This Date's Issues: 4158 4159
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10 March 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. AP: Putin's Presidential Campaign Slick.
2. AP: Putin To Unveil Economic Program.
3. Angela Charlton: land reform.
4. Jerry Hough: Re: 4154-McFaul/Hough.
5. The Guardian (UK): Hugo Young, Ignorance is not bliss when it comes
to new presidents. Bush and Putin are unknown quantities who may soon rule the world.
6. BBC: Russian media assesses Putin.
7. Mark Galeotti: Russian mafiya.
8. Summary of Sergey Dorenko’s Program (ORT)
9. Stanislav Shushkevich (former President of Belarus) at Kennan
10. Jamestown Foundation Monitor: SURVEY ASSESSES PUTIN'S ELECTORAL
11. The Providence Journal: Nicolai Petro, Sharing the blame for Chechnya.
12. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: A Country Addicted to Borrowing.
13. Komsomolskaya Pravda: Viktor Berger, PUTIN, ZYUGANOV,
YAVLINSKY: WHERE WILL THIS TROIKA TAKE RUSSIA. (poll)
14. Itar-Tass: YELTSIN'S Former Aide on Putin. (Dmitry
15. Kennan Institute meeting report: Harley Balzer on The Demise
of a Great Power: Education and Russian National Security in the 21st Century.]
Putin's Presidential Campaign Slick
March 9, 2000
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
IVANOVO, Russia (AP) - For a candidate who insists he's too busy being
president to campaign, Vladimir Putin is spending a lot of time on the road,
running one of the slickest election campaigns Russians have ever seen.
Crisscrossing the vast country on trips described as official business, the
acting president has reached out to interest groups, building support for the
March 26 presidential election - and giving himself an apparently unbeatable
``People in the executive must prove their worth by their concrete deeds, not
advertising,'' Putin told reporters, insisting that he was not campaigning on
a visit this week to Ivanovo.
It seems to be working with Russia's disillusioned voters, who are tired of
empty promises after a decade of democracy following the Soviet collapse.
Putin's image as a tough leader who can get things done goes down well with
voters, even though he rarely offers specific policies.
``He's a master of his word, who doesn't give empty promises,'' said Lyuba
Belova, 34, a worker at the New Ivanovo weaving plant, which Putin visited.
``So what if he's a former KGB man? That means he's a well-disciplined
person, and discipline is what our country needs most of all.''
Putin's 11 rivals seem almost invisible. The acting president has the support
of about 60 percent of voters, with Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov in
second place with 20 percent, opinion polls say.
Apart from the daily TV accounts of Putin's activities as president and his
trips to the provinces, there are few signs that Russia is less than three
weeks from a critical election. Putin has not accepted Zyuganov's challenge
to debate him and issues have barely surfaced.
Unlike the 1996 election, when Boris Yeltsin defeated Zyuganov by dwelling on
fears of a Communist comeback, few people take the Communists seriously
anymore. Yeltsin resigned Dec. 31 and named Putin acting president, giving
him a big edge at winning a full four-year term.
``Only elderly people nostalgic of the old times will vote for Zyuganov,''
said Yelena Rusova, another worker at the weaving plant.
The candidates' platforms are vague, with Putin and his rivals all pledging
to ensure economic growth,improve miserable living standards, combat
corruption and crime, and restore Russia as a great power.
Zyuganov talks about rolling back market reforms and reviving Soviet-era
economic controls. Putin says he will go on with market reform, while
boosting state economic oversight to ensure everyone gets a fair break.
``The choice isn't between Putin and Zyuganov. It's a question of to be or
not to be for Russia,'' the Communist chief said recently, adding that
Putin's program ``is murderous for Russia.''
A group of economic experts, including reformers, has been working out an
economic program for Putin, but it's not clear when it will be unveiled.
``I think that it would be offered to the public even before the election,''
Putin said on a recent trip, then quickly added: ``Surely, before the
Putin has focused on reaching out to the country's various interest groups,
such as local government officials, farm workers and factory crews, showing
interest in the problems each segment faces.
In Ivanovo, a major textile center 190 miles east of Moscow, Putin was
targeting two groups at once - industrial workers and women. So many women
work in the city that it is known as ``The City of Brides.''
The visit coincided with International Women's Day on Wednesday - a national
holiday when women traditionally receive gifts and flowers. Putin spoke about
reviving the textile industry, then complimented his mostly female audience.
``The official purpose of this trip is to attend an official meeting
dedicated to prospects of light industries, but the real reason is to visit
Ivanovo ... the women's capital - on the eve of March 8,'' he said Tuesday as
the hall burst into applause. ``We owe everything to women.''
But Putin prefers to address big official gatherings and rarely seems
comfortable chatting with people, rarely going out to press the flesh. Not
that the voters seem to mind.
``He has a lot of work to do, he has no time to lose,'' Belova said as Putin
rushed through her workshop without stopping to talk to any of the admiring
On the Net: The Russian Cabinet, including remarks by Putin,
The Russian Communist Party, http://www.kprf.ru
The Reformist Yabloko party of candidate Grigory Yavlinsky,
Putin To Unveil Economic Program
March 09, 2000
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
MOSCOW (AP) - The economic program that acting President Vladimir Putin has
said he will unveil before this month's elections will combine liberalization
measures with stronger state regulation, the man heading its development said
"On the one hand, we need deregulation, but, on the other hand, the state's
role must be increased," German Gref, the head of the Center of Strategic
Research think-tank, said on Echo of Moscow radio.
