This Date's Issues: 4343 • 4344
Johnson's Russia List
3 June 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Moscow Times EDITORIAL: Clinton Owes Us Introspection.
2. Bloomberg: Clinton, Putin May Agree on Economics, Not on
3. Paul Balaran: Carnegie Moscow Center Director.
4. Bernard Black: What Went Wrong with Russian Privatization and
5. Judy Twigg: New book: Russia's Torn Safety Nets.
6. Komsomolskaya Pravda: Boris Nemtsov: School Should Not Turn Into
7. APN: Iosif Diskin, Reform of the Federation: wrangle is suitable
8. The Economist (UK): A Mortgage Market in Russia.
9. Financial Times (UK): Andrew Jack, Russia moves on tax
10. Vremya MN: YOU ASK, WE ANSWER. (polls and commentary)
11. Washington Times: Paul M. Weyrich and Edward Lozansky,
A joint missile defense.
12. Bruce Slawter: IT S THE NUKES, STUPID! An Analysis of How
the Security Issues Discussed at the Summit Might Affect the
Bush-Gore Race for the Presidency.]
June 3, 2000
EDITORIAL: Clinton Owes Us Introspection
As part of his three-day visit to Moscow, U.S. President Bill Clinton will
speak to ordinary Russians on Ekho Moskvy radio. He will also be the first
American president ever to address the Russian parliament. And he will be in
a unique position to offer some long overdue blunt talk: He is leaving office
soon, which frees him to circumvent the day-to-day niceties; and his audience
is likely to be favorably disposed, because he has spent much of this decade
talking up Boris Yeltsin and Russia.
So how should he use this rare window? This could be Clinton's farewell to
Russia, and the time is long past for exhortations to be patient with reform;
does he have anything to say?
Why is ORT Channel 1 still controlled by Boris Berezovsky? Why does that
television station smear the Kremlin's rivals as gays and Jews? How can
Vladimir Putin explain his government's truculent thuggishness toward
journalists like Andrei Babitsky, Alexander Khinshtein and the MOST-Media
group? Why doesn't parliament want to open an investigation into who was
behind the September apartment bombings that killed 300 people? Why should
the Press Ministry forbid mass media from offering interviews with Chechen
rebel leaders? Why isn't the Kremlin interested in seriously investigating
well-documented accounts of atrocities by Russian troops?
These are the sorts of questions Clinton should ask, and he should ask them
publicly - in parliament, or on Ekho Moskvy. Until now, only Berezovsky seems
able to foster even a limp, half-hearted public debate, with his occasional
think-piece open letters. Is Clinton worse than Berezovsky? Why can't Clinton
get Russians talking again about where we are all headed? If Clinton wants
Russians to think clearly and bravely about the future, he must lead by
example - and speak clearly and bravely about the present, and the past.
(True, that could mean problems for Al Gore. Is it worth it?)
We will no doubt be told that Clinton has privately expressed concerns to
Putin about atrocities in Chechnya, or corruption, or the state of speech
freedoms. But that is not good enough, and the international press corps
should immediately rejection any talk of Clinton's noble private struggles:
The leaders of two democracies are obliged to discuss issues like Chechnya in
Yeltsin's administration and its privatization program have been embraced by
the Clinton administration, even though both were co-opted by corrupt
interests. As Clinton has applauded, or at best hemmed and hawed, Russia has
seen rigged auctions for the oil companies, two atrocity-rich wars in
Chechnya and the collapse of financial markets designed by Americans and
played by Americans.
Clinton has apologized to other nations for less; he owes Russia at minimum
some genuine introspection about how this lost decade slipped so out of
We would also urge the American president to challenge the cant that Russia
needs "a strong state." When the West signs off on this vague new fashionable
term, they are signing off on authoritarian rule, on a creeping rollback of
civil rights and liberties - and on the certainty of more corruption and
stagnation, which would surely accompany a velvet dictatorship. Russia needs
democracy and free speech if it wants to weed out corruption and live in a
prosperous, open society - and that's why Clinton should not lend his name to
"strong state" talk.
Clinton, Putin May Agree on Economics, Not on Arms
Moscow, June 3 (Bloomberg)
-- U.S. President Bill Clinton, arriving in Moscow today for his first
summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is likely to find common ground
on economic issues while sidestepping differences on arms control.
``Putin's views on economic priorities are compatible with those of the West
in general,'' said Alan Rousso, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. ``He
has stated his overall intention to crack down on corruption and money
laundering and create a level playing field for local and foreign
Clinton may confirm U.S. support for a resumption of International Monetary
Fund lending to Russia, Rousso said. Putin and Clinton should also agree to
destroy 34 tons of weapons- grade plutonium, said Sandy Berger, Clinton's
national security adviser.
Clinton may be less successful in his effort to persuade Russia to amend the
1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty so the U.S. can build a limited missile
defense system. Russian officials have said they'd oppose the changes, though
Putin this week said he'd consider a proposal by Clinton to share some
nuclear missile defense technology with allies.
Putin said the U.S. and Russia could build a nuclear shield ``jointly'' and
protect all of Europe against potential attacks by rogue nations such as
North Korea or Iraq.
