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Johnson's Russia List
21 March 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Jamestown Foundation Monitor: PUTIN: OLIGARCHS WILL CEASE
TO EXIST "AS A CLASS"?
2. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: 'Terrorists' Are People, Not Animals.
3. The Moscow Tribune: John Helmer, STEEL BOLT FOR BARN-DOOR.
4. Reuters: Sebastian Alison, Russia's farmers gear up for
5. REMARKS BY MIKHAIL GORBACHEV AT A ROUND TABLE ON THE OCCASION
OF THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PRESIDENCY IN RUSSIA.(MARCH 17)
6. Nezavisimaya Gazeta - Stsenarii: PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN
RUSSIA: JUDGEMENTS, FORECASTS. (Views of leading Russian experts)]
Jamestown Foundation Monitor
March 20, 2000
PUTIN: OLIGARCHS WILL CEASE TO EXIST "AS A CLASS"?
Acting President Vladimir Putin has stepped up his rhetoric
concerning Russia's so-called "oligarchs," vowing they will cease to
exist "as a class" after his expected victory in this coming Sunday's
presidential election. In an interview with Mayak state radio, Putin
declared that his administration will work together with "all layers of
society," including representatives of big, small and medium-sized
businesses and trade unions. But he said that if the term "oligarch"
is understood as groups or representatives of groups who are
merging or trying to merge "the authorities and capital," then "there
will be no such oligarchs as a class." If he and his team do not
create "equal conditions for everyone," Putin said, "then we cannot
pull the country out of the condition it is in today."
"We have before us several large-scale main tasks," he continued.
"It is the fight against poverty and against crime. These are the two
main tasks. Within the fight against crime there are two sections.
One of these is fighting against corruption. In this sense there will be
no oligarchs of any kind" (RTR, March 19).
Putin's statements concerning his possible future relationship with
the oligarchs were his strongest to date. His phraseology--that they
will cease to exist "as a class"--is redolent of statements made
about, for example, the kulaks (private farmers) by Lenin or Stalin,
and could be interpreted by the oligarchs as a serious threat. On the
other hand, he may simply have meant that the tycoons will no
longer have the special access to the Kremlin that they enjoyed
under Boris Yeltsin.
It is also possible that Putin's tough words toward the oligarchs was
little more than campaign rhetoric--in particular, a response to
comments made by one of his rivals, Samara Governor Konstantin
Titov. Titov said in an interview published on March 17 that the
upcoming presidential election, while taking place "in accordance
with the Russian constitution," was a "dynastic transfer of power"
which had been "clearly thought out by the oligarchs and prepared
by experts." The Samara governor said that a political model was
emerging in Russia under which "the oligarchs will prepare
successors and move them on to the political stage," while the
people "as always, remain silent." Titov, however, suggested that
the jury was still out on whether Putin intends to "continue the
construction of a democratic society" or to serve "those who put him
in at the helm of power" (Financial Times, March 17).
While Putin's rhetoric vis-a-vis the oligarchs has grown tougher, he
has not availed himself of the opportunity to attack the most
powerful of them directly--in word or deed. Earlier this month, Putin
ordered Ilya Yuzhanov, Russia's antimonopoly minister, to
investigate the reported take-over of several large aluminum plants
by companies controlled by two top oligarchs, Boris Berezovsky and
Roman Abramovich. However, Yuzhanov soon afterward
announced that the sales of the stakes in the aluminum factories
had not violated any antimonopoly laws (see the Monitor, March 10).
These takeovers reportedly gave the Berezovsky-Abramovich clan
control of 60-70 percent of Russia's multibillion-dollar aluminum
business, and Yuzhanov's seal of approval suggests that the two
oligarchs remain extremely powerful politically. Last year,
Berezovsky and Abramovich were widely believed to be behind the
replacement of the head of the state oil company Transneft, which
was carried out when Putin, who was then prime minister, was out
of the country. Putin let that action stand as well (see the Monitor,
September 17, 21, 1999).
March 21, 2000
EDITORIAL: 'Terrorists' Are People, Not Animals
Vladimir Putin: You and I have just seen on our television screens that
animal that the FSB brought to us in Moscow.
Reporter: Do you mean Raduyev?
Putin: I mean the animal that is referred to as Salman Raduyev.
- From an interview shown on national television over the weekend.
The acting president talks of wasting terrorists in the outhouse, and for
months he casually waves aside reports of atrocities or crimes against
civilians in Chechnya. The nation's best-known anchorman uses state-run
national television to argue that it's time to start treating all Chechens as
criminals, because then the war can be over "in two weeks." (Presumably they
can all be killed, or rounded up into camps, in that time.) Izvestia devotes
the lion's share of Monday's front page to an article headlined "Blood
revenge for the West: In response to the [possible] expulsion of Russia from
the Council of Europe it is proposed to shoot Raduyev." After all, he's an
animal. And so it goes.
But just why is it so important that the nation has the visceral satisfaction
of seeing Raduyev die? (And if it happens we should all expect to see it, by
the way, in the tradition of "Dorozhny Patrul," "Kriminalnaya Khronika" and
other fine television entertainment programs.) Has there not been enough
bloodshed yet? Is this crowd-pleasing moment worth more than the respect of
other nations, or of membership in the Council of Europe?
