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Johnson's Russia List


January 21, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4054 4055 4056

Johnson's Russia List
21 January 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. The Independent (UK): Patrick Cockburn, Russians threaten to incarcerate 'dissident'. Police revive Soviet tactics against critics with bid to take journalist to remote psychiatric hospital.
2. Business Week: Paul Starobin, The Brain Trust Polishing Putin's Image. From ex-spy to pro-West liberal, his top advisers are all over the ideological map.
3. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: Putin Plays Machiavelli In St. Pete.
4. The Economist (UK): Power divided in Russia's Duma.
5. Comrade, Da -- Capitalist, Nyet! (George Viksnins reviews Capitalism Russian Style by Thane Gustafson)
6. Itar-Tass: Speaker Rules out Possibility of Dissolving Duma.
10. Jerry Hough: Yeltsin's resignation.
11. Alexandre Konanykhine: $3,000,000 verdict in my case.
12. Albert Weeks: Russia's new-old National Security Concept.
13. Alison Pacuska: Tax Regulations Request.
16. APN: Why Yabloko movement failed in the parliamentary election.(Vladimir Lukin)
17. Trud: Alexei Kiva, WAS IT WORTH IT? Several Unprepossessing Versions of Events in State Duma.]


The Independent (UK)
21 January 2000
[for personal use only]
Russians threaten to incarcerate 'dissident' 
Police revive Soviet tactics against critics with bid to take journalist to 
remote psychiatric hospital 
By Patrick Cockburn in Moscow 

Russian police are threatening, for the first time since the fall of the 
Soviet Union, to take journalists who report on official corruption to 
distant psychiatric hospitals. 

This week police raided the flat of Alexander Khinshtein, a journalist and 
broadcaster living in Moscow, armed with a warrant saying he must accompany 
them to a psychiatric clinic in Vladimir, a city four hours' drive from the 

The attempt to detain Mr Khinshtein failed when his lawyer arrived at the 
last moment with film crews alerted by the Moscow television station where 
the journalist presents a programme called Secret Materials. 

In the Soviet Union the security forces frequently locked up dissidents in 
psychiatric hospitals to blacken their reputation. The practice stopped after 
the fall of communism. 

During this week's raid the Interior Ministry official leading it would not 
at first give Mr Khinshtein, who was ill in bed, time to phone his lawyer, 
saying it was a long drive to Vladimir, his mother, Inna Regerer, said 

She believes the reason for the action was Mr Khinshtein's attacks in the 
daily Moskovsky Komsomolets on Vladimir Rushailo, the Interior Minister, for 
acting illegally, and on the financier Boris Berezovsky for his alleged links 
to criminals and Chechen warlords. 

Mr Khinshtein, 25, one of Moscow's best-known journalists, stood for the Duma 
in last month's elections. 

Vladimir Martynov, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said in a statement to 
The Independent that investigatorshad decided "to give Mr Khinshtein a 
psychiatric examination" because he had been previously treated in special 
clinics and disqualified from military service. His mother says he was 
disqualified for a spinal injury. 

Mr Martynov said it was necessary to take Mr Khinshtein to Vladimir "taking 
into account his place of work, his connections and hindering the process of 
investigation". The real reason, says Mrs Regerer, is that the hospital in 
Vladimir is known as "Rushailo's clinic" and is controlled by the Interior 

Mr Martynov confirmed that the official charge against Mr Khinshtein – for 
which they wanted the psychiatric examination – was to do with 
adriving-licence offence committed in 1997. 

Mr Khinshtein's lawyer, Andrei Muratov, said: "I can't think of any case in 
the last 10 years of journalists being taken to a psychiatric hospital. It is 
the first case since the time of the dissidents [in the Soviet Union]." Mr 
Khinshtein has gone into hiding. 

This was not the first time he had suffered from the attentions of the 
Interior Ministry. Last May police raided the apartment where he lived with 
his parents at 6.15am after they claimed he had gone through a red light. 

His mother said there had been a number of anonymous telephone calls 
threatening to kill him unless he stopped writing about corruption. 


Business Week
January 31, 2000
[for personal use only]
The Brain Trust Polishing Putin's Image (int'l edition)
>From ex-spy to pro-West liberal, his top advisers are all over the 
ideological map
By Paul Starobin in Moscow 

