This Date's Issues: 4450 • 4451
Johnson's Russia List
11 August 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Russia to cut nuclear rockets, merge forces-source.
2. International Herald Tribune: Sabrina Tavernise, It's Business
as Usual For Russia's Tycoons. Despite Putin's Effort to Assert
Control, Connections Still Rule.
3. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: Kaleria Pukhova, KREMLIN CONTINUES TO BUILD
TOUGH STATE GOVERNANCE MODEL.
4. The Scotsman editorial: THE KIND OF NATIONALISM THAT MUST NOT
5. Financial Times (UK) letter: Russia under Putin has chance to
put its cash to better use.
6. gazeta.ru: Kremlin Coerces Moscow Mayor To Cooperate.
7. Human Rights Watch Moscow: Chechnya: War Through Children's Eyes.
8. Fred Hodder: Moscow Bombing.
9. Invitation to Moscow Seminar: "REVIVING THE IDEA OF US-RUSSIAN
10. Moscow Times: Mergen Mongush, Analysts: 'Healthy' Trade Surplus
May Be Deceptive.
11. gazeta.ru: State Council: A Senator’s Post-War Dream.
(Novgorod's Mikhail Proussak)
12. RFE/RL (Un)Civil Societies: Paul Goble, ANALYSIS FROM
WASHINGTON: COMBATTING ANTI-SEMITISM.
13. Obshchaya Gazeta: Vladimir Utkinov, 17,000 Homeless
Children in Moscow Engage in Prostitution.]
Russia to cut nuclear rockets, merge forces-source
MOSCOW, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Russia's Security Council is likely to advise
President Vladimir Putin to cut some land-based nuclear missiles and merge
the Strategic Rocket Forces with the air force, a Defence Ministry source
said on Thursday.
The source told Reuters the move was part of a restructuring of Russia's
armed forces that would start in 2001 and result in three branches of the
military -- land, sea and air -- rather than four, including the Strategic
Putin's advisory but influential Security Council meets on Friday to discuss
military reforms including the nuclear missile cuts and merger. The move, if
Putin agrees with it, would represent a major change in Russian strategic
``The Strategic Rocket Forces will be merged with the air force and
silo-based missiles which become obsolete in 2003 will be scrapped,'' the
source said. The aim is to put greater emphasis on the navy's submarine-based
There will also be structural changes in the Strategic Rocket Forces -- which
are responsible only for land-based missiles -- and savings will be used to
fund conventional ground forces which have been found wanting in the Chechnya
The source said there would be no reshuffles in the upper echelons of the
armed forces. There has been speculation Putin might use the meeting to sack
Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev and chief of General Staff, who have been at
daggers drawn over the plans for the nuclear forces.
The chief of General Staff, General Anatoly Kvashnin, has favoured deep cuts
in the Strategic Rocket Forces and a merger with or even absorption into the
air force. Sergeyev has argued against major reductions but not against some
kind of merger.
The changes outlined by the source have the whiff of compromise. Further
changes to the Security Council plans outlined by the source cannot be
International Herald Tribune
August 10, 2000
[for personal use only]
It's Business as Usual For Russia's Tycoons
Despite Putin's Effort to Assert Control, Connections Still Rule
By Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times Service
MOSCOW - The government's recent campaign to intimidate some of Russia's most
powerful business leaders is meant at least in part to show them that
President Vladimir Putin is firmly in control. But beneath the surface,
executives say, it is business as usual.
The intimidation campaign has included spectacular raids by masked federal
agents on offices, surprise lawsuits charging fraud and tax evasion, and
public reprimands of the so-called oligarchs who have amassed enormous
amounts of property and political influence since the collapse of the Soviet
Such moves were all but unheard of under Mr. Putin's predecessor, Boris
Still, business leaders, including some of the oligarchs themselves, say
little has changed in the way their companies operate. Political connections,
they say, are still the most important ingredient for commercial success in
''Our business strategy under the new administration hasn't really changed,''
said Mikhail Fridman, chairman of Alfa Group, one of the country's most
influential financial concerns. ''Russia is a country with a fairly opaque
economy, and to do business here you need sturdy political connections and
relations. To deny this is just silly.''
In some ways, the behavior of businesses here is rooted in a relationship
with the government that evolved in czarist Russia centuries before the 1917
Russian businesses have long sought the blessing of government bureaucrats to
Personal relationships often have guided business dealings more than laws,
and company owners have competed for the loyalties of corrupt local
officials. The country's richest men helped Mr. Yeltsin win the presidency in
1996, and in return, they were given government posts and tremendous
influence over policy.
It was precisely these men that Mr. Putin promised during his presidential
campaign to push out of government.
Criminal investigations were opened against the media magnate Vladimir
Gusinsky as well as executives at Russia's biggest oil company, carmaker and
metals company. But over the past two weeks, the law enforcement authorities
have dropped most of those cases.
The government also has ignored the high-profile armed standoff between two
factions of directors vying for control of the Krystall vodka factory in
Some tycoons, such as Roman Abramovich, a friend of the Yeltsin family who
has vast assets in Russia's oil and aluminum industries, have gone untouched
by state investigations, raising concerns that some industry leaders are more
equal than others.
Some business executives fret that under Mr. Putin, corrupt bureaucrats will
be replaced with a new set, loyal to him but no less hungry for personal
Mr. Putin's aides say the president has already taken decisive action to curb
Russia's regional governors, some of whom are known to bully business,
obstruct economic changes and block liquidations of unprofitable factories
that should be shut to save costs. The aides say society is stuck in old
perceptions and definitions about how Russia is run.
