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26 April 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Bloomberg: Russia's Gorbachev on Putin, the US and Chechnya.
2. AFP: Putin gets ecstatic welcome in former Communist stronghold.
3. Reuters: Russia's Ivanov dashes hopes for ``star wars''
4. Irish Times: The Russians are cloning. Pirated software costs the
industry billions of dollars each year, but for those who go to the
Gorbushka open-air market in Moscow, the temptation is very strong.
Seamus Martin reports.
5. Carnegie Moscow Center briefing by Nikolai Petrov on presidential
6. Karl Hanuska: Regarding #4262, Taibbi, Mueller and IKEA.
7. Vek: Andrei Sogrin, RUSSIA NEEDS BRAINS, TOO.
8. Kommersant: A COSTLY WAR. Kasyanov Estimates Chechen War Expenditures.
9. Ira Straus: Small is ugly (cont'd): Regions oppress media.
10. Marko Beljac: Russia's Nuclear Doctrine.
11. The Globe and Mail (Canada): Geoffrey York, Putin wins praise,
12. RFE/RL: Michael Lelyveld, Moscow's Assertive Words Worry Caspian Neighbors.
13. AP: Worst Effects of Chernobyl To Come.
14. Reuters: U.S. plays down rift with Russia over Caspian.]
Russia's Gorbachev on Putin, the US and Chechnya: Comment
New York, April 25 (Bloomberg)
-- Following are comments by Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of
the Soviet Union, during a panel discussion and press conference at the
Regent Wall Street Hotel in New York. The ``Global Forum 2000'' event was
hosted by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
On the U.S. role in world affairs:
``Indeed the United States is the most advanced country going into the
future,'' Gorbachev said through an interpreter. ``The United States will
still retain its prevalence which it has had for some time.''
``Partnership is the name of the game,'' he said. ``As we say in Russia,
sometimes when you are strong, you don't have to be smart. The U.S. should
act responsibly. It has the power.''
On Russian President Vladimir Putin:
``When people ask me what do you think of Putin given his KGB background, let
me repeat what my answer is. I just ask what about President Bush. What about
``I think the important thing is what kind of person Putin is. Putin is a new
man in Russian politics. He doesn't have enough experience in statesmanship.
At the same time he is a serious and well-educated person. He is a very
``What's happening in Chechnya is a result of the misguided policies that was
pursued by the previous administration.''
``When Russia became an independent nation, at that time the Republic of
Chechnya did not receive proper attention from the government.''
``In Chechnya, because of neglect, because of lack of political action, the
situation became acute. When this was first done in 1994 I spoke out against
it. I suggested my own mediation. I decided I would not send troops to
Chechnya because the results will be bloodshed and perhaps another Caucasus
Then-President Boris ``Yeltsin did not respond to my offer of mediation and
therefore was not successful. We know what happened with that war. But even
after that first war, politicians were doing nothing.''
On the Elian Gonzalez case:
``I think that we should abide by the rules. The rules that are reflected in
certain parts of the international law. In this context, from this
standpoint, I would like this very painful issue to be resolved in a humane
Putin gets ecstatic welcome in former Communist stronghold
ORYOL, Russia, April 25 (AFP) -
President-elect Vladimir Putin hopped on a tractor Tuesday as he drew an
ecstatic welcome in the Oryol agricultural region, a former Communist
stronghold which backed him in March's elections.
But in a blow to nationalist pride, the Russian leader lost patience when
farm workers took 15 minutes to start a Russian-made tractor for him,
declining to take the wheel after a flawless test drive of a German model.
Putin was mobbed by thousands of students -- some of them with tears of joy
in their eyes -- as he arrived in the hot spring sunshine at an agricultural
institute in the town of Oryol.
He also pressed the flesh at a privatized collective farm held up as a model
of excellence by Russia's 47-year-old leader, who spoke out in favour of
transferring state farms inherited from the Soviet era into private hands.
"I have just seen some of the best farming in the country. In 1992 three of
the shares belonged to the director, now 51 percent, and output has soared,"
he said after visiting the Maslovo agricultural enterprise.
Putin said that Russia must "pass a general law" to make sure privatization
took place fairly.
The Kremlin chief, who will be sworn in as president on May 7, is under
pressure to forge ahead with farming reform, which economists say is urgently
needed to modernize the inefficient agricultural sector.
During the decade-long rule of former president Boris Yeltsin, opposition in
the Communist-led parliament blocked land privatization, which has only
affected a small fraction of the country's total acreage under cultivation.
In areas where privatization has been pushed through it has produced better
crop results and better prospects for farmers, officials say.
Prospects for land reform grew since anti-Kremlin parties lost their
dominance in December elections to the State Duma lower house of parliament.
At the privatized Maslovo farm, a 44-year-old accountant, Lyuba, said working
conditions had improved under commercial ownership.
"We are much better off now. Unlike others, we are paid on time and more. Of
course there were good things under socialism but we won't go back to that."
Other employees said they voted for Putin because he was young and energetic,
while Communist Party leader Zyuganov spoke empty phrases.
