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Johnson's Russia List


January 11, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4025 4026 4027

Johnson's Russia List
11 January 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
A comment on quantity: A few readers have suggested that there's
too much JRL. I guess my feeling is that as long as I have the
energy to do this the only one who really suffers is me. Few things
are as easy as deleting email messages so life is relatively
simple at the recipient's end. But there is existence outside of JRL.
For example, I recommend the new movie Magnolia. More surprises
than Russia.
1. Moscow Times editorial: Predictably, 'Victory' Is Unraveling.
2. Newsweek: The Kremlin's Image Makers.
3. AFP: Putin Wins 56 Percent Support In Russian Opinion Poll.
5. Central Europe Review: Mel Huang, Bye Bye Boris. (DJ: Pro-Yeltsin)
7. Moscow Times: Catherine Belson, Kasyanov Given Chance to Prove His Mettle.
8. Miami Herald: Jonathan Landay, Russia's Missile Warning System Is Decaying, U.S. Says.
9. Washington Times: Arnold Beichman, Prologue for Putin.
10. Ekonomika i Zhizn: RUSSIAN ECONOMICS '99. (DJ: Lots of interesting economic and social statistics.)]


Moscow Times
January 11, 2000 
EDITORIAL: Predictably, 'Victory' Is Unraveling 

And now the Chechens have struck back, hard. Over the weekend and on Monday, 
large Chechen forces hit Russian positions in Argun, Gudermes and Shali - the 
republic's largest towns after Grozny. At least two dozen young Russian men, 
and probably far more, have lost their lives. 

Like the Tet Offensive of January 1968, which demonstrated to the Americans 
that they were not in control of the situation in Vietnam, the New Year's 
uprisings of January 2000 underline the obvious: This campaign is not 

It is not possible to occupy Chechnya and "end terrorism." They are mutually 
exclusive goals. To defeat all resistance, one must be able to distinguish 
between civilians and guerrillas. And that is not possible - as Russian 
soldiers on the ground complained during the first Chechen war (and as 
Americans complained in Vietnam). 

What's worse, an operation like this eventually creates terrorism. When 
non-combatant civilians see their neighbors and relatives killed - or their 
communities looted by troops wilding and destroyed by aerial bombardments - 
they go on to become combatants. This is as old as the eye-for-an-eye justice 
of the Bible. Yet the authorities have proudly, and foolishly, occupied as 
much territory as possible. Now they will sit and try to defend it, against 
guerrillas. It will be bloody and useless. 

It makes us wonder what lessons of history have ever been learned - period. 
For an answer we turned idly to the Internet. It is, after all, supposed to 
be making us all smarter. 

Type in "Tet Offensive" on a search engine and one of the first offerings is 
part of the American War Library, a U.S. veteran's group site, and then a 
brief critique of the war by Howard Zinn, a historian and former U.S. Air 
Force officer. 

"To me, the war was a disaster," Zinn writes. "The dispatch of a huge army to 
a small country, the merciless bombing of both 'enemy' and 'friendly' 
territory, the deaths of perhaps 3 million people and the destruction of a 
beautiful land, the brutal massacres at My Lai and other places - these were 
all morally indefensible, win or lose." 

He goes on to argue that "with the indiscriminate nature of modern military 
technology, all wars are wars against civilians, and therefore inherently 
immoral." And he cites "a terrifying common thread" in recently released 
audio tapes of White House decision-making under presidents John Kennedy and 
Lyndon Johnson: "They were willing to watch soldiers and civilians die in 
large numbers while they calculated the effect on their re-election of 
stopping those deaths by withdrawing from Vietnam." 


January 17, 2000
The Kremlin's Image Makers 

Vladimir Putin hasn't been putty in the hands of the Kremlin image makers 
who've helped him become Russia's most popular politician and Boris Yeltsin's 
successor. But he has largely followed their advice. During the past five 
months, in photo ops ranging from the cockpit of a Su fighter to one in judo 
garb, Putin's projected image has been consistent: that of a tough Russian 
patriot. Some key advisers who may stay through the March presidential 

Alexei Golovkov: Ran the campaign for the Kremlin-backed Unity Party, which 
finished a surprise second to the communists in the Dec. 19 Duma elections. 
Now heads a government-controlled insurance company.

Gleb Pavlovski: A controversial former dissident (now shunned in dissident 
circles), founder of a Moscow think tank and longtime adviser to Yeltsin's 
inner circle.

Dmitry Kozak: A lawyer, he's now Putin's chief of staff; he'll be the main 
manager of his presidential campaign.


Putin Wins 56 Percent Support In Russian Opinion Poll

MOSCOW, Jan 10, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Interim Russian president 
Vladimir Putin would storm to victory with a crushing 56 percent of the vote 
if presidential elections were held now, a new poll quoted by the Interfax 
news agency said.

