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Johnson's Russia List


April 3, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4221  4222  

Johnson's Russia List
3 April 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Xinhua: RUSSIA'S CEC Sets PUTIN'S Inauguration on May 7.
2. The Observer (UK): Amelia Gentleman, Hope flickers in Siberia's 
pit of despair. A mining town plunged into poverty is looking to 
Putin for a cure. So far, the only remedy offered is rhetoric.

3. The Electronic Telegraph (UK): Christopher Lockwood and Tim 
Butcher, Nato plans for eastward enlargement put on hold.

4. Reuters: UN's Robinson due in Moscow for Chechnya talks.
5. Newsweek: William Powell, Looking for a Few Good Spies. 
A new kind of war may break out in the ruins of the KGB. 

6. UPI: Jonas Bernstein, Growing pains for Putin's economic team.
7. Alexander Lukin: Re: 4218Miller/Putin.
8. Ira Straus: Spurned suitors in comparative context (costs of 
rejecting Russia)

9. Albert Weeks: Lenin per Robert Service.
10. Robert Bruce Ware: Further Insurgency in Dagestan?
11. Yuri Luryi: Pessimist/Optimist (Penultimate Installment)
12. Valeri Kalabugin: Putin and future total wars.]


RUSSIA'S Cec Sets PUTIN'S Inauguration on May 7

MOSCOW (April 2) XINHUA - Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin will be
sworn in on May 7, Russia's Central Election Commission (CEC)chairman
Alexander Veshnyakov said Sunday. 

"We have scheduled a sitting of the Central Election Commission for April 5
to sum up official results of the March 26 Russian presidential election.
The commission will officially publish its resolution through the press on
April 7. Under the law, the inauguration of the president should take place
30 days after the official publishing of the election results, that is on
May 7,2000, " Veshnyakov told the Russian RTR television station. 

"So far, I can say that the election and the calculation of votes were well
organized and disciplined, and complied with the law," he said. 

"According to the updated reports, Vladimir Putin gained 52.9 percent of
votes in the election," he announced. 

As for claims of the election staff of the Communist Party leader Gennady
Zyuganov about falsified results, Veshnyakov said, "the Central Election
Commission has not been given any particular facts, so it's mere words.
Still, we are ready to consider any documents they have." 


The Observer (UK)
2 April 2000
[for personal use only]
Hope flickers in Siberia's pit of despair 
A mining town plunged into poverty is looking to Putin for a cure. So far, 
the only remedy offered is rhetoric
Amelia Gentleman, Prokopevsk, Siberia 

At the beginning of every shift, workers at the Koksovaya coal mine have to 
pass beneath an arch decorated with the words 'Glory to Work!' - the massive 
letters formed from dark red tiles set into the concrete. 

Seven hours later they pass through the same arch on their way out, but the 
slogan on this side declares in muted colours 'Thank You For Your Labour!' 

Those who still notice the sign - a remnant from the Thirties when the pit 
was still called Stalin's Mine - smile sourly. The miners of Prokopevsk, an 
impoverished mining town in western Siberia, would like to receive more 
tangible thanks for their work. 

As Russia's new President shuffles paper at his Kremlin desk, trying to 
absorb the scale of the task ahead of him after his victory in last month's 
election, the troubles facing communities like this provide a sobering 
example of the problems that he is now up against. 

Vladimir Putin received fewer votes in this region than anywhere else in 
Russia, netting 25 per cent (less than half of his overall stake of 52.5 per 
cent). But even here, people have chosen to view Putin's victory with 
optimism, hopeful that he will bring material improvements to their 

Prokopevsk is marked by its economic depression. Wooden hovels crowd the 
outskirts of the settlement - some with brightly painted shutters, most with 
sagging corrugated-iron roofs and boarded-up windows. Inside the town, 
crumbling high- rises house many of the surviving miners. 

The roads are almost empty because few people here can afford cars. Trams and 
buses are so full that it's hard to squeeze in. Most people have stopped 
buying tickets, to economise on the one rouble (2.2p) fare. 

Of the town's 13 mines, five have closed in five years, making 10,000 people 
unemployed. When families are taken into account, it is estimated that in 
this town of 245,000, 40,000 have been left without a breadwinner. 

An attempt was made to help those who lost their jobs first to find work 
elsewhere. Later, as shops and factories that depended on a thriving 
community shut down too, the attempt was abandoned. Most received no 
redundancy pay and no pension. Families began rummaging in dustbins for food. 

For these people, one of the few electoral commitments made by Putin gives 
them basis for an optimism, which they admit is born from desperation. 'We 
are a rich country of poor people,' he said. 'Our priority is to overcome our 
poverty.' How he proposes to achieve this is a mystery, but many are prepared 
to support him on trust. 

The coal industry has paid a crucial role in Russia's recent political 
history. The miners' strikes of 1989, which dealt a severe blow to Mikhail 
Gorbachev's grip on power, began in this region. Miners turned to support 
Boris Yeltsin, and thousands welcomed him when he came to Prokopevsk in 1991 
on his presidential campaign tour. 

Runaway inflation soon made the miners disillusioned. 'We helped Yeltsin get 
to power, but then he forgot about us,' said Anatoly, 45, a senior miner. 
'Now we have to hope that Putin will look after us. Hope is always the last 
thing to die.' 