A former dissident and a career KGB man. A young St. Petersburg lawyer and a 
battle-scarred veteran of Boris N. Yeltsin's team. On the surface they have 
little in common. But soon they may be trading toasts and ideas in the 
Kremlin. After three weeks as Russia's acting President--and nine weeks 
before the Mar. 26 presidential election--Vladimir V. Putin is assembling a 
brain trust of advisers to help him flesh out his policies and buff his 
political image.
The new team, mostly handpicked by Putin, is as eclectic as Putin's 
career. His political outlook has been shaped by two quite different 
experiences: his Soviet-era tenure as a KGB spy in Germany, and his later 
effort, in the 1990s, to help the city of St. Petersburg attract foreign 
investment. If the KGB training nurtured the mindset of a cold warrior, 
Putin's experience in St. Petersburg instilled what many Western business 
figures see as a genuinely pro-market, pro-West disposition.
HUMILIATED. Putin's pro-Western side is anchored by Mikhail M. Kasyanov, whom 
Putin recently tapped to serve as First Deputy Prime Minister. The 
42-year-old Kasyanov, who has also kept his old job as Finance Minister, 
speaks fluent English and is a familiar, reassuring figure to the Western 
financial community. He aims to repair Russia's long-strained relations with 
the International Monetary Fund, and he recently spoke out against a new 
proposal, backed by Russia's central bank but frowned on by the IMF, to 
require Russian exporters to repatriate 100% of their foreign currency 
earnings. Putin hints that he may tap Kasyanov as Prime Minister if Putin 
wins the March election, as is widely expected.
The cold warrior in Putin's inner circle is Sergei B. Ivanov, an ex-KGB 
colleague. Putin left the KGB in 1990 to work on privatization, while Ivanov, 
46, stayed in intelligence and steadily rose up the ranks. In November, when 
Putin named Ivanov chairman of Russia's security council, he was deputy 
director of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB. Under 
Ivanov, the security council recently prepared a controversial new 
national-security doctrine. The revised doctrine lowers the threshold for 
possible Russian use of nuclear weapons and identifies the West as a 
potential threat to Russian security.
The new stance stems from Russia's feeling that America humiliated it by 
proceeding with both the expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe and the war in 
Kosovo against Russian wishes. ``I am an adherent of the multipolar world 
concept,'' Ivanov declared at a Jan. 12 press briefing. ``An overwhelming 
majority of the world's states reject hegemony on the part of any one 
state.'' He added that it ``never will be the case'' that all countries 
adhere to ``the Western, Anglo-Saxon mentality.''
For big-picture advice on broad social, political, and economic matters, 
Putin has chosen advisers who also say that Russia is special and should not 
try to pattern itself after the U.S. or Britain. In December, Putin tapped 
German O. Gref, a 36-year-old lawyer from St. Petersburg, to help craft what 
has become known as the Putin Manifesto. The document, posted on a 
Russian-government Internet site just a few days before Putin became acting 
President, tried to sketch a philosophical vision for the country. The 
manifesto embraces democracy but also supports the creation of ``a new Russia 
idea'' that will be distinctly different from the liberal values that have 
guided Britain and America. Ordinary Russians, Putin says, have both a more 
collective and a more paternalistic sensibility. They look to the state to 
take care of them and to define a mission for the society as a whole.
Gref worked with Putin on privatization in the early 1990s, when Putin was 
a deputy in the office of St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak. An ethnic 
German who was born in Kazakhstan, then part of the Soviet Union, Gref speaks 
German fluently, as does Putin. He seems to reflect yet another aspect of 
Putin--the part that looks to the post-war German economic model of paternal 
capitalism as a path towards which Russia might aspire. ``It is absolutely 
senseless to talk about a new economic reform,'' Gref says, without creating 
social measures to protect the population.
KEEPING MUM. Now, Putin has put Gref in charge of an advisory council with a 
mission to report after the elections on a plan that will cover everything 
from modernization of the economy to Russia's position in the world. The 
council's work is being funded by Russia's leading companies, including gas 
monopoly Gazprom and electricity giant Unified Energy System (UES), managed 
by former Yeltsin adviser Anatoly B. Chubais. Both companies are subject to 
periodic calls for their breakup, so it's not surprising they are using their 
money to try to influence Putin's economic policy.
Putin is relying on Chubais, 44, for political advice as well as money. 
Although Chubais is reviled in Russia for presiding over a privatization 
program that transferred little of the country's wealth to the masses, he is 
a shrewd political operator. In 1996, Chubais engineered Yeltsin's 
come-from-behind reelection victory. Now, in addition to running UES, he's 
helping run Putin's campaign. He says Putin's most important priority is to 
combat business corruption and lawlessness. ``The thing most needed is a 
radical strengthening of the key state functions,'' Chubais says.
Chubais has known Putin and Gref for a long time, and he seems to be 
connected to just about everyone else who matters in the Putin camp. His most 
recent incarnation may reflect little more than the instinct of a wily 
political operator for currying favor with Russia's new President. Whatever 
the case, it seems to be working. Putin listens to Chubais ``very closely,'' 
according to Alexsei Chesnakov, a consultant who's plugged into Kremlin court 
politics. Chubais is prized not so much for his particular policy ideas as 
for shrewd advice on how to get things accomplished.
If Putin's advisers have their way, and so far they have, Putin will say 
little or nothing about his specific policy plans before the elections. His 
image-shapers include ex-Soviet dissident Gleb Pavlovsky, 49, from Odessa. In 
the mid-1970s, Pavlovsky was reprimanded by the KGB for circulating The Gulag 
Archipelago, the anti-totalitarian opus of Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. More 
severe punishment was meted out to an associate, sparking accusations that 
Pavlovsky was a KGB informant, but nothing was ever proven. Now he operates a 
secretive consulting firm whose chief client is Putin.
Putin's public relations team is quite proud of their creation: a man who 
appears to be above messy politics and narrow causes. ``The image is more 
important than the policy,'' says one of Putin's political aides. ``He must 
be outside parties and movements. The main thing is to gather ideologies and 
put them in a basket for future use.''
And what will the ``future use'' of these ideas be? Nobody, perhaps not 
even Putin, quite knows. Associates say he has a pronounced cynical streak. 
It's possible he has grand intentions but, then again, maybe he's a master 
pragmatist. That may have been on display when the Putin-supported Unity 
Party cut a deal to reelect the Communist speaker of the parliament in return 
for key committee posts. Most likely he has not yet settled on a direction. 
If he wins the election, he'll certainly have to prove he can do more than 
wage war in Chechnya. His brain trust is standing by, waiting for the 
President to set the course.


