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Johnson's Russia List


September 9, 2000    
This Date's Issues: 4500  4501  

Johnson's Russia List
#4500 [DJ: This issue is the 500th this year]
9 September 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Moscow Times: And the Winner Is? (DJ: We are in 
Pultizer Prize territory here. Today's issue of the
Moscow Times contains a collection of detailed articles
exploring falsification of the March presidential
election. Western experts on Russian elections, who for
the most part minimized falsification, should pay
attention. Go to
My admiration for the Times is not misplaced.)

2. AFP: Tearful Muscovites remember victims of deadly terror 

3. Anatol Lieven: Brzezinski on a Turkish model for Russia.
4. Washington Post: Robert Kaiser, Vladimir Putin Dishes With 
the Media.

5. Reuters: Putin ends U.N. summit with frank interview.

7. Reuters: IMF says Russia managing well without IMF loans.
8. Moscow Times: Primakov Assures West.] 


Moscow Times
September 9, 2000 
And the Winner Is? 

The Moscow Times has documented enough falsification in the March 26 
presidential election to question the legitimacy of the vote. Yevgenia 
Borisova reports from Dagestan, Saratov, Tatarstan, Ingushetia, Bashkortostan 
and Moscow, and by telephone from Novosibirsk, Kursk, Nizhny Novgorod, 
Kabardino-Balkariya and Mordovia. With additional reporting by Gary Peach 
from Kaliningrad, Nonna Chernyakova from Vladivostok and Mayerbeck Nunayev 
from Chechnya. 

Abdulla Magomedov, a 42-year-old police officer and a father of three, was on 
duty guarding the entrance to a government building in Dagestan when two 
Volgas pulled up _ one black, the other white. Three men and a woman got out, 
flashed government ID cards to enter the building, and then reemerged 
carrying large sacks. 

"I am supposed to control anything leaving the building," Magomedov recalled. 
"I checked what was in the bags. They were stuffed with ballots filled in for 
[Communist candidate Gennady] Zyuganov, with the seals and signs of polling 
stations _ I know how they look, I was an observer at the elections." 

It was 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 16 _ three weeks after the March 26 election 
that had confirmed Vladimir Putin in office with 52.94 percent of the vote. 

In the aftermath of that vote, two leading national opposition parties _ the 
Communists and Yabloko _ had alleged widespread elections fraud. Dagestan had 
been fingered for such fraud often enough that a commission from the State 
Duma had come to Makhachkala to investigate. And officer Magomedov had 
evidence of a deadly serious federal crime. 

"I got very angry, and tried to take one of the bags from the woman, one of 
the four. But she told me, 'Do you really need to get involved in this?' And 
the men also told me not to interfere." 

The four carried their bags of ballots a little ways off, with an uncertain 
Magomedov following. They took out the ballots and began to tear them up and 
then to burn them. 

"I know ballots must not be destroyed. I protested, but they only threatened 
to have me sacked," Magomedov recounted in an interview on April 19, three 
days after the fact. He assumed they were destroying evidence to foil the 
Duma commission's investigation. 

"I told them I would not leave it like this, that I was not going to shut up 
because I am a Communist and I voted for Zyuganov," Magomedov said. 

The next day, he filed a complaint with the local Communist Party. The 
complaint was forwarded to the headquarters of Makhachkala's Kirovsky 
district _ the building Magomedov had been guarding _ but there has been no 

April was dry in Makhachkala, and on a visit later that month to the site of 
the fire indicated by Magomedov, The Moscow Times was able to collect the 
ashes of the ballots. The names of the candidates in the March 26 elections 
can be clearly seen. 

"This is not right, what they did," said Magomedov. "They are just a mafia 
structure prepared to do whatever they want." 

Magomedov says he is ready to testify in court to what he has seen. But he 
also worries: His colleagues have been telling him to shut up or risk losing 
his job _ and his monthly salary of 800 rubles ($28) is the only pay coming 
in to support his family of five. 

Six Months of Testimony 

In the six months since the elections, The Moscow Times has met dozens of 
ordinary people like Magomedov. Federal elections authorities, foreign 
observers and the criminal justice system have all been dismissive of fraud 
allegations like his _ admitting that fraud existed and lamenting it, but 
insisting it was insignificant (and apparently, punishing no one for it). 

