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Johnson's Russia List
7 April 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Russians walk out of Euro body over Chechnya.
2. Reuters: French Daily Falls for April Fool Yeltsin Memoirs.
3. Jacob Kipp: "Red-Brown Revanchism"/DJ in 4229.
4. Reuters: IMF says reforms needed for Russian growth.
5. Interfax: RUSSIA MUST NOT BORROW FROM IMF ANY MORE - RUSSIAN
6. BBC MONITORING: NEWSPAPER VIEWS RUSSIA'S FOREIGN DEBTS AS A
SOURCE OF MAJOR CONCERN.
7. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: SPS is Heading for Nizhny Novgorod.
The Residents Are Afraid Of New Experiments.
8. Transitions Online: Sophia Kornienko, Resuscitating RussianThe newly established Council for Russian Language--an attempt to
halt thetongue's natural evolution--may implicate the very
politicians who set it up.
9. BBC MONITORING: RUSSIAN YABLOKO LEADER SAYS BALL IN PUTIN'S
10. FNS: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH EFFECTIVE POLICY FOUNDATION
PRESIDENT GLEB PAVLOVSKY on Unofficial Official Results of the
Elections. (Also Alexander Oslon]
Russians walk out of Euro body over Chechnya
By Crispian Balmer
STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - The Russian delegation to the Council of
Europe staged a dramatic walkout Thursday after it was stripped of its voting
rights for alleged gross abuses by its troops in Chechnya.
The club of European democracies also called on government ministers from
member countries to initiate a total suspension of Russia unless Moscow
immediately halted any human rights violations in the rebel region.
No country has ever been suspended from the 41-nation body in its 51-year
history, and the severity of the Council's judgment will come as a severe
embarrassment to President-elect Vladimir Putin, who has denied any rights
abuses by Russia.
Frustrated by the failure of European governments to put pressure on Russia
to halt the fighting in Chechnya, the Council of Europe decided Thursday to
end months of talking and finally demand concrete, tough action.
``We must be very careful that today's decision does not lead governments to
sit back, have another gin and tonic and say 'Well the assembly has taken the
action, there is no need for us to do anything,''' Britain's Lord Judd told
``The situation I saw in Chechnya was grave. This is not the time for
gestures,'' said Judd, who returned recently from a fact-finding mission in
the Russian republic for the assembly.
Russian delegates earlier pleaded with the assembly to pull back from the
brink, with many of them arguing that their country was fighting a legitimate
battle against ``extremists and terrorists.''
RESULT TOOK MANY BY SURPRISE
The decision for an immediate withdrawal of voting rights took many by
surprise as the Russian team packed up their bags and quit the assembly hall.
Russia only joined the Council in 1996.
``We are not able to participate in the work of the parliamentary assembly in
the Council of Europe. We regret that this has happened,'' said the head of
the Russian delegation, Dmitry Rogozin. ``We wish you well.''
Rogozin also told Russia's ORT public television: ``The discussion was
extremely unproductive and not constructive, and I view this as the assembly
showing a total lack of responsibility.''
He said one of the reasons the assembly had condemned Russia was the
destruction of the Chechen capital Grozny, although he said the Council had
shown little reaction to the damage done to the city in the previous Chechen
war in 1994-96.
Although it can no longer vote, the Russians can still attend assembly
sessions and it was not immediately clear if the delegation would return for
the next sitting in June.
``I hope this does not bring down the iron curtain again,'' said Terry Davis,
leader of the British delegation to the Council.
The walkout echoed a similar move by Greece in the late 1960s, when the
Council considered suspending Athens after a military coup in 1967,
The Strasbourg-based body is a consultative organization independent of the
European Union and pays special attention to human rights and democracy
It cannot suspend members without the approval of its ministers, but can
withdraw voting rights.
``RUSSIA VIOLATED OBLIGATIONS''
``Russia has violated some of its most important obligations under both the
European Convention on Human Rights and international humanitarian law,'' the
text of the motion passed Thursday said.
It added that government ministers should start suspension proceedings
against Russia if ``substantial, accelerating and demonstrable progress not
be made immediately,'' and asked for ministers to report to them in June.
Permanent ministerial representatives in Strasbourg will hold an emergency
meeting Friday to discuss the situation.
A clear two-thirds majority voted in favor of the resolution with just 14
people voting against, Assembly Chairman Lord Russell-Johnston said following
a show of hands.
The Council called for an immediate cease-fire in Chechnya followed by peace
talks. It also appealed for member states to take Moscow to the European
Court of Human Rights over alleged abuses.
Some Russian delegates warned that by freezing their membership, they would
be playing into the hands of hardliners.
As if to prove their point, ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovski, who
is part of the Russian team in Strasbourg, warmly shook Judd's hand after the
``I would like Russian isolation and to see us out of the Council of
Europe,'' he told Reuters.
``This is no time to hear that we have violated human rights. This is not
true. It is not good for my hearing. It is not good for my hair. I know the
real situation and think that Russia needs to be more cruel,'' he said.
French Daily Falls for April Fool Yeltsin Memoirs
PARIS, April 6 (Reuters) - French daily Le Monde admitted on Thursday it had
fallen for a Russian April fool by publishing a purported account by Russia's
ex-President Boris Yeltsin that Vladimir Putin owed his meteoric rise to
being a good shot.