''We have left the epoch with the old set of clichés, clans and groups,''
said Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of the presidential administration.
''Now there's a wind of new power, and it's different.''
But business leaders are still playing by the old rules. Mr. Fridman of Alfa
Group is a good example.
With assets like gasoline stations, grocery stores and the country's biggest
private bank, Alfa has risen to be one of the Russia's most influential
business groups. It has extensive contacts in Mr. Putin's administration.
Mr. Fridman said political connections were essential but acknowledged that
too many made a business beholden to government.
''It's essential to have contacts with government on all levels,'' he said,
''but we don't want to make it a priority. Business sitting in the front-row
seats always has to take the most criticism.''
August 10, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
KREMLIN CONTINUES TO BUILD TOUGH STATE GOVERNANCE MODEL
By Kaleria PUKHOVA
The process of the internal consolidation of the federal
districts goes on. Following the reorganisation of the system
of state governance, authorities seem to be ready to make the
next decisive step - to push forward the formation of the
federal districts' economy. This will enable them to come close
to the task of formalising the new administrative and
territorial division of the country, which they didn't dare to
speak about until now.
It has become known that the activity of the President's
plenipotentiaries will get financial support from three sources
at once. As Vice-Premier of the Russian government Alexei
Kudrin told Nezavisimaya Gazeta, in addition to the former
channel of financing the apparatuses of plenipotentiaries
through the business management department of the Russian
President, the federal budget for next year will have, in its
"state power" part, a separate item of spending on
plenipotentiaries. Apart from that, the budgets of the
President's representatives in the federal districts will be
replenished with the financial resources of various ministries,
which, according to plan, must establish their offices in
districts. Thus, the plenipotentiaries will have at their
disposal the sums, which will enable them not only to carry out
coordination but also to deal with the regions' economic
development. Incidentally, the plenipotentiaries do not deny
that by autumn they must present their own economic programmes.
Most likely, these programmes will entail redistribution of
property and the influence of economic elites, and also
re-orientation of economic ties from inter-regional to
inter-district ones. Economic self-determination will only have
to be complemented by cultural one, for example, by some
innocent sing and dance groups or a football league, which can
quite strengthen patriotism in a particular federal district
and complement the federal districts' economic competition with
new cultural ties.
It is not ruled out that Kremlin politicians may have
something else in their luggage.
To all appearances, the Kremlin continues to build a tough
model of state governance, which will rely mostly on
bureaucracy, secret services and the principles of corporate
August 10, 2000
THE KIND OF NATIONALISM THAT MUST NOT TRIUMPH
THE bombs which exploded across Europe yesterday tell a tale of two kinds
of nationalism. One is an ugly creed based on a false notion of ethnicity.
An ethnic nationalism which defines itself by an unscientific and false
concept of race. A nationalism of the us and them. In a world of free trade
and free access to the internet, of the same soap operas and same clothes
found from Manhattan penthouse to Third World village, this ethnic
nationalism is obsolete, if indeed it ever had any credence. Those who
planned or perpetrated yesterday's outrages come in a variety of colours
but share a common delusion. They are uneducated German neo-Nazi thugs
dreaming of a Third Reich that never was. They are the frustrated
godfathers who command the last remnants of the old Basque ETA, angry at
their loss of popular support to the democratic mainstream. In Moscow, they
may be Chechen rebels returning like for like against the innocent after
the terrible destruction of their homeland. Or, as was suspected after a
series of bombings of Moscow apartment buildings last year, the work of
ultra-nationalist Russian elements within the FSB - successor to the KGB -
anxious to create a pretext for more state repression against the "guests
of the city", a Russian euphemism for the dark-skinned Caucasians.
But there is another - civic - kind of nationalism. One where all,
regardless of race, religion or class are inclusive citizens of the nation.
It is a concept that has been built slowly and painfully, based on the rule
of law, human rights and a working democracy. In Spain, in the post-Franco
era, it has been created by patient compromise and long dialogue between
the democratic forces. It is against this popular will that ETA bombs just
as the Continuity and Real IRA horde arms in a vain attempt to overthrow a
Good Friday Agreement democratically approved by the voters of both the
Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. And in Germany, the neo-Nazi bombers
are vainly resisting the recent, long overdue, alteration in the Federal
Constitution to change the basis of citizenship from a racial German
qualification to that of being born within the borders of the
Bundesrepublic, irrespective of the parents' country of origin.
It is the civic, inclusive version of national identity that needs to
triumph, for that alone tempers community with democracy, common bonds with
the freedom to reach out to the rest of the world in commerce and culture.
It is this civic nationalism that Russia is only now slowly, painfully
starting to build. With the fall of Communism, it was all too easy to
forget Russia had no real experience of democracy. Or that Russia still
ruled its old Medieval empire with restive, non-Russian populations. In
that light, Putin's gamble of attacking Chechnya was only a manoeuvre
designed to win the Russian presidency and not the long-term solution to
The bombs will continue in Moscow until a Russian president achieves a
genuine political solution to the dismantling of the old Russian empire and
embarks down the difficult road to civic nationalism. A civic nationalism
which even here in Scotland we can never take for granted.
