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Johnson's Russia List
23 December 1999
[Note from David Johnson:
1. The Nixon Center: Russia's New Duma: A Presentation by Dimitri
2. Stephen Shenfield: RESULTS OF THE DUMA ELECTIONS: SOME PERSONAL
3. European Institute for the Media: Monitoring of Media Coverage during
the Parliamentary Elections in Russia.
4. Alexander Domrin: RE Russian Education Again.
5. Robert Bruce Ware: The Failure of Western Analysis. (re Chechnya)
6. Amnesty International: Reported grave breaches of international
humanitarian law. Persecution of ethnic Chechens in Moscow.
7. Edward Lozansky and Ira Straus: A Second Chance in Russia?]
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 99
Subject: Russia's New Duma
From: The Nixon Center <NixonCenter@lists.postmastergeneral.com>
Russia's New Duma: A Presentation by Dimitri K. Simes
Speaking at a briefing at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies, Nixon Center President Dimitri K. Simes argued that while the
Russian Duma elections might provide short term benefits, the longer
term implications of the election campaign and its results are less
encouraging. For example, Simes said, the outcome of the voting may lead
to greater stability in Russia, improved opportunities for foreign
investors, and new hope for the ratification of arms control agreements
such as the START II Treaty. However, these developments will only be
possible in the context of the consolidation of Russia's political
system--and that consolidation took place in the Duma elections largely
on the strength of xenophobic nationalist political campaigns by the
most successful parties. Thus, the ultimate impact of the voting on
U.S.-Russian relations and American interests vis-a-vis Russia is still
Simes summarized the results for Russia's leading political parties as
*Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF)--The Communists won
just over 24% of the vote, roughly the same level of public support that
they achieved in the 1995 elections. However, the KPRF lost many key
parliamentary allies, such as the Agrarian Party, and will therefore
have less influence in the new Duma. It may remain the largest single
faction, though this depends on the eventual alignment of the many
independent candidates elected (over 100 of the 450 members are now
*Unity--The Unity faction, led by Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu,
trailed the Communists only very closely, with slightly under 24% of the
vote. This was a remarkable showing for a very new party led by a
largely unknown politician. Much of Unity's support derived from the
public endorsement of the party by the country's highly popular prime
minister, Vladimir Putin; the party's ideology is largely undefined. In
Simes' view, Unity is likely to gain a large share of the newly-elected
independent members, who he believes will expect the party to gain
influence if Putin is elected president in June 2000.
*Fatherland-All Russia (OVR)--Led by former Prime Minister Yevgeny
Primakov, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, and Tatarstan President Mintimer
Shaimiev, Fatherland-All Russia fared much worse than expected only
recently, capturing only 12% of the vote. Though ideologically close to
Unity as a rival oligarchic group, the OVR was the principal target of
media organizations close to the government and the Yeltsin inner circle
throughout the election campaign and suffered as a result.
*Union of Rightist Forces (SPS)--The Union of Rightist forces fared
unexpectedly well, winning approximately 8.7% of the vote. Though many
key figures in the party have been viewed as America's principal allies
in Russia by the Clinton Administration (e.g., former First Deputy Prime
Minister Anatoly Chubais, former First Deputy Prime Minister Boris
Nemtsov, former Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko), the party adopted a
markedly nationalist position during the campaign, branding Yabloko
leader Grigory Yavlinsky (below) a traitor after he suggested
negotiating with Chechnya's President Aslan Maskhadov to end the
fighting in that region. The party benefited from this strong
nationalist position and, like Unity, from the endorsement of Prime
*Yabloko--Russia's most respected democratic opposition party, Yabloko
won slightly less support than in the 1995 elections, taking 6.1% of the
vote. This result disappointed many observers, who expected a stronger
showing. However, the party was significantly damaged by attacks from
the Union of Rightists Forces and was also hampered by limited regional
organizations. Also, because it counts no regional governors among its
membership, Yabloko did not fare well in single mandate districts, where
local officials can have a significant impact. Yabloko will likely be
less influential in the new Duma.
*Zhirinovsky Bloc--The party of ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir
Zhirinovsky surprised some observers by clearing the 5% barrier required
for representation in the new parliament. Simes noted, however, that
Zhirinovsky's party (known as the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia in
the previous Duma) always supported the government on key votes and may
have benefited from government assistance during the campaign.
After the elections, Simes said, Washington should be increasingly
careful to send the right message to Moscow. That message should be that
America respects Russia and its role in the world, but that the U.S. and
the West are under no obligation to subsidize a newly assertive Russia
through credits from international financial institutions or major
investment. Moscow must also understand that Russia will pay a high
price if it engages in aggressive conduct. In this manner, America can
indicate that there will be a cost associated with such behavior without
provoking conflict with Moscow.
