This Date's Issues: 4203 • 4204
Johnson's Russia ListReturn
to CDI's Home Page I Return
to CDI's Library
28 March 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Moscow Times: Charles Digges, Russia's Election: It's A Jungle
2. Reuters: Seven regional governors re-elected in Russia.
3. Moscow Tribune: Stanislav Menshikov, PUTIN'S ECONOMIC LOCOMOTIVES. They May Work If He Tames
4. Toronto Sun: Matthew Fisher, New czar faces a daunting job.
Can Vladimir Putin stop Russia's slide into the abyss? Can anyone?
5. AFP: "A murderer is in power": Chechen refugees.
6. Moscow Times: Yabloko, Communists Cry Foul in Elections.
7. OSCE Preliminary Report on election.
8. gazeta.ru: Winner`s Team.
9. BUSINESS WEEK ONLINE: Paul Starobin and Sabrina Tavernise, President
Putin: Friend of Business, Foe of Democracy?
10. Ira Straus: Federal vs "vertical" recentralization - the blind alley in Putin's rhetoric.]
March 27, 2000
Russia's Election: It's A Jungle Out There
By Charles Digges
Yes, it's a political jungle out there. But it took one young woman a trip to
the Moscow Zoo to realize just how thick and twisted are the psychological
"These mandrill monkeys look just like [acting President Vladimir] Putin to
me, just the way he did in a dream I had the other night," said 22-year-old
Sonya Ostrovskaya as she stood, slightly stunned, with her 1-year-old and
hordes of noisy children in the primate house.
"In the dream, these monkeys - the mandrills - who looked just like Putin in
a wig and with a dark face - were running up a hill at me," she recounted. "I
remember thinking the African garb they were wearing could have something to
do with the Chechen war. Then, one that I suppose was the chief, Putin, came
up to me. I can't really tell in all decency what he did next."
Whatever it was, it did not earn the acting president Ostrovskaya's vote. On
Sunday she checked "against all" on the ballot before heading to the zoo.
Some might think a trip to the zoo would be a way to get away from politics.
Not so, thanks to The Moscow Times, which aimed for the lighter side of
politics by asking zoo visitors Sunday if any of the animals reminded them of
any of the candidates. Putin as the front-runner was clearly on many minds.
One woman, a 24-year-old mother with a toddler in tow, said she saw the man
of the hour in the face of the zoo's horses.
"Putin has a long nose, like a horse," she said. "He is obedient, he can take
orders and is easily led around. He is well-groomed, young and - which makes
him almost the best candidate - a little bit dumb."
Despite this almost perfect political profile, she said she had voted
"against all," and had hoped that looking at animals with her son would get
the election out of her mind.
"This conversation hasn't helped," she added, as she led her son away.
The conversation did, however, attract the ire of Nikolai Premen, a pensioner
who interrupted it.
"It's heresy for you all to be talking this way and comparing government
figures to animals," he said, waving a fist while his grandson tugged at his
coattail. "Your government is higher than animals - you should show some
Premen was cut off and heckled by an 18-year-old draft dodger - "just off for
a day at the zoo" with his kids - who refused to give his name.
"A bloody war in Chechnya is being conducted by something other than
animals?" he said. "A Duma that has more fist-fights than debates is not a
bunch of farm animals? Wake up, old man, these animals would be better for
A few cages down, a group of teenage girls picked up the spirit and were
comparing an orangutan to former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.
"With a pair of glasses that would be him," said one. "Cool."
The orangutan, who had been lolling on his back, tossed his legs in the air
and over his head, revealing a pink, hairless and wart-covered posterior. The
"It's Zyuganov," offered Georgy Lardinadze, an assistant zoo keeper. "I'd
recognize that face anywhere."
Lardinadze, 49 and a bird-specialist at the zoo, said Communist leader
Gennady Zyuganov's features could also be recalled in the face of a condor,
which has a wart between its eyes.
In the petting zoo, a lonely goat with a long beard stood and bayed as the
snow fell. An old man who had stopped in front of his cage saw the days of
perestroika in his call.
"This goat is like Alexander Solzhenitsyn, always shouting the truth but
never being heard," said the man, who identified himself only as Grigory
Perhaps the one animal of the day that was lucky enough to escape any
political associations was the zoo's new giraffe - a gift from the St.
Petersburg zoo - whose languorous inspections of the crowd won everyone over.
"You cannot - you must not - suggest that this giraffe looks like a
politician," said a film student, who said he was working on a documentary
film of the animal and declined to give his name.
"He is innocent and must not be sullied like that."
Seven regional governors re-elected in Russia
By Maria Eismont
MOSCOW, March 27 (Reuters) - Seven Russian regional governors were swept back
into office in local elections held alongside Sunday's presidential poll,
according to official results published on Monday.
Partial results issued by the Central Election Commission -- after 80 percent
of the vote was counted -- showed that all seven governors standing for
re-election had won easily.
Their winning margins ranged from 57 percent for Nikolai Volkov, the head of
Jewish autonomous region on the Chinese border, to 91 percent for Alexander
Filippenkov, the governor of the Sibeiran Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous region.
Vladimir Putin won outright victory in Sunday's presidential poll.
