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28 January 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AFP: Sakharov Widow Says Chechen War Staged To Bring Putin To Power.
2. Novye Izvestiya: Latest Poll Shows How Russia’s Regions Will Vote.
3. Summary of Dorenko's ORT Program January 22.
4. Segodnya: NEMTSOV: "WE HAVE NOT HAD GOOD NEWS FOR A LONG TIME.
"The Right Plan to Review the 2000 Budget.
5. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: The Economic and Political
State of Russia. A Presentation by Yegor Gaidar.
6. PBS NewsHour: RUSSIA'S YEGOR GAIDAR.
7. Obshchaya Gazeta: Yelena Tokareva, They Are In Their Own Corridors --
The Rightists Cannot Find a Place For Themselves.
8. Viktor Kalashnikov: Yastrzhembsky.]
Sakharov Widow Says Chechen War Staged To Bring Putin To Power
MOSCOW, Jan 27, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Russia's war against Chechnya
was staged to bring acting President Vladimir Putin to power, Yelena Bonner,
widow of the 1975 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov, has told AFP.
Bonner, in a telephone interview this week from Boston, where she is
recovering from a heart attack, said the Chechen war was meant to "bring
Putin to power."
"There is no doubt for me that Russia will be guided towards a
military-police state with Putin."
Putin's popularity has soared as the four-month ground operation progressed,
and he is now the leading candidate in the March 26 presidential elections.
She denounced the offensive as brutal and inhumane.
"This is already more than a war, it's a genocide," she said.
"When a general orders the arrests at the borders of all men aged 10 to 60,
this for me is a typical watchword of genocide in progress," she said about
the closing of Russia's border with Chechnya in mid-January.
Bonner also criticized the West and the Russian Orthodox church for not doing
more to convince Moscow to end the ground offensive, which was launched on
"I cannot understand why some people still think Russia has a place in the
Council of Europe as long as it pounds on Chechnya," she said.
"For the same reason, it seems to me unthinkable to free funds for (Russia).
It is as if the West were to grant loans to Nazi Germany just as they
Bonner's husband, Sakharov, was the father of Russia's atomic bomb, but had
second thoughts after he saw its destructive potential during tests.
Accompanied by Bonner, he was sent into internal exile in 1980 to Nizhny
Novgorod, then known as the closed city of Gorky.
He was freed and rehabilitated seven years later by Mikhail Gorbachev, and
died in 1989.
Bonner has been a human rights activist for some 30 years. ((c) 2000 Agence
Russia Today press summaries
January 27, 2000
Latest Poll Shows How Russia’s Regions Will Vote
The results of a poll taken by the independent Agency of Regional Political
Studies show that the majority of Russians – 60% – are planning to vote for
Acting President Vladimir Putin in the upcoming presidential election on
March 26. 21% of respondents are planning to give their votes to the leader
of KPRF (Communist Party of the Russian federation), Gennady Zyuganov. 8%
want to support the ex-prime minister and leader of OVR (Fatherland – All
Russia) Yevgeny Primakov (although it’s still not definite that he will run
in the elections). 5% are planning to vote for Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader
of Yabloko. 4% of respondents name Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of LDPR
(Liberal Democratic Party of Russia), as their favorite candidates. And 2%
prefer other politicians.
The poll was taken in more than 90 towns and villages in 52 subjects of
The population of Western Siberia and the Urals regions more often than
Russians as a whole chose Putin as the next president. The residents of
Central Chernozem and the Far Eastern regions name Zyuganov – these regions
are the traditional Russian “red belt”. Muscovites and St. Petersburg
residents prefer Yavlinsky.
Respondents 18 to 44 years of age choose Putin more often than others. The
same can be said about technical and production workers and managers – they
are more pro-Putin than other social groups. The number of Zyuganov
supporters grows as age increases and levels of education and income
decrease. Businessmen more often than others prefer Yavlinsky, and students –
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000
From: Olga Kryazheva <email@example.com>
Subject: Summary of Dorenko's ORT Program January 22
Public Russian Television (ORT)
Summary of Sergey Dorenko’s Program
Saturday, January 22, 2000
[translation by Olga Kryazheva, research intern,
Center for Defense Information, Washingon DC]
Dorenko called the past week the “week of offences.” Everybody was angry
with everybody, especially three parties in Duma who had a real chance of
forming an opposition to Putin.
Dorenko emphasized that the situation in Chechnya is clear: “Putin is
going to destroy Chechnya completely.” But Putin’s steps to improve Russian
economy are vague. What is he going to do in domestic non-military economy?
Putin needs constructive and democratic opposition in order to go in
The absence of democratic opposition will tempt Putin to establish an
authoritarian regime in Russia. The only parties that were capable of creating
such opposition, Fatherland All Russia, Union of Right Forces, and Yabloko,
refused to vote in the Duma elections during past week and demonstratively
left the Duma meeting during the elections. Episodes that illustrated the
Duma fight followed.
