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1 March 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Russian banker says Putin mania could end in tears.(Pyotr
2. Interfax: NEW RUSSIAN CABINET TO CARRY OUT LIBERAL ECONOMIC REFORMS - ECONOMIST.
3. RFE/RL NEWSLINE: PUTIN TO PRESENT CHECHNYA POLICY AS MODEL FOR
OTHER PROBLEMS...PUTIN PROMISES TO STRIP OLIGARCHS OF PROXIMITY TO POWER...AS YAVLINSKII SAYS NOTHING WILL CHANGE.
4. Moscow Times: Yulia Latynina, Omnipotence: Either Central Or Regional.
5. St. Petersburg Times: Vita Bekker, Foreign Adoption of Russian
6. Izvestia: Svetlana Babayeva, PUTIN DOOMED TO POWER?
7. CHERNOMYRDIN, CHUBAIS, AVEN, KHODORKOVSKY TO SPEAK IN LONDON IN
8. RFE/RL: Sophie Lambroschini, Putin's Unity Party Reaches For Power.
9. Obshchaya Gazeta: Emil Pain on Chechen War.
10. Interfax: 64.7% OF RUSSIANS BACK FURTHER MILITARY ACTION IN
11. Interfax: 34% OF RUSSIANS SUPPORT ACTIONS AGAINST BABITSKY.
12. Stephen Shenfield: query about 2015 Club's Booklet Scenarios
13. NTV: RADIO LIBERTY REPORTER DESCRIBES TORTURE IN CHECHEN FILTRATION CAMP.]
Russian banker says Putin mania could end in tears
By Brian Killen
MOSCOW, Feb 29 (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin, widely seen as the most promising
person to end Russia's economic woes as next president, might end up being
hated like past leaders Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, says a top
Pyotr Aven, president of Alfa Bank and a former foreign trade minister, wrote
in the leading business daily Kommersant on Tuesday that Russia was entering
a new era of hope, but the opportunity could still be squandered.
Acting President Putin is expected to cement his position as Russian head of
state when the country goes to the polls on March 26.
``Vladimir Putin is the new Russian wonder, the focus of elevated
expectations and many years of unfulfilled hopes. That explains his fantastic
ratings,'' Aven said, referring to opinion polls which give Putin up to 60
``True, the greater the hopes today, the deeper the disappointment tomorrow.
It's like a pendulum. And the more popular is the leader promising wonders,
the more he will be hated when the miracle does not happen,'' he said.
This happened with Soviet leader Gorbachev and Yeltsin, Russia's first
president, he added. ``Alas, this will probably happen with Putin.''
Aven, who started a soul-searching debate among the Russian political and
business elite last year with a similar article analysing liberal reforms,
said Russia had to deal with basic ethical issues before it could transform
His latest thesis echoed many of the planks of Putin's campaign platform,
which has focused on pledges to build a strong state and revive the country's
moral fibre, while moving towards a market economy.
``Russia needs firm principles and clear morals,'' Aven wrote in an unusually
frank critique of Russian society and the country's hitherto vacillating
attitude towards reforms.
He lamented the lack of a moral beacon, saying the Russian Orthodox Church
could not play the same role as the Christian Church does in the West, nor
could the business elite. Much, he said, depended on the president.
Aven said there had been some improvement since Soviet days but Russia was
plagued by a lack of business ethics, leaving foreign investors especially
prey to liars, thieves, corrupt and irresponsible officials and unscrupulous
He said society regarded tax evasion and bribe-taking as almost acceptable
behaviour. ``A whole system of institutional measures is needed to cure the
illness, and I repeat, a transformation of public morality.
``We will have to wait a long time before a deep, effective morality takes
root, possibly decades.''
NEW RUSSIAN CABINET TO CARRY OUT LIBERAL ECONOMIC REFORMS - ECONOMIST
MOSCOW. Feb 29 (Interfax) - The new Russian Cabinet to be formed
after the presidential elections must carry out liberal economic
reforms, Yevgeny Yasin, a well-known economist, said at the presentation
of the Liberal Mission fund in Moscow on Tuesday.
The goal of the reforms is to integrate Russia into the world
economy, a restructuring of Russian industries and an improvement of the
investment climate, he said. They should significantly accelerate the
country's economic development, Yasin said.
He read a paper on the country's economic strategy in the first
decade of the 21st century. At the first stage, 2000 - 2003, trust will
be restored and the investment climate improved; as a result, GDP will
increase at an annual rate of 2% to 3%.
The second stage, 2004 - 2007, should see restructuring of the
economy and increasing investments, with annual growth of GDP being 4%
The economy will expand at a high rate and the restructuring will
be brought to completion. GDP will grow by 7% to 8% a year.
If the liberal reforms are delayed, the Russian economy will
develop at a slow rate as in 1999.
The economic situation in early 2000 favors economic expansion,
Yasin said. GDP increased by 3.2% in 1999, which is "more than expected
but still much less than that needed for the economy to grow tangibly,"
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 4, No. 42, Part I, 29 February 2000
PUTIN TO PRESENT CHECHNYA POLICY AS MODEL FOR OTHER PROBLEMS.