``Such systems are possible if we pool our efforts and direct them toward
neutralizing threats against the United States, Russia, our allies or Europe
in general,'' Putin said in an interview with NBC News. ``We have such
proposals and we intend to discuss them with President Clinton.''
U.S. defense officials said it's premature to discuss a joint missile defense
because Clinton has yet to decide whether to start deploying the U.S. system.
He's scheduled to decide by October after more testing of the system being
developed by Boeing Co., Raytheon Co., and TRW Inc.
The first flight test intercepted its target, a dummy warhead; the second
missed in the last 10 seconds.
Still, the program draws support from both major U.S. political parties, said
Nancy Roman, senior vice president of the G-7 Group, Washington-based
political forecasters. ``This is a defensive system,'' Roman said. ``It is
extremely attractive politically and it will be hard to stop the U.S.
Congress from throwing money at it.''
For now, the U.S. is offering to share some anti-missile technology with
Russia. ``We've talked to them about the RAMOS satellite system, which stands
for Russian-American Satellite System, which is an experimental warning
system that we would do jointly with the Russians,'' said U.S. Department of
Defense spokesman Ken Bacon.
``We are in the process of . . . setting up a shared early warning center in
Moscow,'' Bacon said.
`Part of Europe'
Clinton -- who will become the first U.S. president to address the Russian
parliament and will take callers' questions on national radio during the
three-day visit -- played up the positive yesterday, saying in a speech in
Germany that Russia should be ``fully part of Europe.''
Since taking over as acting president Dec. 31 when Boris Yeltsin resigned,
and then winning election in March, Putin has stressed the importance of
Russia's relationships with the U.S. and Western Europe.
Clinton will urge Putin to find a political path out of his country's war
against Islamic insurgents in Chechnya, a U.S. government official told a
reporters' briefing in Moscow last week. Clinton will also ask Putin about
further economic reforms, the U.S. official said.
U.S. Senator Jesse Helms and Representative Benjamin Gilman, the chairmen of
Congress's foreign affairs committees, sent a letter to Clinton on June 2
urging him to bring up the ``atrocities'' of Belarus and the ``authoritarian
regime'' of its president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in his discussions with
``We do not know yet if Russia's hard-won democratic freedoms will endure,''
Clinton said in his speech yesterday. ``We don't know yet whether it will
define its greatness in yesterday's terms or tomorrow's.''
Putin has already moved to revise the tax code and push through other
economic reforms intended to sustain economic growth, which reached an
estimated 7 percent in the first quarter.
An IMF team was in Moscow for talks with government officials this week and a
further round of discussions is possible in a few weeks. ``In the meantime,
the Russian authorities expect to adopt and begin implementing their own
economic policy program,'' the IMF said.
The economy's improvement, helped by the ruble's 77 percent devaluation
against the dollar in the past year, and higher oil prices contrast with
conditions when Clinton last visited Moscow, in September 1998. Then, Russia
had just defaulted on $40 billion of Treasury debt, prices were soaring, and
Russians were stockpiling staple foods, leaving many store shelves bare.
Now, with a new president and a new parliament, Russia's priorities are
Among Putin's first legislative initiatives was pushing through ratification
of the Start II arms control treaty with the U.S., which had been delayed
since 1993. He also has said that possibly Russia should join the North
Atlantic Treaty Organization, originally formed to oppose Russia's westward
expansion, or the European Union.
``No doors can be sealed to Russia -- not NATO's, not the EU's,'' Clinton
said. ``Only time will tell what Russia's ultimate role in Europe will be.''
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000
From: Paul Balaran <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Carnegie Moscow Center Director
Thanks for your help on this.
Director, Carnegie Moscow Center
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is seeking a Director of its
Carnegie Moscow Center, one of the most respected independent think tanks
in Russia. Director will provide intellectual and administrative
leadership for the Center which has a staff of 35 Russians, including 9
senior researchers, an annual budget of more than $2 million, and an active
program of research, meetings and publications, and will act as principal
liaison between the Center and the Carnegie Endowment in Washington.
Director will also monitor and write on developments in the former Soviet
Ideal candidate will have significant experience managing a policy program,
a Ph.D. or other advanced degree with specialization in Russian/Eurasian
affairs, fluency in Russian and on-the-ground experience in Russia.
Prospective start date: January 2001. Salary depending on experience.
Generous benefits. Outstanding work environment.
Send resume to: Search Committee, Carnegie Endowment, 1779 Massachusetts
Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036 or FAX to (202) 939-2392. EOE
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000
From: Bernard Black <email@example.com>
Subject: What Went Wrong with Russian Privatization and Corporate
David: You kindly posted an abstract of an earlier version of my paper
with Reinier Kraakman and Anna Tarasova, What Went Wrong with Russian
Privatization and Corporate Governance last year. I wonder if you could
post an announcement of the nearly final version. An abstract follows.
The paper itself is forthcoming in Stanford Law Review, vol. 52 (2000), and
is available from the Social Science Research Network at
In Russia and elsewhere, proponents of rapid, mass privatization of
state-owned enterprises (ourselves among them) hoped that the profit
incentives unleashed by privatization would soon revive faltering,
centrally planned economies. The revival didn’t happen. We offer here
some partial explanations. First, rapid mass privatization is likely to
lead to massive self-dealing by managers and controlling shareholders
unless (implausibly in the initial transition from central planning to
markets) a country has a good infrastructure for controlling self-dealing.