Gennady Seleznev, the elected Duma chairman, was one of the scheduled guests
of the program, but did not show up for the interview. Next followed an
interview with Boris Berezovsky. Dorenko inquired about Beresovsky’s opinion
on the crisis in Duma. Dorenko quoted Boris Nemtsov, who said: “Putin is
not an independent president. In reality, Berezovsky, Voloshin, Abramovich,
and Dyachenko rule the country….” Berezovsky called Nemtsov’s statement
groundless, and based on Nemtsov’s desire of power. Berezovsky also noted that
crisis in Duma has its positive sides. First, the crisis brought the final
consolidation of right forces; second, Primakov was isolated from the left,
Putin’s position shifted to the center, and the premises to create the
democratic opposition appeared. He also stressed out the fact that the
Communists had no real chance to win the elections and take over the country.
Berezovsky expressed his opinion on Primakov; he said: “Primakov is dangerous
for the country, and still uses old KGB methods.”
Dorenko asked Berezovsky’s opinion on Chechnya. Berezovsky emphasized that
Chechnya belonged to Russian Federation by law, and that Russia would never
give it up. According to Beresovzky, war in Chechnya is not effective. Only
those who want independence fight. However, Russia would never give
independence to Chechnya, and the only possible decision in that situation was
to get rid of those who wanted independence. “Those few people who want
independence dictate war. Those few should be brought to trial by
international laws.” He said that intelligent and effective government should
be able to resolve this situation not by force, but by negotiations.
Reports from Chechnya followed, where the military officials said that
Chechnya war would be resolved by the end of February. Russians took over
Vedeno, the village where Basaev resided. The fact that Vedeno surrendered
surprised Russian military. In 1996 during military actions in Chechnya Vedeno
was one of the villages where Russians met strong resistance. Today,
of Vedeno accepted Russians and encouraged them to fight in the mountains.
Russian military does not want to satisfy Chechens request for negotiations:
”why should we listen to what they dictate to us. It is our land.”
Dorenko introduced the results of the ORTV surveys. According to
the presidential elections are to take place this week Putin would have won in
the first round with 57% of votes, followed by Zyuganov (13%), Primakov (6%),
Zhirinovsky (4%), Yavlinsky (3%). Kirienko, Luzhkov, and Shoigu gathered less
then 2% of possible votes.
In a segment “Words Above Deeds” Dorenko covered the investigation of Paul
Tatum’s murder. He stressed the fact that Arizona State Court could not get
the affidavit from Luzhkov. If he remains silent for the next two weeks,
Arizona State Court will automatically issue charges against Luzhkov.
January 26, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
NEMTSOV: "WE HAVE NOT HAD GOOD NEWS FOR A LONG TIME"
The Right Plan to Review the 2000 Budget
The SPS, OVR and Yabloko factions, although they are
boycotting the Duma sessions, announced the need to amend the
2000 budget. These and other questions are discussed by SPS
leader Boris NEMTSOV with Ivan TREFILOV, a Segodnya analyst.
Question: Most SPS deputies are new in the Duma and hence
did not take part in the discussion of the federal budget for
this year. However, you have your own view of this document.
Why are you dissatisfied with it?
Answer: The latest government session was indicative in
this respect. Money is not invested into but is fleeing the
We must pay the IMF 3 billion dollars in the first quarter of
this year and provide money for the Chechen campaign. This
precipitated the idea of reducing budgetary expenses. But it
was given in the wording suiting the spirit of the election
campaign -- reduce everything but the social allocations.
In fact, this means that we have a budget deficit and,
since decisions will be made in the spirit of the election
campaign, we can expect a minor emission of money, because
Kasyanov and Kudrin know what they are doing. They understand
that a major emission would provoke a catastrophe in May, if
Secondly, we must admit that the 2000 budget is
Remember the scandal, which flared up in the previous Duma when
the deputies demanded increasing expenses by 29 billion roubles?
We can feel the results of that deception now. I am sure that
we will have to discuss the amendment of the budget in March.
Question: Specialists link the unrealistic nature of the
budget with the cooling of Russia-IMF relations. How soon can
they be normalised?
Answer: As far as I can see, the IMF will not do anything
to resume meaningful talks or make any decisions before the end
of the presidential campaign. So, it would be hopeless to think
about resuming fruitful contacts with the IMF until April.
Besides, we have the problem of Chechnya, which we cannot push
under the carpet. In this situation, we can rely only on
On the other hand, the situation is favourable for Russia
now. I mean the prices of fuel and energy, metals, timber and
paper. I know several heads of large export-oriented
enterprises, who say they have not had such economic bliss for
a long time and that the exodus of capital would have slowed
down if we had political order and predictability in the
On the whole, the issue of the flight of money from Russia
is linked with the solution of political problems. Political
stability is what we need now, even in the absence of a
clear-cut tax policy, the failure to approve the Tax Code as a
whole and to take reasonable actions to restructure the bank
Question: Was the amendment of the budget the only
legislative initiative suggested by your faction?
Answer: We have a liberal view of economic issues,
providing for the creation of a genuine competitive atmosphere
and state control of monopolies through auditing companies, and
an open stand on restructuring the bank system.
Next, we must make vital decisions on the amendment of the
customs legislation, above all ensure predictable customs
rates, and facilitate new agreements on the admission of Russia
to the World Trade Organisation.