Moscow Times
January 21, 2000 
EDITORIAL: Putin Plays Machiavelli In St. Pete 

Vladimir Putin is neatly settling old scores in his native St. Petersburg. 

Putin and his mentor, Anatoly Sobchak, lost control of St. Petersburg in 
1996, when Vladimir Yakovlev, the city's public works tsar, unseated Sobchak. 
Putin ran Sobchak's failed election campaign. 

During the December Duma elections, Putin and Yakovlev again waged a proxy 
war: Putin as the wildly popular president-in-waiting behind Unity, Yakovlev 
as one of the Fatherland-All Russia troika. Since then, however, prodigal son 
Yakovlev has come home. 

And for a moment there, it seemed Putin would embrace him. The acting 
president publicly blessed Yakovlev's scheme to move gubernatorial elections 
in St. Petersburg to March 26, the same day as presidential elections. Arm in 
arm, Putin and Yakovlev would run as incumbents, each delivering voters to 
the other. 

But Yakovlev had to convince the city council. He apparently thought he had a 
deal with lawmaker Sergei Mironov, under which Mironov would deliver March 26 
and in exchange become speaker of the legislature. Instead, Mironov torpedoed 
the vote, prompting temper tantrums among Yakovlev's allies. 

Now, gubernatorial elections will be held in May. And the talk in St. 
Petersburg is that Yakovlev's early elections were blocked at Putin's 
bidding. Yakovlev's hands are tied - he will have to prove his loyalty by 
delivering a big Putin vote on March 26. Then Putin will have the luxury of 
helping or discarding him. 

Perhaps most interesting, however, is the hope-tinged reactions in St. 
Petersburg circles to this uninspiring Machiavellian intrigue: "Perhaps Putin 
wants to back a liberal governor!" St. Petersburgers Sergei Stepashin and 
Anatoly Chubais come up as possibilities. 

Liberal St. Petersburgers are so eager to see a good tsar in Putin that they 
even entertain hopeful fancies that Alexander Nikitin, the environmentalist 
persecuted as a spy by Putin's FSB, was actually saved by Putin. A court 
recently struck down the case against Nikitin; some in St. Petersburg wonder 
if it wasn't given permission to do so by Putin himself. 

Then there is Dmitry Yakushkin in Washington, telling America that once Putin 
is elected he will be his own man and will champion economic reform. 
Predictably, liberals applaud yet another double-game - this time against the 
broader public. 

Is there a recurring theme in all of this? Yes. A professional slyness and 
dishonesty about one's intentions - one the public itself enables by 
willfully choosing to put its faith in the nicest Putin imaginable. 

- Matt Bivens 


The Economist (UK)
January 22-28, 2000
[for personal use only]
Power divided in Russia's Duma 
Improbable partners 
M O S C O W 
The Communists and the Kremlin have struck up a curious alliance to control
Russia's new parliament 

IT IS a rum friendship: after ten years struggling against Boris Yeltsin
and his friends, Russias Communist Party has teamed up with the parties
loyal to his anointed heir, Vladimir Putin, the acting president. At the
first session this week of the newly elected Duma, Russias lower house of
parliament, the two groups divided up the best jobs between themselves. The
bitterly contested deal dents Mr Putins cross-party appeal, but on balance
it may improve his chances of securing his grip on the presidency in the
election on March 26th. 

The Communists in the Duma did best. Their man, Gennady Seleznyev, the
speaker in the previous Duma, keeps his post. With just over a fifth of the
deputies, the Communists also have the chairmanship of at least nine out of
26 committees. The main pro- Putin and pro-Kremlin party, Unity
(Yedinstvo), which has slightly fewer members, won a deputy speakership and
seven committees. A newly formed pro-Kremlin group of independents called
Peoples Deputy ended up with five. Vladimir Zhirinovskys handful of
illiberal Liberal Democrats, who usually vote the Kremlin line, have a
deputy speakership and one committee. 

If it lasts, it is a startling shift. After eight years of antagonism
between president and parliament, a solid majority of the Duma now seems
ready to work in concert with the Kremlin. It may even turn out well,
especially since Mr Putins address to the Duma had plenty of sensible ideas
about land and tax reform, creating a good investment climate, tackling
vested interests and strengthening civil liberties. 

But pause before you cheer. Most of the rest of the Duma is furious.
Yevgeny Primakov, a former prime minister, called the deal a desecration.
We are in full retreat from civil society. Diktat is being foisted on us,
said this former spy about the majority apparently willing to support
another ex-spy. Sergei Stepashin, a former prime minister now in the
liberal Yabloko party, echoed his blistering criticism; Sergei Kiriyenko,
another ex-prime minister, from Mr Putins favoured Union of Right-Wing
Forces, though milder, was critical too. 

The main opposition parties. Yabloko, the free-marketeers of the Union of
Right-Wing Forces and the centrists of Fatherland-All Russiahave said that
their deputies will boycott all further business, and are supported by some
members of the more-or-less-neutral Russias Regions group. About 100
deputies stayed away from the session on January 19th. And the mayor of
Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov, speaks ominously of a Bolshevik dictatorship, harking
back to the original sense of the word, which, until Lenin drenched it in
blood, meant just a member of a majority. 