But fraud was far from insignificant. Given how close the vote was _ Putin 
won with just 52.94 percent, or by a slim margin of 2.2 million votes _ fraud 
and abuse of state power appear to have been decisive. 


oIn Dagestan alone, it is possible to definitively document about 88,000 
votes stolen from other candidates and given to candidate Putin _ simply by 
comparing documentation at about 16 percent of the local precincts, or 
polling stations, to documentation at the national level. The cheating leaps 
out immediately. 

And that is only in the minority of Dagestani voting precincts that were 
willing to provide election-day documentation. Other precincts _ where 
observers were kicked out or otherwise snubbed _ seem to have been engaged 
in, if anything, more extensive fraud. 

A State Duma commission investigating Dagestan under Communist Deputy 
Alexander Saly has extrapolated from documented fraud to assert that about 
700,000 votes in Dagestan must have been wrongly awarded to Putin. But the 
methodology, as laid out in an April 27 issue of Rossisskaya Gazeta, is 
highly questionable. And inexplicably, Saly's team has apparently only made 
intelligent use of about half of the hundreds of protocols it has collected. 
(A "protocol" is a certificate of a precinct's official vote tally.) 
Moreover, when Saly was asked to share copies of at least some of his 
findings with The Moscow Times, he agreed to show only some of the protocols, 
and joked that Zyuganov kept the rest in a folder with him. 

A more conservative calculation by The Moscow Times _ one that assumes fraud 
in the precincts that would not give out protocols was no worse than it was 
in those that did _ settled on a figure of about 551,000 votes that were 
crudely falsified in this way. 

In other words: After a visit to Dagestan alone, it is possible to challenge 
almost a fourth of Putin's national margin of victory as highly questionable. 

In other regions, the same sort of correcting-fluid falsification _ the 
clumsiest imaginable, where higher-level elections officials simply 
contradict the official reports of lower-level officials, and hope no one 
will notice _ can also be documented. In Saratov, Communist-collected 
protocols chronicle discrepancies in Putin's favor to the tune of 11,779 
votes; in Kabardino-Balkariya involving 7,126 votes; and in Bashkortostan 
involving 1,497 votes. Again, protocols in these and other regions were 
notoriously difficult to obtain, meaning this sort of crude falsification 
could actually be much larger. 

oIn Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, where all told Putin won 2.87 million of the 
4.46 million votes cast, fraud was more carefully organized. Voters and 
observers report a precinct-by-precinct conspiracy to stuff ballot boxes in 
every manner imaginable. If in Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkariya and Saratov 
higher-level officials rewrote lower-level results, in Tatarstan and 
Bashkortostan lower-level officials were already on board _ they produced the 
"correct" results the first time around. 

In Tatarstan, one ballot-stuffing game was so prevalent that it was even 
given a name _ "the caterpillar" _ and its perpetrators even approached the 
Tatarstan president's spokesman on election day to ask him to help. 

This more closed sort of vote-rigging is much harder to put an exact number 
on. But a conservative guess would be that fraud was on a scale of that of 
Dagestan, meaning hundreds of thousands of votes stolen for Putin in each 

oIn all of the above-named regions and also in Kursk, Mordovia, Kaliningrad 
and Nizhny Novgorod _ nine regions where Putin won a total of 6.96 million 
votes _ regional governors resorted to a vertical chain of bullying: Everyone 
from collective farm workers to college professors was forced to vote for 
Putin. Some critics have gone so far as to argue that on the eve of the 21st 
century, such bullying excluded villagers as a class from the democratic 

The effect of this so-called "abuse of administrative resources" on the vote 
tally is impossible to quantify. But those who have studied it and who spoke 
to The Moscow Times said bullying shifted several million votes from other 
candidates to Putin. Nearly all observers argued that it was far more 
influential than, say, the crude falsifications seen in places like Dagestan 
and Tatarstan. (This article does not look at how the Kremlin's abuse of 
media power influenced the outcome of the election, although the relentlessly 
positive national coverage almost certainly added even millions more to 
Putin's vote). 

oIn Chechnya, Putin officially won 191,039 votes _ or 50.63 percent _ from a 
population made up of families whose homes and lives have been destroyed by 
the war and rank-and-file soldiers dropped into the middle of a bloody and 
terrifying guerrilla war. In other words, refugee camps and conscripts 
supposedly voted en masse in favor of Putin. 