During the nine post-Soviet years governors of Russia's 89 regions have
boosted their influence in the provinces and even challenged some federal
Putin, who has vowed to restore order in Russia, says good relations with the
governors is paramount for an effective central government.
Many political analysts say he will find it difficult to fight the powerful
regional bosses, most of whom have managed to consolidate political forces in
their provinces and hold a strong grip over their economies.
Apart from the gubernatorial polls, by-elections for the State Duma lower
house of parliament were also held in several regions.
In the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok, Viktor Cherepkov, former mayor and a
bitter opponent of nationalist regional governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko, had a
"MOSCOW TRIBUNE", 28 March 2000
PUTIN'S ECONOMIC LOCOMOTIVES
They May Work If He Tames Neoliberals
By Stanislav Menshikov (email@example.com)
Vladimir Putin's presidential term opens in a relatively favourable
economic environment. After eight years of depression, growth has
miraculously re-started. Most of it is so far largely spontaneous and not
due to special stimuli from the government. Drastic devaluation and high
world fuel prices have helped. More importantly, domestic manufacturing is
regaining competitive power in the internal market. Taxes are pouring into
the exchequer and, despite continuing large flight of capital and the
cordon sanitaire imposed by the IMF, foreign currency reserves are rising
and the rouble shows surprising stability. There is more interest from
The new president has generally been reluctant to dwell in detail about
prospective economic policy. His brief statements, as well as those of his
senior advisers, have been in many ways contradictory and confusing. This
is worrisome because it could indicate undue dependence on well financed
advice that is driven either by narrow self-interest or ideology or sheer
incompetence. In such circumstances, choosing a correct course is difficult
and spoiling economic recovery is easy.
However, Putin does not look like a man who is about to delegate matters to
an "economic tsar", sit back, enjoy high life and dismiss prime-ministers
when things go wrong. From what we see so far, he has his own strong ideas
about the economy and also the political will to have them implemented.
Some of his recent statements point to what could be in store.
To start with, he is not satisfied with slow or moderate growth and wants
it to be fast, "as in China", specifically 7-8, better still 10 per cent a
year. After eight years of negative or zero growth, achieving such a goal
would need a genuine revolution in means of economic governance.
Industrially developed market economies do not normally growth that fast
simply on the basis of free competition and government non-intervention.
Their usual average rate per year is 3, maximum 4 per cent. Faster growth
in such economies leads to overheating, inflation and periodic recessions.
Exceptions are where governments lead the way.
Apparently, Mr. Putin wants more government intervention, as well.
Specifically, he has called for programs to develop low-rent public housing
and for income policies to help expand the consumer sector. He made it
clear that he will oppose any efforts at belt-tightening that would hurt
those who are most in need of social protection. This is contrary to Mr.
Gref's call for "keeping within the real budget" and a clear indication
that he favours supporting aggregate demand rather than the monetarist
concept of balanced budgets and restrictive fiscal policies. So far, so
Putin also believes that Russia's military industrial complex is a priority
sector that "can help out of all problems". He even went into the unusual
practice of specifying that sector's "ten priorities", including
improvement of state orders, expediting innovations, modernising equipment,
better use of foreign currency revenues, etc. What he really means is not
so much expanding armaments production and thus using "bastard
Keynesianism" (pump-priming) to promote general economic growth but rather
a drastic restructuring of the military industrial potential into an
internationally competitive sector which could also supply a growing
economy with first-rate producer equipment and technology.
A third "locomotive" is seen in protection of domestic industries,
particularly consumer goods and machinery. Putin believes that super-large
machine-building plants set up during the Soviet period should not be
broken up because that would reduce their competitive power. These and
other features will presumably be part of a four-year economic plan to be
adopted in a month or two. The plan would also include details about
proposed tax reduction and other details.
Summing up, one could say that Putin has in mind, at least for the
medium-term, a system of indicative planning to supplement the workings of
the market mechanism. In his understanding, fast structural changes will
not be the result of the famous "invisible hand" but rather of concerted
action guided by the central government.
Assuming that he is serious, how realistic is this approach? First, it
depends on the ability of the government to create a favourable climate for
investment, to drastically reduce capital flight and induce oligarchs and
businesses in general to use their gross profits for productive investment
inside the country. This needs either consensus with the oligarchs or
discipline imposed on them by force. Is the president prepared to impose
that discipline? From Mr. Berezovsky's latest statements, it seems he is
Second, the new Putin approach will meet opposition from right-wing
neoliberals who dislike indicative planning and strong government
intervention as a matter of principle. Mr. Yavlinsky has already called
Putin a communist in disguise, and he will probably keep up such rhetoric.
Messrs. Kiriyenko and Chubais have so far supported Putin politically but
will undoubtedly work against his policies in the Duma and inside the
government if he lets them in.
In other words, Putin will have a tough battle on his hands. Will he be
able to tame his two uncertain allies - the "radical reformers" and the
oligarchs? It would be a wonder if he succeeds.
March 27, 2000
New czar faces a daunting job
Can Vladimir Putin stop Russia's slide into the abyss? Can anyone?