It is of vital significance -- although we never discussed
this before -- to launch investment projects under the auspices
of the president, the acting president, or the government. The
absence of good news is the greatest deficit in Russia now. We
have not had good news for a long time.
We also must approve the law on land. It is inadmissible
that there is no private ownership of land in this country,
although the constitution recognises it.
As for the budget, there is a coordinated action plan --
the Statement of the Government and the Central Bank, which
nobody has cancelled yet. It stipulates a large number of
measures related to the reduction of expenses and the ceilings
of initial budget surplus and deficit. I think we must simply
abide by the documents, which we signed.
Question: Can the government itself introduce amendments
to the budget, and how much would it reduce the expenses in
Answer: We should look at what the government suggests. If
they want to reduce the state apparatus, this would be good.
But they have not yet clearly said what they want.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Russian and Eurasian Program
Vol. 2, No. 2, January 24, 2000
The Economic and Political State of Russia
A Presentation by Yegor Gaidar, January 20, 2000
Carnegie Senior Associate Anders Åslund introduced Yegor Gaidar as "one of the
great historical personalities of our time" and "one of the greatest
authorities on what is going on in Russia." Gaidar -- former acting prime
minister of Russia, a current member of the State Duma, and the director of
Institute of Transition -- discussed the prospects for economic reform and the
consolidation of democracy under acting Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Gaidar first addressed the question of why Putin has become so popular. He
dismissed as overly simple the common analysis that Putin's popularity has
resulted from his tough stance on Chechnya. Gaidar noted that at the
of the current Chechen War, no one believed that such a military strike was a
good political strategy for Putin.
Instead, Gaidar placed contemporary Russian politics in the context of the
history of revolutions. Revolutionary times are always painful and difficult;
they leave the populace longing for law and order. "Excessive democracy
inevitably leads to demand for more authoritarian leaders who contrast with
their predecessor," explained Gaidar. In a post-revolutionary period, people
seek to find a leader, á la Napoleon, who can restore law and order yet
maintain the achievements of the revolution.
Russian leaders over the last two years have fit into this mold. Former prime
ministers Yevgeny Primakov, Sergei Stepashin, and now Putin became popular
because they seemed to represent stability yet did not threaten a return to
Putin and Economic Reform
For Gaidar, the problem with post-revolutionary leaders is that they are
unpredictable. It is clear that Putin does not seek a reversion to socialism;
the Russian people do not want a socialist system, and no major political
in the State Duma is against a market economy and private property. Less
is whether Putin will succeed in implementing further market reform. Putin's
general ideas about the economy bode well for reform, and his economic
are sensible. However, until the March presidential elections, Putin will seek
to appease all political views by not specifying his economic beliefs. Unlike
Yeltsin, Putin does not face a hostile parliament. But Gaidar cautioned that
it is unclear whether Putin will take advantage of this window of opportunity.
Putin and Democracy
Gaidar next discussed the formation of democracy in Russia. The Russian
are firmly in favor of democracy, he argued. Even when asked to choose
democracy and law and order, half of those polled support democracy. The
Russian people are even more supportive of democracy when asked about their
views on specific features of liberal democracy, such as censorship of the
press or curtailment of free elections. Consequently, there is little demand
for Putin to roll back democracy. The question is to what extent Russia's
democracy will be streaked with authoritarian tendencies.
For example, Gaidar questioned Putin's commitment to a free press. He said
that Yeltsin was a true democrat with regard to the media. He was the first
leader in Russian history "not only criticized by the press but insulted by
press thousands of times, lied about by the press thousands of times." Yet,
according to Gaidar, Yeltsin wouldn't touch the press. Gaidar warned that it
is not clear whether Putin will have the same attitude.
Ultimately, Gaidar's assessment of Russia's future was cautious: No one can
know, he admitted, how well democracy will be preserved or how much economic
reform will occur. Internal political developments will determine the future
of Russian democracy and capitalism.
Putin and the State Duma
Gaidar, one of the leaders of the Union of Rightist Forces, also commented on
the recent deal between the Putin-backed Unity and the Communists which led to
the reelection of Gennady Seleznyov as speaker of the State Duma. The
Kremlin's strategy is very pragmatic in Gaidar's view. For reform to occur,
factions in parliament will have to cooperate. Seleznyov is not a hard person
to manipulate, said, Gaidar, so Unity does not mind him possessing a position
of power. At the same time, his appointment satisfies the Communists.
the Kremlin strategy might be shortsighted and counterproductive in the long
run. The long-term agenda of the Communists, warned Gaidar, remains unclear.
Especially important is whether the Communists will support land reform.