Within Russia, Simes said that the election creates a new balance of
power in the Duma. Though still a key party, the Communists have lost
influence. In contrast to the previous Duma, the government is now
likely to be able to count on a narrow majority--comprised of Unity,
the Union of Rightist Forces, the Zhirinovsky Bloc, and independent
members--when pressing for key legislation. This may enable the
government to pass essential measures to create a new and more
predictable environment for foreign investment and to secure approval of
important international agreements, including on arms control.
Simes argued, however, that the price of this new stability is a
political coalition based upon virulent nationalist sentiments. An
outgrowth of frustration with the country's continued economic problems
and limited international role, Russia's growing nationalism has been
recently fueled by Russia's military intervention in Chechnya. In fact,
Simes said, many Russians have begun to develop a sense that their
country will be taken seriously internationally only if it is a major
Finally, he said, with pro-government parties in ascendance, there is
less of a chance that the Russian constitution will be amended to turn
over more power to the government and parliament. This may allow Boris
Yeltsin's successor--perhaps Prime Minister Putin--to inherit
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999
From: Stephen Shenfield <Stephen_Shenfield@Brown.edu>
Subject: Re: Duma election results
RESULTS OF THE DUMA ELECTIONS: SOME PERSONAL REACTIONS
Stephen D. Shenfield
Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University
And so with the aid of television and war psychosis the "Family' have
smashed what not so long ago was regarded as the unbeatable
combination of Luzhkov and Primakov. I heard that Sergei Dorenko,
the dirtiest of the TV anchormen unleashed against OVR, was
offered $1 million to destroy Luzhkov. I'm sure that no reader of JRL
will begrudge him his well-earned reward.
All the same, the victory is not quite as sweeping as first appeared.
The results for the single mandate constituencies, determined more
by local factors and less by the central media, reflect a much less
dramatic shift than the results for the PR half of the election. Yeltsin
and Putin will not find the new Duma as easy to control as early
commentaries in the Western press assumed. It is likely to be a hung
parliament, with the two big blocs competing for the support of the
large number of independent deputies. They'll have to spend a lot
Let's sum up a number of specific points concerning the results:
1. In spite of saturation media coverage, turnout was low at 62%.
Take into account the 3% or so who voted "against all" (you're
allowed to do that in Russia), and we discover that by far the
largest segment of Russia's electorate, in excess of 40%, refused to
choose among the options on offer. The most important question
may be: What do this 'silent plurality' think? When they do speak,
what will they say? Or will they remain silent?
2. The CPRF chugs along with 'its own' quarter of the vote. It doesn't
grow, but it doesn't decline either -- or only very slowly.
3. Zhirinovsky comfortably passes the 5% barrier, in spite of getting
only 3 or 4% in the pre-election polls and in spite of the decline of
the LDPR as an organization. TV to the rescue again!
4. At the same time, the various alternative forces in the 'patriotic'
camp do even more badly than in the past. Even the familiar figure
of Baburin, leader of the Russian All-People's Union, no longer
represents his native city of Omsk in the Duma.
5. Yabloko, like the CPRF, goes steady with its loyalist core -- 6%,
although the polls had given cause to hope it would do rather
better. Yavlinsky and his party remain in splendid isolation.
The biggest result of the election, in my view, is the consolidation
around the figure of Putin -- in spite of the fact that he did not even
stand in the election -- of what was previously only a latent coalition
of economic liberal and Russian nationalist forces. Zhirinovsky's
support for Yeltsin is no longer a half-secret, known only to those
expert in Russian politics. It is now on display for everyone to admire
in the Duma coalition of the government party (Unity), the old
economic liberals (Union of Rightist Forces), and the LDPR.
How will the Western ideologists, whose job it is endlessly to recount
the moving drama of the good liberal reformers of the Yeltsin camp
versus the baddies of the 'red-brown' opposition, handle the awkward
fact of the open alliance between Yeltsin and Zhirinovsky? By trying
to ignore it? Well, we'll know soon enough. Until now this drama
might charitably have been called a half-truth or an
oversimplification. Henceforth it is simply a lie.
Let us assume for the moment that Luzhkov, Primakov, Shaimiev, and
the CPRF somehow manage to work together against the pro-government
coalition. Which side is 'browner'? The only two major figures who dared
speak out at least against the inhumane tactics of the war in Chechnya
were Primakov and Yavlinsky (who belongs to neither camp). And the only
component of either coalition that one can clearly identify as NOT being
Russian nationalist is Shaimiev's All Russia, the representative of the
elites of the ethnic autonomies.
The election results cannot be reasonably interpreted as a mandate for
economic liberalism as such. The government party 'Unity" lacks a clear
economic policy profile, and did well solely thanks to the war. The Union
of Rightist Forces had a rather modest success with 9% of the vote.
Although it got some extra votes by jumping on the war bandwagon,
many Russians must have dimly recalled that these were, after all, the
guys who brought them 'shock therapy without the therapy.' And Yabloko,
the most principled and consistently liberal party, did not do well.
