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17 April 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Putin appeals for investors in ``New Russia''.
2. The Times (UK) editorial: DANCE WITH A STRANGER.
The potential rewards justify the political risks.
3. The Guardian (UK) editorial: To London without love.
Blair should get tougher with Putin.
4. Bloomberg: Russian Special Forces Arrest Apartment Bomb Suspects, NTV Says.
5. BUSINESS WEEK ONLINE: For Russia: Economic Reform via "Authoritarian Force"? Top financier Pyotr Aven talks about the
"difficult contradiction" facing President Putin.
6. Reuters: German spy agency fears widening of Chechnya war.
7. AFP: Survivor of Chechnya's Chernokozovo camp a broken man.
8. Vek: Zoya Zotova, UNWOMANLY BUSINESS. The Fair Sex Asks Its
Share of Power - or Else It Will Use Force to Take It.
9. MSNBC/Itogi: Yevgeny Gorny, Russian Internet explodes online.
Gradually, the country’s web adapts to its needs Russians peer into
computer screens at an Internet cafe in Moscow.
10. International Herald Tribune: Flora Lewis, Ideal and Real,
Always at Odds.
11. SPEECH BY PRESIDENT-ELECT VLADIMIR PUTIN AT THE STATE DUMA SESSION BEFORE VOTING ON START-2 RATIFICATION.]
Putin appeals for investors in ``New Russia''
By Susan Cornwell
LONDON, April 17 (Reuters) - Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin appealed
to foreigners on Monday to invest in the ``new Russia,'' saying Moscow would
do everything possible to modernise its economy.
In a speech to British business leaders at the start of a short visit to
London, Putin sought to present Russia not as a minor power with a begging
bowl but as an emerging giant in which the potential for business cooperation
was ``colossal.'' ``Russia is not a shortened map of the ex-Soviet Union,''
he said. ``It is a country with tremendous self confidence.
``Our main goal is to make the Russian economy attractive for Russian and
foreign investment,'' he said. ``We will do everything to modernise our
Putin, who met Prime Minister Tony Blair, admitted Russia's problems were
complex and said success depended on its partners.
``I believe you with your business acumen can seize the opportunities opening
in the New Russia,'' he told his audience.
A past problem had been a lack of political stability ``and we are solving
this problem very successfully,'' said Putin, a former KGB spy who has ruled
Russia since Boris Yeltsin's shock resignation on New Year's Eve. He swept to
victory in presidential elections last month and will be officially sworn in
on May 7.
Putin's audience at a posh London hotel near Downing Street included some of
the captains of British industry, such as Lord Marshall, chairman of British
Airways, Martin Broughton, chairman of British-American Tobacco and Mark
Moody-Stuart, chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell group.
Putin brought with him some of his top economic officials, including the
ministers of trade and fuel and energy.
Addressing some of the problems faced by businessmen in Russia, Putin said
the state should not dictate to business, taxes should be reduced and
ownership of property respected.
``We know the tax burden is enormous,'' he said, but added that legislation
to reduce it would have its second reading in parliament in June.
Putin said the country's new economic system had helped it overcome the
crisis in August 1998, when the Russian economy nose-dived following world
Last year, Russian GDP growth was 3.2 percent, with most expansion in the
chemical, oil, light, timber and engineering industries, he said. Monthly
inflation, which had been up to 8.4 percent in January 1999, was down to 0.6
percent in March this year.
But Putin said he knew that ``empty promises are the worst possible policy.''
He said Russia was determined to fulfil all of its financial commitments, but
also spoke of his interest in new British credit lines.
Russia would cut back its bureaucracy, but also impose strict rules and
regulations for business and see that the state would abide by these, he
added. And Russia needed a ``truly independent and efficient judiciary,'' he
Before the meeting began Sir Clive Thompson, president of the Confederation
of British Industry employers' association, said that with $3.8 billion in
direct investment, Britain was the second largest foreign investor in Russia
after the United States.
But he said the trade balance was lop-sided against Britain and business
leaders were keen to hear how Putin would improve the climate for investors.
Richard Olver, chief executive of exploration and production at BP Amoco,
said he was pleased with Putin's remarks.
``He's saying the right things. If even some of it happens, it will be
very positive,'' Olver said.
The Times (UK)
17 April 2000
DANCE WITH A STRANGER
The potential rewards justify the political risks
Tony Blair was the first Western leader to meet Vladimir Putin, in St
Petersburg before the March presidential elections; Mr Putin, now armed with
a solid popular mandate, has been quick to return the compliment. Downing
Street has made no secret of its belief that Mr Putin is at the vanguard of a
generational change in Russian leadership which could be the basis for a more
workmanlike relationship with the West. In advance of Mr Putin's visit, on
his first trip to the West as Russian President, Mr Blair has donned the
Thatcher mantle with a flourish as explicit as it is controversial, declaring
Mr Putin to be a man he "feels comfortable with".
Obvious questions arise. Is this former KGB operative genuinely a moderate
"Blairite" - whatever, in a Russian context, that would mean? And, in his
anxiety to steal a march on Bonn, Paris and Washington, is Mr Blair is taking
too much on trust? He is out to cultivate an unknown quantity, even including
tea with the Queen on the programme - an honour that transforms a working
visit into something like a state occasion. Liberal Democrats and human
rights activists are appalled by the symbolism of inviting to Buckingham
Palace the architect of a campaign in Chechnya so brutal that Russia has had
its voting rights in the Council of Europe suspended.