All this seems to offer the interesting prospect of a parliamentary
opposition that in principle agrees with the governments programme, and a
pro-government majority that includes the strongest intellectual opponents
of market reform. But the real split may be more about personalities and
tactics than about ideas. 

One clear winner is Boris Berezovsky, a tycoon close to the Yeltsin family
who is himself now a Duma deputy. He is widely credited with Unitys success
in last months Duma election. Although Mr Putin has dismissed some
Berezovsky cronies from the Kremlin, Mr Berezovsky has now strengthened his
parliamentary power. His rival in the Kremlin, the former privatisation
chief Anatoly Chubais, has a big hand in writing the governments policy,
but he has seen his allies in the Union of Right-Wing Forces marginalised
in parliament. 

Whether the deal lasts is another story. It certainly makes Mr Putins call
for a new consensus in Duma politics, made just hours before the agreement,
sound hollow. He may at some point try to slap Mr Berezovsky down. But for
now he will probably stick with it. And it keeps the colourless Communist
leader, Gennady Zyuganov, as an ideal opponent for the presidential
election: strong enough to get through the first round, but weak enough,
even if the war in Chechnya goes wrong, to be beaten in the run-off. 

On the military side, the war has seemed to be going better for Russia this
week. On January 20th, the Russians said their soldiers had reached the
centre of Grozny, Chechnyas capital. The true number of casualties is still
being concealed, and public opinionwith a few new flickers of doubtremains
behind the war. But a clear-cut and lasting victory is still a misty
prospect and, on the non-military front, international pressure for a halt
to the carnage is increasing. The French and Italian foreign ministers are
due to visit Moscow next week, and there is talk of suspending Russias
voting rights at the Council of Europes parliamentary assembly, a
Strasbourg-based talking shop. 

Yet such verbal slaps on the wrist, and even the possibility of real
sanctions (cutting European Union aid money, for example), seem to have
little effect. The Russian line continues to be that western criticism of
the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya is the result of misunderstanding,
fed by biased reporting in newspapers and on television. That Russias
war-reporting rules make it extraordinarily hard for foreign correspondents
to find out what is going on in Chechnya is conveniently ignored. No doubt
the Duma committee on information policy chaired by Mr Zhirinovsky's party
will be looking into the matter soon. 


January 20, 2000
Book Review
Comrade, Da -- Capitalist, Nyet!
By George J.Viksnins 
George J. Viksnins is a professor of economics at Georgetown University. 

Capitalism Russian Style
by Thane Gustafson
Cambridge University Press, 1999, 264 pages, $54.95, $19.95 paper

Georgetown professor Thane Gustafson has written an interesting, well-written 
and up-to-date assessment of the situation in Russia on the threshold of a 
new century. The dust-jacket blurb says: "Describing a deeply flawed 
fledgling market economy, (the book) provides a progress report on one of the 
most important economics experiments going on in the world today. It 
describes Russia's achievement in building private banks and companies, stock 
exchanges, new laws, and law courts. (In the interest of disclosure: The 
author and I are both Georgetown faculty members, and I got an autographed 
hardcover for the paperback price, but I have no difficulties in being 
ruthlessly objective.) 

The kind of good...

Gustafson's book is much too optimistic. Many of the Russian institutions the 
book jacket gushes over were built for the express purposes of stealing state 
property and/or bilking foreigners. After all, this is the country that 
invented the "Potemkin village," consisting of props built with the purpose 
of fooling Empress Catherine into believing that the rural people in Southern 
Russia, where Potemkin was governor-general, were leading happy and 
prosperous lives.

The Soviet Union's rapid growth was based on high saving/investment rates, 
heavy industry and infrastructure buildup, exploitation of the rural sector, 
and rigid centralized control of foreign trade and payments. During war-time 
mobilization, the government quickly incorporated vast groups of people 
(women, peasants) previously not in the labor force, and exploited huge 
quantities of natural resources without regard to future needs or the 

When the "evil empire" collapsed in 1991, gasoline cost a nickel, while 
electricity and gas in private dwellings were not metered. As the system 
collapsed, private banks sprang up like mushrooms after a good rain due to 
great opportunities for arbitrage in commodities and foreign exchange. 

Gustafson writes, "Starting from nothing in 1988, the Russian commercial 
banks constructed towering pyramids of wealth, based largely on 
asset-stripping, speculation, and government debt." However, these pyramids 
were usually based on dubiously acquired property rights ("prikhvatizatsiia" 
means grabbing), and many business deals involved criminal activities. The 
overall impact of crime is discussed at length. Gustafason believes crime 
"contributes to capital flight and the "dollarization" of the economy, thus 
weakening the ruble and fueling inflation still more. More capital has flowed 
out of Russia since 1991 than has come in... Criminals themselves, for 
obvious reasons, prefer to export their booty rather than invest at home." 

... and the bad

The truth is communism really has not been dismantled. The Russian central 
bank is the good old Gosbank network of 84 branches and 45,000 employees. 
"State revenues" have fallen from 44% of national income in 1992 to less 
than 30% currently, but employment in the state sector has not changed much 
-- despite the fact that many workers are not currently being paid (arrears 
have risen enormously). In sharp contrast with China, Russia has seen no 
serious attempt at decollectivization in agriculture, and it has no private 
market for land (in China, at least there are 15-year leases for households). 