Russia accelerated the self-dealing process by selling control of its
largest enterprises cheaply to crooks, who transferred their skimming
talents to the enterprises they acquired, and used their wealth to further
corrupt the government and block reforms that might constrain their
actions. Second, profit incentives to restructure privatized businesses
and create new ones can be swamped by the burden on business imposed by a
combination of (among other things) a punitive tax system, official
corruption, organized crime, and an unfriendly bureaucracy. Third, while
self-dealing will still occur (though perhaps to a lesser extent) if state
enterprises aren’t privatized, since self-dealing accompanies
privatization, it politically discredits privatization as a reform strategy
and can undercut longer-term reforms. A principal lesson: developing the
institutions to control self-dealing is central to successful privatization
of large firms.
Professor Bernard S. Black tel: 650-725-9845
Stanford Law School fax: 650-725-0684
Stanford CA 94305 firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Thu, 01 Jun 2000
From: Judy Twigg <email@example.com>
Subject: Announcement of new book
Perhaps JRL readers would be interested in a new book. St. Martin's has
just published "Russia's Torn Safety Nets: Health and Social Welfare
during the Transition," edited by Mark Field and me. The volume
assesses the human costs of Russia's last decade, with chapters by
leading authorities on health and demography, HIV/AIDS, drug addiction
and abuse, the disabled, labor and employment, aging and pensions, the
status of women, social issues in the military, and U.S. attempts to
help. It's available through amazon.com and the other on-line book
Russia Today press summaries
June 1, 2000
Boris Nemtsov: School Should Not Turn Into Another Chechnya
SPS faction leader, former first deputy premier Boris Nemtsov wrote about the
situation in Russian schools and about the proposed school reform.
"The most astonishing thing about the Russian school is that it still exists.
Children study, and teachers work, graduates get their certificates. But it
is only seemingly in a state of wellbeing. Of the 69 thousand schools in
Russia, over half are located in buildings that badly need repairs or are in
wrecking condition. I am stating that is dangerous to go to school in Russia
nowadays," Nemtsov said.
"The proposal to move to twelve-year school education is a bad anecdote in
this situation. How can we cram more children into collapsing schools than
are already there! Moreover, those will not be kids, but 18-19 year-old boys
and girls, who, according to the moral norms of Russia, can smoke, drink, get
married and so on. How can they be kept in the same buildings with the
If the 12-year school is introduced, 100 per cent of the male graduates will
be subject to immediate military draft . Besides, poor families and there
are the majority of such families in Russia, simply cannot afford to provide
for their grown-up kids for one more year. And the 18-year-old boys and girls
will not like to stay at school, which will result in that fewer people will
get their certificates, and the education level of the nation will drop.
Boris Nemtsov wrote that the system of funding school education should be
radically changed. And school boards may play a very important role in this….
"The most influential, most successful, most well-off and most authoritative
people should be invited to become members of the boards of trustees. These
people should be able not only to collect money for schools, but to conduct
serious dialogs with the powers and with city mayors about the condition of
Children should no longer be tortured by entrance and graduation exams
instead a single state exam should be introduced. And this exam should be
conducted by some independent organization to exclude bribes and swindling.
1 Jun, 2000
Reform of the Federation: wrangle is suitable here
Presidential bills to reform the federative structure of Russia are
scheduled to be discussed in the State Duma of the Russian Federation for
June 1. We publish an article concerning the presidential plan to reform the
Russian Federation`s structure by Iosif DISKIN, a known political analyst,
professor, and remind that the editors share an author`s view not always and
not at every point.
The forms have been launched. But priorities are unexpected. It seems
inexplicable whether it was a malicious intent or inexperienced advisors who
encouraged President Putin to follow the most dangerous for Russia way and
reform the federative relationships in a bureaucratic manner.
It is necessary to reform these relationships. It is impossible to stand any
more regional leaders` authoritarian governing, their disregard of federal
laws and feudal hurdles which split the economic system.
However it is not always that the guillotine is the best means to cure
dandruff. The way has been chosen to turn Russia into a confederate state in
near future. But in view of this the center of political intrigues that is a
place where officials and businessmen go in efforts to find sponsorship and
demonstrate their loyalty will be removed from Moscow to new «capitals» where
the seven governor generals will reside.
It is not of great importance whether a governor general is interested in
region`s affairs or he supports the center`s fight against regional elites.
In any case political consolidation of regional elites will be promoted.
Instead of being closer to regions` problems Moscow will become a far and
alien Babilon which is not interested in hinterland’s problems.
Bureaucratic blindness and administrative enthusiasm of these ideas` authors
make it impossible to realize that a procedure of regional identity is being
launched in Russia. It is a positive point in Europe. Restoration of cultural
traditions of the past enriches multicoloured unified Europe. However there
is no cultural traditions in a Russian identity so far. The majority of
people still remember the Soviet Union and consider themselves Russians since
It was only a bureaucratic approach which could prompt to appoint seven
governor generals in order to strengthen the unified state. One should know
real Russia`s history and its people`s struggle for national culture and the
right for legal activity not suppressed by metropolitan bureaucracy. Its dull
unwillingness to share power and balance center`s and province’s interests
provoked revolutions in its time.