Even Mr Blair would concede that it is the Russian leader who will gain most
immediate advantage from this visit. It will do Mr Putin good at home,
especially when Mr Blair has made it his task to explain, to Russians worried
about a return of the KGB as well as to apprehensive Westerners, that Mr
Putin's call for a "strong state" means only an effectively functioning
Russia - a Kremlin version of "education, education, education". The Prime
Minister will thus be thankful that Mr Putin arrives with one solid
achievement in the bag and some encouraging promissory notes.
The achievement is Friday's long-overdue ratification by the Duma of the
Start II treaty. The treaty is important, but this is also a sign that Russia
is more governable than it was in the Yeltsin era. Mr Putin's draft economic
plan, which includes clear rules for foreign investors and laws on property
ownership - areas where the Duma repeatedly foiled the Yeltsin Kremlin - has
a reasonable chance of being implemented. What little is known of Mr Putin
suggests that his foreign policy will be shaped by his ambitions to rebuild
Russia's economic strength. He will meet British industrialists and investors
today to persuade them to expand business links.
The West rarely has a chance to influence Russian policy; this is one. Yet Mr
Putin is, as even his supporters admit, learning on the job. Mr Blair must
find ways to engage his enthusiasm and fire his imagination, while leaving
him in no doubt that Russian respect for human rights, particularly in
Chechnya, is essential for a flourishing partnership. He needs also to open
up the question of Kosovo, whose future status must at some point be
resolved. The legal limbo in which international efforts at reconstruction
now operate badly hobble progress. Here Russian co-operation is essential. So
too is Russian agreement if the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is to be
modified. Other areas for discussion include organised crime, commercial
piracy, nuclear safety and Russia's many environmental disaster areas.
The London visit may have spurred Mr Putin's promise to look into atrocities
in Chechnya. He is explicitly committed to economic reform, the rule of law
and new arms control talks. There are risks in making him so welcome so
early; but the potential rewards justify the attempt.
The Guardian (UK)
17 April 2000
To London without love
Blair should get tougher with Putin
The United Kingdom and Russia need good relations, but not at any cost. Tony
Blair's rush to embrace Vladimir Putin, first with his visit to St Petersburg
during last month's election campaign and now by hosting the Russian
president-elect in London, is shameful, unseemly and surprisingly
old-fashioned. It has disturbing echoes of the Soviet period when western
statesmen often competed with each other to see who could develop the best
special relationship with the Kremlin. That was the Old Diplomacy and it
ought to have been discarded in an era when state planners no longer decide
on contracts and European governments profess their aspirations to a common
foreign policy. Mr Blair's infatuation with Mr Putin also has echoes of the
Yeltsin years, when western governments invested too much in personalities
rather than process. Instead of trying to encourage the growth of democratic
institutions, the values of the parliamentary way, public accountability, and
a system of checks and balances, they made the mistake of endorsing almost
everything the increasingly vain and ailing autocrat in the Kremlin did, as
long as he called it "reform".
With President Yeltsin's departure the west had a chance for a fresh start,
yet Mr Blair did not even observe the niceties of meeting any other
presidential candidates when he travelled to St Petersburg. What kind of
message of respect for pluralism did that send? The precipitate invitation
for Mr Putin to visit the United Kingdom is doubly misguided at a moment when
international criticism from respected human rights organisations and
independent observers over Russia's tactics in its war in Chechnya is
mounting. The prime minister argues that he did raise his concerns over
Chechnya during his visit and did ask Mr Putin to provide access to
international monitors. His overtures failed. And when the Council of Europe
debated Russia's suspension two weeks ago it was UK diplomats who sought the
It would have been much better for the UK to hold back until after Mr Putin
is inaugurated next month. We do not want a freeze with Moscow, but nor do we
want unseemly friendliness. Instead, we should stick to a cool and united
European line which makes it clear to Moscow that the kind of brutalities
being perpetrated by Russian forces in Chechnya are unacceptable on this
continent. On Kosovo Mr Blair saw more clearly than some other leaders that
the Serbian security forces' tactics of overkill and their wanton failure to
distinguish between combatants and civilians were outrageous. It is strange
he does not understand that Russian forces are acting similarly in Chechnya.