Residence permits still exist (despite courts ruling them unconstitutional). 
A truly mind-boggling law is that a good cannot be sold below its "normal 
production cost." While obviously designed to prevent the underreporting of 
enterprise income and tax avoidance, it is the antithesis of capitalism, 
which mandates the liquidation of excess inventories by sales, special outlet 
stores, various discounts or rebates, and so on. This silly regulation has 
created a "virtual economy" of barter deals and non-cash payments, a "shadow 
economy" and an "offshore economy" (allegedly often involving New York 

The ruble exchange rate well demonstrates the lack of trust in the Russian 
economic system. In Soviet times, the official rate was $1.60 for one ruble, 
which I was forced to pay in 1970. 

On my next visit in 1989, I found a special tourist rate of about $.67 per 
ruble, but the rate on the street was at least 10 times better. In summer 
1991, it was around 130 rubles to the dollar. If we ignore the decimal point, 
which the Russians have often adjusted in this century, the rate currently is 
around 26,000 rubles to the U.S. dollar. Since the Russian government 
defaulted in August 1998, both the ruble and the banking system have had 
credibility problems. The largest surviving Russian bank was ranked 346th in 
1997 (probably lower now), and bank deposits in Russia are only around 12% of 
GNP (in the Czech Republic, around 70%). As Russian "bizness" firms try to 
avoid holding rubles, they have developed ingenious ways of smuggling out 
assets -- "importing air" means paying foreign-service providers for 
services not rendered to mostly Russian-owned 60,000 offshore firms.

Vital statistics, many gathered by our Georgetown colleague Murray Feshbach, 
provide even more striking evidence of social and economic disintegration. 
Male life expectancy, already low at 63.5 in 1991, had fallen to 57.6 in 
1994; over that same period, suicides rose from 25 to 45 per 100,000 people, 
putting Russia firmly in first place in the world. Diseases now largely 
extinct in industrialized countries, such as measles, typhoid fever and 
diphtheria, are spreading, as are sexually transmitted illnesses. The latter 
contribute to birth problems and infant mortality. In this listing of 
problems with Russian-style capitalism, the drug trade and alcoholism also 
need to be mentioned.

To be sure, Russia is currently "muddling along" -- and to hope for an 
economic miracle in the near future is unrealistic. As Gustafson says: "For a 
country that has had its fill of historical tragedy and radical ideological 
experiment, an emerging market society -- with all its flaws -- could provide 
the setting in which Russians can use their talents and their energies as 
they see fit. And that would be more than good enough." Enough said. 


Speaker Rules out Possibility of Dissolving Duma.

MOSCOW, January 20 (Itar-Tass) - Chairman of the State Duma Gennady Seleznyov 
has denied the possibility of dissolving the State Duma in connection with 
the situation which developed in the lower chamber of the Russian parliament. 

"There are no grounds to dissolve the State Duma" Seleznyov told a press 
conference. He underlined that "no parliamentary crisis exists - a similar 
demarche of parliamentary factions is not the first incident in the history 
of parliamentarism". Nevertheless, Seleznyov noted that "the situation is far 
from being cloudless." 

In a separate statement, Seleznyov said that despite a tough stance assumed 
by Fatherland -all Russia, Union of Right-Wing Forces and Yabloko, the two 
biggest factions of the State Duma - KPRF and UNITY - do not agree to vote a 
second time on distribution of the portfolios of vice-speakers and chairmen 
of Duma committees. 

Seleznyov declared that if Yabloko resumed work in the State Duma and 
accepted the endorsed distribution of portfolios among chairmen of Duma 
committees, Sergei Stepashin (Yabloko member) would be given the post of 
Chairman of the parliamentary Commission for struggle against corruption. 

Seleznyov noted that Yabloko had persistently claimed the post of Chairman of 
the Duma committee for international affairs earlier occupied by Yabloko 
representative Vladimir Lukin. 



Moscow, 20th January, ITAR-TASS correspondent Mikhail Shevtsov: The head of
the Russian presidential administration, Aleksandr Voloshin, today
instructed the Russian special services not to allow any interference by
foreign citizens or organizations in the Russian presidential election
campaign. Speaking to an enlarged session of the board of the Federal
Security Service [FSS], he demanded that the service "make sure that
foreign citizens and organizations do not play any part in the election
campaign", or influence the preparations and holding of the presidential

Aleksandr Voloshin said "external forces must be prevented from drawing up
and implementing" various information programmes and technologies in Russia
during the presidential campaign. 

The head of the presidential administration also noted that the Russian
presidential election would be held against the background of "the
concluding phase of the counterterrorist operation" in the North Caucasus.
He said that abroad "there are forces which are not interested in stability
in the North Caucasus". In this context the security agencies have to
"forestall efforts by foreign special services" to destabilize the
situation in this region. 

The secretary of the Russian Security Council, Sergey Ivanov, told
journalists that certain foreign organizations "have both influence and an
interest" in swaying the results of the Russian presidential election. 

The head of the FSS, Nikolay Patrushev, said the Russian special services
"have concrete information" about attempts by foreign organizations and
missions based in Russia to interfere with the presidential election
campaign. However, this information needed further checking. 


Source: Ren TV, Moscow, in Russian 1230 gmt 20 Jan 00 

[Presenter] Now about Russian political events. The breakup among [the
State Duma deputies] continues. The coordination council of Fatherland-All
Russia, Union of Right Forces [URF] and Yabloko decided today to keep
boycotting the Duma sessions... 