Even otherwise timid international observers were not amused by this. They 
have refused to recognize results from Chechnya, which was under martial law 
on election day, and there were no observers there. With the exception of the 
federal government and the Central Elections Commission, almost no one sees 
the vote in Chechnya as legitimate. 

oPerhaps the most startling discovery of our six-month investigation was one 
that emerged from the CEC web site: The official number of registered voters 
grew by 1.3 million in the three months between the Dec. 19 State Duma 
elections and the March 26 presidential elections _ and there is no good 
explanation as to why. 

All potential voters are automatically registered by the state upon turning 
18 years old. That's why the appearance of 1.3 million new voters in such a 
short period has left Russian and American demographers interviewed for this 
article baffled _ and troubled by the lame nature of explanations offered by 
the CEC and other federal authorities. An unofficial explanation is that 
these 1.3 million voters are mostly fictional _ "dead souls," to borrow a 
term from Nikolai Gogol's famous novel, summoned up from the imagination of 
corrupt elections officials. (See sidebar, page VII). 

Crime But No Punishment 

Voters have complained about fraud, but no one seems to be listening. 

In small villages where it is possible for someone to poll his neighbors and 
determine how they all voted, dishonesty turns up easily. Some villages have 
written open letters to the president and to other higher authorities to 
protest their votes being "stolen," and The Moscow Times has obtained such 

In some cases, voters have testified to having the pens and ballots snatched 
out of their hands at the voting booth and filled in for them. In others, 
they have been bullied into voting for Putin with threats from local leaders 
that they will lose their jobs, or be denied state welfare support. Other 
voters recounted seeing elections officials adding "dead souls" to 
registration lists _ by listing children as adults, or listing people twice, 
or simply by adding names at random. In some cases, corrupt elections 
officials have added fictional floors to apartment buildings, and filled the 
resulting fictional apartments with fictional voters _ who as one cast their 
ballots for Putin. 

And everywhere, local government can be found to have worked for Putin _ by 
leaning on factory directors, school principals, hospital administrators and 
farm chiefs, who in turn bullied their employees and others dependent on 
them. Those reluctant to vote "correctly" report being threatened with losing 
their jobs, being evicted or being denied their right to state support such 
as pensions. "Of course we were pressured from the top, and we pressured our 
people to vote for Putin," said one collective farm chief in an interview in 
Kazan, on condition of anonymity. "But it is forbidden to talk about it." 

This and more is among the evidence assembled by The Moscow Times _ reporting 
that echoed in similar investigations carried out by the Communist Party, 
Yabloko, foreign observer missions and the Saly commission in the Duma. 

The inescapable conclusion is that Putin would not have won outright on March 
26 without cheating. 

At the same time, those months of reporting indicate that the conventional 
wisdom of the time was correct: Putin was far and away the most popular 
candidate for president in the spring and summer of 2000. Had he won less 
than 50 percent of the March 26 vote, he most likely would have faced _ and 
easily defeated _ Communist leader Zyuganov in a runoff. 

Tellingly, in every region visited by The Moscow Times, the same top 
Communist members who so indignantly laid out evidence of fraud in the first 
round all freely conceded Putin would have easily won in a second round 

According to Saly, the Communist Party member who heads the Duma's commission 
to investigate elections fraud, about 440 lawsuits were filed in courts 
across the nation to contest fraud of one kind or another in the March 26 
vote. Saly also said the nation's various elections commissions have received 
untold thousands of formal complaints. 

But those who file such complaints say they get no satisfaction. 

And those who appealed to the courts were often told to readdress their 
complaints to federal or regional prosecutors _ in other words, to complain 
to the executive branch ultimately headed by Putin, and not to the 
theoretically separate judicial branch. Prosecutors, in turn, often send such 
appeals back to the courts, or to elections officials _ in a never-ending 
game of go-nowhere football. 