What has happened is that economic liberals have expanded their
electoral support by adroitly exploiting war hysteria. But war hysteria is
always a passing phenomenon. The Putin effect is probably now at its
height, and will soon start a gradual decline. It is still uncertain whether
it will last long enough for Putin to win the presidential election, unless
it is brought forward to take fullest advantage of the current political
Can the opponents of the 'Family' recover, given time for the war
hysteria to recede and socio-economic issues to return to center stage?
There is some chance of this, but it will inevitably be a slow and difficult
process. Luzhkov's prestige and credibility have taken such a hammering
that it may be necessary to find a new and 'cleaner' figure to replace him.
But who? In any case, OVR (or its successor) can count on only a modest
recovery, and thus will need the full backing of the CPRF to stand any
chance of swinging the scales in its favor.
Even in the most favorable scenario, Primakov may still hope to win the
presidential election ONLY if he is fully and unreservedly backed by the
CPRF. In the first round, Primakov may not recover sufficiently to come
ahead of Zyuganov, and -- as we know from experience -- if Zyuganov
proceeds to the second round then his opponent is virtually guaranteed
victory. So Zyuganov would have to abstain from standing even in the first
round, and urge his supporters to vote for Primakov.
The CPRF has a large electorate, but it is incapable of substantially
expanding its electoral base. The centrists forces at present organized in
OVR, their recent defeat notwithstanding, do remain capable of expanding
their electorate, up to the level at which the CPRF stands and beyond.
Therefore, although in this election OVR won only 13% as against the
CPRF's 24%, the CPRF can assist the common cause of the opposition
ONLY by sacrificing its own ambitions to its momentarily weaker but
potentially stronger partner.
For a number of reasons, Zyuganov is not likely to make the needed
sacrifice, although it is not completely out of the question. The issue may
in fact contribute to the gradually maturing split inside the CPRF, with one
section of the party going over to Primakov in some form.
So Putin as next president does seem quite likely. But would this
necessarily be a secure victory for the 'Family,' especially after Yeltsin's
death? Putin may be loyal to Yeltsin, but is he really loyal to Berezovsky?
I don't know, but my guess is no. First and foremost, Putin is a 'silovik' --
that is, a man of the force structures (army, police, and intelligence).
This is not a milieu noted for its philosemitism. Moreover, at least some of
the siloviki are more strongly attracted by power than by money, and are
therefore not susceptible to being bought. (Power corrupts, but not
necessarily in that particular way.) Only his boundless arrogance can
explain why Berezovsky should have confidence that he can safely
ride this tiger.
The coalition structure of Russian politics in the wake of the Duma
elections is very far from stable. Each coalition is internally heterogeneous
and contradictory, and various significant 'third forces' await in the wings.
We can expect the pack to be reshuffled again, perhaps in some
quite unexpected way and at an unexpected moment. It is hard to
forecast the exact trajectory of this process.
One final observation. The parties and movements representing radical
Russian nationalism and fascism lost out in these elections. Spas, the
front for Barkashov's nazi Russian National Unity, failed to get on the
at least officially. (Many ballot papers were printed before the court
decision to disqualify Spas, and these 'incorrect' papers were used in
some places.) Limonov's National Bolshevik Party likewise failed to get on
to the ballot. And, as already noted, those extreme 'patriotic' movements
that did get on the ballot performed very badly.
I do not think we should derive too much comfort from this failure.
I strongly suspect that the main reason the radical nationalists did quite
so badly was that voters who might otherwise have supported them
threw their support instead to the government party, in appreciation
of its war against the hated Chechens. To the extent that the dominant
forces in Russia co-opt their cause, the 'patriots' feel less need for their
own separate organizations. The side doors of the Russian state may be
locked against the fascist wolf, but the front door stands wide open.
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 22:41:34 +0300
From: "Felix Corley" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: EIM: Monitoring of Media during Parliamentary Elections in Russia
European Institute for the Media
Zollhof 2a Fax: +49-211-90104-56
D-40221 Dusseldorf Tel. in Moscow: 201 249
Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
20th December 1999
Monitoring of Media Coverage during the Parliamentary Elections in Russia
in December 1999
The European Institute for the Media (EIM), a non-profit, non-government,
policy-oriented research institution, has carried out a mission to monitor
media coverage of the Russian parliamentary elections. The mission was
funded by the European Commission through the Initiative for Democracy and
Human Rights. Since 1992, the EIM has carried out more than 30 media
monitoring missions during parliamentary and presidential elections in
countries of east and central Europe and the former Soviet Union. This is
the third EIM media monitoring mission in Russia. This report remains the
sole responsibility of the EIM and reflects only the views of the Institut=
The mission sought to evaluate whether the media provided impartial and
balanced coverage of the issues to be addressed and the political choices
facing the electorate. Monitoring was carried out from the 28th of November
to the 17th of December and included observation of adherence of the
authorities and the political parties and blocs to the recognised
democratic norms concerning the media.