In an article devoted to the activites of acting President
Putin's campaign headquarters, "Kommersant-Vlast" on 22
February quoted its sources in the Kremlin as saying that
during the run-up to the 26 March presidential elections, the
military campaign in Chechnya "will be presented to voters as
a model way of solving [Russia's] problems." According to the
weekly, Putin's campaign managers also want his platform not
to have too many details so that "voters can fill in the
blanks in Putin's speeches with their own content." The
weekly reported that Yeltsin's daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko,
routinely attends meetings at Putin's campaign headquarters
and takes part in discussions but does not have a deciding
PUTIN PROMISES TO STRIP OLIGARCHS OF PROXIMITY TO POWER...
Meeting with voters on 28 February, acting President Putin
said that "not a single clan or oligarch should be close to
regional or federal authorities." He added that "it is
extremely important to create equal conditions for everyone
who takes part in the political and economic life of Russia."
...AS YAVLINSKII SAYS NOTHING WILL CHANGE... In an interview
with "Argumenty i fakty" (No. 8), fellow presidential
candidate and leader of Yabloko Grigorii Yavlinskii commented
that "many people think that when Putin is the president he
will put pressure on the oligarchs and Berezovskii and
dismiss Yeltsin's team. Certain forces do not allow him to do
this yet, but after the elections.... Unfortunately, this is
wishful thinking. The acting president is party of the system
that formed during the Yeltsin era. Figuratively speaking, he
continues to replicate [Yeltsin's] sins. According to the
gospel, everyone who sins is a slave of sin." The monthly
noted that Yavlinskii has started quoting the Bible
frequently. "Komsomolskaya pravda" reported last week that
Yavlinskii's popularity rating has jumped recently, reaching
some 8 percent. JAC
March 1, 2000
INSIDE RUSSIA: Omnipotence: Either Central Or Regional
By Yulia Latynina
So far, not a single published speech of Vladimir Putin's has answered the
question of what will happen in Russia after the elections. Meanwhile, there
is talk that at least one project is being discussed in the Kremlin that has
significant consequences for the country. That project involves the selection
- rather than election - of governors by the central government, as happened
from 1991 to 1994.
At first glance, this project is anti-democratic. It's enough to look at
Bashkiriya or Tatarstan, where the administrative heads are selected, not
elected, to realize that even in a Russia that is not very democratic, these
republics are nests of despotism.
Nevertheless, and strange as it may seem, there are many arguments in favor
of this project.
First, statistics show that governors appointed in 1991 were more democratic
than those governors who beat them in elections after 1995. Krasnodar's
Governor Vasiliy Dyakonov (1991-95), a professor and democrat, was far more
liberal than Nikolai Kondratenko, who beat him in the elections. Anatoly
Sobchak, the late governor of St. Petersburg, was more of a liberal than
today's incumbent, Vladimir Yakovlev. And Krasnoyarsk Governor Valery Zubov,
appointed in 1991, was more liberal than the authoritarian Alexander Lebed.
Second, the electability of governors is a relative concept in the Russian
hinterland. A generation of democratic governors turned out to be too weak to
hold onto power. It's not that they might not have taken bribes. On the
contrary, they may have taken them, but, if they did, then not in a
systematic way. I remember how one of the kings of Russia's aluminum industry
complained: "We offered [a governor] 10 million before the elections; he
frowned, grunted and didn't take it! And what do you know? We found out later
that our competitors had slipped him 1 million. If we had known, we would
have offered them a cut, too! And then he lost the election, so he didn't
collect from them or from us!"
Today's governors are a different matter. By manipulating taxes, tariffs and
benefits, they have created a system whereby an enterprise can survive only
if it is on good terms with the governor. Such a governor can quietly collect
money for his re-election or for confirmation of his successor. It's
difficult to call these democratic elections: The business of a region is
subject to an additional "black" tax from elections. And if there is the
least suspicion that a business has financed the opposition, a factory owner
can expect ostracism, poverty and OMON troops storming his entrance.
Third, and most importantly: When any business can be seized through the
courts, with the governor determining the outcome; when a business' income
can be halved through taxes or, on the contrary, multiplied tenfold through
write-offs, with the taxes or write-offs depending exclusively on the
governor; when elections are transformed from an institute of control into an
instrument of blackmail - in these situations, there is no longer a force
that can control the arbitrary rule of a governor. Only the Kremlin can be
that force, if, that is, the president will once again remove and appoint
Does this mean the end of arbitrary rule in Russia? Of course not. It simply
means the omnipotence of the Kremlin, as opposed to the omnipotence of the
governors. But many industrialists now assume that the far-off Putin will be
better than the local profiteer.
St. Petersburg Times
February 29, 2000
Foreign Adoption of Russian Children Increases
Editor's note: This is the first article in a two-part series looking at
adoptions of Russian children at home and abroad.
By Vita Bekker
Despite all of her medical problems, the fate of the two-month-old baby at
the St. Petersburg orphanage was sealed with luck when she encountered Larisa
Mason in August 1994.
Mason took video footage of the baby back to the United States to show to
clients at her adoption agency, but met with disinterest. So, Mason adopted
the future Katarina Mason herself.