Putin the Person
Summing up with an estimation of Putin's personal characteristics, Gaidar
described him as "clever, world-wise, and modern." He advised westerners not
to underestimate or overestimate him, reminding his audience that Putin had
never played an independent political role until his recent ascension to the
presidency. Now he faces a difficult
Question and Answer Period: Chechnya, Western Aid, Corruption, and More
Gaidar was skeptical of rumors that Russian security forces planted the August
1999 bombings in Moscow as a pretext to invade Chechnya. Moscow's proof that
Chechen terrorists are responsible for the bombings is weak, he admitted. But
it would simply have been impossible for the security forces to carry out such
a plot without the public knowing. Nearly all political factions have loyal
members in the security forces. No matter which political faction sought to
benefit from the bombings, its political enemies would have exposed its plans
for their own political gain. Gaidar further emphasized that it was the
Chechen incursion into Dagestan, not the bombings in Moscow, which provided
main impetus to invade Chechnya. The Moscow political establishment already
had public support for an anti-terrorist campaign before the bombings. It
had little motive to undertake a risky plot like bombing its own people.
Asked about the likelihood of a prolonged conflict in Chechnya, Gaidar
responded that even the fall of Grozny will most likely not end the war.
Russia will have to fight until it removes the large-scale military
capabilities of the most powerful Chechen warlords. This will not be easy,
and it will take years.
Questioned about the prospects of Russia's economy, Gaidar emphasized that
sustained growth in Russia will depend on Putin's willingness and ability to
carry out tax and land reform, protect property rights, and reduce capital
flight. Meanwhile, Putin must avoid tampering with Russia's nascent
The audience further probed Gaidar to discuss what the role of the U.S. and
international financial institutions should be in Russia. Gaidar first noted
that the entire "Who Lost Russia" debate is one of the "silliest" discussions
he has ever heard. It assumes that the West owned Russia in the first place.
This said, Gaidar remained supportive of western aid to Russia. He made clear
that such aid should be conditional, forthcoming only if the Putin regime
indisputably commits itself to market reform. Additionally, reducing the
Russian debt would be very useful. However, Gaidar doubted that any
substantive agreements will be reached between Russia and the IMF or London
Club before the March elections.
Asked about aid for the development of democracy, political parties, and a
press, Gaidar agreed that these are important. He was particularly supportive
of programs aimed at fostering the formation of civil society. Civil society
cannot be taught, he warned. Therefore, these aid programs should focus on
supporting institutions of civil society which are already developing in
Gaidar also addressed questions about the role of the army in contemporary
Russia. During the revolutionary stage of the Russian transition, the army
and secret services were in great flux. Now, the situation has become more
stable, and as a result the institutions of the state have become stronger.
But Gaidar saw little reason to think that the military will meddle in
politics. The Putin regime will be unlikely to be as concerned about global,
geopolitical issues as
Russian military leaders. Putin is more likely to focus on real national
interests, such as stability in Central Asia and the Caucases and ensuring
that Russia has access to energy.
Questioned about the future role of the "oligarchs" in Russia, Gaidar said
they had a grim future. Putin has little need for their support, so it is
unlikely that they will play a major role in his government.
When asked about corruption, Gaidar shared parts of the Union of Rightist
Force's anti-corruption plan. This plan includes a sharp reduction in the
bureaucratic apparatus; an increase in the salaries of government officials,
designed to reduce incentives to earn money on the side; a revamping of the
collection and financial transfer procedures to prevent bureaucrats from
stealing; a simplification of the regulations governing businesses so as to
reduce the discretionary power of police; and the promotion of open and
Summary by Jordan Gans-Morse,
Junior Fellow with the Russian and Eurasian Program
Carnegie Endowment For
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
RUSSIA'S YEGOR GAIDAR
January 19, 2000
Former Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, the first prime minister after
the collapse of the Soviet Union reveals his perspective on the political
turmoil that Russia has undergone from the Kremlin to Chechnya.
MARGARET WARNER: Between the war in Chechnya and upheavals in the Kremlin,
Russian politics are in turmoil. After five months of pounding the breakaway
Chechen republic, Russian troops are now battling their way toward the center
of the capital, Grozny, but the Russian army is taking more casualties than
earlier in the conflict, and criticism of this once popular war is beginning
In Moscow, political forces are still trying to find their footing with a new
parliament and a new president in power. Last month elections to the lower
house of parliament, the Duma, diminished the strength of the Communists and
increased the seats held by the Reformist Party. Ten days later, President
Boris Yeltsin's surprise New Year's Eve resignation made Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin acting president. Already popular for his aggressive
prosecution of the Chechen war, Putin immediately became the favorite to win
a full term in the upcoming March 26th presidential election. Putin signaled
that he and his new Unity Party would join forces with centrists in the
parliament like former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar and Former Finance
Minister Anatoly Chubais to push economic reform. But yesterday, to the
surprise and dismay of reform backers, Putin struck an alliance with the
Communists to reelect Communist legislator Gennady Seleznyov as speaker and
to divide up control of the key committees between them. Seleznyov and the
Communists have consistently opposed market reforms. The deal drew an angry
reaction in the Duma.
YEVGENY PRIMAKOV, Former Prime Minister: (speaking through interpreter) I
withdraw my candidacy for speaker. It is profanity, what is happening here.
SERGEI KOVALYOV, Member, Russian Parliament: (speaking through interpreter)
All that is happening here resembles an old Soviet slogan, that the KGB is an
armed group of the party. Sorry, I cannot participate in this swinishness.
