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Johnson's Russia List
8 May 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
Zhirinovsky says West shows weakness to Love Bug
By Elizabeth Piper
MOSCOW, May 5 (Reuters) - Flamboyant Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovksy
poked fun on Friday at the Love Bug computer virus which has crippled
computer systems around the world, calling it yet another example of the
The Love Bug, a virus carried in an e-mail attachment saying ``ILOVEYOU,''
has wrought havoc with more than a million computers and cost over $1 billion
``A virus appears on computers in the West with a short phrase 'I Love You'.
That can be decoded as 'From Russia With Love','' Zhirinovsky told reporters,
referring to a film in the James Bond series.
Zhirinovsky, who heads what he calls the ``patriotic'' Liberal Democratic
Party (LDPR), said Moscow had paid too much heed to the West.
The bug, he said, clearly showed that Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin
would do better to turn his attention to countries such as Iran, Iraq and
``The West's hot passionate kisses are just false. Even women understand that
when a man kisses her passionately from head to toe he's actually her enemy,
I mean it's love only for a few hours,'' said Zhirinovsky, who has written a
book on sex.
Zhirinovksy criticised lenders like the International Monetary Fund for
making a $1 billion Russian credit for this year subject to conditions. He
said leaders in Iran and Iraq had told him they were willing to pay large
parts of Russian debts in return for increased trade and economic
``Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, they want our goods, and will give us their
goods, and give us their money...and we will see excellent economic
development,'' Zhirinovsky said.
Zhirinovsky, who has regularly backed Kremlin initiatives despite rambling,
often frenetic speeches against various leaders, said Russia was entering a
new epoch under Putin.
``It is the birth of Russia's power,'' he said of Putin, who is to be
inaugurated at the weekend. ``Patriotic power.''
RUSSIA NEEDS RESCUE EFFORTS WITHIN WEEKS - SOLZHENITSYN
MOSCOW. May 5 (Interfax) - The new Russian leaders must act quickly
to save the country, Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn told the
press in Moscow on Thursday.
The new leaders have failed so far to do anything encouraging or
putting the house in order but efforts to rescue the country must be
made within months and weeks, not years, he said.
"The main fields of our state, national economic, cultural and
moral life were destroyed or pilfered in the past decade. We live
literally among ruins and pretend that this is normal life,"
What he described as pseudo-reforms have impoverished a majority of
the population, he said.
The reforms, their evils should be criticized and disavowed,
Solzhenitsyn said. The authorities must be independent of financial
tycoons, he said.
Solzhenitsyn is worried that nothing is being done to fight
corruption while the whole of the state machine is rotten.
Asked what he thought of President-elect Vladimir Putin, he said
that his action rather than words or appearances must be the criterion.
"We will have this, probably bitter, experience," Solzhenitsyn said.
Solzhenitsyn, a war veteran, said that the Victory Day is also a
Day of Sorrow for the innumerable war dead. "Every country but ours has
a Remembrance Day," he said.
May 5, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
RUSSIA'S PEOPLE AND RULING ELITE MILES APART
By Maria KALASHNIKOVA
Those post-Yeltsin big shots have repeatedly advocated a
nationwide inventory dealing with the condition of Russian
society and our state as a whole. For its own part, the Agency
of Regional Political Studies (Russian acronym, ARPI) has
published a rather voluminous survey entitled "Russia's Public
Opinion". This survey sums up the results of regional opinion
polls over the 1999 period and early this year. You see, the
entire 10-year rule of Russia's democrats and market-economy
proponents had been reassessed throughout that period. It
turns out that they no longer enjoy any popular trust
whatsoever. The people of Russia, who have become sufficiently
immune toward all kinds of promises, and who no longer harbor
any illusions, apparently have a more sober-minded opinion of
the overall situation at this stage. The afore-said opinion
polls show that nationwide public moods are mostly
characterized by that widespread and persistent feeling of the
people's political alienation. First of all, Russia's citizens
understand only too well that they are unable to influence the
approval of important state-level decisions affecting people's
destinies. In the obtaining situation, any elections
constitute a certain ritual, with this country's population
voting because it has been asked to do this. Consequently, the
main "plot" of the December 1999 State Duma elections, e.g.
the redistribution of that tentative political "spectrum band"
within the centrist framework, was a bit superficial. Luzhkov
and Primakov, who are also considered to be centrists, had no
trouble enlisting the support of apolitical voters,
subsequently losing such votes to Putin and Unity.