No one doubts that Chechens have also committed atrocities, but neither under
international law nor under the values of the Council of Europe does that
justify atrocities in return. The council has asked its members to take
Russia to the European Court for Human Rights over Chechnya. Mr Blair can
redeem his earlier mistakes by announcing during Mr Putin's current visit to
London that Britain will join that endeavour unless Moscow changes its
tactics, sets up a serious inquiry into the complaint and allows
international investigators into Chechnya forthwith. This is not a call for
economic sanctions since they rarely work. Nor is it an attempt to humiliate
Russia. Russia deserves to be strong and will be, whatever the west does. It
is simply a public message to all Russia's leaders, in the Kremlin, the Duma,
and the armed forces' general staff, that in Chechnya they have to clean up
Russian Special Forces Arrest Apartment Bomb Suspects, NTV Says
Moscow, April 17 (Bloomberg)
-- Russia's Federal Security Service, known by its Russian acronym the
FSB, said it has arrested nine people who are suspected of blowing up
apartment bombs in Moscow and southern Russia last September, Russian
television station NTV reported. The FSB, which is the main successor
organization to the KGB, said the suspects were arrested in the town of
Mineralnie Vody and the Karachaevo-Cherkessia region of Russia. The suspects
were arrested in possession of weapons and detonators, which were similar to
the detonators used in the apartment bombings in Moscow and Volgodonsk, the
Russia blames Islamic militants for a series of apartment bombings in Moscow
and southern Russia that killed about 300 people; Chechen rebels denied
BUSINESS WEEK ONLINE
April 17, 2000
[for personal use only]
For Russia: Economic Reform via "Authoritarian Force"?
Top financier Pyotr Aven talks about the "difficult contradiction" facing
Pyotr O. Aven is one of Russia's most powerful and outspoken bankers. He's
the president of Alfa Bank in Moscow, among Russia's largest financial
institutions. Aven, who served in Boris Yeltsin's government in the early
1990s, is a proponent of free-market reforms -- and authoritarian methods to
achieve them. On Apr. 12, he discussed his views with Business Week European
Edition Editor Rose Brady, Moscow Bureau Chief Paul Starobin, and Special
Correspondent Sabrina Tavernise. Here are edited excerpts of their
Q: How should President Vladimir V. Putin push through reforms?
A: There are certain questions in this country, which will be very difficult
to [undertake] democratically. For example: land reform. A decision about
land reform has to be made by authoritarian force by Mr. Putin. In this
country, there are many centuries of wrong belief that land cannot be
private. Without private land property, we can't move forward. We disburse a
lot of agricultural credits, but we can't use land as collateral because it's
It should be a decree, maybe without approval even from the Duma. This is a
difficult contradiction. Of course, I prefer that Putin would be able to
persuade the Duma and the population to have land reform. Unfortunately, I
think certain decrees are necessary.
Q: How will you engage society in this next wave of reforms? How will reforms
under Putin be different than they were under former President [Boris N.]
A: Putin has a mandate for a war in Chechnya, he doesn't have a mandate for
reforms. But without reforms, we cannot compete. Russians would like to
compete. At a certain stage, this will be realized by the nation, and the
country will start the race. We're now out of competition -- we are losers.
But it can't last long. Some President -- hopefully Mr. Putin -- will start
We didn't have reforms after 1992. Reforms were stopped after the firing of
[former Prime Minister Yegor T.] Gaidar, except for privatization. You can't
blame reforms. The major problem now lies in the regions, that's for sure.
Property has to be privatized there. We shall not have state-owned property.
All the rest of the world doesn't have it. Why does Russia have to be unique?
I don't want Russia to be unique.
Q: How will Putin work with Russia's oligarchs?
A: Their power is a legend produced by themselves. It was the case [that they
were powerful] partially under Yeltsin, but it's not the case any longer. I
believe Putin is independent from all oligarchs.
Q: Would you accept a post in the government?
A: Never. I've spent too much time there already. But the major reason is
that oligarchs have a bad credit history -- and I am no exception. Putin is
someone for whom the nation has confidence. I think he can find young people,
younger than me, and not less prepared for the job.
Q: What type of social benefits should be extended by the government?
A: You have to give monetary subsidies to those who cannot pay. I'm not
against giving monetary subsidies. I'm against spending money inefficiently.
I'm a good example. I don't need subsidies. Many people need them. Find these
people and give them money.
Government expenditures have to be cut to 20% to 22% of gross domestic
product. Now they [account for] 36%. And 3% of GDP is spent on housing. The
U.S. spends zero. Putin has a choice to live with this 2% to 3% growth rate
and to have minor changes, or to implement radical change and to achieve
growth rates of 6%, 7%, 8%, or even 10%. Russia will lose its last chances to
be great if we grow only 2% to 3% in the next 10 years.
Either you [don't change] and you lose your relative position in the world,
or you start a race and start increasing the growth rate. You just can't move
fast enough. Mr. Putin is ambitious enough, and he will start reforms
someday. I don't know when.
German spy agency fears widening of Chechnya war
BERLIN, April 17 (Reuters) - Germany's foreign intelligence service said on
Monday that Moscow's war in Chechnya is far from over and it faces the risk
of fighting spilling over into other regions of Russia or into Georgia.
``For Russia in general it is not yet possible to end this conflict,'' said
Lydia Rauscher, spokeswoman for the BND foreign intelligence agency. ``There
is a very real danger that the conflict will spread.''
She added that the region remained unstable and that the BND remained
sceptical about Russian claims it was on the cusp of bringing stability to
Despite a swift advance into Chechnya in the first phase of the campaign and
taking the regional capital Grozny, Russia has been unable to drive the
rebels from their southern mountain bases and stop costly ambushes on its
Rauscher said the dangers included the possibility of the conflict spilling
outside of Chechnya into other regions of Russia and into neighbouring
Georgia, but declined to predict when this might happen.