Mason, a St. Petersburg native who left for the United States 22 years ago,
founded the city's first international adoption agency in 1992 and has since
arranged more than 570 adoptions of orphaned or abandoned Russian children
like Katarina by American families.
The number of Russian children adopted by foreigners increased from 3,251 in
1996 to 5,604 in 1998, according to the latest available official figures. In
St. Petersburg last year, foreigners adopted 529 of the city's estimated
2,000 orphaned or abandoned children. While the majority, 262, went to homes
in the United States, many of the children were placed with families in other
countries - including 126 in Italy, 36 in France, 34 in Israel and 33 in
Despite the increase in adoptions by non-Russians, Mason and other
specialists say further growth is being hampered by Russia's daunting
adoption legislation for foreigners.
"International adoption in Russia has become a very political issue ... it's
very difficult to work when people are thinking of politics instead of
children," she said. "This is a country with a tremendous amount of pride and
power, and it doesn't want the world to think Russians cannot take care of
their own kids."
In 1998, then President Boris Yeltsin signed a revised adoption law
tightening the regulation of foreign adoptions. The law now requires that
Russian families get first pick, meaning that the children spend a total of
five months - one month on the district register, one month on the city
register and three months in the Moscow databank - before they become
available to foreign families.
Official figures show there are 650,000 Russian children in state care - up
from just under 500,000 in 1994 - and an estimated 400,000 more children are
either homeless or otherwise without real adult supervision.
Americans by far have adopted the majority of Russian children overall, with
over 15,000 adopted since 1992 - 4,348 last year alone.
Bill Pierce, who formerly headed the National Council for Adoption, said
American families are encouraged to adopt in Russia since the United States
foster-care system maintains a complex bureaucracy for the adoption of its
current 110,000 children.
"Social care workers and courts are firmly convinced that, even if a parent
has been abusive or uses drugs or alcohol, they should be given a second
chance for years, and so the children end up waiting for their parents to get
better, while they usually don't," he said.
"Secondly, the majority of the children in the system are of racial
minorities and the bureaucrats refuse to obey the law that states you can't
have apartheid in adoption."
However, Pierce said Russia is still one of the more difficult countries to
adopt from because of the higher expenses involved and that Russia, unlike
some countries, does not provide accompaniment for the child during its first
few days in the new country.
"Take a child who does not understand English and gets frightened. ... Is it
any wonder that sometimes children are very traumatized?" Pierce said. He
added that "many more children could be adopted if there was more
flexibility" on the part of the Russian government.
Last October, one judge in Russia's Far-Eastern Khabarovsk region apparently
agreed with Pierce and decided to take the law into her own hands.
Galina Antushevich was convicted and sentenced to two years suspended
sentence by Supreme Court judges who ruled that she had tried to move the
adoption process of children by American parents too quickly. They said
Antushevich illegally cut corners and made decisions without the required
investigations and without bothering to make sure that the biological parents
had given up their legal rights of guardianship.
According to Pierce, some adoptive families encounter another challenge - in
handling medical problems of their adopted child - problems which they were
not informed of beforehand.
Earlier this month, the program "48 Hours" on the U.S. television network CBS
reported the story of an American couple who adopted a child from Russia but,
once back in the United States, found the nine-year-old girl had severe
emotional problems. These problems were so severe that the girl tried to kill
their four-year-old son, the couple said.
According to Nadezhda Sukha che va, head of the adoption department at the
St. Petersburg Committee for Families and Children, the major roadblock to
further adoptions in Russia is the illness of at least half the candidates in
orphanages. Some agencies like Mason's charge much less for adoptions in
these cases, with interested families required to pay only about $5,000 for
According to Mason, most other adoptions take at least nine months - like a
normal pregnancy, she joked - and cost anywhere from $15,000 to $22,000. The
costs include paperwork and its translation, a $1,300 homestudy, a $1,000
visa for the child, an agency fee of about $5,000 to 8,000, and about $9,000
in travel expenses.
Mason said her agency also requires that the age difference be no more than
44 years between the prospective adopter and child. While about 7 or 8
percent of her agency's clients are single mothers, none are single fathers -
which she says is preferable for certain Russian regions, including St.
Mason said a persistent problem that adopted Russian children encounter,
including her daughter Katarina, once they are in the United States is that
they face a cold welcome.
"International adoptions can be a red flag for some people who think
negatively of those who come from Russia ... and that is very upsetting,
especially to me as a mother," she said.
"I am very sensitive about that and I don't want anybody to look at her and
see something wrong just because she is from Russia. ... She is a great kid,
a child nobody wanted, but I thought she was the best, and to me she is."
February 29, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
PUTIN DOOMED TO POWER?
By Svetlana BABAYEVA
Some people continue to call acting President Vladimir
Putin "a pig in a bag" or "a black box." He yesterday tried to
disperse these feelings. As candidate to the post of President
he met with his five hundred authorized campaign
representatives who will pave his way to victory in the
election in which he is to become the head of state at least
for the next four years.
Last autumn, when Putin was just appointed Prime Minister,
I asked whether he felt to be the Russian Messiah. "I feel to
be a Russian having the same feelings as any other Russian. I
suppose people feel it and support me," he answered. That
interview was never published, as the premier's image-makers
decided it was too open. The five months which have elapsed
since then showed that Putin was perfectly right. He has become
the first Russian politician in the past few years to speak a
language understandable to ordinary people, as one of them
Whether it is an election campaign trick or a sincere desire to
make things better for all will be clear in several months.
