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Johnson's Russia List


March 13, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4164 4165


Johnson's Russia List
13 March 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. The Observer (UK): John Sweeney, Take care Tony, that man has blood on his hands. Evidence shows secret police were behind 'terrorist' bomb.
3. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: Ministry's Words Give False Hope.(re Anti-Monopoly Ministry)
4. Ray Thomas: RE:4162-Tavernise/Banks Are Lending Money.
5. The Russia Journal: President has too much authorityí.(Extracts from politician Vladimir Ryzhkovís new book)
8. Tykhookeanskaya Zvezda: Vera Poboinaya, This Scary Word "Dictatorship". (From Hello Russia)
9. RFE/RL: East: Alexandra Poolos, Economic Reform Results In High Jobless Rates For Women.
10. Carnegie Moscow Center: Andrey Ryabov, The Presidential Elections and the Evolution of Russia's Political System (an attempt at a political forecast)]


The Observer (UK)
March 12, 2000
[for personal use only]
Take care Tony, that man has blood on his hands 
Evidence shows secret police were behind 'terrorist' bomb 
By John Sweeney 

The photograph below of a detonator pre-set to explode a bomb calls into 
question Russian leader Vladimir Putin's line - endorsed by Tony Blair during 
his visit to Russia yesterday - that Chechen terrorists were responsible for 
the explosions that killed more than 200 Russians last year. 

Two bombs went off in Moscow, but a third bomb planted in Ryazan, 100 miles 
south, was defused by bomb squad officer Yuri Tkachenko who said: 'It was a 
live bomb.' It was made of the same explosive, Hexagen, and planted in a 
similar target - a working-class block of flats. 

The third bomb did not go off because the bombers were caught red-handed. 
They were Russian, not Chechen, and when they were arrested by local police 
they flashed identity cards from the FSB - the new styling for the KGB, the 
secret police Putin headed before he became Russia's acting President. Two 
days later the FSB announced that the third bomb had only been 'a training 

The Kremlin's evidence that Chechen terrorists bombed Moscow is extremely 
thin. After the bomb outrages, secret police in the FSB handed out Photofit 
pictures of unnamed Chechens. No suspects were arrested and no convincing 
explanation was given to the public. 

The third bomb was found in the basement of the flats on the night of 22 
September at around 9pm. Tkachenko said: 'It was a live bomb. I was in a 
combat situation.' He tested the three sugar sacks in the basement with his 
MO-2 portable gas analyser, and got a positive reading for Hexagen, the 
explosive used in the Moscow bombs. 

The timer of the detonator was set for 5.30am, which would have killed many 
of the 250 tenants of the 13-storey block of flats. The sacks were taken out 
of the basement at around 1.30 am and driven away by the FSB. But the secret 
police forgot to take away the detonator, which was left in the hands of the 
bomb squad. They photographed it the next day. 

The bombers were discovered by the people they meant to kill. Vladimir 
Vasiliev, an engineer com ing home for the night, noticed three strangers 
acting suspiciously by the basement of his block of flats at 14/16 Novosyolov 
Street, literally New Settlers Street. 

Vasiliev noticed that the number plate at the front of the car had been 
covered up with a piece of paper, on it '62', the Ryazan regional code. At 
the back of the car the plate had the Moscow regional code. 

Vasiliev, puzzled, decided to call the police. 'As we were waiting for the 
lift, one of the young guys got out of the car and the girl asked: "Have you 
done everything?" ' 

Vasiliev observed the three in the car: 'They were Russian, absolutely, not 
Asiatic. The girl was a blonde.' 

The local police arrested two men that night, according to Boris Kagarlitsky, 
a member of the Russian Institute of Comparative Politics. 'FSB officers were 
caught red-handed while planting the bomb. They were arrested by the police 
and they tried to save themselves by showing FSB identity cards.' 

Then, when the headquarters of the FSB in Moscow intervened, the two men were 
quietly let go. 

Police Inspector Andrei Chernyshev was the first to enter the basement. He 
said: 'It was about 10 in the evening. There were some strangers who were 
seen leaving the basement. We were told about the men who came out from the 
basement and left with the car with a licence number which was covered with 
paper. I went down to the basement. 

'This block of flats had a very deep basement which was completely covered 
with water. We could see sacks of sugar and in them some electronic device, a 
few wires and a clock. We were shocked. 

'We ran out of the basement and I stayed on watch by the entrance and my 
officers went to evacuate the people.' 

The following day, on 24 September, the FSB in Moscow announced that there 
had never been a bomb, only a training exercise. Vasiliev said: 'I heard the 
official version on the radio, when the press secretary of the FSB announced 
it was a training exercise. It felt extremely unpleasant.'


The Guardian (UK)
11 March 2000

At first glance, Vladimir Putin, acting president of Russia, and Pervez 
Musharraf, military boss of Pakistan, would not appear to have much in 
common. Mr Putin is a dapper little chap, a bit of a chinless wonder in a 
country known for its larger-than-life leaders. Gen Musharraf likes to 
portray himself as a bluff, genial soldier, tough and battle-hardened but a 
sweetie at heart. Yet look closer and some similarities appear. Both men take 
their patriotism very seriously. Neither balks at a military adventure or the 
odd cross-border incursion. And both take their democracy with a pinch of 

But what really joins this odd couple at the hip is their overweening desire 
for legitimacy. Mr Putin, a secret policeman by trade, came from nowhere to 
sit on the edge of Boris Yeltsin's commodious Kremlin armchair. He knows he 
will win this month's presidential election. But what he really craves is 
heavyweight world leader status. Gen Musharraf is even more desperate. Since 
he seized power last autumn and unanimously voted himself Big Cheese Numero 
Uno, the international community has been a bit. . . well, stand-offish to 
say the least. 