Politics left behind economics, perception of interdependence between the
center and regions, forming of realistic basis to meet regional interests and
Regional elites driven into a corner will actively fight against these
initiatives. The center is unlikely to count on sincere loyalty to the policy
to strengthen the state taking into account its disregard for regional
political and economic interests.
Regional political consolidation as it can be seen from empires` and new
federations` history will be inevitably realized in an ideological and
politician way. It will gamble on an empire image of Moscow which suppresses
and exploits its «colonies». Recent history of USSR disintegration provides a
Repression from the center in return will add fuel to the fire, create new
heroes and martyrs and call young enthusiasts for struggle. These moves may
result in a dangerous future collapse of Russia, rise in confrontation,
troubles for regional leaders but not in weakening of their influence which
Participation of regional representatives in appointment of governor generals
will be a priority of this struggle in near future. Successful actions of
regional leaders will form some centers with regional interests concentrated
in. Their failure will turn governor generals into «center`s satraps».
Regional political leaders` claims are inevitable. An issue on setting up of
an unconstitutional State Council and other reciprocal moves from regional
elites have been already discussed.
It is difficult to believe that this nightmare is a result of inability to
think things out, weak political expertise in presidential structures.
On the contrary, you think of a well thought-out multi-pass plan designed by
the President: to initiate radical political steps which were invented by
«family`s» analysts, to force regional leaders to comprehend unsteadiness in
their position (in this case the choice of governor generals proves
reasonable), to estimate what confrontation with Moscow will result in and
prompt willingness to compromise.
Well, to begin with radical propositions is a common practice in diplomacy
and business, a basis to start talks with regional leaders from the position
of strength. Under the circumstances it is possible to achieve what you need:
To appoint deputy prosecutor generals in federal districts who are under no
influence of local authorities, know actual state of affairs, are able to
suspend validity of standard acts, if they contradict federal laws, dismiss
or even arrest the officials who break the law;
To approve a law on the procedure to deprive the federation subject heads of
parliamentary immunity and dismiss them from office if they break the law;
To develop federal relations on the basis of distinct and fair division of
federal and regional budget resources;
To approve, at last, a law to provide a safe financial basis for municipal
To stir up regional economic integration.
It is obvious that under the circumstances the regional leaders will back new
presidential initiatives with enthusiasm and sense of relief if the President
is ready to demonstrate his willingness to renounce his proposals for the
sake of stability and harmony and seek mutually acceptable decisions.
If that was the idea we should recognize it did work and Russia elected de
Goll and Talayran in one person.
The Economist (UK)
June 3-9, 2000
[for personal use only]
A Mortgage Market in Russia
Built on sand
M O S C O W
BADLY constructed houses, feckless owners, buyers with impenetrable personal
finances, an untested legal environment, crooked and incompetent banks, and
almost universal political interference in the economy. The reasons behind
Russia’s lack of mortgage lending are hardly mysterious.
Yet on paper, the idea of a mortgage business looks splendid. That is why the
American government is backing it with a $100m investment from a fund set up
to promote private enterprise in Russia. Mortgages are just the thing to
encourage the thrifty, long-term, middle-class habits that Russia needs.
Handling them would also give Russia’s banks a chance to learn such novel
skills as judging risk and lending long-term. And a pool of mortgage-backed
securities would be a welcome addition to Russia’s murky capital markets.
The American company managing the scheme, Delta Capital, is trying to find
ways round the usual hair-raising obstacles. One advantage is that many
Russians already have some equity in their homes: around 60% of the housing
stock is owned, debt-free, by private householders. Those wanting to move to
a better home do not, therefore, need to borrow the full price. That cuts the
risk, making it easier to overlook drawbacks that would sink a mortgage
application in the West—such as borrowers flatly refusing to write down full
details of their income. In the event of repossession, the lender is expected
to provide a rented flat for a year. And even after a recent revision to
encourage mortgages, Russian law—still untested at the highest level—may
forbid the eviction of families with children.
Launched last summer, the scheme was attracting 80 phone calls a day by early
this year. That was a flood of interest that the participating banks were
unable to cope with. Delta has set up a telephone hotline to screen
applicants. The completed application forms are then e-mailed to the banks,
which can compete to make an offer.
The programme lends only in dollars, in the richest regions of Russia:
Moscow, St Petersburg and a handful of other places. Unsurprisingly, Russian
politicians from less creditworthy places also like the idea of cheap
long-term loans, and have been lobbying hard for their regions to be next.
Indeed, political interference may prove the scheme’s weak point. A previous
venture in Moscow failed because the mayor decided that the mortgage
interest-rate should be only 10%, which was less than the cost of borrowing.
And repossessing a house from a top local bigwig in the Russian provinces is
easier said than done. “We try not to lend to anyone too influential,” says a
western banker involved in the scheme. What, even if they ask nicely?
Financial Times (UK)
2 June 2000
[for personal use only]
Russia moves on tax evasion
By Andrew Jack in Moscow
Russia's tax authorities have launched an ambitious programme designed to
stamp out tax evasion by gathering detailed information on Moscow's 15m
inhabitants from personal data held in a wide range of government
The move, which involves computerising and centralising details from vehicle
and property registrations, the police department, marriage offices,
notaries' records and other state agencies, is designed to highlight
discrepancies between individuals' declared and real income.