Putin is widely considered to be a shoo-in in the March 26 balloting, despite
his vague stance on how to address many of Russia's complex economic
problems. He has promised to release the program before the election.
Putin has been recording support of about 60 percent in pre-election opinion
polls, against about 20 percent for Communist Gennady Zyuganov, his nearest
Campaigning by all 12 candidates has been minimal.
Gref, who worked alongside Putin in the St. Petersburg city government, said
the government must streamline control over its assets and strengthen its
traditional functions, such as law enforcement.
At the same time, he argued, the state must stop meddling in every aspect of
private business and requiring permission for every small step. "We must end
an omnipresent state control of businesses," he said.
Graf said his think-tank regularly reports to Putin and receives his
He wouldn't say when the program will be unveiled. Zyuganov has repeatedly
criticized Putin for failing to release his program.
Gref said that Putin's program will be aimed at creating conditions for
steady economic growth that would bring Russia back to the ranks of major
Putin, who chaired a Cabinet session Thursday, used the occasion to promise
that the government will pay expenses of several hundred World War II
veterans from the former Soviet republics who are to come to Moscow in May to
take part in celebrations marking the end of that war.
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000
From: angela charlton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: land reform
I wanted to
1. thank you again for the work you do in compiling this list
2. apologize for errors unfortunately edited into my story on land
reform (JRL 4157), including the inexplicable characterization of
Yaroslavl as an "eastern" Russian city, and the misinterpretation of
Putin's offer for a referendum on the issue.
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000
From: "Jerry F. Hough" <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: 4154-McFaul/Hough
What we need is agreement on language. By radical advisers, I
mean those like Chubais, Brevnov, Gaidar, and the hundreds of young
economists. These were obviously the beneficiaries of loans for shares,
etc. They got big salaries from financial institutions and they got
"diviends" from "private banks" that were really state institutions. In
my judgment this has been probably the most corrupt group in Russia.
What is worst is that they have been rational actors, setting up the
rules to benefit themselves not the public good, and hence they have done
far more harm that those who simply skimmed off.
The second question is what is meant by "autonomous?" If McFaul
means the nomenklatura, the collective farm chairmen, and the governors
as actors that have not been autonomous (they have not, in fact, been),
but whose autonomy we should work to promote, then he and I are in
complete agreement. But I feel 90 percent confident that he still sees
these people as the enemy.
The third question is what is meant by "pacts?" A traditional
gangster organization or patrimonial state (the pharoahs) obviously
includes coalitions and alliances. But I think it very wrong to use the
word "pact" to describe such hierarchical relationships. A pact should
imply agreements among those relatively independent. The reason Latin
America could not be democratic from 1850 to 1900 is that it had no one
with whom pacts could be made to support democracy. Russia and most of
the other FSU countries have not had pacts, but hierarchical relationships.
The Guardian (UK)
9 March 2000
[for personal use only[
Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to new presidents
Bush and Putin are unknown quantities who may soon rule the world
By Hugo Young
This month, two new men set out on their quest to rule their world. They
are extraordinarily uncharted characters. The only certain thing about them
is that their form is unpredictable. Vladimir Putin and George W Bush have
that in common. Though they may be the pairing we must live with for the
next few years, their international performance is as unfashioned in their
own minds as it is in ours. Against that miasmic background, Al Gore shines
out as a beacon of global experience. It now looks more possible than it
did at Christmas that he may be the next president. But the looming
Putin-Bush duopoly invites us to make an anxious reconnaissance around the
perimeter of the unknown.
Mr Putin has risen from total obscurity to a 30% lead over his nearest
rival in the contest to be Russia's second president, on 26 March. He spent
most of his life in junior and unglamorous KGB work, before becoming a city
administrator in St Petersburg and then, very briefly, head of the FSB, the
KGB's successor as the domestic security agency. That is all. An American
official who saw him last summer, when Putin was in that job, said recently
he would have been crazy to predict Putin would become prime minister, and
certifiable to say he'd be president. Yet that is what, after Boris
Yeltsin's coup-de-theatre exit last December 31, he will soon become.
There are some encouraging signs. Putin will be the first Russian leader
since Lenin to speak a foreign language. He did KGB work in the German
provinces for a few years, and told David Frost on Sunday that he had twice
visited the US. This points to slightly more spacious horizons than
Gorbachev or Yeltsin. Since he became acting president, he has received
numerous foreign ministers from the west, reflecting the fact that he
plainly does not see Russia in the old way as an autarkic society and knows
it must engage with the global economy. This weekend, Tony Blair is invited
as the first foreign leader to visit: an interesting signal. Blair is not
the leader of Europe, but he's the strongest leader in Europe, who Putin
presumably thinks can tell him about reform.