For both these lonely hearts, help is at hand. Keen to meet Russia's coming 
man, and not averse to a nice evening out with Cherie at the Kirov, Tony 
Blair is off to St Petersburg this weekend. To suggest that this social 
get-together may be seen as a highly unusual, pre-election endorsement of Mr 
Putin's candidacy, and his not unconnected, murderous suppression of the 
Chechens, would be simply gauche. This is a matter of realpolitik, mixed with 
a spot of shopping. It would likewise clearly be naive to question Bill 
Clinton's decision to breach the cordon sanitaire around Gen Musharraf later 
this month. Mr Clinton imagines he can do over lunch in Islamabad what nobody 
else can: turn a frog into a prince. What confidence our leaders have! What 
verve! And how Messrs Putin and Musharraf must chuckle! 


Moscow Times
March 11, 2000 
EDITORIAL: Ministry's Words Give False Hope 

The Anti-Monopoly Ministry has long been something of a paper tiger, but its 
performance this week has relegated it to the status of a paper pussycat. 

Acting President Vladimir Putin had given comfort to local and foreign 
businessmen concerned at the apparent resurgence of arch tycoon Boris 
Berezovsky and his allies, when he urged the Anti-Monopoly Ministry to 
examine the recent acquisitions of some 60 percent of the aluminum industry 
by "Sibneft shareholders." 

Even when Putin took that step, many warned that the ministry had few real 

Thursday's announcement by Anti-Monopoly Minister Ilya Yuzhanov was therefore 
both surprising and depressing. 

Yuzhanov's capitulation - made after he had briefed Putin on the matter - was 
not depressing because he declared there were no illegalities in the sales of 
majority stakes in the Krasnoyarsk and Bratsk aluminum smelters and 
significant minority stakes in the Krasnoyarsk hydropower station and the 
Achinsk Alumina Plant. 

In ordering the investigation, the acting president had apparently decided to 
heed the protests of rival aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, whose Sibirsky 
Aluminum Group has been forging close economic and political ties with 
Unified Energy Systems and its chief executive, Anatoly Chubais. 

Had the government - after such an obviously politicized investigation - 
declared that the sales should be undone, it would have been directly 
choosing sides in a battle between competing camps of oligarchs. 

If Berezovsky and his erstwhile ally Roman Abramovich have indeed won control 
of a string of aluminum companies, there is no necessary reason for the 
government to take action, unless they look set to wield excessive monopoly 
power. With Sibirsky Aluminum and UES - drawing on its own monopoly power in 
the electricity industry - acting as counterweights, that looks unlikely. 

Instead, objections to the recent aluminum deals hinge on precisely the 
matters about which Yuzhanov was most reticent. 

It is unconscionable for the government to state that it knows who now owns 
these companies, but will not reveal this information because it is a 
commercial secret. 

It is even worse when this veil of secrecy is drawn over a deal widely 
believed to involve a flagrant breach of laws that ban State Duma deputies 
from owning enterprises or taking part in private business in any way. 

Despite all the damage caused over the past decade by the lack of 
transparency in the most basic business matters, the Putin regime has still 
not learned that market democracy is all about openness. 

- Garfield Reynolds 


From: (Ray Thomas)
Subject: RE: 4162-Tavernise/Banks Are Lending Money,
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 

It is good news that Russian entrepreneur Andrei Sakharov with 200 employees
got a $128,000 two-year loan from Probusinessbank. Tavernise did not report
what rate of interest Sakharov is paying or the effect of this rate of
interest on the price of the bread and buns that Sakharov produces. But
she reports that smaller companies in Russia are getting capital, and that
most banks say they are lending for three months in rubles at an annualized
rate of between 30% and 40%.

It is a bit different with .com companies in many western countries. Many
.com entrepreneurs are given capital without having any well established
business with 200 employees, without ever having made any profit, and
without having to commit themselves any interest payments. In many cases
they have obtained this capital by promising to give services away to their

This sharp contrast in availability of capital helps to explain the basic
weaknesses of the Russian economy. Unfortunately for Russia nothing in
Putin's KGB trained mind shows no understanding of the fact that the
fluidity of capital markets in the west is the product of financial
institutions that are independent of government. They are not the product
of strong governments or of oligarchy. 


The Russia Journal
March 13-19, 2000
President has too much authorityí
Vladimir Ryzhkov
Extracts from politician Vladimir Ryzhkovís new book.

Vladimir Ryzhkov is a member of the NDR (Our Home is Russia) party and a
member of the Russian Dumaís Yedinstvo (Unity) faction. His book Ė "The
Fifth Republic" Ė will be published Monday in Russian. These are excerpts
from the book. 

When it comes to practical, everyday state-building, it seems to me that
modern Russia continues to underestimate the difficulties involved.
Everyone says that the economy is what counts most, that we wonít be able
to build a modern state and civil society unless we get the economy going

But I think this is a serious mistake. I understand that the economy is
immensely important and that if we donít reform the old Soviet command
economy, we wonít be able to compete in the 21st century. But
state-building is an equally important, ongoing task upon which economic
growth depends.

