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Johnson's Russia List


May 3, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4281  4282  


Johnson's Russia List


3 May 2000


[Note from David Johnson:
1. Itar-Tass: Yabloko Leader Blames the West for Dual Standards
2. Itar-Tass: Russia Overcomes 1998 Crisis Aftermath-Economics Minister.
3. Jamestown Foundation Monitor: NEW RUSSIAN GDP DATA RELEASED.
4. TIME EUROPE: Yuri Zarakhovich, Going for the Throat. Why 
strangulation is an apt metaphor for Putin's approach to political power. 
5. Andrei Liakhov: On the debate on ABM, NATO, etc.
6. Bruce Blair: Elements of a Sensible, Responsible National Missile Defense Policy.
7. Brookings Institution: Transcript of Internet chat on Russia with Clifford Gaddy.]





Yabloko Leader Blames the West for Dual Standards.


PRAGUE, May 2 (Itar-Tass) - Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky blamed the West

for dual standards, criticism of Moscow's actions in Chechnya and silence

about the critical position in Yugoslavia, when delivering a lecture to Czech

intellectuals in Prague.


The NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia aggravated the situation in South Eastern

Europe. Trade and economic relations in that region are broken, Yavlinsky



The Yabloko leader was given an award of the Liberal Institute, which had

invited him to visit the Czech Republic. The award is given for "an

outstanding contribution to the development of democracy, free thinking and

market economy in Russia." Yavlinsky is the fifth winner of the award in the

history of the Liberal Institute that was established after the velvet

revolution of 1989.




Russia Overcomes 1998 Crisis Aftermath-Economics Minister.


AMSTERDAM, May 2 (Itar-Tass) - Russia entered the year of 2000 with an

evident progress in economics. It has overcome the most acute consequences of

the financial and economic crisis of 1998, Russian Minister of Economics

Andrei Shapovalyants said at an international conference on market economy

and modern financial and banking problems in Amsterdam on Tuesday.


The minister gave a statistic backing to his pronouncement. The gross

domestic product of Russia went up by 3.2 percent in 1999 as compared to

1998, while the industrial production growth exceeded 8 percent. The

industrial production growth in January- March 2000 nearly reached 12 percent

and was manifested at medium and large enterprises in 81 out of the 89

Russian regions.


The positive dynamics of industrial production is determined by three



-- the activity of export-oriented industries; -- the replacement of imported

merchandise by Russian-made products that, for instance, resulted in a 44.5

percent increase of the light industry output in January-March 2000;


-- an improvement in the financial position of industrial enterprises and a

growth of their circulating assets.


The growth of consumer prices has slowed down in Russia, Shapovalyants

remarked. The monthly growth was 1.2-1.5 percent since August 1999, and it

did not exceed 1 percent in February- April 2000. A reason is the balanced

financial, monetary and credit policy of the Cabinet and the Central Bank,

Shapovalyants said.


Positive changes in the Russian economy were prompted by a changed national

currency rate due to the ruble devaluation and a better situation on external

markets. Socio-economic stabilization measures of the Cabinet and the Central

Bank were important too, Shapovalyants noted.




Jamestown Foundation Monitor

May 2, 2000


NEW RUSSIAN GDP DATA RELEASED... In April, the Russian statistical agency

Goskomstat released new data on Russian economic growth during 1996-1999. In

addition to providing quarterly figures on changes in the components of

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for this period, this release provides a

broader picture of the trends behind Russia's economic recovery since



These figures show GDP growth accelerating from 1.2 percent during the

second quarter of last year to 6.7 percent in the third quarter, and to 7.3

percent in the fourth quarter. The industrial sector's contribution to the

recovery is clear, as growth in industrial value added rose from 5.0 percent

in the second quarter to 16.3 percent in the third quarter, before dropping

back to 11.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999. This yielded 8.0 percent

growth in value added produced in industry in 1999. Value added in the

transport and communications sectors also surged 9.5 percent in 1999, up

from 3.4 percent in 1998 and 1.9 percent in 1997. Although value added in

the trading sector was reported down 3.4 percent last year, a strong

recovery was apparent in the second half of last year: Growth in this sector

was 7.3 percent in the fourth quarter.


Expenditure data show that Russia's 1999 recovery was primarily powered by

net exports (export minus imports). Whereas the volume of exports was

reported up 4.5 percent last year, import volumes were listed down 13.2

percent (Adjusting these data to take estimates of under- and over-invoicing

into account doubles the growth in export volume and the decline in import

volume.) Investment was listed as up by 9.3 percent last year, due to growth

in both fixed investment and inventories. While public consumption remained

unchanged, household consumption fell by some 5.3 percent in 1999.


Needless to say, Russian national economic accounting is far from perfect.

Although Goskomstat boosts reported GDP by 30 percent to take into account

its estimates of the informal sector, many types of economic activities are

not captured by the official numbers. Likewise, Goskomstat is hardly above

reproach as an institution: A high-ranking Goskomstat official in 1997 was

fired and subsequently prosecuted for fiddling with the official data to

reduce the tax liabilities of selected companies. But while these problems

may significantly distort reported levels of economic activity in Russia,

such statistical shenanigans are less likely to affect reported output

trends, as long as the degree of falsification does not change dramatically

from year to year.