The poll, carried out by the VTsIOM polling group, was the first to gauge the 
nation's political preferences since Boris Yeltsin stepped down on December 
31 to give Putin -- Yeltsin’s prime minister and political protege -- a 
chance to prove his mettle.

Presidential elections are to be held on March 26.

Putin's score marks a seven-point rise in support since the last week of 
December. In contrast, Putin's likely opponents in March suffered serious 
reverses, with Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov mustering just 14 percent, 
five points less than he had at the end of December.

Zyuganov notched up over 40 percent of the vote in the second round of the 
1996 presidential elections, which were won by Yeltsin.

In third place, former prime minister Yevgeny Primakov secured the support of 
10 percent of those polled, a result that could persuade him to leave a 
presidential race he is already reported to be edging away from.

Grigory Yavlinsky from the liberal Yabloko party came in fourth, with three 

A total of 1,600 people were questioned by pollsters, and the margin of error 
was four percent. 


January 10, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]

It is only natural that Boris Yeltsin's resignation has
resulted in a new magic transformation of Vladimir Putin's
popularity rating. Its sharp growth recorded by the VTsIOM
opinion polls is not the limit: according to the ARPI service, 62
percent of Russians are going to vote for Putin on March 26.
However, it is hard to count that the fate will continue to make
presents to the acting president. If he really wants to "live up
to the expectations" of the majority of Russians in future, too,
he will have to change his main slogans, such as "we'll spoil
them in the loo till the victorious end." ARPI's opinion polls
show that the attitude of Russians to the Chechen campaign is
positive on the whole (61 percent) but opinion differ as to its
ultimate goals. Only 36 per cent of respondents believe that the
Chechen problem can be solved by a military way, while 42 percent
do not believe in this. A large proportion of respondents
disagree with Yeltsin's opinion that the operation is going on
impeccably. What is more, the majority of Russians (67 percent)
do not think that the seizure of the mutinous republic's capital
would be a promising landmark of the campaign.
In the economic sphere, Russians pin great hopes on the
premier, who is now also the acting president. His Cabinet's
activities are appraised positively by 70 percent, while 54
percent believe that a certain "future president" will be able to
change the economic situation for the better (according to ARPI's
data). Meanwhile, (according to ROMIR) 17 percent of respondents
think that from the standpoint of their well-being the new year
will be better and 28 percent that it will be worse than the
previous one with 44 percent believing the situation will be more
or less the same. Only 13 percent believe that unemployment rates
will go down and 21 percent expect the number of strikes to
As many as 62 percent of respondents believe that only a
"strong leader" is capable of restoring order in the country. At
the same time, only few are not ready to become victims of
"tough" decisions: 81 percent of Russians firmly say that the
authorities and ordinary citizens should live in keeping with the
As Boris Yeltsin's experience has shown, any far-going
expectations can very soon be replaced with vast hatred. Hopes
for Vladimir Putin's capabilities have already trespassed by far
the danger limit. In a very short while he will be expected to
live up to the great expectations trusted in him. At present
(according to ARPI) 17 percent of Russians say that they know the
non-existent economic program of Putin's party which has won the
Duma elections. Tomorrow Candidate No. One to the presidency will
have to answer for their delusions.

According to VTsIOM, the number of Russians ready to vote
for Putin as the next President was 2 percent last August, 4
percent last September, 31 percent last October, 45 percent last
November, 45 percent of December 3-9, 48 percent on December
10-12, 50 percent on December 17-20, 49 percent on December
24-27, and 56 percent on December 31, 1999-January 4, 2000.


Central Europe Review
January 10, 2000
T H E A M B E R C O A S T: 
Bye Bye Boris 
By Mel Huang 

The resignation of Russian President Boris Yeltsin on 31 December 1999 
surprised many people throughout the world. It came at an immensely symbolic 
time for much of the world, as it moved into a third era of modern existence. 
It also held symbolic meaning in Russia, as it essentially consigned the 
fight to rid the country of Communism, which Yeltsin symbolised, to the last 

What came as less of a surprise was the host of misleading and misguided 
analyses about the resignation that came from "leading" media around the 
world. Reputable media sources began speculating on why Yeltsin left, with 
ideas ranging from his desire to protect himself and his "family" with 
immunity to yet another health collapse. His smiling and joyous appearance in 
Jerusalem days later - albeit with wineglass in hand - quelled those rumours.

The media seem to always want to paint an ugly picture on Yeltsin, presenting 
him as an uncaring and ruthless brute. Perhaps that is a legacy of dealing 
with Soviet leaders like Brezhnev, but it also shows the lack of 
understanding of post-Soviet Russia by the media. It is no longer ruled by a 
person, they forget.