``In this region you cannot predict things in time,'' she said. ``But it is a
On Sunday, the leader of a group of Chechen militia fighters who have battled
on the side of Russia's forces gave of hint of the difficult situation by
saying Moscow's offensive in the region was three to four months behind
Germany's BND chief August Hanning travelled to Chechnya last month to gain a
first-hand view of the situation there. The trip caused controversy inside
Germany, and the foreign ministry complained it was not informed beforehand.
``Germany has not yet realised the strategic importance of the Caucasus
region for its own security,'' a high ranking BND official said. ``One fears
that the conflict could widen into other parts of the region.''
Survivor of Chechnya's Chernokozovo camp a broken man
NAZRAN, Russia, April 16 (AFP) -
Five weeks inside Russia's notorious Chernokozovo 'filtration camp' in
war-torn Chechnya turned Magomed, 46, into an old and crippled man.
Deep scars on his forehead, his hair turned white, he stares sightlessly out
of one eye and hears buzzing noises in his head.
Electric shocks applied to his genitals have made him impotent, and he says
he has to squeeze his penis painfully to urinate.
"It's beyond comprehension what they did me," Magomed told AFP in an
interview in the neighbouring Russian republic of Ingushetia, his body moving
restlessly with short jerky movements, obviously still in deep trauma.
Released a fortnight ago from another prison after being transferred from
Chernokozovo on February 18th, just as the Russian military prepared to show
foreign journalists around, Magomed is now in hiding in Ingushetia.
Squeezed with 23 other men into a small cell, where water froze on the
concrete floor as it dripped down from the ceiling, he says he was dragged
out every two to three days for 'treatment'.
A few metres (yards) down the dark hallway, masked guards waited for him in a
windowless cell painted red, known as the 'monkey' room.
Strapped to a chair, the soldiers would beat him brutally around the head and
body with rifle-butts and rubber truncheons.
"One day they broke my ribs when I refused to sign a piece of paper saying I
was a boyevik (Chechen guerrilla fighter)," he said.
During some sessions, Magomed was suspended from the ceiling, his body
stretched out in agony as his feet flopped helplessly a few centimetres from
But that was nothing compared to the times the guards tortured him with
Forced to undress, Magomed was tied up and then a searing pain would convulse
his body as needles attached to electric current were pressed into his back,
fingers and genitals, he said.
Raising his shirt during the interview with AFP, scars were visible at the
base of his spine. He also insisted on showing the black marks on his penis.
At night back in the cell, he could hear the cries of men and women being
"Wolves. The hunters have come," the guards would say as they arrived to drag
out another male victim, Magomed said.
The nightmare ended abruptly on February 18th, when Magomed and some 400
others were transferred to a prison in Stavropol, southern Russia, while
three train carriages of inmates went to Chervlyonnaya camp, northeast
"When they took us away, we heard rumours that a group of foreign journalists
were due to arrive," he said.
Sure enough, 10 days later an AFP correspondent and other reporters became
the first outside observers to see Chernokozovo -- in the northwest of the
rebel republic -- by now fit for public viewing.
On the day of his release on March 30th, Magomed says he was taken for a few
hours to Chernokozovo and signed out from there, as if he had never left.
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
The Fair Sex Asks Its Share of Power - or Else It
Will Use Force to Take It
By Professor Zoya ZOTOVA,
Russian Academy of State Service under the Russian
The theoretical dispute on the equality of men and women,
which began in the 17th century, has not ended yet. At least
not in Russia, although major international legal acts
regulating the problem of political representation of women
were approved long ago. For example, the 1952 UN Convention on
the Political Rights of Women bound all member states to ensure
women, inter alia, equal rights with men to hold state posts.
Russia is no worse than any other country. Its 1993
Constitution specifically states that "men and women shall have
equal rights and freedoms and equal possibilities for their
implementation." Next the president signed a decree "On
Increasing the Role of Women in the System of Federal Bodies of
Authority and the Bodies of State Power of the Federation
Subjects" (June 30, 1996). And the government approved
resolutions designed to fill "fine words" with practical
meaning and at long last open women the way to decision-making
And what is the result of those titanic efforts?
Women are still a discriminated socio-demographic group in
Russia, as seen above all in their failing attempts to
implement their political rights directly related to the
creation of political and power structures. By the beginning of
perestroika, there were 32.8% of women among the deputies of
the Soviet Union's Supreme Soviet (the 1984 elections), but
this figure dropped to 15.6% after the 1989 elections (345 out
of the 2,250 deputies). There were only 5.5% of women in the
1990 Russian parliament. The battle of the branches of power in
1993 could have been softer and less irreconcilable if the
parliament were not so radically male, which is inadmissible
for a country with a predominantly female population.
The next parliamentary elections did not improve the
situation: women were elected only in 31 out of the 225
single-mandate districts, and anther 15 women were elected by
party lists. Taken together, there are 46 women in the Russian
parliament, or 10.2% of the deputies' corps.
The situation in the provinces is no better. As of June
1997, women constituted only 9% of the legislative corps in
Federation subjects, and the local parliaments in the Ryazan,
Kursk, Omsk and Tomsk regions could be described as
"woman-hating," for there was not a single woman deputy in them.