Those miners lucky enough to retain their jobs are working in arduous and 
dangerous conditions. Yury Zhukov, the director of Koksovaya, which produces 
high-quality coking coal used to make steel, explained: 'We've moved into the 
twenty-first century and we're still using equipment designed in the 1960s. 
Nothing has changed in the 25 years I've been working here. There's never 
been enough investment.' 

Dwindling investment has hit safety standards. Last year, out of the 
12,000-odd miners in the town, 1,177 were treated in hospital for serious 
injuries after accidents at work. Across Russia, 137 miners were killed last 
year; one in seven in Prokopevsk. 

Miners compete to reveal how much they earn, converting roubles into US 

'Sixty dollars a month for skilled, hard work like this, can you believe it?' 
one man commented. Wages are still not paid regularly and miners are owed 
seven months' of back pay. 

In the entrance to the pit, alongside statues of Lenin and Communist slogans, 
is another throwback to the early years of Soviet society: a massive chart 
setting out which of the pit's 16 teams fulfilled their quota last month. 
Only when they extract the desired quantity of coal are miners paid their 
full wage. 

'When I started work, miners received the highest pay in the town - much more 
than doctors and teachers,' Zhukov said. 'Now only people who can't get any 
other work choose mining.' 

Sitting in her one-room home in the miners' barracks - a slum-like settlement 
where wooden cottages, built in the Twenties, are divided up to squeeze 16 
families in each - Olga Lukashina, 33, agreed. 'It used to be considered 
quite a catch to marry a miner. My husband is still working, which means we 
can buy food. But we can't afford clothes.' 

Staff at the Palace of Culture are trying to resurrect the cult of the miner 
to boost morale. They have composed songs glorifying the miners' work. Deputy 
director Igor Dyakanov admits these songs are little help. 'What we really 
need is for Putin to send some money down here fast.' 


The Electronic Telegraph (UK)
3 April 2000
[for personal use only] 
Nato plans for eastward enlargement put on hold
By Christopher Lockwood, Diplomatic Editor, and Tim Butcher, Defence

NATO'S dream of a widening alliance of democratic states is crumbling just
a year after it welcomed its first three eastern European members, say
Western officials.

Practical and political problems have overwhelmed the process. Nato's new
armies in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are under-funded, badly
equipped and often unready for action, blunting the appetite for more
members. As the three countries took their places under Nato's security
umbrella at a ceremony in Independence, Missouri, in March last year, Nato
promised that its doors remained open to the rest of eastern Europe.

But the experience of enlarging Nato has been so painful and divisive that,
for the Baltic states and the countries of the Balkans, a new Iron Curtain
may fall. There is a notional deadline of the end of 2002 for the next
wave, but it is slipping. The main problem, diplomats in London, Brussels
and Washington all admit, is America.

A senior source said: "The experience of the previous enlargement was much,
much harder than anyone expected. [President] Clinton and [Madeleine]
Albright [the Secretary of State] had to battle to get the US Senate to
agree to the first expansion. Right now there seems to be no appetite to
press for a further one." Nato enlargement needs a two thirds majority in
the Senate. Whoever the new US president is, that will be hard to achieve.

Petre Roman, the Romanian Foreign Minister, recently acknowledged that his
country was in limbo. He said: "Romania is as eager to be a part of Nato as
it ever was. We proved that during the Kosovo conflict. But today in
America the dynamics of having a second wave are quite flat."

Russia is the second problem. "Nato is trying to rebuild its relations with
Russia, which were badly strained over Kosovo. With a new president,
Vladimir Putin, to deal with, no one is in any hurry to antagonise Russia
again by raising the enlargement issue," said a Western official.

The third problem is the new applicants themselves. Not only are there
obvious military weaknesses but it is not even clear that they really want
to belong. Slovakia would be near the front of the queue but, since the
Kosovo conflict, support for Nato membership there is 49 per cent, with 35
per cent against. A Slovak source said: "We are being asked to spend about
£500,000 on public relations to increase support for Nato."

This reflects deep unease among the original Nato countries over the
ambivalent attitude towards Nato of the three that joined last year. They
were among Nato's most reluctant supporters in the Kosovo conflict, and
since then support for Nato has plunged among their people.

Nato's new members have also to prove they can contribute militarily. The
armed forces of the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary are not good enough
to compare with those of established Nato nations and there is little sign
of improvement. So-called inter-operability is a crucial part of Nato
doctrine, meaning that troops from any Nato member must be able to work
alongside other alliance armies and replace them if necessary.

But the doctrine cannot yet be applied to the new members. Their equipment,
training standards and doctrine all fall short of Nato standards. Their
main problem is financial. Modern armed forces are expensive and with all
three economies yet to recover from decades of communist mismanagement,
defence budgets are under pressure.

"Is it really enough simply to secure countries like this in Nato for the
sake of stability?" asked a British source.