By MATTHEW FISHER
Sun's Columnist at Large
MOSCOW -- Vladimir Putin may become the czar of all the Russias as votes in
yesterday's presidential elections are tabulated overnight.
Or, if the former spy gets less than half the ballots cast yesterday, he may
have to wait three weeks to be confirmed in a second ballot as Russia's next
These are technical points. Putin has had the job of unelected president for
three months now. He has used this time, and the formidable powers and
perquisites of the Kremlin, to establish his supremacy over much better known
rivals who, whatever their shortcomings, have put themselves forward several
times for elected office.
How Putin intends to rule is the subject of intense, uninformed speculation
today. The only one of the Russias where the retired junior KGB operative
from the former Soviet colony of East Germany has a track record is the
unhappy southern republic of Chechnya. It has been there, over the dead
bodies of many Chechen rebels and young Russian soldiers this winter, that
Putin established his credentials with Russian voters as a patriot.
The prospect of a retired secret policeman with little other experience as
head of state should be unsettling to anyone even slightly familiar with
Soviet history. But Russians are deeply ambivalent about the KGB. Almost
every family was touched by purges carried out in Stalin's name and the
abuses of state power practised by the KGB every day during the Khrushchev,
Brezhnev and Gorbachev eras. Yet many Russians take perverse pleasure in
Putin's associations with the secret police.
Russia has little to be proud of vis-a-vis the rest of the world lately, but
the KGB and its predecessors are widely regarded as organizations which
function smoothly and, strange as this may seem to outsiders, have their
heart in the right place.
Whenever Putin actually sheds the title of acting president bestowed upon
him by his unpredictable patron, Boris Yeltsin, he faces a daunting job.
Corruption - by friends of the Kremlin, petty bureaucrats and street cops -
permeates every corner of Russian life.
The Russian economy appears to be doing slightly better these past few
months, but this is almost entirely due to the pathetic value of the ruble
and a big rise in oil prices engineered by OPEC. Most factories produce
absolutely nothing. As they are rusted and rotten and chronically starved for
investment, this dire situation will not change any time soon.
Most official statistics are useless although those which chart a huge drop
in public health standards and in longevity are a fair guide as to how awful
the situation is. The work force is dispirited and chronically unemployed or
Many of the best and brightest - and not just the top hockey and tennis
players, ballerinas and computer whizzes - have left for the West. Many of
those they left behind continue to plot their own escapes.
Moscow remains an island of relative prosperity, but this veneer long ago
began to wear thin. The Metro may still look lovely and work brilliantly, but
most Muscovites are engaged in a daily struggle to make ends meet. Beggars
are as ubiquitous as Mercedes-Benz sedans with dark windows and drivers and
shop assistants with loathsome manners.
To leave Moscow is to step off a cliff. The hinterlands are in a ruinous
state. Environmental disasters loom everywhere. Passenger planes fall from
the sky. Alcoholism is as endemic as bitterness. Sexually transmitted
diseases are rampant. Antibiotics are scarce. Doctors have to be bribed to do
Local robber barons can be worse than the murderous crooks who have
gleefully plundered Moscow. The Soviet infrastructure, which was never much
good, is disintegrating. Army conscripts scavenge for food and sell their
weapons or anything else the military has of value that can be taken away.
Families with a combined income of $100 a month consider themselves
fortunate while so-called New Russians armed with guns and wads of greenbacks
as thick as bricks salt away billions of dollars outside the country.
Yet almost every Russian remains convinced his nation is great and should be
accorded the international respect and veneration all great countries are
due. Or so they say.
If Russians really believed this there would be no need to blindly trust a
complete unknown such as Vladimir Putin with the presidency. His dramatic
emergence as the potential saviour of Russia is an act of desperation.
Russians understand they are almost out of last chances.
"A murderer is in power": Chechen refugees
SEVERNY CAMP, Russia, March 27 (AFP) -
"A murderer is in power" Chechen refugees muttered angrily as Vladimir Putin
triumphed in Russia's presidential elections Monday, as they braced for more
bombs and massacres but no end to the war.
For them, there was no voting either in the Severny camp, where displaced
Chechens are crowded into train carriages, or the nearby Sputnik tent city in
the valley below.
"There weren't any ballot boxes, before or even during the poll, and no one
came to ask us to go and vote, although we all registered on dozens of
lists," said a camp official, Sultan Tambulatov. "They don't need us."
Out of three camps in neighbouring Ingushetia near the border with war-torn
Chechnya, only Karabulak had a polling station set up in a tent for Sunday's
vote. "For the cameras," refugees snorted.
Dismissing the election as undemocratic, the Chechens who fled here from
Russian bombing expressed little surprise at Putin's first-round triumph with
nearly 53 percent of the vote.
"He launched the war for the electoral campaign. He is killing Chechens, and
the Russians support him for that. We expect only blood and murder," said
Ruslan Dadayev, 32.
A virtual political unknown when he was appointed as prime minister last
August, Putin has seen his popularity soar on the strength of Russian
victories in Chechnya over the past six months.
All Chechens interviewed said they believed the hawkish Russian leader had no
reason to end "his war" or to enter into peace talks with the elected Chechen
President Aslan Maskhadov, who Moscow no longer recognizes.