Oryol, which lies 380 kilometres (240 miles) south of Moscow in the "Red
Belt" of central Russia that has traditionally been a core base of support
for the Communists, is the birthplace of Zyuganov.
But in the March 26 presidential poll in which Putin swept to victory on the
first round, the former KGB spy stunned Zyuganov by beating the Communist
chief on his own home turf by 45.8 percent to 44.6 percent.
The Maslovo farm is seen as a typical example of former state agricultural
enterprises, kholkozs, that have been privatized in Russia -- a process that
has benefited the ex-Soviet managers.
The director holds some 50 percent of the shares and the rest of the 14,700
hectare farm belongs to 250 employees out of the 420-strong workforce.
Local governor Yegor Stroyev said that 172,000 peasants in the region now
owned their land.
Founded in 1566 by Tsar Ivan Grozny to defend Moscow against the Tartars, the
town of Oryol became a centre for grain cultivation. A quarter of the
workforce in the region is involved in agriculture.
Russia's Ivanov dashes hopes for ``star wars''
By Evelyn Leopold
UNITED NATIONS, April 25 (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov
dashed U.S. hopes again on Tuesday of amending the 1972 Anti-Ballistic
Missile Treaty and instead promoted a global programme on curbing missile
In a speech to a review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT), Ivanov opposed any changes to the ABM treaty Washington might propose
so it can develop a missile defence system to protect the United States
against a rocket from a ``rogue'' state.
``One has to be fully aware of the fact that the prevailing system of arms
control agreements is a complex and quite fragile structure,'' Ivanov said.
``Once one of its key elements has been weakened, the entire system is
``The collapse of the ABM Treaty would, therefore, undermine the entirety of
disarmament agreements concluded over the last 30 years,'' he added.
``The threat of the erosion of the nonproliferation regimes related to
nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means would,
therefore grow,'' he said.
Ivanov spoke a day after U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright defended
the new National Missile Defence policy, dubbed ``star wars,'' criticised by
nearly every non-nuclear state as a threat to the ABM treaty. President
Clinton is expected to decide this summer whether to go ahead and build the
Ivanov said Russia was prepared ``to engage in the broadest consultation''
with the United States and with other nations.
Specifically, he referred to a Russian plan to prevent to limit ``rogue''
states' access to missile technology, called the Global Missile and Missile
Technologies Non-Proliferation Control System it proposed in March.
``A phased approach to the development of this system on a broad voluntary
basis, I am convinced, will be a step in the right direction,'' he said.
Ivanov called attention to Russia's recent ratification of the START II
strategic arms reduction treaty with the United States as well as its
approval of the global nuclear test ban treaty that the U.S. Senate has
PROGRESS REPORT ON DESTROYING TACTICAL ARMS
He also provided a new progress report on Russia's destruction of thousands
of so-called non-strategic tactical nuclear weapons that are not included in
the START treaty.
Ivanov said that one-third of the all nuclear munitions for sea-based
tactical systems and naval aircraft had been eliminated.
He said Russia was ``about to complete the destruction of nuclear warheads
from tactical missiles, artillery shells and nuclear mines'' and that Moscow
had destroyed half of the nuclear war heads for anti-aircraft missiles and
air-dropped atomic bombs
Russia had been harshly criticised for storing rather than destroying some
20,000 non-strategic or tactical nuclear. The United States plans to
refurbish its reserve of 2,500-3,000 warheads after Start II's limit of 3,500
deployed warheads for each side is activated.
But disarmament experts say that Ivanov's speech showed the same reluctance
as Albright's presentation on Monday to meet demands by many countries that
progress on eliminating nuclear weapons was far too slow and that both
countries needed to commit themselves to an accelerated pace of disarmament.
``Most of the world wants to work with the U.S. and Russia to eliminate the
nuclear threat once and for all, `` said Dan Plesch, director of the
British-American Security Information Council, an arms control pressure
Instead we seem locked in an old-fashioned Cold War agenda of point scoring
and mutual recriminations,'' he said.
Signatories to the 1970 NPT, the cornerstone in arms reduction treaties, meet
every five years to review progress and set new goals.
This year's one-month conference that began on Monday is the first since the
main nuclear states convinced the rest of the world five years ago to extend
the treaty indefinitely.
Under the treaty, only five countries -- the United States, Russia, Britain,
France and China -- are permitted to have nuclear arms. The other 182 parties
to the treaty have to renounce nuclear weapons for good.
In turn the five have promised to move toward getting rid of the strategic
and tactical nuclear arms they have between them, the vast majority in the
United States and Russia.
April 24, 2000
The Russians are cloning
Pirated software costs the industry billions of dollars each year, but for
those who go to the Gorbushka open-air market in Moscow, the temptation is
very strong. Seamus Martin reports
At the end of Moscow's Kutusovsky Prospekt stands a triumphal arch that
celebrates the victory over Napoleon in 1812. It is placed on the spot from
which the French emperor caught sight of Moscow's golden domes for the first
time. Leaving central Moscow and turning right at the triumphal arch one
reaches a place where Russia is in the process of defeating the West once
The field of battle is called Gorbushka. Here the West, and the US in
particular, is losing its fight to hold on to intellectual property rights.