Immediately upon Yeltsin's resignation, the international media focused on 
the issue of immunity for him and his "family." First of all, the decree 
signed by acting President Vladimir Putin does not grant immunity to 
Yeltsin's "family" at all. The decree granted immunity to all Russian 
presidents - not just Yeltsin (though for now, only Yeltsin). Plus, if 
Yeltsin sought immunity, it is more for fantastic charges like "breaking up 
the USSR," which incidentally was one of the impeachment charges from the 

In fact, Yeltsin saw an opportunity - the best opportunity - for a power 
transition to his chosen successor: Vladimir Putin. Putin was popular (albeit 
generally for less-than-honourable reasons) and had just secured a strong 
showing in the new Duma. Yeltsin's early resignation was nothing less than a 
shrewd political move, catching his opponents off guard and less than ready 
in their campaign war chests. Some analysts argue that this abrogates 
democratic norms - perhaps so using an American frame of reference, but, in 
ways, it could be like calling a snap election to firm up a ruling majority. 
It happens all over the world on the prime ministerial level, from Tokyo to 

Again showing the lack of contemporary familiarity with the issues, the world 
media paid great attention to an interview given to an Italian newspaper by 
former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev gave what he thought were 
the reasons for Yeltsin's departure, on which most of the world's biggest 
media sources immediately placed extra emphasis. That is tantamount to 
reading too much into the opinions of the Austrian government by Dr Otto von 
Habsburg - though Dr von Habsburg is renowned world-wide and Gorbachev is 
still enjoying the afterglow of what one US political commentator calls 

Going back to this media infatuation with demonising Yeltsin - either with 
allegations of wrongdoing or drink - there is also a perceived need by the 
media to make Yeltsin into a "Tsar Boris" of sorts. Reports paint a picture 
of an omnipotent Yeltsin, ready to send troops into Chechnya and to blast his 
own parliament building. However, if it were that simple, why did Yeltsin 
fail to get rid of the Communists and bury Lenin? That was one of his 
ultimate desires, and yet he could not do it. After those erratic episodes 
attributed to drink several years ago, it appeared that Yeltsin became more 
of a kukla (puppet) for the real people in power in the shadows. Even the 
recent campaign in Chechnya was generally known to be orchestrated by others, 
including the current acting president. Perhaps that is why Yeltsin 
celebrated his happiest New Year's Day in a long time this time around, with 
those strings finally detached from his back.

Looking at Yeltsin from Estonia's point of view, many significant events 
happened due very much to Yeltsin himself. Many people, including President 
Lennart Meri, remembers the time when Yeltsin - then President of the RSFSR - 
flew to Tallinn to give moral support to Estonia's independence struggle as 
Soviet crackdowns began all over the former USSR. Also, it was the personal 
rapport between Yeltsin and Meri that led to the drunken meeting which ended 
the Red Army's occupation of Estonia after 50 years.

Former Estonian Ambassador to Russia Mart Helme also recalls the friendliness 
expressed to him personally and to the Estonian nation by Yeltsin, recalling 
how Yeltsin personally interceded to have a military nuclear reactor removed 
from Estonia in 1994. This is not the demon portreyed in the Western media.

However, with the exit of Boris Yeltsin, an historic era of transition ends 
in Russia: the political transition. The economic transition could take 
years, if not generations. Yeltsin's tearful apology to the nation on 
television, if anything, makes us remember the personal tragedy involved 
here. In his quest to transform Russia away from Communism, he suffered 
immense hardship and problems, ranging from a plane crash to his quintuple 
bypass. Most media at the time shrugged off Naina Yeltsina's tearful 
admission that she wanted her husband to quit - forgetting that despite their 
official status, there was a wife sick with worry over her husband. Despite 
doctors' warnings, he risked his health to fight the 1996 presidential 
campaign. Though it was less than fair, the personal energy invested by 
Yeltsin was key in winning the vote - and landing him in the cardiac unit of 

Thus, as we look back at the first eight years of post-Soviet Russia, it is 
really a look back at the presidency of Boris Yeltsin. Despite the public and 
media, both local and international, demonising him, Yeltsin managed to 
remove the threat of a Communist resurgence as much as he could, and this was 
clearly his main goal as President. Hopefully, Vladimir Putin can set Russia 
on a firm course using the foundation given by Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin.



Moscow, 10th January: All the changes in the Russian Federation government 
are of a temporary nature until the elections are held, the Russian prime 
minister and acting president, Vladimir Putin, said today.

"These are minimal changes. In terms of function, they don't affect anyone," 
Putin told a group of Russian journalists in the Kremlin today.