The respected daily had carried on Wednesday what the Russian newspaper
Moskovskii Komsomolets published on April 1 as early excerpts of Yeltsin's
The account said President-elect Putin caught Yeltsin's eye in a hunting
party six years ago when he killed a wildboar with a single shot through the
heart. "Moscow needs such men," Yeltsin was purported to have said.
"With our apologies, we promise (readers) to wait with more patience and
caution for the real presidential memoirs," Le Monde said.
The account in Moskovskii Komsomolets quoted Yeltsin as saying that he was
persuaded to resign by his daughter Tatiana Diachenko, and that Putin had
first shied away from taking over the interim presidency, then accepted after
a night's thought.
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000
From: "Jacob Kipp" <KIPPJ@LEAVENWORTH.ARMY.MIL>
Subject: "Red-Brown Revanchism"/DJ in 4229
5. "With prodding from Gaidar and Chubais we may even
see a revival of hysteria about red-brown revanchism. There will be an
urgent need for 'greater evils'."
David, this was a provocation, right? We have the "boys" in power now. Yanov
was right on the church but not the pew. The revanchists turn out not to be
military generals but veterans of the competent organs, who had the right
ideology for a real party of "order" based on the linkage of external and
internal threats. If Chechnya is not a policy of revanchism against a
people, I do not know what revanchism is. As to Red-Brown linkage to the
security services, some of us saw the hand of the competent organs in this
game a long time ago and warned about Yeltsin decision to divide the
directorates of the KGB into separate agencies and not break-up the entire
edifice. If Gaidar and Chubais manage to sell a "red-brown" threat to Putin,
then we are deaf, dumb, and blind.
IMF says reforms needed for Russian growth
By Svetlana Kovalyova
MOSCOW, April 6 (Reuters) - Russia has made progress in reforms but must
speed up implementation of structural measures to sustain growth, the
International Monetary Fund's acting managing director said on Thursday.
``The good macroeconomic performance since early 1999 cannot be sustained
without a broad-based acceleration of structural reforms,'' Stanley Fischer
told an international investment conference.
The IMF has been holding up new loans for Russia since last year pending
implementation of so-called ``structural benchmarks'' agreed with the
government under a $4.5 billion loan programme.
The measures include improving bankruptcy legislation and reducing dependence
on barter transactions at utilities.
Fischer, who was due to meet President-elect Vladimir Putin later on
Thursday, said progress in recent years should not be underestimated but
reforms had been incomplete and imperfect, and implementation spotty.
He said the election of a new president last month and a new State Duma, or
lower house of parliament, last December, gave Russia a new chance.
``This, the start of a new administration and a new Duma, presents a rare
opportunity for new beginnings. The question is whether Russian can implement
a new strategy,'' he said.
Fischer was expected to discuss Russia's economic plans with Putin, who is
due to be inaugurated on May 7 and then form a new government and unveil a
long-term economic strategy.
Russia's representative to the IMF board, Alexei Mozhin, told reporters a new
IMF mission would come to Russia to assess the economy only after formation
of the new government, widely expected to be headed by Mikhail Kasyanov.
NO DISASTER IF IMF MONEY DELAYED
Kasyanov, currently first deputy prime minister, earlier told Kommersant
newspaper that Russia's budget performance had been strong this year and the
country needed only $1.5 billion from the IMF to repay foreign debt.
Kasyanov said Russia would sacrifice repaying past debts to defence
contractors and other domestic creditors, payments which he said would help
stimulate the economy, if international support were not forthcoming.
``There will be no drama if it suddenly turns out that foreign sources do not
appear, though they probably will in April, May, or perhaps in June,'' he
Kasyanov told Kommersant that Russia, backed by some World Bank and Japanese
credits, had paid $2.4 billion in foreign debt in the first quarter and owed
$3 billion in the second and $4.8 billion for the remainder of the year.
``We have a very good primary budget surplus, with which we can pay
two-thirds of government debt. Thus we need $1.5 billion from the IMF -- two
``If we do not get them, the intentions of the government to fully repay
debts will not be realised,'' he said. Those debts were on old defence orders
and payments to regions, he said.
He said refusal by the IMF to offer new financing would not diminish the pace
of economic growth, expected to be about three percent this year.
But if the government could repay domestic debts as intended it would improve
the barter-heavy economy and increase its monetisation.
RUSSIA MUST NOT BORROW FROM IMF ANY MORE - RUSSIAN EXPERT
MOSCOW. April 6 (Interfax) - Russia can do without borrowing from
the International Monetary Fund, Director of the Expert Institute
Yevgeny Yakin has said.
"We can consult with the IMF on various issues, but we have no
right to borrow from it any more. Our debts are too large," Yasin said
at an international conference on the investment climate and prospects
for economic growth in Russia in Moscow.
He did say, however, that the policies the IMF and the World Bank
are pursuing in Russia have been basically correct. "There have been
errors, but that is not the most important thing. On the whole, the
cooperation between Russia and international financial organizations has
been a success," Yasin said.
The ongoing economic upsurge is not the result of the devaluation
of the ruble or high prices on energy resources alone, Yasin opined. It
is a result of the reforms implemented for the past ten years, he said.