UN's Robinson due in Moscow for Chechnya talks
By Ron Popeski

MOSCOW, April 3 (Reuters) - U.N. human rights chief Mary Robinson returns to 
Moscow on Monday to discuss alleged human rights breaches in Chechnya with 
top ministers after being unable to visit sites she had deemed vital to her 

Robinson's spokesman Jose Diaz said Russian authorities had denied Robinson 
access to a number of villages and a detention centre, citing distance or 
continuing military operations against separatist militants in the region. 

Her delegation was grounded overnight by bad weather in Dagestan, a Russian 
region on Chechnya's eastern border. 

Officials in the Urals city of Perm, meanwhile, announced that the first 
funerals of police commandos killed in a rebel ambush last week in Chechnya's 
mountains would take place on Tuesday, proclaimed a day of mourning in the 

The death toll rose in the attack in the Vedeno gorge, the latest in a series 
of losses inflicted on Russian troops, with one official putting it at 43. 
The raids have called into question Russian statements that all but the last 
vestiges of resistance have been quelled. 

Robinson's schedule, should the weather allow her to fly to the capital, 
included talks with Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo, Deputy Prime 
Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russia's chief spokesmen on Chechnya and the military 
prosecutor. Diaz said she had also sought a meeting with President-elect 
Vladimir Putin. 

Speaking by telephone from Dagestan's capital Makhachkala, Diaz said Robinson 
was confident the talks would prove useful, but admitted her brief tour of 
Chechnya's shattered capital Grozny had been frustrating. 

``The High Commissioner had asked to visit a number of locations, none of 
which were satisfied. So there was some disappointment and frustration,'' he 


Diaz said the Russians had refused to allow Robinson access to three villages 
west of Grozny -- Alkhan-Yurt, Alkhan-Kala and Katyr-Yurt -- and Aldi on the 
edge of the capital. Human rights groups allege Russian troops killed 
civilians in these areas. 

She was also unable to visit a detention centre in the village of 

``For some places, like the villages, they said they were too far away, for 
Aldi they said military operations were taking place,'' he said. Robinson 
found it ``ironic,'' he said, that she was taken to a detention centre in 
Grozny whose only inmates were two women charged with looting. 

Germany's ZDF television showed Robinson at a hospital and market and 
listening to residents talk about life in a city all but reduced to rubble by 
Russian bombardment and street battles. 

``It is not possible to speak of human rights being protected here,'' she 
told ZDF. She said her aim was to find out about Chechens who have been 
arrested and about ``the crimes of the Russian army committed on the civilian 

Robinson, who also saw refugee camps, has been even-handed in accusing 
Russian forces and Chechen rebels of abuses. 

ZDF showed her telling a senior officer that she was aware of ``unacceptable 
violence and human rights violations'' by the Chechen side but also referring 
to ``very serious problems of human rights violations'' by Russian 

Western human rights organisations have compiled evidence of what they say 
are Russian army excesses in Chechnya, from which Russia withdrew in 1996 
after a defeat in a 20-month war. 

Russia's human rights commissioner, Oleg Mironov, who accompanied Robinson, 
was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying Russian forces were operating 
within the confines of the law, but that some excesses were unavoidable. 

Tass quoted him as saying that the trip added little to his knowledge and 
those criticising Russia should help instead


April 10, 2000
[for personal use only]
Looking for a Few Good Spies 
A new kind of war may break out in the ruins of the KGB 
By William Powell

According to Vladimir Putin, what his chaotic country needs more than
anything else is a stiff shot of law and order. And who better to deliver
it than a group of the new president's former secret-police
colleagues—people from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), one of the
offspring of the dreaded KGB. These are men "in no way connected with the
people and structures which may be associated with any forms of corruption"
that plague Russia today, as Putin himself put it in a brief interview with
ABC News on the eve of his March 26 election.
If nothing else, invoking the KGB as Moscow's modern-day version of "The
Untouchables" shows just how out of control Russia became during Boris
Yeltsin's decade in power. To many businessmen, both Russian and Western,
the idea of setting the FSB loose to combat Russia's mobsters, money
launderers and other economic criminals doesn't sound half bad.
International investors have begun to poke around in Russia again. Its
stock market over the past year has been one of the strongest in the world.
The burgeoning hope is that Putin will push stalled economic reforms
forward—a sweeping new tax law, for example—and restore some semblance of
order. The Moscow head of one of the world's largest companies, speaking
hopefully about the possibilities of the Putin era, recently repeated the
old Deng Xiaoping dictum: "It doesn't matter whether the cat is black or
white," he said, "as long as it catches mice." Translated into the Russian
context, that means if Putin needs to re-energize the FSB to provide the
order needed to improve the economy, so be it.

If only it were that easy. Set aside the potential threat to civil
liberties that an unrestrained domestic security service conjures up. If
it's mice you want to catch, there's one big problem: many KGB people were
"privatized" during the Yeltsin era. Russian companies, from those run by
Moscow's infamous oligarchs to huge regional firms, have former
security-service personnel working for them. They serve as bodyguards,
intelligence agents and, in some cases, top executives.