Sociologists note that Russian society hasn't witnessed any
political restructuring whatsoever. On the contrary, yet
another redivision of power has taken place, with this
country's voters, who are gradually forgetting the names of
their candidates, failing to notice such developments all the
Speaking of Russia's powers-that-be and institutions of
state authority, that ten-year period of unfulfilled promises
and political irresponsibility has not gone unnoticed. Local
respondents were asked the following question: "Who should be
mostly blamed for the current economic situation?" 42 percent
of the pollees named Gaidar's government, what with another 29
percent blaming Chernomyrdin. Kiriyenko and Primakov are
blamed by seven percent and one percent of the pollees,
respectively. Most respondents don't trust a single public
institution. Incidentally, labor unions are less popular than
any other organization. Only the press and the Church, whose
popularity, nonetheless, keeps diminishing, apparently boast
relatively impressive public-confidence levels. Meanwhile the
people of Russia have started reverting to those traditional
authoritarian concepts, as they once again believe in a "kind
tsar", etc. Consequently, the nation's bigwigs should know
that they have failed to woo the people in an up-to-date and
democratic manner. Moreover, specific opinion-poll results
imply that neither party strives to attain this goal in real
earnest because this doesn't seem to be a very convenient
jump-off position for yet another stage of reforms.
54 percent of the pollees believe that President-elect
Vladimir Putin can improve the national economic situation.
Nonetheless, that barrier of political indifference has not
been overcome, what with all-out apathy and gloomy moods
dominating the scene. The program's authors complain that it's
pretty hard to conduct opinion polls because any nationwide
political discussion is nowhere to be seen. 30 percent of the
entire Russian population don't know anything about their
attitude toward the government's actions, also failing to
think about such an attitude. Various opinion polls dealing
with routine household matters evoke the greatest interest.
For example, 60 percent of all respondents intend to pick
mushrooms in summer, with another 80 percent voicing their
decision to stockpile foodstuffs for the winter season.
Therefore one can safely say that Russia's people and parties
will be disunited. Russian society has distanced itself from
the corridors of power, living all on its own.
Ekonomika i Zhizn
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
LEAVING DEBTS TO OUR GRANDCHILDREN
Every Russian, including newborns and the elderly, owes
foreign countries almost 1,100 dollars. If this debt is divided
only among those who work, with our average monthly wage of
1,830 rubles we will pay it for three years if we do not eat at
Forecast of Russia's foreign debts to individual countries
(as of Jan. 1, 2001, $bn)
Germany ............ 26.3 Finland .................... 0.6
Italy ............... 6.4 United Arab Emirates ....... 0.5
Japan ............... 4.0 Switzerland ................ 0.4
US .................. 3.8 Australia .................. 0.3
France .............. 3.7 Belgium .................... 0.3
Austria ............. 3.1 Denmark .................... 0.3
Britain ............. 1.7 Portugal ................... 0.1
Canada .............. 1.7 Sweden ..................... 0.1
South Korea ......... 1.4 Former socialist countries..13.5
Kuwait .............. 1.0 Others ..................... 0.8
Spain ............... 0.8 Total ..................... 71.5
The Netherlands ..... 0.6
Structure of Russia's foreign debt
(as of Jan. 1 of corresponding year, $bn)
1999 2000 2001*
National debt, including 156.6 158.0 158.0
loans from foreign governments ....... 68.9 67.7 71.5
loans from foreign banks and firms ... 36.1 37.8 12.4
loans from international
credit institutions .................. 22.2 19.4 20.0
state treasury bills.................. 27.1 26.7 46.7
loans from the Bank of Russia ........ 2.3 6.4 7.4
Source: Finance Ministry of the Russian Federation
Newly inaugurated Putin gets down to business
By Elizabeth Piper
MOSCOW, May 8 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin, fresh from a
glittering inauguration ceremony in the Kremlin, gets down to business on
Monday with a trip to the southern town of Kursk to meet war veterans ahead
of Victory Day.
Putin, who was sworn in as president amid much pomp on Sunday, was due in
Kursk, scene of the biggest tank battle in history, to meet veterans ahead of
the May 9 holiday when Russians celebrate the end of World War Two.
The former KGB spy, who has pledged to make his country great again and to
pay greater attention to the military, is keen to mark Victory Day, when the
military stages parades all over the country.
Putin, who became president on Sunday in Russia's first democratic transfer
of power, vowed to unite the nation and take care of the country he inherited
from Boris Yeltsin at a Kremlin ceremony soaked in symbolism.
In a sign that Putin wanted to start work immediately, he named 42-year-old
Mikhail Kasyanov acting prime minister just hours after the ceremony ended.
Kasyanov, the outgoing first deputy premier and finance minister, is almost
certain to be nominated for parliamentary approval and to win it. He is well
known in the West as a financial expert and foreign debt negotiator.
At a cabinet meeting, Putin also told ministers after they formally resigned
that he hoped most would stay on.
VOWS TO UNITE RUSSIANS
``I consider it my sacred duty to unite the people of Russia and to gather
citizens around clearly defined tasks and aims and to remember, every minute
of every day, that we are one nation and one people,'' he said in a 10-minute
acceptance speech crowning his meteoric eight-month rise to power.
Putin, 47, was all but unknown until Yeltsin made him premier last August. He
won the presidential election on March 26, three months after Yeltsin
resigned and made him acting president.
At Sunday's evening reception in the state Kremlin palace, Putin told a room
full of politicians that Russia should not await any miracles.