Thus far, people trust him because they also believe this.
Putin's "today's Russia is a rich country of poor people"
is shared by 90% of the country's population whose incomes are
near poverty line, to say the least, and who do not know how
and where to earn more. "There are different mechanisms to
enhance the responsibility of the top leaders of the regions
before the country," Putin says. His wording is rather
difficult but those who wish will understand that the
omnipotent power of governors who are not responsible before
anyone is soon to come to the end.
"No clan or oligarch can be allowed to come close to either
regional or federal power." I suppose very few Russians can
calmly read reports by members of our journalist brotherhood
that one oligarch spends all his time in the Kremlin and
another enters Cabinet offices without knocking. "The more
economic freedom, the more chances for progress." This is
repeated by millions of entrepreneurs who are surrounded on all
sides by officials, bandits and numerous instructions and
memos. But state regulation is necessary. "Without this we will
not have a strong state, but regulation should not be a rope
around the neck of our market," say the Russian businessmen who
feel on themselves that "the criminal krysha - protection money
extortion - is the surrogate of the function which the state
should but does not fulfil".
Putin talks and people believe and understand him, because
he seems to believe in what he talks about and wants this to
come true. He almost does not need any spin doctors, as he
seems to be a self-made man capable of orchestrating his own
campaign, Kremlin officials lament, on the one hand, and take
pride in their boss, on the other. People regard him as one of
them. It is a rather interesting phenomenon, taking into
consideration the fact that in the past ten years Putin was a
career official at a rather high level and before that he lived
in the German Democratic Republic, which was a prosperous
country by the standards of those times. It might seem only
logical that he should have lost touch with ordinary people and
their life and started deliberating about highfalutin things
and adoring all kinds of meetings and conferences.
He, however, managed to preserve a down-to-earth
perception of life, as if he were to use the Metro every day to
get to work, repel the raids of officials and criminals on his
stall and save money to buy a coat with the "Made in Canada"
label but actually made in Turkey. At the same time, as befits
the President, he firmly and surely keeps saying "we will cope
with everything" now that we know our problem and have gone
half the road to its solution. It is not known whether he
really believes that this is really as simple as that. He
always says only what he wants to say and not a gram more. But
ordinary people have to take what they see.
Judging by everything, today's Russian needs a man like
It needs simply faith and hope on the part of its people. The
hope that we can start getting out of the hole an inch at a
Putin to a large degree instills this hope. Is it because he is
also a believer or because he is willing to become a believer
with all the others?
Boris Yeltsin believed in democracy and talked of freedom
of the press, consciousness and movement. Though in the past
few years people no longer believed in him, he has given the
nation what he promised in 1991, because he, too, wanted this
Putin talks of safety, freedom for entrepreneurs and rigid
restraints for oligarch. He says that "those who will offend
us" will not live for more than three days. In ten or eleven
years - Putin admitted that he is not against the term of a
Russian presidency being extended to seven years after the 2004
election - when we will sum up the results of the "Putin era,"
we may say that he gave it all to the nation because he wanted
this very much.
From: "expo1" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: russia 2000
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000
CHERNOMYRDIN, CHUBAIS, AVEN, KHODORKOVSKY
TO SPEAK IN LONDON IN APRIL
The Russo-British Chamber of Commerce will put the spotlight on Russia in
the aftermath of the March presidential elections with a high profile
international conference, entitled Russia 2000: A New Reality, to be held
on 19-20 April in London's prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre.
Confirmed speakers include a broad representation of Russia's best known
politicians and new business elite, as well as top Western players in the
Russian market: Victor Chernomyrdin, Chairman of Gazprom and Former Prime
Minister of the Russian Federation; Anatoly Chubais, Chairman of RAO UES
Rossiya; Konstantin Titov, Governor of the Samara Region; Mikhail
Khodorkovsky, Chairman of Yukos Oil Company; Charles Frank Jr., First Vice
President of the EBRD; David Waterhouse, Head of Cable & Wireless' Russian
operations; Ronald Freeman, co-Chief Executive, Europe, Salomon Smith
Barney; Oleg Deripaska, President of Sibirsky Aluminium; Peter Aven, the
President of Alfa Bank. Leaders of each of the key political factions in
the new Russian parliament will make appearances, including Boris Nemtsov
(Union of Right Forces), Gennadi Zyuganov (Communist Party), Giorgy Bos
(Otechestvo/All Russia), Vladimir Lukin (Yabloko), and Vladimir Zhirinovsky
The conference will be the first major international business-to-business
forum to be held in the West after the elections, and the largest event of
its kind to be held in London this year. It will explore the economic
challenges facing Russia on the dawn of a new Presidency and will cover a
broad range of issues of vital interest to Western companies.
Russia 2000 will be attended by over 600 delegates, including senior
executives from leading Western multi-nationals, banks, trading companies
and professional service providers, as well as a strong representation of
Russia's new business elite. It will be covered by a number of major
international TV networks.