He noted that Russia has many companies able to invest in their own
production. The growth of private investments in 1999 was greater than
the growth of GDP, which shows that the economic growth is relatively
stable, Yasin said.
But Russia must not sit back on its heels, he said, noting that "we
are only one third of the way there."
Inertia is impelling Russia to move along the path of nomenclature
capitalism, the path once chosen by the Latin American states. But
common sense prompts us that Russia must abandon this track and head
towards a free market economy and democracy. The key problem for the
next ten years is how to improve the investment climate, Yasin said.
He said that Russia is faced with two problems. First, it must
solve the restructuring problem and do away with the non-market economic
sector. Fifty percent of Russian enterprises producing "a negative
surplus value" are in the non-market economic sector. All of these
depend entirely on various subsidies and privileges, and are budget
debtors. Russia must get rid of such enterprises, he said.
The second problem is how to remove a large number of Russian
enterprises from the so-called shadow sector. Many companies make
settlements through offshore zones, which weakens the banking system.
Russia must break out of this trap. The banking system must be made
stable, which would allow Russian businesses to develop in a legal
setting. Yasin said.
NEWSPAPER VIEWS RUSSIA'S FOREIGN DEBTS AS A SOURCE OF MAJOR CONCERN
Source: 'Izvestiya', Moscow, in Russian 5 Apr 00
Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov has given an optimistic
short-term prognosis of the Russian economy, forecasting that the
rouble-dollar exchange rate would be higher than predicted in the budget and
that GDP growth this year may exceed 3 per cent. However, according to a
Russian newspaper, "these reassuring statistics have been achieved through
effectively freezing the repayment of debts to the London and Paris Clubs of
creditors". It also recalled that the 2000 budget includes 2.6bn in IMF
credits and 2.2bn dollars in World Bank credits, making the total portfolio
of Russia's foreign borrowings in the current year almost 6bn dollars.
However, with a drop in the price of crude oil probable, the "prospects for
implementing this programme look quite uncertain at the moment", it
concluded. The following is the text of an article published in 'Izvestiya'
on 5th April:
It is unlikely that the economic situation in Russia will deteriorate. This
forecast, however, is true only for the first six months of the year. Unless
Vladimir Putin manages by July to attain a breakthrough in the foreign debt
problem by reaching agreement with the IMF and World Bank (and then also with
the Paris Club of creditors), this factor, in combination with the drop in
world oil prices, will trigger inflationary processes.
For the time being, however, the government has been demonstrating perfectly
conscious optimism. As First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said a
few days ago, there is every reason to believe that, if the same dynamic
prevails, the average rouble-to-dollar exchange rate may constitute, this
year, R30 as against the R32 used in the budget.
Mikhail Kasyanov also hastened to give his assessment of OPEC's recent
decision to increase oil production. He stressed that it has not yet resulted
in any considerable drop in oil prices: "20-25 dollars [per barrel] is a
normal range with which one can feel comfortable". According to Kasyanov, the
Finance Ministry will not resort to borrowings from the [Central] Bank of
Russia in April. "If we manage to do without borrowings in May - which is the
most difficult month - this will be no problem in June either," the first
deputy prime minister believes. The official stressed that the GDP growth in
2000 may exceed 3 per cent - twice as high as the initial forecast. Inflation
also proved to be low in the first quarter and amounted to 4.1 per cent.
So far, Russia has managed to service its substantial foreign debt "from its
own resources" - in conditions of the absence of IMF funds. In the first
quarter, the government spent 2.4bn dollars for these purposes and in the
second quarter it will have to pay 3.1bn dollars in interest.
We should not, however, fail to indicate that these reassuring statistics
have been achieved through effectively freezing the repayment of debts to the
London and Paris Clubs of creditors. Moreover, an agreement with the London
Club has yet to be legally formalized, and negotiations with the Paris Club
will not start until autumn. Apart from this, it may be recalled that the
2000 budget includes 2.6bn in IMF credits and 2.2bn dollars in World Bank
credits. The total portfolio of Russia's foreign borrowings in the current
year constitutes almost 6bn dollars. The prospects for implementing this
programme look quite uncertain at the moment.
With regard to the conditions on the oil market, the adjustment involving the
price shift to the 20-25 dollar range mentioned by Kasyanov is "not
life-threatening" indeed. Nevertheless, even it has already caused the
profits to drop (according to rough estimates, each extra petrodollar brings
an additional 10m dollars to the treasury on a monthly basis, and vice
versa). Clearly, this has an adverse effect on the state's possibilities in
the repayment of not just its foreign debts but domestic debts as well
(pension arrears, for examples). The summer adjustment of "black gold" [oil]
prices will inevitably lead to a further depletion of the budget.
So far, the government has three advantages: the still favourable conditions
on the world market and a stable political and economic situation in Russia
itself. The only thing that the authorities need to do now is to consolidate
these advantages. To do so, the new president will have to make a
breakthrough in the situation with regard to foreign indebtedness and proceed
to restructuring the Russian economy, otherwise the economy is doomed to be
dependent on the world prices of raw materials.