``We will not promise any quick miracles, but we are ready to undertake our
work professionally and efficiently,'' he said.
The inauguration appeared to galvanise a rare unity among Russia's
``We saw a new man from a new generation who thinks in concrete, concise
fashion and who understands why he became president,'' Mikhail Lapshin of the
Agrarians, no natural ally of Putin's, told private NTV television.
Putin, whose leap to the Kremlin was aided by his tough stance on breakaway
Chechnya, earlier on Sunday also praised Russia's troops, saying they
continued the best tradition of ``bravery and heroism'' shown by Soviet
troops in World War Two.
Chechen rebels attacked a Russian column and staged acts of sabotage in an
apparent bid to ruin Putin's inauguration day.
The rebels planted bombs under railway tracks and shot at military
checkpoints in Chechnya but failed to stage any large-scale operations as
TEXT-Text of Putin's inauguration speech
MOSCOW, May 7 (Reuters) - Here is the text of Vladimir Putin's speech
delivered on Sunday at his inauguration as Russia's new president in a
ceremony at the Kremlin.
(Text translated by Reuters and BBC Monitoring; about 850 words)
Respected citizens of Russia, dear friends, I am addressing you today, you in
particular, because you have entrusted me with the highest post in the
I am aware that I have undertaken a huge responsibility and I know that the
head of state in Russia has always been and will always be responsible for
everything, for everything that is happening in the country.
On leaving the Kremlin, the first president of Russia, Boris Nikolayevich
Yeltsin, made remarks which many would remember. He reminded us of those
words today. He said and repeated in this hall today: take care of Russia.
This is how I see my main task as president. I will expect my colleagues to
fulfil this duty as well. I am hoping that my fellow compatriots and all
those who hold dear the destiny of their fatherland will help in this
I also want to thank my supporters today, all those who voted for me during
the election. You expressed your support for the first steps that were made.
You believed that together we could change life for the better.
I am deeply grateful to you for this but I understand that your support is
only an advance to the authorities as a whole and, of course, to myself, who
is assuming office as the country's president.
I appeal also to those who voted for other candidates. I am convinced that
you voted for our common future, for our common goals, for a better life, for
a flourishing and strong Russia. Each one of us has his own experience, his
own views, but we must be together. We have to do a great many things
Today is truly a historic day. I wish to focus attention on this once more.
In actual fact, for the first time in the entire history of our state, for
the first time in Russian history, supreme power in the country is being
transferred in the most democratic and most simple way: through the will of
the people - legally and peacefully.
The transfer of power is always a test of the constitutional system, a test
of its strength. It is true that this is not the first test for us. Clearly
it is not the last one.
However, we have gone through this trial, this stage, with dignity. We have
proved that Russia is becoming a truly modern democratic state. The peaceful
succession of power is the crucial element of the political stability we have
dreamed of, to which we have aspired and which we have sought.
The movement towards a free society has not been easy. There have been both
tragic and bright stages in our history. The establishment of a democratic
state is a process still far from completion.
However, a great deal has already been done. We must safeguard what has been
achieved, maintain and develop democracy, ensure that the authorities elected
by the people work in their interests, defend Russian citizens everywhere,
both inside and outside our country, and serve the society. This is my
convinced firm position. I have defended it and intend to continue defending
For today's solemn event we are gathered here, in the Kremlin, a place which
is sacred for our people. The Kremlin is the heart of our national memory.
Our country's history has been shaped here, inside the Kremlin walls, over
centuries. And we do not have the right to be heedless of our past. We must
not forget anything.
We must know our history, know it as it really is, draw lessons from it and
always remember those who created the Russian state, championed its dignity
and made it a great, powerful and mighty state.
We shall preserve that memory, and we shall preserve that tradition through
the ages. We shall hand down to our descendants all that is best in our
history - all that is best.
Respected citizens of Russia, we believe in our strength, in our ability to
really transform and transfigure the country. We have common goals. We want
our Russia to be a free, prosperous, rich, strong and civilised country, a
country of which its citizens are proud and which is respected in the world.
During the past few months, both in Moscow and during meetings in the Russian
regions, I have sensed your understanding and your support, and very often
from people, from the most ordinary people, in the squares and streets of our
towns I have heard very simple words, but words that are very important to
me. They said: we believe you, we are counting on you.
Don't deceive us. I can assure you that in my work I will be guided only by
the interests of the state. There may well be mistakes but I can promise you,
and indeed I do promise you, that I will work openly and honestly. I consider
it my sacred duty to unite the people of Russia, to gather citizens around
clearly defined tasks and aims and to remember, every minute of every day,
that we are one nation and one people. We have one common future.
TEXT-Yeltsin's speech at the Kremlin inauguration
MOSCOW, May 7 (Reuters) - Following is the text of former President Boris
Yeltsin's speech at the inauguration of Vladimir Putin as Russia's new
president in the Kremlin on Sunday.