So the burgeoning industry in Putin studies, hard at work in foreign
offices everywhere, has concluded it will be good to do business with a
Russian leader who is neither drunk nor (perhaps) corrupt. Putin's
reputation so far gives him the benefit of the doubt on that account,
though it remains to be seen which of the thieving oil-to-aluminum
plutocrats who have drained Russia of billions of dollars claims his close
On the other hand, he is the war candidate. He wouldn't have the slightest
chance of being president but for Chechnya, and has pursued the conflict
there with a vote-winning brutality that is the primitive equivalent of a
chancellor's giveaway budget. Everything is electoral, without necessarily
being democratic. The best informed view is that, having been elected,
Putin will set about more serious economic reform than Yeltsin, with help
from a variety of mad American economists, ever got off the ground, but
will be an unreliable custodian of the people's liberties. The revived
police state will coexist, at best, with the beginnings of an honest market
Within this mix, Russia's front to the world will have to become stronger.
Moscow craves respect, which is partly why Chechnya is being crucified to
the last rebel body. The contradictory message emerges of a man who, on the
one hand, murmurs to Frost about Russia possibly joining Nato (though the
line was subsequently spun away) and, on the other, openly reaffirms the
possibility of a nuclear response to a non-nuclear crisis. According to the
Economist, Putin toasted Stalin at a recent banquet, and speaks fondly of
Yuri Andropov, his Soviet predecessor as KGB-chief-turned-political-boss.
If he was an Austrian, Mr Blair would not be flying to schmooze with him at
Facing Mr Putin could soon be a different breed of ingnu. Unlike the
Russian, George W Bush was born and reared to rule. He has be longed to the
governing class from the beginning. His pedigree is far superior. But his
approach to the world is that of the rank amateur, whose experience may be
even narrower than the other guy's.
He makes little secret of his ignorance of foreign affairs, and the
occasions of his unscripted interventions on the subject have produced a
fair amount of embarrassment. Being tricked into showing he didn't know the
names of obscure foreign leaders made him the victim of a poor TV stunt.
But what should we make of this, from the Iowa caucus campaign? "When I was
coming up," he said, "with what was a dangerous world, we knew exactly who
the they were. It was us versus them, and it was clear who the them were.
Today, we are not so sure who the they are, but we know they're there."
Behind the syntactical bumbling, this paean of regret for the enemy-strewn
simplicities of the old order could soon be ringing through the White
House. Behind the free-range nostalgia are cohorts of advisers who, when
they write the words, usually prevent Bush from talking gibberish. The
empty man has some capable people around him, alongside the mega-rich
favour-seekers who have bought him the nomination. But the advisers all
come with toughened-up cold war credentials from the Reagan and Bush-pere
years, and take a harsher view of China and Russia than presently prevails
in Washington, not to mention an unreservedly bullish attitude to national
Insofar as one can make sense of it, the Bush view of the world in which he
may become the most powerful man is very awkwardly poised. Part of it seems
to favour some American withdrawal. The candidate himself has talked, in
his Texas home state, about a foreign policy that paid more attention to
"the neighbourhood", meaning Mexico and the rest of Latin America. His
leading adviser said she thought that in Kosovo "it may be necessary for
the US to have fewer troops or no troops at all". But there is another
trajectory, towards sharper-edged security involvements, with several
advisers advocating outright withdrawal from the 1972 anti-ballistic
Across the range of foreign policy, in short, the president-presumptive
himself offers little reliable compass-guidance. He's the epitome of a
modern American politician who expends more energy defending hand-guns and
overseeing state executions than addressing the unmatched power and
responsibility that have accrued to his country. If he wins, he will be
starting a dialogue with someone groping with equal immaturity, and perhaps
the same distracted indifference, to shape internationalism in the new era:
for each, surely his most vital task. The prospect is more disturbing than
it is creatively exciting. Bill Clinton may not been much of a role model
in global diplomacy either. But with Al Gore, there would at least be one
man at the table who knew the shape of it.
8 March, 2000
Russian media assesses Putin
The impact of acting President Vladimir Putin's first foreign interview is
still being assessed in the Russian media.
The liberal Izvestiya notices the marked contrast between what has been said
by top Russian officials about Nato since the Kosovo crisis and Mr Putin's
straightforward remarks rejecting isolation from the West.
"Perhaps, Putin is thereby trying to catch a section of the liberally-minded
and right-wing voters, stealing them from Grigoriy Yavlinskiy and Konstantin
Titov," the paper says. "This is also a signal to the West: you can already
start supporting us and count out the money for subsequent credits and debt
"Putin steals the initiative from world leaders: while they were pondering
their choice of attitudes to Russia at the current stage, the Russian leader
left them no opportunity of rejecting his new statements."
But the article remains on sober ground and does not get carried away by the
acting president's unexpected pronouncements.
"These are still only words, not deeds," Izvestiya says. "The deeds will
start nearer to the inauguration.
"The acting president of all Russians has so many faces that he has enough
masks to turn both to the West and to the East at the same time."
Also on the topic of Russia's relations with Nato, Trud published an opinion
poll which notes that more than a third of all Russian citizens are in favour
of good relations with Nato, "the highest figure in the last four years".
A separate poll shows 66% of Russians have a positive attitude to the USA.
"This shows that the time of the Cold War, when mutual animosity was being
stirred up, is firmly in the past," the paper concludes.
West changing stand on Chechnya
Izvestiya informs its readers that the Interpol website has published
pictures of Chechen rebel leaders in the Wanted section. The paper expects
the site to be inundated with e-mail response.
