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Johnson's Russia List


February 13, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4104 4105


Johnson's Russia List
13 February 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Film Uses Pushkin to Strafe Russian Politics.
2. AFP: Russian forces bombard civilian homes to cut off rebel retreat.
3. The Times (UK): Putin's 'liberators' find a welcome. The Chechens of Tolstoy-Yurt are weary but grateful for Moscow's war, writes Janine di Giovanni.
4. The Guardian (UK): Amelia Gentleman, Chechens trapped in the factory of death. Russia holds hundreds in the hunt for rebels.
5. Financial Times (UK): Sale may signal business clean-up.
6. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: A Predictable Duma Rout For 'Liberals' 
7. RFE/RL: Paul Goble, The End Of The Post-Cold War Era.
8. Robert Cutler: Re: JRL-4103/NG poll.
9. Novye Izvestia: FAREWELL TO ARMS. Does Russia Need "National Egotism"? (re START 2)
10. The Electric Telegraph (UK): Guy Chazan, Putin to restart military training for schoolboys.
11. the eXile: Sasha's Other Enemies. (re Alexander Khinshtein)
12. the eXile: Putin's Anal-Retentive Characteristics.]


Film Uses Pushkin to Strafe Russian Politics
February 12, 2000
By Alastair Macdonald

BERLIN (Reuters) - In Russia, some things never change, reckons Alexander 
Proshkin -- strife, love, corrupt rulers, brutality, deceit and generosity 
have always mingled. 

So his film of Alexander Pushkin's novella ``The Captain's Daughter,'' given 
an international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Saturday, has plenty 
to say about next month's Russian election amid epic scenes from an 18th 
century civil war. 

``Pushkin understood that there are certain laws of our society,'' Proshkin 
said of the film, produced for the bicentenary of the national poet's birth 
last year. 

``In the 200 years since he was born, much has changed. But in essence things 
are the same. This Russian drama from the 18th century we see repeated daily. 
There's a war going on right now, in Chechnya, and blood on our television 
screens every night. 

``The whole of our 20th century was a permanent civil war.'' 

The story centers on a teenage ensign's love for his captain's daughter in a 
remote eastern garrison and his efforts to preserve their honor amid the 
brutal violence and torn loyalties of the Pugachev revolt of the 1770s, when 
Cossacks led a rebellion against the Empress Catherine the Great. 

``God save us from a Russian revolt, senseless and merciless'' -- Pushkin's 
famous lines, recited over scenes of bloody clashes on the snowbound steppe, 
linger in many Russian minds today. 


Neither side in the war comes out of it well, not the German-born Catherine, 
with her debauched court and her husband's murder on her conscience, nor the 
illiterate Pugachev and his band of thieves and cut-throats, who go along 
with his story that he is the ``murdered'' tsar, Peter III. 

Betrayal is the order of the day, from the highest to the lowest, in matters 
of state and in personal friendship. 

``Those were immoral times, of quick money and quick promotions,'' Proshkin 
said. ``Today things are very similar.'' 

``Pugachev is an imposter, an actor, a grandiose character. He is in the very 
nature of Russia, like the actors in our politics -- you can see candidate 
Pugachev any day of the week.'' 

Russians go to the polls on March 26 to elect a president to succeed Boris 
Yeltsin, a larger-than-life figure who occasionally referred to himself as a 
new tsar after destroying communism. Acting President Vladimir Putin, a 
former KGB spy and Yeltsin's nominated successor, is expected to win. 

For all Proskin's depressing assessment, shining through the grim tableaux of 
Pushkin's tale is the romance of the two young people and it is this, 
Proshkin says, that is his message of hope. 


``In our time, too, these 16- and 17-year-olds, who haven't had time to 
devalue the old values, are the heroes of our time and Russia's hope for the 
future,'' he said. 

Odd perhaps, then, that the lead roles are played by Polish teenagers, 
Mateusz Damiecki and Karolina Gruska. 

``The Poles,'' Proshkin says, ``Have bounced back much more quickly. They're 
closer to Puskhin's time. But we'll get there.'' 

``The Captain's Daughter,'' titled ``Russky Bunt'' (Russian Rebellion) in 
Russian, in competition with 20 other films from 16 countries for the Golden 
Bear award. 

Another film competing for the festival's top prize, ``The Beach'' by British 
director Danny Boyle, was a focus of attention on Saturday thanks to its 
star, Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio. 

In the film, DiCaprio plays a bored American backpacker addicted to 
electronic games and devoid of values in search of adventure. DiCaprio and 
two fellow travellers learn about a secret island in Thailand unspoiled by 

More than a thousand teenage fans crowded behind police barricades for a 
glimpse of the 25-year-old star of the 1997 blockbuster ``Titanic'' who told 
reporters he feels that his celebrity image is at times out of control and he 
wishes he could escape to a secret island. 

A Berlin tabloid newspaper offered 1,000 marks ($500) in a page one challenge 
for any Berlin girl who manages to steal a kiss from the American actor. 


Russian forces bombard civilian homes to cut off rebel retreat

URUS-MARTAN, Russia, Feb 12 (AFP) - 
A string of Chechen villages was ruthlessly bombarded by Russian forces 
attempting to block Chechen fighters escaping from Grozny, witnesses told an 
AFP correspondent who was trapped in the area by the fighting for 10 days.

Chechen fighters fleeing Grozny ahead of a Russian advance on January 30 
moved through a series of villages in an attempt to reach rebel strongholds 
in the southern mountains.