May 1, 2000

[for personal use only]


Going for the Throat

Why strangulation is an apt metaphor for Putin's approach to political power



In his election campaign biography, 'At First Hand', Vladimir Putin fondly

reminisces about the hero of his teenage years: Leonid, the young Putin's

judo mentor. The Russian President-elect recalls how Leonid once asked the

coach of a rival karate class to vacate the gym for his judo boys. The

arrogant trainer ignored him. "Then," Putin recounts with obvious delight,

"Leonid strangled him slightly, removed his unconscious body from the mat,

and told us to go ahead."


The Random House Dictionary of the English Language helpfully defines the

term thug as "one of a former group of professional robbers and murderers in

India, who strangled their victims." Coincidentally, during the week that the

Putin biography was published last month, Anatoli Averkin, a 30-year-old

prisoner in Yoshkar-Ola and ardent Putin loyalist, fell out with his

cellmate, who endorsed Communist leader Gennadi Zyuganov in the recent

election. In the ensuing political debate Averkin strangled his opponent. Two

weeks later another Putin admirer, Colonel Yuri Budanov, a commander in

Chechnya, celebrated his idol's election victory. A happy Budanov got drunk

and then kidnaped and strangled an 18-year-old Chechen girl suspected of

sniping at his troops. Averkin and Budanov may not have read the Putin book,

but they still got the message: You need to be a thug to get ahead.


Those worried about the Putin presidency trace the roots of their

apprehension to the President-elect's teenage yearning to join the KGB and to

his KGB past. But it was only natural for an ordinary 15-year-old Soviet boy

to dream of joining the KGB as an intrepid officer, ready to die for cause

and country. A human being is what his information makes him, and a Soviet

boy lived on a harsh information diet. Sophisticated Soviet intellectuals,

eager for state prizes, dachas, fat royalties and foreign trips, glorified

the KGB that most of them loathed and feared. How could 15-year-old Volodya

Putin withstand the charms of Stanislav Lyubshin and Oleg Yankovski, famous

actors who played KGB agents in the movie that inspired him to join the KGB?


The sad paradox is that the official propaganda bred good qualities like

diligence, persistence, enterprise and loyalty. But to what end? Well-meaning

boys grew up to be diligent and persistent hunters of dissidents and

freethinkers; enterprise eventually served only vested corporate or private

interests; and loyalty degenerated into a mutual code of silence among

thieves. This reflects the tragic incongruity of Russian history, formulated

by philosopher Nikolai Berdyayev in his book 'The Russian Idea': "The pure

messianic idea of the Kingdom of the Lord, the Kingdom of Truth, was muddled

by the idea of the imperialist will to power ... Russian communism ...

corrupted the quest for the Kingdom of Truth with the will to power."


But once little boys grow up, are exposed to new information, see the world

in all its complexity and still insist that what they were taught as children

is true, then that really is a reason to worry. In 'The Dragon', a biting

satire on both Hitlerism and Stalinism by Russian writer Yevgeni Shwarts, a

vile sidekick of the play's deposed dictator tells Sir Lancelot: "It's not my

fault. I just did as they taught us." Lancelot answers: "This is how they

taught us all, but why did you have to be the best pupil?" It's not Putin's

KGB past, but his present mindset that is so unnerving.


Putin's past hasn't prepared him to function as the efficient executive

Russia so badly needs. Rather than supervise the affairs of the state, which

is gripped by chronic political, economic and financial crises, Putin fights

the Chechen war and totally concentrates on the military. He has attracted

considerable attention by donning helmet and flight suit to fly to Grozny in

a Su-27 combat jet, a move that filled the military brass with pride, but

caused civilians to joke that the Kremlin considered buying a couple of new

Sukhois to replace the airliners Yeltsin used.


Earlier this month Putin further pleased the military by taking a submarine

dive. Russian admirals accorded their Commander-in-Chief full honors,

traditionally reserved for a professional submariner on his first dive: they

poured him a glass of sea water and had him kiss a sledgehammer. Hospitality

turned to toadying when they treated Putin to roast piglet, a Soviet navy

tradition normally reserved for sailors who have torpedoed an enemy ship. We

have yet to learn what Putin has torpedoed. In the absence of the

President-elect, the cabinet was forced to adjourn a session on the looming

energy crisis that threatens to wreck the country. Ordinary citizens were

left to wonder whether Putin would walk on water if his sub sank.


"If Yeltsin and Chubais were the farce Lenin and Trotsky of our

criminal-1lite revolution," says Professor Dmitri Furman, a Russian political

scientist, "Putin is emerging as its farce Stalin." The system is likely to

turn out as evil and oppressive, but not as all-pervading, since it's proving

to be so petty and gray. But even a farce Stalin is a Stalin, and thugs are

thugs. Alas, it seems that more strangled bodies will be removed from the

Russian mat before this farce is over.





Date: Tue, 02 May 2000

From: "Andrei Liakhov" <liakhova@NORTONROSE.COM> (

Subject: On the debate on ABM, NATO, etc.


On the debate on ABM, NATO, etc.


The views expressed below are aimed at starting a wide ranging debate and do

not represent the definitive views of the author.


In the Cold War years both the USSR and the USA knew exactly what they

wanted from their economy, military and foreign policy - to make sure that

the other side (i) could not think of striking first and (ii) would be

forced to (or better could not) match the achieved military and economic

potential. The allies of both superpowers were not allowed any substantial

freedom of manoeuvre simply because of fear that such actions might trigger

chain reaction similar to one that started W.W.I. It was a nice and more or

less clear black and white world where everybody knew what everybody else

stood for with a high degree of certainty.