"He's a murderer and he is in power. What on earth can we expect from him,
you know yourself," cried out Lydia Satuyeva, 40.
Kremlin last week once again ruled out any negotiations with Chechen
"bandits," even though the day before Putin had appeared to offer an olive
branch, suggesting he was prepared to launch some form of talks.
"They are destroying towns, killing civilians in the villages. It's not an
anti-terrorist operation. It's genocide," charged Apti Ibragimov, 45.
"Putin has got his target and he won't let go. He wants a Chechnya without
Chechens," he added.
In the run-up to the election, Putin said once the war was over, he could
introduce direct presidential rule for two years, promising to restore the
economy and make a normal life possible in the shattered republic.
But the future is not something Chechens can imagine. Their memories of
smouldering houses and the pain of loved ones dying before their eyes are too
"Look how I live," sobbed Liuba Dzhabadova, showing her only worldly
possession, an old bag where she stuffed a few things before fleeing her home
"What am I do to, go back to Grozny where everything is destroyed? Where can
I live there and what could I eat? Even here (at the camp) they don't help
us. I expect nothing from Putin, he's given us only bombs."
March 27, 2000
Yabloko, Communists Cry Foul in Elections
International observers who watched voting across the country said late
Sunday no serious fraud or violations in election procedures had been
uncovered so far.
But campaign staffers for liberal Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky and
Communist candidate Gennady Zyuganov cried foul Sunday night, saying they had
evidence of blatant violations in several regions.
Eduard Bruner, who heads an Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe observer mission of about 300 people, said the elections had been
"well and correctly organized."
But he added that a final evaluation could only be made "after all the
information and analyses had been received from international observers
located throughout Russia's regions," Interfax reported.
Bjorn von der Esch, who heads the observer mission from the Council of
Europe's parliamentary assembly, told Russian news agencies Sunday night the
elections were "absolutely legitimate" and had been conducted to
international standards "openly and peacefully."
About 1,000 international observers from organizations including the OSCE,
the Council of Europe, the European Union and nongovernmental groups were at
polling stations to make sure falsified votes were not stuffed into ballot
Some observers have said they were more concerned by unbalanced media
coverage than by procedures at polling stations.
Both Zyuganov's and Yavlinsky's campaign staffs said they had evidence of
Yavlinsky's team told Interfax that election commission officials in
Vladivostok, Far East, had refused to provide their observers with copies of
the voting protocols, the document that tallies the results.
In other regions, like Yakutia, Yavlinsky observers were refused entry to
watch the vote count, Sergei Loktionov, a spokesman for the Yavlinsky
campaign, said by telephone.
Loktionov said their observers also had evidence of unused ballots being
filled in by officials after polls had closed, and then counted as part of
the official result in three polling stations in the capital of Tatarstan,
He said they had received information about similar fraud in the Penza
region, Irkutsk and Yamal-Nenetsk.
Yavlinsky's campaign coordinator, Vyacheslav Igrunov, said they would examine
the evidence Monday and decide which violations were serious enough to
warrant legal action.
"I think such violations will occur, especially in national republics that
have harsh, totalitarian regimes," he said at Yabloko's head office on Novy
Communist Party secretary Sergei Potapov claimed party officials had noted
that 3.4 million extra ballots had been printed illegally in Tatarstan.
Communist observers were refused entry to several Dagestani polling stations,
while in Moscow factory workers were forced to vote for acting President
Vladimir Putin by their superiors, Potapov said at a news conference at the
Zyuganov headquarters Sunday night. He refused to name the factories.
He said the Communists also questioned the results in Chechnya, where "there
was no opportunity [for voters] to express their will freely or to vote
Zyuganov said on NTV television he would refuse to recognize the results of
the elections until his team had carried out their own parallel vote count.
He said that in the 1996 presidential election, "massive violations" had been
uncovered but nobody had been charged or punished.
"We all know the tactics of fraud and we will fight them," he said, before
leaving his headquarters.
OSCE Preliminary Report
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
27 March 2000
International Election Observation Mission
Russian Federation - Presidential Election
MOSCOW, 27 March 2000 - The 26 March 2000 election of the President marks
further progress for the consolidation of democratic elections in the Russian
Federation, concludes the International Election Observation Mission (IEOM).
The Central Election Commission (CEC) administered the process professionally
and independently. The election took place under a new law that is consistent
with internationally recognized democratic principles. The law provides the
framework for pluralist elections and for a significantly high level of
transparency in all phases of the electoral process. However, during the
campaign some concerns emerged.
The IEOM is a joint effort of the Organization for Security and Co-operation
in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR),
the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA), and the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe (PACE). Ms. Helle Degn, President of the OSCE/PA and OSCE
Chairperson-in-Office's Special Representative for the presidential election,
leads the OSCE Election Observation Mission. Ambassador Edouard Brunner leads
the OSCE/ODIHR long-term observers. Mr. Björn von der Esch leads the PACE
On election day, 11 candidates were on the ballot. However, the popularity of
the acting President and the results during the 1999 State Duma election
limited the field of candidates. Notwithstanding the CEC effort to enforce
the law vigorously, candidates, campaign organizations and supporters
circumvented the law in some cases. Additionally, volunteer campaign
activities of State and regional administration officials on leave of absence
While the media in the Russian Federation remain pluralistic and diverse,
independent media have come under increasing pressure. Moreover, as during
the State Duma election, important segments of the media, both
State-controlled and private, failed to provide impartial information about
the election campaign and candidates.