[Sergey Stepashin, captioned as Yabloko member] Political games and
intrigues are one thing, but there must be some essence. Everything should
become clear by 26th March: the country's future course after the
presidential election. 

If the decision has been taken to bring back the 6th article [of the
Russian constitution] about the leading and guiding role of the Communist
Party of the Russian Federation one should say so right away and there will
be no questions. 


Text of report in English by Latvian news agency LETA 

Moscow, 20th January: The former OMON "black beret" Konstantin Nikulin,
detained in Riga, may have a double in Moscow, also named Konstantin
Nikulin, and both men could actually be the same person, says journalist
Anna Politkovska in an interview in the Moscow newspaper `Novaya gazeta',
She herself once met with Nikulin in Moscow. 

The journalist says that the Nikulin whom she has met in Moscow headed a
private security firm "Kombat Divizion", and his security service men are
headed by an Aleksey Vedenkin, a member of the scandalous Aleksandr
Barkashov's organization, Russian National Unity. 

`Novaya gazeta' notes that Konstantin Nikulin had established a special
unit for Vedenkin to conduct "confidential operations" for the fascistic
Vedenkin. Vedenkin had declared more than once that he was going to kill
several "democratic politicians". 

The reporter notes that Vedenkin's ideology, which was also close to
Konstantin Nikulin's, stood for extreme and radical methods. Followers of
the ideology acknowledge a deep regard for Stalin, detest black people and
Jews, and say they are ready to "hang anyone who is not with us,"
especially democrats. 

Konstantin Nikulin himself told Politkovska how much he despised Russian
Duma deputy Galina Starovoytova, co-chairwoman of the party Democratic
Russia. `Novaya gazeta' admits that the Nikulin in Riga and in Moscow could
be the same person. 

LETA has already reported that the former OMON "black beret" Nikulin is
being held in Riga on suspicion of gunning down Starovoytova in November

This information from Russia was confirmed by the deputy head of the
Latvian Organized Crime and Anti-Corruption Office Vsevolods Levins. 

He said that Nikulin was wanted previously for various OMON offences, and
was detained in Riga last November. 

At the moment of detention, a German-made 9-millimetre USP pistol was
confiscated - a rare and expensive weapon. 

A source in Russia has told LETA that Nikulin had been detained in Riga at
an acquaintance's residence. A ballistics examination will be carried out
on the confiscated gun and the results will be sent to the Russian

Starovoytova was killed on 20th November 1998. She was hit by three bullets
fired from an Agran 2000 automatic rifle as she and her press secretary
Ruslan Linkov entered the stairwell of her apartment house in the centre of
St. Petersburg. Linkov was critically injured. 


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <>
Subject: Yeltsin's resignation

As I said in my last contribution, it seems to me that Yeltsin's 
resignation is being misinterpreted. It seems to me that he is just 
changing posts like Milosevic to avoid the two-term limit. He will 
probably rule less visibly than Milosevic, as Deng did, but no one 
doubted Deng's ultimate power.

The mystery of this interpretation was always why the supposedly 
anti-Yeltsin pro-Communist Duma ratified the Russian-Belarus treaty that 
was the key move. It seems to me that the answer is now clear in the 
Communist-Putin deal in the Duma: Yeltsin made a deal with the 
Communists in December. As in other systems of personalistic rule, it 
was, no doubt, a deal that the Communists could not refuse. I think 
that the Korzhakov memoirs have never been properly integrated into the 
interpretation of the 1996 election (they will prominent in my new book, 
The Logic of Economic Reform in Russia). Korzhakov was brutally frank 
in describing how he brought everyone, including the Communists, in and told 
them that Yeltsin would use force to maintain power. One whole chapter 
is a taped conversation with Chernomyrdin in April 1996 on the subject. 
No doubt, the Communists were told the same thing last year, and the 
notion that they are foolishly hurting themselves in the presidential 
election by allying with Putin is naive. They never had a chance even 
if a majority of the population wanted them. They and Putin will, of 
course, now elect Yeltsin head of the Union Council as the rest of the deal.

It seems to me that much of the earlier understanding of the 
checks and balances in the old Soviet system between the military, KGB 
forces, and MVD forces has been lost. Too often people have talked 
about Putin relying on a military-police alliance. It seems to me that 
the old wisdom is right. The reason that Yeltsin trusts giving the 
powers of the presidency to Putin is precisely that Putin probably has 
control of the KGB military forces. Yeltsin knows that the military 
hate the KGB forces, and that the military will support him to keep Putin 
and the KGB generals from having too much power. Both Deng and Yeltsin 
really had dictatorships that were based on the support of the military, 
and this continues to be the case.

The question, of course, is whether Yeltsin will keep his deal. 
I suspect so. The balance between KGB and military suits him. He may 
really have understood as he said in his "resignation" speech that his
policy had been wrong. The freezing out of the "reformers" from the 
Duma leadership may mean that Yeltsin will now really go back to Witte and 
Stolypin and be a real Russian tsar. Let us hope that that is the case. 
If Russian nationalism can go that way, it is much better for the West 
than other alternatives.

It would be a great paradox, of course. Yeltsin kept in place 
the old Soviet economic system dominated by Gosplan by denouncing the 
Communists. Russian economic reform is now far less market oriented than 
the Chinese. What would be a nice touch would be to have an alliance 
with the Communists that results in the kind of real market reform that Deng 
introduced. The sign would be the appointment of a Stolypin to 
introduce agricultural rerm as premier or lst deputy premier. Putin 
is promising sacrifices. If those sacrifices are market prices for 
agricultural goods in the city, then great progress will have been made.