This carefully balanced equilibrium has been destroyed almost instantly and

practically unilaterally. For the first time in (I think) known history one

of the strategic alliances has de facto capitulated (irrespective of

Gorbachev rhetoric). Furthermore the capitulated alliance has disbanded

itself and ceased to exist for all practical purposes of international

relations and the once clear line of who is a friend and who is a foe is

being increasingly blurred. Policy decision makers on both sides of the old

dividing line became increasingly uneasy about reacting to any new events,

which often leads to either staggering overreaction (like Chechnia or

Kosovo) or complete ignorance (like Transdniestr conflict or Turkish pogroms

in Bulgaria in early 90ies). Changes in political, economic and military

balances caused inter alia the debate about the role of NATO/USA (both of

which seem to suffer from the "lost direction" syndrome since at least

Desert storm) in the New World Order (NWO). It would be fair to say that the

recent history makes it evident that there is a trend to attempt to make

NATO a substitute for the UN and re-write rules about use of force in

contemporary international law in order to fit NATO in. This makes Russia

feeling increasingly isolated and threatened.


The same "lost direction" syndrome is evident in the USA in the debate on

the amendments to the ABM Treaty (which was one of the pillars of the Cold

War equilibrium) and shows the same growing feeling of increase of threat to

the USA in the post Cold War world which is really surprising as the

collapse of the USSR was expected to produce exactly the opposite result. I

would not go into detailed analysis of the arguments and counter arguments

around ABM Treaty as this as well as arguments about the future of NATO is

based on the adjusted Cold War mentality of US v THEM. But is this what is

needed in the age of post everything?


One thing which is clear from all these debates is that neither NATO, nor

USA nor Russia have a clear vision of their respective long term foreign

policy goals.


While Russia is trying to find its new national and geopolitical identity,

the debate about the future role of the USA is ranging from the "saviour and

guarantor" of peace for the centuries to come to the neo imperialist hungry

"Britannia" of the XXI-XXII centuries.


It would seem now that the ultimate choice that Russia is likely to make

will largely depend (as in the best traditions of the Cold War) on the aims

and goals of the US global policy once these are settled. With Putin in

power one can almost safely argue that one of the cornerstones of Russian

policy would be containment of US/NATO ambitions as such will be understood

by Russia and thus US to an extent will remain a major determining factor of

Russian foreign policy objectives in the foreseeable future. Due to various

circumstances such containment is unlikely to take neo Cold War form, but

the trend started by Primakov U-turn over the Atlantic becomes more and more

clear. This is also evident from the heat surrounding the current ABM Treaty

debate in Russia. Although I cannot claim to be an expert on these systems,

from my experience of USSR/US disarmament talks I have an impression that

the proposed system may be easily fooled by e.g. low flying cruise missiles

or multiple warheads and thus is relatively irrelevant for Russia (which

possesses both types or weapons) or something which Russia cannot find a low

cost alternative to and thus the debate is really about something else,

particularly if the way it is spinned in Russia is considered.


It would appear that the new Kremlin team sees it as the testing grounds to

determine how relevant Russian point of view is in the World today after so

many blunders and a decade long submissive foreign policy of Yelsin clique.

It is likely that this debate (alongside the obviously test run of Russian

muscle flexing in the Kononov trial saga) may become a reference point for

decision makers in the future in respect of Russian geopolitical interests

once these are clearly defined. US seemingly off the cuff reaction to

Russian worries thus takes a whole new meaning and depending on the course

of action it takes US can draw a new dividing line or erase all remnants of

the old.


It would appear that at the moment US has a unique window of opportunity to

mould the first truly post Cold War generation of Russian political thinking

by reassuring Russia that it has nothing to worry about. In the tradition of

real Realpolitik of the old school which seems to become more and more

relevant today the US can do that in a number of ways, e.g. by inviting

Russia to joint NATO or making other similar soothing overtures. It would be

extremely short-sighted to ignore Russia's worries simply because it's too

weak now - the history proves that Russia is capable of resurrecting itself

from ashes in a very short period of time.


Current US policy towards Russia resembles German policy at the turn of the

century when by clumsy demonstrations of the detriments of having Germany as

an enemy to Russia and Great Britain not only the Keiser cemented the Triple

Entente, but also put himself into the corner from which war seemed the only

way out. By encircling Russia firstly by NATO expansion, then by proposing

to introduce limited ABMDS, the USA voluntary or involuntary stirs up the

darkest fears in Russia of being the target of a new aggressor and

practically ensures resurrection of the worst kind of Russian nationalism.


All comments and trashing of this piece is most welcome!!





Date: Tue, 02 May 2000

From: Bruce Blair <>

Subject: Elements of a Sensible, Responsible NMD Policy


Elements of a Sensible, Responsible NMD Policy

Bruce Blair


Center for Defense Information

Washington DC

May 2, 2000


A sensible, responsible plan for national missile defense requires

that the system works, and that it does not provoke reactions that increase

the net nuclear threat to the United States. Current U.S. plans fail on

both counts. An alternative plan would feature boost-phase interceptors

around threatening states such as North Korea, and extensive dealerting of

U.S. missile forces. This essay identifies several options that could be

negotiated successfully with Russia, some of which would actually promise

effective missile defense while facilitating progress on strategic

offensive arms reductions.