This Interpol publication, together with other reports about the difficulties
Chechen envoys are experiencing in usually friendly Pakistan and Afghanistan,
allows the paper to speak "about changing accents in the West's view of the
anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya. Whereas before the Western media spoke
mainly about the disproportionate use of force by federal troops in Chechnya,
now we can say that the world community has at last discovered the true face
of the Chechen freedom fighters.'"
Still dealing partly with Chechnya, Trud looks for wider implications of the
unprecedented international hype surrounding the misadventures of journalist
Andrey Babitskiy in the North Caucasus.
Pointing to many inconsistencies and contradictions in his behaviour, the
paper asks: "One can assume that Radio Liberty (which has possibly fallen on
hard times) was interested in whipping up this scandal to get new funds from
the US government."
To confirm this view the paper quotes a retired veteran of Radio Liberty who
claims that "all this ballyhoo was stirred up in order to bring Radio Liberty
back in the limelight".
But Trud says the versions of the Babitskiy story offered by the Russian
security bodies so far are no less shaky. The writer has tried to find out
what really happened with Babitskiy by contacting various official
institutions, from the Federal Security Service to the Office of the Chief,
Prosecutor, but was stonewalled everywhere.
The writer concludes: "Congratulations to Radio Liberty: their propaganda
campaign has been quite efficient."
The house that Putin built?
Covering the latest vicissitudes of the Russian presidential race,
tabloid-style Moskovskiy Komsomolets tries to uncover the not-so-obvious
reasons for the sudden reinstatement of Liberal Democratic leader Vladimir
Zhirinovskiy as a legitimate presidential hopeful. He had been thrown out of
the race because his son had failed to declare a flat he owned. The paper
finds a very simple explanation.
"If Vladimir Volfovich had not been pardoned, Vladimir Putin would have to be
struck off the list on the same grounds," it says.
Journalists have dug out the fact that in his property declaration the acting
president had failed to mention a modest house he has in Pskov Region. The
paper learned the Central Electoral Commission is now investigating the
property owned by the country's top official.
"Privately, the commission admits that it is totally dismayed," the paper
reveals. But Moskovskiy Komsomolets has no fears for Mr Putin's future as a
presidential candidate. It is unlikely that he would quit the race over a
"Miracles don't happen," the paper concludes cynically.
From: Dr Mark Galeotti <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Russian mafiya
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000
I thought JRL's subscribers might like to know that a
special section I wrote for the latest Jane's Intelligence
Review, on Russian organised crime, has been put on the
magazine's website for free access. The website is at:
and the articles are:
INSIDE THE RUSSIAN MAFIYA - a summary of developments
What's in a name? - a very brief excursion into just what
to call this criminal phenomenon.
RUSSIA'S CRIMINALS GO GLOBAL - an overview of the mafiya's
Solntsevo - a snapshot of this gang
Filling a vacuum in the market? a worrying case of arms
Chechen crime alive and well - has Putin's war managed to
curb this problem (as if!)
Israel -- Mafiya promised land - why and how Israel has
become the mafiya's latest target.
All the best,
Dr Mark Galeotti
Organised Russian & Eurasian Crime Research Unit
Staffs. ST5 5BG, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1782 583466
Fax: +44 (0)1782 583195
Public Russian Television (ORT)
Sergey Dorenko’s Program
Saturday, March 4, 2000
[Summary prepared by
Olga Kryazheva, Research Assistant
Center for Defense Information
A mild military strategy in Chechnya resulted in the fighters’ attack on
Omon last week. In Dorenko’s opinion, until today the Chechnya events
looked more like a diplomatic action than a real war. Only the most serious
regime of constant military pressure in Chechnya can resolve the situation.
It was too early to announce the end of the main stage of the war.
Although the centralized command of the Chechen troops is destroyed, the
fighters continue to attack trying to break through to Ingushetiya and
Georgia. The Russian military officials say that although the situation in
Chechnya is under control, military actions in Chechnya will not be over
until summer. The two current and most important army tasks are to find and
destroy the separate troops of the Chechen fighters and to lay the ambushes
on their paths of communications. Dorenko stated that Interpol is searching
for 80 Chechen terrorists including Maskhadov, Basayev, and Khaatab.
In response to the recent Western comments on Chechnya, the Federal Defense
Forces Commander Vladimir Shamanov says: “We are not the Banana Republic,
we are a democratic state and will not allow to be pushed around by our
adversaries such as OECD, Doctors Without Limits, and Russian and Western
media.” To follow-up on the German news channel N-24 speculation about
brutality of the Russian Army in Chechnya, ORT reported that German
journalist and the author of this speculation Frank Hefling was fired last
week after the investigation of the scandal. N-24 did not assume
responsibility and blamed everything on Hefling. Dorenko notes that
together with N-24, the Russian independent television channel NTV
speculates about news on Chechnya. In an interview with Le Monde on March
1, the NTV owner Vladimir Gusinsky stated: “We should give Chechnya a
chance to separate,” and added that the war in Chechnya “might not be
genocide but something very close.”
ORT reports that Belarus will start supplying Chechnya with equipment for
rebuilding the region’s economy and industry as part of the debt payment to
Russia. Vice Prime Minister Nikolay Koshman has announced that this is the
only possible way to make Belarus pay the debt.