Each village was bombarded by Russian forces, killing a total of at least 400 
civilians, while the rebels, seeking to avoid drawing Russian fire on 
inhabited areas, did not shoot back, the witnesses said.

From January 30, the suburb of Alkan-Kala, southwest of Grozny, was bombarded 
for four days by Russian artillery and planes. At least 10 civilians were 
killed and 30 wounded. The wounded civilians were evacuated by Russian 
troops. AFP found 200 homes which had been destroyed in the attack.

In Katyr-Yurt, 30 kilometres (18 miles) farther southwest, four-fifths of the 
buildings were destroyed. Survivors, still struggling to pull bodies from the 
wreckage of their homes, told AFP at the scene that 260 people were killed 
between February 2 and February 12.

"We were bombarded by helicopters and rocket-launchers," said Ibragim Saligov.

Katyr-Yurt was totally surrounded by the Russians for several days, 
preventing civilians from fleeing the scene.

In Gekhi-Chu, where inhabitants said 50 people were killed, AFP found at 
least 100 buildings destroyed. Zakan-Yurt and Chaami-Yurt, which were also on 
the fighters' escape route, were also partially damaged.

The string of villages became a Russian target when first a vanguard of 1,500 
then the main body of 3,000 Chechen fighters abandoned their defence of 
Grozny and set off southwest.

According to fighters and the surgeon at the hospital in Alkhan-Kala, Khasan 
Bayev, the separatist units walked into a minefield just outside the Grozny 
suburb of Kirova.

Chechen commander Shamil Bassaiev is said to have lost his right foot to a 
mine, while other senior separatist figures, including Grozny's mayor, Letcha 
Dudayev, the military commander in Groany, Aslambek Ismailov, and commander 
Khunka Pasha Israpilov, were killed instantly.

"I received 200 injured, and performed an average of 23 amputations per day 
between January 30 and February 2," Bayev said.

When the Russian troops entered the village 90 separatists were still in the 
hospital. They were placed on three buses by the Russians and sent in the 
direction of Tolstoy-Yurt, north of Grozny.

The number of Chechen fighters killed by mines and in the fighting was 
impossible to verify at the scene. The Russian military claims that several 
hundred died.

Witnesses in Alkan-Kala told AFP they had seen Russian troops collect the 
corpses of at least 30 separatists.


The Times (UK)
12 February 2000
[for personal use only]
Putin's 'liberators' find a welcome
The Chechens of Tolstoy-Yurt are weary but grateful for Moscow's war, writes 
Janine di Giovanni 

HERE in Tolstoy-Yurt, a desolate place that feels like the end of the earth, 
the war is being fought on a different level. 

Tolstoy-Yurt is a bleak Chechen village where families have farmed on a 
small scale and bred cattle for generations. They say they are proud Chechens 
who respect their ancestors and their traditions, but here there is no great 
love for the boyaviki, the Chechen fighters who fled Grozny last week and are 
now living in the mountains. 

This is a pro-Russian town, a place where villagers took up arms to defend 
themselves against the Chechen fighters. It is a place where Russian soldiers 
are seen as liberators, and where they are kissed, hugged and fed by local 
people. Next to the Russian Emergency Ministry base where I am staying is a 
camp run by the soldiers of Ruslan Gantemirov, the pro-Moscow Chechen, the 
former Mayor of Grozny, who was imprisoned for suspect deals. 

He was released at the start of the war to lead his own band of rogue 
fighters and to become head of the temporary council of the Chechen 
pro-Russian Government. These are a rough lot. Gold-toothed, unshaven, 
reeking of garlic and onions, wearing filthy uniforms, they scoff at the fact 
that they took up arms against their Chechen brothers. 

"It was more fun that way," Mousa, the commander, says. "We went to war 
because we never got paid by [President] Maskhadov. It didn't hurt us to 
fight in the battle of Grozny. We had to get rid of the fighters. The people 
who came out of their cellars, when we went in, greeted us like liberators." 

It is strange to be so close geographically to the fiercely loyal Chechen 
villages where I stayed last week, but to be so far apart philosophically. 

There, Chechen fighters were harboured by villagers, fed and clothed by local 
women. Everyone except a few informers backed the fighters and loathed the 
Russian occupiers; even old men took up their hunting rifles against the 
invaders. Here, it is another world. Said, a local man who is voting for 
Vladimir Putin in the March elections, says: "The Chechen fighters never came 
into this village. We took up our own guns and had a stand-off with them. In 
October and November we had no electricity. Then the Russian soldiers arrived 
and they took the strategic heights and life got better. They brought some 

Tolstoy-Yurt is the birthplace of Ruslan Khasbulatov, the most powerful 
Chechen in Russian politics and one of the leaders of the October 1993 White 
House rebellion. Rosa Vakhaievna, the headmistress of the only school, is 
proud of that fact. She is also proud that the village elders refused to 
rename the town, called after the great Russian writer, to a Chechen one. 
People here refer to the country as the Chechen Republic of Russia, not 
Ishkeria, the Chechen name. "President Maskhadov tried to get us to teach the 
children in Chechen instead of Russian," she says, "but we refused. We are 
loyal to Moscow. We educate good pupils. We don't educate fighters." 

Rosa is also a fan of Mr Putin. "He is small but tough," she says. "He got 
the job done. It wasn't easy to get rid of those Chechen fighters. They were 
well armed and well trained. But it had to be done." 