It seems to me that in the late í80s and through the í90s, the Russian
political class failed to see how careful and professional an approach is
needed to build a democratic state. Political instinct, rather than
conscious political thought, was the driving force for events over this
time, as society and politicians sought to do away with the old system
without always thinking about what to put in its place.

The countryís leaders tried to create new institutions, drawing partly on
the experience of Tsarist Russia, as with the State Duma, borrowing bits
and pieces from other countries and coming up with some inventions of their
own. This hastiness and lack of professionalism led to the creation of some
distorted state structures not designed to last long.

Analyzing the inherent contradictions in the system we have today, I came
to the conclusion that this, our fourth republic, is doomed to make way for
another. Many disagree and think that it would suffice to have a
pro-presidential majority in the Duma to resolve the systemís problems. But
even if the Duma and government were to support the president, there would
still be other contradictions in the system that would stop it from working

First of all, the role of the parliament. If the parliamentary majority
doesnít have the right to form a government, there are no guarantees that
todayís pro-presidential majority couldnít fall apart tomorrow and find
itself in the minority. 

Another fault of the current system is the role of political parties. The
parliament is moving toward a situation where it will be formed by several
ideologically very different parties. Such a parliament, if it canít form
the government, will always be a source of instability.

The temptation is to do like the Bolsheviks and make one party into a
ruling party, ensuring unity of ideology and action. Weíve already been
through this, though the temptation has inspired the organizers of the
"governorsí bloc" with its symbolic name "Unity." 

Only, this is a mistake. You canít appoint public interests. A societyís
interests become clear through collision of various private interests. No
one has yet come up with a better political solution than to have different
parties competing for a turn at the helm. The only question is how to make
this process more civilized.

The third fault of our system is that it gives the president too much
authority. We have to admit that there are no institutional curbs on the
presidentís power at present.

Without constitutional reform, I donít think we can make the current
political system work effectively to solve the challenges our society
faces. But to set this process in motion first requires the good will of
the new president who would dismiss the current government and invite the
Duma majority leader to form a cabinet. 

This could even be done without violating the Constitution if the majority
leader makes proposals to the president, the prime minister and ministers,
and the president simply signs the proposals, thus retaining only a formal
right to influence the forming of the government.

We would have then a de facto new Russian republic built on the principles
of checks and balances to the presidentís power, a government formed by the
parliamentary majority and political responsibility of the parties
represented in parliament. 

But are such transformations of the political system possible? I think they
are, though some politicians currently hoping to win the presidential seat
want to keep the present system. Many of them nourish dreams of an
authoritarian state built on the constitutional powers of the president. 

Others, often from the left, talk of having just a figurehead president or
no president at all. This model is unsuitable for Russia because its
parties are not yet sufficiently mature, having had little chance to get
used to political responsibility. The result would likely be short-lived
coalitions and an even more unstable system than we have today. 

I think that transforming the present republic into a fifth, mixed
presidential-parliamentary republic is the best option. The president would
remain responsible for defense, foreign policy, law and order and
territorial integrity. The parliamentary majority would form a government
to deal with social and economic policy. This solution best suits Russiaís
historic traditions, mentality, and succession of political systems and
would guarantee a more stable and effective state.


Text of report by Russian Centre TV on 9th March 

[Presenter Svetlana Melnikova] Candidate for president of the Russian 
Federation, Vladimir Zhirinovskiy, is in the Centre TV studio. You have five 
minutes at your disposal, Vladimir Volfovich. Go ahead, please. 

[Zhirinovskiy, sitting at a table decorated with two little Russian flags] 
Good afternoon. All previous candidates addressed you in prerecorded 
materials, because they are used to long rehearsals, written texts and big 
teams of consultants. Why do they act this way? Because all of them are from 
the former Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which was unable to rule on 
an individual basis and practised collective government. 

They have promised you a lot: high salaries, increased pensions, the return 
of your lost savings and lower prices. None of this will ever happen. They 
are lying to you again. Yes, they are lying to you again. 

They are telling you that Yeltsin was bad. But Yeltsin was saying the same - 
that [Mikhail] Gorbachev was bad, and you believed Yeltsin. They are telling 
you now that that regime was bad, but all of them received their posts from 
that very regime. 

[Presidential candidate Konstantin] Titov was appointed [Samara Region 
governor] by Yeltsin, and Yeltsin created good conditions for him to be a 

The story is the same for others. [Presidential candidate, suspended 
Prosecutor-General Yuriy] Skuratov was also appointed by him [Yeltsin]. All 
of them are from his team. An aging politician fell ill, grew old and 
retired, and now all of them are kicking him with delight. If there was a 
young leader, they would never kick him. 

So, I can tell you that nobody is able to improve life in Russia radically 
and quickly, in just a couple of years. We are too big a country, and we are 
surrounded by enemies. 

I will tell you the truth: we must prepare ourselves for armed conflicts on 
all our borders. In the Caucasus everything is being done correctly, though 
more modern weapons might be used to spare our soldiers' lives. But this 
conflict is not the last one. A big war will start in Central Asia in this 
year or in 2001. And it will last forever. This is human history. 

This is why it is pointless to promise peace and democracy in Russia. Russia 
has had neither peace nor democracy for 1,000 years. For 1,000 years Russia 
has been ruled by a tsar, or a general secretary, or a president. 