No woman could dream of winning the post of governor. The only
exception is Valentina Bronevich, who was elected governor in
the Koryak Autonomous Area.
The December 1999 elections of the 3rd State Duma did not
change this negative trend, although they were held already
after the approval of numerous normative acts and the public
recognition of the need to actively involve women in politics.
But only nine out of the 26 election blocs had women in their
leading troikas, and there were no women candidates in 74
single-mandate districts. As a result, the 3rd Duma is even
more male than the previous ones. The KPRF faction has only 3
out of the nominated 67 women candidates, Unity has 3 (out of
64), the OVR 5 (37), the SPS 2 (24), Yabloko 2 (16), and the
LDPR faction has none out of the 17 nominated women candidates.
Taken together with the 20 women elected in single-mandate
districts, the female corps of the Duma is only 35-strong, and
equals 7.9% of the overall number of deputies.
Studies show that although women sometimes have a better
education than men, they are not as well prepared as men in the
sphere of political science, state development, law,
psychology, and election technologies. The split of the women's
movement is another negative factor. As a result, "grey" men
oust "bright" women from the political scene only because women
tend to surrender, rather than fight.
April 16, 2000
Russian Internet explodes online
Gradually, the country’s web adapts to its needs
Russians peer into computer screens at an Internet cafe in Moscow.
By Yevgeny Gorny
MOSCOW — The Russian Web is changing rapidly. It’s a story told by numbers
alone: in 1996, there were only a few hundred thousand Russian users. Four
years later, there are, by various estimates, between 2.5 and 6 million. In
1996, there were about 500 Russian-language servers; now their number is
approaching 80,000. Every day about 200 new sites appear on the Runet —
surfer coinage for the Russian Web. While far behind the West in absolute
numbers, Russia is surpassing the growth rate of many nations.
BUT THE qualitative changes for Russia are much more important than
the quantitative ones.
In May 1997 issue No. 5 of the Web magazine Zhurnal.Ru carried an item
with the byline of Nick Wright, an American who decided to set forth his
impressions of the Russian Web. After making cursory pass over the
English-language sites of the Russian Internet (they made up a sizable
share of the Runet at the time) and the search engines (Rambler, the
Russian Search Engine and others), the author proceeded to examine the most
popular resources. And here a culturological shock was awaiting him. It
turned out that the most visited site was not “some Russian twin of CNN or
ESPN,” but the site “Jokes From Russia”!
The inquisitive American researcher immediately proceeded to
generalizations: “While the American Web is more about news and
entertainment, the Russian Web is nothing but jokes, literature and a
little news.” And he was, by the way, absolutely right.
Another striking difference was the absence in the Russian Web at that
time of erotic resources. (“Don’t go there for naked Russian women — they
don’t live in their country’s Web. In the category of adult sites there is
not a single adult site-just zero!”)
And, finally, the most important point: “The real kings of the Russian
Web are commentators: Anton Nosik, Ivan Paravozov and Mai Mukhin. What do
they comment on if there is no news and entertainment there? It’s still not
about the news — it’s about tusovka... Tusovka will not mean anything to
somebody who is not familiar with Russian realities. It’s a slang word that
means a conversation about everything and nothing in particular.”
The observant American hit the nail on the head. “Conversation about
everything and nothing,” “tusovka,” “their circle is narrow” and the
notorious “enthusiasm” were the most important features of the era of early
web building and web commentaries. What has changed since that already
PASSAGE OF TIME
The trendiest subject is “Waiting for the Rain of Gold.” It’s about
investments. Out of the blue, mysterious funds have appeared that have
begun to buy up successful or at least promising projects — and to buy them
on the cheap by Western standards, but with the certainty that they will be
able to resell them for much more. This year investments in the Russian
Net, according to experts, will reach $100 million.
The quantitative increase in users of the Net has led to a qualitative
change in its demographic make-up (for example, there are many more women
and fewer young people) and, accordingly, to a reallocation of user
interests. The Net is increasingly becoming pop-oriented, and therefore
more attractive to broader segments of the public. Meanwhile, the
“self-expressing outsiders” moved to the virtual periphery, turning into a
“living legend” that is of no interest to neophytes.
Politics, news and the dollar’s exchange rate finally toppled jokes
from the top lines of the visitor ratings. The Internet is becoming a
legitimized source of information for the traditional news media. Any
self-respecting politician has his own site, and sometimes more than one.
And everything is fine now with erotica on the Runet as well. There is a
sea of sites of varying degrees of decency: they even have their own Net
ratings and catalogs of relevant material. If one wanted, one could find a
prostitute through the Internet after making a selection based on photos
and “itemized” descriptions. New services are developing rapidly: free
servers, free e-mail, e-lists on thousands of topics.
Internet stores and Internet auctions are flourishing. Sales of books,
CDs, computer hardware and tourist packages are especially brisk. For now
people still prefer to buy cars and apartments the old way, but they are
searching for options and comparing prices more and more on the Net.
Of course, it is still premature to say the Internet is having a
serious impact on the life of the nation as a whole. But things are moving
toward that point. And this, despite the fact that a computer for many
remains a luxury (at present there are no more than 7 million computers in
Russia), that the monthly cost of unlimited access from an average provider
is equal to twice the minimum monthly wage, that the public’s purchasing
power remains extremely low and that various regions have various
capabilities for access (about half of all Internet users are Muscovites).