Financial Times (UK)
10 August 2000
Russia under Putin has chance to put its cash to better use
>From Mr Alex Belkin.
Sir, Quentin Peel is right about observing Vladimir Putin's recently stable
and strong approval ratings ("Defining decade of the oligarchs", August 7).
The key difference between Mr Putin and Boris Yeltsin is frequently
overlooked. Mr Yeltsin came to power (or reasserted himself in 1996) on the
back of massive privatisation, where the cash flows from huge state-run
companies were handed over to a bunch of oligarchs, who subsequently used
that cash to finance Mr Yeltsin's election campaign. This "disabled" the
Communists and made Mr Yeltsin effectively a hostage to the oligarchs; a
willing hostage, of course.
Now that the threat from the left is all but gone, Mr Putin does not need
to remain a hostage. In the first few months, Mr Putin has done more
towards bringing some order in the Russian economy than Mr Yeltsin did in
his six years. Clearly his job is far from being done. Yet, on a
transparent capitalism issue, Lukoil and Surgutneftegas are much more
transparent than Unify Corporation, the software company featured in James
Grant's article of the same day, "Potent practices to tempt a calculating
And, as far as "the old Soviet system which depended on contacts and on
whom you knew" goes, it is not entirely unique in that respect. As you
travel through the better suburbs of New York City, you may run into a lot
of very nice and well-positioned people whose families have been close for
many many years. As the ideological underpinnings of the old Soviet system
have been abandoned, Russia has a chance to put its cash to better use.
Alex Belkin, 320 E 42 Street, New York, NY 10017, US
August 10, 2000
Kremlin Coerces Moscow Mayor To Cooperate
On Wednesday the federal authorities launched a campaign against the Mayor
of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov's financial policies. Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin
accused Yuri Luzhkov of lying, and declared there had been no special
agreements between the federal government and the Mayor on settling the
Finance Minister Kudrin accused Moscow city hall officials of granting
unsubstantiated tax exemptions to Moscow-based legal entities. The same
day the governmental news agency RIA-Novosti seemingly purposefully,
reported on 30 criminal cases instigated by the Interior Ministry against
Moscow officials on suspicion of taking bribes and ties with criminal groups.
As a reminder: on Tuesday, Yuri Luzhkov asserted that the Moscow government
had reached an agreement with the first vice prime minister and Finance
Minister Alexei Kudrin envisaging that a part of the city’s debt would be
paid off at the expense of the federal budget.
Luzhkov made it clear that he was counting on aid from the federal centre’s
in exchange for his support of the new version of the Tax Code.
However, at a press conference on Wednesday, Alexei Kudrin resolutely
refuted the Mayor’s assertions. Kudrin said he had never given any such
At the Federation Council sitting on July 26, during the debate on the new
Tax Code, the Moscow Mayor harshly criticized the document. Luzhkov
claimed that if the proposed version of the new Tax Code is adopted, Moscow
would be deprived of a significant share of it’s budget, and thus would not
be able to pay off its debts.
In response, Kudrin said that the fate of the new Tax Code should not be
modified to accommodate the arrears of regional authorities and that the
government is ready to negotiate local debt problems on an individual basis.
Most likely the Mayor understood Kudrin’s words as a promise to write off
the city’s debt.
The first vice prime minister delivered a second blow. He alleged that the
Moscow authorities had embezzled city funds. In Kudrin’s words, there are
700 thousand enterprises registered in Moscow, whereas only 170 thousand of
them actually pay taxes. Besides, 460 thousand do not even submit accounts
to the tax inspectors and the total amount of tax exemptions in the capital
this year amounted to near 10 billion rubles. The vice prime minister was
obviously implying that the Moscow authorities redeem enterprises from
taxation and then try to solve the debt problems at the expense of the
According to the RIA-Novosti report, the Interior Ministry has launched a
probe into Moscow city hall’s activities.
The Interior Ministry has sent a letter to Yuri Luzhkov, alleging abuse of
powers by Moscow officials. According to police reports, the crime rate has
sharply risen of late. The most wide spread felonies include accepting
bribes, abuse of power and ties with organized crime. The Interior Ministry
has decided to institute criminal proceedings against 30 city officials.
Thus, the Moscow Mayor is not left with much of a choice: either he
withdraws his financial claims against the federal government and pledges
unconditional support for the new Tax Code, or face investigation into
corruption and criminal liaisons amongst his subordinates.
The investigators could well reveal a lot of intriguing facts. Sources in
Kudrin’s office openly allege that the Moscow authorities for instance
spend twice as much on road construction as other major cities.
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2000 10:21:03 +0400
From: Human Rights Watch Moscow <email@example.com>
Subject: Chechnya: War Through Children's Eyes
Chechnya: War Through Children's Eyes
War is hard on kids. In Chechnya, thousands of children huddled in
freezing and dark basements for months, while Russian warplanes
systematically reduced the capital Grozny to rubble.
Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed Chechen children about the
war, and collected their drawings about the war in Chechnya. Please
visit our new presentation "The War Through My Eyes: Children's Drawings
of Chechnya," on our website at:
Director, Moscow Office
Human Rights Watch
Russian Federation, Moscow 125267, A/Ya 2
Tel: 7 095 250 6852
Fax: 7 095 250 6853
Listserv address: To receive Human Rights Watch's press releases on
the Former Soviet Union, send an e-mail message to
with the request to be included in our mailing list.