Russia Today press summaries
4 April 2000
SPS is Heading for Nizhny Novgorod
The Residents Are Afraid Of New Experiments
People remember the last names of those governors who have exchanged federal
seats for regional posts, or those, who dream of doing otherwise, of moving
from the regions to the capital, like Lebed, Rutskoy, Ayatskov, Nazdratenko,
Titov, Tuleev. However, everyone will agree that it's much better for the
region if its head thinks about its problems, not about personal ambitions.
In Nizhegorodsky region Boris Nemtsov was replaced by Ivan Sklyarov - a man
who cannot be accused of populism.
Today Nizhegorodsky region is no longer called a "testing area for
However, the region's industry is developing very fast, at a speed that
nobody could have expected when three years ago Sklyarov became the governor.
The first and most important thing done by Sklyarov is providing for painless
transformation of local authorities from "spoken genreâ" to the practical
level. This is really why the region's life has become much better,
there are much less "glorious" reports about Nizhny Novgorod in the mass
Today the region is popular again. "Muscovites" from Nizhny, Boris
and Sergey Kirienko are considering the region as a possible area for
applying their forces. Having actively returned to big politics and playing a
more important role in it. They would like to put a person from SPS (Union
of Right Forces) in the seat of Nizhegorodsky region's governor.
It is understandable that against the background of such prosperity today the
force of the "right" is starting to appear. It is very interested in some
destabilization of the situation so that it can later bring a person much
more favorable for it to the post of governor.
The attempt to turn Nizhny Novgorod, which at one time was called a
area for reforms" into a simple "testing area", is very possible. But
will the region's population profit from that?
Transitions Online (http://www.tol.cz)
The newly established Council for Russian Language--an attempt to halt the
tongue's natural evolution--may implicate the very politicians who set it
by Sophia Kornienko
Sophia Kornienko is TOL's stringer in St. Petersburg and a veteran of the
FSA FLEX program.
ST. PETERSBURG--For centuries, the Russian language was a unique source of
solace and pride for Russians, no matter what cataclysms shook the country.
"In the days of doubt, in the days of difficult thinking ... you alone
were my comfort and my reward, great, powerful Russian language," reads the
famous line from Ivan
Turgenev's 1877 Poems in Prose--one many Russians know by heart.
Today, many Russians lament what they perceive as their mother tongue's
gradual decay in the face of the country's increasing internationalism.
"There is a growing dissatisfaction among the people about what is being
done to our native language," said Russia's former Deputy Prime Minister
Valentina Matvienko in a January interview with the weekly Kultura. "The
Russian language is sick and should recover from the English disease,"
claimed journalist Vladimir Umnov in a 15 March article for the Moscow
weekly Obschaya Gazeta.
Newly elected President Vladimir Putin took a serious stand regarding the
issue: "It is crucial nowadays to preserve our language," he emphasized in
a recent speech at St. Petersburg State University, the citadel of Russian
culture from which Putin himself graduated in 1975. What Putin described as
"enhancing the use of the Russian language at the international level"
corresponds with his "only official promise ... to make Russia strong." One
of his first steps was organizing a governmental Council for Russian
Language on 17 January. According to its founding decree, the chief
purposes of the council include "increasing the knowledge" and "maintaining
the purity" of the Russian language. The council will also sponsor relevant
research and promotional educational projects, as well as "assisting the
Russian media to popularize the Russian language" and "informing the
government of any problems in the development of the Russian language."
"Plans are already in the works to penalize politicians and journalists,"
Vasilii Kiselyov, an Education Ministry official, told the daily <i>Moscow
Times</i> on 18 February. "Punishments should be severe. ... Bureaucrats
who are not aware of the basics of their native language should be fined
for their abuse of the mother tongue."
The council, chaired by Matvienko, will include the former Education
Minister Vladimir Filippov, writer Valentin Rasputin, and Yevgenii
Chelyshev, the director of the Institute of Language and Literature at the
Russian Academy of Science. More members are to be appointed by the
government. The members will not be paid for their services, and a minimum
of two meetings per year are to be organized by the Russian Ministry of
WATCH YOUR TONGUE
Many government officials may well fall under the ax of the new language
council. Politicians provide a wealth of material for popular humorous
programs abounding on Russian television channels, such as the Funny &
Smart Club or "Smekhopanorama" (the Panorama of Laughs). On the Russian
private station NTV, the daily puppet show "Kukli" stages farce travesties
of the country's political life.
Politicians are regularly ridiculed for abusing the language. Yeltsin is
known for taking long pauses in his efforts to build a simple sentence,
even when he is reading from a scripted speech. As for former Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin--whom political analyst Boris Kagarlitsky has
called "a champion of language abuse"--his speech has no equivalent in any
other European languages. For example, in a recent television interview he
said, "Toward me, many, I know, because Chernomyrdin is, so to speak, stuck
in everyone's throat. I know who here is thinking that my finale has
struck. Chernomyrdin always knows when someone is thinking, because he has
come all the way up from being a plumber." Then he added, mysteriously,
that his enemies want to present him as a "stumbling apple."
Both Yeltsin and Chernomyrdin are publicly considered more entertaining
than their respective Kukli puppets. "I can't listen to some politicians
without laughing my head off," says Kiselyov.