Monitoring was conducted using qualitative and quantitative methods of
analysis. Quantitative analysis measured the amount of time and space
devoted to political candidates on five national television channels,
twenty national newspapers and of regional media in St. Petersburg, Samara,
Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok. The Moscow-based company Russian Research
carried out the quantitative analysis under EIM supervision. The EIM team
consisted of the following members:
Professor Jo Groebel (DE), Director-General of the EIM,
Benedicte Berner (Sweden), EIM Director of International Relations
Dusan Reljic (FRY), Head of the Media and Democracy Programme at the EIM
Gillian McCormack (UK), EIM Project Manager for the Russian monitoring
Dmitrii Kortunov (RU), EIM Coordinator for the Russian Federation
Dr Sarah Oates (US), media and politics expert at Glasgow University
Professor Margot Light (UK), expert in international relations at the
London School of Economics,
Jonathan Steele (UK), former Moscow correspondent for The Guardian
Michel Tatu (FR), former Moscow correspondent for Le Monde newspaper.
Professor Stephen White (EI), expert in post-Soviet politics at Glasgow
The EIM found that coverage of the elections in the most important
sections of the Russian media was biased.
ORT and RTR, state broadcasters with the greatest audience reach in the
country, had a particular responsibility to provide impartial and fair
information about the political choice on offer to the electorate and did
not live up to it.
Bias was visible in news programmes and through attacks on political
opponents in analytical programmes. In showing coverage which was heavily
biased against the Fatherland-All Russia alliance and biased in favour of
the pro-government Unity (Yedinstvo or Medved), they failed to live up to
the standards set either in Russian law or in international agreements and
conventions signed by the leaders of the Russian Federation. ORT devoted
more than a quarter of its election news coverage to Unity with 28% and
Fatherland-All Russia received half that coverage (14%) and less than the
Zhirinovsky Bloc (15%). The tone of coverage of Fatherland-All Russia was
overwhelmingly negative, while the tone of coverage of Unity was positive.
In all, no national commercial broadcaster sought to provide impartial
coverage of the elections. TV Centre clearly supported Fatherland-All
Russia in large amounts of coverage particularly devoted to Luzhkov. TV 6
was supportive of the government and low on election coverage in general.
NTV explained its support of Fatherland-All Russia as being necessary to
balance the biased coverage on ORT and RTR, although NTV coverage was
considerably more balanced than that of those channels. Still, the overall
focus of both state-owned and commercial broadcasters on Unity and
Fatherland-All Russia severely limited the coverage of other serious
EIM observed a high level of professionalism and sophistication in the
technical production and in the variety of of programmes on the elections
which were on offer. Political advertising on television was generally
clearly marked as such and the quality of production was much higher than
has been the case during previous parliamentary elections.
The focus on smear campaigns conducted by media has been a regular
feature of the Russian information sphere for over a year. On the one side
were the media controlled by the government and by businessman Boris
Berezovsky and on the other those controlled by Mayor of Moscow Yuri
Luzhkov and media entrepreneur Vladimir Gusinsky. Nevertheless, the
"information war" grew more fierce during the election campaign.
Many print media were also partisan and hidden advertising was once again
a common feature of newspaper coverage. Nevertheless, a broader pluralism
of opinion was apparent in newspapers which was mainly the result of having
a variety of different commercial, political and party sponsors of the
The regulatory framework for the elections contained many inconsistencies
and contradictions which remained unresolved during the campaign. This
caused widespread confusion.
The lack of appreciation of journalistic ethics, and the lack of legal
and political support for the protection of journalists and their
independence, the weak financial position of the mass media and its
employees all mean that current legal measures, even if implemented, would
not be sufficient to guarantee a fair spread of information and analysis
about different parties and blocs in Russia.
Although in production terms professional standards were high and the
allocation of free time was observed fairly, in many ways the character of
this election campaign in the media was considerably worse than the
previous parliamentary elections in 1995. This was noted in the smear
tactics and unsubstantiated accusations of various crimes levelled at major
political blocs during this period through the mass media.
Broadcasters in particular, whether state, public or commercial, are
expected in a democracy to provide their audiences with fair and balanced
reports about the full spectrum of political opinions involved in the
electoral process. Freedom of expression is the starting point for
pluralism in society. If the most powerful media outlets, such as main TV
channels in Russia, in the coverage of elections, reduce their reporting to
denigrating one political option and blindly supporting the other, then
their audiences are denied the right to be informed in an impartial manner.
Their ability to come to a well-informed conclusion about who deserves
their confidence in the elections is undermined. Their ability to come to a
well-informed conclusion about who deserves their confidence in the
elections is undermined. Thus both the democratic process in society and
the confidence of the public in the media are seriously damaged.