Russia can be nothing but a centralized state. It must be strong through the 
Kremlin, not through the regions of Russia, which are headed by a gathering 
of crooks, adventurers and separatists. If we give up power to the regions, 
we shall destroy the country. This is what nobody will accept. 

We must care about the army, security agencies and police, because it is 
Russia's fate to be a police state both for its own people and for the entire 
world. Russia can survive only by being a gendarme. It will die if it becomes 
a beat officer without a firearm or a horse. This is predetermined by our 
location, by geography, not by our nature. It happened that we own vast 
territory. Other nations have little territory, and it is not enough for 

Why are the Chechens permanently rebelling, what do you think? The Russians 
would do the same if they were driven to the mountains with no place to 
plough, saw or build anything. 

Geography - this is the reason for present-day wars. We must forget about 
interethnic and religious conflicts, as well as social conflicts. 

A strong and powerful state can be established only by a president. We need 
no gubernatorial elections. All state officials must be appointed by a 
president who is elected by the people's vote. 

It is ridiculous to elect a president just for four years. It will take him 
four years just to travel across this country. 

I have been a political party leader for 10 years. Whom should you vote for? 
There is an acting president, and you see his actions. There are the leaders 
of the main parties: [Communist leader Gennadiy] Zyuganov, myself and 
[Yabloko leader Grigoriy] Yavlinskiy. 

Zyuganov represents our past. They gave up power on their own. Lenin's 
prophecy has come true. "Will the Bolsheviks hold on to power?" [the title of 
Lenin's brochure]. They failed to hold on to it. Well, step aside forever, 
nobody needs you any more. 

The story is the same with Yavlinskiy. The reforms have been under way for 10 
years. They failed, the attack misfired, because Russia is the wrong country 
for Western-style economic and democratic reforms. 

There are also two governors - [Kemerovo governor Aman] Tuleyev and [Samara 
governor Konstantin] Titov. Tuleyev is a left-winger, he is consigned to the 
rubbish dump of history along with Zyuganov. The nation bid them farewell 10 
years ago. Titov, who spoke before me, is a nice chap. He was saying good 
things, but he should add what I will say now. [Samara] Region is the only 
one in Russia where the building of the police directorate was destroyed by 
fire. Esteemed Mr Candidate! Why did it set on fire nowhere else but in your 
region? The police and firemen should watch their headquarters properly. 
Because there was a criminal file on your son. So, do not tell us fairy tales 
about your efficient management of the region. 

Every candidate smells bad. All of them have been in power for a long time 
and achieved no success. 

Only a radical change in our foreign policy, making an alliance with new 
allies, mostly in the South, like India - 

[Presenter, whispers off camera] Finish! 

[Zhirinovskiy] - Iran, Iraq, and so on, and quite a different approach to our 
domestic problems - [changes tack] We must finally make use of everything we 

[Presenter] Sorry for interrupting you, Vladimir Volfovich. 

[Zhirinovskiy] I am finishing, but I will take the floor again, and more than 
once. It is impossible to say everything in five minutes. I hope that you 
will draw the right conclusions from all our election broadcasts. Good-bye. 

[Presenter] Thank you. 

Source: Centre TV, Moscow, in Russian 0615 gmt 09 Mar 00 


Chicago Tribune
12 March 2000
[for personal use only]
By Matthew H. Murray. Matthew H. Murray is president of Sovereign Ventures 
Inc., a management consulting firm. (

YELTSIN: A Revolutionary Life
By Leon Aron
St. Martin's, 934 pages, $35

During a summer break from college, the young Boris Yeltsin asked friends to 
join him on a trip across the Soviet Union. When they declined, he ventured 
off on his own, traversing an impressive distance by hopping trains, 
sometimes riding atop the cars. When detained at a new destination by the 
totalitarian state's militia, Yeltsin would say he was visiting his 
grandmother in the next town. When asked the address, he would answer, "Lenin 

This revealing anecdote is found in "Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life," a new 
biography of the former Russian president by Leon Aron, director of Russian 
studies at the American Enterprise Institute. In a lucid, bracing narrative, 
Aron peels away layers of negative publicity heaped upon Yeltsin in recent 
years. He emerges as a brave, even noble, individual who, by climbing onto a 
tank during the communist coup in 1991, took a stand against 1,000 years of 
Russian history.

Aron's thesis is that Yeltsin's populist intuition, passion for freedom and 
physical courage enabled him to deliver democracy to Russia. Yeltsin began 
populist reform as first secretary of the Communist Party in Sverdlovsk, an 
industrial province. Bucking the party's elitist traditions, Yeltsin 
conducted open meetings with labor collectives, calling the party to account 
directly to the people for the economy's performance.

In 1985, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev brought Yeltsin to the capital to 
help implement perestroika, or restructuring, as first secretary of the 
Moscow Communist Party. Repulsed by the incompetent and corrupt practices of 
the party elite, or nomenklatura, Yeltsin reduced bloated staff and cut 
access to special food parcels and ZIL limousines, the heart of party 
privilege. When opposed, he resorted to populist tactics, holding public 
meetings to fire party officials.

Although Yeltsin grew to personify perestroika, his literal embrace of the 
policy challenged the legitimacy of central planning, setting Yeltsin and 
Gorbachev on a collision course. Aron treats us to a poignant moment in the 
personal struggle between these two figures: After Yeltsin resigns as Moscow 
party chief, Gorbachev orchestrates a party congress to humiliate him, 
leaving Yeltsin sitting on stage holding his head in his hands. As the 
members depart the hall, Gorbachev, perhaps realizing that he had been too 
harsh, returns to help Yeltsin recover himself.