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 2000
From: "CSED Intern/Fred Hodder" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Moscow Bombing
It is worth pointing out the similarities between this situation and the
history of Northern Irish terrorist attacks in London. Northern Ireland is
a separatist republic of Great Britain and the London Underground has been
repeatedly bombed by "terrorists" from that country. As a result, now there
are no trash cans at any London Underground station, nor at train stations,
and trash cans are hard to find on busy city streets. Posters warning the
public not to approach "suspect packages" are ubiquitous. Clearly the
situation in Britain is less violent, but parallels are emerging.
From: Lozansky@aol.com (Edward Lozansky)
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2000
Subject: Invitation to Moscow Seminar
Kontinent USA, American UNiversity in Moscow, the Free Congress Foundation
and the Democratic Choice of Russia party invite you to participate in a
Round Table Discussion: "REVIVING THE IDEA OF US - RUSSIAN STRATEGIC
PARTNERSHIP" to be held September 6 - 7, 2000 in Moscow, Russia. There is no
fee to participate but you must register by filling out the form below.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States and Russia
started high level discussions on a possible US - Russian strategic
partnership . The talks were headed by Assistant Secretary of State Dennis
Ross and Deputy Foreign Minister George Mamedov, but were cancelled by the
Clinton administration for reasons still unknown even to many Members of
At that time, everyone was talking about Russia becoming a US strategic
partner and even joining NATO. All this is now a distant memory. Presently we
see how Russia is inching towards China and North Korea, strongly opposes
BMD, and sells arms to rogue states.
Although the Russian government undoubtedly bears the primary responsibility
for this sorry state of affairs, it cannot be denied that the US contributed
substantially to the failure of our expectations. Western economic advice and
political and military actions were often mistaken and counterproductive, and
there was a lack of initiative to build a functioning strategic partnership.
The West let a historical opportunity pass for integrating Russia. Presently
even the usually pro-Western intellectuals and youth are prone to express
anti-American sentiments. However, the change of leadership both in the
Kremlin and in the White House provides a window of opportunity for a fresh
During the recent Republican convention, visiting representatives of two of
Russia's major political parties, "Democratic Choice of Russia" and "Unity",
suggested holding a round table discussion on how to revive the idea of a US
- Russia strategic partnership. This meeting may lead to the establishment
of the "Council on US - Russian Relations" which will generate new ideas and
coordinate political support on both sides for building a strategic
partnership between our two countries. There are wide opportunities for US -
Russian cooperation in practically any field, including but not limited to
politics, the military, business, science, culture, and education. We are
confident that even the issue of Strategic Missile Defense can be resolved to
the mutual satisfaction of both sides and we expect that this particular
problem will be given a special attention at the Moscow Round Table.
For additional information & registration complete the form below and e-mail
or fax it to one of the following:
Edward Lozansky, American University in Moscow and Kontinent USA
Tel. 202-986-6010, Fax 202-667-4244
Robert McFarland, Free Congress Foundation
Tel. 202-546-3000, Fax 202-543-5605
Arkady Murashev, Democratic Choice of Russia:
Tel. (095)290-2309, Fax (095)291-1595, E-mail: email@example.com
"REVIVING THE IDEA OF US - RUSSIAN STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP", Moscow, Russia:
Wednesday, September 6, 2000, 10.00AM - 5.00PM at the Freedom & Democracy
House, 44 Bolshaya Nikitskaya Street followed by reception.
Thursday, September 7, 3 - 7 PM at the Rosiformcenter, 4 Zubovsky Blvd.
We suggest use of Aeroflot Airline which has nonstop flights from Washington,
New York and Chicago for a roundtrip fare of approximately $550. The 5-Star
President Hotel can be booked for $120 - $150 per night, breakfast included.
Please call Masha at Margo Travel in New York at 212-779-1770 to make travel
arrangements or email her at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
August 10, 2000
Analysts: 'Healthy' Trade Surplus May Be Deceptive
By Mergen Mongush
Special to The Moscow Times
The nation's $32.2 billion half-year foreign trade surplus reported by the
Economic Development and Trade Ministry may be seen by some as a positive
The ministry has projected the annual surplus may go as high as $57.2
However, hard-nosed skeptics will see the surplus as the fruit of skewed
government policies operating since the mid-'90s.
And although the surplus seems huge, when taken as a per capita figure the
size of the trade is minuscule.
Figures provided by the State Customs Committee for the first quarter of this
year show the average Russian bought 56 cents worth of foreign goods and sold
$1.74 of his own each day. His daily surplus was $1.18.
The slogan of the mid '90s was to boost industry through a stable ruble, yet
the government's policies collapsed due to its inability to solve fiscal
This tight foreign exchange policy led to an influx of imports and the trade
deficit blew out to a record $3.5 billion for the first half of 1998,
worsening investors' confidence and pushing borrowing costs up.
When in mid-1998 foreign loans suddenly stopped and the economy crashed, the
value of the ruble plummeted and buying power dissolved.
Imports dried up because few people could afford them and they have been slow
to return as import substitution filled the hole in the market.
Two years later the structure of exports and imports for the first three
months of 2000 reveals that local production is still weak in many key areas.
The nation produces most of what it needs only in some areas, but relies on
imports for the rest.
Of $1.73 billion worth of imports last month from countries outside the
former Soviet Union, $430 million (24.6 percent) went toward food products,
$357 million (20.6 percent) to chemical products, textiles and shoes
accounted for $69.8 million (4 percent) and machinery $621million (35.8
percent), according to the State Customs Committee.