The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovskii has lost
his right to speak in the State Duma several times because of his abundant
use of swear words. And according to the weekly Itogi, Moscow Mayor Yurii
Luzhkov admitted in 1997, "Regarding such words, which are not proper, I
use them, yes. But not when addressing people. I never try to offend
Problems with politicians speaking distorted Russian are nothing
new—it is simply that they were never publicly addressed in Soviet
times. It was popular among Soviet officials to copy leaders' mistakes and
accents. Especially popular in the 1960s-1980s was the southern accent,
with its characteristic fricative [g] and pronouncing the unaccented letter
[o] as an [o] instead of an [a]. Using the provincial accent was meant to
emphasize that the officials identified with the people, not the
The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, for example, was known for his
mispronunciation of words. Some of his mispronounced variants have acquired
special meanings in the modern language--for instance the incorrectly
accented verbs "to begin" and "to deepen," which now serve to describe the
process of perestroika in the Soviet Union.
Chelyshev of the Institute of Language and Literature accuses Gorbachev of
"contributing to the pollution" of the Russian language. "His wrong accents
and misuse of words all blended into the spoken language, but they deformed
the language," says Chelyshev. "I'm surprised Gorbachev's image-makers
never pointed out to him that a politician can't speak like that. And the
same goes for the image-makers of a lot of other political figures."
"It would be wrong to say that [many politicians] cannot correctly express
their thoughts. It's just that they don't have any particular thoughts to
express," says political analyst Kagarlitsky. He adds that Putin himself
speaks correct Russian, "but his entire vocabulary is only about 1,500
words—a fifth-grader's vocabulary."
Many have noticed how different Putin's speech is from that of his
predecessors. "Russian leaders are now starting to speak a concrete, strong
language, which gives hope for strong policies," said Michail Leontjev on
15 September 1999 in "However," his analytical daily television program.
"Indeed, Putin is a concrete person."
Anna Bonch-Osmolovskaya, a linguist and publicist, claims in her 11
November article for the daily online publication Smi.ru that because
politicians who originally come from St. Petersburg will soon constitute an
absolute majority in Russia's governmental circles, "the expansion of St.
Petersburg pronunciation and intonation" is inevitable. "St. Petersburg
pronunciation ... helps the authorities to shape the new popular ideology
of being firm," she says. "To Putin it comes naturally; he grew up in St.
Petersburg. ... Putin's current popularity may bring other qualities back
in fashion: reserved intonation and clear articulation."
A LINGUISTIC SHIFT
Meanwhile, many view Putin's striving for linguistic purity as idealistic
and groundless. The creation of the Council for Russian Language did not
arouse much public response--in fact, most people have not even heard of
it. Victor Krivulin, a popular St. Petersburg poet claimed in an interview
with the <i>Moscow Times</i> that creating a state policy to "artificially
introduce language norms will split the Russian language in two: a real
language and an official
language." That was true of Soviet times, when almost no modern literature
was included in high school curricula and the media stagnated with
"Tiring the world with boasts of how well-read and literate we are, we
learn elementary vocabulary from Dal, a Russian Dane, who lived 150 years
ago!" comments a Moscow journalist Oleg Pshenichnii, referring to an
out-of-date dictionary written by Alexander Dal, which established the
current language norms.
Of course, another language living alongside the official one had always
existed—a living, spoken tongue open to all the natural processes of
linguistic development. It was the language used by the legendary poet
Vladimir Visotskii and writers Alexander Zhvanetskii, Sergej Dovlatov, and
others whose works were secretly hand-copied and passed around among
friends. In 1977, no government ban could stop thousands of people from all
over the Soviet Union from joining the procession on the day of Visotskii's
funeral, covering the roads with flowers.
With the fall of the Soviet Union, the culture and language of the
underground came to light. Probably the most noticeable change in the
post-Soviet Russian language became the influx of neologisms, largely words
borrowed from English. Everyday speech of young Russians has become rife
with English terminology and slang, especially with travel and the growth
of the Internet. Chelyshev of the Institute of Language and Literature at
the Russian Academy of Science says he sees ridding the language of
"useless foreign words" as one of the main goals of the newly created
The infiltration of English first took place in the latter days of the
Soviet Union. For decades, learning English had been close to learning a
dead tongue, recorded only on paper and scratched audiotape. Travel
restrictions meant that the majority of people were never exposed to native
English speakers. The situation changed in September 1988, when a bilateral
agreement instigated a program—the Freedom Support Act Future Leaders
Exchange (FSA FLEX)—of short-term exchanges for students and teachers
between U.S. and Soviet schools. As a result, a clear distinction emerged
among educated Russians: between those who spoke English and those who did
Tatiana Rupisheva, an FSA FLEX veteran, comments, "After I came back from
the States, I knew I would never be able to live in that country, because I
absolutely hated their ways. But I am happy such a program exists, offering
a chance to see the world and a free opportunity to learn the language for
many smart kids who don't have the money."
This year, 930 Russian students are in the United States on the program and
1,150 will come for the next academic year. "Just as before, students are
still very enthusiastic to become FSA FLEX program participants," says
Natalya A. Schidlovskaya, an English teacher at a St. Petersburg high
school that specializes in language education. "The difference nowadays is
that there is generally a
calmer and a more routine-like, practical attitude toward taking part in
student exchange. ... Student exchange has stopped being a search of a
better and easier life and has become a sort of intellectual quest. No one
blindly worships the West any more. My students tell me: yes, we really
want to go there to study, but we want to come back home to work."