From: "A. Konanykhine" <>
Subject: $3,000,000 verdict in my case
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 

Dear David,
This afternoon the jury awarded me $3,000,000.00 in my case against
Kommersant newspaper (case #97-1206, the Arlington County Circuit Court,
VA), despite their ferocious defense. I think that combined with the
$33,500,000.00 verdict in Izvestia case, this verdict clearly demonstrates
that major Russian publications engage in the practice of character
assassinations on behalf of the Russian organized crime. (see details at
Alexandre Konanykhine


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 
From: Albert Weeks <>
Subject: Russia's new-old National Security Concept

As a longtime analyst of Soviet, now Russian
defense policy, doctrine, and strategy, I have to
say that the newly-unfurled "new" Russian security
concept is really not all that new. It might be described, instead,
as Russia's "new-old" security concept.
First, the Soviets and the post-Soviets never accepted
a "hegemonic" world system in which the USA and its
allies would predominate (assuming that was the West's
intent). To say that this Russian policy goes back only to
PM Primakov (Russian analysts in JRL 4051) in the 
'90s is untrue.
Second, the Soviets, Gorbachev and pre-Gorbachev,
have always reserved the right to resort to nuclear
weapons. It is true that early on in the Gorbachev period,
"no first use" was bandied about in their (N.B.->) declared 
doctrine. But that was declaratory verbiage. The fact is 
that their military strategy was always touted as heavily 
nuclear (as explained in much of their literature, including, 
say, Andrei Kokoshin's recent study, "Soviet Strategic 
Thought 1917-91")-- so much so that the two-phase 
U.S. concept of a possible transition to nuclear 
warfare out of the initial, conventional phase was 
never really accepted by Soviet military planners. 
Nor is it today to judge by their actual military planning, 
weaponry, long-standing tactic of surprise, etc., 
as discussed quite frankly in their military writings, in Voyennaya 
Mysl' (General Staff journal).
What is new now is their all but advertising this "change" toward 
emphasizing their traditional nuclear option, and doing it in 
the post-Communist period. That is new and not particularly 
comforting given the speed of the delivery of such weapons
and the narrow time-frame in which to make the decision to
launch (recalling the close call a few years ago involving the 
Norwegian test rocket that accidentally headed toward Russia).
As to the bi-polar vs. the multi-polar world and where Kremlin 
leaders stand on that question: Moscow's current anti-"hegemonic"
(read: anti-USA) stance is not that much different from
the old Soviet pre-1992 stance. That is, when did the 
USSR ever accept anything other than a "multi-polar world," 
at least in words? Their aim during the nuclear "age" up to 
and including the Gorbachev period was always to seize and 
hold a military advantage globally over all challengers. And 
their nuclear advantage (e.g., in well-protected, land-based megatonnage) 
was seen by them as the most important guarantee of that aim.


From: Alison Pacuska <>
Subject: Tax Regulations Request
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000

I am trying to find a copy of the English language text of the Russian tax 
laws, specifically clauses pertaining to the filing of tax statements, such 
as F-3 forms, and other physical persons taxes. Anything pertaining to the 
frequency of payment, format(s), location, and person filing, etc. would 
be particularly useful.

Can anyone tell me where I could find this information? Thanks!


19:10 20.01.00
Mass Media
"Media-MOST" is considering the possibility to get major long-term loans from 
the structures related to "RAO YeES Rossii", an APN source asserts. Head of 
"Media-MOST" Vladimir Gusinsky hopes that in the current political 
circumstances, SPS's de facto leader, chief of the leading energy monopoly 
Anatoly Chubais will provide financial aid to the media holding, whose debts 
exceed $1 bln. In its turn, "Media-MOST" is ready to be in charge of the 
information and, partly, analytical activities of the new political coalition 
(FAR - SPS - "Yabloko"), that in fact has found itself in opposition to the 

Comment: SMI.RU has already pointed out that APN is trying hard to turn 
Gusinsky into a new Abramovich, using even a sheer "deza" about "a 
confidential meeting" of the "Media-MOST" owner with acting president, when 
the two allegedly agreed to give up Berezovsky and Abramovich. Since some say 
that aside from BAB, Chubais is a welcomed guest in the Kremlin, APN 
commentators begin to tie them, referring to "new political circumstances". 
APN's reports are, beyond doubt, a part of some PR scheme. Who hired them, 
remains unclear. 
"APN": Head of "Media-MOST" can rely on the financial aid of "RAO YeES 


19:13 20.01.00
Mass Media
"A campaign is gaining momentum in the US to discredit the most probable 
candidate to the Russian presidency, Vladimir Putin", APN claims. The 
principal role in organizing the discrediting campaign is played by the 
members of the expert community that are close to the ex-Prime Minister and 
the former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, Yevgeny Primakov. The 
basic impetus of the campaign boils down to the following. Putin is an 
unpredictable politician whose origins are inextricably linked with the 
terrible system of the Soviet KGB. Primakov, another veteran of the Soviet 
secret services, is, by contrast, to be presented as a figure well and for a 
long time known in the West and who, by virtue of the latter circumstance, is 
a politician that can be dealt with. 