Gorbushka is the biggest open-air market in Europe for pirated software,
videos and almost everything electronic.
I set out with a group of Russian friends in a big tank-like Volga saloon on
a Sunday morning (the market takes place only at weekends). It was slow
progress as we approached the park near the Bagrationovskaya metro station
where the market is held. A husband and wife team held up traffic as they
lugged a large refrigerator across the street from another nearby market that
sells legitimate electrical goods. Crowds thronged the area. Almost everyone
carried a plastic bag containing a purchase of one kind or other.
Reaching the Gorbushka the first impression is of its size. There are two
main avenues which meet at one end to form a V. Each avenue is thronged with
thousands of people. Between the two avenues a free rock concert is in
progress. Impromptu restaurants sell Shashlik, the traditional kebabs of the
The first stall on the left sells pirated videos. You learn quickly how
professional the operators are. My visit was a couple of days after the
announcement of the Oscar winners. The video of American Beauty was already
on sale at Gorbushka at 170 Roubles (£4.85 at that day's rate). All movies
from Shakespeare in Love to the trashiest porn cost the same price. The range
available was simply overwhelming.
Half way down the left-side avenue I met Vladislav who said he came from
Podmoskovia, a huge region of small towns and dacha complexes, which
surrounds the capital. He was not giving anything away about where he lived,
how he operated or where he got his huge range of software.
"The market has been going for five years now. Every so often, the
authorities say they will close it down but they never do. I got involved
because I like software. I have my own computer at home. I do not own the
software in this stall because I just work here for someone else. A good deal
of the software is made here in Moscow. Some is imported from Bulgaria," he
At Vladislav's stall you can buy the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica on three
compact discs with video and audio sections plus the Merriam-Webster
dictionary thrown in for good measure. He had almost all of the most sought
after computer software including Corel Draw, Adobe PhotoShop and Windows
One item that was missing, I noticed, was the CD containing Norton Utilities;
Norton Anti-Virus and other Symantec programmes. "That one is really strongly
protected," Vladislav told me. "You could get a very big fine or even be
imprisoned for selling that."
About 50 yards on, a young man emerged from another stall and said: "I hear
you want the Norton disk. I have it." This trader, who called himself Oleg,
did not seem worried about the Symantec people or anyone else for that
matter. He was also selling an illegally produced disk containing all the
laws of Russia.
Oleg had one particularly important CD-ROM on offer. Moscow, it should be
explained, has no telephone book. You simply must know someone's number. But
here in Oleg's hand was a disk containing the telephone number of everyone in
a city which has up to 12 million inhabitants. I asked Oleg where it came
from. "I'm not fully sure," he said "but I think it came from an organisation
that knows everyone's phone number." A wry smile passed across his face.
Another organisation may also be involved in Gorbushka. Some days after my
visit I spoke to my computer adviser Dima. There was no doubt in his mind.
"Gorbushka is too big to be operating without Mafia involvement."
From: KatyaSh@CARNEGIE.RU (Katya Shirley)
Subject: CMC has released Briefing #3, 2000 in English and Russian
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000
This briefing by a CMC scholar Nikolai Petrov reflects on the presidential
elections in Russia. With the elections now left behind, we hope the piece
will still be very interesting for your readers.
On the Internet at
http://pubs.carnegie.ru/english/briefings/2000/issue03-00.asp in English
http://pubs.carnegie.ru/briefings/2000/issue03-00.asp in Russian.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000
From: Karl Emerick Hanuska <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Regarding #4262, Taibbi, Mueller and IKEA
You've probably had enough of the IKEA-Moscow overpass
issue, but I wanted to say that I agree with Matt's
comments on the New York Times article.
No matter how you cut it, one source in a anticle that
long and contentious is shoddy journalism. There is no
excuse for it. For lack of an original source at city
hall it would have been easy enough to cite comments
in the local media or, at the very minimum, get a few
man-on-the street quotes on the issue.
That article and far too many like it in the Western
press in the weeks since IKEA opened here look like
they were written by journalists only wanting to jump
on the IKEA bandwagon. An editor says "Give me an IKEA
story. It's a good read. Everybody loves IKEA," so a
journalist runs off and manufactures a story out of
something less that newsworthy.
I also think Matt is right about the historic
significance of the tank trap memorial. A few years
ago when I was having dinner at the home of a friend
in Moscow I made an uninformed and plainly stupid
comment about the tank traps only to have the family's
grandmother show me her hands, which were minus
several fingers. She lost them helping to keep the
Germans out of Moscow. Later I was told the
grandmother had also lost most of one leg during an
air raid. Sure it's a maudlin tale, but weighing easy
access to futon couches and pine bedstands against the
significance of the tank traps is absurd.
The grandmother has died since then, so the tank traps
are one of a few remaining symbols of the real
hardship that so many people suffered here and it is
unfortunate the Times article trivializes that
suffering. Whether or not one cares for Mayor Luzhkov,
he has repeatedly shown that symbols are important to
him -- hence the rebuilt Christ the Saviour cathedral
and the awful monument to Peter the Great that stands
in the river near Gorky Park.