There are problems, but they are being solved or at least skirted. No
home access to the Internet? You can get onto the Net from your office,
institute or the public library. No credit card? It doesn’t matter-you can
order delivery by messenger or C.O.D.
RUNET FOR RUSSIANS
If events follow an optimistic scenario, then as the public gets
accustomed to the Internet, we should expect the Internet to adapt further
to the public’s real needs.
This means that the service sector will be most in demand-from banking
(electronic, noncash payments or utility bills, tickets, purchases at
Internet stores, etc.) to information (reference questions, the press,
electronic libraries) and entertainment (online games, lotteries and
In addition, there will be an inevitable change in the social make-up
of the current Runet, on which the proportion of specialists with a higher
education, undergraduates and students in school is now at least
two-thirds. Workers, pensioners, school children and housewives are making
a massive move onto the Net, so middle-brow information and entertainment
portals, as well as specialized, narrow-topic resources, will gain the most
The Internet will become one of the broadest markets of skilled
manpower, since it will demand more and more professionals with different
backgrounds-managers, journalists, designers, programmers, etc.
Finally, the nature of investments in the Net will change — they will
become more systemic and sensible. Quite possibly, it will no longer be the
investors who select projects to invest in, but vice versa, the project
owners will review stacks of competing investment proposals before making
their choice. Then again, that’s just wishful thinking. Things will reach
the point where investors fight for projects only when everything in
Russia, in addition to the Net, is in good shape: when money will be
transferred quickly, when orders will be delivered on time, and officials
will modestly do their job. In short, not soon. But have our shortcomings
ever really gotten in our way?
Itogi is a weekly Russian-language news magazine published in
partnership with Newsweek. Steven Shabad translated this report.
International Herald Tribune
April 17, 2000
[for personal use only]
Ideal and Real, Always at Odds
By Flora Lewis
PARIS - How to deal with Russia while the atrocities in Chechnya continue is
one of those frequent dilemmas in trying to reconcile moral consistency and
foreign policy. In a sense it is true that continuing to provide monetary aid
and to pursue normal relations makes the Western states accessories to the
But Chechnya is only one of a list of important issues to be taken up with
Moscow. On what grounds should it have priority above, say, improving
cooperation in the United Nations and with NATO?
In the traditional face-off between ''idealists'' and ''realists'' over
foreign policy, Chechnya would require a demonstration of sharp disapproval
or be simply blanked out. Neither response is satisfactory or even realistic.
Russia is not Serbia. Vladimir Putin judged correctly, if cynically, that
Western countries would not do anything beyond mumble a few words.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe expressed dominant public
opinion when it voted recently to suspend Russian membership if the situation
failed to improve. Even so, its communiqué supported ''continued efforts at
The 41-nation council has no power beyond moral suasion, but it does
represent the assertion of standards for human rights and democracy
considered to be the common requirement for acceptance in the European family.
Moscow reacted sharply at first, alleging an unacceptable intrusion in
domestic affairs. But then Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov softened the tone,
saying there was agreement to ''discuss all current problems, there is no
taboo.'' Russia does not want to ''slam the door but to pursue political
dialogue with all the international organizations that are interested in
dialogue,'' he said.
In a subtle way, that showed that the assembly's vote did have some effect.
Russia wants to be considered a full and natural partner. A delegation of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will be allowed to visit
Chechnya, and the UN human rights commissioner, Mary Robinson, can go back if
she wants to, although she was snubbed by Mr. Putin on her last visit.
None of this changes what is happening on the ground. Mr. Putin keeps
gambling that Russian force will prevail, repeatedly announcing that the war
is almost won. But the Chechen fighters keep sneaking back to attack. Those
who know the area have no doubt that Moscow is in for a long guerrilla war if
there is no political settlement.
France's foreign minister, Hubert Védrine, showed a little optimism, saying,
''We're in a transitional period.'' That is probably more a wish than an
assessment. Chechnya is likely to be one of those irritants that will not go
Nor is it the only one. In practically every part of the world there are
intolerable situations that the Western nations must decide whether or not to
tolerate, since they cannot even try to fix them all. China and Burma, Sierra
Leone and the Congo are just a few examples of persistent violations of the
elementary standards to be defended if moral obligations are determinant.
There is no agreed scale for measuring what should receive urgent attention.
During the Cold War there was an easy method of distinction, what Ambassador
Jeane Kirkpatrick called the difference ''between totalitarians and
authoritarians,'' which is what Franklin D. Roosevelt meant when he called
Nicaragua's dictator Anastasio Somoza ''a sonofabitch but he's our
sonofabitch.'' It was simply a matter of who's side he was on.
The lines are no longer clearly drawn. A few countries designated as ''rogue
states'' by the United States are being sanctioned (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Cuba)
and there are many more, of which some are at least as bad, that are in more
or less of a gray zone. Power, strategic importance, accessibility and
television presence at the disaster influence reactions.