Rosa acknowledges that getting the job done - that is, wiping Grozny off the 
map - came at a high cost to the civilians who live there. 

Many refugees are being brought to Tolstoy-Yurt, to the muddy fields where 
Russian soldiers are preparing refugee centres. Said says: "I feel sorry for 
them, but many of the people who stayed in Grozny were taking mafia money. 
And the soldiers were the ones who created this terrorist ring and kidnapping 
operations. The only way to get rid of them was to bomb Grozny. They didn't 
fight in the name of the people. Those bandits fought for themselves." 

Part of the frustration of the villagers lies in the corruption of the recent 
Chechen regime. No one was paid. Rosa's school, which is empty save for the 
odd poster of a Swiss Alpine scene tacked to the wall, is receiving finance 
from its twinned town in Russia. 

She has her own views about the war - she believes that the Chechens who 
prefer fighting are "mountain people" who are brought up in a hostile, tough 
environment. "We are flat-landers, we are more educated," she says. 

The town's hospital - if it can be called that - lies at the end of an 
unpaved road. Your feet sink ankle-deep into mud as you get out of the car to 
be greeted by the director, Elizabeta Davutkhatshieva, who wears a clean 
white coat and a starched white hat. Despite her touching attempts at looking 
official, her face looks defeated. "We have no medicine, no facilities, and 
don't even mention salaries," she says in a resigned voice. "In June, it will 
be four years since we have been paid." 

To earn money to eat, Elizabeta, a doctor, resorts to the few chickens she 
has at home to bring in some income. She has no patients. "They come and we 
prescibe medicine, but no one has the money to pay for it," she says. "So 
they never come back." There is a TB epidemic in Tolstoy-Yurt, and the flu 
virus struck earlier this month as violently as in England. "But there was 
nothing we could do. 

"There is one surgeon, a refugee from Grozny, but he's got nothing to operate 

Elizabeta is also voting for Mr Putin. She feels the Russians have more 
chance of restoring order. Most of her one-story hospital is taken up not by 
the sick, but by refugees who fled Grozny in November and December. 

"A lot of people here in Tolstoy-Yurt have not given up the idea of 
independence," Said says. "But they realise that under the Russians, life is 

But a peasant woman standing near him, Birlan Hisara, interrupts. 

She says she has six children, one of whom is an invalid, and lives on 230 
roubles (less than £6) a month. To earn her living, she sells raisin cakes 
which she bakes every morning. 

"No one has been paid under Chechen rule, it's true," she says. "But how can 
we expect the Russians to help us? They promise golden mountains, but they 
don't really do anything. They're hungry themselves." 

about a licence to reproduce material from The Times, visit the Syndication 


The Guardian (UK)
13 February 2000
[for personal use only]
Chechens trapped in the factory of death 
Russia holds hundreds in the hunt for rebels
By Amelia Gentleman

It is an ugly name for an ugly place. Outside Chernokozovo 'filtration camp' 
relatives wait for news of their menfolk. Inside, according to human rights 
groups, Russian soldiers are beating, raping and torturing Chechen prisoners. 

Chernokozovo, with about 700 detainees, is the largest of four camps in which 
the Russians are 'separating' terrorists from civilians. Many of the men have 
been summarily arrested on the flimsiest of pretexts. 

The camp, a former Soviet factory 30 miles north of Grozny, has been thrown 
together from red brick and barbed wire. The factory's tall water coolers 
have been converted into watchtowers; high walls make it impossible to see 
what is happening inside. 

News from behind the huge sliding doors is scarce. Relatives of those 
detained wait in the nearby market place for scraps of informa tion brought 
out by locals employed in the prison. 

Magomadovo Umarovna was yesterday waiting by the gate holding five garlic 
heads which she hoped to be able to pass to her detained son, Adlan Basayev. 
The orderly who serves food to the inmates had managed to smuggle out a note 
from him, begging her to send some kind of medicine to protect against 

In detention since 13 January, her son's only crime was to have the same 
surname as the Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev. 'They checked his papers and 
decided he must be a relative. Why should he suffer because of his surname? 
None of us have ever even set eyes on Basayev. The system is very cruel,' she 

'He wrote that there was a TB epidemic inside. I can't get the right tablets 
to send him. I hope the garlic may help.' His note had given few details of 
life within the camp. 'They're scared to write much, in case the letter goes 
astray. But I know things are bad for him there. Someone who was recently 
freed told me my son's nose was broken when he was beaten in the toilets.' 

This is the detention centre where Russian war correspondent Andrei Babitsky 
- arrested for reporting from Grozny without military permission - was 
allegedly held by the Russian security services, before being handed over to 
Chechen fighters last week in a prisoner swap. He is thought to have been 
badly treated during his stay. On Friday a funeral was held in Chernokozovo 
for another inmate who died after being beaten. 'Sometimes at night people 
living near the prison say they can hear the noise of people being tortured,' 
Umarovna said. 

Last week a letter detailing the brutality of the camp regime, apparently 
written by a Russian soldier there, was leaked to the media. He described how 
Chechen inmates were being systematically beaten, raped and killed. He said 
that Babitsky 'was beaten so badly that his glasses were flung in the air, 
poor guy'. The soldier expressed his sense of guilt at his participation in 
the brutality. 

Human rights organisations have also expressed concern at the conditions 
within these centres, set up with the aim of filtering out fighters from 
civilians. There is evidence that large numbers of young Chechen men are 
being rounded up arbitrarily and detained. 

Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch's representative in the region, said: 
'These men are being taken to unknown detention facilities and their families 
are not being informed of where they are. Some men are never heard of again. 
Given the massive abuses that took place in these centres during the last 
war, we are gravely concerned about this developing trend.' 

Explaining the scale of what the Russians insist on calling a 'cleansing 
operation', he said he had evidence that 120 men had been arrested en masse 
in Shami-Yurt, near Grozny, earlier this month. Fighters and civilians are 
arrested together, but there is no information to explain if and how the 
Russian military sets about distinguishing between the two categories. No 
international monitoring organisation has been permitted to visit any of the 
four main camps. 

The camps became notorious during Russia's last war with Chechnya, when many 
Chechen men died during their detention and many more died shortly after 
their release. Then human rights activists gathered horrific stories of 
torture - with former inmates describing being held in airless cells, or in 
dark mud pits dug out from the ground, often knee-deep in water. Many said 
they had been the victims of both psychological and physical torture. 

In Grozny, the war goes on. And not all of the city's residents are entirely 
hostile to the Russian forces. Some of Grozny's residents say they are 
grateful to the Russian soldiers for their drive to clear the city of 
fighters. Standing outside the blackened remains of the grandiose entrance to 
Grozny's main park (still named the Park of Culture and Rest in the name of 
Lenin), Pyotr Sidorov, 64, a Russian who has lived in Chechnya for most of 
his life, said he approved of the campaign. 

Behind him as he walked to collect a bucket of water for his family, a 
panorama of total destruction was visible. Not a single building in Grozny 
remains intact. 'The Russians were right to do this. We need to fight to put 
a sensible government in power here,' he said. 


Financial Times (UK)
12 February 2000
[for personal use only]
RUSSIA: Sale may signal business clean-up 
By John Thornhill in Moscow and Charles Clover in Kiev

Trans-World Metals, the UK company that is one of the most powerful aluminium 
traders working in the former Soviet Union, on Friday confirmed it was 
negotiating to sell some of its interests in the region.

Industry sources in Moscow suggested that a group of Russian investors, 
including the leading shareholders in the Sibneft oil group, was preparing to 
pay in excess of $500m for Trans-World's assets in Russia.

The combination of Sibneft's oil business and Trans-World's metal assets 
would create one of Russia's richest and most powerful financial-industrial 
groups, with significant export sales.

The move comes at a time when several of Russia's business oligarchs are 
making efforts to "clean up" their businesses in anticipation that Vladimir 
Putin is elected president in March.

Mr Putin has stressed he wants to create equal rules of the game for all 
businesses in Russia and is increasing the pressure on Russia's oligarchs to 
invest at home rather than siphon their cash abroad.

The major shareholder in Sibneft is believed to be Roman Abramovich, the 
former oil trader who last year emerged as one of Russia's most powerful 
oligarchs with particularly close links to President Boris Yeltsin's family.

Another of Russia's influential oligarchs, Boris Berezovsky, is also believed 
to be a significant shareholder in Sibneft, although the company has made 
strenuous efforts over the past few months to distance itself from the 
controversial media tycoon.

Trans-World has significant stakes in Krasnoyarsk and Bratsk aluminium 
smelters, the two largest in Russia.

The company formerly held stakes in Russia's third largest smelter, at 
Sayansk, but was pushed out in 1997 and is suing its former partners. 
Together, the three smelters have combined annual sales of about $3bn.

The company is mainly owned by David and Simon Ruben, British metals traders 
who started the company in 1978. Trans-World began working in Russia in 1992, 
in partnership with a Russian businessman, Lev Chernoi, through a company 
called Trans-Cis Commodities.

In addition to its aluminium smelters, Trans-World has bought stakes in coal 
mines, alumina plants and power stations in Russia and Kazakhstan.

Last autumn Geneva magistrates began investigating Mr Chernoi for alleged 
money laundering.

The Rubens have said publicly that they and Mr Chernoi are going their 
separate ways.


Moscow Times
February 12, 2000 
EDITORIAL: A Predictable Duma Rout For 'Liberals' 

On Friday, the Kremlin-Communist bloc that dominates the State Duma again 
sneeringly flexed its muscles. Already the Communists and Vladimir Putin's 
pet bloc, Unity, have divided up all of the Duma's top jobs and committees. 
On Friday they added insult to injury: Each party in the Duma gets to appoint 
a deputy speaker - but the Kremlin-Communist bloc gleefully rejected the 
candidates from Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces, or SPS. 

The jobs in dispute are not in themselves terribly important; deputy speakers 
have little power. But that just made the symbolism of the affair all the 
more frank: Liberals need not apply to run anything in the Duma. 

This was a predictable development. There has never been much difference 
between Unity and the Communists. Their members are practically 
interchangeable - Gennady Seleznyov, Alexander Rutskoi, Nikolai Kondratenko, 
Yevgeny Nazdratenko. Both parties are packed with careerists and 
opportunists, both pay lip service to civil liberties and free markets, both 
support the suppression of Chechnya, both advocate "a stronger state" and 
more state intervention in the economy ... in fact, the only differences we 
can see are that the Communists also talk about social welfare concerns, 
while Unity talks about land privatizations. 

Nonetheless, Russia's liberals are now moaning that they have been "betrayed" 
by Unity. On the contrary, it is the liberals who betrayed the people - back 
in December, when they so eagerly embraced the government's war and its dirty 
campaign tricks. 