The initiative dovetails with the efforts by Russia's president Vladimir
Putin to centralise control, restore order, reduce criminality and tighten
the role of the country's security agencies including the FSB, the former
Senior tax officials stress that the new system is an effort to clamp down on
the widespread practice in Moscow of wealthy individuals - including many
public figures - declaring very modest incomes while buying expensive foreign
cars, wearing designer fashions and building expensive out-of-town houses.
The programme echoes similar measures designed to boost compliance launched
over the last few years in the regional republic of Bashkortostan, under the
control of Genady Bukayev, a former tax inspector who has been appointed tax
However, it represents a more discreet approach than the high-profile and
widely publicised raids by armed and hooded tax militia, which often had more
political effect than raising significant additional revenues.
With the help of new computer systems, the Moscow tax authorities already
last year compared many of the declarations filed by individuals and
employees, identifying 120,000 people who had not revealed Rbs1.6bn ($56m) in
income between them.
A simple official letter to many of those who transgressed suggesting they
pay the difference or arrange a meeting with tax officials led to swift
Mr Bukayev said this week that the comparisons had helped to identify tax
evasion by prominent individuals including one third of the members of
Russia's Duma or national parliament.
The government is proposing to introduce a 13 per cent flat tax rate for
income, in a move tax officials hope will entice more to pay for the first
time. In the process, they will be identified in the future by a unique
June 2, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
YOU ASK, WE ANSWER
Question: How do you visualize Vladimir Putin's decree to
divide the country into seven federal districts and to place a
plenipotentiary presidential envoy to run each district?
1. Negatively - 20%;
2. Positively - 50%;
3. Don't know - 30%.
Putin's Administrative Reform Supported by a
Half of Population
President Putin continues to enjoy invariable support of
the people - effectively every decision he may make is
automatically approved by a considerable section of the
It seems that the president's decision to divide the
country into seven federal districts might have had even larger
support of the people - the more informed representatives of
the elite in their absolute majority have spoken in favor of
A great many rank-and-file respondents are of two minds -
they say that Putin's administrative reform has no direct
bearing on the interests of the common folks.
Many of the sarcastic respondents seem to be coming from
the ethnic republics and are thus wary - they seem to fear that
the territorial enlargement would eventually strip them of
certain attributes of sovereignty and even statehood lavished
on them by ex-president Boris Yeltsin. And they may be right -
Vladimir Putin's administrative reform aims to build a
Unitarian state whose constituent members all live by the same
1. Negatively - 5%;
2. Positively - 69%;
3. Don't know - 26%.
Question: How do you view the idea of delivering air
strikes at bases in Afghanistan that are used to train fighters
for the war in Chechnya?
1. Negatively - 40%;
2. Positively - 28%;
3. Don't know - 16%;
4. Know nothing about it - 16%.
Human memory can play tricks. Ask a man in the street,
when did Soviet Soldiers withdraw from Afghanistan, and few
respondent would name the date - 1989. But the middle-aged and
senior citizens have not forgotten the clumsy, un-truthful
explanations that the Politburo used to provide for the
introduction of Soviet troops into a foreign country:
'internationalist duty', 'prevention of American intervention',
etc. That unwarranted war had speeded up the disintegration of
the power in which a majority of us were born.
One hears belligerent calls again. They tell us that only
air strikes would be delivered, that the ground troops would
not die while defending somebody else's frontiers. Is there a
guarantee? Would not the air strikes at terrorist training
bases provoke reciprocal attacks through the 'porous' frontiers
of the post-Soviet republics?
Alas, last year's intervention of armed bands into
Kirghizia and Tajikistan serves to prove that the purely
military methods - especially the solo use of the Air Force -
would not stop the 'soldiers of Islam'.
It seems that the hotheads in Moscow have been exhilarated
by the example of Bill Clinton who has tried to drop bombs on
the shelter of terrorist bin Laden. But, first, the Russian
club is not as heavy as that of America. And secondly, America
is far away, while Central Asia is Russia's soft underbelly.
Russia acutely feels all developments in the area.
This is probably why a majority of Russian respondents are
soberly and realistically viewing the potential aftermath of a
military operation now much talked about by Russian officials.
1. Negatively - 74%;
2. Positively - 21%;
3. Don't know - 5%.
Question: How do you visualize the new procedure of
forming the Federation Council?
1. Positively - 27%;
2. Negatively - 10%;
3. Don't know - 23%;
4. Know nothing about it - 40%.
Many Members of Elite Care Not For Reform
The main conclusion one makes, having analyzed the poll's
results, is that a majority of respondents - 63% - know nothing
or do not care about the Kremlin's plan to reform the upper
chamber. The matter is probably that, as distinct from the
Yeltsin administration, Putin's administration talks little and
does much - the three reformist bills aimed to radically
transform the system of power in the country get drafted, are
presented to the lower house - without polling the public
opinion or conditioning the Duma's members and the governors to
the idea - and get instantly approved there. The nation is not
used to the Kremlin's fast strides - after the hibernation of
the Yeltsin incumbency - and is falling far behind.
Nevertheless, nearly two thirds of respondents with a
definite opinion do approve of the president's initiative.
A poll among the elite has produced a different result.
