannon meat to be able to
I wonder how many Americans know which side Hitler was on in the WWII (not
to mention Russia!)!!
As to Mr.Miller's claims that we do not know that wars were fought on US
soil - apart from 1776 everything else was either civil or regional (can I
please refer him to the 9th grade History textbook where approximately 100
pages are dedicated to US wars in XIXc.) and thus not real wars in the eyes
of an average Russian - Americans do not really know the horrors of foreign
occupation, they have not been gassed en masse, they have not heard Stuka
screaming in the 70 degrees attack dive on their beltway homes (thank God -
no-one wishes them that anyway), they have not lived in hastily built earth
huts through winter, no US city was EVER seiged for 943 days and had to
restrict food rations to 125 grams of bread a day per person! American war
casualties for the last 200 years are a fraction of 29,500,000 combatant
casualties and another estimated 12,000,000 civilian Russian casualties in
WWII alone - and we have earned the bloody right to claim that Americans do
not have a first hand experience of horrors of modern war!
As to research at the Universities - in 70ies and 80ies you were not allowed
to teach if you did not have a research theme and all the Universities had
several scientific journals which used to pay authors for the works which
they published (a good income supplement if you were doing it regularly). In
my teaching days I used to publish at least 5 research articles a year
(including some abroad) and was even commended for that by the Rector! When
the state funding disappeared in early 90ies it has become much more
difficult to support fundamental research (particularly in natural sciences)
and a lot of best brains have left Russia in search of places (including US)
where they can continue their work. However these difficulties have nothing
to do with purported by Mr.Miller ban on research by teachers!
As to the current surge of anti Western feelings - I'm afraid the West has
got to blame itself in the largest part - Russians unreservedly opened their
hearts and minds to the West (of which we had a rather idealistic view, by
the way) in '91, but, they were cynically used, abused and thrown out (it
may be a literary exaggeration, but if so it's not a huge one either). At
the moment an average Russian is inclined to think that almost all the
Soviet rather crude and ineffective propaganda was telling him about the
West seems to be true - and the West has a lot to blame for it. It would be
too simplistic and convenient to blame everything on the Russian
education...... There is a great Russian saying, the rough translation of
which goes something like this: "do not off load from an aching head to the
healthy one!", which is very applicable to this situation.
Apologies for a rather unbalanced remarks, but having had experience of both
worlds in terms of educational system I have remained a staunch supporter of
the old Soviet school (although de-ideologisation is absolutely necessary -
and I would not argue about that).
Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1999
From: Dan Cisek <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Ruth Daniloff article from the Boston Globe of 7 December, JRL
This Boston Globe piece is a terrible disservice to the average newspaper
reader who may not know the background concerning the Chechnyan war and
conditions in Chechnya since then. Honestly, my reaction is based on a
visceral, emotional response to an immature, ill-informed, and simplistic
"freelance writer" whose woefully incomplete and one-sided piece somehow
made it into the Boston Globe. Have they any editors who know a thing about
Chechnya? It is all well and good to criticize Russia for its tactics in
the Chechnyan war. It's quite another thing to claim that "In so many ways,
this Chechen could teach us all something about civility and family
values." Every society has good people in it, but that does not excuse the
society for its failings. Chechen society is not a warm, fuzzy place that
could "teach us all a thing about family values." Regardless of where one
stands on the justification for the current operation, it is clear that
prior to the Russian invasion Chechnya was in a state of petty warlordism
bordering on anarchy in which the main economic activity was kidnapping for
ransom. Ruth Daniloff admires Chechen society uncritically and
simplistically because it is traditional, based in community, honor, and
respect for elders. This same admirable society, once freed from Russian
control, produced those who cold-bloodedly executed four Red Cross workers,
beheaded Russian soldiers in captivity (presumably after dining side by
side with them in Ruth Daniloff's bizarre world), and kidnapped numerous
innocent people, leaving it a territory in which no aid workers or
journlists dared to tread. And celebrating the Chechens for their martial
tradition and fierce resistance as a people does nothing to help: "The male
population is battle-hardened and the women ready to fight if necessary."
Does this statement about the Chechens as a whole not feed directly into
the Russian logic that they must be defeated as an entire people? And it's
not even true, as evidenced by the streams of refugees trying to leave
Chechnya. Simple writer, simplistic observation. Unfortunately not accurate
or applicable as a whole, like everything she says about Chechens.
Chechens do not deserve the uniform lable of terrorist, to be sure. But nor
should their society be lauded in a major American newspaper by a writer
whose views epitomize the phrase "narrow view." Any well-balanced analysis
of the unfolding tragedy must take into account the many reasons that
Russia had to act against Chechnya, as well as Russia's grave moral errors
in its campaign. Poorly chosen indeed, Boston Globe.