On Aug. 19, 1991, when Kremlin conservatives tried to orchestrate a coup 
against Gorbachev, people throughout the Soviet Union looked to Yeltsin. In 
the ensuing three days, Yeltsin transcended personal rivalry and reversed 
Russia's fatal political tendencies. Standing on a tank sent to the 
parliament building to intimidate democrats, he insisted that Russians wrest 
power from the state and hold public officials accountable. Yeltsin 
intuitively recognized that to reform the Soviet system, he must start at the 
top, by reforming the government itself.

"Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life" leaves no doubt that Yeltsin delivered 
democracy to Russia, but it does not establish why, as president, he failed 
to implement the revolution's new social contract. After initiating 
far-reaching economic reforms, the president's populist intuition dulled. 
Yeltsin was preyed upon by former Communist Party elites, who used his 
decrees to retain control of state enterprises or acquire them on the cheap. 
As Aron says, "When the music of communism stopped, they kept the chairs." 
Under Yeltsin, Russia did not privatize its economy but rather converted 
state monopolies into private hands, creating " `nomenklatura capitalism.' "

Why did Yeltsin's pitched battle with Russia's nomenklatura end? Did he sell 
out the people in an effort to co-opt the bureaucracy? Aron hints that 
Yeltsin the autocrat took over from the populist. While empowering pro-market 
technocrats to reform the economy, he foisted the communist directors upon 
them as a counterweight. But, Aron argues, Yeltsin remained a friend to 

Aron's main explanation for Yeltsin's erratic leadership is that revolutions 
devour their young. After entering the Kremlin, Yeltsin's history of heart 
trouble prevented him from assuming responsibility. Much of Yeltsin's 
political courage derived from his towering presence, booming voice and raw 
stamina. From routinely working 16-hour days in Sverdlovsk, to combating the 
Moscow elite at public meetings, to mounting the tank in 1991, Yeltsin defied 
the odds of Russian history by imposing his will, almost physically, on his 

The physical dimension of Yeltsin's political struggle also places Yeltsin's 
alleged alcohol problem in context. In the early days of his career, Yeltsin 
refused to drink in public. After 20 years of carrying the weight of Russia 
on his broad shoulders, alone at the top, he succumbed to one thing Russia 
could offer in return--spirits consumed, even during work, with a convivial 

While Aron shows genuine empathy for his subject, and thoroughly charts 
Yeltsin's rise to power, he does not penetrate the walls of the Kremlin to 
assess the president's role in creating nomenklatura capitalism. His loyalty 
to democracy notwithstanding, in seeking to control bureaucratic elites 
Yeltsin became controlled by them. A weakened presidency served the interests 
of a nomenklatura that operated above the law. There are many people inside 
and outside of Russia who would demonize Yeltsin's efforts to democratize the 
country. Until his Kremlin role is understood in full, such critics will 


From: "Alexander Samoiloff" <>
Subject: This Scary Word "Dictatorship"
Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 

March 10, 2000

6. This Scary Word "Dictatorship"
By Vera Poboinaya 
Tykhookeanskaya Zvezda, February 28, 2000.

Russians have very grieved memories associated with the word "dictatorship".
Those were the times when our freedom and rights were only declarative.
In real life there were labor camps, where in the end of 30-th many people
had perished and all that horror of daily life, when it was simply dangerous
to say a careless word.
That what happens today? Again tightening up of the nuts, an iron discipline
and people become just small cogs?...
Together with that, we clearly understand that Russia is overwhelmed by
chaos of crime, and without a rudder during the storm no ship can survive.
Russia can not stay in this station, when criminal world is taking control
over the nation, and justice simply can not pull this load, and is very weak
and seldom protects our legal rights.
Every Russian can mention to you many examples when Police doesn't hurry up
to catch a thief who plundered your apartment, and about usual red tape in
the Court, where you legal action can be considered without any regard of
the Law.
Or our Khabarovsk municipal government is regularly introducing different
illegal innovations, robbing out purses of poor taxpayer.
Do we want continue to live like that? It's clear, we don't want to, and
recently on the meeting of the Board of Russian Ministry of Justice Vladimir
Putin has said the word "dictatorship".
However, he also explained, that at all does not support the people, who
would like to make an order in Russia with Iron Fist. "Dictatorship of the
Law is the only version of the dictatorship, which we must follow up", he
You see, it is impossible for the nation to live on the legal base created
during another state regime, explained Putin.. Today many existing laws
practically do not work, and 20 percent of regional legal acts contradict to
the laws of Russian Federation.
According to Putin, "such practices are able to blow up a uniform
constitutional field of the country", that's why he has supported idea of
granting to the Ministry of Justice a right to appeal the court on
cancellation of regional legislation.
By the way, Justice Ministry will now play the main role in activation of
law-making process with the general purpose of establishment of dictatorship
of the law "to make Russia a strong state, where the human rights and
freedoms" are guaranteed.
We can only applaud Putin if this will happen!
If in realization of this idea our government and power structures will not
go too far, as sometimes this happens with them, alas, may be we shall
really see the dictatorship of law and at last will live in the lawful state
and get rid of present nightmare.
So, may be dictatorship can be a nice rescue.