Practically all respondents are in the know, and although more
of them approve of the president's plans than disapprove, the
latter are sufficiently numerous -32%.
It looks is if the elite's members are apprehensive lest
the upper chamber turns into a pet house after the reform -
people appointed to work in the Federation Council would not
have the authority of the elected governors, and would
therefore be easy to manipulate. A reformed upper chamber would
not be as weighty as the current house - it has been elected on
a competitive basis and is therefore dependent on the
1. Don't know - 16%;
2. Know nothing about it - 5%;
3. Negatively - 32%;
4. Positively - 47%.
June 2, 2000
A joint missile defense
Paul M. Weyrich and Edward Lozansky
Paul M. Weyrich is president of the Free Congress Foundation and Edward
Lozansky is president of the American University of Moscow.
The relationship between the United States and Russia, which began to
improve after the fall of the Soviet Union, has seriously deteriorated in
recent years. One of the most controversial issues in this process has been
the fate of the nuclear arsenal of both countries. The recent ratification of
the START-II Treaty by the Russian Duma is suggestive of a new turnaround,
with the relations between the two countries once again moving forward,
particularly in the sphere of weapons of mass destruction. We believe that it
is time now to shovel away other obstacles in the path of better relations
between Russia and the United States and of a safer future for the whole
One of the remaining sources of conflicts between the two countries is
the intended development and deployment of a ballistic missile defense system
by the United States. While the American side is resolved to construct this
shield against possible nuclear threats, Russia fiercely opposes any such
plans, justifying its position by considerations of national security. From
the legal point of view, Russia appeals to the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM)
Treaty of 1972 that unequivocally prohibits the construction of such a
There is little doubt that the United States needs the proposed missile
defense system, given the growing nuclear threat from certain politically
extremist or unstable countries. There are, however, two possible variants in
dealing with Russia's opposition to these plans. One would be just to ignore
the protests of Russia and of other countries and build the system
regardless. Such an approach, although apparently simple and straightforward,
would almost certainly lead to a serious deterioration in the relationship
with Russia. The present American policy encourages Russia to keep all its
nuclear arsenal (about 3000 missiles) on alert as a way to ensure its
viability even with a strong defense system in place in the United States. At
the same time, the envisioned American defense system would be able to offset
only a tiny fraction of this force.
Not only would Russia be disappointed and alienated by a unilateral
American missile defense system, but it would be pushed to join with other
nuclear countries in a balancing alliance against America and would have to
is already beginning to â€” support their argument that they should also
their nuclear arsenals to counteract the American ABM system. America's
interest is just the opposite: that Russia should stick together with America
as the only two nuclear superpowers, managing their relationship jointly; and
while a few other nuclear countries have been allowed to exist, none of them
should be allowed to compete seriously with America or Russia. And all the
nuclear countries, in turn, should stick together to prevent further
proliferation. This three-tiered system has been the reality for the last 40
America and Russia have a vital interest in keeping it the reality, so
that the world order will remain manageable and countries like China can
continue to be deterred from territorial aggression. If they join together
for missile defense and if they begin to integrate their nuclear arsenals,
they will be able to maintain the unchallengeable superiority of their top
tier for a long time to come. If, however, they break apart on nuclear
questions, and Russia is pushed into other nuclear alliances in order to
maintain its own status in the top tier, the result will be to elevate the
other powers from the second tier toward the first tier, with disastrous
consequences for American security and for Russian security as well.
A different and, in our view, better way to deal with this problem would
be to involve Russia in the development of the missile defense system. We
believe that this can be achieved by a politics of cooperation, not only
between the governments, but also between the people of the two countries. It
is no secret now that serious doubts exist in the American military and among
many researchers about the effectiveness of the system which is about to be
constructed. It is also well-known that, despite all the difficulties of the
last 10 years, Russia's scientific potential, especially in the area of
pioneering research in physics (such as laser technologies which can be used
in missile defenses), is among the greatest in the world.
Hence we believe that cooperation between Russian and American
scientists, with appropriate financial support from the American side, would
not only ensure the workability of the new defense system, but also, by
certifying that this system would not pose a threat to the national security
of Russia, would improve mutual trust between the two countries. The American
side would benefit from the contribution of Russian scientists, instead of
losing by having them sell military technologies to third countries. In its
turn, Russia would get financial support for designing and, perhaps,
deploying its own missile defense system. Part of this aid can come from the
funds now being spent on reconstructing its nuclear arsenal.
What is needed today is a willingness to discuss the issue, and an
initiative from the American side aimed not only at politicians in Moscow but
at wider circles of the Russian public as well. It is important to work not
only with politicians, who are often reluctant to discuss politically
challenging moves, but with the public, whose support is essential to make
any plan viable.
The U.S. Congress should examine this question and invite the Russian
side to cooperate. Russia has made its move to better relations with the
United States. Now the United States should do the same.
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000
From: "Bruce Slawter" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: IT S THE NUKES, STUPID!
IT S THE NUKES, STUPID!
An Analysis of How the Security Issues Discussed at the Summit Might Affect
the Bush-Gore Race for the Presidency
by Bruce D. Slawter
Independent consultant on U.S.-Russia defense relations
June 2, 2000
When the Presidential campaign intensifies later this summer, hopefully the
topic of national security policy will move to the center stage it deserves.