The CEC decided to conduct the presidential elections in 12 of Chechnya's 15
districts and prepared all technical requirements. However, standard
conditions for elections do not exist there. In particular, election campaign
activities did not take place, the population had limited access to the
media, they had limited freedom of movement, and the potential for
intimidation and fear could not be ruled out. On election day, the IEOM did
not observe the proceedings in Chechnya or the neighboring regions, though
the CEC invited observers.
On election day, the 69% reported turnout was a confirmation of continued
voter confidence in the electoral process. The polling in over 93,000
precincts was administered in accordance with the law. Observers rated their
performance very high across the country. The performance of commissions
during the counting of votes was rated lower as cumbersome procedural
requirements were circumvented in order to expedite the process. The
irregularities noted in the polling and the vote count did not appear to have
an impact on the outcome of the election.
With less than a decade of democratic development in the Russian Federation,
political parties and an environment for constructive political debate have
yet to mature. Viewed in this context, the 26 March 2000 presidential
election, while in general meeting the country's commitments as an OSCE
participating State and as a member of the Council of Europe, revealed some
weaknesses. Chief among these are pressure on the media and the decline of
The International Election Observation Mission wishes to express appreciation
to the Presidential Administration, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the
State Duma, and the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation for
their assistance and cooperation during the course of the observation.
The International Election Observation Mission issued a statement of
preliminary findings and conclusions before the final certification of the
election results and before a complete analysis of the IEOM's findings.
The preliminary statement is based on the findings of the OSCE/ODIHR Election
Observation Mission established on 8 February 2000 in Moscow and 12 regions
throughout the Russian Federation. Their findings include the pre-election
preparations, the election campaign, and the media. The statement is also
based on the election-day findings of the International Election Observation
Mission's more than 380 short-term observers from 32 participating States,
including more than 75 parliamentarians from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, who visited some
1,700 polling stations across the country.
March 27, 2000
Some of them are already known both in Russia and in the world. Others
remain just as enigmatic as their patron. Gazeta.Ru gives you a list of names
and positions of the people most closely associated with Russia`s freshly
Aleksey Kudrin – First Deputy Minister of Finance. After Putin`s
victory he can become First Deputy Premier, at least. The two worked closely
while with St.Petersburg City Council, and both moved to Moscow.
Dmitry Kozak – Head of Government Staff, aged 41. Graduated in law
from Leningrad University. Former advisor to Leningrad Chief Attorney. 1990
moved to Legal Department of the City Council. 1996 resigned along with Putin
after Anatoly Sobchak’s defeat, only to return to office under Yakovlev.
Falling out with the new mayor, practiced as a private lawyer. After becoming
premier, Putin gave Kozak one of his first phonecalls, which Kozak took as a
“recruitment”, in his own words, and promised “to serve until the elections,
whatever happens”, although stressing that he does not strive for power. If
offered to head Putin’s administration, vows to try and refuse.
Igor Sechin – Deputy Head of Presidential Administration. Philologist.
Worked as military interpreter in several countries. Never parted with his
boss since 1991, when Putin appointed him head of his staff. Sat in Putin’s
St.Petersburg office for 5 years. When Putin moved to Moscow to become deputy
to Borodin, he took loyal Sechin along. After Putin became premier Sechin
turned his chief secretary, then deputy head of government staff. Viktor
Cherkesov – First Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service. One of the
few people whom Putin trusts (although those who know the latter well have a
joke that his main principle is not to trust anyone). Cherkesov and Putin
were mates at the Law Faculty of the Leningrad Univercity, and both joined
the Security Service. 1998 Cherkesov moved to Moscow and ran for the post of
FSS Director, but lost it to Patrushev, and their relations are still tense.
During Putin’s presidency is likely to go up and could head one of the “power
structures”. Known to colleagues as a very tough and ambitious character.
Democrates accused him of harassing dissidents, but the accusations were not
proved. On the eve of the elections he was sent from FSS to the Center of
Strategic Studies which works for Putin.
Leonid Reyman – Minister of Communication. An acquaintance of Putin’s
since the early 90s. Although regarded as Stepashin’s man in the government,
he accompanies Putin in his travels. Allegedly has better grasp of state
affairs than some deputy premiers. Could end up deputy or first deputy
Nikolay Patrushev – Director of FSS, aged 49. Joined Leningrad
regional KGB in 1974. 1992-4 Karelia’s Security Minister and local FSS chief,
then moved to Lubianka. After Putin resigned as head of the President’s Chief
Control Department in 1998, he recommended Patrushev for the post. When Putin
became Director of FSS, he brought Patrushev back as his deputy. Patrushev
acted as FSS chief during Putin’s absence and finally succeeded him in
office. Small wonder he is known as Putin’s man in the Lubianka.