In terms of foreign trade turnover, $12.5 billion in May 2000 is already 3.3
percent and 4.9 percent higher than in May of pre-crisis 1997 and 1998, with
35.3 percent and 47.3 percent rises in export and 35.3 and 39.3 percent falls
in imports, respectively, according to the State Statistics Committee
A trade surplus can indicate a nation's relative economic health, but
analysts agree that Russia's surplus is the result of high world oil prices,
low demand from households and capital flight.
Anatoly Mikhailov, deputy head of forecasting department of the Economic
Development and Trade Ministry, said in a telephone interview that the trade
surplus will remain positive as long as there is no change in the pattern of
trade f import of high-tech products and export of unprocessed commodities
such as oil, metals and timber.
The Central Bank has amassed enough reserves to control inflation, but they
should be channeled into importing more sophisticated equipment, which will
inevitably lead to a smaller trade surplus, but more competitive high-tech
Russian goods, a more preferable outcome in the long run than the deceptively
rosy picture, he said.
Oleg Vyugin, executive vice president of Troika Dialog investment bank,
agreed. In the near future the trade surplus may even increase if more arms f
helicopters, planes and tanks f are sold, he said Wednesday in a telephone
He said Russia can hardly expect to increase exports of other manufactured
But the real change will come only with an increase in import of machinery
for manufacturing competitive goods, he added.
Structure of Foreign Trade
1) Food and agricultural products 0.9% 25.0%
2) Energy products 55.1% 0.9%
3) Chemical products 6.4% 20.0%
4) Leather and fur products 0.3% 0.2%
5) Timber and paper products 5.0% 4.2%
6) Textile and shoes 0.7% 3.1%
7) Jewelry 3.6% 0.3%
8) Metal products 19.5% 4.8%
9) Machinery and equipment 6.4% 37.5%
10) Others 2.1% 0.3%
Source: Customs Statistics of Foreign Trade, 1st quarter, 2000
The Biggest Trading Partners
COUNTRY % SHARE EXPORT IMPORT TOTAL Surplus
1. Germany (9.8%) $2.20 $0.73 $2.93 $1.47
2. Ukraine (7.9%) $1.72 $0.64 $2.36 $1.08
3. Belarus (6.9%) $1.25 $0.80 $2.05 $0.45
4. United States (6.9%) $0.93 $0.85 $1.78 $0.08
5. Italy (5.5%) $1.41 $0.23 $1.64 $1.18
6. Britain (4.0%) $1.06 $0.13 $1.19 $0.93
7. Poland (3.8%) $1.00 $0.14 $1.14 $0.86
8. Netherlands (3.7%) $0.97 $0.15 $1.12 $0.82
9. China (3.7%) $0.93 $0.18 $1.11 $0.75
OTHERS (47.8%) $11.33 $3.45 $14.78 $7.88
TOTAL $22.80 $7.30 $30.10 $15.50
Former Soviet Union (20%) $3.6 $2.4 $6.0 $1.2
Non-FSU countries (80%) $19.2 $4.9 $24.1 $14.3
Source: Customs Statistics of Foreign Trade, 1st quarter, 2000
figures in billions
August 10, 2000
State Council: A Senator’s Post-War Dream
In an interview with Gazeta.Ru, governor of the Novgorod region Mikhail
Proussak reveals his predictions about the formation and function of the
nascent State Council.
What was the upper house’s (i.e. Federation Council) final decision
regarding the establishment of the State Council?
The State Council will be an advisory body reporting to the president. At
the first the Council should not be endowed with constitutional powers, but
the president may use his powers and take active part in the State
Council’s work. Then the Council really will become an influential organ.
The second question is how many Council members are there to be in the
transitional stage. I believe that all subjects of federation should be
represented in the Council. There is no other solution. And if there is a
new administrative division of the state, the number of members should be
Besides, at first, not only the representatives of all regions, but also
representatives of both executive and legislative branches of power should
enter the Council. That is my opinion.
So, there is no need to amend the Constitution?
Until the other branches of power are reformed, the State Council should
not be made a constitutional body. In my opinion, the new Federation
Council will be a transitional organ. Later, there will be the State
Council, endowed with constitutional powers.
And when will the first variant of the State Council be formed? I think the
president will issue the relevant decree in the near future.
Prior to citing our next question to the governor hereby we provide an
excerpt from the Federal Constitution on the jurisdiction of the upper
1. The jurisdiction of the Federation Council shall include:
a) approval of changes of borders between the subjects of the Russian
b) approval of the decree of the President of the Russian Federation on the
introduction of martial law;
c) approval of the decree of the President of the Russian Federation on the
introduction of a state of emergency;
d) making decisions on the possibility of the use of the Armed Forces of
the Russian Federation outside the territory of the Russian Federation;
e) calling of elections of the President of the Russian Federation;
f) impeachment of the President of the Russian Federation.
g) the appointment of judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian
Federation, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, and the Supreme
Court of Arbitration of the Russian Federation;
h) the appointment to office and the removal from office of the
Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation;
i) the appointment to office and removal from office of the deputy Chairman
of the Accounting Chamber and half of its staff of its auditors.