Wisdom on national missile defense begins with an appreciation of how

easily decoys and other simple countermeasures at the disposal of countries

such as North Korea may confound and defeat U.S. interceptors based on

American territory. Turning a blind eye to this inconvenient detail and

hopping onto the deployment bandwagon would commit the twin sins of

squandering resources and creating a false sense of security. These sins

would be even more egregious if they commit the United States to an early

deployment schedule that is so far out in front of the evolving threat that

it enables our adversaries to study our defenses and redesign their

missiles and strategy to exploit discovered weaknesses.


Having said this, the United States need not demand perfection or even

high performance from its missile defense system. The standard of

performance for a system designed to deal with a relatively small number of

missiles can be far lower than the standard for one designed for a large

threat. To understand this critical point, recall that the original Star

Wars program of the Reagan administration was supposed to able to handle a

deliberate Soviet first strike in which many thousands of warheads were

launched against American cities. Even a U.S. shield that might have

destroyed 90 percent of the incoming warheads would still have allowed many

hundreds to get through, resulting in the destruction of every major U.S.

city. By contrast, if North Korea launched ten missiles, each armed with

one nuclear warhead, then the successful interception of even a single

weapon (10 percent effectiveness) would be tantamount to saving an American

city from total devastation, averting the deaths of hundreds of thousands

of its inhabitants. [This is, of course, a strictly hypothethical threat

to illustrate the point. As far as I know, North Korea possesses less than

10 kilograms of plutonium -- enough for one or two bombs -- and its

intercontinental-range ballistic missile program appears to be suspended.]


To achieve much higher effectiveness, the United States would field

the missile interceptors in the neighborhoods of the hostile states instead

of situating them on American territory. U.S. interceptors on ships or

allied territory overseas could engage hostile long-range missiles soon

after their launch, destroying them during their early boost stage of

ascent. For instance, U.S. interceptors deployed on ships in the Sea of

Japan could destroy North Korean missiles in the first few minutes of

flight. Similar deployments in the Mediterranean on ships, and possibly on

Turkish territory, could defend against Iran, Iraq, and Libya. [This is

again a hypothetical future threat inasmuch as I know of no solid evidence

to indicate that an intercontinental-range ballistic missile is under

development in any of these countries.]


Boost-phase interception holds out far greater promise of high

performance than does any system designed to intercept the missiles'

warheads during the later stages of their flight. Richard Garwin, the

preeminent intellect on defense technology, testifies that a boost-phase

system directed against North Korean launches "is so simple that none of

the technical folk have any interest in it." An effective boost-phase

system would require, however, a new interceptor and kill vehicle (the

current Navy Aegis system would not be fast or agile enough in this

mission). This would delay deployment for several years unless a really

concerted effort were undertaken soon.


Regional deployment of such a system would not threaten Russian

strategic missiles for reasons of geographic dispersion, except for

sea-launch ballistic missiles deployed in the Pacific Fleet near Russia's

coast, which represents a small and disappearing portion of Russia's

strategic arsenal. And yet it would protect the U.S. population. In

short, this type of theater missile defense would constitute a national

missile defense by other means.


Enlisting Russia as a genuine partner in boost-phase defense would

appeal to Russia. Besides serving to dispel Russian suspicion of U.S.

designs, a partnership could channel U.S. resources into cash-strapped

Russian defense enterprises that would otherwise pose a proliferation risk

themselves. The partners would cooperate in curbing and countering

proliferation by sharing intelligence and early warning information,

jointly analyzing issues, and even co-designing, co-deploying, and

co-operating missile defense installations. If Russia is not the target of

the U.S. shield, as missile defense proponents claim, then the United

States should be willing to integrate Russia into the U.S. system in ways

that clarify this intention and that produce military benefits to Russia

(including enhancing Russian protection against third-country ballistic

missile threats to its territory.


The alternative to working cooperatively with Russia is to ride

roughshod over its security concerns, which could all too readily redound

to our grave disadvantage. Special care and handling of Russia is

essential to avoid wreaking havoc on our relations with the one nation on

which, like it or not, American survival still depends completely. We must

fashion a plan that averts a confrontation with Russia and dodges a

boomerang in which a U.S. missile defense actually increases the risk of an

accidental or mistaken large-scale Russian launch. If this risk grows by

even a fraction of one percent, then the additional peril to Americans

would outweigh the benefit of partially protecting them from a North Korean



It is thus essential to take into account Russia's shocking

calculation of the adverse effect of U.S. national missile defense on its

national security. Since the collapse of its conventional forces, Russia

views nuclear weapons as its first and last line of defense. From their

standpoint, even a modest U.S. missile shield could strip away Russia's

nuclear deterrence and confer first-strike supremacy on the United States.


Russia can barely cope with U.S. offensive power alone. On paper, a

sudden U.S. strategic missile attack, an implausible but still basic

scenario for Russian planning (believe it or not, a sudden attack in the

other direction also still remains the basic planning assumption on the

U.S. side), could decimate Russia's strategic retaliatory forces. Today,

fewer than 100 Russian warheads (out of an arsenal of 6,000) might survive

(compared to 2,000 invulnerable weapons for the United States), and fewer

still might remain under effective Russian control. Through Russian eyes a

U.S. missile shield around American territory would threaten to mop up this

residual force once it launched in retaliation. In standard military

tradition, Russian planners will conservatively assume that 200 U.S.

interceptors could block their small-scale retaliation and thus deprive

them of a credible deterrent.


To the extent that Russian planners do discount the performance of

U.S. missile defense against their small second-strike force, it only

reinforces their suspicion that America's real scheme is to lay the

groundwork for a later fast thickening of the defenses that would negate

their deterrent. That is, the U.S. would put in place the sensor and

command-control architecture during the initial deployment, and hold open

the option of quickly expanding the interceptor force beyond the initial

installment in the subsequent stage.