East: Economic Reform Results In High Jobless Rates For Women 
By Alexandra Poolos

With the economic tumult that free-market reforms have brought to former 
communist countries, many women in the region have been forced from their 
jobs. RFE/RL correspondent Alexandra Poolos looks into the problem 

Prague, 10 March 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Since the fall of communism in 1989, 
unemployment rates for women across eastern Europe and the former Soviet 
Union have skyrocketed.

According to a recent report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 
the women who have lost most jobs are in the countries that are furthest 
along the path of economic reform. In Hungary, a country of some 10 million 
people, women have lost close to one million jobs since 1989 --that's 
one-third of all the jobs they held under the old regime. The situation is 
similar in Ukraine and Russia, but in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan, cautious 
reforms have protected state-supplied jobs for many women.

Under communism, women's participation in the work force was outstandingly 
high by international standards. In the Baltic republics, Russia, Ukraine, 
Belarus and Moldova, the gender gap in labor force participation rates was as 
low as that in Sweden -- the leader in job gender equality among Western 
nations. Across the communist region, women in the work-place had access to 
an extensive state-run system of family and child-care supports. That 
included lengthy paid maternity leave, family allowances attached to wages, 
and nursery, kindergarten and after-school services for children. Levels of 
educational achievement among women were high and standards of health care 
were relatively good.

Andy Newell, an economist at the University of Sussex in Britain, says that 
the large number of women working in the eastern bloc was part of a larger 
plan to increase the work force in communist countries:

"The history of women in the communist period, especially in Russia but it's 
true in eastern Europe as well -- that the system was designed to ensure 
economic growth in the communist framework. And the way that they did that 
was extensive growth and that meant that they wanted to get as many people 
working as possible. Female participation rose very rapidly during the 30s, 
40s and 50s. And that was deliberately designed."

But despite these successes, gender discrimination still existed and it was 
never properly addressed by the communist authorities. Although women were 
encouraged to work, they often carried a double duty of home and work 
responsibilities. Data from the UNICEF report shows that the total workload 
of women in eastern Europe averaged close to 70 hours per week.

As communism collapsed and countries moved into economic turbulence. 
traditional stereotypes begin to resurface. The transition from communism 
immediately showed that there had been a real gender difference in 
employment. Not only were women the first to lose their jobs, when state 
companies began to be collapse they also encountered limited avenues for 
future employment. State subsidies for childcare and maternity leave 
disappeared almost immediately, making it difficult for women to leave the 

Newell says that women are often crowded into professions traditionally open 
to them and shut out from industries where salaries are higher.

"Employment practices are still very sexist. There's a great deal of 
occupational segregation in these countries still. So women will be crowded 
into feminized industries -- health care, education, primary education 
especially -- and they won't be at all in other industries."

Like many other countries elsewhere, women earn less on average than men in 
former communist countries. According to a recent World Bank study, 
university-educated men in Poland on average earn about 40 percent more per 
month than educated women. In Latvia, women employed full-time bring home up 
to 32 percent less than men. In Croatia, women make up more than two-thirds 
of office workers and more than half of all low-skilled labor. The report 
says that the gender difference in pay is directly tied to a decrease in 
educational opportunities for women, which has resulted in women being 
clustered in low-paying jobs.

The picture is far brighter when it comes to women involved in the rising 
number of small business. UNICEF recently examined the number of women among 
entrepreneurs across the region. Its data shows that about one-quarter of all 
entrepreneurs are women. The numbers are consistent with those found in many 
developed market economies. 

Newell says that women entrepreneurs are stepping forward to fill a huge 
service sector gap:

"There's this terrific shortage in everyday services -- things that we in the 
West would treat as completely normal. From hairdressing to mail services, 
all those personal services and financial services as well. There just wasn't 
very much of that. And entrepreneurs were hardly encouraged in the system. 
And so there was a terrible shortage of that kind of activity. And those are 
activities that are predominately done by women, made by women, even in the 
West. And so as they've grown, as they start from small enterprises, that's 
where you would expect to find the women."

Newell also says that before women's role in the workplace can improve, 
former communist countries must first build a stable economy. He says that 
women will survive the tumult of transition years. One major reason he cites 
is that, for him, they cope better with adversity. That means, Newell adds, 
that women are less shocked by the transition to a free market and have tried 
harder to find out what it is they can do. 


Carnegie Moscow Center
The Presidential Elections and the Evolution of Russia's Political System 
(an attempt at a political forecast)
by Andrey Ryabov

An Electoral Victory as the Starting Point for Reforming the Political System 

Few people, in Russia or abroad, doubt that Vladimir Putin is set to win
the presidential elections. However, analysts are virtually united in their
opinion that the election of a new head of state will not be sufficient, in
and of itself, to solve the complicated problems of the nation's political
development. The election of a new president will only establish a
different political framework and set out new starting points for tackling
such problems. The old system of power relationships will have to be
replaced with a new balance of forces capable of implementing their own
proposals for constitutional reform. Additionally, it will be necessary to
build a strong executive political apparatus of vertical governance,
relieving the president from the oligarchs' pressure, and to reformulate
the institutional relationship between the president and legislative power.

Prerequisites for Constitutional Reform 

Clearly, the election of a new president will not eliminate the need for
constitutional reform. The impetus for such reform is not mere political
expediency, but rather a very real need for a stable political system
capable of responding to new public challenges in a quick and efficient
manner. However, it is becoming ever clearer that the introduction of
constitutional reform is running into serious obstacles. 