Liberalism is supposed to stand for democratic views - for respecting and 
valuing the individual. Instead, the SPS crowd cheerily benefited from the 
GÚbbelsesque propaganda on Kremlin-loyal television; and when SPS icon 
Anatoly Chubais called Yabloko's Grigory Yavlinsky "a traitor" for 
questioning the war, no one at SPS even blinked. 

Afterward, while the SPS team was giddily congratulating itself on its 
newfound "relevance," the Kremlin was quietly gathering those people who 
speak its language - the Communists and the LDPR - and establishing a 
nomenklatura Duma. 

Yabloko, Fatherland-All Russia and SPS boycotted it briefly. Eventually they 
gave that up; Sergei Kiriyenko even claimed victory, saying he had struck a 
deal under which the SPS economic agenda was going to be adopted immedi ately 
and wholesale. 

And now look: Liberals can't even get a few token sinecures; on Friday they 
couldn't even get Andrei Babitsky's fate put on the agenda. Liberals are less 
relevant than ever - and the only surprise in this is how many people are 
indignantly surprised, including the SPS crowd themselves. 

- Matt Bivens 


East/West: Analysis From Washington -- The End Of The Post-Cold War Era
By Paul Goble

Washington, 11 February 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's delivery of two modern 
warships to China this week is the clearest indication yet that the post-Cold 
War era is rapidly coming to an end and that the world is rapidly moving into 
a new and potentially more dangerous period.

This action--which involved the sale of two $800 million destroyers--suggests 
that Moscow's reentry onto the geopolitical playing field will increasingly 
be directed at challenging the United States. That in turn implies that this 
re-entry will consist of Russian efforts to mobilize others disturbed by or 
angry at American power around the world.

And perhaps most disturbingly of all, this sale suggests that Moscow and its 
new allies will increasingly focus on military and economic strength rather 
than on any extension of democratic values -- the values many in the West had 
thought were the defining principles of development in the post-Cold War 

Over the six months, Moscow and Beijing have entered into an ever closer 
strategic relationship. Despite past differences, including military clashes 
in 1969, the two are now coordinating their military doctrines and staging 
joint exercises. And 2,000 Russian scientists and technicians now work in 
Chinese military research institutions. 

Some have dismissed these activities, especially the sale of military 
equipment, as an example of Russia's continuing search for hard currency and 
China's inability to produce cutting edge military goods. And many more have 
suggested that tensions between the two may ultimately drive them apart.

Both these perspectives may ultimately prove to be the case. But when put in 
the context of other recent Russian actions, the latest Russian sale appears 
to be part of a broader strategy.

Ever more often in recent months, Moscow has sought to challenge the United 
States -- in Kosovo by its unexpected troop movements to Pristina last year, 
in Iran and Iraq, and especially in Europe. Such a stance plays well among 
many Russians angry at their current situation and eager to find someone to 

Moreover, it has distinct foreign policy advantages. Many other countries are 
angry at the sole remaining superpower and are only too willing to band 
together with a country that promises to end what Moscow calls the current 
unipolar world. China certainly fits in this category, but so do Iran, Iraq, 
Libya, Cuba, and even some West European states.

Moreover, this policy does not necessarily compromise Russia's relationship 
with Western donor countries. Many of these governments are prone to explain 
away Russian excesses by suggesting that Moscow is playing to a domestic 
constituency with its nationalistic behavior or by noting that Russia is not 
the power it once was.

And few of them are willing to impose any sanctions on Russian behavior out 
of a fear that such sanctions could backfire. Thus, even while decrying 
specific actions, these government are likely to continue to provide 
assistance in the hopes that Moscow will change direction or that at least 
some reforms there will continue.

Given this situation, Moscow has a relatively free hand to try to promote 
ties with these aggrieved countries and thus assume a leadership defined 
primarily by opposition to the United States.

But this role increasingly appears to include not only a geopolitical 
dimension but a political one as well, not only opposition to American power 
around the world but also opposition to ideas like liberal democracy which 
many associate with the United States.

With the exception of Western Europe, where Moscow so far has had the least 
success in currying favor, all of the countries Moscow has been reaching out 
to as part of this strategy are opposed to the democratic ideals many had 
thought triumphant after 1989 and 1991.

Some of them argue that they must pursue economic reform first. Others argue 
that they have a special third way to the future. But all are antagonistic to 
the values of liberal democracy.

Because of its current weakness and because of the strength and 
attractiveness to many of American values, Moscow is unlikely to succeed in 
this attempt. Indeed, many of its own people are likely to oppose it.

But even if the Russian government does not succeed, its effort to move in 
this direction appears likely to end the optimism of the post-Cold War world 
and to lead ever more people to search for a more adequate description of a 
more competitive and more dangerous geopolitical system. 


From: <> (Robert Cutler)
Subject: Re: JRL-4103/NG poll
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000

I doubt that I am the only one of your readers to observe this but I am
compelled to write about it. The NG poll showing how Yavlinsky's
popularity has allegedly soared is really meaningless. Aside from the fact
of its being an "Internet poll" (meaning respondents are self-selected and
not prevented from responding multiple times), it recalls most analogously
the famous polls predicting Dewey's victory over Truman in 1948. It is
sometimes forgotten that the error in those polls was due to the fact that
they were conducted by telephone, and that in 1948 those voters having
telephones were more likely to be affluent hence more likely to be
Republican hence more likely to vote for Dewey.