In a stronger and more stable society, there should be no need to guard the
language from outside influence by any artificial measures. "As soon as the
social situation stabilizes, the Russian language too will 'recover'
naturally, with or without any councils," points out Kagarlitsky. Vadim
Nikitin, a professor of public speaking at St. Petersburg State University,
agrees. "Language develops in connection with society. Why fight against
that natural process? We should focus on the people instead, on the
national spirit, on better living standards. Love and respect for the
language will stem from there. Then we will become proud of our mother
tongue once again--and Russian words will enter other languages."
RUSSIAN YABLOKO LEADER SAYS BALL IN PUTIN'S COURT
Source: Centre TV, Moscow, in Russian 1600 gmt 05 Apr 00
The leader of Russia's liberal Yabloko party, recent presidential contender
Grigoriy Yavlinskiy, has said Yabloko is open to "any serious proposal" to
work with President-elect Vladimir Putin, but does not see Putin trying to
bring the party on board. Asked about a proposed democratic coalition,
Yavlinskiy said he had high hopes that it could address serious issues. He
said he was sorry that Valentina Matviyenko had dropped out of the St
Petersburg gubernatorial election, and said he thought Putin had forced her
to withdraw. Talking about his recent meeting with a Yugoslav opposition
leader, he said the country's problems were a warning of what authoritarian
rule and nationalism could do to a multiethnic country. The following are
excerpts from the interview on Russian Centre TV 5th April.
 [Correspondent Dmitriy Kiselev] However strange, we have more
questions for [Yabloko leader] Grigoriy Yavlinskiy now than we had before the
presidential election [on 26th March]. Good evening, Grigoriy Alekseyevich.
[Yavlinskiy] Good evening.
[Passage omitted: brief recap of Yavlinskiy's biography]
[Q] Your international activity is increasing. Yugoslav opposition leader Vuk
Draskovic has arrived in Moscow at your invitation. You met him today, and
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov did the same. Why?
[A] The situation in Yugoslavia is very tense. We are not indifferent to the
fate of Serbia and the entire Balkans. We want a more open society, more
democratic rule and freer press in Serbia and Yugoslavia, just as we do in
[Q] Sorry, but these are nothing but general remarks. Is it true that
Draskovic has managed to squeeze from Ivanov some words favouring the idea of
early elections in Yugoslavia?
[A] You used an exact word. The very fact that Ivanov has met Draskovic and
they have discussed this issue shows that the Russian authorities are taking
the idea of early elections in Serbia more and more seriously.
[Q] So, Milosevic is not our favourite any more?
[A] Milosevic is responsible for his own country's disaster. His example
shows the dire consequences that authoritarian rule and nationalism may lead
to in a multiethnic country.
[Passage omitted: Russia is a multiethnic country with similar problems]
Any attempt to follow the same path will pose a formidable threat to Russia.
[Q] Do you think this kind of threat really exists?
[A] I think that we should bear in mind the situation in the North Caucasus,
and the feelings it is inciting among the Russian people and how these
feelings may be used. Yes, I am deeply concerned by all this.
[Passage omitted: Yavlinskiy says talks should be held with rebels]
[Q] How would you assess the political support [Russian Deputy Prime Minister
and former gubernatorial candidate] Valentina Matviyenko has voiced for the
Yabloko candidate for [St Petersburg] governor, Igor Artemyev?
[A] I deeply respect Valentina Ivanovna [Matviyenko]. We discussed the
present situation in St Petersburg many times. I am sorry that she was forced
by Putin, as I see it, to quit the gubernatorial race. I appreciate her
[Passage omitted: Yabloko opposes incumbent St Petersburg governor Vladimir
[Q] Can Putin's move be viewed as a step towards rapprochement with Yabloko
and a basis for your future cooperation with the government?
[A] We are open to any serious proposal. Meanwhile, I do not think that
Putin's permanent negotiations with Yakovlev and his landing in St Petersburg
in order to see Yakovlev once again can be described as steps towards
cooperation with Yabloko. Actually, he has gone back on all declarations he
made at the funeral of [former St Petersburg mayor Anatoliy] Sobchak.
[Passage omitted: grave criminal situation in St Petersburg]
However, if we see any signs of goodwill, of willingness for cooperation and
understanding that St Petersburg, as well as entire Russia, cannot stay in
their present situation, then we are ready to cooperate.
[Passage omitted: Yavlinskiy refuses to speculate on why Putin landed in St
Petersburg so suddenly; says Putin's policy should be clear]
[Q] The formation of a new government is under way. People are speculating on
who will be prime minister and who will be finance minister, etc. Is anybody
consulting the State Duma on this issue?
[A] As I see it, Putin's allies in the State Duma are the Communists. Maybe,
he is holding consultations with them. The Yabloko faction is absolutely
unaware of where we are. Everything is being done in the same old fashion.
[Passage omitted: Yavlinskiy thanks those who voted for him during the
[Q] Several days ago you spoke about some kind of a democratic coalition.
What is that all about? How does it relate to the new president?