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 00:43:38 +0200
From: Alexander Domrin <email@example.com>
Subject: RE Russian Education Again
Thanks to everybody who responded to my comments RE Russian education
(# 3678). Although I regret that the responses were sent to me off-list,
I understand that it would take 3 to 4 complete issues of JRL to
reproduce them all. Thanks again!
I'll try to be brief.
I don't have anything personal against A. Miller. I believe that
Marian Dent was right when saying that his piece in JRL (#3670)
was a result of his "genuine frustration". A. Miller was just more
straight-forward and sincere in trashing Russian system of higher
education than some other, more "academic" and sophisticated American
observers whom I know. Those views - that's what matters,
Are the views expressed by A. Miller's "atypical"?
No, they are not.
When calling for a "Stalinesque purge of [Russian] educational
institutions", A. Miller is not alone. At the high-profile conference
"Promoting Legal Reform in the Former Soviet Union" (Yale Law School,
April 23-24, 1999), a parallel between post-Hitler Germany and Russia
was drawn, and an equivalent of Denazification of Russian (legal)
(Although my presentation "Counter-Effects and Deficiencies of U.S.
"Aid" to Russia: Constitutional and Parliamentary Aspects" was made
at the Constitutional Law Panel, how could I miss the Education Panel?)
Are American and Russian/Soviet systems of education as different
as "apples and oranges" that we cannot compare them?
No, they are not. Yuri Bronfenbrener, Professor Emeritus of Cornell
University, authored a number of publications, including at least one
book, comparing those systems and definitely making his choice in favour
of Soviet education. Nobody will convince me that, despite all our
problems, the Russian system of education has deteriorated so much in
the last several years to become worse than American education.
As one of my British correspondents having a Russian step-daughter
(studying in an ordinary school in Kaluga) wrote, comparing Russian
and American schools,
> I am very impressed by the Russian standard of education as I have seen
> it. Genia is 15 and her English is incredible. If the other courses
> nearly as good, then she is at least two years ahead of American high
> schools. My daughter studied for a year in the US at about the same age
> and hated it - poor levels of teaching, poorly motivated children, low
> standards accepted by everyone.
No generalizations here. No comparison of American schoolchildren to
Beavis and Butt-Head. Just personal experience.
And please don't forget that salaries of Russian teachers are dozens
of times smaller than of their American counterparts. And that salary of
a visiting law professor in the U.S. is 150 to 200 times bigger - for
the same load of work! - than salary of a professor at the law schools
Marian Dent wrote that the LL.M. is not a teaching degree. Right.
Russian degrees of Candidate and Doctor of Law are not teaching degrees
either. Any advanced degree is a confirmation of professional competence
of a scholar, regardless of whether that scholar is a teacher or a
research fellow. So when I see that a third (!) of teachers at
St. Petersburg University YurFak are Doctors of Law, or that more than
a half (!) of teachers at the Ural State Law Academy are Candidates of
Law, any talks about Russian professors who "gained their positions
through political maneuvering in the Soviet system" (A. Miller) sound
like blasphemy to me.
I don't think that it's correct to say that the "rule-of-law
philosophy was espoused" only after the "fall of communism". Unlike many
works of Russian historians of pre-Soviet period which were hidden in
SPETSKHRAN, the books of Korkunov, Chicherin, Deryuzhinsky, Gessen,
Kovalevsky and other authors of the Golden Age of Russian Imperial Law,
were always available to students and had major influence on many of us.
(That influence is usually overlooked by Western observers. However,
in my opinion, it was as important as the influence of foreign legal
models. From several of my friends I heard that Valery Zorkin's course
of History of Russian Law was probably the best course in five years
of their studies at the law school.)
Although the official "rehabilitation" of the rule-of-law happened
only at the 19th Party Conference in July 1988, that too was long before
the "fall of communism".
I certainly disagree that "new respect for the law was embraced"
after the fall of communism. "Respect for law" in Yeltsin's Russia?
Are you kidding, Marian?
Sorry for quoting myself:
"Amid the euphoria of democracy, one kind of lawlessness
has replaced another".
When was it published?
The New York Times, August 30, 1991. B20.
So when some illusionists who for many years have been excusing and
justifying all the crimes committed by Yeltsin and his regime, calling
him "our best man in Russia", naming his accomplices a "dream team",
and claiming that Yeltsin's Constitution "created a true federation",
"a genuine western democracy" in which "all basic civil rights /.../
exist not only in theory as they did in the past, but in practice
as is true in western democracies" (Ronald C. Monticone,
A Brief Comparative Analysis of the Russian Constitution.
In: "Constitution of the Russian Federation. With Commentaries and
Interpretation by American and Russian Scholars". - Brunswick
1994. Pp. 7, 9, 14.) now start wringing their hands in disgust, they are
either hypocrites or complacent amateurs. In any case, my condolences
to their students.