One cannot help but wonder whether the non-universality of Internet access
in Russia, access that is required in order to cast a "vote" at a website,
could account for this "result": let alone the fact that the question
asked was apparently, who did the respondent think would win, rather than
whom did the respondent prefer. As is so much the case in the Russian
press, the significance of this artefact-result is in the fact of its
being reported and commented, as opposed to any attention that the "event"
(to use the term loosely) intrinsically merits.

In light of a recent exchange in JRL about Russian media personalities
hopping back and forth to and from positions of government responsibility,
I am obliged also to wonder, whether the West has anticipated Russia in
this aspect of "reporting" as well. Karl Kraus had a number of acid
comments about this in the 1920s and 1930s, of which the most famous but
least often attributed, is that many problems in international affairs are
due to the fact that statesmen and ambassadors regularly lie to reporters
yet then turn around and believe what they read in the newspapers.

The proliferation of such things as the NG poll illustrates that this
capacity is no longer limited to the political elite, who now in concert
with the "means of mass information" (also called under the Soviet period
the "means of mass information and propaganda" or SMIP) generously provide
the "masses" with the means to mislead themselves, so as to be able
concentrate their own attention on more pressing matters. But, of course,
this happens only because democratization has yet fully to be realized.


Novye Izvestia
February 10, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
Does Russia Need "National Egotism"?

The Yabloko, OVR and SPS factions announced at a press 
conference in the State Duma about their common stand on the 
issue of START-2 ratification. Sergei Ivanenko, deputy faction 
leader of Yabloko, said this "treaty suits the interests of 
Russia and must be ratified." This final, and rather tough, 
stand of an experienced Duma faction will launch a new stage of 
the ratification process, which has been feared to last for 
ever only recently. 
Once the Soviet armed forces were larger than the armies 
of NATO countries, Japan and China taken together. This means 
not just manpower, but also armoured vehicles, missiles, 
aviation, air defence, submarines, ballistic missiles, ABM 
anti-missiles, and everything else. Russia inherited its 
military might from the Soviet Union -- but with considerable 
losses. The economic crisis delivered another blow at the army 
and the defence industries.
Russia's nuclear missiles are the genuine prop of its 
status on the world political scene. Russia is a superpower in 
this sense. Its nuclear forces are the apple of the military 
policy's eye. But the maintenance of strategic nuclear forces 
is truly expensive. A lion's share of the 90-billion-rouble 
defence budget was spent on nuclear forces in 1999.
The START-2 treaty signed in early 1993 provided for a 
radical reduction of Russian and US strategic weapons by the 
year 2003. The USA ratified the treaty in early 1996, but it 
was pushed under the carpet in Russia, first by the Supreme 
Soviet and later by the State Duma. 
The situation changed, although only slightly, in 1998, 
when the Duma was ready to put the treaty up for ratification. 
But the deputies were hindered by two factors of international 
significance: the US and British missile strikes at Iraq, and 
the NATO aggression against Yugoslavia. The wave of outrage, 
which swept the Duma, forced the government to withdraw its 
ratification proposal in view of imminent failure. 
Later the Duma committee on international affairs 
suggested that the issues of START-2 ratification and the 
situation around the ABM treaty be put on the agenda of the 
spring session. The OVR, Yabloko and SPS factions are the most 
ardent advocates of this. Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky more 
than once spoke on this subject, thus paving the way to debates.
In fact, there are serious pro and contra arguments. It is 
clear that a positive decision would create additional 
possibilities for the Russian economy. To begin with, Russia 
will be no longer regarded as an ambitious beggar armed to the 
teeth with nuclear warheads. This will raise the investment 
attractiveness of the country. Second, it will become easier to 
service the nuclear arsenals. The situation is paradoxical now, 
with Russia's GDP equal to 2.5% of the US GDP, and its spending 
on the armed forces amounting to 2% of the corresponding US 
outlays. And third, a definite stand on START-2 would give us a 
chance to resolve also the problem of the ABM Treaty.
But there are rather aggressive opponents of ratification 
in the State Duma. In particular, Dmitry Rogozin, chairman of 
the Duma committee on international affairs, thinks that Moscow 
should be guided by the principle of national egotism in its 
attitude to START-2. The communists have a roughly similar view 
on the problem.
It is difficult to say how the egotistical sentiments of 
some deputies will influence the incomes of the people who 
elected these deputies. But there are other sentiments in the 
Duma. For example, the Yabloko faction addressed the issue of 
drawn-out ratification of START-2 from a purely professional 
viewpoint several years ago. Aleksei Arbatov, an expert on 
international security, carefully analysed the treaty and 
stated that "only a strong and democratic Russia would have no 
antagonistic contradictions with the West." Grigory Yavlinsky 
chimed in to say that only a state, which is rising not as an 
"authoritarian empire, but a democratic European state" will 
"have the inalienable right to an independent foreign policy." 
So, we have two stands in the new Duma: of the left forces 
(nationalist) and of the liberally-minded right forces 
(pragmatic). The fate of START-2 will reveal the true spirit of 
the new Russian parliament.


The Electric Telegraph (UK)
13 February 2000
[for personal use only]
Putin to restart military training for schoolboys
By Guy Chazan in Moscow

MILITARY training for Russian schoolboys, including lessons in patriotism, 
has been ordered by the country's acting president, Vladimir Putin, in a move 
which analysts see as a worrying return to the Cold War era.

Some military experts view the step as a signal that Mr Putin, the favourite 
to win next month's presidential election, is less interested in democratic 
reforms than in restoring the prestige of the Russian army and security 
services. Earlier this month Mr Putin called up 20,000 reservists and 
announced a 50 per cent increase on arms spending.