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
RUSSIA NEEDS BRAINS, TOO
By Andrei SOGRIN
The people of Russia have been living in conditions of
crisis for such a long time that one gets the impression that
economic setbacks tend to accompany democratic Russia ad
infinitum. The nation's powers-that-be, leading politicians and
economists alike continue to voice different opinions of the
persisting crisis, though. It was believed five-seven years ago
that Russia would manage to weather the crisis by restoring the
economy and by attaining pre-crisis GDP levels.
However, all priorities have changed completely at this stage.
Whether this is a mere coincidence, or not, but more and
more people keep saying after Vladimir Putin's election as
Russia's president that the new government should opt for an
entirely different economic line, and that it no longer makes
any sense to produce more oil, gas, to build new plants and
factories and to turn out more traditional products. The Center
for Strategic Research has hosted a seminar dealing with the
globalization of data-exchange technologies, as well as
specific challenges and new opportunities for Russia in this
context. Quite a few people, who attended that seminar, made
some really outspoken statements, noting that the state should
no longer exert its main efforts for the sake of restoring
traditional production facilities. Information and
data-exchange technologies seem to be the only key for Russia's
long-term success. These factors would also make it possible to
build a great and prosperous Russia. Anatoly Karachinsky, who
serves as president of IBS Co., this country can be revived
only if its economy turns into a veritable brain incubator
pretty soon, no longer attaching priority to oil-and-gas,
aircraft and aluminium production. Russia must unequivocally
stake on computer technologies, also doing its best to train
top-notch computer programmers. The West is now trying to
expand the so-called new economy, which doesn't manufacture
tangible goods, but which trains experts, who, in their turn,
can streamline specific production processes of the fledgling
global data-exchange economy all the time.
According to Karachinsky, Russian authorities have so far
failed to completely comprehend the need for promptly altering
specific economic-development priorities. Western universities
keep annually graduating an increasingly greater number of
specialists for this new economy. However, Russia has very few
experts in this category. Well, this situation is really
deplorable. Russian higher education establishments used to
annually graduate 8,000-10,000 computer programmers ten years
ago when that new economy was still nowhere to be seen. The
global economic revolution has now got underway, what with
Russian universities training just 7,000 computer programmers
per year. Moreover, Russia, whose population is renowned for
its really impressive average IQ levels, has turned into a real
Mecca for big-league trans-national companies. Western
head-hunters continue to scour Russia for really bright
specialists. According to some statistics, hundreds of
thousands of Russian specialists now work in the United States,
swelling the wealth of the world's richest country by hundreds
of billions of dollars each year. However, they would come in
handy all over Russia, provided that, instead of annually
extending the life of those half-dead leading Soviet-era
enterprises, the state attaches priority to the new economy's
Similar opinions were voiced during a recent presentation
ceremony that unveiled a book entitled "The President's Agenda
in the Year 2000". This book was published by Russia's Foreign
and Defense Policy Council. According to one of its authors,
Sergei Karaganov, who is a well-known political-science expert,
Russia can never hope to catch up with the West in line with
that traditional "catch up and overtake" concept.
Even if this country begins to chalk up 10-plus percent GDP
growth each year (beginning with the year 2000), it would still
continue to fall behind the West. As a matter of fact, such a
lag would increase in line with a geometrical progression.
Russia needs a real economic boom, rather than any substantial
economic-performance increment, for the sake of becoming a
great and well-developed country.
Small wonder, the five leading global companies owe their
successful performance to brains and state-of-the-art
technologies, rather than steel, machinery, weapons or
something no less tangible. Russia can no longer hope to catch
up with America and overtake it with the help of more
substantial oil-and-gas production. Nor can this be
accomplished by boosting per-capita pig-iron and steel output.
Any traditional approaches to economic development, as well as
traditional trouble-shooting options, will prevent Russia from
offering any tough political and economic competition to the
United States and its allies throughout the entire 21-st
April 22, 2000
[translation for personal use only from RIA Novosti]
A COSTLY WAR
Kasyanov Estimates Chechen War Expenditures
By Andrei BAGROV and German GALKIN, Chelyabinsk
According to Mikhail Kasyanov, the anti-terrorist
operation in Chechnya costs 2.5 billion rubles a month. This is
quite a lump sum equivalent to 4% of monthly federal
expenditures, or as much as the monthly expenditures on
education or government management, or twice as much as the
expenditures on health-care.
Commersant has found out that the real expenditures are, at
least, twice as high.
It turns out that no one, including the Finance Ministry,
know exactly how much the Chechen war costs. (It goes without
saying that the issue at hand is more than money - the loss of
life is irretrievable and cannot be estimated.) This became
crystal clear after Commersant's correspondents contacted the
Finance Ministry and many regional administrations.