Asked by Interfax to explain why a government reshuffle was needed, Putin 
said that the White House should have a "clear-cut coordinator", as he put 
it. In his opinion, "the natural coordinator, as in any government, should be 
the finance minister, since he's one of the key figures in any government". 
Such a coordinator was needed, Putin went on, because for the time being he 
will have to both deal with the government and carry out presidential duties 
as well. The idea of appointing Finance Minister Mikhail Kasyanov is for him 
to "change from behind-the-scenes manager to legitimate government 
coordinator", Putin said.

As for personnel movements, Nikolay Aksenenko will concentrate on running the 
Railways Ministry and this was agreed earlier at a collegiate session of that 
ministry, Putin continued. He added that the Railways Ministry is one of 
Russia's largest natural monopolies alongside the likes of Unified Energy 
System and Gazprom.

Deputy Prime Ministers Ilya Klebanov and Viktor Khristenko will assume 
responsibility for a number of ministries and government departments, Putin 
said. Another deputy premiership is being set up for the Emergencies 
Ministry, and that job will go to Sergey Shoygu, who will also oversee other 
authorities in related areas, for example the State Committee for the Far 

He pointed out that he had today spoken to Belarusian President Alyaksandr 
Lukashenka and that Russia would be nominating Pavel Borodin, just removed as 
head of the presidency's administrative office, for the post of state 
secretary to the Russia-Belarus union. Belarus has agreed to this, he said...


Moscow Times
January 11, 2000 
Kasyanov Given Chance to Prove His Mettle 
By Catherine Belton
Staff Writer

Just one year ago Mikhail Kasyanov was an obscure, behind-the-scenes mover in 
the Russian government. His only prominent job was the unthankful task of 
leading talks with the London Club of private creditors, to whom Russia owed 
$30 billion in Soviet-era debt. 

Even after he became finance minister in May, when Kremlin infighting saw his 
predecessor Mikhail Zadornov leave the government, his public profile 
remained low key, as First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko made all 
the economic running. 

All that got turned upside down Monday when acting President Vladimir Putin 
tapped him as his right-hand man in government, now the No. 2 post in the 

Kasyanov's promotion was greeted by many investors who think it will lead to 
more liberal economic policies. However, some analysts warn that it is far 
too early to say what the sudden rise of the career technocrat, who entered 
the Soviet government as a state planner, would mean. 

"The markets have reacted to his appointment positively, but he might not 
always do what the markets want," said Arnab Das, an emerging market debt 
strategist with JP Morgan in London. 

"Kasyanov has always come across as somebody with a very clear strategic 
vision, as a can-do technocrat," Das said. 

Das pointed out that the new job represents a challenge to someone not before 
picked as a potential high flier. 

"He's always seemed to be a strong character and a powerful talker. But this 
will now be a test for Kasyanov to see if he can run the government at a time 
when Putin will be engaged fully in a military and election campaign," he 

When he was appointed as prime minister on Aug. 9 last year Putin was 
similarly plucked from technocratic obscurity and rapidly became a tearaway 
success as prime minister. 

While Kasyanov remains a mystery in many regards, one of his old colleagues, 
former First Deputy Finance Minister Oleg Vyugin had words of praise for 

"He very successfully led financial policy to bring good results for the end 
of [last] year," Vyugin said. 

According to official Finance Ministry data, Russia ended 1999 with a primary 
budget surplus of 2 percent even though it has been waging an expensive 
military campaign in the Chechen republic and has received just $640 million 
in loans from the International Monetary Fund. Kasyanov was promoted to 
Finance Minister in May last year. 

"Even though beforehand he was only known as a strong specialist in debt 
negotiations, he has proved his worth by sticking to the tight fiscal program 
for this year," Vyugin said. 

When Kasyanov was leading debt talks with the London Club of Commercial 
Creditors he was very insistent that Russia was not going to change the 
status of the debt and alter sovereign immunity, said Das at JP Morgan. 

"Russia paid for that move then by not getting any debt reduction. But in the 
meantime Russia was able to selectively default, opening the way only now for 
the possibility of a change of status," he said. 

Das said the fact that Kasyanov took a tough position on London Club 
negotiations to often maximize the amount Russia could squeeze out of 
creditors showed he would follow an independent line. 

Born in Moscow in 1957, Kasyanov's first job in 1978 was as a senior 
technician and researcher at the Soviet Institute of Industrial Transport. He 
first entered the government in 1981 as a leading economist in the foreign 
economics department's state planning section. 

Kasyanov was also a top official in the Finance Ministry when Russia was 
creating its restructuring plan for state treasury bills, or GKOs, in the 
wake of the 1998 financial crisis. Many Western investors slammed the debt 
swap scheme as confiscatory. 