There will surely be complaints for failing to impose punishment and for
being too eager to intervene. This is an ambivalence that the West has to
learn how to live with. There will be no clarity, and success at having
influence that does not cause more harm than good will require subtlety and
flexibility of reaction.
The current attempt to introduce morality to an unprecedented extent in
international affairs will fail without careful, sophisticated management and
division of roles for government, civic groups and public opinion.
TITLE: SPEECH BY PRESIDENT-ELECT VLADIMIR PUTIN AT THE STATE DUMA
SESSION BEFORE VOTING ON START-2 RATIFICATION
(STATE DUMA, 14:45, APRIL 14, 2000)
SOURCE: FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE
(The recording has strong background interferences, noise. The
speaker is hard to hear. President Putin was already speaking when
the recording began)
Putin: ...The President of the Russian Federation submitted
the START-2 Treaty to the State Duma for ratification three times,
in 1995, 1998 and 1999.
But each time its ratification was postponed for different
reasons, not only objective, but subjective as well. In 1995
because of events in Chechnya. In 1998 because of heated debates on
the Chairman of the Government. And in 1998-1999 because of
Yugoslavia, air strikes on Iraq, etc. Perhaps, it's not so bad, to
be frank, that we have been considering it so long. Perhaps, it's
not bad. At least our people and those who are interested in these
matters, at least political scientists and specialists in all
fields, had time to get to the heart of the problem.
But we think it would be inappropriate to further postpone
this very important problem the resolution of which is critical not
only to our Strategic Nuclear Forces which guarantee our national
security. WE think it would be harmful.
There are two fundamentally different positions today. The
first position categorically rejects the possibility of START-2
ratification and says that it does not serve the national interests
of Russia. The second one puts forth certain conditions for its
ratification. I think both points of view are credible.
Basically, these conditions have been met. These include the
adoption of a federal law on the financing of the development of
the Strategic Nuclear Forces up to the year 2005 or 2010, the
declaration of Russia's right to secede from START-2 if the US
violates the 1972 ABM Treaty, and others.
The main argument used by the opponents of ratification is as
follows: it is very important for Russia to preserve the
traditional structure of its Strategic Nuclear Forces with a focus
on intercontinental ballistic missiles. But as we have heard so
many times, and I have said this too, (inaudible)...
Let me say a few words about assertion that we should keep our
Strategic Nuclear Forces at the START-1 level and resume the
production of heavy missiles.
In addition to serious political aspects which may wreck the
system of agreements and treaties and initiate an arms race which
will be unbearable for Russia and, I would like to emphasize this,
unnecessary, it has already been imposed upon us once, and if we
allow ourselves to be drawn into this again, we will face the
consequences much worse than the first time. But this option will
require us to spend a lot of means and resources. I want to
emphasize once again that these will be absolutely irrational costs
and sometimes even absurd.
I agree with some of the speakers who talked about the dire
condition of our conventional weapons. Let me tell you that in the
last three months our combat pilots have flown on the average four
hours. Just to give you an idea of what is happening -- flooded
ships, etc. etc. Everything you said is right, but the conclusion
Last year American pilots flew on the average 200 hours. But
ask our pilots how much they flew, they will tell you. I do not
even want to pronounce this requirement. I feel ashamed.
It has already been spoken here about former cooperation. As
we know, previous industrial cooperation is gone. A considerable
fundamental part of this cooperation remains in Ukraine and has
fallen into decay. Therefore, the production of new
intercontinental heavy missiles will require large-scale research
and development work within 7-10 years and at least 62.3 billion
To preserve the numerical strength of our Strategic Nuclear
Forces, overall maintenance and development costs by the year 2010
under START-1 will reach 950 billion, if START-2 is implemented --
and this is 3,000 and 3,500 warheads -- the costs will be 750
billion and if START-3 is implemented -- 2,000 and 2,500 -- 400
As for the existing intercontinental ballistic missiles, their
destruction is required not by START-2, and I want to emphasize
this one more time, but by the fact that their service life has
been extended so many times.
Our prime task is to make the United States reduce its nuclear
potential under START-2 to 3,500 warheads and move further to
START-3 in accordance with the 1997 Helsinki accords. We are
interested in this. I am not sure if the US is equally interested
in this, given the changing situation in the world, which actually
has already dramatically changed, in terms of weapons and political
And the last thing. It is not the subject of the Treaty, but
it is a matter of certain concern, which is quite justified. I mean
the so-called non-strategic nuclear weapons and the concern about
long-range sea-based cruise missiles.
I want to say that the seeming US advantage in this field is
not obvious. Given that, we have decided to change the nature of
our discussion and made it open, I will not go into the details,
but this is not obvious at all.
Speaking of sea-launched nuclear cruise missiles, we and
America have almost equal deployment capabilities.
What will Russia get from this ratification in the future and
from the implementation of START-2? First, it will be able to
maintain the existing balance of force. Under START-2 the number of
warheads will be reduced by 1.9 times in Russia and by about 2.9
times in the US. START-2 does not affect Russia's naval and air
nuclear capabilities, nor does it require the destruction of even
one submarine or heavy bomber or one warhead in the navy or air
We will reduce land-based ballistic missiles which will be
removed from service by 2007 due to their aging and for the reason
of security irrespective of whether or not the treaty is ratified.