For more details, contact Simon Joseph at organisers RBCC Enterprises in
London, on +44 171 403 1706, fax +44 171 403 1245, email email@example.com or
see our internet site on www.rbcc.co.uk/russia2000.
Russia: Putin's Unity Party Reaches For Power
By Sophie Lambroschini
Russia's pro-Kremlin Unity movement yesterday announced it intends to become
what is known as a "party of power," with the clout to become a lasting
political force. So far, says RFE/RL's Moscow correspondent Sophie
Lambroschini, what the new party resembles most is the previous, failed
attempts at parties of power.
Moscow, 29 February 2000 (RFE/RL) -- At a Moscow constitutional congress of
more than a thousand delegates on Sunday (Feb. 27), Unity leaders said the
movement should become a powerful, nationwide party that could rival the only
successfully organized national party -- the Communists.
They also said it should play a role similar to that enjoyed by the Rally for
the Republic party, which was Charles de Gaulle's chief political support in
his transformation of France into a presidential republic in the 1950s.
This is also how Vladimir Putin sees the future of Unity, created as a
pro-Putin movement not long before parliamentary elections two months ago.
Unity scored well, with around 23 percent of the vote, coming in a very close
second to the Communists. Its success apparently encouraged the Kremlin to
have one last go at an enterprise that has so far failed in independent
Russia -- the construction of a political party directly backing the
executive authorities in place.
In his address to the congress, Putin cited the Communist Party as a good
example of the kind of organization Unity should achieve.
"There are a lot of untapped [political] forces among the people and the
state institutes. It's wrong to wait for the situation to change by itself.
We have to create conditions where several nationwide parties function with
ideas based on a modern model. You can think what you like about communist
ideology, you can criticize or support it. But you cannot not admit that
there already is such a party. I hope that Unity will become a real
representative of a powerful political force."
Putin admitted that previous attempts at creating parties of power were
failures. He said that was because previous parties counted on the state's
administrative resources instead of seeking popular support:
"We have already made attempts to create parties strongly supporting those in
power. But their success depended mainly on the presence of their
representatives in the executive. As a result, the parties of power became
parties of civil servants."
Two previous "parties of power" -- former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar's
Russia's Choice and former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's Our Home Is
Russia -- did achieve some success in parliamentary elections and served to
dilute the anti-Kremlin opposition in the parliament. But once their
legislative duties were over, the popularity of both parties waned.
For the moment, Unity's delegates seem to differ little from the Our Home is
Russia bureaucrats. Almost half of Unity's delegates hold offices either in
government or legislative structures on the federal and local levels. They
are links in the political web the movement is weaving across Russia. Today,
Unity boasts representatives in 88 regions -- only one less than the
Communists, represented in all 89 regions.
Unity's congress Sunday was conducted in a familiar atmosphere of sober
speeches, unanimous votes, and solemn pledges to defend Russia's interests.
Despite promising political and spiritual renewal, Unity's leaders appeared
to have a hard time shedding their Soviet-era habits.
The first throwback to tradition was the venue for the congress -- in the
Kremlin State Palace, the same hall where Communist Party congresses took
place until 1991. A sober note was struck with a long drop-cloth showing
Unity's symbol, a Russian brown bear, and the list of regions where Unity is
There were, however, subtle differences: while Soviet rhetoric called the
Communist Party the "party of the people," Unity has given itself a more
staid moniker: "party of the citizens."
In a recent analysis, political scientist Andrei Piontkovsky said that the
similarities between the Unity and Communist parties are understandable. He
said Russia's entire elite in political and business circles is made up of
the same people who formed the Soviet political class.
Piontkovsky says that Unity members are virtually interchangeable with
Communist Party members -- with the same background, social status, political
instincts and even physical appearance. He points out that the new party of
power has adopted some classic Communist ideas, notably the consolidation of
society around common enemies -- "traitors," the West, and the Chechens.
Emil Pain on Chechen War
24 February 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
Interview with Emil Pain by Yelena Tokareva; place and date not
given: "Second Colonial War"
In the first Chechen war Emil Pain, a director
of the administration's research center at that time, warned that "war to
a victorious conclusion" on one's own territory is a chimera. The
forecast came true, but the research center was placed under lock and
key. The national leadership no longer needed research and warnings, it
wanted to be free of heavy thoughts. Today Emil Pain grants us an interview.