It will only be possible to alter the balance of power and the scope of
authority enjoyed by various government institutions, and to create new
institutional mechanisms for crucial decision-making once a new balance of
interests has evolved and taken hold among key social and political groups.
This process has only just begun. Meanwhile, the balance of forces that
surfaced at the start of the Duma election campaign no longer exists. At
that time, an attempt was made to build a new "party of power" around the
Fatherland - All Russia (OVR) electoral bloc. OVR proposed their own
alternative for constitutional reform and revision of the Constitution.
However, even were constitutional reform to be accomplished quickly, it
would not be a cure-all capable of resolving the core contradictions in the
nation's political development.

The Objective: Consolidation of Power 

Experts argue that the root of Russia's difficulties in reforming its
political system lies in the legitimacy crisis of the Russian authorities.
The legitimacy of Russian leaders differs from the kind found in Western
democracies, where the notions of "legitimacy" and "legality" are virtually
identical. Russia's political system is institutionally weak; therefore,
for the presidency to carry out sweeping political changes, winning
legitimacy through elections is simply not enough. The presidency must
consolidate the government machinery (in particular, by building an
effective vertical structure of presidential power). For that purpose, the
president will have to mobilize his administrative resources to the
greatest extent possible, while developing a high level of political and
moral authority among various elites. 

The relative success enjoyed by Boris Yeltsin in the initial stage of his
government-building (1991-1992) was largely attributable to a definitive
popularity that the president held among Russian elites of the time,
something he had won in a protracted and difficult struggle with the Soviet
Union's central leadership between 1987 and 1991. It was this authority
that allowed Yeltsin, once in power, to immediately set up a powerful
multi-tier political team of his own. In addition, at least until the fall
of 1993 when the era of "street" politics in Russia was brought to an end,
public opinion actively supported the nation's first president. It could
always be relied upon as a strong tool of political pressure against his

Putin's situation is more complicated. His political background did not
provide him the opportunity to build a strong team. Meanwhile, today's head
of state lacks authority among various elites to be able to move
resolutely, without fear of resistance by vested political, administrative,
financial, or industrial interests. In addition, Putin's public support is
qualitatively different from Yeltsin's: since a desire for paternalism has
gradually come to dominate the mass consciousness, even a very popular new
president would be unable to count on public support of the activist kind.
Immediately after being elected, Putin would face the vital task of
establishing a vertical presidency and building his own political team in
order to consolidate national statehood on that basis. 

Prospects for Economic Reform

Obviously, under such conditions, the task of reforming the Russian economy
would inevitably becomes subordinate to that of consolidating power. The
president would be unable to attain these two key objectives
simultaneously. In all likelihood, he would leave the economic problems to
a cabinet of "technocrats," at least during the period of the new political
regime's consolidation. Such a cabinet would largely be made up of
economists and professional managers with solid reputations and no links to
any powerful interest groups. It is safe to assume that the president would
charge the government with the task of achieving economic growth in the
near term and of improving the living standard of most Russians. In this
scenario, the head of state would distance himself from the new cabinet,
giving it freedom of action in the economic realm while providing it with
political protection from potential attacks. 

For the president, the establishment of a technocratic government would be
crucial for reasons beyond the fact that it would allow him to focus
efforts on consolidation of power. It would also prevent a second or
parallel center of power from developing around the cabinet or prime
minister while the new regime was still evolving (as happened with cabinets
headed by Victor Chernomyrdin and Yevgeny Primakov in the Yeltsin years).
The influence of this new cabinet would naturally be limited by its own
probable failures and by the attitudes of elites and the public. This was
typical of the relationship between the head of state and the government in
the first year of the Yeltsin presidency. When the elites' and the general
public's dissatisfaction with Yegor Gaidar's cabinet reached an extent
dangerous to Yeltsin, he first restricted the government's freedom of
action and then dismissed it. 

Dispensing With the "Oligarchic" Republic

The existing system of power relationships badly impedes the establishment
of an effective vertical presidency in Russia. The head of state is
nominally vested with huge powers of governance, but the influence of
interest groups, such as regional elites and leading corporations
(so-called "oligarchies"), significantly restricts the actual nationwide
implementation of important presidential political decisions. This
essentially "feudal" system owes its existence, first and foremost, to
Yeltsin: lacking solid resources to retain his power, he had to buttress it
by delegating actual authority to the largest interest groups in exchange
for their loyalty. 

Though fairly stable, such a system has been inefficient in terms of
addressing wider national tasks and meeting new challenges. Putin, with
none of Yeltsin's political resources, would not be able to limit himself
to playing the role of "guardian" of the old system. In this role, he would
inevitably end up a weak and malleable figure, further eroding the Russian
presidency, with serious adverse implications for Russian statehood.
Therefore, consolidation of the new political regime and establishment of
effective vertical governance will largely depend on how much the
president and his administration are able to change the nature of their
relationships with special and regional interests and thus make the
presidential branch more independent. This will require revision of
relationships first, with the leading financial and industrial groups who
used to strongly influence the political process under Yeltsin, and,
second, with member territories of the Federation.