Such has been the experience of Ilyas Magomedov, an aide to a Communist State 
Duma deputy from Dagestan. Magomedov filed suit in two separate courts in 
Makhachkala alleging specific instances of fraud and violations in both the 
December 1999 Duma vote and the March 2000 presidential vote. In both cases 
the courts declined to hear the matter, sending Magomedov written orders to 
appeal instead to prosecutors. When he then appealed to Makhachkala's deputy 
prosecutor, he received written instructions to appeal to the courts. 

Many others reported that they did not even bother to complain about fraud 
they witnessed because they saw it was hopelessly futile. 

"Undoubtedly there was large-scale forgery here, but we did not prepare a 
complaint," said Dmitry Fomin, who campaigned for Grigory Yavlinsky in 
Tatarstan's Naberezhniye Chelny district. "For Tatarstan, the definition of a 
court is: Something that takes a lot of energy but provides a very equivocal 
result. Everything is under such tight control here that we expect better 
results from publications in the media than from court decisions." 

See No Evil? 

Federal elections law gives Russian and foreign organizations broad powers to 
observe all voting day activities, and observers are supposed to prevent the 
most crude abuses. 

But observers were not everywhere. Communist and Yabloko party observers 
allege having seen, or heard of, massive fraud, to the tune of millions of 
votes. Zyuganov has claimed to have had 7 million votes stolen from him, 
quite a lot if Putin won by about 2 million _ but the evidence provided for 
such claims, while often troubling, is not complete. 

Meanwhile, it's hard to know how seriously to take foreign observers. 
Consider the biggest, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in 
Europe, which sent a team of about 400 people to observe both the 1999 Duma 
elections and then again three months later the presidential vote. As with 
other foreign observer groups, about a 10th of the OSCE teams were 
"long-term" observers with strong knowledge of Russia and Russian, who 
arrived months beforehand to take an in-depth look at the situation, while 
the other 380 or so were flown in late in the game to watch the voting day. 

Edouard Brunner, head of the OSCE delegation, told The Moscow Times a week 
before the Duma vote that he expected "international observers will come up 
with a statement [after the Dec. 19 vote] that the elections were conducted 
in a democratic way." They did indeed (with the exception of the least 
well-known of the lot, the European Media Institute, which characterized the 
Duma vote as "sad" and a step back from democracy for Russia). 

The short-term foreign observers usually include the top officials like 
Brunner _ and it is they who tend to set the tone of the crucial 
morning-after news conferences and press releases. 

Following the presidential elections, long-term OSCE observers interviewed by 
The Moscow Times, on strict condition of anonymity, expressed disgust for the 
cheery tone of the day-after OSCE commentary _ and dissatisfaction that the 
more thorough, official OSCE report on the elections _ which was published 
two months later and was harsher and more informed _ got no attention. 

"They make the OSCE's press statement on the elections before the long-term 
observers _ and it's the long-term observers who really know the story _ have 
actually given their reports," said one long-term OSCE observer. "They don't 
actually hear all the evidence before they write it _ and then what happens 
is, the longer report that the OSCE writes, which is sometimes more critical, 
its overall tone is set by the press statement. 

"Because the press statement is the official stamp of approval. That's what 
gets quoted in the newspapers ... That's what Putin's people carry around 
with them in their hand. Nobody will read the detailed report." 

That detailed report, released May 19, is posted on the OSCE web site 
( In it, the OSCE sticks to its initial 
finding that the elections were democratic and a step forward for Russia. But 
the report also cites anecdotal evidence from the long-term observers similar 
to stories heard repeatedly by The Moscow Times _ even as the report 
downplays the significance of the abuses it chronicles and goes into little 

The OSCE report states, for example, that in fully half of all polling 
stations visited by OSCE observers, "some of the cumbersome procedural 
requirements for the vote count were circumvented in order to expedite the 

It also notes that the Communist Party observers in particular had documented 
"episodic violations that, in and of themselves, would not appear to be 
sufficient to alter the outcome," and then goes on to give a jargon-softened 

"For example, sporadic instances of family voting, inclusion of deceased 
persons on voter lists, occasional denial of requests to receive copies of 
protocols, various abuses of administrative resources, improper influence of 
administrative authorities seen to be directing the work of polling station 
commissions, expulsion of individual observers from some sites, incidents of 
inequities regarding access to the mass media, distribution of campaign 
material during the 'silent period,' etc." 