Sergey Ivanov – Secretary of the Security Council. Same birthplace and
age as Putin. Both studied at Leningrad Univercity (although Ivanov was with
the Philology Faculty), both joined the KGB and the intelligence service.
Ivanov worked for KGB since 1976 and had a spell in Sweden and Kenya. After
Putin headed the FSS, Ivanov was made his deputy in August 1998. As premier,
Putin persuaded Yeltsin to appoint Ivanov head of the Security Council.
Ivanov has at his disposal the Kremlin study where only Kokoshin and Putin
himself were allowed to work. Colleagues say he was not carried away by his
meteoric rise and describe him as an even-tempered and intelligent man who
never forgets old friends (he has been in touch with many of them for 20 or
25 years, regardless of their current posts and usefulness to himself).
Yury Shevchenko – Minister of Health. An old and good acquaintance of
Putin’s, Shevchenko helped Sobchak to flee to France, having diagnosed a
heart attack, which he still claims to be true. Potential deputy premier for
the social sphere.
Dmitry Medvedev – Deputy Head of Presidential Administration, aged 34.
Another law graduate, Leningrad U. Moved to Moscow on Putin’s request. Could
head Putin’s elections staff instead of Chubais or Berezovsky.
Vladimir Kozhin – Manager of President’s Affairs, aged 40. Graduated
from Leningrad Electrotechnical Institute, then worked for regional Komsomol
committee and headed the joint Soviet-Polish venture Azimut International.
Since 1993 he directed the St.Petersburg Joint Ventures Association, when he
met Putin. In 1994 Kozhin headed the North-Western regional center of the
Federal Currency and Export Control Service (CEC), while Putin supervised the
currency flow as deputy governor. They worked together for over 2 years. As a
result, one of Putin’s first steps as premier was to bring Kozhin to
St.Petersburg as head of CEC in September 1999. Kozhin’s position in the
security service is unknown, although experts say CEC is controlled by it,
and those who work there usually have shoulder straps.
German Gref – First Deputy Minister of State Property, head of Putin’s
Center of Strategic Studies. Moved from St.Petersburg to Moscow in 1998, as
one of the most promising members of the team. He is in charge of devising
Russia’s development strategy for the next decade.
Viktor Ivanov – Deputy Head of Presidential Administration, aged 40.
Formerly headed the Economic Security Service of the FSS in St.Petersburg. As
FSS director, Putin invited him to Moscow, and Ivanov became head of internal
security department, then deputy director. Succeeded another secret service
man, Makarov (allegedly a Berezovsky supporter), as Voloshin’s deputy. He has
control over hundreds of high-ranking government officials. Putin is said to
value this Kremlin post very highly.
Yury Zaostrovsky – Deputy Director of FSS. A Muscovite, aged 44. Like
his father, an intelligence man, he quit the service after August 1991, took
up business and became deputy head of Tveruniversalbank. Brought back to
government service by Putin, and when the latter moved to Lubianka became
head of its Economic Security Department.
Aleksandr Abramov – Deputy Head of Presidential Administration. Former
vice president of Alfa-Bank, and a leader of the influential group rivaling
the St.Petersburg party. Besides, there are others in Putin’s outer circle:
Nikolay Bobrovsky – Deputy Head of Premier’s Secretariat. Attended
Krasnoznamenny Institute along with Putin.
Taymuraz Bolloyev – director of Baltica Brewing Co., whose great
success has to do with Putin’s influence. Both also like wrestling.
Sergey Golov – Deputy Head of Foreign Department in the Department of
Presidential Affairs. Another of Putin’s secret service colleagues.
Valery Golubev – head of Tourism Committee of the St.Petersburg City
Council. Also a secret service man who served with Putin and was invited by
him to Smolny.
Vladimir Yakovlev – head of Culture Committee of the St.Petersburg
City Council. Namesake of Mayor Yakovlev.
Sergey Chemezov – head of Promexport. Worked with Putin for FSS.
Sergey Alekseyev – director of Lenexpo exhibition center, the biggest
Igor Spassky – director of a defense project institute in
Nikolay Khrameshkin – director of Leningrad Impex.
Vladimir Shamakhov – head of the North-Western Department of the State
Customs Committee, an old acquaintance of Putin’s. During the latter’s visit
to St.Petersburg the two had a long meeting, taken by some as a portentous
sign for Mr Vanin, current head of the Customs Committee.
BUSINESS WEEK ONLINE
March 27, 2000
[for personal use only]
President Putin: Friend of Business, Foe of Democracy?
His tax-reform plans have investors cheering, but the former spy's past
By Paul Starobin and Sabrina Tavernise in Moscow
Can Vladimir V. Putin, the newly elected Russian President, save a fragile
democracy beset by organized crime, government corruption, and no clear,
evenly applied economic rules? Russians can only hope. "I want to see an end
to this mess," said Moscow resident Sergei Ryabtsov, 21, as the elections
took place on Mar. 26. With 96% of the vote counted, Putin led Communist
Party leader Gennady Zuganov, 53% to 29%.