The speech was broadcast live on Russian television. (Translation by Reuters
and BBC monitoring, about 450 words):
Respected participants in this solemn ceremony, dear Russian citizens.
I congratulate you on a historic event in the life of the country. A new
Russian president has officially entered office. I wish Vladimir
Vladimirovich Putin success in implementing the difficult duties of a
president with dignity. I wish all the Russian people happiness and
Today is one of the most emotional days in the life of each Russian citizen,
especially in the life of presidents. We must build a new Russia. To do this,
a new generation of statesmen and politicians, who firmly adhere to the
values of democracy, is coming. It will be easier for them. They are much
less than us bound by habits of the past. They handle old dogmas with more
courage and come out victorious.
For me, this day is also very special and very emotional, although, to be
honest, I did not expect it to be.
Yes, we wrote the history of the new Russia from scratch, by trial and error,
so to speak. There were many demanding trials and difficulties. But now we
all have something to be proud of. Russia has changed. It has changed because
we guarded it like the apple of the eye and resolutely defended our most
important achievement - freedom.
We preserved a deserving place for Russia in the world community. We did not
let the country slide into dictatorship and prevented discord. We paved the
way for people to live normally. Successes on this path is a matter of time
and intense work. Taking place today, for the first time in a century, is a
legal transfer of powers from one head of state to another.
Of course, this is not easy, but we can be proud that this is taking place
without coups d'etat, putsches or revolutions. It is taking place peacefully,
respectfully and with dignity. This is possible only in a free country, which
has stopped fearing not only others but itself too, its own power, having
freed its own citizens and given them liberty.
This is, of course, possible only in a new Russia, which has taught people to
think and live freely. Respected Russian citizens.
>From today, the official countdown of the presidency of Vladimir Putin
begins. I pass on to him not only the symbol of the president's power. The
most important thing he is receiving is the responsibility for the future of
the country and all Russians. This is why, today, I want to wish you,
Vladimir Vladimirovich, success and good luck.
Russians remember you and, together with them, you will move forward. These
words are sincere, they come from the bottom of my heart. I cannot do it any
other way because I lived through it all myself. Your goal is to live up to
these hopes. I want to repeat the words which I told you some time ago: look
ANALYSIS-Russian politicians wait for Putin's plan
By Ron Popeski
MOSCOW, May 7 (Reuters) - Vladimir Putin's inauguration as president on
Sunday cast him as a hero basking in acclaim, but Russian politicians and
their constituents will now be waiting for concrete results with the economy
and post-Soviet reforms.
Putin was sworn in at a glittering Kremlin ceremony carefully staged to
underscore his role as a leader of a new generation in sharp contrast with
his predecessor Boris Yeltsin, whose frailty was blatant in a brief speech.
The new president avoided concrete promises in his address in the Kremlin's
newly-renovated St Andrew Hall, pledging to ``unite the people of Russia and
to gather citizens around the clearly-defined tasks and aims and to remember,
every minute of every day, that we are one nation and we are one people.''
Within hours, he had got down to business at a cabinet meeting and nominated
Mikhail Kasyanov as acting prime minister. Putin also expressed hope that
most members of his outgoing administration would remain in place.
Kasyanov, the outgoing first deputy premier and finance minister, is almost
certain to be nominated for parliamentary approval and to win it. His
nomination was an indication that Putin would leave the economy, buoyed by
high world oil prices, to Kasyanov and tackle other matters himself.
The swearing-in and inaugural cabinet meeting, carefully stage managed for
television, will have held little interest for many Russians who fled the
city on a holiday weekend to tend gardens at country homes which help them
make ends meet.
Many have exhibited far more passion this week at the abysmal standing of
Russia's ice hockey team, all but eliminated from the world championships on
home turf in St Petersburg.
But the solemn nature of the ceremony staged in the Kremlin, symbol of power
and historical pride -- appeared to galvanise a rare unity among politicians
-- for however short a period.
CEREMONY CALMS POLITICAL PASSIONS -- FOR NOW
``We saw a new man from a new generation who thinks in concrete, concise
fashion and who understands why he became president,'' Mikhail Lapshin of the
Agrarians, no natural ally of Putin's, told private NTV television.
He said it reminded him of 1950s Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev urging
communist party leaders to get down to work and deal with clearly established
Some were nonetheless quick to seek clarification of Putin's programme, which
remained vague throughout his election campaign and is still being drafted by
a Moscow think-tank.
Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, a distant second in the March election,
urged Putin to announce his policies quickly. He told Interfax news agency
his first measures should help pensioners whose savings were wiped out in
Financial tycoon and parliamentarian Boris Berezovsky, close to Yeltsin's
administration, told Interfax Putin ``must choose a strategy for the economy,
political life and state development.''
``Boris Yeltsin has accomplished a historic task,'' he said. ``The task Putin
has to tackle is strategic.''
Putin said during the campaign that he found election promises repugnant and
would make no pledge he could not keep.