[A] This idea was put forward by a group of very respected people [Russian
perestroika-time democrats] and I have joined this move.
[Passage omitted: the time has come for Russian democrats to forget old
discrepancies and to form a coalition]
I hope that we shall manage to create some kind of a coordination body and
resolve serious problems by joint efforts.
[Q] What may be the Union of Right Forces's role in this coalition? Do you
believe they will take part in it?
[A] Yes, I do, though they are in a rather difficult situation.
[Q] [Putin's political advisor] Gleb Pavlovskiy, who often acts as a
spokesman for the Kremlin, said today: we need an opposition, but we have no
one either on the federal or on local level. Do you feel you are a democratic
opposition to the present authorities?
[A] I am not interested in what Pavlovskiy is saying. As for our attitude to
the new authorities, let us wait for 100 days and then see what Russia's
political landscape is like.
[Passage omitted: Yavlinskiy would like to do something constructive if Putin
[Q] What will the Federal Security Service's role be in new Russia?
[A] Russia needs serious and very efficient security agencies, but they must
be under public control.
[Q] Is this really possible?
[A] I am just working on this. We shall present to the Duma a draft bill on
tight civilian control over all Russia's security agencies.
[Passage omitted: more about the necessity of public control]
We shall look at Putin's reaction and at the reaction by the Communists in
[Presenter] Thank you, Grigoriy Alekseyevich.
"Unofficial Official Results of the Elections"
PRESS CONFERENCE WITH EFFECTIVE POLICY FOUNDATION PRESIDENT GLEB PAVLOVSKY
(c) 2000 Federal News Service
Aprril 5, 2000
Moderator: Good day, ladies
and gentlemen, we are happy to see you at our press conference called
Unofficial Official Results of the Elections. I will introduce the panel to
you. Gleb Pavlovsky, head of the Effective Policy Foundation, Alexander
Oslon, Director of the Obshchestvennoye Mneniye foundation and Alexander
Glushenkov, a lawyer.
I am Marina Litvinovich. I am the Director for New Projects in the Effective
I would like to give the floor now to Gleb Olegovich Pavlovsky.
Pavlovsky: In my opinion, this press conference is mostly a ritual one. We
simply promised to hold this press conference and that is what we are doing.
Perhaps, it is a bit late to discuss the results of the past elections.
I must say that for me the most important thing in this project ... Of
course, the main things about the project will be outlined by Alexander
Anatolyevich Oslon. For me, the main thing in the project is that society in
the person of about 60,000-70,000 in the real time mode took part in a
discussion of the vote, the process of voting, of possible irregularities,
the first results, the actions of the authorities. These people took part in
the discussion as the vote was taking place. In fact, this was a sort of an
expert study in real time mode. Of course, this did not influence the results
of the vote because of the insignificance of the figure from the electoral
point of view. But this did influence the sense of responsibility and
restraint of the so-called elites in the process of the vote.
You see, it is very important that neither the opposition nor the authorities
had grabbed any clubs. In our country election returns always turned out to
be some sort of a surprise. These results spilled out of the ballot box and
then everybody started arguing on the subject of how extensive falsification
had been. You know this very well.
This time there was real participation in control and in forecasting of the
outcome by so many people that this rendered any challenges of the final
results groundless. I think this was very important for our political
process. And for Internet as well. It was the main instrument, the main
channel, the main possibility for the independent communication of people
I believe I will stop here and hand over back to the moderator.
Moderator: Thank you. Now I would like to give the floor to Alexander Oslon.
Oslon: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, as we said at a press conference on
the eve of the elections, our job was to conduct a poll in the course of the
voting day, the so-called exit poll. The planned parameters of the poll were
fully attained -- 800 polling stations, 100 people at each polling station.
In other words, 80,000 people in the course of the day, spread out evenly
over ten hours of the work of polling stations. This was done in 64 subjects
of the Russian Federation. We worked in big and small cities and in villages.
And all this tremendous amount of work was done. We are quite satisfied with
the obtained results. If we compare with the latest announcement made by the
Central Election Commission today ... as it was announced today Putin got
52.94 percent. According to our poll, the figure was 51.2. Zyuganov actually
got 29.21 while our figure was 28.4. Yavlinsky -- 5.8, our figure 7.0,
Tuleyev -- 2.95, while our figure was 3.2.
As you see, the difference of the figures on Putin was 1.7 percent. The
deviations in respect of the other candidates were very small ones as well,
within the limit of 0.5 percent. The only exception were the votes "against
all." Our figure was 3.4 percent while official figure is 1.9 percent.
As you see, we achieved a high level of accuracy. This shows that our
technology makes it possible to see the results of the vote in the course of
the day. In fact, we have several final results.
The first is that in the course of the day we saw the entire picture. In the
evening, when the Central Election Commission started publishing its data, we
saw a full coincidence. In other words, the Central Election Commission
followed our schedule that we saw in the morning and in the daytime. The
Central Election Commission lagged behind us, as it were.
The second result is really the reason why we did all this work. If there
were a big difference between our observations and announced results we would
have stepped in. In that case there could have been lots of arguments,
references to the might of "administrative resources" and so on, but, as we
see, this did not happen.
We, researchers and professionals, have found confirmation that we have a
working technology, given that everything is done properly, that it produces
a sufficiently accurate result.