Each candidate will then be afforded the opportunity to demonstrate his
readiness to assume the office of "Commander in Chief" by providing a clear
vision for dealing with continued threats to U.S. interests, such as those
posed by weapons of mass destruction. In evaluating the candidates'
qualifications for the job, voters should listen carefully to what each one
says about complex issues such as how nuclear arms reductions might be used as
a means for balancing future risks against the limits of U.S. military power.
All this may be a tall order especially during an already emotionally charged
election year in which political operatives, aided by a headline-driven media,
have tended to confuse important societal stories, such as the plight of young
Elian Gonzales, with issues of national security.
Indeed, if national security policy does become a hot topic during this
election year, then the future of U.S. relations with the Russian
the context of the multi-national nuclear balance of power should be raised as
one of the leading issues.
Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush, in an effort designed in
to forestall any Clinton Administration concessions on National Missile
(NMD), attempted to open the debate last week in a speech calling for an
overall review of the Cold War doctrine of "nuclear deterrence," featuring the
resurrection of the "Presidential Nuclear Initiative" process employed during
his father's Presidency.
Vice-President Al Gore, in his address before the graduating class at West
Point, countered Bush's jab at the Administration's record on nuclear
defending traditional U.S. approaches to arms control, which have tended to
favor tortuously negotiated international agreements. Gore dubbed Bush's
proposals as "nuclear unilateralism," which he said would undermine stability,
particularly if coupled with Republican attempts to build a massive NMD
The issue of how the U.S. might go about reducing nuclear arsenals in a manner
conducive to strategic stability may be nudged further into the spotlight
during the Moscow Summit as President Clinton attempts to buttress his legacy
on Russia a mixed record shared by candidate Gore in his past capacity as
"designated hitter" for dealing with a string of Prime Ministers under former
Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S DEMOCRACY BUILDING EFFORTS
Appropriately concerned about the consequences of Russia becoming a "failed
state," the Clinton Administration, throughout most of its tenure, has stayed
the course with an unflinching (although at times naive) commitment to its
activist approach in promoting democratic reforms by backing successive
The Clinton Presidency, in fact, can claim for itself some modest success in
facilitating the development of key institutions inside Russia, such as
uncensored speech (not to be confused with the concept of an independent
and routinely held, free and open elections (although many analysts have
that Vladimir Putin's ascendancy to the presidency had been "pre-ordained" by
virtue of the popularity of the war in Chechnya and the timing of Yeltsin's
For all its good intentions and modest success in promoting reforms, however,
Clinton's policy of providing political and economic support to Yeltsin has
come up short in the public relations sense. Having watched Western
governments violate the "Prime Directive" (in Trekkie terms) in attempting to
shape the evolution of post-Soviet institutions, a sizable portion of the
Russian population incorrectly blames the U.S. and its allies for a number of
things wrong with their county, ranging from Russia's weakness in
international affairs to the excesses of the Oligarchs.
Dealing with other frustrating issues, including front-page stories, such as
the atrocities in Chechnya and the Bank of New York scandal, U.S. officials
the past 18 months have exhibited signs of "Russia fatigue." However, the
tempo in bilateral activity has increased now that Russia's new President has
been formally inaugurated.
THE RUSSIAN "OFFENSIVE-DEFENSIVE" ON ARMS CONTROL
Putin correctly perceives that he was elected with a mandate to accomplish two
central tasks: first, to resurrect the central authority of the State; and
second, to rebuild Russia's stature as a leader of those nations concerned
about "a dangerous trend toward a U.S.-centric, unipolar world." Over the
last two months, the Kremlin has been extremely active in both areas. With
respect to rebuilding Russia's external role as a "great power," foreign
strategists in Moscow have focused on breaking Russia's isolation over issues,
such as Chechnya and Kosovo, and by energetically probing for fissures in the
Western alliance by preying on European arms control concerns.
Earlier this spring, in an attempt to block changes to the ABM Treaty, Putin
managed to upstage Clinton on the eve of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review
Conference by convincing a newly installed Duma to approve START II. He then
sent Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov off to New York with the mission of chiding
the U.S. Senate for not ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
To exploit European concerns about the potential U.S. abandonment of the ABM
Treaty, Ivanov then proposed throwing Moscow's weight behind a diplomatic
solution designed to constrain the North Korean ballistic missile program the
primary threat upon which the NMD program appears to be postulated. The
Russians also proposed reducing the aggregate warhead levels under START
substantially below the 2,000-2,500 framework previously agreed to by Yeltsin
and Clinton at Helsinki.
Last week, Ivanov took advantage of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council
meeting in Florence to further hammer the U.S. over NMD, while Putin signed
the Duma's CTBT ratification resolution into law in Moscow.
GORDIAN KNOT FOR ABM; PROGRESS ON SECOND TIER ISSUES
At the present, there appears to be an impasse on NMD, exacerbated by warnings
from Senator Jesse Helms that any deal struck by a "lame-duck" President would
be overturned by the U.S. Senate. Unless there are major breakthroughs over
the next several days, the only developments expected to come out of the
Clinton-Putin Summit regarding START III and ABM are possible Joint Statements
which outline general terms of reference and timelines for follow-on
This weekend's Summit will no doubt demonstrate that there is little left of
the old Clinton-Yeltsin vision of building a strategic partnership.