According the current Public Opinion Fond Survey, 54% support Putin (55%
last week); 19% would give their votes to Zyuganov (16% last week); 6%
support Yavlinsky. Tuliyev continues to hold 2%; Titov, Stanislav
Govorukhin, and Ella Pamfilova each have 1% of the votes. For the first
time Zhirinovsky was not included to the survey; his support went to
In an interview with Dorenko Ella Pamfilova has stated that she understands
that there is no hope for her to win the elections. She runs for the
presidency in order to gain support of the people, “to become a real
political power,” and defend the interest of her voters. She intends to
cooperate with the new elected president and will concentrate on the social
aspect of politics. Pamfilova states that she would fight to defend human
rights and dignity and for improving educational and healthcare systems.
According to her position, the war in Chechnya should be completed once and
forever. She is sure that guerilla wars are inevitable. Pamfilova has been
working with the military and families whose members were killed during the
first and second wars in Chechnya. She states that it is absolutely crucial
to provide social and legal support to the soldiers, officers, and their
families. She has concluded that loss of the military in peaceful times
equals losses in wars. Soldiers and officers either get involved in
criminal activities, or commit suicide. Pamfilova will introduce medical,
psychological, and social rehabilitation programs to the military and their
family members. Pamfilova is sure that Russia has enough sources to
implement such programs, but some politicians divide the resources among
Dorenko briefly covered St. Petersburg’s future mayor elections. As of
today, Victor Yakovlev and Valentina Matviyenko are the two main candidates
on the mayor’s post. The official candidates will be announced only after
the presidential elections, but it is already evident that Yakovlev has
lost a lot of support, when Anatoly Sobchak’s family forbade him from
attending all funeral ceremonies. The current Russian government intends to
move the Federal Council and the State Duma to St. Petersburg. Therefore,
some analysts say that any candidate supported by the new head of the state
will defeat Yakovlev.
Sergey Dorenko noted that Mikhail Shemyakin immediately responded to the
last week’s episode on his statue called “Children: Victims of Adult
Vices.” In the published letter to Dorenko Shemyakin denies saying that
Yury Luzhkov posed for the statue as one of the vices. In reality, Dorenko
states, the letter was written and published for Yury Luzhkov to prove his
devotion and ask for forgiveness for his words.
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000
From: "JOSEPH DRESEN" <DRESENJO@WWIC.SI.EDU>
Subject: Newly scheduled Kennan Institute event
The Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies
is pleased to invite you to a seminar with guest speaker
former President, Belarus;
Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center
"Belarus: Identity and Statehood"
Thursday, March 16, 2000
3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Conference Room, 5th Floor
The Kennan Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
If you need directions, please call us at (202) 691-4100
Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Please bring picture
identification to get through the Wilson Center's security procedures.
Jamestown Foundation Monitor
8 March 2000
SURVEY ASSESSES PUTIN'S ELECTORAL SUPPORT. National surveys show Vladimir
Putin holding on to a solid majority of popular support, in the region of
55-60 percent, with Communist challenger Gennady Zyuganov running a distant
second, with less than 20 percent support. The only question that most
analysts are discussing is whether Putin will secure sufficient votes (50
percent) in the first round to win outright--and whether the oligarchs who
control the TV stations see such a victory as desirable (The theory being
that a strong Putin victory will make him less indebted to the oligarchs.)
Indeed, it is worth noting that Russian Public Television (ORT), the
51-percent state-owned channel generally assumed to be controlled by Boris
Berezovsky, has begun covering Putin quite critically. Last night, in its
coverage of Putin's trip to the Ivanova region, the channel openly suggested
that he was using his official post to campaign--which is illegal--and made
much of the fact that roads in Ivanova were paved by military personnel on
the eve of Putin's visit (ORT, March 7).
Be that as it may, it is also worth asking the question: What sorts of
people are supporting Putin, and why? One of the few polls to probe the
demographics of Putin support was completed in early February in Samara
Oblast by sociologists Leonid Kesselman and Vladimir Zvonovski. Why Samara?
Because that is the home of Governor Konstantin Titov, a member of the Union
of Right-Wing Forces (SPS) and the main liberal challenger to Putin,
alongside the perennial candidate, Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky.
The poll (of more than 2,000 residents) came up with some interesting
findings. The fact that support for Titov is incredibly weak in his own
oblast is perhaps not surprising. Even though 59 percent of respondents said
that they would vote for Titov as governor, only 14.5 percent said they
would support him as president, compared to 48.5 percent who said that they
would vote for Putin and 17.5 percent for Zyuganov.
What was surprising was the extent to which Putin drew support from what is
conventionally regarded as the liberal wing of the electorate--those who are
young, educated and economically prosperous. Putin was backed by 58 percent
of students and 20-25 year olds, compared to only 40 percent of those over
55. He was also preferred by 50 percent of women compared to 46.5 percent of
men. Sixty percent of those whose living standard had improved over the past
year backed Putin, compared to 40 percent of those who said it had worsened.
Also important to note is that Putin drew support from across the entire
political spectrum. Seventy-four percent of those who voted for Unity in the
December Duma election said they will vote for Putin as president--but so
did 61 percent of SPS supporters, and 49 percent of those who backed
Fatherland-All Russia (OVR). Putin even beat Yavlinsky among Yabloko voters,
by 37 to 36 percent. Ten percent of the Communist Party of the Russian
Federation (KPRF) voters said they would back Putin. The acting president
even won 40 percent support among those who did not vote in December, and 32
percent of those who voted against all. All this suggests that a high
turnout on March 26 will benefit Putin.