The reason is simple: capitalist incentives. One 41-year-old surveillance
expert who used to work for a large Moscow bank says that when he left the
KGB in the mid-'90s, his salary increased nearly tenfold. He says he knows
about a dozen colleagues who had the same experience. Given that, who's
left at the FSB? "Two classes of people," he says. "One, the most dedicated
public servants. And two, those intelligence agents who maybe aren't so

Ex-KGB man Putin knows this. He's also aware that his former colleagues in
the private sector often have access to equipment—software, bugs—that
outclasses anything his government has. Add to that his narrow margin of
victory—52 percent—and he can be expected to move cautiously at best on the
corruption front. In the eyes of many in Moscow, the key test will be how
Putin handles Yeltsin crony Boris Berezovsky. The uber-oligarch is the
subject of a Swiss investigation into allegations that companies tied to
him siphoned millions from Aeroflot, the Russian national airline, and
laundered the money through Swiss banks. Berezovsky has denied the
allegations; the Swiss want more Russian help on the matter. Berezovsky is
closely linked to the Yeltsin clan and no doubt had a role in Putin's rise
to the top. That may mean he's invulnerable.

Some of Berezovsky's enemies are more optimistic than that. Late last week
a prominent Moscow muckraker charged in the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets
that the current Interior minister, Vladimir Rushailo, misused funds
earlier in his career. (Rushailo has denied any improprieties.) To Moscow's
political class, the broader significance of the story was that Rushailo is
very close to Berezovsky. Was it a signal of trouble to come for both of
them? It's no secret that most of the men who stayed behind in Russia's
outgunned and underfunded security services in the 1990s would now love to
see Putin take on some of Russia's bandit capitalists. They are now about
to find out if he has the guts to do so.


Growing pains for Putin's economic team

MOSCOW, April 2 (UPI) -- Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin declared
last week that he intends to carry out market reforms, and one of his
advisers promised a "radical" program to transform the economy. But while
these words are undoubtedly music to the ears of Western governments,
investors and the international financial institutions, it is still much
too early to predict what the final version of Putin's economic program
will look like, and what will actually be implemented. 

Putin, who won the March 26 presidential election with 52 percent of the
vote, declared last Friday that "the strengthening of the state and a
continuation of market transformation" would be the "main principles" of
his new government's work. While he has frequently spoken of the need to
strengthen the state, the president-elect's emphasis on the need for market
reform was new. Putin's demarche came on the heels of comments made by
German Gref, first deputy property minister and the head of the Center for
Strategic Research, Putin's policy think tank. Gref told reporters Thursday
that there was enough "political will" in Russia today to carry out
"radical reforms." 

Gref and other members of this think tank have mentioned tax reform,
including steep tax cuts, as being among their main proposals. Gref
predicted that the new tax code drafted several years ago but not passed by
the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, would easily pass
the legislature in July. It is unlikely to face strong opposition from the
Communists and other leftist factions, who have regularly called for
reducing the tax burden on domestic industry. Other reform measures,
however, such as a new land code that would permit the free sale of land,
would likely face much stiffer opposition in the Duma. Gref said last week
that he supported land sales. Putin, meanwhile, has not yet come out in
support of free land sales.
Another member of Gref's team, Vladimir Mau, a government economist
associated with former Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar, recently told a group
of visitors that the Center was also developing measures to help create a
better environment for small businesses.

Putin last week formed a working group to speed up the completion of his
economic program. Gref said the 300-page program would probably be ready by
May 20, shortly after Putin's inauguration, which Tass reported Sunday is
scheduled for May 7.

The working group is made up of Gref himself, Kremlin chief of staff
Alexander Voloshin, First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and First
Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.

The very composition of the group, however, could present obstacles to a
coherent and united economic strategy.

Gref and Kudrin entered politics in the early 1990s as part of what is
known as the "St. Petersburg group," led by Anatoly Chubais, the architect
of the Russia's controversial privatization program. Putin was connected to
this group during his years working for the late Anatoly Sobchak, who was
mayor of St. Petersburg. Chubais today heads Unified Energy Systems, the
country's power grid, and reportedly still wields significant political
influence behind the scenes.

Voloshin and Kasyanov, meanwhile, are reportedly close to a group of
tycoons who had great influence over the administration of Putin's
predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. These "oligarchs," including Boris Berezovsky,
founder of the LogoVAZ automobile company, and Roman Abramovich, head of
the powerful Sibneft oil company, are said to retain strong influence
today. Their allies also include Nikolai Aksenyenko, the railways minister,
and Viktor Kaluzhny, the fuel and energy minister.

While Berezovsky and Chubais worked together for Boris Yeltsin's 1996
re-election, their "clans" came into conflict in 1997 over the results of
several major privatization auctions. Both sides used the media under their
control to discredit one another with charges of corruption.

These two groups are reportedly again fighting each other, this time for
influence over Putin's economic policy and over posts in his next
government. Putin is likely to present his choice for prime minister to the
State Duma for confirmation in May, following his inauguration. According
to the Moscow rumor mill, Kasyanov, the first deputy prime minister, is the
front-runner for prime minister, while Kudrin is seen as the likely choice
to become first deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy.

The battle for influence over economic policy and cabinet posts will be
nasty. In a March 24 interview with the newspaper Vedomosti, Berezovsky
dismissed Gref as a "weak person" who "doesn't understand basic issues." 