His statements during and since have been confined to creating a strong
post-Soviet Russia, defeating Chechen separatists and establishing a
``dictatorship of law'' and business opportunities with a level playing field
He also staged diplomatic coups, persuading parliament to ratify the START-2
nuclear disarmament pact and conferring publicly with the prime ministers of
Britain and Japan.
But some commentators suggested Putin might lack the skill to overcome
Russia's deep financial and social problems and forge a consensus with both
politicians and the competing business interests that played such a role in
the Yeltsin era.
``He needs political will, imagination and skill and perhaps in two or three
years he can begin to turn around living standards. But this is going to take
a long time,'' Tom Graham of the Carnegie Endowment think tank told Cable
``A big question mark is whether Putin has the political skill to forge this
consensus at more than abstract level in terms of concrete practices and
Muscovites hope Putin can reverse Russian decline
By Gareth Jones
MOSCOW, May 7 (Reuters) - Muscovites said on Sunday they hoped newly
inaugurated President Vladimir Putin would bring order and prosperity to
Russia after years of upheaval and poverty, but they acknowledged he faced a
Most people quizzed by Reuters on a bright but blustery day in the Russian
capital said they liked and respected Putin, a 47-year-old former KGB spy
whose inauguration took place in the tsarist splendour of the Grand Kremlin
``I like him very much. He is clever, energetic, young. We have great
expectations that he can change our life for the better,'' said retired
teacher Maria Afanasyeva.
``But we had similar hopes of Boris Yeltsin and they proved ill-founded,''
she added with a sad smile. ``Maybe we Russians are too trusting. It is very
easy to deceive us.''
Yeltsin, now 69, rode to power a decade ago amid high hopes that he would
turn the country into a prosperous democracy. Russia remains a democracy, but
millions have been plunged into poverty and corruption is rife at all levels
Putin became acting president after Yeltsin, his patron, resigned on December
31 after recurrent bouts of illness and amid allegations of corruption in his
entourage. Putin won a resounding victory in the March 26 presidential
KGB PAST WORRIES FEW
Muscovites did not seem particularly concerned about Putin's shadowy past in
the KGB, but conceded that they still knew little about their new president,
who was virtually unknown until Yeltsin appointed him as prime minister last
``It is good that Putin has a KGB past. We need a strong hand and he should
be able to restore order,'' said Afanasyeva.
Law student Katya Teterevyatnikova agreed. ``I voted for Putin, though I
don't really know much about him. I guess it was because I like the way he
looks, young and fit.''
She said she was only worried that Putin might decide to move Russia's
capital from Moscow to his home city of St Petersburg, the tsarist-era
capital. Some politicians have mooted such a possibility in recent days,
though the expense involved makes such a move very unlikely.
Viktor, 55, said he thought Putin would restore national unity following the
collapse of the Soviet Union and the confused, stop-go reforms which followed
``Putin has made a good start. He has started to unite the country again.
Yeltsin was responsible for breaking things up,'' he said as he took his dog
for a morning stroll.
``I like the fact that the oligarchs like (Boris) Berezovsky have suddenly
gone quiet. They have withdrawn into the shadows,'' said Viktor, who declined
to give his family name.
In Yeltsin's declining years, powerful businessmen like Berezovsky reportedly
wielded considerable influence in the Kremlin, contributing to an atmosphere
of intrigue and unaccountability which helped erode the president's
Putin has vowed to combat corruption and to build a state based on the
``dictatorship of the law'' where none enjoy special privileges. It is still
not clear how he will do this.
PUTIN SEEN AS MAN OF ACTION
But for now, Russians seem ready to give Putin the benefit of the doubt and
to dwell on his positive points, notably -- for them -- his tough stance on
``He is a man of action and few words,'' said Mikhail, a white-haired man in
his late 50s. ``We have to hope he will do the right things.''
``I really admire your Margaret Thatcher,'' he added, referring to the
British former prime minister whom the Soviets dubbed the Iron Lady. ``Now if
Putin can govern like her, Russia really will be on the path to recovery.''
Student Denis Rusakov, 18, said he was worried about being called up to the
army and being sent to fight in Chechnya.
``I hope Putin will introduce a professional army instead of one based on
conscription,'' he said.
But he added that he did not think Putin's election would change things so
much. ``In this country, we have got used to getting by without our
politicians. I don't think they can make much difference.''
International Herald Tribune
May 5, 2000
[for personal use only]
The Russians Need Outsiders to Expect Them to Be Responsible
By Flora Lewis
STOCKHOLM - When a group of eminent international experts met here last week
to discuss ''The Future of Russia,'' the outlook offered was glum. Nobody,
including the Russians present, really expected the crucial next two or three
years to bring the deep reforms considered necessary to put the country on
the track to recovery.
A remarkably lucid, articulate Russian woman said her greatest fear was not
anti-democratic forces but that those considered liberals who are now more or
less in charge will fail to face the urgent problems and will lose all
credibility in the population for the ideas and values of liberalism.