[Tokareva] Emil Abramovich, what happened to our society in the
interval between the first and second Chechen wars? Where did the belief
in the fact that the old weapons would unfailingly avail on this occasion
[Pain] Yes, the contrast in the mood of society is striking. If you
recall, in December 1994 Yegor Gaydar assembled in Pushkin Square a mass
meeting against the war in Chechnya, and in 1996 Boris Nemtsov, as
governor of Nizhegorod Oblast, collected 1 million signatures for an end
to the war in Chechnya. He was helped here at that time by Sergey
Kiriyenko. Today all these figures, having become leaders of the SPS
[Union of Right Forces], support the military operations in Chechnya, on
the whole. Even in mid-May 1999 a majority of entirely different
political forces in the State Duma was demanding the impeachment of
President Yeltsin for his having unleashed the war in Chechnya. Today
those same forces unanimously support the new war. And now take a look at
a diagram prepared by the ROMIR polling service. It can be seen here that
there has been a mirror change in the ratio of those that have supported
the preservation of Russia's integrity militarily and those that have
opposed this: in 1995 almost two-thirds of those polled were opposed to a
military solution of the problem, now roughly as many support it. The
change in the direction of a victorious war has occurred for several
reasons. The first is that society, tired of failures (economic,
political, military), was thirsting for victories, and when news came
from Dagestan of Russian forces' victory over the Wahhabis, this gave
society a lift. People came to believe that both the Chechen problem
could be resolved by force and that order could be restored throughout
the country by an "iron hand". And the corresponding "tsarevich"
appeared. The second is that Russian society's total disenchantment with
the results of the "Chechen revolution," when, instead of the image of
"fighters for national self-determination," Russians perceived the
frightening image of Chechen terrorists abducting people and blowing up
apartment houses, had set in. The third is that considerable influence
was exerted by the West's military operations in Kosovo. "If NATO is
permitted for political purposes to bomb civilian targets in a foreign
country, it is only natural that we, Russia's military thought, do the
same in our own."
[Tokareva] And there is one victory that the Russian Army and the
authorities have already won--the information victory.
[Pain] Yes. An example of the propaganda cover is the consistent and
imperceptible change of declarations concerning the goals of the military
operations. The goal that was proclaimed in August was the repulse of
Chechen aggression in Dagestan, and, understandably, this goal was
supported by all of Russian society. The goal that was proclaimed in
October was that of the creation of a cordon sanitaire between Russia and
Chechnya along the Terek. And this goal was supported by the vast
majority of Russians. The slogan "total elimination of the terrorists"
was heard in November, and here some part of the political forces,
Yabloko, for example, began to express doubt, but the rest failed to
notice the substitution of goals. And only on 1 January 2000 during his
New Year's visit to Chechnya did Acting President Putin say that the war
in Chechnya was being fought for the integrity of Russia, more precisely,
for keeping Chechnya part of Russia. The same goal as in the first
campaign was thus proclaimed. Russian society, which wished to be
"pleasantly deceived," easily accepted the myth that this "new war" had
been better prepared, the losses of men were fewer, and the chances of
its ultimate success for Russia were greater.
[Tokareva] And is this not the case?
[Pain] No. Let's begin with the principal declared
objective--neutralization of the terrorists. Those that correspond to the
definition of terrorists accepted in international practice evaded
prosecution in the past war and are in the same way evading it now also.
Basayev this time escaped not only from the "tightly blocked" districts
of Dagestan (Botlikhskiy and Novolakskiy) but from Groznyy also. All the
leaders of Ichkeria--Maskhadov, Arsanov, Zakayev, Gelayev, and
others--are safe and sound. Now about the losses. In the two years of the
past war Russian forces' total losses (according to official data for
1997) amounted to 4,300 persons killed, and in six months in the present
campaign, to 1,400 persons, including over 1,000 Russian soldiers killed
on Chechen territory. It is not hard to calculate that the proportional
losses of the federal forces in the present campaign are even higher than
in the first. The timetable of the military operations in the present
campaign is following that of the past campaign, which testifies to the
almost total reproduction of the previous plan of operations also. After
all, the commanders are the same, for that matter, as well....
[Tokareva] Will not Aslan Maskhadov's appeal to the citizens of
Chechnya to begin total resistance to the federals not bring about an
intensification of guerrilla warfare?
[Pain] Appeals are not needed for this. The bombardment and the
cleansing of the villages and also popular rumor spreading the talk about
this--these are the main agitators for the replenishment of the ranks of
the partisans and a growth of the partisan movement. The filtration
camps--here are the real centers of the recruitment of new fighters. Only
the old folks can be intimidated by war, for the Chechen youth war and
dangers mean a surge of adrenalin, all this merely increases combat
ardor. The examples of fanatical self-sacrifice of the fighters who
deliberately stepped into minefields, paving the way for the bulk of
Ichkeria's forces making their way out of Groznyy, also testify to this.
[Tokareva] The press frequently calls the first and second Chechen
campaigns a civil war. Do you agree?
[Pain] No, I totally disagree. And it is not only a matter of a
substantial part of the inhabitants of the republic not wanting to
consider themselves citizens of Russia or to recognize its laws, the main
thing is that the federal authorities themselves treat them not as
citizens but as indigenes who are to be pacified. This is a typical
colonial war. Moreover, it is a war of the early-colonial type, when no
attempts were then made to rely on local chiefs. In the past Chechen
campaign Moscow created from well-known Chechen leaders a government that
was an alternative to Dudayev. Today our authorities have either
altogether failed to find such or do not consider it necessary to
camouflage direct colonial rule. All administrative power in the republic
has been entrusted to Lieutenant General Babichev, the military
commandant, and the districts are in the charge of major generals.
Communications with the federal government are maintained by Nikolay
Koshman, the Chechen MVD is directed by Novikov, the prosecutor is
Kiselev, the leader of the board for the restoration of Chechnya is
Lyubimtsev. This abundance of Russian names is a violation of the
late-colonial canons of the government of the national outlying areas. To
which Beslan Gantamirov was consigned, and he has been discharged, it
[Tokareva] Speaking about the possibility of Russia's victory in the
war in Chechnya, Anatoliy Chubays cited the experience of pacification of
the nationalist movements in Western Ukraine and the Baltic republics at
the end of the 1940s and 1950s. Why can this experience not be repeated now?