2. The Federation Council shall pass resolutions on the issues within its
jurisdiction under the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
3. The decrees of the Federation Council shall be adopted by a majority of
all deputies to the Federation Council unless otherwise provided for by the
Constitution of the Russian Federation
That means that in fact the first State Council will not in the slightest
differ form the recently disbanded Political Advisory Board (formed by
Boris Yeltsin back in 1996), … In other words, another “children’s railroad”?
No. I don’t think so. What is the Federation Council today? It has no
influence. It rules nothing. Everything is so formal in the present
situation. Matters of war and peace, appointments… How many times did we
(the Federation Council) appoint and dismiss the Prosecutor-General? In the
morning the chamber discusses one candidacy, at noon another candidate is
put forward and in the evening yet another candidate for the post emerges.
I believe that the president’s State Council will in actual fact have more
rights than the Federation Council enjoys now de jure, in line with the
Constitution. Who discussed the president’s budget message to the Federal
Assembly? Nobody. Who discussed the state-of-the-nation address? Nobody.
And the budget? The answer is the same.
What do you mean by nobody? What about the State Duma and the Federation
At that time the finalized budget bill had already been introduced to the
State Duma. Generally speaking, all that we (the senators) say in the
course of budget discussions is just yes or no. There is no federal
approach therefore is why all should be involved in the process of
elaborating the budget law. Tax Code Part II, for instance, was passed by
the upper house despite the fact that the act significantly infringes upon
regional interests. Why then did they vote for it? Because the Federation
Council blindly follows presidential instructions…
And the State Council will be different?
Of course, it will be different. The most important thing for the president
is to have an arena in which he could be directly communicate with the
regional representatives and hear their queries. He will have to attend and
preside over the State Council’s sittings.
And what the State Council do?
The rules of the game for the whole year are listed in the president’s
annual address to the Federal Assembly. And who participated in elaboration
of those rules? Only the president’s administration. If we claim to be a
federation, all regions should take part in the process.
And that’s it?
The Budget message and Russia’s budget law is based on the
state-of-the-nation address. The State Council will elaborate the concept
for the country’s socio-economic development. As for appointments, the
State Council will assume that jurisdiction once it becomes the
And when will that happen?
Very soon I think. The Constitution should be amended only once. And before
it happens the State Duma and the local self-government system have to be
reformed. Afterwards: the government and the presidential administration
are to be reformed. The vice prime ministers’ posts should be abolished.
And how all this can be accomplished without amending the Constitution?
It will be amended. But to do so, one should elaborate a general concept of
the reforms at all stages. Then the Constitutional assembly should be
convened to adopt amendments to the Constitution.
And does the president agree with such a plan?
RFE/RL (Un)Civil Societies
Vol. 1, No. 13, 10 August 2000
ANALYSIS FROM WASHINGTON: COMBATTING ANTI-SEMITISM
By Paul Goble
Russian President Vladimir Putin's pledge to fight anti-
Semitism and improve economic conditions have contributed to "a
noticeable decrease" in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in
Russia over the last year, according to a report issued this week
by the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews.
But, this U.S.-based watchdog organization warns, the
difficulties Putin faces in rooting out entrenched anti- Semitic
groups in the regions, his own reliance on the security services
and the possibility that the Russian economic growth may slow
could trigger a new upsurge in anti-Semitism.
The danger of a new wave of anti-Semitism could grow, the
UCSJ said, if post-Soviet threats like the alliance between neo-
Nazi and Cossack paramilitary groups combine with Soviet-type
challenges like increased dominance by the security organs and the
suppression of freedom of the press.
According to this group, which has been monitoring anti-
Semitism in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet states for more than
a generation and which currently is conducting research on anti-
Semitic incidents in all of Russia's regions, this link-up has
already taken place in some places and appears to be gaining
ground in others, including in Moscow itself.
Perhaps the worst example is Krasnodar Governor Nikolai
Kondratenko, who, the report notes, has publicly accused Jews of
conspiring to destroy Russia and even of "inventing" homosexuality
to promote that end. In May, he said that Zionists were working
together with the United States to "zombify" the Russian
population and to incite ethnic conflicts on Russian territory.
But if this threat exists, the UCSJ argues, so too are some
reasons for optimism. First of all, Putin's own commitment to
oppose anti-Semitism and his efforts to rebuild the law
enforcement agencies have significantly reduced the number of
anti-Semitic incidents registered in the last years of Boris
Yeltsin's presidency. Putin has even ordered the arrest of some
extremists, something the report said would have been
"unthinkable" under Yeltsin.
Moreover, Putin's own political agenda of recentralizing
power and authority in Moscow appears to be directed against the
leaders of the country's regions, some of which are headed by
openly extremist and anti-Semitic governors. Thus Putin has his
own political reasons for moving against such groups.
And finally, the dramatic increase in the number of anti-
Semitic incidents in Russia in 1998-99 compared to the early and
mid-1990s has attracted growing attention from governments and
human rights organizations in the West, some of whom had viewed
the collapse of communism by itself as the solution to the
historical problem of anti-Semitism in Russia and her neighbors.