Official expenditures are, in fact, close to Kasyanov's
estimates - 2.5 billion rubles a month. This sum includes,
first and foremost, expenditures on front additional payments
(officers, non-commissioned officers and contract servicemen
directly participating in warfare receive from 800 to 1,000
rubles a day), which make up from 700 million to 1,000 million
rubles a month. Then come travel allowances - about 40 million,
and food expenses - up to 50 million rubles. The army and
Interior troops spend much on benzine, aviation kerosene and
diesel oil. The Defense Ministry qualifies these expenditures
as secret. According to the estimate made by Commersant's
experts (it is not very difficult to estimate the more or less
exact number of trucks, BTRs, BMPs, tanks, SAUs, helicopters
and aircraft at the disposal of a 100,000-strong group of
troops), upwards of 600 million rubles are spent on fuel a
month. Finally, about 150 million rubles are transferred in the
form of pensions and wages to the people living in Chechnya who
are financed out of the federal budget. In addition, Kasyanov
has estimated that up to one billion rubles have already been
spent in the first quarter on repairs and restoration. But
there are also military-medical expenditures and the upkeep of
200,000 Chechen refugees by the Emergency Situations Ministry
and the Federal Migration Service.
We started having doubts about the correctness of the sum
of 2.5 billion rubles, when we tried to estimate federal budget
expenditures for the purchase of ammunition, weaponry and other
military hardware. In 1991, during Desert Storm Operation, the
US army spent $1bn a day. It is true that the Americans used
strategic bombers, navy and a wealth of high precision weaponry.
Our army makes do, for the most part, without such costly
But as distinct from the first Chechen campaign, enough of
quite up-to-date equipment and weaponry is being used now.
Actually, this should be the largest item of military spending.
These things either were paid for the most part out of the
Soviet budget some ten years ago or have not been paid at all
out of the Russian federal budget, which owes the Defense
Industry Complex more than 20 billion rubles. Weaponry and
equipment were brought to Chechnya from army storage facilities
and the arsenals of individual units. But it all requires spare
parts and repairs. In addition, it is necessary to replenish
the used ammunition, and so on, and so forth. Anyway, all this
will have to be paid for - if not now, then a little bit later.
However, it is already clear that expenditures for weaponry and
other military hardware alone are to be twice as high as 2.5
billion rubles a month claimed by the government.
Furthermore. Federal budget allocations to the army and
Interior troops are only enough to ensure minimal survival. It
is necessary to appeal to sponsors. Igor Buzuyev from the press
service of the Interior Ministry's department for Chelyabinsk
told Commersant's correspondent that sponsors' contributions
constitute up to 50% of the total sum of expenditure. "Not long
ago four KamAZ trucks were sent to Chechnya from Chelyabinsk.
The trucks were provided by two motor transport enterprises and
the joint-stock company Mechel. Diesel oil was supplied by
local businessmen," Buzuyev said. By and large, it is
practically impossible to estimate the real costs of the
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000
From: IRASTRAUS@aol.com (Ira Straus)
Subject: Small is ugly (cont'd): Regions oppress media
The possibility of centralized suppression of media freedoms by Putin is
frightening enough that I feel some reluctance at this moment about pointing
out the local oppression of the media. Nevertheless, it is important to be
aware of the relative state of the media in the center and the regions. If we
want to oppose suppression of the media, we have to distinguish measures that
further restrict the freedom of the media from measures that restrict the
power of the regions to restrict the media.
The basic fact, shown by a press survey last year, is that central media have
been far freer in Russia than regional media. Putin's argument for his
centralizing measures is that they are freeing the media from oppressive
regional controls. On the evidence, there could indeed be cases of
substantial enhancement of media freedoms by strengthening central against
This does not mean that such liberation is in fact what Putin is doing when
he tries, e.g., to centralize the subsidies to the media. But it is at least
plausible. It deserves to be evaluated on the evidence, if only in order to
distinguish genuine Putin threats to the media from false ones.
Here are a few relevant statistics, taken from a careful evaluation last year
of the freedom of the media in each of the 89 regions of the Russian
Federation except Chechnya. It rated the media in each region by several
factors indicative of their level of freedom, and then added them up to get
the following results:
Freedom of Access to Information Index
These numbers suggest two correlations:
1. Nationwide media and media relating to the central government are freer
than the provincial media. (Moscow media are largely nationwide.) Big city
media are freer than small town media.
2. Predominantly Russian regions come out better for freedom of the media
than titularly non-Russian regions.
Each correlation suggests its own causal explanation:
1. The size explanation. Small is ugly. The press is likely to be more free
in a big country than a small one, in big cities than small ones, in capital
cities than in the provinces, because big countries and big cities tend to be
more complex and pluralistic than small ones, and people from the center tend
to be more sophisticated than provincials.
2. The ethnic explanation. The political culture of ethnic Russians is more
liberal than that of most of the other nationalities within the Russian
Federation, and their social structure is more modern and pluralistic.
Careful empirical study and multivariate path-analysis is needed to evaluate
the relative weight of these two causal factors.
The survey provided a pretty good supply of data for such an empirical study.