The conference was organized by the InterAction Council, a club of former
heads of government whose honorary chairman is the former German Chancellor
Politicians and the invited experts objected that there was too much
pessimism. Some new, carefully selected statistics were provided to show that
the downward slide is over and the turnaround has begun. That has been a
recurrent theme for at least the last five years, a point that nobody had the
unkindness to mention.
It was as though to be politically correct, anywhere, requires an assertion
of optimism for Russia. There has to be hope, even if it turns out to be
difficult to justify on a close look at where things are going.
Vladimir Putin, the newly elected president, is seen as pragmatic, energetic
and efficient. Some complain that he is such a patient, willing listener that
he gives no clue as to his reactions. He has always been a No. 2, an
accepting underling. He is hard to know, which invites the question whether
there may not be much more there beneath the surface.
He lived for a number of years in East Germany, as a KGB agent who also
traveled to the Federal Republic, so he has some personal experience of the
Regardless of his personality, which leaves an ambiguous, almost neutral
impression, Mr. Putin faces a straightforward, mind-boggling dilemma which
his cool manner may help him to address but which is almost beyond logic. He
must make some very basic, far-reaching, emotional as well as
power-challenging changes in the way Russia runs, and quite soon, while
acknowledging that the interests which support him and the foreign powers
which worry about how to deal with him want, above all, stability.
This is reasonable, and delicate. Nobody wants Russia to blow. Despite the
romantic violence of a few extremists, the whole idea of revolution as
solution is finished. Revolution provokes troubles, it doesn't ease them.
Perhaps, if we can take a long enough view, this awareness might be
considered a beneficial ultimate result of the Bolsheviks.
There is wide and strong conviction, among both Russians and foreign experts,
that Russia certainly will not revert to a Communist regime, despite the
sturdy survival of Communist Party organization and the loose, flimsily
articulated structure of other parties. But the demise of communism does not
assure by any means that a vigorous democratic system will take its place.
There will need to be, according to Russian analysts, an end to what they
call ''the fusion of power,'' that is, the merger of capital and control so
that each reinforces the other and prevents the evolution of real
self-government, real market operations.
Even some of the most basic laws are missing. It is pointed out that the very
idea of property - that is, essentially land - was only introduced in 1785.
Before that, everything belonged to the czar.
Yet the development of a healthy, viable Russia that can make a satisfactory
member of the world community is so urgent for all concerned that the hope
takes on conviction.
It will no longer do to accept the one-man system and deal with Russia as
though only the leader counted. Involvement with the rest of the world is
necessary at all levels, in all parts of this vast country.
We cannot predict just what it is going to do, but the time has come to deal
realistically and objectively, neither demonizing Moscow nor sugarcoating the
relationship. The burden of effort falls ineluctably on the Russians
themselves. They need and deserve not patronizing condescension or blind
indulgence but the respect of being expected to live up to their
RUSSIAN CABINET TO CONTINUE PRIVATIZATION POLICY
MOSCOW. May 5 (Interfax) - The Russian Cabinet will continue the
privatization policy, State Property Fund head Igor Shuvalov told the
ORT channel on Thursday.
"Over 30,000 state-run unitary enterprises can be transformed into
companies whose shares will be offered for sale," he said.
On the other hand, "all-out privatization is not on the agenda any
more and is not likely to be," Shuvalov said.
The proposed sale of the stock of Lukoil, Rosneft, Slavneft and
ONAKO oil companies is not designed to improve the budget revenue, he
Rather, the goal is to change the structure of the capital in those
companies while the budget is indeed in good shape, as the Cabinet is
saying, Shuvalov said.
All the same, a higher budget revenue would do no harm, he said.
The state intends to be "an active player working for higher prices
of oil shares on the Russian and foreign markets," Shuvalov said.
"We propose to sell small packages of shares in those companies
while keeping control in the state's hands for the benefit of both the
state and the companies," he said.
From: Wayne Merry <email@example.com>
Subject: Washington Seminar on Russia's 'Old Believers'
Date: Fri, 5 May 2000
Washington Seminar on Russia's 'Old Believers': The Atlantic Council of the
United States invites you to a discussion on "Russia's 'Old Believers': A
Traditional Religious Community in the New Russia", on Monday, May 15, 2000
from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., in The Atlantic Council Conference Room, 11th Floor,
910 17th Street NW (west side of Farragut Square, between I and K Streets).