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000
From: "Nicolai N. Petro" <email@example.com>
Subject: Sharing the blame in Chechnya
The Providence Journal (Providence, RI)
March 9, 2000 (page B6)
Sharing the blame for Chechnya
By Nicolai N. Petro
Nicolai N. Petro was a State Department policy adviser on Soviet affairs
during the Bush administration. He currently teaches political science at
the University of Rhode Island.
WESTERN MEDIA portrayals of the Chechen war suffer from some remarkable
lapses. The rebels are usually described as freedom fighters, but few ask
how they can be fighting for ``independence,'' when the republic has been
independent from Moscow, de facto if not de jure, for the past three years.
After the signing of the Khasavyurt accords that ended the first Chechen
conflict, administrative responsibility for the ``Republic of Ichkeria''
was transferred to the administration of President Aslan Maskhadov. The
Russian army was withdrawn from the region on Nov. 22, 1996, and,
subsequently, so were all militia units. At Russia's insistence, the
accords stipulated that a referendum on the final status of Chechnya should
take place in 2001.
What need can there be for independence fighters when the republic is
already under Chechen control and an election to ratify this outcome was
scheduled to be held in a year's time? It is also widely reported that the
region's catastrophic depopulation is the result of Russian military
intervention. Yet by 1994, before the beginning of Russia's military
campaign, nearly half the population had already fled to southern Russia
and the neighboring republics.
During the December 1994-November 1996 war, some 300,000 people were forced
to leave their homes, but almost none of them chose to return home to
Chechnya after it declared independence! The reason for this mass exodus is
not hard to figure out. Despite the end of hostilities, under President
Maskhadov, as Fiona Hill, associate director of the Strengthening
Democratic Institutions Project at the Kennedy School at Harvard, put it,
``Chechnya remained a permanent humanitarian disaster.''
The local population initially blamed Moscow for its plight, but as the
situation worsened and the country sank into a perpetual state of banditry
and lawlessness, many blamed local Chechen warlords, who were unable or
unwilling to make the transition from war to civil reconstruction.
The depth of popular frustration with these warlords has even led the chief
mufti of Chechnya, Akhmed Khadzhi Kadyrov, a hero of the first war, to call
for the stationing of Russian troops in the republic to bring an end to
what he calls three years of ``humiliation at the hands of all those gang
leaders.'' Moscow would no doubt have preferred to ignore the plight of the
Chechens and their neighbors, as it has done these past three years, but
rebel raids into neighboring Daghestan and the apartment bombings in Moscow
made that impossible.
Once involved, Moscow's game plan quickly changed to take advantage of the
unexpected support it encountered among Chechens and neighboring
Daghestanis for the restoration of law and order. By foolishly upsetting
the status quo and provoking Moscow's intervention, what was once a truly
popular struggle for independence wound up becoming just a seedy squabble
for power among local warlords.
Moscow must take the blame for ignoring the spread of lawlessness in the
region for so long that the army had to be used to bring it under control,
but the warlords must take the blame for destroying the opportunity that
Chechnya had been given to create a viable and independent society.
March 10, 2000
EDITORIAL: A Country Addicted to Borrowing
With each passing month, the government posts more and more impressive
budgetary revenues, based on overfulfillment of tax and customs collection
Despite this, it seems the nation still cannot meet its obligations without
borrowing money from the Central Bank.
The federal government's coffers should be full enough for it not to need
fresh loans from the Central Bank - which it already owes some $6.5 billion.
World oil prices are at dazzlingly high levels and have been for the best
part of the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the economy actually grew in 1999 by
at least 1.5 percent - the government reckons it might have grown as much as
3.2 percent. First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov predicted recently
that the economy will grow by at least 1.5 percent in 2000 and that it may
expand as much as 3 percent.
Presumably, part of the reason for the looming shortfall is extra spending.
The government continues to be coy to say the least about the cost of the
Chechen war, but that is a drag on the public purse that was not written into
the 2000 budget.
The presidential election also doesn't figure in the budget, although it
probably should. Much like governments the world over, Russia has a tendency
to overspend when an incumbent seeks re-election - or in this case, election.
Meanwhile, the main, immediate reason the government is likely to again
borrow heavily from the Central Bank this year is that the 2000 budget
projects foreign borrowings of some $5.9 billion - or 23.5 percent of the
government's planned revenues.
With the Chechen war and other factors having helped put a chill on relations
between Russia and the West, that borrowings provision is unlikely to hit
federal coffers until the second half of this year at the very earliest -
although a post-election wave of enthusiasm for a Putin presidency could yet
justify the budget drafters' optimism.
But the more general reason for Russia's cash flow problems is that it is
still a nation that is unable to generate stable revenues or to make and keep
realistic spending plans.
That leaves this government, like all of its predecessors, addicted to debt.
Yet the money that Russia has borrowed over the past 10 years or so has
mostly been wasted or stolen, which partially explains the West's current
reluctance to lend more.