And when American advisers "designing Boris Yeltsin's victory" in
(Time magazine) say that "Yeltsin was for democracy, and whatever it
takes to win is OK" (JRL, 28.03.1997), their deeds give the Russian
government a practical lesson in "respect" for law.
Isn't it symbolic that the word KINUT' and its various
is becoming instrumental for an adequate understanding of "reforms" in
One of my very first American friends (since 1991) Marian Dent having
an excellent program in Moscow (teaching courses of Legal Writing,
Contract Drafting, International Transactions, Negotiations that are
seldom taught in Russian law schools and that are badly needed for
lawyers in international practice) is taking the words out of my mouth
when saying, "don't we all fundamentally agree that we can learn
from each other". That's it: "from each other"!
No system is perfect; we can and should learn a lot from each other.
(BTW, that once again shows that our systems are not as incompatible
as "apples and oranges".)
The problem, however, is that the Russians do not come to the U.S.
dreaming of reproducing the Russian system of education on American
but some Americans, as we see, do come to Russia, as missionaries into
a deep forest, a pagan land, country of illiterate savages, and instead
of helping to develop the best features of the Russian education,
call for "Denazification" and "Stalinesque purge of [Russian]
That won't work. Rather backlash.
As one of my French correspondents wrote,
> When I read Miller's comments I hesitated between laughing or crying.
> both ridiculous and sad. I almost imagined that he must have been some
> Agent provocateur used to fuel, if it was still needed today- the
> anti-western feeling in Russia.
Who needs that?
P.S. I don't have anything against Botswana :-) It was used as a
symbol of some far away (from Russia) land, like Chile or New Zealand.
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Robert Bruce Ware)
Subject: The Failure of Western Analysis
Robert Bruce Ware is assistant professor of Philosophical Studies at
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, currently conducting field
research in the North Caucasus.
Dear David: Many commentaries and reports recently appearing in your
list have incorrectly identified the legendary North Caucasian warrior,
Imam Shamyl, as a Chechen. In fact, Shamyl was a Dagestani Avar.
During the nineteenth century many Dagetanis and Chechens were united
under Shamyl in their resistance to Russian imperialism. During the
1994-1996 conflict Dagestanis sympathized with their ethnic cousins in
Chechnya, and sheltered 150,000 Chechen refugees, often in their own
That is why it is particularly significant that the present Russian
military operation in Chechnya has the overwhelming support of the
Having missed this point, many commentaries and reports appearing in
these pages have also incorrectly identified the current war in Chechnya
as racist and anti-Islamic. The truth is that it is being waged in
support of the Dagestani people (who are "dark-skinned" Musllims), and
other Russian citizens in the region, who have suffered greatly during
the last three years as a result of Chechen lawlessness. They have
suffered particularly because Dagestan was twice invaded in August and
September, resulting in the deaths of innocent Dagestanis and displacing
32,000 refugees. 21,000 of these are still homeless, and are entirely
ignored by those Western reporters who have taken up permanent residence
in Ingushetia, not to mention those commentators at home who rely upon
Citizens of the region have also suffered because more than a thousand
of their number have been brutalized as a result of the Chechen-based
kidnapping industry. They have suffered because that same kidnapping
industry had forced all international relief agencies (including the Red
Cross, the UNHCR, WHP, and Doctors without Borders) to abandon this
deperately needy region by the end of 1997. They have suffered from
Chechen lawlessness in other ways to numerous to mention.
The vast majority of commentaries, editorials, and analyses addressing
the present Chechen conflict have been entirely uninformed, written by
people who have not set foot in the North Caucasus during the last three
years, and written, in many cases, by people who have never troubled
themselves with its complexities.
Based on ignorance and obsolete prejudices, Western policy toward the
conflict has been entirely misguided and unproductive. What good does it
do to demand that Moscow negotiate a political settlement with Chechnya,
when there is no one in Chechnya capable of delivering anything in
response to any agreement? What good does it do to demand that Moscow
negotiate with Chechen leaders (including Maskhadov, Washington Post,
11/27/99) who have been linked to organized crime and kidnapping? Would
the United States negotiate with people holding hundreds of Americans
hostage and sending back videotapes of their torture? What good does it
do to condemn Russian brutality without also demanding that the people
of Chechnya release the hundreds of civilian hostages that they are
currently holding? Such wildly one-sided demands create the appearance
that Western analysts and leaders are either completely uninformed or
Russian policy makers, who cannot possibly imagine that we could be so
obtuse, have naturally concluded that we have dark ulterior motives.
The result is Russia's disengagement with the West and deteriorating
relations, for which we will all pay over a long period of time.
Western analysis, and the policy that results from it, has accomplished
nothing good in the North Caucasus, and has done much harm.