The council is basically a human rights and democracy club for nation states.
Russia fought hard to win membership in 1996, and in the process promised to
do away with the death penalty. In April, the council is to meet and could
well kick Russia out anyway over the horrors inflicted upon tens of thousands
of innocents in Chechnya. Already, some are billing this as not yet a
national embarrassment, but an opportunity - to get back to killing
Raduyev and Shamil Basayev are indeed "terrorists," men who led violent
attacks on Russian villages in 1995 and 1996 and killed dozens of innocents.
Any impartial court would order them incarcerated for years.
But should the Kremlin and its courts be baying for their blood so eagerly,
and playing so openly on people's hates and fears? In a "strong state," does
the president have to be a shrill advocate for vigilante justice?
At some point, we would hope to see a President Putin instead appeal to
people's better natures.
- Matt Bivens
From: "John Helmer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2000
Subj: STEEL BOLT FOR BARN-DOOR
The Moscow Tribune
March 21, 2000
STEEL BOLT FOR BARN-DOOR
It's a waste of time bolting the barn-door after the horse has bolted,
no matter how strong the bolt is.
So when Deputy Prime Minister Victor Khristenko announced on Friday he
was angry at the European Union (EU) decision, cutting Russian steel imports
this year by 12%, he was much too late.
Khristenko was talking about the EU's action to penalize Russia for imposing
a 15% export duty on steel scrap. That, according to the Europeans, violates
the the EU-Russia economic cooperation agreement and their steel trade pact.
The argument has been going since last May, when the duty was first
imposed. The threat to cut Russia's already limited steel trade with Europe
first surfaced last December. The Russian government argues its scrap
duty is lawful, but the EU's trade cut is not.
The cut will cost about $40 million in lost steel exports, mostly from
Severstal. The export duty on steel scrap is worth roughly $120 million,
three times as much. As a finance ministry official, it is clear which
pocket Khristenko is looking out for first.
"Russia reserves the right to take adequate measures against the EU,"
Khristenko claimed in a statement that is so obvious, it begs the question
of exactly what Khristenko has been doing about the steel trade problem for
the past ten months. When Khristenko added vague threats to impose quotas on
unspecified European imports, or to slow down negotiations on trade and
transport access, this wasn't serious enough to convince Russian steelmakers,
or steelworkers preparing to vote in next Sunday's presidential election,
that the government is on their side in trade disputes.
For one thing, Khristenko, the steelworkers, and the European trade lobby all
know the Kremlin lacks the legislative authority, not to mention the policy
will, to invoke trade retaliation. Although years ago, it did mobilize a
credible threat against machine-made carpet imports from Europe, in order to
improve the EU's treatment of Russian textiles, the Kremlin has done nothing
comparable ever since. When George Gabounia died a few weeks ago, Russia
lost the only trade teeth it had. But nearly a decade of pro-import liberalism
by a succession of finance ministers had already dispirited Gabounia, and
left him to negotiate without Kremlin support.
This in turn has encouraged a new wave of protectionism aimed at
Russia. The scrap dispute reflects the simple fact that Europe's steelmakers
want to keep the volume of Russian imports up, and the price down, so as to
fuel their smelters more profitably. Russia's steelmakers think the scrap
should go to them, and allow them to export higher-value steel products,
instead of low-value raw materials. When the EU despatches steel
consultants to Moscow to give advice on reorganizing the Russian industry,
that value shift is exactly what the Europeans recommend -- so long as they
don't suffer sharper competition in consequence.
In addition to the steel scrap dispute, the EU recently made its first move
in aluminium. Europe's foil-makers recently managed to start an
anti-dumping complaint against Russian-made foil imports, even though
Russia's share of the EU import market is current estimated at less than 4%.
Ironically, it took a decision by the United States International Trade
Commission(ITC) early this month to demonstrate how futile Russia's trade
negotiating strategy has been.
After months of investigation of an anti-dumping complaint, filed by American
steelmakers against Russian cold-rolled steel imports, the ITC ruled that
the Russian imports did not injure domestic steelmakers, as had been
alleged. This was a dramatic confirmation of the Russian argument, but much
The Russian government had already decided last December to fold its
cards, and sign a quota and price deal which the Americans had demanded.
The authority for that decision came from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The US Commerce Department and the Russian Trade Ministry fixed
the annual permissible volume of cold-rolled steel traded at 340,000 metric
tons. Reserve (minimum) prices were also fixed in a range between
$340 and $352 per ton, depending on the type of product.
Because the flow of Russian steel stopped when the anti-dumping complaint was
filed last year, the lost sales, according to the Trade Ministry, were at
least $60 million by January. The Russian steelworkers' union claims the loss
figure is roughly double this estimate.
The losses can be blamed on the Americans. But the government in Moscow has
only itself to blame for agreeing to terms Washington demanded, but which
the US government can no longer justify. In the runup to that deal, the
Americans first offered a cold-rolled steel quota of 520,000 tons,
significantly higher than the 340,000-ton figure which was finally agreed.
Russian sales to the US in 1998 were 648,000 tons.