The treaty requires the US to destroy its most modern missile MX
and almost halve its naval strategic capabilities.
Second, preserving deterrence potential. The ratification of
START-2 will allow Russia to retain its deterrence capability. If
START-2 is not ratified, by the year 2010 the US will have 15 times
more warheads to be delivered to the enemy's targets in retaliation
than Russia. What will happen if we do not ratify it? Russia will
lag behind the US 15 times.
However, the implementation of START-2 will make it possible
only to bring the US and Russian deterrence capability ratio to
3:1. If START-3 is concluded and implemented, this ratio, as the
Defense Minister has already said, will be 1.1:1.
It is very important the reduction of Russia's nuclear
deterrence capabilities will increase their survivability, the
effectiveness of retaliation, that is qualitative characteristics
of the potential, that is the confirmation and putting on record of
the unbreakable link of START-2 with the 1972 ABM treaty.
Ratification of the START-2 treaty with the condition that it
will be put in effect only if the ABM treaty is fully preserved and
undeviatingly observed will confront the United States with the
alternative of either clearly becoming in the eyes of the world as
the party that is guilty for the destruction of the foundation of
strategic stability, which is the treaty system of limiting and
controlling strategic arms, or renouncing the course of deploying
a national ABM system.
Fourth. The introduction of the real count of nuclear
munitions against heavy bombers. The START-2 treaty assigns to each
heavy bomber the number of warheads that it actually can carry.
Thereby the ratification and implementation of the treaty removes
the quantitative imbalance not only between the airborne strategic
arms of the United States and Russia but also between the START
parties as a whole. I want to stress that previously there were no
restrictions but now START-2 introduces them.
Fifth. The nuclear deterrence force must accord with Russia's
economic capabilities. I will not go into any more details because
I have already spoken about this.
Sixth. The creation of possibilities to re-arm the nuclear
deterrence force in a financially and economically rational mode.
Not to mention the fact that if we are to speak about heavy
missiles we cannot depend on their production in another country,
even such a friendly one as Ukraine, even if only in the case of
some minor components. We can't. We must produce everything only in
our own country and count only on our own production capacities and
gradually switch the nuclear deterrence force to a new system of
There are political advantages: the elimination of the
possibility to accuse Russia of putting a brake on the process of
disarmament and of encouraging proliferation and the nuclear arms
race; the prevention of the appearance of a situation permitting
the United States to use non-ratification by Russia of the START-2
treaty as a pretext for its withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty;
the creation of conditions for further, much bigger cuts of nuclear
arms. I have already spoken about this as well.
I want to particularly stress that ratification of the START-2
treaty is closely connected with the ratification of the agreement
on the delimitation of the strategic and non-strategic ABM signed
in 1997. In their sum total these agreements form a mechanism that
prevents the creation of non-strategic ABM systems in circumvention
of ABM treaty, that prevents the creation of strategic ABM systems,
prohibited types of basing, under the guise of non-strategic ones.
The totality of bans and restrictions on parameters of
strategic ABM systems, provided for by these agreements, on the
conditions of their testing and deployment in combination with a
set of confidence building measures create a serious legal and
technical, I want to specially stress this, technical foundation to
be confident that there will be no circumvention of the ABM treaty.
At the same time these agreements allow us to create effective
systems of non-strategic ABM defense which will become an important
component of the deterrence potential for reason of Russia's
If after our ratification of the START-2 treaty in combination
with these agreements, the United States decides to destroy the
1972 ABM treaty, and I would like to stress this and draw your
attention to this, only recently we met with the leaders of
factions in the Kremlin and some good, not just good but absolutely
concrete proposals and remarks were made on the problem that we are
discussing today, I want to stress that in this case we have a
possibility and will withdraw not only from the START-2 treaty but
also from the entire system of treaty relations on the limitation
and control over strategic and conventional armaments. We will be
able to also raise the question of a revision of our decisions in
the field of tactical armaments.
In such conditions Russia will pursue an independent policy in
the field of nuclear deterrence. I want to particularly stress that
this decision is on ratification and not on any unilateral
disarmament. We must answer two questions: is the nuclear shield
preserved or not, is this creating conditions for the development
of our armed forces, is this making them more effective or not?
The answer is a yes to the first and to the second questions.
Our nuclear forces, our nuclear deterrence force, after the
adoption of the decision on START-2 will be capable of destroying
any adversary many times over in a guaranteed way at any moment and
in any point of the world. Even if we will have to fight, and this
is something that one can hardly see even in a nightmare, even if
we assume that we will have to fight with several nuclear powers
This will allow us to cut excessive costs in this field and to
allocate money for the creation of new armaments, to allocate money
to make our armed forces more combat-capable. As it has already
been said, considering the present situation in the world, local
conflicts will pose the main threats to Russia. Attempts to
disintegrate Russia will be made not with the help of nuclear
weapons or threats to use nuclear weapons. We are already observing
attempts to disintegrate Russia. The main threats are in local
If we are to put the main question, is the agreement on the
delimitation of the strategic and not strategic ABM systems, is the
START-2 treaty in line with Russia's national interests or not, the
answer is a positive one as well. This accords with Russia's
I thank you for your attention.
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