Some of your readers have written to me requesting a list of recent and
forthcoming publications on Dagestan. All of the following are by Enver
Kisriev and Robert Ware, with the exception of CSA 17, 2, which is by
"After Chechnya: New Dangers in Dagestan", Central Asian Survey, 16, 3,
"At Risk in Dagestan", Politics, 18, 1, Winter 1998
"Conflict in the Caucasus", Central Asian Survey, 17, 2, Summer 1998
"Political Stability and Ethnic Parity: Why is there Peace in Dagestan",
in Center-Peripheryy Conflict in Post Soviet Russia", Alexseev ed., St.
"The Islamic Factor in Dagestan", Central Asian Survey, January 2000
"Political Stability in Dagestan: Ethnic Parity and Religious
Polarization", Problems of Post-Communism, March/April 2000, 47, 2.
"Why Dagestan Didn't Follow Chechnya", Analysis of Current Events
"Dagestan's Ethnic Electoral System: the Selection of the Second
People's Assembly", Electoral Studies (forthcoming)
FOR THE MOTHERLAND
Reported grave breaches of international humanitarian law.
Persecution of ethnic Chechens in Moscow.
SUMMARY AI INDEX: EUR 46/46/99
While civilians continue to suffer in Chechnya, they are also being
targeted on the streets and in police
stations in Moscow. Amnesty International is concerned that the way in
which the Russian forces are waging war in Chechnya -- that is, in apparent
disregard of international humanitarian law -- and the discriminatory
manner in which Chechens have been targeted by the authorities in Moscow,
suggest that the government has been involved in a campaign to punish an
entire ethnic group. 'Fighting crime and terrorism' is no justification for
violating human rights.
Amnesty International's report details testimonies from civilians who have
fled the Russian military offensive in Chechnya. On the basis of these
testimonies and official Russian statements on some incidents, it appears
that Russian forces have carried out indiscriminate attacks or direct
attacks on civilians, which are grave breaches of international
humanitarian law. Amnesty International is appealing to the Russian
authorities to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.
The testimonies further reveal the existence of secret 'filtration camps'
where Chechen men and women are detained after being singled out at the
border and checked against a list of alleged Chechen fighters and their
supporters. Eyewitnesses reported seeing visible signs of beatings on
people who had been detained at the Russian border crossing checkpoint
'Kavkaz 1" after 'filtration'. The organization documented a large number
of cases of torture and ill-treatment in 'filtration camps' during the 1994
to 1996 conflict and is concerned that similar abuses may be occurring now.
The Russian government should disclose the names of all those detained in
'filtration camps', including at border crossings, and grant the
International Committee of the Red Cross immediate access to any such
Amnesty International is also calling on the authorities of the Chechen
Republic and the leadership of the Chechen armed groups to respect
international humanitarian law.
Since the bombing of residential buildings in Moscow last September, the
Russian authorities have embarked on a campaign code-named 'Operation
Whirlwind'. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the bombs which
killed nearly 300 people, the Mayor of Moscow has publicly stated that he
believes Islamic groups from Chechnya were responsible. Non-Muscovites are
being required to register or re-register with the authorities. Up to
20,000 people have been rounded up by the Moscow police and 10,000 have
been expelled from Moscow after being refused a permit to reside in the city.
Over the past three months Amnesty International has collected testimonies
from Chechens and other people from the Caucasus in Moscow who have been
subjected to arbitrary detention, torture and ill-treatment in custody, and
forcible expulsion. Many alleged that they have had drugs and weapons
planted on them which were used as the basis for criminal charges.
Chechen engineer Badrudy Eskiev was taken by Moscow police on 15 September
from his apartment, allegedly beaten and later arrested. The police said
that he was apprehended on the street at 2am in possession of drugs.
However Badrudy's family witnessed police finding nothing when they emptied
his pockets at 5am in the apartment. Badrudy's Russian wife was told by
police that 'the only good Chechen is a dead Chechen'.
Many Chechens have sewn their pockets up in order to prevent anything being
planted on them if stopped by police. One young Chechen exclaimed: 'This
is how we live, thanks to the Department on Fighting Organized Crime. First
we were bandits, then became terrorists, and now we are becoming
Malika Takayeva and her brother had been living in Moscow since 1995. Their
residency permits had run out when they were arrested on 13 September and
sentenced to five days' imprisonment on a charge of 'petty hooliganism'.
They were reportedly threatened with being put into a cellar 'to rot' and
told their sister would be killed. Upon being released they were
instructed to remove their belongings from their home within 24 hours. A
police officer allegedly told them that Chechens should not just be
expelled but destroyed.
Amnesty International is urging the government to stop the campaign of
intimidation against ethnic Chechens who reside in Moscow and other cities,
and to investigate reports of human rights violations.
This report summarizes a 55-page document (26,681 words), RUSSIAN
FEDERATION: CHECHNYA, FOR THE MOTHERLAND, (AI Index: EUR 46/46/99) issued
by Amnesty International in December 1999. Anyone wishing further details
or to take action on this issue should consult the full document. An
extensive range of our materials on this and other subjects is available at
http://www.amnesty.org and Amnesty International news releases can be
received by email:
INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT, 1 EASTON STREET, LONDON WC1X 0DW, UNITED KINGDOM
From: Lozansky@aol.com (Edward Lozansky)
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999
Subject: A Second Chance in Russia?