But nevertheless his promotion Monday sparked a market rally. 

"His appointment seems to be a sign that Putin wants his own stamp on the 
government. That he wants a government of technically proficient experts 
rather than one filled with politically motivated appointees," Das said. 

However, some politicians have accused the Finance Ministry under his command 
as being overtly secretive. 

Yabloko member Viktor Gitin said that when Duma deputies earlier this year 
asked Finance Minister Kasyanov for basic information about Russia's debts - 
for example, how much was owed to whom and when payments were due - Kasyanov 
refused, arguing that the ministry couldn't afford to make photocopies or 
send faxes of relevant documents. 

Kasyanov has also been accused several times of skimming off profits on debt 
deals and misusing the information he held as chief Soviet era debt 
negotiator from 1993 onward for his own gain. 

Russian weekly Versia once dubbed him "Misha 2 Percent," alleging that he had 
been involved in manipulating Soviet-era debt prices for commercial ends. 

According to Gitin the debt market was turned into a treasure trove for a few 
closely guarded but well-connected companies that raked in profits from 
trading in Soviet era debt. One scheme saw the purchase of old Indian debt at 
bargain prices and then swapped for goods to import into Russia duty free. 


Miami Herald
9 January 2000
[for personal use only]
Russia's Missile Warning System Is Decaying, U.S. Says
By Jonathan S. Landay

WASHINGTON -- Russia's early warning system is so decayed that Moscow is
unable to detect U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile launches for at
least seven hours a day and no longer can spot missiles fired from
American submarines at all, U.S. officials and experts say.

At most, only four of Russia's 21 early warning satellites are still
working, according to experts on Moscow's space program. That gives
Russian commanders no more than 17 hours -- and perhaps as little as 12
hours -- of daily coverage of the 550 nuclear-tipped ICBM silos in
Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming.

"Against submarines, they basically have no warning," said Theodore
Postol, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who studies
Russia's early warning system.

But because the logic of nuclear deterrence requires both sides to
launch their missiles before a surprise attack obliterates them,
Russia's semi-blindness is as dangerous to the United States as it is to
Russia. The fear is that in the heat of a serious crisis, Russian
military and civilian leaders could misread a nonthreatening rocket
launch or ambiguous data as a nuclear first strike and launch a salvo at
the United States and Western Europe.

If Russia's early warning system "cannot reassure Russian leaders that
false alarms are indeed benign events, the danger for both countries
could be significant," said an August 1999 report by the Congressional
Budget Office, a research agency for Congress.

"I think the chances (of a nuclear mistake) are rising...from what I
felt was a very, very low level," warned former Ambassador James Goodby,
who negotiated the U.S.-funded destruction of Russian nuclear weapons.
"...The effects of a glitch would be cataclysmic."

Although U.S. officials insist there is little chance of an inadvertent
nuclear war, the Clinton administration finds itself in the unusual
position of offering to help the Russians detect an American missile

attack. One proposal calls for establishing a joint early warning center
in Moscow, another for helping to finance the rebuilding of Russia's
early warning system.

Early warning radars and satellites remain important because, while the
United States and Russia have agreed to "de-target" each other, both can
re-program their missiles in minutes. China, Britain and France also
maintain ICBM forces. Other countries, including Iran, Iraq, Israel,
India, North Korea and Pakistan, are pursuing long-range missile

Russia still keeps an estimated 2,000 nuclear warheads on high alert,
most of them atop silo-based SS-18 missiles. Experts say the United
States has as many as 2,500 warheads on high alert, divided between Ohio
class submarines -- four of which are always poised to fire -- and 50 MX
and 500 Minuteman III missiles in five northern states.

The Kremlin cannot afford to put into orbit the six replacement
satellites it needs to resume 24-hour surveillance of American missile
silos, experts say. Nor can the Russians pay to activate replacements
for two land-based early warning radars. One was demolished by the
former Soviet republic of Latvia in August 1998; the other was
dismantled in 1991, after years of American complaints, because it
violated the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.

As a result, experts in and outside the U.S. government say, Russian
radars are blind in the northern areas of the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans where U.S. ballistic missile submarines operate, each loaded with
24 Trident missiles tipped with up to eight nuclear warheads apiece.

Although Russia is believed to have tightened the already strict
controls on its nuclear arsenal, experts say there have been several
close calls.

The most recent was in January 1995, when Russian officers, despite
prior notification, mistook the launch of a U.S.-Norwegian science
rocket for a U.S. nuclear strike. They alerted the Kremlin, where
former president Boris Yeltsin was brought the briefcase containing the
launch codes for a retaliatory Russian attack. The error was caught just
in time because Russian satellites detected no launches from U.S.
missile silos, experts say.