Borrowing from the Central Bank runs down hard-currency reserves, making the
ruble more vulnerable than it need be - especially to the sudden shocks that
damage so many businesses through foreign exchange losses.
- Garfield Reynolds
March 7, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
PUTIN, ZYUGANOV, YAVLINSKY: WHERE WILL THIS TROIKA TAKE RUSSIA
By Viktor BERGER
The Agency of Regional Political Studies (ARPI) published
information about its recent sociological monitoring, held on
February 25-27 by means of formalised personal interviews of
1,600 voters. According to it, the electorate is resolutely
changing its mind in favour of Grigory Yavlinsky.
This time the ARPI phrased its questions more harshly that
before. In particular, it asked: "For whom would you vote at
the March 26, 2000 presidential elections?" The suggested
answers included 11 names of the registered candidates and the
possible alternative answer of voting against everyone.
A total of 21% could not make their choice in favour of
any one candidate. But this phrasing of the question finally
revealed that there are three main claimants to the top post in
the country: Putin, Zyuganov and Yavlinsky, with 58.5%, 24% and
7% ready to vote for them, respectively. The next runner up,
Stanislav Govorukhin, can hope to get only 1.5% of the vote.
This lineup is interesting in that the three leading
candidates are virtually unattainable for the other candidates.
The rating of Yavlinsky alone is higher than the sum total of
the rating of all other candidates, with the exception of Putin
and Zyuganov, of course.
Judging by the beginning of the official election
campaign, the distance between the leading troika and the other
candidates will grow. And not only because Putin has a high
rating and Zyuganov has loyal supporters. The thing is that the
third leader, Yavlinsky, is smartly using his electorate
potential and none of the other candidates have a chance of
catching up with him. According to the ARPI information,
Yavlinsky's popularity started growing of late above all in
large cities, megalopolises with a population of over 1
million, where he has an average of 15% of the vote. He also
has a stably large electorate in the densely populated
Volga-Vyatka and Urals regions, where 10% of the population are
prepared to vote for him.
If the elections were held only in Moscow and St.
Petersburg, Yavlinsky would have an even better chance. As of
early March, Yavlinsky could get 18% of the vote there, as many
as Zyuganov. Putin does not have a margin for victory in the
first round in the two Russian capitals: only 46% of the voters
(or 12% fewer than the average for Russia) are prepared to
support him in St. Petersburg and Moscow. His rating in the
towns with a population below 300,000 is vacillating around
Yavlinsky's electorate grew in terms of socio-democratic
characteristics, too. The bulk of supporters of the Yabloko
leader are people with incomplete higher and higher education
(11%), servicemen (13%) -- the latter was a minor sociological
surprise, the technical staff (11%), and voters in the 18-24
The ARPI provides even more interesting data when
commenting on the answers to the following question: "For whom
would you vote if Putin did not take part in the elections?" In
this eventuality, Yavlinsky's chances would more than double to
15%, while Gennady Zyuganov's chances would grow by only 4% (to
Two weeks ago, Zyuganov "without Putin" would have got only 23%
of the vote, and Yavlinsky, 14%.
The chances of Kemerovo governor Aman Tuleyev are ebbing,
so that he can hope to get only 3% in the absence of Putin. As
it is, Tuleyev will hardly get 1% of the vote on March 26. The
conclusion is that Tuleyev's idea of giving his votes to
Zyuganov at the second stage of the elections fell through,
because he will have hardly anything to give.
Besides, if Putin did not take part in the elections,
Zyuganov's victory would be highly dubitable. In this possible
case, Moscow and St. Petersburg would vote for Yavlinsky (20%
as against 17%). And the Yabloko leader would in this case get
major support in the cities which seriously influence the
outcome of elections. I mean cities with a population of over 1
million, where Yavlinsky would get 19% of the vote.
When asked "Which of the candidates would you not like to
be elected president?", the polled replied that Vladimir
Zhirinovsky is that man. He is the only one to have a negative
rating of 55%, which actually prevents him from becoming the
Russian president under any conditions. The runners up on this
"black list" are Zyuganov (34%) and Yavlinsky (23%).
Since 32% of the respondents could not say for whom they
would vote if Putin did not take part in the elections,
Yavlinsky has a potential advantage [over Zyuganov]. Why?
Because only a few of Putin's supporters are prepared to change
their sympathies in favour of the communist leader.
If Putin did not take part in the elections, Yavlinsky's
closest follower would be Samara governor Konstantin Titov, who
would get 4% of the vote. This figure (4%) shows how far the
first troika are ahead of other candidates. The other
candidates should have started working to improve their
positions at the very beginning of the campaign, as Yavlinsky
did. But now only those who have serious support among the
population can hope to increase their rating.
Yavlinsky, whose election campaign is based on economic
priorities, will possibly win over a considerable part of
Putin's electorate. In addition, the National Public Opinion
Research Centre (VTsIOM) reports that 67% of the respondents
agree that power in the country will be held by the same team
that worked under Yeltsin.
YELTSIN'S Former Aide on Putin.
BERLIN, Thursday (Itar-Tass) - Acting President Vladimir Putin has a broad
support of the Russians, said Dmitry Yakushkin, former deputy chief of
retired President Boris Yeltsin's administration.
Yakushkin spoke to an audience of German and Russian experts and journalists
at the German Society of Foreign Policy in Berlin on Tuesday.