Why Did They Do It? 

"Other allegations were more serious and deserve the full weight of 
investigation," the OSCE report continues. "They involved charges that 
protocols were falsified, in some instances by reversing or increasing the 
vote totals recorded for Putin over Zyuganov." 

The report concludes that the OSCE observers "are not in a position to judge 
the validity of the complaints raised by the Communist Party and can draw no 
conclusions as to the proficiency and seriousness with which they were 
reviewed by competent election commissions or the courts." 

Yet the OSCE did in effect reject the validity of those complaints _ when 
they endorsed the elections as free, fair and democratic. In similar cases, 
such as the fraud-tainted April re-election of Peruvian President Alberto 
Fujimori, Western observers complained until new elections were held. The 
winner, again Fujimori, today enjoys more legitimacy thanks to the exercise. 

"Why did [Western observers] do it [endorse the Putin election as 
legitimate]? In obvious support for what they call Russian reforms," said 
Boris Kagarlitsky, a sociologist and political analyst with the Institute for 
Comparative Politics. "And of course in support for Putin as a reformer. It 
is a credit of trust to Putin and an extension of the support of the Chubais 
group," he added, referring to long-running Western support for Anatoly 
Chubais, the architect of Russian privatization programs. 

"Many of these organizations, they have as it were a political statement that 
they want to make before they go," said an OSCE long-term observer unhappy 
with the organization's soothing official findings. "I thought it was very, 
very ... totally cynical and unsatisfactory, and if I had been writing the 
press statement I'd have given it a different slant." 

Who Gave the Orders? 

Not one person of those interviewed over the six months since the election 
could offer compelling evidence that fraud was part of a national conspiracy 
organized on direct orders from anyone in the Kremlin. 

But there is abundant evidence that in some of Russia's 89 regions, orders to 
falsify the vote came down directly and formally from the governors' offices 
_ in a nation where governors from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok all publicly 
embraced Putin's political vehicle Unity. And there are reasons to believe 
that Kremlin officials might have made clear, with not-always-subtle hints, 
that regional leaders were expected to deliver the Putin vote by hook or by 

Consider just the example of the 1995 Duma elections, when then-Prime 
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin angrily and publicly berated regional governors 
for not delivering the vote _ and even threatened to engineer the downfall of 
governors of regions where Our Home Is Russia did worst. 

That the Putin team saw the apparatus of government as subordinate to their 
campaign needs is suggested by the composition of the team itself. According 
to the OSCE's final report on the March 26 vote, Putin campaign staff 
included, among many others, three deputy heads of the Kremlin 
administration; top Interior Ministry officials including the first deputy 
minister and deputy police chiefs across the nation; top Railways Ministry 
officials representing all of the country's major railroad routes; and top 
officials from the tax and agriculture ministries. 

"[OSCE observers] in different regions encountered incidents where campaign 
materials for the acting president were found in offices of territorial 
election commissions," the OSCE report says, referring to the unit that 
oversees 20 to 30 polling stations. "Some territorial commissions 
acknowledged that they were instructed by the administration to pick up Putin 
campaign materials for distribution in their areas. Corroborating reports 
were submitted from territorial commissions as far distant from one another 
as [Vladivostok] and Kazan. 

"In one instance, the chairwoman of a territorial commission acknowledged 
that one day earlier, she had received her first specific order regarding 
promoting the acting president's campaign. At that time she had been 
instructed to pick up campaign literature promoting his candidacy at the same 
time as she picked up the ballots for her territory." 

Elections officials were also apparently bullied into making up results _ 
whether by adding "dead souls" to their count (see sidebar, page VII) or 
"correcting" official lower-level results to favor Putin. 