In 1995, however, those satellites still had 24-hour surveillance
capability. Today they do not.

U.S. officials are sufficiently concerned that President Clinton signed
a September 1998 accord proposing a center in Moscow where the Russian
military could review data from American early warning satellites and
radars. In return, U.S. officers would be able to view Russian early
warning data.

The administration also would be "receptive to discussions" about
footing Russia's $200 million bill for lofting new satellites to restore
24-hour surveillance of U.S. missile silos, said a senior U.S. defense
official who asked not to be identified.


Washington Times
January 10, 2000
[for personal use only]
Prologue for Putin 
By Arnold Beichman
Hoover Institution

I hold this truth to be self-evident: A former KGB official, no matter 
of high or low rank, is guilty until proven innocent. That was particularly 
true of Yuri V. Andropov, ex-KGB chairman, whom media mush-heads called a 
"closet liberal" when in December 1982 he took power in the then Soviet 
Union. The same truth applies to Acting President Vladimir Putin, a KGB spy 
in Germany until 1991.
In the case of Mr. Putin there is an eerie incident, one which has 
passed virtually unnoticed by a media busy whooping it up for the new regime. 
On Dec. 21, two days after the parliamentary elections, Mr. Putin received in 
the Kremlin the leaders of the parties that won seats in the Duma. What was 
remarkable about this closed-door reception was not its peaceable nature but 
something else far more sinister, as reported in Novaya Gazeta, a Russian 
On Dec. 21, 1879, Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, later known as 
Josef Stalin, was born in Gorki, a small village in Georgia. So there they 
were in the Kremlin, the leaders of the new Russian Parliament on the very 
day of Stalin's 120th birthday and someone proposed a toast — nasdarovye, 
tovaritchi — to the greatest mass murderer in all history. Who proposed the 
toast, the newspaper doesn't say. It does report that the toast, however, was 
not to "Stalin" but to "Dzhugashvili," a touching tribute to the 
sensibilities of the new Russia.
I held off writing about the episode waiting to see what reaction, if 
any, there would be to this report. The editor of Novaya Gazeta, Yuri 
Shchekhochikhin, testified several weeks ago before a U.S. congressional 
committee on corruption in Russia. The newspaper also strongly opposes the 
war in Chechnya.
On Dec. 30, I found what I was waiting for in another Russian journal, 
Obshchaya Gazeta. It was an article by Grigoriy Yavlinskiy, leader of the 
Yabloko Party, which did poorly in the elections, about 6 percent of the 
vote, with 22 seats. Said Mr. Yavlinskiy:
"When the leaders of the blocs that emerged victorious from the election 
drink a toast to Stalin in the prime minister's office; when the executive 
branch is becoming the puppeteer pulling the strings of the legislative; when 
instead of information people are inundated with lies and mudslinging; when 
campaign tactics turn into war, it is clear that what lies in our country's 
past could also lie in its future."
Add to this "toast-to-Stalin" episode the praise for the KGB by Mr. 
Putin Dec. 20, celebrating another memorable day in Russian history: the Day 
of Security Bodies, founded 82 years ago, Dec. 20, 1917.
"Several years ago, we fell prey to an illusion that we have no 
enemies," Mr. Putin told a meeting of top security officials. "We have paid 
dearly for this. Russia has its own national interests, and we have to defend 
Now imagine the clamorous reaction were the German chancellor to convene 
a reception in his office and they all toasted Adolf Hitler on his birthday. 
An ultra-rightwinger scores big in an Austrian election and cries of alarm 
are heard in the West. But the Russian Communist Party tops the parliamentary 
elections with almost 25 percent of the vote and the most seats, 113, and you 
hear all kinds of cheerful talk about they're not really communists. (Oh. So 
why do they call their party Communist?)
In 1968, Evgeny Yevtushenko, the Russian poet, wrote a poem called 
"Stalin's Heirs." It was an apostrophe to the Soviet leadership to prevent a 
return to Stalinism. Despite Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 anti-Stalin speech and 
the symbolic act of removing Stalin's mummy from Lenin's Tomb and reinterring 
it in a Kremlin wall slab, there was growing alarm, strikingly expressed by 
Yevtushenko's poem, that the spirit of Stalin, who died in March 1953, was 
alive and well:
And I, appealing to our govern ment,
petition them to double, and treble,
the sentries guarding this slab,
and stop Stalin from ever rising again,
and with Stalin, the past . . .
Yevtushenko's poem concluded with this refrain:
While Stalin's heirs still walk this Earth,
Stalin, I fancy, still lurks in the mausoleum.
Or in the Kremlin itself.