The brief set of data used above is simply the set that was used in the
regions-oriented "RFE/RL Russian Federation Report", Vol. 1, No. 36, 3
November 1999, "EYE ON REGIONAL MEDIA: Less Free Than Meets the Eye". The
report went on to describe the survey as follows: "Participants in the
Public Expertise project released on 27 October a "Freedom of Access to
Information" index of 88 regions in Russia, not including Chechnya. The
index, which is based on analysis of such indicators as the number of
violations of press freedom and the ratio of periodicals printed by
government-owned presses to those printed by private presses, shows that the
press and access to information is considerably freer in such large cities as
St. Petersburg and Moscow than in some outlying republics. Out of a possible
100 points, rankings ranged from a low of 10 in Bashkortostan to a high of 63
in Moscow. A map depicting the results graphically is available at
http://www.freepress.ru/win/I.htm. The project is sponsored by the Union of
Journalists of Russia, the Fund for the Defense of Glasnost, Internews, the
National Institute for Social-Political Research, the Center for Rights and
the Media, the Commission on Access to Information, and the Union for the
Distribution of Publishing Products. (JAC)"
The map and other data from the survey are well worth looking at. They
confirm in considerable detail the impressions that are left by the specific
instances cited above.
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000
From: Marko Beljac <email@example.com>
Subject: Russia's Nuclear Doctrine
In JRL No 4265 Stephen Blank makes an interesting point in regards to the
nature of the Russian nuclear deterrent. He did so in response to my original
posting whereby I had asserted that Russia's nuclear deterrent only,
extended toward Belarus. My original thinking was based on the following
from the national security concept drawn up on Jan 14 2000 which states the
following "A vital task of the Russian federation is to exercise deterrence to
prevent aggression on any scale and nuclear or otherwise against Russia and
allies" (taken from www.armscontrol.ru). If by "it's allies" Russia here
the CIS I would concede the point to Stephen. I had considered "it's
refer to Belarus. I had done so on the basis of the following report in the
issue of the journal of the arms control association, "arms control today",
states the following "in a Feb 5 statement Belorussian president Alexander
Lukashenko indicated that Russia had agreed to extend its nuclear umbrella to
Belarus, according to Russian press reports. Although Russian officials
formally confirmed Lukashenko's statement, they have not issued a denial". My
usage of the term "perhaps" was a reflection of this lack of official
of Lukashenko's claim. Note that a day prior to this, Feb 4, the security
approved the Jan 14 national security concept. If Russia agreed to extend its
deterrent as claimed here, then we can assume that it did not do so prior
date to Belarus in particular and to the CIS states in general. Note also
1997 security concept speaks of nuclear weapons in the context of "a threat
existence of the Russian federation".
However even granting Stephen's point would not change my original argument
60 and US nuclear deterrence. Indeed one could quite plausibly argue that
by a strong military power or coalition of powers into the territory of the
would represent a threat to the national security of the Russian
strategic analysts (such as Brezezinski, China threat theorists etc) would
that the presence of a strong non NATO military power or coalition on the
land mass would represent a grave threat to the security of the US, this is
even to begin to discuss the Western hemisphere.
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
April 25, 2000
Putin wins praise, maintains mystique
Moscow -- A month after his election victory, Russian leader Vladimir Putin
is revealing himself to be a pragmatic deal maker who is skillful at building
coalitions, maintaining tight discipline, and avoiding battles when there is
any risk of defeat.
What he still hasn't revealed is the mystery of the larger aims these
political skills will serve.
As he prepares for his May 7 inauguration ceremony, Mr. Putin has scored a
quick series of impressive victories in the Russian parliament. He has also
cautiously sidestepped potential clashes with regional barons and business
tycoons who might be strong enough to fight back.
The president-elect used a combination of muscle-flexing and cajoling to
persuade the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to ratify START 2
(Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) and a separate global treaty on banning
He scored another victory last week when he pressured the upper house to
approve the dismissal of prosecutor-general Yuri Skuratov, who had irritated
the Kremlin with his corruption investigations.
These thorny issues had frustrated Mr. Putin's predecessor, Boris Yeltsin,
who repeatedly tried and failed to persuade parliament to support him on the
Skuratov and START 2 questions.
Mr. Yeltsin was hobbled by a bitter personal feud with the opposition
Communists, who were able to mobilize enough support in parliament to create
obstacles for the Kremlin even when they couldn't formally command a majority.
Mr. Putin has none of this personal animosity with the Communists. Indeed, he
was a loyal Communist member himself until he quietly put away his membership
card after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. His good relations with
the party, along with his image as a strong patriot, have helped him gain
support from parliamentary factions that often balked at supporting Mr.
The Communists continued to oppose ratification of START 2 when the Duma
voted on the treaty this month. But they muted their rhetoric and failed to
mobilize the allies who supported them in the past.
To sweeten the deal, Mr. Putin shrewdly cultivated key Duma members by
awarding them promotions in their military rank as reserve officers in the
Russian military. The Communist leader, Gennady Zyuganov, was promoted to the
rank of colonel. It was a flattering prize for nationalist parliamentarians
who enjoy the appearance of patriotism and military honour.
The parliamentary votes on the nuclear treaties have boosted Moscow's
relations with the West, a key tactical goal for Mr. Putin after the
deterioration in relations caused by Russia's savage military campaign in
More important, they demonstrated Mr. Putin's ability to dominate the upper
and lower houses of parliament.
"Putin can set aside long-standing ideological differences and make deals
that Yeltsin could never make," said Alan Rousso, director of the Moscow
Carnegie Centre, a political think tank.