Nevertheless, there still remains several points of strategic convergence
particularly in areas overshadowed by the high-profile ABM and START III
deliberations. The Moscow meeting may produce some progress in these
second-tier issues, such as the purchase of weapons-grade Plutonium and the
establishment of a Data Exchange Center in Moscow for monitoring space and
ballistic missile launches.
Further progress on these and other bilateral efforts conducted under the
rubric of the Administration's "Threat Reduction" programs, which are managed
by the Defense Department, the State Department, and the National Nuclear
Security Administration, continues to be fostered by several important
RUSSIA'S STRATEGIC PARADOX
First of all, Russian military thinking has evolved over the last several
to a point whereby it now recognizes a strategic dilemma; e.g., that both the
status of Russia as a great power today and the potential threats to the
continued existence stem from the technological capabilities developed by the
U.S.S.R. during the Cold War.
Closely connected with this newfound paradox is the Russian military's growing
self-knowledge that their conventional forces are a sham; and with a dismal
somewhat recovering economy about the size of Switzerland, the only
strategic leverage remaining at Russia's disposal as it attempts to prevent
itself from being further marginalized on issues, such as Kosovo and NATO
expansion is the political clout provided by its diminishing nuclear forces.
As articulated in its revised "military doctrine," Russia's leaders
realistically view their country as being in a significantly changed
geostrategic position since the demise of the Soviet Union, characterized
alarming expansion of the "nuclear club," which now includes a number of
nations spanning the Eurasian periphery.
Although policy elites in Moscow are reluctant to admit it publicly, they are
slowly coming around to the notion that their ability to deal with potential
threats from former protégées (including terrorist networks aided in the past
by their Soviet predecessors) may depend to a large extent upon accommodation
with the United States.
THE EFFECT OF BILATERAL MILITARY ENGAGEMENT
The second development which contributes to progress on the security agenda is
the modest success enjoyed by military-to-military contact activities.
Established by senior military and Defense Department civilians before the
collapse of the Soviet Union, this annually negotiated plan of senior
leadership visits, unit exchanges, and port calls has enabled military leaders
on both sides to step out smartly ahead of the politicians sometimes at
their own careers to deal directly with their counterparts on operational
matters, such as nuclear doctrine, peacekeeping operations, and the prevention
of mishaps at sea.
The deepening of defense relations, however, is often held hostage by Cold War
organizational and procedural constraints placed on the military diplomats
charged with executing the events and by larger political disputes, such as
Kosovo crisis (during which the Russian government cancelled virtually all
Like the NASDAQ, military engagement plans will remain volatile so long as
are subject to outside pressures. On the balance, however, the program of
contacts between U.S. military officers (including DoD civilians) and their
functional counterparts in Russia has served to establish an atmosphere of
professional credibility and, at times, personal trust especially between
leaders responsible for nuclear forces. This, in turn, has helped keep
dialogue in critical areas such as warhead security, Y2K cooperation, and
ballistic missile early warning even when major crises, such as U.S. military
operations in Iraq and the Balkans, seemed to place other elements of the
bilateral relationship in jeopardy.
THREAT REDUCTION EFFORTS
The third positive development contributing to evolution of the defense
relationship is the increasingly bipartisan support the U.S. Congress has
toward financing the Administration's threat reduction programs (including
First developed by retired Democratic Senator Sam Nunn and Republican Senator
Richard Lugar toward the close of the Bush Administration, the notion of
providing funds to facilitate treaty-mandated elimination of strategic
systems, and to effect the safe and secure disposition of warheads and fissile
material, is viewed today as money well spent.
In its early years, U.S. threat reduction efforts (often referred to as the
"Nunn-Lugar Program") experienced a number of growing pains, which resulted in
the cancellation of several ill-conceived experiments, such as those involving
defense conversion and the construction of officer housing. The program also
had to overcome criticism that U.S. assistance to Russia might free up funds
for the military's research & development programs. Today, U.S. arms
efforts in Russia and the other former Soviet states are considered by the
international community as one of the most successful commitments yet
Given its overall positive track record, the Nunn-Lugar Program (and its
derivatives) are expected to be sustained by either a Gore or a Bush
administration so long as U.S. officials responsible for implementing such
efforts can ensure, through transparency arrangements and continued access by
U.S. auditors, that the goods and services provided by the American taxpayer
are used to reduce the threats posed by the Russian weapons complex, and do
not inadvertently sustain military capability.
CANDIDATE TALKING POINTS
Ultimately, arguments such as "Who lost Russia?" or "Who can reduce nuclear
forces quicker?" are specious. While the Clinton Administration's record is
fair game for the Republicans, the American electorate would be better served
in the months ahead if candidates Bush and Gore were to focus their efforts on
expanding and sharpening their respective visions for a post-Cold War world
which would include, by necessity, the further evolution of the Russian
Federation as one of its key variables.
Moreover, the foreign policy staffs of both candidates should pursue
innovative approaches toward establishing long-term working relationships with
the Putin Administration, and for building upon bipartisan efforts designed to
deal with legitimate concerns about Moscow's potentially dangerous nuclear
arsenal a factor which will remain at the core of the U.S.-Russian
relationship for sometime to come.
(The author can be reached for comment at -- email@example.com --.)
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