Tearful Muscovites remember victims of deadly terror blast

MOSCOW, Sept 9 (AFP) - 
Scores of tearful Russians laid floral tributes Saturday on the site of a 
Moscow housing block where 92 people died exactly a year ago in a terrorist 
bomb attack.

An open air memorial service was held on the building site in Moscow's 
Guryanov Street around a large wooden Orthodox where the eight storey block 
of 72 apartments once stood.

"There were a lot of people here between 10:00 p.m. and midnight (Friday) 
when the explosion went off," one pensioner told the NTV television station.

"This will remain with us all our lives. As long as we are alive we will 
remember those that died," said a tearful army officer in full military 

"We will take our revenge on these bastards, to the last drop of blood. We 
will never forgive them for what they have done," he said.

Former resident Gennady, who lived in the destroyed building for 26 years, 
said he had only escaped the bombers because he and his family were staying 
with his mother-in-law at the time.

"All my childhood has been wiped out in one go," he said. "I lost my best 
friend here. I lost everyone here," he added.

Children's cuddly toys were placed among the floral tributes, a poignant 
reminder of the many youngsters who died in the blast.

A plastic beaker of vodka with slice of black bread placed over it was set 
down on the site where new flats are being built, a traditional mark of 
respect by relatives on the anniversary of the death of a loved one.

As many as 16 people remain officially missing following the Guryanov Street 
blast and a second explosion in Moscow four days later in which a further 118 
people died.

Two men, Taukan Frantsuzov and Ruslan Magayayev, have been arrested and 
charged in connection with the two Moscow blasts but have yet to come to 

In total, 292 people died in four apartment bombings across Russia last 
September. The deadly blast stunned Russia and marked the first time the 
country had been confronted by terrorist bomb attacks on civilian housing 

The attacks were cited by the Russian authorities as a key factor in 
prompting the Russian ground invasion of Chechnya on October 1, 1999.

But Russian media have often speculated that the FSB domestic intelligence 
service could have planned the bombings in order to precipitate a war in 
Chechnya likely to boost the popularity of then prime minister, now President 
Vladimir Putin.

The head of state, a former FSB chief, has rejected the suggestion as 

However, the theory gained credence when it emerged that FSB agents had 
planted a "fake" bomb in a housing estate in Ryazan, 200 kilometresmiles) 
southeast of Moscow.

FSB officials said the move was an elaborate security test.


Date: Fri, 08 Sep 2000 
From: Anatol Lieven <>
Subject: Brzezinski on a Turkish model for Russia.

Dear David, 

I'm profoundly tired of commenting on Brzezinski's writings about Russia.
So with regard to his bizarre suggestion in The National Interest that
Russia should follow the path of Kemal Ataturk's Turkey, I'll just attach
below a discussion of this issue from the conclusion to my book, Chechnya:
Tombstone of Russian Power, published three years ago. 

I'll only add- which should be obvious to everyone - that whenever Russia
does in fact begin to take even the most limited steps in a Kemalist
direction (authoritarian centralisation in the name of reform,
militarisation and a dominant political role for the security forces,
suppression of minority rights) Brzezinski is the very first to break out
in furious denunciations. 

Up to now - thank God - Russia has not in fact gone very far in that
direction, above all when it comes to the ethnic minorities, whether
Tatars, Yakuts, Karachai or whoever. As long as these do not engage in
outright revolt against the Russian Federation, they enjoy a political,
cultural and territorial autonomy of which the Turkish minorities can only
dream. The preservation of this under Yeltsin was one of that figure's few
genuine claims to respect, and a key reason why, except for Chechnya and
some other parts of the North Caucasus, ethnic peace prevails across the
greater part of the Russian Federation. We must all pray that this
continues, and that Putin does not follow the path of Ataturk and his
successors. I know that Turkey is a NATO Member and a Vital Strategic
Partner and a Force For Stability in the Middle East - but this argument is
From: Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power (Yale University Press, 1998),
pages 383-384: 

There is a historical model for how Russia might react in these
circumstances, and strangely enough, it is one which has been advanced by
some Western commentators as a positive model for Russia: this is Turkey
as reshaped by Mustapha Kemal ‘Ataturk’. 