Russian strategy will react to this new predicament in a manner that

is adaptive for Russia and maladaptive for U.S. security. Its primary

asymmetrical response option is to configure its new Topol-M SS-27 force

with multiple warheads, which it will seek to do anyway in order to

maintain offensive parity with the United States if START III ceilings

remain high (2,000-2,500 warheads instead of the 1,500 ceiling sought by

Russia). A more provocative option that would threaten the continuation of

space as an arena of expansive commercial activity would be to pre-position

space mines that could be detonated to destroy the U.S. NMD sensor system

in crisis circumstances. Among other responses, Russia will strive to

ensure that its missile forces carrying thousands of warheads get off the

ground before incoming U.S. missiles can strike them. Russia would embrace

the accident-prone options of striking first or launching on warning.


Russia already relies too heavily on these quick-launch options.

Given the deterioration of Russia's early warning satellites and ground

radar, the United States should be creating conditions that reduce, not

increase, Russia's reliance on a hair-trigger posture. A U.S. missile

defense system, whether intended to protect America from North Korea or

from a small-scale accidental Russian launch, would be counterproductive if

it reinforces this nervous Russian stance and increases the risk of a

mistaken large-scale launch.


Russia's gloomy prognosis for its deterrent forces looks even bleaker

over the long term. Its strategic arsenal will shrink dramatically over

the next ten to fifteen years. Economic pressures could easily drive the

numbers of strategic nuclear warheads down to the low hundreds, most of

which will sit on vulnerable land missiles. In this situation, Russia

could not count on enough warheads penetrating U.S. territorial defense to

underwrite deterrence under any scenario of Russian retaliation including

launch on warning. With a U.S. missile shield in place, Russia could

readily conclude that its small deterrent arsenal will be checkmated.


Understanding the Russian dilemma in these terms should motivate the

United States to seek missile defense options that cause minimal disruption

to our relations and to strategic stability. A premium should be put on

innovative options that protect American citizens at home while leaving

intact Russian confidence in its deterrent strength.


This premium favors boost-phase designs over the current design, and

favors a North Dakota-based interceptor system over an Alaska-based one.

It also means that U.S. strategic offensive threat should be substantially

constrained while proceeding to deploy national missile defense. As noted

earlier, Russia can barely cope with the U.S. offensive threat. It cannot

cope with a combination of current U.S. offense and future defense.


A promising formula for striking a reasonable balance between offense

and defense is to cut deeply the size of the U.S. and Russian missile

arsenals and to take silo-busting U.S. strategic weapons off high alert.

By de-alerting most or all of the current 2,500 U.S. weapons on high alert,

a U.S. national missile defense would appear far less threatening to a

Russian planner. Russian strategic missiles would be far less vulnerable

to U.S. offensive forces, and thus far more capable of dealing with U.S.

national missile defense. Russia would be able to take reciprocal

dealerting steps, moreover, and thus reduce the most serious nuclear threat

to the United States: a mistaken or unauthorized Russian missile attack.


The current negotiating stalemate between the United States and Russia

could be resolved by a bolder U.S. position on boost-phase defense,

permissable Russian MIRVing of land-based rockets, dealerting, and deep

cuts down to 1,500 warheads on each side. Various options combining these

elements into packages that stand a good chance of successful negotiation

with Russia are outlined below.


A. START III ceiling of 2,000-2,500 warheads.

*Russia Topol M allowed multiple warheads (three per missile).

*United States allowed CONUS 2-site BMD per 1972 ABM Treaty

(Alaska site disallowed).

*Reciprocal U.S.-Russian dealerting desirable.


B. START III ceiling of 2,000-2,500 warheads.

*Russia Topol M allowed multiple warheads (three per missile).

*United States allowed 2-site BMD per revised ABM Treaty (Alaska

as well as North Dakota allowed) in exchange for (beyond START II


*(a) dealerting Minuteman III; removing W-88 warheads from SSBNS

(for shore storage); and ceasing Trident W-76 warhead fuse


*Reciprocal Russian dealerting required.


C. START III ceiling of 2.000-2,500 warheads.

*Russia Topol M allowed multiple warheads (three per missile).

*United States allowed Boost-Phase System near North Korea plus

CONUS 1-site BMD (North Dakota) for Iran, Libya, Iraq threat.

*Reciprocal U.S.-Russian dealerting desirable.


D. START III ceiling of 2.000-2,500 warheads.

*Russia Topol M disallowed multiple warheads.

*United States allowed Boost-Phase System near North Korea plus

CONUS 1-site BMD (North Dakota) for Iran, Libya, Iraq threat.

*United States agrees to extensive dealerting measures (beyond

START II requirements): dealerting Minuteman III; removing W-88 warheads

from SSBNS (for shore storage); and ceasing Trident W-76 warhead fuse


*Reciprocal Russian dealerting required.


E. START III ceiling of 1,500 warheads.

*Russia Topol M disallowed multiple warheads.

*United States allowed Boost-Phase System near North Korea plus

CONUS 1-site BMD (North Dakota) for Iran, Libya, Iraq threat.

*Reciprocal U.S.-Russian dealerting desirable.





Brookings Institution

Washington DC


Russia: Friend or Foe?