Russian trade officials are currently reviewing their legal options to revise
the quota volume upwards, and eliminate, if they can, the price limits.
But the options are limited, because of the small print Khristenko approved
last year. It was an American trap, and Khristenko walked right into it.
According to the US-Russia steel pact of last July, the Russians have
agreed that the quota for cold-rolled steel may not be increased by more than
6% per annum, and only then on condition that US consumption of
the steel rises in the preceding year by 10%. At this rate, it would take
than fifteen years for Russian cold-rolled steel exports to the US to reach
the level of 1998 -- and only then, if US consumption multiplies by 150%.
Compared to that, the EU has been positively philanthropic towards the
steel industry. Between the two forms of trade discrimination, Khristenko's
reaction has been doubly weak.
Russia's farmers gear up for elections
By Sebastian Alison
ORYOL, Russia, March 21 (Reuters) - The Soviet Union knew the importance of
The hammer and sickle, the emblem of the empire, entwined the tools of the
industrial worker and the farm labourer to represent the twin pillars of the
But even in Soviet times farms did not produce enough food, with the country
making massive grain imports in the 1970s. The sector is now in an even worse
state. Russia was the bread-basket of Europe in Tsarist times but can no
longer feed itself.
The appeal for foreign food aid at the end of the season, when the final
dismal grain harvest turns out to be not enough to feed the population, is
becoming almost a tradition of Russia's agricultural year.
A third of Russians, or some 50 million people, still live on the land, half
of them pensioners. They ought to be a core constituency in the presidential
election to be contested on March 26.
Yet a visitor to Oryol, a city of some 350,000 a little under 400 km (250
miles) south of Moscow and the capital of one of Russia's most important
farming regions, sees barely a sign that elections are due at all, just days
ahead of the poll.
``From the point of view of political passion, this is a very placid
region,'' says Mikhail Konshin, director of AgroMir, a western-backed
agricultural consultancy dedicated to agricultural reform.
``There are no meetings here, nobody goes around waving flags. I haven't seen
that kind of thing for three years.''
GOVERNOR KNOWS HIS BUSINESS
Part of the apathy for federal politics is explained by the regional
governor, Yegor Stroyev, who is also the speaker of the Federation Council,
Russia's upper house of parliament.
Stroyev is steeped in farming. An agronomist by training, he was in charge of
the entire Soviet Union's agriculture as a member of Mikhail Gorbachev's
politburo in the 1980s and in April 1993 he became Russia's first elected
Since then he has spearheaded efforts to reform farming, including tackling
the vexed issue of land reform, and to many in the region he is more
important than any federal politician.
``Stroyev knows his business,'' said Vladimir Shamardin, general director of
Oryol's Pogruzchik factory, which makes fork lift trucks but last year moved
into tractor production.
He cites the experience of his own plant as an example of the stability he
believes Stroyev has brought to Oryol.
A tractor factory in Ukraine, the giant Kharkov plant, which produced 40,000
to 45,000 tractors per year in Soviet times, had fallen on hard times and
turned out just 2,500 last year, Shamardin said.
With impoverished farms in its local markets unable to pay for tractors,
Kharkov approached Shamardin last year and suggested Pogruzchik assemble
tractors in a joint venture with Kharkov, to be sold in the comparatively
wealthy Oryol market.
A production line with a capacity of 1,000 tractors a year has already been
set up, with the first one rolling out of the plant last December. The first
200 units have been sold for cash to Oryol farmers, Shamardin said.
``One can say Oryol region is an island of stability,'' he told Reuters at
the plant, where he has spent his whole working life since joining in 1965
and working his way to the top.
AgroMir's Konshin does not agree, saying many of the problems of Russia are
present there as well.
``But from the point of view of agricultural reform much has been done
here,'' he agreed.
LITTLE SIGN OF WEALTH
While Oryol may be stable in the sense that it is quiet and dull, it shows
few signs of prosperity. The suburbs on the way to the Pogruzchik plant are
as grim as any in Russia. The city centre offers few diversions. Running
water, hot and cold, is cut off for four hours every afternoon.
And many locals want change. Svetlana, 60, earns a meagre 200 roubles ($7)
per month as custodian of the home of Nikolai Leskov, one of many writers,
including 19th century novelist Ivan Turgenev, born in Oryol.
This tops up a pension of 560 roubles, and she says life has never been so
bad. She will vote for Gennady Zyuganov, the communist candidate who is a
native of the region.
But this is not out of love for Zyuganov.
She distrusts runaway favourite Vladimir Putin, saying he is not known
locally and she has heard rumours his parents were not married when he was
born -- a serious matter in provincial Russia's conservative society.
She will vote for Zyuganov because he is local, and out of respect for her
father, a devoted communist who named his child after Soviet dictator Josef
But Ivan, a taxi driver in his 40s, backs Putin. ``He's young and energetic.
So what if he doesn't know our local issues? Not a single person in the
country can know all its problems.''
Shamardin of the Pogruzchik fork-lift and tractor plant was more guarded.
``Basically he should be alright, but we'll find out after the election if
all he's said turns out to be window dressing.''