One example of this was the attention these governments and
groups gave to the recent arrest of Vladimir Gusinsky, an oligarch
who happens to be Jewish. If some were willing to accept Moscow's
argument that his arrest arose from his business activities, many
speculated that he had been singled out because of his religious
The impact on Russia of this renewed Western concern is
uncertain. On the one hand, Putin and his government are unlikely
to want to offend countries from which Moscow still hopes to
extract assistance and cooperation. But on the other hand, Western
statements on this issue could trigger the very thing they are
designed to oppose: an upsurge of nationalistic rhetoric and
action which could further threaten Jews in the Russian
Indeed, the mixed Russian reaction to U.S. Vice President Al
Gore's selection of Senator Joseph Lieberman as his vice
presidential running mate highlights some of the problems ahead,
with many Moscow papers focusing on Lieberman's Jewish background
and one, the "Vedomosti" business daily, going so far as to
suggest on 8 August that "if Gore wins the election, Russia will
have a very uncomfortable opponent."
For all these reasons, the UCSJ says, the West will have to
keep channels of communication open with Moscow to ensure that its
voice is heard on the importance of combatting anti-Semitism but
do so in a way that does not further inflame the situation.
That challenge, the report concludes, makes the next 12
months "a crucial time" for determining the future of Russian
Jewry--and indeed, of Russian democracy as a whole.
Problem of Child Prositution Growing in Moscow
August 3, 2000
[translation for personal use only]
Article by Vladimir Utkinov: "17,000 Homeless Children in Moscow
Engage in Prostitution"
According to reports from Moscow police, there
are 30,000 underage homeless persons living in Moscow. The figure is
approximate, since it is impossible to get an accurate count of all these
young vagabonds on account of the speed with which they move about the
city. One in three of these children has syphilis or gonorrhea, and one
in 10 is infected with AIDS. More than half of them engage in prostitution.
Sixteen-year-old Igor Vorobyev may be a shadowy Moscow figure, but he
is well known. Today he is what one might call a top manager in the child
sex industry. He earns as much as $200 a day. And all because he works
hard as a pimp... on Red Square from noon until 8:00 pm. It is the most
prestigious spot in Moscow. But not the most profitable.
According to Arik, also a pimp and friend of Igor, the best money can
be made working near the Cyril and Methodius monument in the Kitay-Gorod
district, where after 10:00 at night the trade in young bodies, mainly
boys, goes on; right now that is an extremely hot commodity. Arik tried
to convince me that there was a reason boy-lovers chose that monument as
their rendezvous: "You won't ever see it in books, but everybody here
knows that Mishka and Kirilka [Methodius and Cyril] were chased out of
Constantinople into Bulgaria for doing the same thing."
Besides Red Square, in the daytime unorganized teenagers and pimps
"work" at the entrance to the Hotel Intourist, next to the Bolshoi
Theater and around the McDonalds on Pushkin Square. There is fierce
competition between them, often boiling over into in fights. The prices
for the services of these child prostitutes range from 500 rubles to 200
dollars. It all depends on the age of the boy and the nature of the
services. In any case, the younger the child, the higher the price asked
for him. Most of the customers are businessmen. The boys have a hobby -
filching business cards from their customers and collecting them,
amassing collections that would be the envy of any journalist. These boys
trade business cards the way ordinary schoolchildren trade cards of
famous soccer players. It works like this: you can trade one banker for
two government officials or two television journalists, with a
businessman thrown in for free.
The children do not actually hang around the monument, just their
pimps. The deals are made right out in the open, as if Lyubyanka and
police stations were not right down the street.
Foreign cars drive up, sharp-looking young men climb out, and a deal
is struck within five minutes. Then the pimp's "footman" gets in the
customer's car and shows the way.
According to Igor, the children are "rented" by customers' bodyguards
or assistants. Messengers from stage performers are a rarity. People say
that the stars of show business have their own tradition, eschewing the
children of the streets and preferring to go through the files of
provincial brothels. There is talk of a certain very well-known singer
who sends a car once a week to the city of Aleksandrov in Tula Oblast,
where his two underage boy lovers live.
Recently the number of foreigners visiting the capital has been on
the rise. "Where they come from," says one of the rickety-looking boys
loitering outside of McDonalds, "they get about 200 years for that,
that's what one Englishman told us. He's a regular. He works for the
embassy; he's an OK guy. Me and a few of the other guys stay with him for
two or three days at a time, he takes us to the movies and to the circus,
buys us clothes, and last time he gave the two of us 200 bucks each."
A Ticket Out
Igor Vorobyev's story differs but little from those who work for him,
it is just that, in his opinion, he got lucky. He finished eighth grade
in Kostroma, and then came to the capital a year and a half ago on the
advice of other kids in his class, who told him that if he worked a month
in the market in Moscow he could buy his own "play station" [English
expression in original]. That is, his trading place - though not even the
most inveterate lovers of eloquent Russian call it that anymore.
No one noticed the child's disappearance. His parents were alcoholics
who had been stripped of their parental rights. He told his grandmother,
his only relative, that he had enrolled in a technical school and was
going to be living in a dormitory.
In Moscow Igor really did land a job as a helper working at one of
the stands at Tsaritsyn Market. Everything went just the way his friends
had said it would. Igor started making plans for the future. Three weeks
later he was raped by his boss, who gave him 100 rubles and warned him
not to tell anyone what had happened - or else he would die. At the
market Igor met other teenagers like himself who had come to take the
capital by storm but instead ran into rapist bosses. One of the guys told
him that he knew places in the city where people paid the kind of money
for sex that they could never even have dreamed about.