"He has an ends-justifies-the-means way of thinking. He doesn't have
Yeltsin's convictions and strength of character . . . But he gets things done
that are in the West's interests."
The contrast between the political styles of Mr. Putin and Mr. Yeltsin could
not be sharper. Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Putin and his team are tightly
focused, organized, disciplined and pragmatic.
"He seems much more dedicated to doing the job of being president than
Yeltsin was," Mr. Rousso said. "He and his team are more skilled in building
coalitions. He has an ability to get things done. The pieces are in place for
Putin to make far more progress in dealing with Russia's endemic problems
than Yeltsin ever did -- but it's not yet clear whether this is what he wants
To bolster his power, Mr. Putin plans to develop his own permanent political
party, Unity, and use it as the basis for a stable two-party system, with
Unity on the right wing and a moderate social-democratic party on the left
Many Russians, including the political elites, are attracted to Mr. Putin's
idea of "consolidating society" by building a more stable and predictable
system of elite consensus. The philosophy harks back to Russia's communal
traditions, and it has great appeal among Russian politicians.
"After a year of political battles, the Kremlin wants quietness, silence,
peace of mind and even some kind of stagnation," the Russian newsmagazine
Itogi commented recently.
"For this it should be able to rely on parties with a nearly military
discipline. The idea of bipartisanship mostly attracts the Kremlin insiders
because there will be no more turbulent parliamentary debates which lead to
political crises. There will be no need to guess the outcome of each vote. .
. . All questions could be decided well in advance in quiet Kremlin offices."
At this early stage in his rule, Mr. Putin is prudent enough to avoid
unnecessary confrontations with powerful forces both at home and abroad. He
knows he must patch up the Kremlin's tattered relationship with the West
because he will need foreign loans, investment and technology. Even when the
Council of Europe stripped Russia of its voting rights to protest against its
Chechnya campaign, Mr. Putin was carefully restrained in his reaction.
In the domestic field, he knows he is not yet strong enough to battle the
wealthy "oligarchs" and regional bosses who control much of the Russian
He stood back and watched, refusing to intervene, as the oligarchs seized
control of Russia's lucrative aluminum industry in a series of recent deals.
And he withdrew the Kremlin's candidate from a regional election in St.
Petersburg when he realized he could not defeat the local governor.
Russia: Moscow's Assertive Words Worry Caspian Neighbors
By Michael Lelyveld
Russia's president-elect Vladimir Putin has raised concerns with a new
statement on policy for the Caspian region. But it is still unclear what his
policy will be. Our correspondent Michael Lelyveld looks at the issue.
Boston, 25 April 2000 (RFE/RL) -- President-elect Vladimir Putin has put
Caspian oil back on the list of Russia's strategic concerns, but he has given
few hints of what his government plans to do next.
Speaking before his National Security Council on Friday, Putin suggested that
Russian companies have left too many openings for foreign competition in the
Putin said: "We must clearly understand that the interest of our partners,
Turkey, the United States, and Britain, in this region is not accidental."
"We believe that the key question in resolving this problem is defining the
balance of the interests of the state and companies ... We will not be able
to achieve anything by the power of the state alone," Putin said.
With those few words, Putin seems to have unleashed a new wave of speculation
about Moscow's intentions. The Financial Times carried the Caspian story on
its front page Saturday, eclipsing the news that Russia's State Duma also
ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for nuclear weapons after a delay
of more than three years.
Much of the attention may stem from the scrutiny that all the pronouncements
of Russia's new leader have received. Many of Putin's comments on his
policies have been cryptic and brief, creating an environment in which the
press has been hanging on every word.
But it is unclear whether Putin's statement on the Caspian has broken any new
ground, or whether it heralds a tougher or less aggressive approach.
On the one hand, Putin may be arguing that companies like Lukoil and Gazprom
have not done enough to protect Russia's national interests in the Caspian,
while U.S. and other oil firms have encroached in a region that was once
under Moscow's control.
Following this reasoning, it can be argued that Caspian countries like
Azerbaijan once took care to include Russian companies like Lukoil in their
foreign contracts because of political sensitivities. As a result, Lukoil
holds stakes in Azerbaijan's earliest Caspian projects, such as the "contract
of the century" and the Shah Deniz consortium. Those deals were made in 1994
But Azerbaijan has since signed over a dozen contracts without Russian
involvement, suggesting that the importance of considering Moscow's wishes
has waned as foreign influence has grown.
Following this line further, Putin may be saying that Russia now plans to
work more actively in the Caspian, not only through state-owned enterprises
like the pipeline monopoly Transneft but also through partially-owned
companies like Gazprom and Lukoil. The Russian government owns about 38
percent of Gazprom and 16 percent of Lukoil, although share sales are being
considered for both firms.
The strategy of increasing Russian pressure in the region through the
companies may make sense because of at least three reasons of timing.
The first is Lukoil's recent discovery of Russia's first oilfield in its
Caspian sector. The second is the expectation of an oil discovery at the
giant Kashagan field in Kazakhstan's neighboring sector. And the third is the
approaching decision on financing of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.