The business community, including foreign investors, likewise cheered the
results. They, too, are hopeful that Putin, 47, will provide strong, vigorous
leadership, so notably absent in the tenure of his frequently ailing
predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. "We're all so tired by the economic chaos over
the last eight years," says Bill Browder, manager of the $450 million
Hermitage Fund in Moscow. The Russian stock market was up 4% in midday
Although Putin has not yet named a Prime Minister -- and can't by law until
after his inauguration the first week of May -- his program is already
beginning to take shape. One of the first challenges he'll tackle is Russia's
archaic tax system. The government plans to cut overall taxes on businesses
by 20%. Putin's Finance Ministry plans to submit legislation to the Duma that
would slash payroll taxes and expand allowable business deductions, such as
advertising expenses, as sought by foreign investors.
SENDING A MESSAGE. Then there's the vexing question of the oligarchs. A small
number of business titans control enormous pools of capital, and they often
seem to be a law unto themselves. Since Yeltsin tapped Putin as Acting
President at the end of last year, Putin has repeatedly said in his
administration the oligarchs will be treated like everyone else. His first
target may be Boris Berezovsky, the controversial magnate who has used his
stake in ORT, Russia's state-owned television station, as a political power
base. Some influential Putin supporters are encouraging him to fire ORT's
management as a signal to Berezovsky that he should stop meddling in politics.
Berezovsky, never subtle, is resisting. In a preelection interview with the
Russian daily Vedomosti, he said Putin's promise to strip the oligarchs of
political power was admirable rhetoric "for the voters" but unrealizable. "It
will never happen," he declared. However, Vladmir O. Potanin, a big Putin
backer with enormous holdings in Russian banks, oil, and metals companies,
says he'll keep his nose out of Kremlin decision-making. "If we believe in
Putin, we should let him set the rules for everyone," Potanin told Business
Week Online in an interview four days before the election.
No less challenging is Putin's bid to bring Russia's unruly regions under
control. Large patches of the country are now under the control of governors
who act like feudal barons, ignoring orders from Moscow and forging
alliances, often corrupt, with local business leaders. Putin has started to
name his own presidential representatives to the regions, replacing lackeys
who've fallen under the sway of governors.
Some of his advisers are encouraging him to go further by ending the direct
popular election of governors and appointing his own team. Putin also plans
to make federal courts less dependent on the regions by providing full
federal funding for the legal system. Courts now receive much of their funds
from regional administrations.
TOUGH ON CRIME. Yet as much as Russia needs order, Putin's plans and own
comments have inspired concern among liberal political activists, Russian
journalists, and others that he is indifferent to -- or even disdainful of --
democracy. An ex-KGB agent who previously headed its successor agency, the
Federal Security Service, Putin has described the Soviet Union as having
collapsed from internal "laxness." He is now enlarging the role of the
security police -- which he says can help combat crime. But this has critics
fearing a return to the insidious spy culture of the Soviet period.
Meanwhile, Putin has refused to permit an outside investigation of widespread
charges of human-rights violations in Russia's campaign to subdue the
breakaway republic of Chechnya. He has branded journalists who have reported
critically on the Russian military operation as enemies of the state.
Western governments, including the U.S., are wary of Putin's authoritarian
tendencies. But for now, such concerns are outweighed by the belief that
Russia's disorder poses a greater threat to the world. Look for Russia to get
its long-sought deal with the Paris Club group of creditor governments on
reduction of its $40 billion in Soviet debt. The West is crossing its fingers
that Russia's chaotic moment has found its master.
From: IRASTRAUS@aol.com (Ira Straus)
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000
Subject: Federal vs "vertical" recentralization - the blind alley in Putin's
Vladimir Putin may well end up carrying out a traditional pyramid form of
recentralization, rather than the modern federal form. Modern federation
would serve Russia much better for the future, but it requires more elaborate
thinking. Much of Putin's rhetoric of a "vertical" executive hierarchy
suggests a reversion to the pyramid model. Indeed, when he talks about
centralization being a part of the Russian genetic code, he betrays a
propensity to primitivity and over-simplification in this sphere.
Hierarchical language is appropriate to a pre-modern pyramid idea of
authority, in which central power farms out its authority and enforcement to
local and intermediate bosses. The emphasis on the "vertical" element in the
hierarchy goes further; it is reminiscent of the totalitarian secret police
attempt at streamlining the pyramid and enhancing the linear-vertical element
in it. This was done in the 20th century in the hope of keeping the middle
powers in line, restraining the corruption inherent in a pyramid-farming
system of power, and preventing the pyramid from taking its natural path of
sagging in the middle and slackening at the base; but it came at a high cost.
The vertical-hierarchy language also shows a lack of appreciation for the
integration of the executive authority with the legislative authority at each
level of government; an integration which is the basis for the deep
integration of executive authority with society, and thus for the
effectiveness of executive authority.
The executive-pyramid form of recentralization would be a bad mistake. It
would be the shortest path out of the pot back into the frying pan (and this
time it would be a frying pan without the enthusiastic ideology that used to
give the system its modicum of legitimacy and staying power). Ten years ago
Russia made the exact opposite leap. The poor fish seems to be leaping back
and forth from one nightmare to the other, unable to stay or survive in
either place, but also unable to see any other place to leap.