[Pain] Even were Russia to become as totalitarian a country as was
the Soviet Union in the times of Stalin and to once again fence itself
off from the world with an iron curtain, even in this case the "success"
of the NKVD forces in the said regions could hardly be repeated. It was
achieved not so much thanks to the smashing of the "forest brothers" as
thanks to replacement of the population: thousands of families were
deported from these areas to Siberia, and manpower from eastern Ukraine
and Russia was brought in to replace them. Today such a replacement of
the population can be ruled out. Each military campaign reduces the
proportion of Russians in Chechnya, the republic is becoming increasingly
ethnically homogeneous, and the probability of Slavs returning to the
republic in the coming years is slight. True, the number of Chechens has
as a result of the two wars also been more than halved. Nonetheless,
approximately 400,000 persons reside in the republic even today, and this
means that it has over 100,000 males of military age, and there are among
the fighters many women also.
[Tokareva] Let's assume, all the same, that the army has accomplished
its mission and left. The restoration work begins.
[Pain] Whereas doubts may be entertained as regards the military
victory of the federal forces over the partisans, there can be no doubt
as to the utopian nature of the idea of the restoration of Chechnya at
the expense of the Russian taxpayers. With what resources are the Russian
authorities hoping to restore Chechnya if the budget provides for less
than 10 percent of the amount for which Nikolay Koshman is asking? If
these resources are found, all the same, how are they to be safeguarded
against theft? Where will new jobs be created if it is known that the
bulk of them has always been concentrated in Groznyy (oil refining), and
now the city has been completely destroyed and the federal authorities
have as yet no intention of reviving it? How can employment be provided
for the inhabitants of Chechnya if this cannot be done in other republics
of the North Caucasus, where there have been neither partisans nor
bombardment? Our economic policy in the Caucasus is has been erroneous
because it has encouraged Chechen separatism, not the law-abiding regions
of the Caucasus. The war has merely intensified this injustice. The need
for urgent economic assistance to Dagestan, which has suffered from the
two wars, is even more acute. There is a most adverse situation in
Ingushetia, where the problem of employment was the biggest in Russia
even without the tens of thousands of refugees. Funds are urgently needed
to halt the exodus of Russians from the republics of the region. This
outflow, which began long before the Chechnya problem developed, is a
greater threat to the integrity of Russia than Chechen separatism. Even
in the Stavropol region the sphere of settlement of Russians is narrowing
from year to year, mainly owing to the lack in the rural localities of
the region of attractive jobs and earnings for the educated Russian
youth. I have no doubt that additional funds for Chechnya will, of
course, be allocated. They will be sufficient for multiplying several
large private fortunes, but will be insufficient for restoration of the
[Tokareva] The present policy in Chechnya is wrong, let's
assume, what do you propose?
[Pain] There is much that I have proposed, but I have concluded that
society today is not ready to accept a nonmilitary solution of the
"Chechnya problem". As long as the predominant notions in the general
consciousness are that "we could have won in the last war, but bad
politicians prevented us, now we have good ones," peaceful proposals will
not be accepted. A gradual recovery of sight is already being observed,
but this is not a rapid process, and changes in the public mood in
respect to the Chechen war are not to be expected by 26 March, at least.
And since public opinion is heeded here merely in presidential election
year, we will have to wait until the year 2004.
64.7% OF RUSSIANS BACK FURTHER MILITARY ACTION IN CHECHNYA
MOSCOW. Feb 29 (Interfax) - At least 64.7% of Russian citizens
support further military action in Chechnya until a full victory has
been reached over Chechen separatists, according to a poll of 1,500
people conducted by the Russian Public Opinion and Market Center in late
Some 28.3% advocate a halt of the operation and a shift to peace
talks. Other scenarios for settlement of the conflict were suggested by
2.3% of the respondents and 4.7% were undecided.
Law and order is unlikely to be restored in Chechnya even if loyal-
to-Moscow authorities are established in Chechnya, according to 41.2% of
those polled. Around one third, or 33.2%, of Russians think it is
possible while 17% chose the "neither yes, nor no" answer. Some 8.6%
When asked about a partisan war following the installation of a
pro-Moscow government, 67.7% consider it probable while 11.9% think it
is unlikely. The "neither yes nor no" option was chosen by 11.2% of the
respondents and 9.2% were undecided.
At least 64.7% of Russians expect Chechen guerillas to stage
terrorist acts in the country while 12.9% do not think it will happen.
Less than 14.3% said "neither no, nor yes" and 8.1% were undecided.
The pollsters noted a contradiction between popular support for the
anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya and apprehension about subsequent
terrorist acts in Russian cities and a partisan war in the republic.
34% OF RUSSIANS SUPPORT ACTIONS AGAINST BABITSKY
MOSCOW. Feb 29 (Interfax) - Over 34% of Russian citizens approve of
actions taken by Russian authorities concerning Radio Liberty
correspondent Andrei Babitsky, according to the Russian Public Opinion
and Market (ROMIR) independent survey center.