He said the Russians see in Putin an "energetic and resolute poltician, a
real leader", who is striving "to consolidate sound forces of society and
outline new priorities".
"The acting president is not participating in the election campaign as such,
is not filming himself in advertisement slots and is not hanging out posters
with his portrait," Yakushin said.
"Vladimir Putin is demonstrating his professional faculties working just in
the Kremlin," he said.
He said it was Putin who had taken up entire responsibility of the
anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya, set the task of finishing off bandit
groups there and of returning Chechnya to Russia's constitutional field.
Yakushkin said, as of his personal impressions of the acting president, that
"Vladimir Putin finds a right tone in talking with both ordinary people and
ministers, governors, heads of large Russian companies".
"Russia is standing on the threshold of big changes today. If to speak of
changes in society itself, the Russians appear to have a more sober attitude
to reality, do not trust loud promises and slogans, as it used to be earlier.
That is why Vladimir Putin wants to determine in the first place in what
condition we are in order to say clearly what we shall be going to and what
bearings we shoudl take," Yakushkin said.
"Anyway, plans to build a strong state in no way contradict solid democratic
foundations. In this sense, the Russian acting president wants to ensure
equal conditions and rules of the game for all without exception and without
providing privileges for whosoever," he said.
Kennan Institute meeting report
Talk by Harley Balzer
Russian Education and National Security
By Jodi Koehn
"The Demise of a Great Power: Education and Russian National Security in the
21st Century" (January 10, 2000) Lecture at the Kennan Institute of the
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C.
"Education and human capital are growing national security issues for Russia,
remarked Harley Balzer, Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East
European Studies, Georgetown University, and former Title VIII-Supported
Research Scholar, Kennan Institute at a 10 January 2000 lecture at the Kennan
Institute. As a result, the likelihood that Russia will remain a great power
forty years from now is becoming increasingly remote, Balzer continued.
Russia is only beginning to understand that economic power and scientific and
technical progress are the keys to security in the future. According to
Balzer, even if the Russian government fully appreciated this concept, it is
questionable whether Russia is capable of devoting the resources needed to
address the problems.
Balzer noted that what is happening with Russian education is not too
different from what is occurring in the rest of the industrialized world, in
that higher education has come to be regarded as a middle class entitlement,
but societies can no longer afford it. Balzer discussed what he calls the
"technological gap." This idea refers to a gap in knowledge between the first
world and the third world as well as a potential gap within nations--a
difference between people who have access to technology and those who do not.
Unfortunately, Balzer noted, Russia has both types of problems.
According to Balzer, society in the twenty-first century is going focus on
information technology and communication. Therefore, the definition of what
makes an effective education system has changed. The key to the future is the
ability to think critically, conceptualize, and learn on one's own--something
which is often lacking in post-communist educational systems, Balzer argued.
Students from former communist countries receive high scores on tests of
factual knowledge, but perform poorly on tests measuring problem-solving and
the ability to learn on the job.
Balzer stated that there have been striking positive developments in Russian
education which have produced unprecedented opportunities for a limited
number of people--along with serious problems and disturbing tendencies for
the majority of the population. There are a number of innovative teachers and
pedagogical thinkers in the country, but the application of this new thinking
is not widespread. The majority of the population does not share the
benefits. This stratification, Balzer argued, threatens the country's
In Russia, higher education enrollments are growing, which is both a positive
and a negative development. On the negative side, higher education tends to
be the most expensive and the most regressive type of publicly financed
education, Balzer explained, as public spending on higher education tends to
help those who are already well-off.
Another problem with higher education in Russia is that the "serious economic
dislocation" prevalent in Russian society has not been used to replace old
methods of education with structures better suited to a modern economy.
According to Balzer, now that the focus is on stability, it will be even more
difficult to make these changes.
The quality of the education system in Russia is a growing concern. Balzer
remarked that Russia currently spends less--as a percentage of GDP--on
education than any major industrialized country. Balzer cited statistics
stating that between 50-80 percent of Russian school age children are
classified as having some kind of physical or mental defect. This problem is
compounded when you add the number of street children who are not going to
school, the orphans, and those children who are too malnourished or hungry to
study well. In addition, a growing number of Russian children are out of the
education system by the time they are fifteen years old.
On the positive side, there is a growing number of private higher education
institutions--predominately specializing in the social sciences, law, and
economics. This means there will be interesting developments in education in
these fields, but the question remains as to whether these developments will
promote the technical base of society, Balzer stated.
According to Balzer, the result of the education stratification is that
Russia is becoming a "20-80" society. The education system serves the top 20
percent of the population, the affluent rather than the rest. Or, Balzer
postulated, education could be a "20-60-20" situation in which 10 percent are
illiterate--although this percentage could be closer to 20 percent in Russia,
Balzer argued--10-20 percent (the elite) are very well-educated, and the rest
are sorely lacking in the skills which would give Russia a modern economic
This does not mean immediate collapse, but it does indicate a development
trajectory which would prevent Russia from re-occupying what many people
suggest is its natural geostrategic space in the center of Eurasia, Balzer
argued. This is a problem, Balzer concluded, which both Russians and
Americans have only begun to contemplate.
Jodi Koehn is editor at the Kennan Institute.
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