MARGARET WARNER: More than 100 centrist lawmakers walked out of the Duma in
protest, boycotting the vote for speaker. And when the Duma reconvened today,
the reformers stayed away.
An alliance with the Communist
MARGARET WARNER: With us now for an insider's view on these developments is
former Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar; an economist by training and a
free market reformer, he was the first man to hold that job after the
collapse of the Soviet Union. He's now a leading member of the reform-minded
party in the Russian Duma. He's in the United States promoting his book Days
of Defeat and Victory. Welcome, Mr. Gaidar. Explain to us why you think
Vladimir Putin made this deal with the Communists.
YEGOR GAIDAR: Well, it was very clear and very pragmatic, and also from my
point a very serious mistake. Seleznyov, the person who was elected the
chairman of the Duma...
MARGARET WARNER: The new speaker.
YEGOR GAIDAR: The new speaker. He's a political loser.
MARGARET WARNER: A political loser?
YEGOR GAIDAR: Yes. He fled from his constituencies in St. Petersburg because
he was afraid to confront competition with Mr. Stepashin. He lost the
elections in Moscow region for governorship. He will be weak and easy to
manipulate. And then as a prize for the support of Seleznyov, he begins to
hoard the control over a lot of the key candidates of the state Duma. So it
was very pragmatic and very cleaver. But also from...
MARGARET WARNER: Wait. Let me just ask this question, though. You say
pragmatic. I mean, what would be Putin's thinking? Why would he do this?
YEGOR GAIDAR: Well, because he will get the speaker of the Duma who is easy
to work with, because the payment for this support will be the support of the
Communists in the division of the key Duma opposition. So from the short-term
point of view, clever decision, but also serious mistake because it's easy to
make a deal with the Communists about nominating Seleznyov as the speaker,
but then government for instance will have to push a new land quota with the
private property and land. And Communists, I can assure you, will not support
this idea. And then the government to have to ask for the support of a part
of exactly those part the Duma which it isolated from the key Duma opposition
during the last two days. And it will not be very easy.
MARGARET WARNER: Would you... If you'd been in parliament yesterday, would
you have walked out?
YEGOR GAIDAR: Yes, of course, as our party go.
MARGARET WARNER: Now, all of you reform-minded legislators, even though
you're in different parties, you all expressed hopes of working with Putin on
reform. I mean, what do you think now? What do you think about his
YEGOR GAIDAR: Well, I think that in no way he would like to danger markets or
MARGARET WARNER: He would like to what?
YEGOR GAIDAR: He would not like to put in danger markets or private property.
So the worst scenario with Putin is a scenario status quo: Increased
political stability, less danger for the market mechanisms, but absence of a
clear for-reform strategy is worst-case scenario. Best-case scenario is that
he will be able to implement the program of economic change, which was
discussed in Russia during few last years, which was impossible to push
through the present parliament, which is probably possible to push with the
support of the government through this parliament. And of course our hope is
that he will support this program.
MARGARET WARNER: But do you think now that he's made this deal with the
Communists it is possible for him still to push the reform plan that they've
been opposing all this time?
YEGOR GAIDAR: Of course, because it was the very concrete deal, involved one
very concrete matter, connected wholly with the chairman of the Duma. He
thinks that, probably thinks, of course; it's better to ask him. He probably
thinks that it's quite another matter of what kind of legislative program he
would like to push through Duma. And to some degree it's true.
The War in Chechnya
MARGARET WARNER: Okay, let's turn to the war in Chechnya, and we've read here
that the Russian public supports it, liberals like yourself have been
supporting it, or at least not speaking out, as a fight against terrorism.
But now of course the causality figures are mounting. How long do you think
Putin can maintain political support for this war?
YEGOR GAIDAR: Well, I think for substantial amount of time. You see, Russian
public attitude towards events in Chechnya change drastically in August of
last year, even before the bombing, during the Dagestan events and invasion
from Chechnya to Dagestan territory. Now, from this moment, it was strong
perception of the major part of the Russian society that it is the duty of
the state to defend life and security of Russian citizens. And it hasn't
changed basically during last few months.
MARGARET WARNER: Do you and other centrist members of parliament share that
feeling and still believe that?
YEGOR GAIDAR: Yes, I think so. The war is terrible thing, and I was strongly
opposing the previous Chechen war because then it was first of all the war
connected with threat of whether Chechens have a right to form independent
states or not. And we discussed this matter. But from my point of view, it's
not a matter that should be decided on a battlefield. Now it's another
matter. It's a matter of whether the Russian citizens have the right for the
protection, have the right that their freedom and their life be protected by
their own state. And here the position is quite different, of course. It's
the obligation of our state. Of course, those who do think that the war is
nice, splendid adventure, that it's some noble adventure, they just do not
understand anything about wars. Wars are always terrible, nasty, bloody
things, and I would like very much this war to stop as rapidly as it could. I
do understand also that the conflict will not be eliminated - we will have
long problems like in Lebanon, like in Northern Ireland, but the elimination
of a big, well-organized, well- armed regiments, detachments of the
terrorists of course should be done.
MARGARET WARNER: That is one of the... President Clinton not only criticized
of course the tactics, but he is saying it's bad for Russia, that it is going
to be a Vietnam, another Afghanistan, that there is no military solution.