Earlier last month, the Berezovsky-owned newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta
published a profile of Gref, which claimed, among other things, that he had
been connected to four corruption cases while serving in St. Petersburg's
privatization agency, and that a witness to a bribe in one of the cases was
subsequently murdered. The newspaper provided no proof for the allegation.
Meanwhile, allies of Chubais, including former Prime Minister Sergei
Kiriyenko, have accused Viktor Kaluzhny, the fuel and energy minister, of

The picture is further complicated by the existence of other informal
groups that are likely to try and exert influence over Putin's personnel
and economic policies. One such group reportedly represents the "power
structures," including the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor
agency to the Soviet KGB, which Putin headed prior to becoming prime
minister last year. This group reportedly includes FSB Director Nikolai
Patrushev and his deputy, Viktor Cherkesov, Security Council Secretary
Sergei Ivanov and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev. In the 1980s, Cherkesov
led a crackdown against political dissidents in St. Petersburg while
working for the KGB. Ivanov is also a security service veteran. Both men
have been closely associated with Putin.

It is not clear where this third group will come down on the issue of
economic policy -- whether it is sympathetic to pro-market reform or a more
traditional statist approach. In fact, it is not entirely clear where Putin
himself stands on this issue. Despite his new rhetorical emphasis on
market-oriented reform, his reflexes on economic policy seem less than
liberal. For example, during a visit to Russia's industrial heartland
shortly before the March 26 election, Putin told employees of the KamAZ
truck manufacturer that he supported a law that would require anyone who
purchased imported equipment to compensate domestic producers of similar

One possible way Putin might reconcile the liberal and statist groups vying
for influence over economic policy was offered last week by another
powerful Kremlin insider. Pyotr Aven, a leading "oligarch" who heads the
Alfa financial-industrial group, told Britain's Guardian newspaper that
Putin should follow the model of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet,
meaning "fast liberal reforms, building public support for the path but
also using totalitarian force to achieve that." This would include
extralegal means to fight crime, corruption and wayward regional leaders,
said Aven. 


Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 
From: "Alexander Lukin" <>
Subject: Re: 4218Miller/Putin

Dear Mr. Johnson,
For the information of Mr. Andrew Miller who is your permanent although not
the most reliable author. The name St. Petersburg (Sankt Peterburg in
Russian) has nothing to do with the German language. It is not a "German
name" but a Dutch name (originally Sankt Piterburkh). Tsar Peter lived and
worked in Holland and spoke Dutch. Many terms in Russian were imported from
Dutch by Peter the Great (for example, almost all the terms used by the
navy). So the return of the original name of the city however debatable it
may be has nothing to do with Russians killed during wars with Germany.
During the first world war when patriotic feelings were on the rise the city
was renamed not because the name was specifically German but because it was
not Russian (although some people with poor knowledge of history claimed
that it sounded German).
I also do not understand why "Anatoly Sobchak...sounds just like dog in
Russian)." Perhaps Mr.Miller's Russian is better than mine, but neither
"Anatoly" nor "Sobchak" sounds to me like any Russian word for dog
("sobaka", "suka" or "kobel'"). Former Duma deputy Mr. Sobakin would have
been a much better candidate for this discription but unfortunately he was
not the target of Mr. Miller's criticism this time.


From: (Ira Straus)
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000
Subject: Spurned suitors in comparative context (costs of rejecting Russia)

A true story:

Texas appealed 3 times to be brought into the US. The first 2 times it was 
rejected. The 3rd time it got an advance assurance from the President, John 
Tyler, that he would make sure the Senate accepted it. Sam Houston, President 
of Texas, sent a warning that, if Texas were spurned again, "she would seek 
some other friend" (meaning England). Still it was rejected by the Senate! 

Fortunately, Texas didn't really want the other option, and there was some 
strong popular support on both sides for including Texas in the U.S. -- a lot 
stronger than, say, for including Russia in NATO today. (In polls, big 
majorities in the U.S. do support Russian membership in NATO, but without 
passion or specificity.) When another pro-Texan candidate won the next U.S. 
election, the Senate voted Texas in.

A few lessons: 

1. Advertised "last chances" are not always the very last ones, but it's a 
big risk to let them pass. Shared interests and sentiments can sometimes tide 
the countries over to an extra chance. The opera isn't over until the fat 
lady sings. Russia isn't "lost" yet. 

2. He who has delivered the insult and spurned the suitor has to take the 
initiative next time. 

3. The risk of letting the chance pass is less terrible with a small country 
that has no other good options. 

4. The risk is a lot greater with a big country that does have other tempting 
geopolitical options. Or that has a separate history as a great power all by 
itself. Like Russia.

And now, the other true story: 

NATO talked a lot in the 1990s about the problem of "spurned suitors" in the 
very small states that have nowhere else to go but to the West, but not about 
the costs of spurning the one big state that does have somewhere else to go. 
The leaders of the small states have been able to keep applying to join 
without political embarrassment; meanwhile Russian leaders have been ruined 
politically for looking like supplicants to a West that spurns them. 

Putin's words on NATO mean that the story isn't over and the door isn't yet 
closed on Russia's side, but any initiative will have to come from the West 
this time. 