Russian Orthodox Church reforms in the mid-17th Century created a rift in
Russian society persisting to this day. After 350 years of opposition, the
Old Believers remain resilient in their communities and their faith across
Russia (and in parts of the US). This program will examine the Old
Believers as an aspect of post-Soviet Russia's society and human rights
development. Panelists: Elena Smilianskaya, Moscow State University and
Kennan Institute Scholar, and Richard A. Morris, Adjunct professor, REESC,
University of Oregon, Eugene. For further information, please telephone
Date: Wed, 03 May 2000
From: Susan Gilman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Central Asia & The Caucasus (Sweden)
Dear Johnson List Members:
˘Central Asia & The Caucasus÷ (Sweden), issue No. 2 (2000) has just been
published and is in the process of being mailed. This issue takes a
compelling look at the relationships between the Central Asian and
Caucasian States and the West; and examines prospects for their future
relations. We have an impressive group of contributors to this issue
* Dr. Ariel Cohen, leading analyst with The Heritage Foundation
(USA), who examines U.S. interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus
and the challenges ahead,
* The Honorable Alikbek Dzhekshenkulov, First Deputy Foreign Minister
of Kyrgyzstan, looks at the role of the West in the Central Asian
* while the Honorable Murat Laumulin, First Secretary of the
Kazakhstan Embassy in Germany (Ph.D. History), takes a
retrospective look at KazakhstanĂs relations with the West during
Also included are insightful examinations of:
* Japan and Central Asia's partnership written by Irina Komissina,
senior scientific researcher at the Russian Strategic Research
* The Israel-Turkey-Azerbaijan Triangle: Present and Future by Anar
Veliev of the TURAN Analytical Information Agency (Azerbaijan).
A sampling of other articles from this issue includes:
* The Role of Central Asia and the Caucasus in the CIS Economy
* The Formation of Regional Cooperation Models in GUUAM
* The Central Asian States and the Economic Cooperation Organization
* On Two Sides of the Border: Georgia and Chechnya
* The Karabakh Conflict: Is There A Way Out?
* Islamophobia and Religious Legislation in Daghestan
* Power Engineering in the Armenian Economy
* The Turkmen Model of Democracy
* Jews in Azerbaijan: Past & Future
* Approach to Tamerlane: Tradition & Innovation
* Interviews with Vladislav Ardzinba, President of Abkhazia and with
Tamaz Nadareishvili, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the
Abkhazian Autonomous Republic
We are confident you will find this issue of ˘Central Asia & The
Caucasus÷ absorbing and thought provoking in its analysis of this
increasingly important region.
˘Central Asia & The Caucasus÷ is published bimonthly in Sweden by the
Central Asia and The Caucasus Information and Analytical Center and
edited by Dr. Murad Esenov.
Published in Russian since 1995 ˘Central Asia & The Caucasus÷ is
distributed in 35 countries and is one of the premier journals examining
the regions of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The English language
edition debuted in February and already counts amongst its subscribers
some of the world's leading research institutes and researchers,
libraries and, governmental and non-governmental organizations.
To those of you who have already subscribed, we thank you. To those who
would like to subscribe please use the attached order form in which you
will also find price information. Should you wish to place an order
please return the form to me and I will process it immediately.
If you have any additional questions or should you have any difficulties
opening the attached file, please feel free to contact me.
We look forward to receiving your order.
Director, Sales & Subscription Services
Central Asia & The Caucasus (Sweden)
Date: Fri, 05 May 2000
From: "JOSEPH DRESEN" <DRESENJO@WWIC.SI.EDU>
Subject: Vladimir Voinovich at Kennan Institute
The Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies is pleased to invite you
to a seminar with guest speaker
writer, Munich, Germany,
and former Fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center
(Among the works by Vladimir Voinovich translated into English are:
"The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin", "The
Ivankiad", "Anti-Soviet Soviet Union", "Moscow 2042", "The Fur Hat" and
"Russia: Anticipating the Strong Hand"
Wednesday, May 10, 2000
2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Conference Room, 5th Floor
The Kennan Institute
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
The Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
If you need directions, please call us at (202) 691-4100
Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Please bring picture
identification to get through the Wilson Center's security procedures.
Subject: PBS "Frontline" on US-Russia Relations
From: JensenD@rferl.org (Donald Jensen)
Date: Sun, 7 May 2000 1
Readers of the Russia List may be interested in viewing the PBS Frontline
program , "The Return of the Czar," to be broadcast Tuesday evening, May 9
(Frontline usually airs between 9 and 11 pm in major US markets, so readers
should check their local listings). The program is an overview of US-Russia
relations since the fall of the Soviet Union, with footage shot in Russia and
The tv documentary is in collaboration with National Public Radio, which is
going to run a six part daily series with the same title beginning Monday
on Morning Edition. Anne Garrelts will host and may excerpt parts of the tv
Donald N. Jensen
Associate Director of Broadcasting
Prague, Czech Republic
Date: Fri, 05 May 2000
From: Tom Moore [Washington hand]
Subject: Liakhov's comments in JRL No. 4281
I would like to respond to Mr. Liakhov's comments in JRL No. 4281,
dated May 3, 2000.
[The views expressed here are my own entirely and do not represent
the views of my employer and are only for the purposes of debate. ]
I have observed, both in testimony before Congress and in informal
talks with those interested in the area of arms control, that there is
a common thread woven into the fabric of both sides' positions. Mr.