Live Internet Chat with Clifford Gaddy

Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution

April 28, 2000


Does the election of Vladimir Putin to the presidency of Russia signal a new

resurgence of Russian strength and nationalism? How cautiously, or firmly,

should the United States and its allies treat the post-Yeltsin Russia? How

will Putin deal with the smoldering crisis in Chechnya, and should the West

attempt to negotiate a settlement?


Should the Clinton administration, as it decides whether to pursue deployment

of a missile defense system, strike a deal with Putin on arms control? Will

Russia assert its position as Eastern Europe's traditional power over

potential rivals Poland and Ukraine? And what does Russia's internal

situation with respect to its social and economic development affect western

policy toward this vital country?


Unfortunately, there is no time to answer all of the excellent questions that

arrive. But we appreciate all input and hope you will participate in the next

chat on U.S.-France relations. Thank you and thanks to Cliff Gaddy for

spending his time with the chat today.


#13 1. Should Cooperative Threat Reduction (Nunn-Lugar) be continued?

2. What are your opinions/reactions to the recent Duma votes on START II and


3. Do you see further reductions in the US nuclear triad (as proposed under a

possible START III treaty) as a necessary step toward further strategic

stability or a possible misstep that could endanger strategic stability?


Do you think that the current imbalance in military forces combined with a

possible National missile defense system in the United States would lead to

unacceptable instability in US-Russian relations (as the Russian Federation


4. Do you think that the entire Cold War arms control regime (NPT, START I,

ABM Treaty, and etc.) still provides a useful and effective framework for

21st Century Russian-American relations?




Dear Tom,


These arms control questions go way beyond my expertise, so take the

following with a grain of salt. I feel strongly that the Nunn-Lugar program

should be continued. On (2), see an earlier answer.


On strategic imbalance and ABM: yes, if we abrogate the ABM treaty and begin

to develop a system of national missile defense, that will cause problems

with Russia. Mr. Putin, pragmatist that he is, may decide to take a

compromise (if it's offered) rather than a confrontation at this point. But

that is only because he wants a breathing space, a period of stability so

Russia can regain its balance domestically. I think it would be a mistake to

think that a compromise by Russia today on ABM ensures that the issue is gone

forever. It may come back to haunt us later.


#12 Dear Mr. Gaddy,


The Russians developed a variety of biological weapons, tactical nuclear

weapons, and have even used low-level chemical weapons. Today these weapons

of mass destruction have reached the hands of terrorists targetting America.

Given Russia's continued supplying of Iran, it's loud and visible cooperation

with Iraq, and its warming of relations with China, wouldn't it seem that the

Russian's could be prepared to wage a war against American domination by

proxy - through massive terror blows inflicted by apparently random

organizations or "rogue nations"? According to former CIA chief James

Woolsey, there are many proofs to indicate that Russian security was behind

the Moscow bombings that led to the invasion of Chechnya - the same that won

Putin the election. With such tactics at foot, and with a reckless

proliferation of non-conventional weapons among rogue nations, does it not

seem that Russia is not different than Iraq on that score, but much more



The question is, will the Clinton administration ever have the courage to

admit that in our brave new world, there are not only rogue nations but also

rogue superpowers?


An alliance between Russia and a newly nuclear Iraq would be a formidable

threat to American interests in the Middle East, Africa and beyond.


Is anyone really looking the bear in the face?




Yael Haran





Dear Mr. Haran,

Yes, an alliance between an anti-American Russia and a rogue state would be a

formidable threat--to the United States and many other nations. But even

though there is significant anti-Americanism in Russia right now, and there

have been worrisome dealings between some Russian agencies and some rogue

nations, Russia itself is not (yet) an anti-American nation and certainly not

a rogue nation. Precisely because of the dire consequences if it WERE to

become either, we ought to do everything we can to prevent that. As I said in

an earlier answer, the key right now is that Russia regain a sense of

security. Without that, it is not going to make long-term progress in areas

we care about--economic and democratic reform--and it is likely to engage in

just the sort of behavior you are concerned about.


#11 Dear Mr. Gaddy,


What is you stance on the recent ratification of the nuclear disarmament

treaties by the Duma and Mr. Putin? In addition, do you think the idea of a

START III treaty is a good one?


M. Walezak

Madison, NJ

Drew University



I think START III is a very good idea. Mr. Putin pushed through Duma

ratification of START II and spoke positively of a START III agreement

because he thinks they are important for Russia. He knows Russia cannot

afford to maintain the huge arsenal of nuclear weapons it now has. This is

not some ulterior motive for supporting the disarmament agreements. He says

that openly. But note that he also makes it very clear that Russia will

continue to rely critically on its nuclear weapons. He wants a quantitatively

smaller, but qualitatively upgraded nuclear deterrent. As he told the

scientists and workers of the nuclear weapons complex, "You're what ensure

that we remain a great power."


#10 Mr. Gaddy,


With Mr. Putin's KGB background do you see him surrounding himself with a

comfort circle that employees KGB tactics to obtain their objectives and if

so do you believe America is ready to deal with this type of diplomacy?

Stu Kagol



Dear Stu,


There is no question that Mr. Putin will draw on both personnel from and his

own experiences in the KGB in many aspects of his new job. That is only

natural. I guess the question is, "which personnel" and "what experiences"?

Mr. Putin's relation to the KGB, past and present, is a complex topic. I

would just note that he claims to have no sympathy for the "bad side" of the

KGB and its successors in Soviet history, while at the same time he seems

reluctant to really criticize it. He personally does not appear to have any

record of service in situations that would have been truly compromising from

a human rights standpoint, for instance. But I suppose that's a matter of

one's view of the KGB as an institution. He himself stresses that he was a

foreign intelligence officer. He recruited people to his (the Soviet) cause.