Yeltsin's 1991 overture was the first try. The second try was in '93. 
Virtually Yeltsin's entire entourage minus Primakov made the third try 
'96-'97; the West guaranteed Primakov's triumph by engaging only with him. A 
4th try can't be expected from the Russian side, unless it gets an advance 
guarantee as good as or better than the one Tyler gave Houston.


Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 
From: Albert Weeks <>
Subject: Lenin per Robert Service

Perhaps space limitations prevented Robert Service
from acknowledging two of the most crucial aspects of
V. I. Lenin's adopted revolutionism: 1) the effect on him of his 
older brother's Alexander's execution for plotting the tsar's 
assassination; 2) V.I.'s aborption of the revolutionary tradition 
and writings of Petr Tkachev (1844-86). 
The theories of the latter, a Russian Blanquist and 
Marxist revisionist, were first encountered by Lenin in the 
1890s via an influential young lady friend, Yaseneva. Later when 
Lenin emigrated to Switzerland and began reading through the 
works of Tkachev in the revolutionary library in Geneva c. 1900, 
he realized that he saw in Tkachev, as he said to comrades, 
"one of us." 
A follower of Nechayev but far more trenchant than the fiery, 
bomb-throwing revolutionary, Tkachev developed theories of 
a disciplined, elitist revolutionary organization anticipating that 
of the Bolsheviks; a one-party worker-peasant dictatorship; secret police 
to defend the revolution and purge bourgeois elements from 
society (which organization Tkachev called, ominously, the "KOB" 
[Komitet obshchestvennoi bezopasnosti]), and so on. Lenin 
insisted that Tkachev's works should be "required" reading for 
anyone who was serious about making a revolution in Russia.
The "proto-Bolshevik" Tkachev died in relative obscurity in Paris, 
yet was honored by a eulogy spoken by Peter Lavrov. Tkachev 
fell into even deeper obscurity in the late 1920's when he 
was committed to Stalin's Memory Hole because of Tkachevism's 
challenge to Lenin's unassailable originality in his, allegedly, singular
invention of Bolshevist-style revolutionism, a myth that has taken 
in a number of Western Lenin biographers as well.
Mr. Service might also have noted that a renewed interest in Tkachev 
has sprung up in post-1991 Russia. My book, the first English-language 
political biography of Tkachev, which was published in New York in 
the 1960s, has recently been restored from the "Lenin, now Russian
State Library's former secret "Special Collection." The Spetskhran 
was once open only to KGB-approved readers, to the open shelves 
of that Library.
By the way, the catalog to the "Leninka," the library, is now
accessible via
the Internet at-->


From: "Robert Bruce Ware" <>
Subject: Further Insurgency in Dagestan?
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 

Robert Bruce Ware 
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 

Is there likely to be further insurgency in Dagestan? Recently the Russian
military has reported several raids on federal outposts in Dagestan coming
from across the border in Chechnya. Similar reports have alleged that a
regiment-sized group of militants led by Emir al Khattab has been moving
toward Dagestan, and possibly toward the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt. 

It seems that there are at least three militant strategies that could
involve movement toward Dagestan. Eventually, some combination of two or
three of these alternatives appears most likely. As federal pressure
increases in Chechnya it is probable that Dagestan will become increasingly
attractive to the militants precisely because it permits them this choice
of alternatives.

1. The militants may wish to bring the war back to Dagestan. Surely, the
frustration and bitterness that they feel toward the Dagestanis is not so
much less than most Dagestanis feel toward them. This would be the case
especially if, as I have suggested (JRL #4092), the initial incursions
into Dagestan in August and September resulted from an intelligence
failure on the part of Basayev, Khattab, et al. Since the Russian military
obliged with the obliteration of any village occupied by the militants,
the militants may wish to turn this destruction back against the Dagestanis. 

This possibility is consistent with the recent arrest of 5 militants (3
with loyalties to Basayev), who allegedly had penetrated Dagestan's
Novolaksky rayon with the intent of provocation and possible terrorist
acts. Dagestan's central western border with Chechnya (including the
Khasavyurtovsky and Novolaksky rayons) is home to its indigenous
Chechen-Akkins, accounting for 8% of Dagestan's 2 million plus population.
While Dagestan's other ethnic groups (especially the Laks) showed
considerable sympathy toward the Chechen-Akkins following their
repatriation after 1957, and while some of these other groups (especially
the Laks and Kumyks) had been in the process of making substantial
territorial concessions (as arranged by the government in Mahachkala) to
the Chechen-Akkins up to the summer of 1999, charges of Chechen-Akkin support
for the insurgents in August and September have undermined the moral
stature that they previously achieved on account of the injustice of their
deportation. As a result, the territorial adjustments from which the
Chechen-Akkins stood to benefit, are unlikely to proceed. (One reason for
this, is that the government housing near Mahachkala that was being built
for relocation of the Laks who were scheduled to relinquish their homes to
the Chechen-Akkins has been used, and is likely to be used again in the
future, to house refugees from invasions of Dagestan's border regions with
Chechnya.) Moreover, allegations of Chechen-Akkin support for the
insurgencies of August and September have resulted in widespread anger
toward the Chechen-Akkins and isolated reprisals against them. 