Arnold Beichman, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, is a 
columnist for The Washington Times columnist. He is the editor of the 
forthcoming "CNN's Cold War Documentary: Issues and Controversy" (Hoover 


Ekonomika i Zhizn, No. 50 (1999)
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]

Industrial Production as per Industries

October 1999 in % as January-October 1999
against September 1999 in % as against January
- October 1998
Power engineering 135.8 100.7
Fuel industry 105.5 102.3
Ferrous metallurgy 101.3 112.4
Non-ferrous metallurgy 88.7 110.1
Chemical and 99.6 121.0
petrochemical industry 
Machine building and 95.4 114.5
Timber, wood-working, 102.2 117.2
pulp-and-paper industry
Building materials 97.4 110.0
Glass and whiteware 112.0 111.5 
Light industry 101.7 113.1
Food production 100.8 110.5
Microbiological industry 100.0 134.7
Flour-and-cereals and 102.3 106.1
mixed feed industry
Medical industry 116.0 104.5
Printing industry 101.4 104.3
Others 102.8 109.4

Food Price Index (end of period in %)
October 1999 as against
December 1998 September 1999
Meat and poultry 132.8 100.8
Fish and sea-food 131.7 100.5
Butter 101.0 102.1
Sunflower-seed oil 118.4 98.0
Milk and dairy products 127.5 103.5
Granulated sugar 73.0 100.1
Bread and bakery products 168.0 102.3
Cereals and legumes 200.7 97.2
Macaroni products 139.3 102.2
Fruit and vegetable products 119.1 98.4
Alcoholic beverages 136.3 101.9

Price of Basket Containing 25 Basic Food Products in October
(per capita)
Northern region 587.2
Northwestern region 558.6
Central region 591.0
Volgo-Vyatsky region 477.8
Central-Chernozemny region 495.6
Volga region 476.3
North-Caucasian region 505.8
Ural region 497.9
West Siberian region 538.1
East Siberian region 569.9
Far Eastern region 707.0

Among republic capitals, regional and territory centres and
federal cities the highest price of a basket containing 25 basic
food products was registered in Magadan (897.3 rubles),
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (892.7 rubles) and Yakutsk (876.0
rubles) with the lowest one recorded in Ulyanovsk (408.7 rubles),
Kazan (420.9 rubles) and Barnaul (432.1 rubles).
The price of the same basket in Moscow increased by 0.6%
during the month, reaching as high as 721.1 rubles by the end of
October, going down by 0.5% (580.6 rubles) in St. Petersburg.

Nonfood Price Index (end of period in %)
Nonfood prices went up by 2.2% in October of this year as
compared with September.
October 1999 as against
December 1998 September 1999
Textile goods 152.3 102.7
Clothes and underwear 142.1 103.5
Knitwear 146.3 103.3
Footwear 144.2 103.5
Detergents 132.1 100.3
Tobacco goods 116.5 100.3
Electrical devices 120.7 100.8
TV- and radio devices 115.4 100.5
Gasoline 272.4 107.7
Medicines 138.8 101.8

Prices and Tariffs for Chargeable Consumer Services 
(end of period in %)
October 1999 as against
December 1998 September 1999
Consumer services 122.4 102.0
Passenger transportation 137.6 104.5
Communications 133.9 101.0
Housing services 128.8 101.3
Education 128.7 100.7
Cultural institutions 142.4 105.4
Medical services 130.7 101.9

Postal services, their tariffs being set on the federal
level, were at the top of the price-increase list with a 10.9%
upsurge in a month. Air transport tariffs went up by 10.8%.
Motor-transport services, cinema and theatre tickets became 5.6% 
- 8.0% more expensive. Like in the preceding month, a significant
growth of prices for physical training and sports services was
marked in October, reaching 5.0%.

Maximum and Minimum Consumer Price Changes 
as per Regions in October 1999
Maximum Price index, %
Sakhalin region 104.3
Magadan region 103.4
Republic of Khakassia 103.2
Kaliningrad region 103.2
Pskov region 103.0
Omsk region 103.0
Vladimir region 99.9
Minimum Price index, %
Vologda region 99.9
Ryazan region 100.2
Kostroma region 100.3
Krasnodar territory 100.3
Amur region 100.5

The 11.9% price increase of alcoholic beverages together
with the 9.9% and 4.7% rises for chargeable services and nonfoods
correspondingly, have significantly influenced the substantial
growth of consumer goods prices and chargeable services for the
population in the Sakhalin Region. In the Magadan Region
chargeable services for the population have become 9.5% more
expensive. Consumer price indexes in Moscow and St. Petersburg
have reached 102.1% and 101.7% (a respective growth of 141.3% and
137.2% since the beginning of the year).