"This is more proof of the militarisation of Russian society under Putin," 
said Pavel Felgengauer, a defence analyst. "They want to train kids to be 
Russian patriots and prepare them for war - just like the Nazis did with the 
Hitler Youth." Mr Putin, a former KGB spy and head of Russia's domestic 
intelligence agency, signed the decree on military training on December 31, 
the day Boris Yeltsin resigned and appointed him acting president.

The decree calls for boys from the age of 15 to be taught "the basics of 
military service" and "civil defence", and receive "a military-patriotic 
education". An official at the education ministry said they would spend five 
days training at their local army base where they would be taught how to 
shoot and march in formation, and learn the essentials of army life. This 
would be complemented by weekly "professional orientation" lessons in school 
on the legal and technical aspects of national service.

"They'll also learn about the heroism of our great military commanders, both 
Russian and Soviet, and be taught to love the fatherland," said Boris Mishin, 
the ministry's specialist on secondary education. "Some things are still 
sacred in this country, and our military past is one of them." Girls will 
also be given combat training and firing practice as well as lessons in first 
aid and self-defence.

A defence ministry spokesman said the army has long wanted to reintroduce the 
subject, which will be included in the curriculum from this September. He 
said the final syllabus will be worked out jointly by the defence and 
education ministries. "The point is to give boys a clear idea of what to 
expect from their national service," he said. 

Russians over the age of 20 still have vivid memories of NVP, or Primary 
Military Training. In a typical lesson schoolchildren would be shown how hand 
grenades and mines worked, and taught to strip and reassemble Kalashnikov 
rifles. There were also outings to shooting ranges and local army bases. But 
the lessons were also fiercely ideological, with teachers, usually retired 
army officers, warning of the ever-present threat to Soviet security posed by 
the country's capitalist enemies. 

The subject was taught from 1968, the year the Soviet army crushed the Prague 
Spring, to 1991, when the Soviet Union fell apart. NVP was replaced in 1991 
by a demilitarised course encompassing lessons in first aid and hygiene, a 
basic fire drill and the Russian equivalent of the Green Cross Code. But some 
educationists have welcomed the decision to revive military training.

"Ever since the end of the Komsomol [the Communist Youth League], children 
have lost their moral compass, some even vandalise military cemeteries," said 
Olga Maksimovich, editor of the Teacher's Gazette. The church has also joined 
forces with the defence ministry in organising summer camps for Russian 

Metropolitan Pitirim, a senior figure in the Moscow Orthodox Patriarchate, 
was recently quoted as saying that children should be taught to love the 
smell of barracks and soldiers' boots. 


the eXile
February 10-17, 2000
Sasha's Other Enemies

It has commonly been reported that the forces responsible for ordering the 
commission to a mental hospital of Moskovsky Komsomolets reporter Alexander 
Khinshtein were the highly-placed officials of the Russian government who had 
recently been subjects of his articles. But Khinshtein had other enemies, as 
these transcripts from his TV show "Sekretniye Materili" show. This segment, 
recorded on November 21, 1999, included information about the activities of 
some well-known American ex-pats in this city-including one who until very 
recently was running an internet grocery store business. What is the position 
of the American secret services on the Khinshtein incident? Read on and see 
for your self:

Khinsthein (interviewing former State Property Chief Vladimir Polevanov): 
Tell me, Viktor Pavlovich, do you know exactly how Chubais reacted to 
official report sent to him by the state security structures informing him 
that his advisor, Johnathan Hay, is a regular staffer of the CIA?

Polevanov: Chubais didn't leave his signature anywhere. He was an out-and-out 
party functionary. And he left all the paper-pushing to his assistant. His 
verbal reaction to it was hysterical. He kept trying to play rough with me 
over the telephone, constantly ordering me, threatening me, commanding me, 
among other things, not to touch Jonathan Hay, not under any circumstances to 
come near my advisors, and not under any circumstances to evict them from the 
State Property Committee offices. I, having heard out his routine hysteria 
(by the way, he's very weak when direct resistance is exerted against him), 
just asked him to give me a written report on everything he said. And I, as a 
law-biding bureaucrat, will carry out this written order, but I won't do it 
out loud. He'll contradict this, that, and the other. Not once has Chubais 
given me any of this in writing. 

Khinshtein: The results of Chubais's privatization were monstrous. The most 
lucrative enterprises were bought for next to nothing. Whole industries. But 
even that wouldn't have been so bad. Through middleman companies, foreigners 
and foreign special services took control of several defense factories and 
military research facilities. How can one even talk about national security 
when this kind of thing goes on?

Polevanov: The activity of the foreigners advanced to a degree that in any 
normal country would be impossible. For instance, the "Komponent" factory, 
which took 100% of its orders from the Russian General Command, was bought by 
an American company through the Brunswick investment company. The firm bought 
ten percent of the shares, which gave them the right according to our laws to 
put one of their people on the board of directors and have access to all 
their secret projects. Even Bulgakov couldn't have even dreamed of such 
things taking place. The Siemens corporation bought 28 percent of the shares 
in the Kaluzhky turbine factory, which specializes in the construction of 
turbine engines for atomic submarines. The thing that really struck me was 
that that very Jonathan Hay bought 30 percent of the shares of the Moscow 
Electrode Factory, the only one its type in the country, and with it its 
subsidiary, "NII Grafit", which makes the technology for invisible attack 
planes along the lines of the "Stealth" system...And immediately after he 
obtained his bloc of shares, Hay blocked all further orders for this kind of 
technology from the Russian side, and lobbied instead for the factory to take 
orders to produce material for American "stealth" technology for use in 
American projects. In sum, that which even in the most backward colonial 
country happened in our very own homeland.