"What's so bad about this?" Igor asks. "At the market he could have
me three times a day for free... and he used to threaten me. Now I earn
$200 a day. All the guys say that it's sure not the most pleasant thing
in the world. But they make enough for 'pepi' (that's slang for "Pepsi
and pizza"). They all put $100 in the pot at the end of month - we're
saving up for a Japanese SUV. Sometimes - get this - if we have enough
money, we call out for a little 'leisure' time ourselves: we order a
girl for the night, one for two of us."
...After working a month at the market, Igor Vorobyev and his crew
left, slamming the door behind them. They got their pay and waited
until the boss left to go home, then tore up the stand, smashing the
display cases, throwing the goods on the floor and setting fire to the place.
At the time the oldest in their group was Yezhik, a 16-year-old boxer
from Bryansk. He took the kids to a five-story apartment building in
Perovo that was slated for demolition. They lived there until summer,
when the building was torn down. Then they moved to another one like it,
this time on Rechnoy Vokzal. Yezhik positioned his boys around the city
and collected his 20%. The money started rolling in. But that only lasted
for a little while, not more than four months. Then he disappeared,
apparently killed. By rights Igor took his place as the eldest. Soon the
crime "brothers" started sniffing around and threatening to take away
business unless he anted up the way he should. When the bandits' tax
burden became unbearable, Igor turned for help to one of his uniformed
customers. The customer dealt with the problem in just two days. He also
moved Igor to a more profitable location, namely to Red Square.
Irina Vlasova, director of the Svobodnyy Rebenok [Free Child] public
organization: "We have been working with children like this for five
years now. We catch them, literally. We try to persuade them that this
lifestyle is preventing them from becoming full-fledged men and having
"But unfortunately a majority of them won't listen to our advice.
Generally speaking, it is extremely difficult to establish contact with
this type of child. Many of the teenagers, although they don't even
suspect it, actually suffer from various mental illnesses."
"In my opinion, the blame for the current situation should be placed
on the deputies of the State Duma, who have spent five years
procrastinating over legislation to protect children. Right now it is
virtually impossible to prosecute either those who deal in children or
those who rape them. Even if the police arrest a customer, it is
unbelievably difficult to prove him guilty, because as a rule he has
high-ranking protectors, and the children are afraid to testify. For
example, about six months ago law enforcement agencies turned up a file
of customers in a Moscow brothel containing almost 180 names, addresses
and telephone numbers. Many of the customers are very, very well-known
individuals. And what happened? Meager information about just one of them
leaked out to the press in connection with that scandal."
CHECHEN HEAD CONDEMNS "FASCIST" MOSCOW MAYOR'S COMMENTS ON UNDERGROUND BLAST
Source: Chechenpress web site, Tbilisi, in Russian 1315 gmt 10 Aug 00
10th August: Who is [Moscow mayor Yuriy] Luzhkov to announce "a Chechen
connection" before an investigation has been conducted? So, you cannot
conceal your fascist views. It is not by chance that fascist cutthroats are
organizing parades in Moscow. We observed all this in August-September 1999.
Then Moscow mayor Luzhkov gathered representatives of the Chechen diaspora
and suggested that all the Chechens living in Moscow be issued with
identification cards certifying that a Chechen with one of these "was a
representative of the loyal part of the Chechen people and was permitted to
be in Russia". That is to say, Chechens, like Jews in 1930s-1940s, were
expected to have yellow tickets with them. And the worst thing is that
Mironov [envoy for human rights in the Russian Federation, Oleg Mironov], who
is responsible for human rights, participated in this meeting. What do you
think, did he protest? Nothing of the kind. He backed "the clever thought of
the city's father".
Today this fascist mayor of the Russian capital, who came to power in the
city solely thanks to Chechen money and who is still living at their expense,
is trying to present himself as an attentive master. If we put the blame on
Chechens, no-one will doubt this. Who could do it, but Chechens. The same
Chechens, who blew up residential houses in Moscow and Volgodonsk. Why has
everyone suddenly lost their memory? None other than the ardent opponent of
Chechens in [Russia's State] Duma, Mitrofanov [Aleksey Mitrofanov of Liberal
Democratic Party faction], deputy of [Liberal Democratic Party leader
Vladimir] Zhirinovskiy, said that two days before the explosion in
Volgodonsk, Russian Interior Minister [Vladimir] Rushaylo let the cat out of
the bag reporting about it as a fait accompli, and only two days later there
was a blast in Volgodonsk. Has their memory failed them? Maybe, Luzhkov had
better fix the security system in the city, of which he is in charge, instead
of issuing routine reports about checked attics and basements.
Who is preventing or can prevent Chechens from making such explosions in any
region of Russia, if they want to? You are today bogged down in Chechen
blood, but it is not your militia or the FSS [Federal Security Service] that
are curbing the Chechens, it is solely their character, which has never
allowed and will never allow them to take revenge on Russian civilians. We
are proud that we have an advantage over you, because we do not have hatred
for you, unlike you harbour towards us, but we have only contempt for you.
Any explosion carried out in Russia in recent years or any terrorist act
which will be committed in the future against Russian civilians, does not
have and will not have anything to do with the Chechen people.
They will arrest innocent Chechens to present them to the whole world and
will try to put the blame for that blast on them, whereas their only guilt is
that they were in Moscow at the moment.
I am calling on international organizations to take these people under their
control, as they will be physically tortured to make them confess. I hope
that there are still sober-minded people in Russia, who can curb this
unbridled anti-Chechen hysteria.
[signed] The press service of the president of the Chechen Republic of
Ichkeria, 9th August
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