So huge a task cannot be accomplished solely through strong administrative
pressure on regional leaders and "oligarchs." Tough and straightforward
presidential actions of this kind might quickly bring together a "new
opposition" centered around the Federation Council, one which would enjoy
the support of the "oligarchs" and political parties unhappy with the tough
line pursued by the new head of state. Russia's recent political history
includes similar examples of consolidation within the opposition's ranks:
in the fall of 1998, Yeltsin had to give up on Chernomyrdin's nomination
for prime minister in the face of pressure from a coalition of forces
while, in March 1999, the "Skuratov case" triggered the formation of a
broad anti-Kremlin alliance.

Under present conditions, a "new opposition" might be more resolute and
focused, since its constituents would have to fight for their political
survival. The political basis for their convergence might include some
proposals for constitutional reform, reduction of presidential powers (and
transfer of some of this power to the government), and greater cabinet
accountability to Parliament, in particular to its upper chamber. In this
kind of context, the proposed revision of the Constitution might, once
again, turn into a crucial factor in the political struggle.

The president could avoid such an adverse scenario by opting to build
temporary coalitions, marshalling as many of his supporters as possible to
fight the more dangerous opponents. For instance, he could set some
"oligarchs" against others less favorable to the Kremlin, and pit the
leaders of subsidized regions against the overly independent leaders of
donor regions. However, even in this case, the presidential republic in
Russia is quite likely to weaken, as stronger trends of decentralization
bring about a redistribution of power in favor of the regions. As a result,
one might expect a new wave of political instability and fierce conflicts
at the top. Unless the elites choose to compromise, such developments may
assume a truly threatening scale for Russian statehood. 

In principal, the would-be president could start the consolidation of
elites while still in the election campaign, thus working to prevent the
emergence of new conflicts and instability. However, this is something that
does not seem to interest his present team. Apparently, their tactical
interests call for setting the acting head of state against the highest
possible number of political heavyweights. They hope that such an all out
confrontation will enhance the significance of the current Kremlin team in
Putin's eyes, making it the sole reliable pillar of support for the
would-be president and improving its chances of staying in power once the
elections are over. However, in the near future, these confrontational
tactics will make it much more difficult to build the coalitions that the
new president will badly need.

"Head of All Russians" vs. "Partisan President?"

If the new head of state is able to consolidate his power after the
elections, he will run into another important task, namely, working out the
new political regime's institutional details and developing the political
machinery by which it will function. Today, the conventional wisdom among
analysts is that, following some traditions of Yeltsin's rule, the new
Kremlin boss will seek to play the role of "President of all Russians,"
ruling artfully by maneuvering between different political forces and
applying a system of checks and balances. They normally refer to some newly
observed forms of interaction between the presidential administration and
the Duma. These forms are viewed as symptomatic of a nascent Bonapartist
regime that, in Parliament, would alternately rely on an alliance between
pro-presidential and pro-government factions on the one hand, and either
leftist or reformist parties and blocs on the other, depending on the
nature of the task.

However, the regime would follow this pattern only at the consolidation
stage. Later on, the second president of the Russian Federation would have
completely different objectives. Yeltsin was largely preoccupied with the
distribution of resources among the new Russian elites. The head of state
effectively played the role of supreme arbitrator between the leading
establishment factions. He needed to support a balance of forces in
politics and in the economy, steering his course between key interest
groups. The success of such tactics was a decisive factor in the political
regime's survival. However, his ability to pursue a proactive policy,
aggregating and attaining national goals, was not just limited by the
objectives for which he strove, but also by the diminishing success of his
tactics over time. The new president will have to resolve strategic
problems of Russia's development, employing, in one way or another, polices
to politically mobilize the country. Here, Yeltsin-style opportunistic
wanderings between various power centers and continuous instigation of
conflicts at the top will no longer produce the desired effect. As the
regime consolidates, it will seek to turn Parliament into a reliable
"junior partner" instead of its opponent.

Changes in Russia's political landscape will also be important in this
regard. Various developments (such as continued integration of the CPRF
bosses into the existing political system or the co-opting by the executive
of some of the communists' key tenets and slogans that enjoy popularity
with voters), will mean that the Communist Party gradually ceases to be the
nucleus of anti-presidential opposition. Any other powerful opposition will
find it difficult, in the foreseeable future, to replace the CPRF in its
current function. It is therefore quite likely that, with time, the
presidency will find little need for maneuvering between partisan interests
in the Parliament. Instead, we will see a desire to institutionalize the
regime's political base by creating a presidential party capable of acting
as a "human resource mint" for the government machinery and of providing
the government with feedback from society. In addition, such a
"presidential party" would serve as a new apparatus for coordinating
interests across various groups of the governing elite. 

Such changes would indicate that the Russian system of political parties is
evolving into a single-party system, where the opposition takes no real
part in political decision-making and instead concentrates on publicly
criticizing government actions and focusing the public's complaints during
elections. (It is exactly in this way that political systems in Mexico and
Japan used to function during their transition to democracy; in India, the
same was seen during its development into an independent nation state.)

The potential path of evolution of the Russian political system discussed
above would not imply a departure from democratic traditions. Most
probably, the development would, to some extent, lead the way toward
establishment of a "guided democracy." 

Andrey Ryabov is co-chair of the "Russian Domestic Politics and Political
Institutions" project, along with Thomas Graham, Michael McFaul, Nikolai
Petrov and Lilia Shevtsova. The project conducts research on Russia's
domestic politics, the evolution of political parties and governance
institutions, shifts in the political mindset of the masses, and the
problems of federal system evolution and the regional politics in Russia.


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