Viktor Kireyev, 43, a private farmer raising rabbits, poultry and exotic
birds on a hectare of his own land outside Oryol, probably speaks for most of
his fellow Russians when he says what he wants of a Putin presidency.
``I don't want my four sons to go to war, and I want them to grow up among
normal people, with decent clothes and enough to eat.''
REMARKS BY MIKHAIL GORBACHEV AT A ROUND TABLE ON
THE OCCASION OF THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PRESIDENCY
(PRESIDENT HOTEL, 11:00, MARCH 17, 2000)
SOURCE: FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE
Gorbachev: When I got the invitation from Vladimir Lysenko
with the topic in bold face type, I also read that this is the time
to review the results. And I was immediately reminded of an episode
when Chou en-Lai was asked by a French delegation what he thought
about the results and the impact of the French revolution on the
whole world and Chou en-Lai replied, I think you probably know what
the reply was because you are all scholars here. He said, "It is
too soon yet to sum up the results."
So, while I have high respect for Andranik Migranyan as a
person, and he knows it, and in the spirit of pluralism because
this has long been my position, I would like to say that he has
already summed up the results and predicted the results for fifty
years ahead. Okay then, you should publish a book. It will be the
second edition of The City of the Sun. It is clear to him how we
should live. But I don't think this is so. The historical process
will tell. Of course, the historical process is not predetermined.
But such things as introducing new models of society,
especially at great turning points when profound civilization
shifts are taking place any forecasts, especially presented as a
menu or a timetable of train traffic, this is an irresponsible way
But let me make the reservation that we should yield to the
pressures of the historical process. My other position which I
constantly uphold is that history is not predetermined. There is
always an alternative. And in general, history is all about the
making of decisions. It is the history of people, of society.
But as Goethe said, a person can be considered to have
accomplished something, if he can catch the flying history by its
So far, I can say that we have managed to seize the coattails
and to react somehow. But things were moving in such a way that we
could find ourselves run over by a steamroller and things would
have been totally out of control.
I have long challenged your view. I jotted down for myself the
only thesis that I wanted to get across to you. Today we are
talking about the multi-party system and whether there are
prerequisites for emergence of other parties. In general, we have
many parties, 120 or 130, I think. One couldn't want any more. And
this creates precisely the kind of chaos that enables the
authorities to do as they please.
I would like to say that there is a more general question that
needs to be addressed. And this brings us to a conversation that
has long been underway. And it is still the key question today. In
general, the question of the fate of the party and the phenomenon
that we witnessed, the democratic platform in the CPSU, as a part
of the question, a small part of the question. Let me tell you --
and Andranik was right in saying that the democratic platform in
the CPSU arose a long time ago and for that purpose a democratic
reformation in the country should have been launched. Writing books
is all very well. I have learnt to write books, I realized that you
can churn out books one after another.
But real life and real politics is much more difficult. And
there are always very many questions and there are always doubts.
If you have no doubts, this is the end of you as a politician. This
is the kind of person that you describe in your theory, he should
be an authoritarian. But herein lies the whole question. The whole
history of the Soviet Union and subsequent history until today has
failed to answer the question whether we are making our choice in
favor of democracy or whether we will have Czarism or
authoritarianism in the person of a secretary general, or a
president, or a super-presidential republic, or we are making our
choice in favor of democracy.
Look what was happening. Lenin proclaimed the victory of the
proletariat. The proletariat gains power through democracy and runs
the country based on democracy. When the Bolsheviks seized power,
what happened? They ousted everyone. And they put their stake on
dictatorship. That sealed the fate of all the parties, including
the parties whose programs they adopted, I mean the left-wing
parties, the Social Revolutionaries. For a peasant country they
adopted the program of left-wing social revolutionaries. When he
said that the majority in the country were in favor of the SR
program, he said, "Let us adopt that program then." That is a good
illustration of him. But later on short shrift was made of them as
well. According to all research studies of the trials, by 1941 as
many as 98 percent of all dissidents, first of all Mensheviks and
other people with a Social Democrat mentality, were eliminated.
For this reason, I do not understand where you are urging us
to go. And not only you.
What next? Lenin had understood what this had led to. The New
Economic Policy, the matter of concessions,the suggestion that
people should have an influence on processes, all this indicates
that he had understood that the wrong direction had been taken. And
he did say that this was the biggest mistake. Lenin had understood
this, but he died. As to Stalin, quoting Lenin of the period of War
Communism, and we know what Lenin said in conditions of war, and,
besides, he had his delusions which he had realized only later, it
was only later that he recognized the mistake that was made, well,
Stalin based our entire subsequent history on this.
And everything was totally uprooted. You know how Khrushchev's
attempts had ended. There was a plenary meeting of the Central
Committee. There were other attempts as well. Some ideas were
suggested in Leningrad and we know what the outcome was. Any
attempts to make the party more democratic, to introduce something
new did not produce anything. We found evidence of this only in the
archives. Even Beria had some ideas to this effect. Even Beria
realized that it was impossible to live in such a country, in such
So, either we make our choice in favor of democracy, either we
create a civic society, democratic institutes, turn the man in the
street into a citizen and develop these qualities in him, or we
will have the most backward political system despite claims of
being the most educated country and so on, despite claims of our
cultural and spiritual background.