Liakhov too touches this theme. The "lost direction" to which Liakhov
refers does exist, though it leads to different conclusions than those
he infers, and certainly poses new questions regarding both Russian
and American nuclear arsenals. My thinking is that this direction is
not so dangerous nor should it be considered so for Russian interests.
Mr. Liakhov writes that
"[this] same `lost direction' syndrome is evident in the
USA in the debate on 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."
Maybe one of the most tiresome phrases uttered by political leaders
today is "With the end of the Cold War." Surely, the Cold War has
ended, so we must look beyond its end. The Cold War has left intact
arms control treaties applicable to the strategic calculations of the
Soviet Union and the United States, not Putin's Russian Federation and
the next American president. What these treaties, and indeed those
negotiators, never anticipated was that the world they knew would
cease to exist in a mere three to four decades. The confusion
resulting from the end of the Cold War has, I believe, touched off a
flurry of (useful) argument over how big the US arsenal should be and
to what extent we can lower our number of weapons before a reliable
deterrent capability is no more. That problem has been increased by
several orders of magnitude in Russia, where problems of simply
securing the stockpile from theft and degradation plague an already
demoralized military and society.
My observation is essentially this: If the Cold War is over, then
why do we labor on under its policies and calculations in the area of
arms control? If the Cold War is over, why does Russia look at US
plans to build a limited missile defense system (which is not aimed at
defending America from Russian attack, nor could it) against rogue
states as a sign of aggressive intent? The "increase of threat"
referenced above does not come from Russia, and the United States has
repeatedly said so. My question here would be: If Russia does not
want the United States to treat it as a threat, then why do they
threaten retaliation when America tries to defend itself?
What American thinking does in fact reflect is that the nuclear
genie is out of the bottle (another Cold War legacy) and that states
other than Russia and the United States are developing systems capable
of threatening both the United States and Russia. The question for
both Russia and the United States in not whether an imbalance exists
between them, but whether our shared fate of a nuclear world can best
be regulated by a preexisting framework based on arrangements made 30
I suppose you could argue that the legacy of arms control is the
peace dividend, and that we must protect it. Yet, again, those
agreements did not anticipate the undoing of the order they
protected-a bilateral, nuclear world that no longer parallels reality.
Mr. Liakhov also states that it would be "extremely short-sighted"
not to take into account Russian views in this new world. The fact
the United States has committed to building a missile defense system
or that it has offered membership in NATO to former Warsaw Pact states
does not mean that it has ceased to consider Russia an important
player on the international scene. Indeed, and unfortunately, we may
both still be thinking too much on what the other's calculation will
be. What it may mean is that Russian views are now part of a larger
global community, and that there are other voices and views that we
must now consider, and that there are others with developing weapons
programs against which we must defend ourselves.
This direction may not be "lost" but merely new, and new questions
of purpose and power are coming to the fore. We must be sure to what
ends our arsenals and agreements are directed, and this is a natural,
though new, part of the present international situation. It is not a
sign of US "imperialist hung[er]" or its desire to act as some kind of
balancer state. As our relations with Russia change, so should our
treaties with it.
Putin was destined for a great career -- teacher
By Elizabeth Piper
MOSCOW, May 7 (Reuters) - Vera Guryevich said she always knew Vladimir Putin
would have a great career, but the former KGB spy's school teacher said on
Sunday she never expected him to become Russia's president.
Guryevich watched Putin, one of her proteges, become Russia's president in a
glittering Kremlin ceremony where he vowed to unite the nation and take care
of the country to fanfare and much applause.
``It's difficult to believe that one of my pupils has become president of the
country. But I always knew he would have a brilliant career,'' Guryevich, a
short white-haired woman, told RTR state television before she left for the
``He always had that kind of explosive character, he was irrepressible, he
was always on the move. At first I couldn't imagine how he would use his
energy. I watched him and wondered what would he do with it,'' she said,
beaming from ear to ear.
Putin, who studied in Russia's second city of St Petersburg, said in a book
based on extensive interviews that he was so keen to be a spy he walked into
the KGB's local headquarters as a wide-eyed schoolboy to ask for a job.
Putin said his offer of service was rebuffed but he pursued his dream of
becoming a spy when he left school and studied law in his native St
Three of his classmates in Russia's imperial capital were also shown on RTR
watching Putin's half-hour long inauguration ceremony.
``He looks relaxed, yes, he looks good,'' they said to each other, as Putin
swore a short oath of office and took a military salute on an ancient square
in the Kremlin.
``Whenever I listen to him speaking, I can close my eyes and it is as if he's
speaking in the classroom,'' said Irina Filippova, who studied with him in St
She said he had always been one of the smartest members of class and was
always conscientious and hardworking.
``He was always neat and I can't remember a time when he did not wear a
tie,'' she said, sharing what was clearly a common joke among the friends.
Pavel Vinogradov said Putin was a bit of a joker, something which may
surprise those used to watching the steely former spy in television
``He had a subtle sense of humour and irony,'' Vinogradov said. ``And I can
still see it in his interviews.''
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