Khinshtein: More and more often I become convinced that all of this could not 
possibly have happened solely as a result of our own stupidity. One can send 
some invisible hand at work here, actually better to say hands.

(Nikolai Kovalev, former FSB chief): In just the last year, in the year since 
I returned, it's difficult for me to even come up with usable numbers, since 
I haven't been there to see the changes. But I remember a time in my tenure 
when we were capturing some 14 agents a year. We hadn't seen those kinds of 
numbers since World War II.

Khinshtein: Until very recently, one Dmitri Rurikov served as Boris Yeltsin's 
aide to foreign policy matters. Currently, he's the ambassador to Uzbekistan. 
His daughter is married to an American--a Mr. Dmitri Simes, head of the Nixon 
center, and a consultant of the national council on CIA affairs. I don't 
exclude that the relationship of these two people is not strictly a familial 
one. But former Foreign Minister Andrei Kozirev doesn't have a son-in-law 
there, but that doesn't change matters.

Note: the eXile reported on the Siemens-Kaluga connection two years ago.


the eXile
Putin's Anal-Retentive Characteristics 
By Dr. N. I. Kimmelman

[Ed. note: Dr. N. I. Kimmelman is a licensed Russian psychologist we met 
several months ago on an overnight train to Moscow from St. Petersburg. A 
friendly enough if somewhat dry and serious-minded academic in his fifties, 
Naum Ignatovich had recently divorced his wife quite abruptly after 
twenty-seven years of unacrimonious marriage, and was moving to Moscow to 
take up a new practice. We kept in contact with the good doctor, and have 
lately decided to take advantage of his lack of paying patients to hire him 
to psychoanalyze Russian politics for us. This article, the first installment 
in what we hope will be a regular feature, concerns the underlying 
psychopathology of the Vladimir Putin phenomenon.]

These days, as many ponder Vladimir Putin's spectacular rise, we believe that 
the instrument of psychoanalysis may provide a particularly fruitful insight 
into the underlying mechanisms of his sudden popularity.

First, we must consider the psychodynamic implications the changes in Russian 
society over the last decade had for public psyche. Of these changes, the 
deprivation of the nourishing structure and feeling of security offered by 
the Soviet regime had the most traumatic effect. It resulted in the Russian 
public's development of an oral passive or, as observed in leaders and 
supporters of some political parties, oral aggressive character. This type of 
character in individuals stems form the trauma of weaning, and weaning was 
precisely the symbolic essence of the collapse of the Soviet nourishing 
structure. The needs of oral character are centered around pleasures 
associated with the mouth, and being fed is the most important of such 

The combination of oral-passive character of the public with the phallic 
character of the leadership (to be discussed in greater detail in later 
issues) has resulted in a peculiar type of neurotic symbiosis. In this, 
quasi-paternal figures like Yeltsin or Luzhkov respond to the people's cry 
for oral gratification by feeding them phallic symbols. This pattern has 
survived since the Soviet time, and is manifest in the extreme social and, at 
times, political importance of objects like kolbasa, cigarettes, and vodka 
(especially as drunk iz gorla).

This situation is not healthy, nor is it consciously gratifying for the 
people. There is an overwhelming want for a new, non-phallic type of leader. 
And Vladimir Putin may be the answer.

We believe that Putin is a perfect example of a purely anal-retentive 
character. According to Freudian theory, this type of character results from 
the conflict occurring at the potty-training phase. A child whose parents are 
weak and submissive soon finds that he can effectively control them by means 
of his bowel behavior. This produces the anal-expulsive character (also 
represented on the Russian political stage, as we will see later). Meanwhile, 
a dominating father, who demands structure and discipline in everything, 
including defecation, may at this stage lay ground for an anal-retentive 
personality, for which the control of holding-in and letting-go is of 
principal importance.

We know little, if anything, about Mr. Putin's childhood. However, 
anal-retentive traits are clearly present in his behavior. This certainly 
includes his fondness for structure and discipline, his reported admiration 
of the German culture (an anal-retentive society par excellence), and his 
recent Freudian slip when he promised to zamochit' banditov even when they 
are v sortire, the loo here apparently having the meaning of sanctum 
sanctorum for an anal personality. In addition, consider the symbolic 
importance of retaining Chechnya, a task of vital importance for Putin.

The longing for an anal-retentive leader is deeply rooted in Russian culture, 
starting from the invitation of varyagi, the Scandinavian warlords, to rule 
Slavic tribes, to the adoption of the German bureaucratic system in the 
17-19th centuries. We believe that Mr. Putin's rule may offer new hope for 
Russia, or at least break the neurotic oral-phallic dependence of both Soviet 
and Yeltsin regimes. There are certain dangers inherent, however. First, as 
is known from clinical experience, when significantly frustrated in his 
activities, an anal-retentive personality may revert to anal-expulsive 
behavior, which would result in a rather nauseating dependence pattern in 
combination with oral-passive character of the public. On the other hand, 
Putin may be seduced into assuming phallic traits in his rule. This is an 
even greater danger, since phallic ambitions in an anal retentive individual 
are an ultimate recipe for dictatorship.



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