He once said that that is his real talent was getting to know people and

figuring out what they want. Maybe THAT will be the big challenge to our



#8 My question would be why doesn't the US and other western powers see the

Chechen crisis as the rise of Islamic fundamentalism throughout the central/

south asia. why does it want further breakup of the russian republic...Is it

because the US wants to get rid of whatever is left of a superpower with

tacit approval of the European Union?



Dear Mainak,


I don't know how to answer your question, other than to say that, no, I don't

think most people in the US, including our leaders, are guided in their

attitudes and actions toward Russia by the desire to get rid of "whatever is

left of" Russia as a superpower. But I thought it would be good to let other

visitors to this chat see your question, because I know that a lot of people

(especially in Russia) have the same suspicions as you do about US policy.

Clearly, if the West can't change your view of us, we are in trouble.


#7 One of the "lessons learned" in the long work with President Yel'tsin was

that it is in the interest of the United States to deal with institutions

rather than individuals. Only 12 months ago this wisdom was nearly

universally accepted. The absolute imperative of the moment of weighing all

future events in light of "the Putin factor" suggests we have unlearned the

lesson with amazing speed. What are the consequences for US policy?





Dear John,


I don't think that all the focus on the "Putin factor" necessarily has to

mean we are repeating the mistake of dealing with Mr. Yeltsin to the

exclusion of other forces in Russia. First of all, to state the cliche: our

leaders talk to and meet with people, not institutions. The president of a

country is a pretty important one of those people. More seriously, to me, an

important question is, to what extent does the individual (who happens to be

the president of the country, democratically elected as such) represent

something like a "national sentiment"? Probably, in most countries at most

times, presidents don't have that stature. In times of national crisis, they

might. I think that was Yeltsin's position in 1991 and for a while after. It

was not the case in the later 1990s. There was very strong opposition to

Yeltsin, and the United States government very much marginalized those

forces. But today, Mr. Putin really does represent the Russian people. Here's

an experiment: Go ask some Russians if they think it would be a good idea for

President Clinton to come to Russia and NOT treat Mr. Putin as the most

important person in Russia.

#6 To "diffuse" the early critics of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI),

former president Reagan offered to "give" (sell) the technology to the Soviet

Union once the United States perfected it. Today, some say that the greatest

physical threat to the safety of the American people today is the accidental

launch of an ICBM or a limited attack by a rogue state and not a Russian

offensive. Would the reexamination of this "give" strategy now on NMD, be a

worthwhile policy option to pursue with Vladimir Putin as the new president

of Russia, if he is a friend and not a foe of the US?


Michael J. O'Sullivan

Lexington, MA



Dear Mr. O'Sullivan,


I definitely think it would be worth re-examining the proposal of shared ABM

technology development between the U.S. and Russia. After all, if President

Reagan felt he could make such an offer to the USSR, we ought at least to

entertain the idea with Russia. As I stated earlier, we badly need to find

ways to give Russia a sense of enhanced security, rather than the perception

that we are undermining their security. This would be the right approach.

#5 Deserved or not, international financial and political institutions are

not very popular with the Kremlin and the Russian people. Recent human rights

pressure over Chechnya, the social and economic consequences of ten years of

disappointing "shock therapy", NATO and EU expansionary fears, ABM Treaty

differences and US anti-missile defence fears, and competition for Caspian,

Caucasus, and Central Asian oil, gas and political influence, have created an

anti-western nationalism in Russia that is gaining significant momentum.


What impact will the rise in Russian nationalism and anti-western attitudes

in the Kremlin and the general Russian population have on the future of

foreign direct investment in Russia and what should the international

financial and political institutions do, if anything, to try to restore (to

1992 levels) the confidence in the West and the hope of the Russian people

for a free market democracy and not just a better life under a "more or less"

authoritarian Putin administration?


Thank you.........Bill (Houston, Texas)



You are right. Anti-Western sentiment is quite prevalent in Russia today.

Most Russians are too polite to show it to foreigners and in fact most tend

to separate this generalized "anti-Westernism" from their feelings about

individual Westerners. But the strength of these undercurrents is evident in

private conversations, in the media, in books, and not least in the Internet

sites that abound in Russia. Quite simply, anti-Westernism is no longer

politically incorrect the way it was, say, four or five years ago. Having

said that, I don't think that the anti-Westernism is a major threat to

Western investment or Western business in Russia in a direct sense. That is,

I don't think Russians will reject Western investment for ideological

reasons. Rather, what is more likely is that Western government may restrict

trade between Russia and the West as part of sanctions for Russia's behavior

in Chechnya, for human rights abuses, for arms proliferation, or for any

number of other actions we oppose.


#4 Dear Sir,

To speak of on an independent 'Russian' preference vis-"-vis nationalism,

re-centralization, renewed imperialism of the near abroad etc. seems

misleading, and simplistic (Putin, even if he wanted to instigate such

policies, is restricted in his own actions). Rather, I believe preferences

will largely be formed in light of the west's own approach to the Russia

question. In short, are we expecting too much from a country that has

suffered not only from communism, but from a history of authoritarian, state

centric rule?


Will 'reframing' our own expectations for Russia on a more pragmatic basis

help bring to an end this damaging debate over 'Russia being lost', and bring

a more realistic approach to what is feasible in our own lifetime.