YEGOR GAIDAR: Well, I do agree with this absolutely. There is... It will be
bad for Russia and it is bad for Russia. And I as a Russian politician would
like to do a lot to avoid it and I have tried to do a lot to avoid it. But
just imagine, well, attitudes in Russia toward Chechnya War in '94-'96 were
exactly like American attitudes toward Vietnam War: Nasty, unnecessary,
dirty, casualties, et cetera. And that's why Russian public opinion pushed
the government to stop this war. But let you imagine that Vietnam is not
10,000 kilometers from here, it's here in Texas. And then after you stop the
war, you are having invasion in Russian territory-- in American territory. I
would assure you that the attitude of the American public opinion would be
MARGARET WARNER: So what, if any, impact does the criticism from the West,
the U.S. and Europe, have on thinking in Moscow on this matter?
YEGOR GAIDAR: On Chechnya, not very serious. I think no position of the west
could change seriously attitudes in Moscow toward the fact that organized
detachment of Hatab and Musav should be destroyed. Of course, we as Russian
public, as Russian politicians, should push our government, our military to
care more about human rights of those, about the humanitarian side of the
conflict, about the refugees and the problems and about the support of the
refuges, and I think if Russian public opinion concentrated on these issues
which are absolutely real, it would be much more positive.
A new U.S. - Russia relationship?
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Finally, how different do you think the
U.S.-Russia relationship would be under Putin than under Yeltsin?
YEGOR GAIDAR: Well, under Yeltsin, our relationship with the States were very
different at different stages.
MARGARET WARNER: Yes.
YEGOR GAIDAR: I think that with Putin there will be less enthusiastic, less
ideological, more pragmatic. I don't like the present trend in the
relationship between Russia and the United States. I think that they are
moving in the wrong direction. I hope it will be shot down. I think that
Putin, being pragmatic, will not... Would very rapidly understand that the
campaign that you have to have a good, working, concrete, efficient
relationship with the States. I hope that will happen also on the American
side after presidential elections.
MARGARET WARNER: But as you know, American policy-makers are trying to figure
him out, and they're saying, "here's a guy that was in the KGB. For, what, 15
or 20 years. On the other hand, he was a reformed-minded deputy mayor in St.
Petersburg." Which of those is more important?
YEGOR GAIDAR: Well, everything in Russia is complicated. He really was in the
KGB for 17 years, in intelligence. He really was working in a rather liberal
St. Petersburg city government, and was also associated with a lot of
reformers, and his views on the economy are genuine and open. I am quite sure
that he will not be bad on economic policy. I don't think that he will be not
pragmatic enough, not understand the realities of the modern world. How much
the more or less inevitable thinking in the terms of plots will influence his
decision-making process, we will see.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Well thank you, Mr. Gaidar, for being with us.
YEGOR GAIDAR: Thank you.
Chubays Attitude Toward Titov Candidacy Examined
20 January 2000
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Yelena Tokareva: "They Are In Their Own Corridors -- The
Rightists Cannot Find a Place For Themselves"
The Pragmatists Pressure the Romantics
Last week the rightists kicked up a big to-do, sensing
a special historical moment. On Thursday they assembled the political
council, hinting to journalists that they would prepare a sensation for
them. Absolutely all of the media came running for the sensation. They
sat in the storerooms of the headquarters until midnight, expecting
something dramatic, but the members of the political council came out
with wan smiles and indicated that nothing had happened.
It was learned from several prominent figures in the
SPS [Union of Rightist Forces] that many of the leaders of bloc-forming
parties who constitute the SPS political council would not mind approving
the nomination of Samara governor Konstantin Titov as a candidate for
president. But an official declaration cannot be made because this
nomination is opposed by Chubays and Kiriyenko. Our source said,
"Chubays put the pressure on everybody again."
They Are Expected to Make a Move
So even though the rightists continue to regard their 8 percent in the
Duma elections as a victory, they cannot bring themselves to run in the
presidential campaign on their own. Meanwhile, parties that had far less
success on 19 December are nominating their own candidates. Clearly, 8
percent of the vote is too little to win the presidential race. But
victory is not the only objective. It is obvious that the country, which
is sinking deeper and deeper into the mire of nomenklatura and state
capitalism, is in vital need of a liberal of stature who can coherently
articulate the political and economic doctrine of the rightists.
Otherwise their little games of politics will again come across as
kowtowing to the Boss. Indecisive positioning with respect to the
government is a chronic disease of the Russian liberals. Ever since 1993,
when the Gaydarites were asked to leave the government, the rightists
have tried to dissociate themselves from the government course, but they
gave Yeltsin ironclad support in crisis situations. As a result, they
neither secured prominent posts nor made reputations for their
ideological fighters. Does it make sense to behave the same way under
Putin? -- that is the question. And if Putin "flops" in
Chechnya, whom will the Russian electorate go to vote for? For those who
remain in the race-Zyuganov and Yavlinskiy, because the rightists have
not nominated their own candidate. Thus the liberals will fall out of
big-time politics again for a long time.