Comment: In the opinion of APN, "a certain role in planning the anti-Puti 
campaign is played by CIA ex-director James Woolsey, semi-officially 
representing the interests of Vladimir Gusinsky, the owner of the Media-Most 
holding company, in the US". Such an entertaining piece of information is 
followed the final conclusion that Gusinsky has "become a little more 
cautious" of late, as he doesn't want "to rigidly associate himself with a 
political force that has lost the Duma election". It is to evidently to back 
this conclusion that the main "information occasion" was invented. All this 
perfectly fits the PR strategy of APN, repeatedly commented on by SMI.RU, to 
transform Gusinsky's image into that of a "new Roman Abramovich". 
APN: Former Heads of Intelligence Services Unite against Putin 


20 January, 2000, 16:02
Why Yabloko movement failed in the parliamentary election
An APN reporter quoted one of the Yabloko leaders Vladimir Lukin as saying at 
a news conference the movement`s failure in the elections is a result of its 
weak organisational structure.

A great part of responsibility lays on imperfection of organisational 
structure, Vladimir Lukin thinks. We have strong structures in very few 
regions: St.Petersburg, Rostov, Omsk. The elections were successful there. 
But in most regions we could not compete with our opponents. Besides, in his 
opinion, a lot of weak candidates were nominated in the provinces in 
single-seated districts.

The other reason for unsuccessful outcome of the last parliamentary 
elections, according to Lukin, is poor work of the election headquarters. 
The headquarters was subject to serious criticism during our last meeting of 
the central council, Vladimir Lukin said.

One should keep in mind that Yabloko had 46 seats in the State Duma of the 
second convocation, and it has 21 seats in the State Duma of the third 
convocation. Yabloko`s headquarters in the last parliamentary elections was 
headed by deputy chairman of the movement Vyacheslav Irgunov.


20 January 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
Several Unprepossessing Versions of Events in State Duma 
By Alexei KIVA, political scientist

It was only recently that a Duma majority was 
expected to incorporate the Right and Centrist factions as 
opposed to the Left. Few people could foresee that it can 
emerge, even if 'spontaneously,' on the basis of the 
pro-Kremlin Unity and the Communist Party and become so 

How come? One has to admit that there are more questions 
here than there are answers, unless one gives in to the 
temptation to make suppositions or speak out without thinking. 
Politicians, including those directly involved in the 
current parliamentary battles, are racking their brains over 
what it could all mean, especially in the longer-term 
Boris Nemtsov, for one, says he sees no rational explanation 
for the alliance of the Communist Party's and Unity's factions. 
A mystery? Or are realistic interests at play? But has it 
not been obvious that the Kremlin has been backing Gennady 
Seleznev in the recent Moscow Region gubernatorial elections?
The events of the past few months indicate that many 
initiatives emanating from the Kremlin that many of us saw, in 
comparison to the previous stereotypes, faulty, unexpected or 
paradoxical, has in reality been well-thought out. 

Version One. Anti-Primakov

The Kremlin has decided to bar the way to the speakership 
to Yevgeny Primakov, closely connected with Yuri Luzhkov--no 
matter what. The two have always been seen as consistent 
opponents, if not enemies, of the 'family,' the exclusive 
circle of Kremlin insiders. What if the really respected 
Primakov were to buttress the Duma's 'opposition 
But I see this version as hardly probable. Putin and 
Primakov have been on normal terms, respecting each other. 
Somebody may refer to the presence in the Duma of Boris 
Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich who are said to be able to 
directly influence the behavioural patterns of separate MPs and 
groups. But even this seem improbable to me.
Also, one does not need to give the goahead to Seleznev to 
preclude Primakov's speakership. The Kremlin, the 'party of 
power' could, if they wished, have Sergei Stepashin or Vladimir 
Ryzhkov elected to the post. Neither would have been rejected 
by the majority of Duma members. 

Version Two. Pragmatic

The objective is to form a stable majority in the Duma. A 
stake on the Right in circumvention of the Communists would 
produce an unstable majority, what with the capriciousness of 
Yabloko, or its leader, to be more precise, and the vagueness 
of the stance adhered to by the Union of Right Forces. After 
all, it includes too many members toughly oriented to the West, 
relations with which may enter a critical stage due to the 
Chechen events. 
As to Seleznev, he can be easily unseated by forming a new 
majority in case he endeavours to conduct "the line of the 
party"... I would not exclude this version. 

Version Three. Election, But Not Too Fantastic 

What we see is an intricate, albeit risky, manoeuvre aimed 
to fend off attacks on Putin in connection with the 
'alternative-free' nature of the forthcoming presidential 
On the one hand, it consciously buttresses the capacity 
(which remains limited) of the Communists to influence the 
election process. Some vacillating Left voters may come to 
favour Putin. On the other hand, it thus prods Primakov--and 
maybe even Stepashin--to make a bid in the presidential race.
The design is that Putin, what with his reserve of 
popularity, still wins, probably even in the very first round, 
to thus convincingly prove that the nation sees him as the 
indisputable national leader. 

Version Four. Western

An even more intricate design. The West gets the hint that 
it should not hurry to introduce sanctions against Russia, at 
least until after the presidential election. Anything can 
happen in the course of the election, if the West exacerbates 
the Russians' life even further by its actions. 

Is the above too far-fetched, too out of this world? Well, 
this may be true, but then again it may not...
I repeat: the above are initial, tentative suppositions, 
but I hope in any case that Tolstoy's words would not come true 
this time: you think you are dealing with an intricate design, 
and then you discern down-to-earth bungling...


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