Hence, if Khattab is moving toward Khasavyurt it is possible that he
wishes to bring destruction to Russian federal territory in Dagestan,
thereby alarming Russian public opinion with a bold offensive, punishing the
people of Dagestan, and possibly gaining further support from the
increasingly alienated Chechen-Akkin population in the area.

2. The second possibility is that militants will attempt to pass through
southwestern Dagestan en route to Azerbaijan. Little more than 50 miles of
Dagestani territory separates Chechnya from Azerbaijan. The Azeris resent
Russian support for Armenia and fear Russian expansionism in the Caucasus.
According to several reports, the militants have been receiving supplies
and medical assistance from Azeri territory. Azerbaijan could not permit
its territory to be used as a guerrilla staging area, nor could it long
accommodate a large militant formation. But Azerbaijan remains the
Caucasian territory most likely to provide sympathy and rudiments of
refuge to the militants. 

Georgia has sometimes cooperated with Moscow because it wishes to avoid
this problem, and because Tiblisi resents the earlier role of Chechen
fighters in Abkhasia and Ajaria. 

Emir al Khattab is Jordanian, and reportedly up to half of his fighters are
foreign mercenaries and adventurists. If Russian pressure becomes too
great they may attempt to flee the region by way of Azerbaijan. It is
possible that some of them might surrender to Azeri authorities, with the
anticipation of lenient treatment. Upon their subsequent arrival in
Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, North Africa,
etc., many would be likely to reap financial and social rewards. This
outcome would be unfortunate for the stability of the Caucasus since they
and/or others would be encouraged to return subsequently. 

It is possible that even a regiment-sized contingent of militants might
move more or less successfully through Dagestani territory on the way to
Azerbaijan. The shortest route runs through the territories of Avars,
Andis and Didois (all of whom are counted as Avars though the Ando-Didoi
people are linguistically distinct). Villages in these areas are among the
poorest and most isolated in Dagestan. A small minority of the villagers
secretly sympathize with the militants. Some of those fighting for Khattab
are from villages in these areas and are familiar with the terrain. 

It is also possible that militants might attempt to reach Azerbaijan by
taking a slightly longer route through lower-altitude terrain in Lak and
Lezgin territories. Though the populations of these areas might be less
prepared for incursions, their reaction would probably be no less

Separated into groups of 50 fighters or less, militant forces might move
through these areas in three or four nights, seeking shelter, during the
days, in the rugged terrain. Though Dagestani self-defense militias remain
organized and armed, it is possible that their leaders could be bribed or
that they might simply look the other way in exchange for guarantees that
the militants would keep moving and would not attempt to occupy territory. 

It is more likely that the Dagestanis would resist the passage of the
militants, in which case alternative 2 would become some combination of
alternatives 1 and 3. It is also possible that some of the militant groups
eventually may attempt to dissolve among the Dagestani population. Some
of the Dagestanis fighting for Khattab probably would not be turned away
by their families. However, this alternative would be less attractive
for non-Dagestanis. Most those fighters originating from outside of the
North Caucasus are easily identified by the local population and are
likely to be met with antagonism. Since many Dagestanis can identify
individuals by their ethnic physiognomy even Chechens might be
challenged. However, it would be difficult or impossible to distinguish
insurgent Chechens from indigenous Chechen-Akkins.

Outsiders attempting to hide among the locals would find greatest anonymity
in the vicinity of the markets of the larger towns and cities. Since
villagers routinely come into these markets, new faces are commonplace. 

In so far as they dissolved among the Dagestani population, militants would
be well placed for terrorist acts. However, recent explosions in
Mahachkala are not all necessarily attributable to the militants.
Explosions are part of politics as usual in Dagestan, and are generally
targeted at Dagestani elites (such as Umakhanov, whose car was recently
bombed) by competing elites. Since Dagestani elites typically target one
another explosions aimed at ordinary Dagestanis, such as todays explosion
in a Mahachkala schoolyard, would more likely be the work of outside

Since many remaining militants are fanatics, willing to die for their
cause, it is likely that alternative 1 would be their first resort and
that this might degenerate subsequently into a combination of alternatives
2 and 3. 

With a view toward these possibilities, JRL readers familiar with recent
debates regarding the objectivity of media and human rights organizations
may also wish to consider the following report of the Dagestani reaction
to recent events: 

Moscow ITAR-TASS - Makhachkala, 2nd April: United Nations High
Commissioner Mary Robinson who is on a trip around the North Caucasus has
changed her schedule. She did not make a planned visit to Novolakskiy
District in Dagestan but from Groznyy headed for Makhachkala. However, she
has not made it there yet because of thick fog and is now in Buynaksk.

The changes to the high commissioner's schedule have displeased the people
of Novolakskiy District who had gathered to meet her. They describe her
behaviour as disrespectful to people who have suffered from the war no
less than anywhere else. For the last few years their rights have been
violated because they live next to troubled Chechnya. "Where were the
human rights organizations when our policemen and others were being killed
or taken hostage," the people of Novolakskiy District want to know. 


Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2000
From: Professor Yuri Luryi <>
Subject: Pessimist/Optimist (Penultimate Installment)

Jewish definition: The optimist sees the bagel; the pessimist sees the hole. 
Yuri Luryi. 
P.s. The KGB entrance into the power (Re: Cherkizov?) is not a novelty
either in 
Seint-Petersburg, or in Russia. When exactly was it: the KGB man, who
arrested and 
interrogated the dissidents in that city, has been elected the Major of
that city District (at the "Petrogradskaia Storona")? 
One cannot help to quote Joseph de Maistre (first quarter of XIX century):
"Toute nation 
a le gouvernement qu'elle merite" (every country has the government it
deserves). Alas, 
he is still right. 


Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000
From: (Valeri Kalabugin) <>
Subject: Putin and future total wars

Dear David,
May I send you my vision of Putin and Putinism.
Valeri Kalabugin
Tallinn, ESTONIA


With the Moscow's war against Chechen rebels nearing its end
and the election of Putin as the new president becoming a fact, it
is reasonable to consider new trends in Moscow's policy. Among
these trends, there is a thing that may be called the 'Putin's
virtual doctrine'.
It is virtual, for it has not yet been postulated; actually it
isn't Putin's doctrine, since the idea started emerging among some
circles in Moscow in the Gorbachev's era and sharply matured under
Yeltsin; it first appeared as practice; still, it may be called a
doctrine because it is a distinct political line now carried out,
and it is Putin who will most likely have to finally formulate it.
In fact, he is already implementing it.
What might be called the new doctrine is consistent
scorched-earth policy in large territories, serving as the
Russia's line of defence against disintegration. This new policy
is now being polished in Chechenia (I would prefer this name to
the distorted Russian 'Chechnya'). This policy is used already on
a medium, not a small, scale. Scorched-earth policy in itself is
no news; the less so for Russia, a dying empire with barbarous
tradition. To destroy societies? Sure Russia did this, and
repeatedly, but hitherto it did not totally destroy territories.
Let alone 'its own' territories.
In Chechenia, one can see Russia experimenting with the use of
large-scale scorched-earth strategy against its colonies'
aspiration to independence. In the past, Russia could not use this
strategy on a really large scale because of technical weakness.
Later, for some period, democratic tendency prevented this. Today,
it has become possible as the two main prerequisites are at hand:
(a) technical means, (b) unlimited power of FSB -- not a political
force but just an uncontrolled machine built and trained to
destroy. One may call the FSB a semi-military junta that has no
responsibility and gives account to no one.
To make it a state poicy to completely destroy large areas by
modern technical means would be a news. Something akin was once
said - but not done - by an U.S. official who promised 'to bomb
the Vietnamese into the ground'. Perhaps Julius Caesar, too, said
or thought something like that but he did not have the technical
means. Most of the Russian politicians perceive the loss of their
giant empire as a very unwanted outcome. The Russians have never
experienced other ways of statehood; it would be hard for them to
imagine being robbed of the 'Great Russia' and start living in a
small 'Mother Russia'. They would prefer to avoid this at any
cost. To cope with a new reality is always a tough task, so all
empires have always went the easier way, just razing a rebellious
village or a city to the ground. In the case of Chechenia, Moscow
has demonstrated its technical ability to do this with a whole
country that threatens to secede.
Today, Moscow's generals are training the world to get
accustomed to a total war and total destruction in one's own
territory with, reportedly, vacuum bombs and gas. However, one
might now ponder on a scenario when, facing a threat of
disintegration and struggling with 'inner enemy', Russia would use
its nuclear weaponry. For example, using small nuclear missiles
and bombs to annihilate another Grozny.
The use of nuclear weapons in one's own land? This will be a
news, too. International law has no tools to prevent this for the
sheer reason that no one could ever anticipate this. After all,
Russian generals may argue, it would be no crime at all: charges
would be small, of local range only, and it will be only
population of a small town or a part of a town that will die -- so
why not use them?
But why should they use small range nuclear weapons against
their 'own' people?
Why not. These 'own' citizens are not fully 'own'. They are
different. Nuclear bombs or missiles would be used not in the
inner lands, i.e. in the historical center of Russia, but in the
larger empire, against other nationalities. Moreover, there is a
near precedent: to attain his goals, Lenin had destroyed society
and economy everywhere in his country including the 'heartland'
and then summed up victoriously: 'We've conquered Russia!"
Notably, the main instrument of his conquest was the notorious
Tsheka-NKVD-KGB-FSB, the organization now in power.
An uneasy fact about Putin is that he owes his rise to that
new line. Considering the determination of imperial-minded circles
and even common 'heartland' population to save the Rusian
Federation at any price from an inglorious end as that of the
USSR, Putin may well have nothing left to do but to follow that
line until it exhausts itself. In other words, until something
stops him -- or stops that line. Which is not the same. For
instance, nothing can stop the 'order' from which he originated,
the KGB-FSB. An organization of fanatics, with an appreciable
experience of mass murder, it has nothing that might stop it from
any actions.
If Putin 'prematurely' leaves the scene, others will have to
reckon with this new anti-terrorist or anti-whoever-that-may-be
way of waging internal war. Notwithstanding to what an extent this
strategy either remains a potential solution or becomes a reality,
and immaterial of the scale on which it will have been practiced,
from now on this trend has become a possible option. And if it is
possible for Russians, why not also for Milosevic or any other
junta that may emerge on the globe? For the Chechen people,
anyhow, it is already a reality.



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