There is also another very important factor. It explains why there have been
no fabrications. And it also explains the coincidence of the results of our
poll and the results of the election. These elections were rather simple ones
for our voters, for the adoption of decisions whom to vote for. There were no
substantial factors that could have forced the respondents to lie during the
exit polls. Naturally, we did not enter the polling stations.
People who voted for Putin were convinced that they were going to vote for
the future winner. You know, on the eve of election day 70 percent of our
population were sure of Putin's victory. Those who voted for Zyuganov,
Yavlinsky and the others were less optimistic but had a firm conviction.
In other words, on the eve of the elections people had their minds made up
and although 20 percent of the people our interviewers approached declined to
tell us for whom they voted, that's about 20,000 people, nevertheless, this
did not distort the results. So, those who answered, expressed their position
and those who didn't answer behaved roughly in the same way as those who did
answer. And I must say that the "simplicity" of these elections made it
possible to predict the outcome with a fair decree of accuracy on the eve of
the election based on pre-election polls.
On March 24 we issued a forecast which gave Putin 53 percent and Zyuganov 27
percent, and Yavlinsky 7 percent. We provided a forecast only for three
politicians. And our forecast of the turnout was 67 percent. That was on
March 24. You have this material in your folders. This is a high degree of
accuracy for a pe-election forecast. So, I am well pleased with our work and
I am ready to answer your questions.
Moderator: Also taking part in our press conference is Alexander Glushenkov,
a defense lawyer. I would like to say a couple of words about why he is
present here and why we consider his presence to be important.
You see, when we implemented similar exit poll projects in the December
elections for the State Duma, we faced a strong resistance from the Central
Election Commission and from other officials and a lot was done in order to
shut down our project.
So, this time in preparing exit poll project we decided to prepare a legal
justification for our project. Because we are sure that the Internet is not a
mass media outlet no violation of the laws is involved in our project. And
this time around we did not come under strong pressure although Mr.
Veshnyakov spoke about the Internet on election day. I think Alexander will
now comment on that. And also very important, several days after we carried
out our project, after March 26 the next project was published on the
Internet aimed at the regulation of the Internet. We consider this to be an
important development and Alexander will comment on that too.
Glushenkov: There are many questions in connection with the Internet. As of
today, in the course of the preparation of the project we got an official
confirmation from the Central Election Commission which said that the
Internet is not a mass medium. This may apply only to the election campaign
and the publication of the results of opinion polls on the eve of elections.
Nevertheless, this is an official position taken by an official government
As for more serious legislation that has now appeared. You know that several
months ago there were two draft decrees of the government dealing with the
legal regulation of the Internet and more and more such drafts are appearing
because there is a need for legal regulation of the Internet. The draft law
that has now been proposed does not meet the current needs, it does not
address the things that need to be regulated. The draft is so raw, it does
not answer any questions, it has nothing but generalities and it opens the
possibility of bringing offenders to account in accordance with unspecified
There are indeed problems that need to be solved and the state should take a
definite position on this issues. But this is not in sight and nobody knows
when this will happen. But in its present shape the draft law cannot even be
seriously considered. It needs to be reworked. But if one is to be serious,
what is the use of a draft law which just states that the Internet exists?
There is a need for amending existing legislation, for example, the law on
the mass media, the Civil Code, in order to regulate the relations involved
in identifying the subjects of activity on the Internet. There should be a
special law on electronic and digital signatures or some other
But just to declare that we have the Internet and certain relations arise in
this connection without addressing any specific issues, we have enough such
legislation as it is.
Moderator: I would like to add that one of the key points in the draft law
imposes the responsibility on the provider for controlling the content of
what is placed on the sites. In other words, the provider is in fact a
censor. But this is impossible because no provider will be able to censor the
information and keep track of its updating and determine what may be placed
on the sites and what may not. It is important with regard to the sites that
are mass media or resemble the mass media though they are not mass media.
Glushenkov: I could add something about the responsibility of the providers
for the information placed by their clients. This article is in contradiction
with the Constitution which expressly bans any censorship. In other words,
the provider is urged to act as a censor, in other words to perform actions
that are expressly forbidden under the Constitution.
The article on the responsibility of the provider for the information placed
by the clients, different sections of that article are in conflict with each
other. On the one hand, the provider is relieved of responsibility if he does
not select and does not alter the information, and on the other hand, if the
provider has the authorization to change information he is no longer a
provider, but a source of information. So, there are logical incongruities.
And there are many such discrepancies.
The drafters probably sought to influence commercial activities. But actually
the Internet is a place not only of commercial activities. For example, the
mass media which present their materials on the Internet are not engaged in
Or this project we are discussing today -- it is not a commercial project.
And that means it is not covered by legal regulation. In short, there are
many things that need more detailed analysis.
Moderator: I would now suggest that we open it up for questions both on the
results of the exit poll project and other questions.
Q: I have a question for Mr. Oslon. All the previous practice of exit polls
has revealed serious discrepancies between the official results of the
elections and the results of the polls. Even the heads of these organizations
have drawn attention to this. In your case the discrepancies are minimal. How
did you manage to be so successful?
Oslon: A technology has been in existence for 40-50 years and it has been
described in textbooks.