Christopher Strickland

Graduate Student, Georgetown University



Dear Chris,


The short answer to both your questions is "Yes." I think what you argue is

consistent with my own thinking and with some of the things I outlined below.

#3 Is russia's economy still "virtual"? do you have any realistic hopes that

putin will make it any less so?


Best regards

james arnold



I see Mr. Putin's attitude towards Russia's "virtual economy"--which is

still very much alive--as one dictated by his concern for national security

and national survival. The virtual economy is a mutant economy that is

neither a centrally planned economy or a normal market economy but, as Boris

Yeltsin once put it, "an ugly cross-breed" of the two. Barry Ickes and I have

described this economy and analyzed it, so I won't go into that in greater

detail here. But let me just note that while this system does have some

redeeming features, it is on balance a destructive system. Specifically, it

threatens the survival of the public sector, the proper functions of the

state. It was the weakening of the state that made many Russians fear for the

survival of the nation as a whole. So logically, Mr. Putin, as the new leader

committed to a strong Russia, cannot permit the virtual economy to continue,

at least not in its present form. He has three options. (1) He can dismantle

it entire by adopting radical liberal economic (market) reform. He won't do

that. The lesson he drew from the 1990s was that these reforms caused

Russia's problems. (2) He can revert to a full-fledged command economy. He

does not seem willing to do that. That leaves him with the third option: (3)

He can try to reform the virtual economy to make it less destructive. This

seems to be the likely course. This means he will try to reduce the "leakage"

of value from the system, by reducing corruption. He will also try to make

the virtual economy more efficient (on its own terms) by certain

administrative changes designed to channel the distribution of value to

priority sectors (defense industry, nuclear industry).


#2 Russia appears to be a third world country with nuclear weapons. Many

Russian people are struggling in a weak economy. What should the United

States do to keep the Russian people supportive of democratic principles?

What greater oversights can be provided to guarantee that American assistance

reaches the Russian people and is not lost to corruption within Russia?


Leon Czikowsky

Harrisburg, Pa.



In your first three sentences, you have identified the three elements of

Russia's--and our--ultimate dilemma. Russia is now, and has for nearly nine

years, been trying to cope with an impossible burden: (1) create a market

economy; (2) establish a liberal democracy; and (3) ensure the security, even

the survival, of the nation. For about seven of those nine years, Russia

acted as though the three imperatives--market economy, liberal democracy, and

national security--were not impossible. It tried to accomplish the three

tasks in a manner more or less consistent with (many Russians would say,

"dictated by") our Western way of thinking. That is, they tried to implement

a full-fledged open market economy and a Western-style liberal democracy.

Meanwhile, and in order to concentrate on these two tasks, they put security

concerns on the back burner. The latter point seemed justified because, after

all, the "Cold War was over." The story of the 1990s, in my opinion, is that

Russians came to believe that they were going about things in the wrong way.

That is, they saw the democratic market reforms as a threat to their

survival. The economy was dangerously weak and the territorial integrity of

the country was threatened. This perception of national weakness was

reinforced in their minds by the experience of NATO expansion and the NATO

campaign in Kosovo. Mr. Putin's accession as president was tantamount to an

official national declaration that from this point on, national security

comes first in Russia. The conclusion to be drawn from this for the West is

that until Russia feels secure, it will not risk returning to a policy of

serious democratic and market economic reform.


#1 Dear Mr. Gaddy:


I have a couple of questions, answers of which may help me to partially defog

the fogged in Russia.


1. In the post-Yeltsin period, although it is at a nascent stage, Russia is

showing more interest toward China, India and Central Asia. Is it all because

of the so-called arms sale to India and China, and the fundamentalist-created

security threats in Central Asia, or do you perceive that Russia now wants to

play a role, not necessarily that of a rival, in the Pacific? What would be

Washington's reaction to that? If it turns out to be a mere hypothesis, then

Washington's reaction can also be a hypothetical one.


2. Putin really does not have much of a stature. One may surmise that Yeltsin

did neither. But, in this complex developmental stage, and a built-in

instability inside Russia which will not go away in a short time, what you

think the role that Putin play, considering his shortcomings? What is really

the network, not simply the Mafia and the former KGB, which can guide him and

to what direction? In other words, the people who have made alliance with

Putin, or got their future tied to him, what are their vision of a new



Thanking you in anticipation

Ramtanu Maitra



Two good questions.


1. At this point, I don't think we can read too much into Russia's increased

interest in China, India, and Central Asia. I would view it mainly as an

expression of Mr. Putin's pragmatism and electicism. (I'll probably come back

to those qualities in other answers, since I think they are what best

characterize him right now). That is, he will be looking at all areas of the

world to see what nations can be beneficial partners. I don't think that at

this stage Mr. Putin is looking to challenge the United States. One risk is

that Russian actions (or mere "interest") can be perceived as threatening to

the United States, thus provoking action on our part. That could lead to a

different dynamic than the one Mr. Putin intends.


2. Mr. Putin's vision of the future Russia is simple: he wants to make Russia

a strong and secure state, one that its citizens can take pride in. I am not

an expert in Kremlinology and don't want to speculate on who is "behind him".

But I do think that the overwhelming majority of Russians really do share his

vision, and in that sense they are behind him. They really WANT to believe it

can happen. That is why there is in Russia today more optimism about the

future than at any time since the beginning of the 1990s. This is

notwithstanding the war in Chechnya, and that is why this is surprising to

many Americans




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