The West could contribute to preventing this mistake, by underlining the
point that federalism is a third option, not to be confused with
decentralization. Modern federation has been first of all about building a
strong efficient union (as in the Federalist Papers and the Federalist Party,
or for that matter, the preamble of the Constitution), not about
decentralization; although it fashions its union in a form that respects
local and provincial state structures in their legitimate roles. It provides
a much more efficient and sustainable model for central power and a more
viable alternative to disintegration than the old pyramid model.
Disintegrative decentralization belongs to the categories of feudalism and
classical confederalism, not modern federalism.
Daniel Elazar, dean of federalism studies in the West, has formulated this as
follows: decentralization and centralization are opposite sides of the wrong
coin; the federalist coin is a matrix model, distributing authoritative
competences to the different levels of government and society. Elazar
deserves some credit for saying this, since it flies in the face of some
decentralist-confederalist prejudices of his own. He calls the federalism
path "non-centralization"; a nice term, although it too may not be precise,
since it is also "non-decentralization", and a considerable strengthening of
central structures and of centripetal integrative forces is in reality
Executive structures, including above all the military and the law, do indeed
have their vertical/pyramid-style hierarchies in modern federations. However,
these are separate functionally specific hierarchies. They are not
general-purpose executive hierarchies that rule diffusely over the local
chief executives or bosses, as would be done in a traditional pyramid;
although they are available in reserve to do so during a temporary local
state of emergency, as Yavlinsky is proposing for Chechnya, or as was done
sometimes in radical Reconstruction after 1865 in the South of the U.S.
Unfortunately, instead of preaching this complex understanding of modern
federalism, Westerners have too often equated federalism with
decentralization, with the practical result of identifying federalism with
the chaotic decay of central authority that Russians have been experiencing.
This has encouraged Russians to go on believing in the old false dichotomy --
either feudal-federal decentralization-disintegration, or else autocratic
I want to give credit to some Western advice, which has been properly
directed toward building up the central Russian state capabilities for the
appropriate Federal functions. However, too much of Western rhetoric and
advice has been directed simply at tearing down centralization. This is where
the main impression has been made. It coincides with the easy assumption on
the part of Russians that the interest of the West is in a weak decentralized
or broken-up Russia. Which in turn encourages Russians to place themselves
There are also a number of Russians who understand what federalism is, and
some of the Russian discussion on how to improve their federalism has been
sound. However, this cannot make much of a dent as long as the vast bulk of
the public rhetoric and political debate -- reinforced by the actual power
struggle, by the behavior of regional power centers, by the tit-for-tat on
both sides, and by Western rhetoric as well -- centers around the crudest
old-style centralist-decentralist dichotomy.
I do not want to give the impression that correcting this assumption would by
itself eliminate the struggle for power. Federations are always built through
struggle for power as well as through deliberation on the common good. But a
sound conception of the common good is a big help! "Everyone knows", or at
least every cynic thinks he knows, that the struggle for power is the only
thing that is going on, and that the choices are between general
recentralization and general decentralization. Gross existential struggles
for power always favor the most primitive rhetoric about what is at issue.
However, the actual shape of the outcome depends on the degree of
sophistication of the ideas that people have had in their minds about the
forms of centralization and decentralization. This affects the entire future
structure and viability of the society.
The mainstream of modern sociology, represented by Talcott Parsons, is built
on the distinction between specific-univeralistic authority of modern
society, with its rule of law and its functionally specific bureaucracies,
and the diffusive-particularistic authority of traditional society, with its
personal status and general-purpose bosses. Bernard Yoh (Yoh Shing-tsu)
contrasted the 3-D pyramid model, the attempted 1-D linear-progressive
reduction of the pyramid, and the fractal-dimensional form of modern society
(with its mutual-contract branchings off, with a number of independent
corporate pyramids that relate contracturally, and with a common authority
which continues to use pyramids but for limited functions). But these models
are far outside of the range of public debate today, and are intended for the
clarification of academic and elite discourse. Yoh, in keeping with the
Chinese instinct for pictographs, at least had the virtue of inventing a
language-imagery that is publicly comprehensible and so might some day get
spread more widely. Meanwhile, what can reasonably be hoped for on the public
political level is something more modest; e.g., that the distinction between
a strong federal central authority and a general-purpose centralization of
society is something that could be understood by society and by political
A conception of federation instead of vertical executive hierarchy would not
eliminate the struggle for power in Russia between Center and regions. Nor
would it eliminate all of Putin's efforts at vertical executive
centralization as tactics within that struggle. However, it would change the
goal and some of the rhetoric of the struggle, and it would probably change
some of the immediate tactics as well. It would make it harder to proceed
with eliminating local and regional elections. Conversely, it would enable
regional governors to align themselves with a goal of retaining autonomy in
their proper sphere and integrating with their society below for carrying out
their proper functions, rather than with a goal of serving as general-purpose
appointed regional satraps of the Center.
Ideas have consequences, as does the lack of adequate ideas. The West might
still be able to correct its part in the oversimplifications and outright
mistakes that are prevalent in the ideas on central power in Russia. In this
way it could avoid contributing to far worse practical mistakes.