And it was necessary to make the choice. And this choice was
made. What was the reaction? The reaction was obvious. Because all
this was against the system. The moment the first laws affecting
the rights of ministries appeared... I encountered this already
when the Shchyokino method was being introduced. We were
introducing it in our Stavropol Territory on a wide scale. And we
got tremendous results. Your fellow-countryman and my friend
Minister Leonid Kastandov came. We were talking in the evening. Of
course, we had what to drink and a bite of food. We did not have
any anti-alcohol campaign at the time. Well, we talked. He told me,
look, if this goes on, what are the Main Directorates in the
ministries going to do?
I responded by saying that the matter was not in these
structures but in people, in the reserves that were being tapped by
this method. It turns out that people are capable of organizing
themselves, I went on, people are capable of self-management. At
the time, as you remember, they tried to introduce a system of
contracts in Kazakhstan and the man who spearheaded this, Butenko
(sp.?) ended up in jail.
I know this, I tried to introduce all this, but the moment
people started earning more than 200-250 rubles, the chairmen of
the collective would not pay them their money. This man grows a
harvest that is bigger by ten centners than the harvest of others,
he produces a result and a high labor productivity, but he is not
paid what he has earned. Why? "What, pay this man so much?" was the
People were allotted plots of 250-300 hectares of land, they
cultivated them well and grew bigger harvests than others. It would
seem that they produced a desired result. No, they were not paid
for their work. In fact, the bureau of the Stavropol territorial
party committee had to adopt a special decision to make such
chairmen of collective farms pay people the money they had earned.
That was the system that we had. No doubt about it, it had to
be changed, it had to be given a human dimension. The party could
not change the system because it could not cut the branch on which
it was sitting. The moment you give production units or regions
independence, you no longer need certain government structures that
issue commands, for instance, the Main Directorates.
And what does a Main Directorate mean? It means special
interests. Every ministry employed up to 3,000 people in its main
directorates. And if an official in a ministry distributes, say,
200 tons of metal to somebody, he can count on getting twice his
salary from the recipient. This was widespread. I am well informed
of this, I was an insider.
This is first. Second. The moment we started openly electing
secretaries of district committees... We gave the local
organizations a chance to do this themselves. And most of the local
organizations adopted decisions to hold these elections only by
secret ballot and on a competitive basis. And this angered party
officials on the local level because this affected their interests.
And then the biggest blow... The first elections were held on
March 25 and a meeting of the Politburo was held on the 27th. And
what happened? And for the first time I noticed that I was saying
something and the members of the Politburo were not listening to
me. Most of them. I could hear the gnashing of teeth at that
meeting. I asked them what had happened, what had caused their
nervous state. What do you mean what has happened? -- they asked
me. I said that we had always agreed that since we had the bloc of
Communists and non-party members the number of Communists should
not exceed the number of non-party members. Now, I said, as a
result of free and competitive elections with 10-15 candidates
running for one seat, we have a Supreme Soviet in which Communists
account for 86 percent of its members.
What Communists are they? -- I was suddenly asked. Aha, I
realized, that was the matter. Thirty five regional secretaries who
had at their disposal all resources, the party machine, the
newspapers, who had everything under their control failed to get
elected. This included Solovyov in St. Petersburg, a candidate
member of the Politburo. That was the matter.
And it is at this point that a real battle began, a mortal
battle. The idea was to dump Gorbachev. This began to be felt at
the time of the letter sent by Nina Andreyeva. After the
celebration of the 70th anniversary of the October Revolution, that
was when we started calling a spade a spade, that was when we
openly said about Bukharin... Incidentally, Boris Nikolayevich
asked me if we were not rehabilitating Bukharin prematurely.
I know what really happened. You try to add imagination to
what you know. You say that Gorbachev, this and that, went to
Foros, decided to give them time to fail and then triumphantly
return. It is impossible that Gorbachev did not know anything, you
claim. It is impossible that he did not know about the events in
Tbilisi, you claim. He is so sly, you say.
I answered all this once and will not go into this matter
again. This is how the political process developed. Everything was
very complicated. In that situation it was necessary, perhaps, to
start the political reform earlier. You are right, on the one hand,
and I am right, on the other.
You see, there existed the danger of a plenary meeting of the
Central Committee being convened at any moment. And, just as in the
case with Khrushchev, I would have been thrown out. And it would be
announced that Gorbachev was not up to the mark, that Gorbachev did
not cope. And that would be that.
It was necessary to advance towards democracy. It was
necessary to admit that the party was ruling without a mandate from
the people and that powers should be taken from it. And it was
necessary to protect the people who has it in them to lead the
nation from being goaded by the party. This system had to be
changed. I can tell you that there had never been such a system,
there had never been a party with such powers and I don't know to
this day if it was possible to reform it. I was going to -- in
November -- it is known what program we adopted in July 1991, it
was a social-democratic program. Now they all say, it took us too
long to see a social democrat in Gorbachev. They think it was a
miscalculation in their work -- Kryuchkov, Ligachev wrote some
books. But at least he openly raised the question. At a press
conference in Genoa or some other place I asked him, "Yegor Kuzmich
(Ligachev), you deify Lenin. I too have respect for Lenin and I
still treat Lenin very seriously. But Lenin was against the
creation of a Russian party." And he replied, and this was in an
international conference, mind you, "Well, it was in order to
topple you, Mikhail Sergeyevich."