A sense of deep dissatisfaction prevails in the SPS.
After the unsuccessful Thursday meeting, Konstantin Titov, the chairman
of the political council, declared that Putin is not at all the hero
about whom the liberals are dreaming, because some of his decisions, such
as the one on the 100-percent sale of foreign-currency earnings, are
reminiscent of the days of the command economy. In politics, too, his
actions are not irreproachable-take Chechnya, for example. But Titov
immediately acknowledged that he would not run for president unless the
Union of Rightist Forces officially endorses him: his point was that it
is wrong to ignore party discipline.
Judging by several details, Titov expected to receive
official support at the conference of regional activists of the SPS. At
any rate, Titov's staff had prepared the relevant text for a draft
resolution by the conference. SPS members apparently still held fast to
notions that the majority plays the deciding role at any party forum.
The political status of the Union of Rightist Forces
today is radically different from the status of other blocs: the
rightists feel they are on the upswing, and they talk about the prospects
of transforming their coalition into a mass party and winning a majority
in the 2004 parliament. But the de facto leader of their movement is not
a politician, but an administrator-Anatoliy Chubays. The logic of his
behavior is the logic of a director who is more interested in current
business than in political prospects. People like him can even garner 10
percent in elections, but they will never score a real victory: the
sleevelets interfere with the bookkeeper. With his iron hand Chubays
punctures the starry-eyed fantasies of his coalition colleagues, bringing
them back to earth. Nominate "their own" candidate for
president and fall afoul of Putin, who as it is does not consider the SPS
his party? Then, Chubays and Kiriyenko reason, it may not be possible to
get a single portfolio in the government, and in addition, people from
the other camp may instantly end up in the role of economic advisers.
Even today things are moving toward this: Putin's first programmatic
article, "Russia at the Turn of the Millennium," abounds with
overtly antiliberal passages.
So the pragmatic wing of the SPS proposes
"playing up to Putin" and obtaining at least minimum pleasure,
while the romantics resist, arguing that "playing up" will mean
losing face once and for all and scaring away those who made up the
backbone of the rightists since 1990: human-rights advocates headed by
Sergey Kovalev, devotees of Gaydar, the St. Petersburg democrats and the
rest of the intelligentsia that does not accept the candidate from the
Lubyanka [state-security] nomenklatura.
A conference that took place last Friday was supposed
to settle the dispute between the romantics and the pragmatists.
The Last Word Belongs to Chubays
The Podmoskovye [Moscow Region] guest house, a
gigantic, vacant facility of the Ministry for Taxes and Collections with
endless passageways from one building to another, ornate vestibules and a
staff that had gone out of its mind, filled up overnight with political
figures of different caliber and journalists. Anatoliy Chubays with a
coterie of young admirers who caught his every gesture; an inconspicuous,
dispirited Yegor Gaydar, who has not spoken out in public for a long time
but sat silently in the presidium; the always smiling Sergey Kiriyenko; a
tanned Irina Khakamada with her husband; the tense Samara governor
Konstantin Titov; and a sea of provincial activists, who carried out the
December elections on their shoulders.
The main question on the agenda was about the
establishment of a mass party or movement out of the framework of the
SPS. Of the 12 regional activists who spoke, everyone were in favor, but
practically all of them stressed that it was imperative for the
movement's political identity to nominate their own candidate for
president, and everyone agreed on Titov. True, a few people also named
Chubays as a possible candidate, but timidly and hesitantly. They tried
not to mention Putin until the emotional [Alla] Gerber quoted Aleksandr
Prokhanov, editor-in-chief of the newspaper Zavtra: "There he is, a
new Stalin hiding for the time being under the protection of the Jewish
party." "My constituency is afraid of such a Putin," said
Alla Gerber. "Titov! Titov for president!" came shouts from
around the hall. Chubays's young agents who were sitting next to me
covered their faces with their hands and whispered: "What are they
babbling for! They're just children! Titov is nobody without
Chubays!" And they vigorously applauded when Kiriyenko declared that
it was time to end the debate, because Chubays was about to speak.
Anatoliy Borisovich managed to formulate his goal in
succinct terms: "There can be no presidential candidate Chubays. I
have made my choice -- Putin. We cannot be motivated by the Olympic
principle that the most important thing is to participate. But can we win
the presidential election with our own candidate? Can we marshal new
political resources in such a time frame?" According to his
bookkeeper-like calculations, competing with Putin would be more trouble
than it is worth.
No one disputed Chubays, although he did not seem to
convince anyone, either. The conference was reminiscent of the congresses
of the LDPR [Liberal-Democratic Party of Russia], when only the supreme
leader has the right to the truth. The only difference is that the
Zhirinovskyites acknowledge this right without complaint. The SPS,
however, is a cask with a young wine that is fermenting and one day may
blow out the cork.
When Chubays finished, somebody shouted from audience:
"But we don't know anything about your Putin. Tell us who he
is!" Chubays paused for effect and said: "Seventeen years with
the KGB. With the PGU, that is, the first main directorate. That's
Just then the voice of Sergey Kovalev rang out from
the audience: "I have different information. Putin did not work for
the PGU, but for the Internal Security Department of the KGB, that is, he
monitored the behavior of his colleagues."