All three factors could motivate Moscow to become more assertive in the
Caspian. If that is the case, Russia's neighbors may have something to worry
But an alternate interpretation of Putin's remarks may also be worth
considering. In saying that he is trying to find the balance between the
interests of the state and the companies, Putin may be acknowledging that
Lukoil has largely acted like an independent oil company for years. Its
conduct as a member of the Azerbaijan consortiums has been largely financial,
not political. Putin may see a similar course for Gazprom.
Putin may well recognize that attempts at political manipulation will entail
a major cost to Russian business. It is notable that he referred to Turkey,
the United States and Britain as "our partners" in speaking about Caspian
competition. In saying that nothing can be achieved "by the power of the
state alone," Putin may be taking a business approach and calling a halt to
He may also understand that contracts were signed with Western companies
because of their technology for deep-water drilling, as well as their capital
resources. Russia was unlikely to pursue the Caspian projects on its own.
One advantage of the ambiguity of Putin's statement is that it may satisfy
both the domestic constituencies that seek to regain control in the Caspian
region and those that simply want to do business.
Whatever the interpretation, the new Russian leader has again raised the
level of interest in his future policies. Over the coming months, his real
intentions may become clear.
Worst Effects of Chernobyl To Come
By ALEXANDER G. HIGGINS
April 25, 2000
GENEVA (AP) - The United Nations released a new assessment of the 1986
Chernobyl nuclear meltdown Tuesday, saying the worst health consequences for
millions of people may be yet to come.
``At least 100 times as much radiation was released by this accident as by
the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined'' at the end
of World War II, said a 32-page booklet released to mark the 14th anniversary
of the disaster.
Three people were killed in the explosion on April 26, 1986, and 28 emergency
workers died within the first three months, the report said. It gave no other
death toll, but noted that 106 of the other emergency workers that were first
on the scene also were diagnosed with acute radiation syndrome.
And, the report said, a total of 600,000 emergency workers who helped in the
cleanup and later built a cover to seal the destroyed reactor ``must be
constantly monitored for the effects of exposure to radiation.''
The booklet, published by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs, said the three countries most affected by the radiation
- Belarus, Ukraine and Russia - continue to pay the price.
``Chernobyl is a word we would all like to erase from our memory,'' said U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a foreword.
But, Annan added, ``more than 7 million of our fellow human beings do not
have the luxury of forgetting. They are still suffering, everyday, as a
result of what happened.'' He said the exact number of victims may never be
known, but that 3 million children require treatment and ``many will die
``Not until 2016, at the earliest, will be known the full number of those
likely to develop serious medical conditions'' because of delayed reactions
to radiation exposure, he said.
Annan said response to a U.N. appeal launched three years ago had fallen so
short that the original list of 60 projects had been shortened to the nine
``These nine projects could, if implemented, make a vital difference to the
lives of many people,'' Annan said in appealing for governments and
institutions to contribute $9.5 million.
The projects include modernization of a hospital, creation of a network of
centers to treat children and decontamination of schools, kindergartens and
hospitals in Belarus.
U.S. plays down rift with Russia over Caspian
By Mike Collett-White
ALMATY, April 25 (Reuters) - A U.S. energy expert said on Tuesday that
Washington and Moscow need not clash in their ambitions for the natural
resource-rich Caspian region.
Major powers are vying for control over output and exports of oil and gas
from the Caspian basin, a volatile former Soviet region where the United
States is keen to extend its influence and over which Russia wants to restore
its lost authority.
Jan Kalicki, a White House energy expert who met with Kazakhstan's Prime
Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev, sought to play down any rift with Moscow.
``I think it's clear that Russia plays a very important role in this part of
the world,'' Kalicki said after meeting Tokayev.
``We are very glad that the United States and Western countries also play an
important role, and I think that the key is to develop arrangements where all
of us can cooperate to further the economic well-being...as well as the
independence and security of Kazakhstan and this region.''
But as the powers jostle for influence in the region the mood has become one
of rivalry rather than cooperation.
A string of high-level visits by U.S. officials culminating in a recent tour
of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan by Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright was interpreted by one leading Russian politician as a bid to
Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of Russia's State Duma lower house of parliament,
said in the Kazakh capital Astana last week that Washington wanted to
``divide and rule'' in Central Asia, a region the size of Continental Europe.
Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin expressed concern that foreign firms
were eyeing the region's reserves of oil, gas and metals and urged domestic
companies to get more involved.
BIGGER RUSSIAN ROLE
Analysts suggest Putin will pursue a more aggressive Central Asia policy than
his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin.
That could generate more tension with the United States, which has lobbied
hard for a pipeline from Baku in Azerbaijan to the Turkish port of Ceyhan,
providing an outlet to the West which would otherwise pass through Russia or
Washington has faced setbacks to its Caspian policy in recent months,
including Kazakhstan's refusal to commit major volumes of oil needed to make
its preferred export route economically viable.
Kalicki said after his talks with Tokayev only that the two countries had a
``clear mutual understanding'' over export issues.
Despite the problems, it is U.S. and Western firms, not Russian ones, which
are controlling the region's biggest energy projects. U.S. major Chevron is
heading development of Kazakhstan's huge Tengiz onshore oilfield and BP Amoco
leads Azerbaijan's premier oil project.
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