This was the course of these processes. So, if I had committed
myself to still more radical things, I don't know what it would
have led to. It might have led to a split in the economy, a split
of the army, a split of the militia and everything -- in short, a
civil war. This should have borne in mind. It is not like writing
books. One had to rule a state and answer for it. These are
So, even today we are faced with a question. You understand
that Boris Nikolayevich pushed through with our help -- and all the
drafters of the Constitution are present here -- he pushed through
a Constitution that confers sweeping powers on the president and it
proved to be too much even for him, no single person can run such
a country. Even a powerful system is unable to run such a country
if it is not well-tuned. And added to this were his health problems
and something else. He can no longer rule and we cannot rule
because neither parliament nor the regions have any authority.
And all these processes were destroying all and any political
movements and prevented the formation of serious political parties.
We never went beyond the preliminary phase. And so, parties and
followings flow from one party to another. Only a short while ago
everybody was on the side of Fatherland, on the side of Luzhkov and
Primakov. And three days later everybody was lining up to join
Unity. A regular circus. Where else can you watch such a circus
free of charge?
That is why either we opt in favor of democracy, and then
there is a need for parties. And this is the structure that
sustains democracy. And they should be not parties created for the
purpose of elections, but permanent parties which see what the
leaders they have promoted are doing and control them.
As things are now, they elect people to parliament and nobody
knows who elected whom and on the strength of what merits. A person
can be in one bloc today and in another tomorrow and in yet another
the day after tomorrow. We see total pragmatism and cynicism -- the
only concern is to shoulder one's way to the feeding trough. As a
result, people become corrupt, they corrupt the civil service, they
spend months and years discussing projects that the country and
business need badly. This is what it all leads to. Parties are
Alexander Nikolayevich has rightly said, "What does it mean
that there is no social base? First, there are always the interests
of the people. Don't hired workers have interests? Don't teachers,
scientists, engineers, doctors and journalists have interests?
Doesn't small and medium business have its own interests?
I travel across Russia and I listen to them and I have a
meeting almost every week with one social group or other, and they
have keen interest. And it is at their request that I am putting
forward this new initiative. It is wrong to say that there are no
interests. Secondly, there is an awareness that after 70 years,
after the years of perestroika and these past 10 years, we are
already a different people.
And then there is the understanding that in general the future
life should be within the framework of democracy, but it should be
independent, with freedom and so on. The state should protect your
property and your life, this is what is needed. Law courts
shouldn't act on the strength of telephone calls from on high, but
on the basis of the law. So, there are prerequisites for creating
parties in a serious way. There will be resistance. The authorities
will resist it. You are right, neither the governor, nor the
president needs parties. A well-designed political system capable
of functioning and keeping the society informed about what is
happening -- this is the key.
We have come to point where such a transition will take place,
I am sure of that. I am more confident now. It has been said that
students don't want to join. I was in Tomsk, in Ivanovo and twice
in St. Petersburg and the students are the first to show an
interest. They are joining the party and many students were elected
delegates to the congress and they asked for a meeting on the
fringes of the congress to be held in order to discuss the creation
of a youth wing of the Social Democratic Party.
All voices to the contrary are nonsense. The students in their
senior years understand that politics is a dirty business. But
without politics life will be even worse. So, I think this is a
I didn't want to go into history because as regards history I
have many observations that would undermine your idea.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta - Stsenarii No. 3
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN RUSSIA: JUDGEMENTS, FORECASTS
With only ten days left till the presidential election in
Russia, we asked leading Russian political analysts and
journalists to answer the following four questions:
1. What is the percentage of the vote on which the first
three to five candidates can count?
2. Will the runoff be necessary and, if yes, who will
participate in it? What will be its results?
3. Who will be Russia's new Prime Minister?
4. What will be the first steps of the new Russian
President and government?
Igor BUNIN, director, Political Technologies Center:
1. Vladimir Putin - between 48% and 55%; Gennady Zyuganov
- 25% to 30%; Grigory Yavlinsky - 5% to 10%; and Zhirinovsky -
3% to 5%.
2. Should there be the runoff (which is rather improbable,
however), Putin and Zyuganov will run in it and Putin will win
owing to the mechanism of bi-polarization and anti-Zyuganov
3. The next Prime Minister is likely to be Mikhail
Kasyanov or any other statesman meeting certain requirements:
he should have experience of work in executive bodies of
authority, be slightly younger than Putin and have no clear
4. There is no rational answer to the fourth question.
Putin will begin looking into the particulars of the situation
and make the first personnel nominations.
Alexei KARA-MURZA, director, Center of Theoretical
Problems of Reformism in Russia of the Russian Academy of
1. The results of the first round of the election will be
as follows: Putin - 44%, Zyuganov - 31%, Titov - 7%, Yavlinsky
- 5% and Tuleyev - 3%.
2. In the runoff Putin will win a landslide victory over
Zyuganov: 56% to 36%.