Chubays paid no attention to Kovalev and continued:
"On more than one occasion I discussed the basic questions of
democracy with Putin: freedom of expression, private property, the role
of the state. I did not sense any differences with him. I know a whole
host of situations in which Putin acquitted himself as a man of high
integrity. I'll cite two examples. When one of our prime ministers"
-- here Chubays looked affectionately at Kiriyenko and said that he was
not referring to Sergey Vladilenovich -- "summoned Putin, then the
director of the FSB, and ordered him to place the leader of a major party
and a major journalist under surveillance, Putin harshly replied, 'You
have no right to give me this assignment. Only President Yeltsin can give
it to me, and if he gives me such an assignment, I will immediately
resign.' And Putin would have resigned, do you understand?"
The hall was silent. The story about "one prime
minister," "one leader" and "one journalist"
sounded like a hastily concocted tale. Yet everyone remembered how
quickly Putin's agency, without a presidential directive, found
"ladies of the evening" to write complaints about Prosecutor
General Skuratov. But the silence in the hall did not faze Chubays, and
he continued: "And who saved Sobchak? Who arranged his escape from
Russia? It was Putin. If it had not been for him, Sobchak would have had
a different fate. Everything Putin did in this process was moral."
Chubays's speech was the last one. That is the way SPS
events are designed -- the concluding remarks always belong to Anatoliy
Borisovich. The holiday of disobedience was over. The delegates spilled
out into the foyer and began to give out "balanced" interviews.
Kiriyenko said the SPS would not support Putin completely or
unconditionally, but partially, depending on his actions. Khakamada
whispered to me that she was unhappy, and had been especially unhappy in
St. Petersburg, when Putin endorsed Governor Yakovlev. Sergey Kovalev
declared that Chubays's pragmatism bordered on being devoid of principle
and that the DVR [The Democratic Choice of Russia], which Kovalev
represented, was unlikely to ally itself with Anatoliy Borisovich.
Gaydar, who had been quiet for the entire three hours, inconspicuously
slipped away from the journalists. It appears that the founder of the
liberal movement in Russia no longer represents anything of substance in
the SPS. Gaydar's closest associate, Aleksey Ulyukayev, doubts that
liberal economists will be invited into Putin's government, but said that
one could be satisfied even with the role of consultants. As always, the
winner was Chubays -- a man who does not see more than one immediate goal
in front of him. But he sees it well.
P.S. According to available information, Konstantin
Titov has already been nominated as a candidate for president by 12
initiative groups from various Russian cities. Titov has blinked and is
ready to give his consent to his nomination, despite the party ban.
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Viktor Kalashnikov)
Several JRL contributors have very keenly depicted
deviations Mr. Yastrzhembsky undertakes along with the
changing 'general line'. However, not all of these claims are
justified, since some of Yastrzhembsky's deeds show a great
deal of sustainability. The following story - minor in itself -
may provide a hint in this regard. It also gives a sample of
how it works.
Both my wife and me left the 'Kommersant'-paper &
magazine (reformist, liberal) in March of 1998 after we had
published several reports on the opposition's rise in
Slovakia. Mr. Yastrzhembsky himself called from his Kremlin
office our editor-in-chief (a reformer, liberal) demanding that
both of us should stop that kind of coverage which 'was
against Russia's national interests'.
As to the substance, we attempted to break the silence
about Slovakia in Russian media at that time and to show
that it would be unwise for Moscow to put all the eggs into
the premier's Meciar (Yastrzhembsky's friend and business
partner) box. Those interested may be referred to the
extensive presentation of events in Slovakia two years ago in
At a 1998's March morning security people have forcefully
seized the press-card out form my wife's hands at the
'Kommersant' HQ's entry. No one from the management has
been available since that moment for any clarification
whatsoever. After many futile attempts to get yet someone
for explanations, I also left the paper.
As it became known later, Yastrzhembsky's office was
accompanied in its efforts by a number of institutions with
the joint task - in a high-level quote - to 'stop them!'.
Russian embassy in Bratislava, Slovakian embassy in
Moscow, Duma's International Committee - to name a few.
The case has then become public through Czech and Slovak
journalists as well as through RFE/RL.
Last week, I was invited by the 'Kommersant's' International
Desk Head (!) to discuss an ad hoc project (I work for
another media-institution now). The security - at the same
spot but substantially reinforced (some 10 men now plus
powerful anti-bombing equipment) - denied me from entry
saying that, despite the invitation, an order 'from previous
times' not to let me in was still valid. The Desk Head
appeared to be confused himself but admitted at the end
that he was unable to overmatch that administrative
hindrance for it came 'form the top'.
P.S. I have skipped here contacts to some bodies
presumably entitled - by their status and names - to show
interest towards such cases. Only one episode: the Moscow
representative of an respectful international group said he
hardly could do anything (OK, his resources may have been
limited). Nevertheless, he... threatened to complain against
us to his chiefs abroad if we refused to submit all the details
('especially, on what you're going to do next') and try,
instead, to dodge from cooperation with him.
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