Basic Living Standard Indices
October In % as against January - Information
1999 October October 1999 October 1998
1998 in % as against in % as against
September January - October 1997
1999 October September 1998
Monetary 1,646 148.7 105.6 159.7 115.2 112.8
(per capita
Real 93.4 104.0 80.6 73.8 107.8
salary per
rubles 1,717 154.5 102.0 140.5 106.7 100.4
Real 98.3 100.6 70.7 67.2 96.1
Real actual 92.4
of households**
Living wage927 161.8 100.8 196.0 142.1 103.8
(per capita
Population 49.9*** 149.0*** 33.5***
quantity with
revenues lower
than living
wage (mln.
In % to total 34.1*** 22.8***
* Estimate
** The real decrease in the actual final consumption of the
households in the first 6 months of the current year as compared
with the corresponding period of the last year was considerably
higher than the recession of the GDP (8% and 1% correspondingly).
Such a situation has occurred for the first time in the last few
years, being the result of a downfall of the purchasing capacity
of the population coupled with a drop in imports of goods and
services and a substantial increase of export. Figures for the
first 6 months' period.
*** Figures for January-September periods of the corresponding

Jinee factor 0.396*** 0.374***
Assets ratio, 14.5*** 13.1***

Producers' Price Changes per Industries 
(end of period, %)
October 1999 as against
December 1998
September 1999
Power engineering 112.3 100.6
Fuel industry, 217.9 115.2
Oil industry 225.9 120.4
Oil-refining industry 330.4 112.9
Gas production 119.3 101.7
Coal mining 117.0 106.0
Ferrous metallurgy 174.5 105.1
Non-ferrous metallurgy 183.2 103.0
Chemical industry 134.0 102.5
Petrochemical industry 149.5 105.6
Machine building 143.2 102.7
Timber, woodworking, pulp 157.2 102.9
and paper industry
Building materials 129.6 103.0
Light industry 147.1 103.8
Food industry 160.1 102.6

Cargo Transportation Tariffs Index (end of period in %)
October 1999 as against
December 1998
September 1999
Freight transportation 113.1 100.9
Railway transport 100.0 100.0
Motor transport 153.0 107.0
Sea transport 124.0 103.2
Internal water transport 143.3 104.8
Air transport 139.4 102.5
Pipe-line transport 116.6 100.1

Average Monthly Salaries Paid per Industries 
(per employee)
Average monthly salaries paid in September
In % as against August 1999
1 2 3
Sum total, 1,684 104.6
Industry, 2,087 104.3
Together with:
Power engineering 3,055 103.4
Fuel industry 4,836 106.3
Ferrous metallurgy 2,346 103.7
Non-ferrous metallurgy 3,756 112.2
Chemical and petrochemical
industry 1,976 102.4
Machine building and
metal-working 1,567 103.5
Timber, woodworking, pulp
and paper industry 1,773 104.8
Building materials industry 1,605 100.4
Glass and whiteware industry 1,363 102.8
Light industry 897 104.2
Food industry 1,985 102.4
Microbiological industry 1,907 96.1
Flour-and-cereals and
mixed feed industry 1,877 108.0
Medical industry 1,836 105.6
Printing industry 1,869 102.2
Civil construction 2,049 106.5
Agriculture 721 108.7
Forestry 1,123 113.0
Transport 2,468 99.3
Communications 2,244 101.7
Trade and catering, 1,316 101.3
Retail trade 1,039 103.6
Catering 971 115.0
Wholesale trade of consumer goods 1,715 100.3
Wholesale trade of production 
and technical products 2,229 107.0
Housing and communal services 1,481 101.3
Public health, physical training
and social services 993 102.6
Education 924 120.2
Culture and arts 898 112.1
Science and research services 1,877 113.4
Finance, credits and insurance 3,025 95.4
Administration 1,922 101.8

According to an October 1, 1999 estimate, the permanent
population of the Russian Federation totalled 145,700,000. The
January-September period of 1999 saw a further decrease of
Russia's population by 579,400 persons or 0.4% (as compared with
287,200 persons or 0.2% in the corresponding period of 1998).
A certain acceleration of the depopulation process is caused
by the growth of the natural loss of population coupled with a
simultaneous reduction of the migratory growth stemming from the
migratory population exchange with foreign countries (mostly with
CIS member-states and Baltic countries). This resulted in only a
13.3% compensation by the positive migratory balance of the
natural population loss in January-September of 1999 (as compared
with a 44.1% compensation in the same period of 1998).

Indices of Natural Population Changes (in thou. pers.)
January 1999-September 1998
Born 928.3 978.2
Deceased 1,596.6 1,491.9
Including infants up to 1 year of age 15.7 15.8
Natural population loss - 668.3 - 513.7
Marriages 653.6 633.0
Divorces 379.7 379.2


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