3. Kasyanov is likely to become the next Prime Minister.
4. The bulk of the Cabinet personnel will be preserved but
there will be a big purge in the presidential administration.
Sergei MARKOV, director, Center for Political Studies:
1. The votes will approximately be distributed between the
favorites of the race as follows: Putin - 60%, Zyuganov - 20%,
Yavlinsky - 6%, Titov and Tuleyev - 3%, each.
2. There will be no need for a runoff. However, if it is
held for some reasons, Putin and Zyuganov will run. The acting
President will win 70 to 30.
3. No one knows at present who the next Prime Minister
will be. Several dozen hopefuls are on the waiting list. It is
clear, however, that, first, the new Prime Minister will belong
to Putin's generation. Second, it will be a person without
clear political orientation; he is sooner to be a technocrat
with expertise in economics. Third, this man will have
experience in political activity and good experience in
communication with diverse political groups. For instance,
State Duma deputy Alexander Zhukov and Governor Mikhail Prusak
have a good chance to be nominated to this post. Russia's new
government is likely to resemble General Charles de Gaulle's
administration, because, as I see it, the new President will
have more power than the Constitution stipulates. In fact, we
will have a mild form of undivided authority of Vladimir Putin
with the use of some autocratic methods. In this sense I agree
with /Nezavisimaya Gazeta editor in chief/ Vitaly Tretyakov who
calls this "manageable democracy." It will be manipulative
democracy under which the main role will be played sooner by
complete control over the leading mass media than police
methods with regard to opponents.
4. He will first try to pacify all. He will tell the West
that the policy of Russia will be aimed to ensure all-round
improvements in relations with industrialized nations. He will
promise the elite that he will not put anyone behind bars. The
regime will be changed without repression. He will tell the
people of Russia that there will be new open, understandable
and stable rules of the game. The ruble/U.S. dollar rate will
be stable and predictable. His two-part economic program will
be published. Its first, strategic, part will be rather vague,
and the second will spell out a package of concrete steps to
clear the logjam of economic channels: taxable base expansion,
tax reduction and tougher measures against abuses in external
economic activity. I suppose, first, the attempt will be made
to introduce the moral-ideological component into power, that
is, to formulate some state ideology. Second, he will try to
ensure some kind of a moral cleansing of government to enhance
trust in it.
Putin's further political fate will depend on how successfully
the creation of political institutes will proceed.
Andranik MIGRANIAN, adviser, Reforma Fund:
1. The first three to five front-runners can count on 95%
to 98% of the votes of those who will come to the polls. It is
not difficult to guess who these hopefuls will be: Putin,
Zyuganov and Yavlinsky followed by candidates who will receive
Titov is likely to be among the first five front-runners.
2. I would say it is sixty to forty that there will be no
second round. The way things stand today, the acting President
is to win in the first round.
3. It is a very difficult question. Someone like Mikhail
Kasyanov is likely to become the Prime Minister. It will be a
technical premier without any political functions. It would be
the ideal situation if the President became the effective
day-to-day head of government. Vladimir Putin is young,
vigorous and obviously willing to do something. That is why he
is likely to do this. I mean his presidency will be different
from the presidency of Boris Yeltsin who sooner reigned than
ruled. Putin will reign and rule at the same time. I have
already written in this newspaper that Russia should abolish
the premiership, as no premier is necessary if there is an
4. I do not think there is a wide choice of possibilities
in this sphere. So, I do not expect any sharp moves. The
current economic and political trends will continue developing
and the trend to strengthen the institutes of state power and
toughen control over financial flows and information resources
will gain momentum. The inventory of public assets will be made
to ensure the efficient management of what the state has at its
No sharp moves will be made.
Vyacheslav NIKONOV, president, Politika Fund:
1. Putin will receive more than 50% of the vote, Zyuganov
can net 20% and Yavlinsky about 10%. Tuleyev and Titov can also
be among the front-runners.
2. There will be no runoff.
3. It is clear to me that none of major politicians who
have their own ideology and mass support will become the Prime
Minister. The next Prime Minister will most likely be a
technocrat like Mikhail Kasyanov. At first glance, Putin has no
intention to create a government as the alternative center of
power in the country. Kasyanov, Alexander Zhukov, German Gref
or Mikhail Zadornov can become the Prime Minister, but not
Anatoly Chubais, Grigory Yavlinsky or Yevgeny Primakov.
4. It is difficult to answer this question. I think that
neither Putin nor his Cabinet have already planned their first
steps. I suppose such steps will be planned between March 26
and the Inauguration Day. I do not expect any sharp moves,
Leonid RADZIKHOVSKY, observer, Segodnya:
1. Putin will garner about 50%, Zyuganov - about 20% and
Yavlinsky around 5% of the vote.
2. It is a fifty-fifty chance that the second round will
be necessary. If it is held, Putin and Zyuganov will run and
Putin will win.
3. I cannot say.
4. Tax reduction. Though there are many truly urgent
problems, the new government is unable to solve all of them.
Tax reduction is something that can be solved right away.
Andrei RYABOV, expert, Carnegie Foundation:
1. The results of the first round will be as follows:
Putin - 54%, Zyuganov - 22%, Zhirinovsky - 6%, Yavlinsky - 5%
and Tuleyev - 3%.