This information was derived from a poll of 1,500 respondents in 94
populated areas of 40 regions in Russia.
The actions against Babitsky are neither supported nor disapproved
of by 21.7% of respondents, 26.3% of Russians disapprove of the actions,
and 17.4% are undecided.
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000
From: Stephen Shenfield <Stephen_Shenfield@Brown.edu>
Subject: query about 2015 Club's Booklet Scenarios for Russia
Do any JRL readers know how one can get hold of a copy of the book
mentioned in the article below, just posted?
Financial Times (UK)
28 February 2000
[for personal use only]
COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Challengers to the oligarchs: Russian entrepreneurs are
fed up with their lawless business environment and are banding together to
press for political change, writes John Thornhill:
In Moscow, a group of 20 entrepreneurs
has founded the 2015 Club, which is actively seeking to shape the agenda for
a Putin presidency....
Disgusted by the financial crisis of 1998, they spent months consulting
politicians, economists, scholars and writers to draw up a 10-15-year
"business plan" for Russia. The result is a 204-page booklet, Scenarios for
Russia, that sketches out various forecasts ranging from the miraculous to
the catastrophic. The club is distributing 90,000 copies of the book free to
universities, airlines, railways and local administrations to try to generate
a national debate.
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000
From: "George Peterson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RUSSIAN-AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP RECEPTION in Washington
The EURASIAN CENTERíS presents...
RUSSIAN-AMERICAN FRIENDSHIP RECEPTION
FRIDAY, MARCH 3rd
(7:30 p.m.- onward)
AT THE RUSSIA HOUSE
1800 Connecticut Ave., NW
(DuPont Circle) (Florida & Conn. Aves)
Entrance: $10 men, $7 women
(women $5 before 8:30 p.m. ) Center Members $5
FEATURING an abbreviated menu of the Russia House Restaurantís fine
Russian cuisine. A fine sampling of Russian food at inexpensive prices.
CALL 202-966-8651 or Eurasia@aol.com Dress code: business, casual
RADIO LIBERTY REPORTER DESCRIBES TORTURE IN CHECHEN FILTRATION CAMP
Source: NTV, Moscow, in Russian 1100 gmt 29 Feb 00
Radio Liberty correspondent Andrey Babitskiy described torture and beatings
in a Russian filtration camp in Chechnya. In a recorded interview with
Russian NTV, he said the Chernokozovo camp, where he said he was held for a
fortnight, used tear gas and batons on prisoners, including women. The
following is the text of the TV report, broadcast on 29th February:
[Presenter] The report you have just seen contains only a part of Radio
Liberty correspondent Andrey Babitskiy's story. Now we shall show you a few
more pieces of Babitskiy's late-night interview. He talks about his
experience in the Chernokozovo filtration camp, where people suspected of
participation in fighting against Russian troops are being kept.
[Babitskiy] Everything we read about Stalin's concentration camps, everything
we know about German concentration camps, can all be found there. Being a
journalist, I was just "registered" there once. One procedure they have
there, when a novice is being taken out of the cell to the investigator, is
that he has to crawl along the floor under a constant hail of blows from
batons. It is a painful procedure, but you can live through it. It is a sort
of easy "registration" that cannot be compared with the tortures Chechens are
subjected to round the clock, either those who are suspected of collaboration
with illegal military formations or those they want to kick some evidence out
A woman was tortured for two hours on 19th or 20th February. She was really
tortured - I could not find any other word. There were cries testifying to
the fact that a human being was being subjected to excruciating unbearable
pain for a long time.
On 21st February a man was tortured for several hours. They promised to cut
something off him, and dragged him along the corridor.
They enjoyed their small pleasures there, when they would set people off
running on their knees along the corridor. The detainees were helped with
batons to reach an officer at the far end of the corridor and had to address
him as "Mr Colonel" or thank him in a fanciful manner. The range of tortures
was very diversified. Say, a couple of times they filled our cell with
Cheremukha tear gas. The sensation is rather unpleasant. It was difficult to
breath for about 40 minutes or an hour, I had to wet [my hanky] with water -
[changes tack] However, believe me, Cheremukha was not the most terrible
experience. I saw people who had been beaten most brutally, till their backs
were blue. (?Aslanbek Shaipov) from Katyr-Yurt was beaten non-stop. He was
one of those poor devils who was not just "registered" from time to time, but
was beaten in a planned manner. He was summoned in the morning, in the
afternoon and in the evening. He was beaten and beaten and beaten.
By the way, I recollect an interesting detail. While we were spending the
night in a prison van, he had all his teeth beaten out. By the time I was
released, his beatings had practically stopped.
I have told you just a very small part of what I saw, because I stayed there
for a fortnight. I just tried to sum up my impressions.
[Presenter] I would like to add that Babitskiy spoke about his experience in
Chernokozovo camp on Radio Liberty today. There has been no official reaction
to his statements yet. The Prosecutor-General's Office and Interior Ministry
investigation committee representatives said that investigation into
Babitskiy's case would continue and, if he would not cooperate with the
investigation, the restraining measure might be made more severe.
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