A Second Chance in Russia?
by Edward Lozansky (Lozansky@aol.com) and Ira Straus (Irastraus@aol.com)
History usually does not give you two tries in a row. Still, in the case of
Russia, it looks as if the gods decided that this was a country that has been
through so many horrible traumas that it deserves another chance -- the one
which was given by the parliamentary elections in Russia this week.
The first chance, of course, we had and lost in 1991. By "we", we mean both
the Russian democrats and their spiritual, economic and political advisors in
the West. Russians were led to believe that, if only they would throw the
Communists out and let America lead the way, they would become a flourishing
free market society and live happily ever after.
The Russians did throw the Communists out, and America did lead the way, or
at least it postured as if it were doing so. Eight years later the results
are not encouraging -- ineffective government, political feuding and
corruption, botched reforms, capital flight, an economic decline that has
left millions in poverty. A rise in anti-western feelings, even among young
people and intellectuals -- something which Soviet ideologues were never able
to achieve no matter how hard they tried. And then the collapse of the ruble
in 1998. And nearly coming to blows with the West over Kosovo in 1999.
The West proceeded to give up on Russia. It wanted to get off the roller
coaster of hopes and fears and wash its hands of the country. It made believe
that it had really tried to help Russia and had done everything it could. One
after another, "Russia experts" in the West explained that nothing more could
be done, Russia was a hopeless case.
Come December 19 -- the Russian Duma elections.
In such a political landscape, one could expect a Weimar scenario with
nationalist and fascist parties making the biggest showing. Instead, the
majority of the voters selected centrist and young reformist leaders. The
vote was a boost for moderation over extremism.
The Russians turned out to be much smarter than we thought. Something
unexpected happened. We got Good News from Russia which opens a host of new
opportunities and puts the worst dangers on hold for the meanwhile.
Politically, it is particularly good news for the responsible leaders in the
West who want constructive engagement with Russia.
A decade ago, the West first began dreaming that there might someday be free
elections in Russia. In 1993 and 1995, it woke up to a nightmare: free
elections in which Communists and ultra-nationalists between themselves won
majorities. Yet today, suddenly we see a multi-party parliamentary election
coming out alright.
The West has a choice in this new situation: it can make believe that there
is nothing new or hopeful, define it as anti-Western whenever Russia tries to
recover even a modicum of national self-respect, and blow this opportunity
the same way it has blown so many earlier ones. Or it can recognize that a
second chance exists, look for new approaches for meeting Russian national
pride half-way, and develop an alliance with Russia based on two-way common
What we need is to recognize the vastly greater interactive possibilities
that have been opened up by the election results. These new opportunities
amount to what Wayne Merry of the Atlantic Council, who is best known for his
accurate criticisms of past illusions about Russia, has called "a second
It will not be a romantic honeymoon, like the first one could have been in
1991, when there was an almost erotic feeling of turning friends after the
long fearful decades of enmity. That chance was blown by offering only a
one-way romance, in which Russia was asked simply to follow the Western lead
on all questions and subject itself to shock therapy. This time it will have
to be a sober marriage of interests, leading to constructive and
collaborative policies from which both sides experience rewards.
It will not be a time for preaching a total laissez-faire overhaul, but for
working together on reforms that are properly thought out and make sense in
themselves. It will not be a time for preaching more destruction of state
power structures, but for pragmatic work on strengthening the legal and
institutional foundations for a functioning market economy.
And it will be a time for the hard work of diplomatic engagement, aimed at
finding mutual interests and reaching agreement on how to pursue them
together -- not just expecting Russia to follow after the American lead. Some
examples of what is needed:
1. To help Russia to find an honorable exit from the Chechnya nightmare,
perhaps by providing more technical assistance in her fight with terrorists
and participating in postwar reconstruction of the area, while confirming
unconditional support for Russia's territorial integrity.
2. To use the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council to reach some substantive
joint plans, not just to treat the Council as a place to inform Russia of the
policies that NATO has already reached on its own.
3. To make more of American - Russian diplomatic and intelligence
collaboration to fight terrorism throughout the world.
4. To expand useful collaborative projects that already exist in nearly all
spheres -- educational and cultural exchanges, nuclear controls, trade and
investment, legal reform, and other forms of technical assistance.
5. To invite and convince Russia to participate in SDI research and
deployment. This would bring us full circle, with a happy return to the
Ronald Reagan's legacy.
We invite others to offer additional points. Let us hope that we will not
blow the second chance.
Edward Lozansky, President, American University in Moscow
Ira Straus, Coordinator, Committee on Eastern Europe and Russia in NATO