2. There will be no need for the runoff. If it is held for
some reason, Putin will win with 57% of the vote over Zyuganov
with his 39%.
3. Either Leonid Reiman or Ilya Klebanov will be the new
4. The first steps of the new President can be proposals
for constitutional amendments concerning federal intervention
in regions and the expansion of the powers of the institutes of
the President's representatives in constituent territories. For
these initiatives to have a better chance to success,
high-profile anti-corruption cases against governors who are
not very loyal to Moscow and against the most odious oligarchs
can be launched. The government will not offer any breakthrough
proposals. The situation will develop in the paradigm of
Primakov's economic policy till the next crisis.
Alexei SALMIN, president, Russian Public-Political Center
1. To believe the data of the leading countrywide
sociological centers, Putin can net more than 50% of the vote,
Zyuganov - up to 30% and Yavlinsky no more than 7%. Before the
State Duma elections, these centers offered their forecasts,
which proved to be true in principle. There were some
inaccuracies but there were no absurd numbers. At the same
time, some regional centers make more favourable forecasts of
Zyuganov's chances. It is hard to say whether this is the case
of local fluctuations or the reflection of a new trend.
2. If voter turnout is sufficiently high and election are
held, there will be one round, as in 1991. If the second round
is to be held, Putin and Zyuganov are likely to take part in it
and Putin will win at even a wider margin than Yeltsin in 1996.
3. The next Prime Minister will have to handle the most
important tasks as of today. If it is economics, then it will
be someone with expertise in this sphere. By and large, under
the new President the Prime Minister role is likely to be more
specialised than before. Such a conclusion is prompted by the
experience of the past two months. The new President will
obviously exercise not only general but also operative
management of the government.
4. Personnel reshuffling is to take place. It is desirable
this be a skillful revision of the strategy of the country's
Georgy SATAROV, president, INDEM Fund:
1. As of today, the ratings of the main contenders to the
presidency range from 50% to 53% in Putin's case, from 20% to
25% in Zyuganov's and from 7% to 10% in Yavlinsky's.
2. It can be predicted with a high degree of probability
that Putin will win in the first round. If the second round is
held, Putin and Zyuganov will take part in it and the acting
President will largely outpace the communist leader.
4. The first step of the future President will be the
formation of a government and a new presidential administration.
I am not engaged in guesswork.
Vitaly TRETYAKOV, editor in chief, Nezavisimaya Gazeta:
1. Putin will receive from 45% to 55% but, more likely,
52% or 53% of the vote; Zyuganov - from 20% to 25%, but sooner
around 20%; and Yavlinsky is unlikely to net more than 10%.
2. The probability of the runoff is 29 to 80. To be more
precise, there will be no second round, because Putin is way
stronger than the other candidates.
3. This will depend on Putin's election results. If they
are not very good, he will keep Kasyanov; if they are very
good, he may adopt a more radical decision. It is clear,
however, that Chubais is out of the question. In this
particular case, radicalism can be the appointment of someone
who is little known to all but Putin himself. However, Putin is
a conservative when the issue at hand is political power. That
is why it is more likely that he will not replace Kasyanov.
4. A great deal will depend on the election results in
this respect, too. Furthermore, if Putin wins on March 26,
inauguration will be held in the beginning of May. So, he will
have enough time to make up his mind.
His priorities are clear: 1) completion of the military
operation and introduction of a new administrative regime in
Chechnya; 2) formation of the Cabinet; 3) changes in the
leadership of some power structures and the President's
administration; and 4) preparation of the President's message,
that is, the strategy of action for the first year of his
The government will fulfil the budget and elaborate his
Andrei FYODOROV, director, Political Studies Fund:
1. The vote will be divided as follows: Putin will receive
47% to 48%, Zyuganov - 25% to 29% and Yavlinsky - about 9%.
2. There will be the runoff for Putin and Zyuganov. Its
results will depend on voter turnover. If more than 45% of
qualified voters come to the polls, Putin will have more chance
to win. If voter turnover is less than 40%, Zyuganov has a
chance to win.
3. The following can be candidates to Premiership.
Kasyanov has the highest chance; he is followed by Mikhail
Prusak and Alexander Zhukov.
4. A reform of the government personnel and personnel at
the highest levels of executive authority.
Georgi SHAKHNAZAROV, corresponding member of the Russian
Academy of Sciences:
1. It would be a gamble to try to predict election returns.
Only the distribution of the first three places can be
confidently predicted: 1st - Putin, 2nd - Zyuganov and 3rd -
2. The runoff is quite possible. If it is held, Putin and
Zyuganov will take part. It goes without saying that Putin will
3. Answering this question is a kind of guesswork, anyway.
The press often names Kasyanov. I think that Primakov could be
made the Prime Minister. He would be a good head of government
for any President we might elect.
4. The first steps of each new team are always the weakest.
As far as I remember, Yeltsin signed a decree on education,
which never worked. We should not hope that something serious
will be done shortly after the election. However, there are
some matters with regard to which the new President will have
to act promptly and efficiently. Suffice it to mention the
struggle against corruption and the return of the funds which
have been illegally taken out of the country.