The reasons why this is seen as a positive model in the West are threefold:
that Ataturk’s Turkey gave up the Ottoman Empire’s pretensions to lead the
Muslim world (through the caliphate) and rule over huge areas beyond
Turkey’s ethnic borders; that Ataturk and his successors have crushed both
conservative and radical Islam in the name of Western-inspired modern
secularism; and that they have aligned themselves with the West
geopolitically, first by refusing to ally with Germany in the Second World
War, then by joining NATO in the Cold War, then by lining up alongside the
USA and Israel in the Middle East. 

The possible parallels with contemporary Russia look clear enough - and it
is probably only traditional Russian contempt and hatred for the Turks
which has prevented them being picked up by Russian thinkers. By the early
20th century, the Ottoman Empire had experienced decades of repeated
humiliation at the hands of the West, and of failed reforms. The
multinational empire itself, and its claims to leadership of the Muslim
world were fading fast. With defeat in 1918, they disappeared altogether,
and former subject peoples advanced towards the heart of ethnic Turkish
territory itself. 

In these circumstances, younger and more radical elements of the Turkish
elites, and especially the military, decided to rebuild and strengthen
their state on the basis of Turkish ethnic nationalism. Hitherto, this had
been almost completely lacking in the Ottoman elite’s ideology and culture.
‘Turk’ had been almost a term of abuse, implying a coarse and uneducated
Anatolian peasant. In terms of blood, the elites (and most probably Ataturk
himself) were overwhelmingly non-Turkish. 

It was in reaction to all this that Ataturk launched the slogan, ‘Be Proud
to Be a Turk’, and launched a brutal attack on religious tradition in the
name of modernisation. In part because of the strength of the traditions he
had to overcome, and in part because of the Turkish military’s traditions
(and its Wilhelmine German models), the state that he founded embodied very
strong authoritarian, military and chauvinist elements. As James Pettifer
has written, to this day external and internal enemies are seen everywhere:
‘It is very difficult to be Turkish. In the loyal bureaucrats’ view great
national discipline is necessary to surmount these ever-present threats...’ 

Kemalist Turkey also had quasi-absolutist claims to total cultural control
over the entire population within Turkey's new and much reduced borders -
something which had also been lacking in the intermittently savage, but
generally lazy and pluralist governing philosophy of the Ottoman empire. 

Despite the fact that by the early 19th Century, the Turks had been written
off by many European (and some Turkish) commentators as hopelessly decadent
and incapable of reform and regeneration, the result of the Kemalist
national revolution was in fact - or seemed to be for many years - a
relatively successful experiment in modern state-building and development.
However, it is one which has been a disaster for Turkey's ethnic
minorities, Armenians, Greeks and Kurds, who were respectively subjected to
genocide, massacre and expulsion, and an attempt at complete suppression of
their language and cultural identity (though the Turks reply, with
considerable justice, that this was no worse than the fate with which these
enemies were threatening them). Later of course this state philosophy also
threatened intervention in neighbouring states harbouring ethnic Turkish
minorities, like Cyprus - for while Kemalist nationalism had abandoned
claims to non-Turks beyond Turkey’s borders, it certainly did not imply the
abandonment of claims to protect ethnic Turks; and in this context, it
needs to be emphasied that no Russian state - even a liberal, capitalist
and democratic one - is ever going to be able to abandon all claim to a
right of protection over ethnic Russians outside Russia, at least against
actual physical attack. This may also be true of the Russian stake in

The parallels to Russia’s position could hardly be clearer; and the
advocates of a Kemalist path have not thought through the impIications of
their arguments, or what a true Ataturk and his programme, with a capacity
for mobilising and inspiring the Russian army and people, would mean for
Europe today. Apart from anything else, just as it would in part be a
reaction against the ethnicist nationalism of neighbouring states, so it
would in turn produce further reactions in this direction among Russia’s
neighbours (and of course her own minorities) risking a downward spiral of
hatred, oppression, unrest and ultimately war. 


Washington Post
September 8, 2000
[for personal use only]
Vladimir Putin Dishes With the Media
By Robert G. Kaiser

NEW YORK - At the bar downstairs, an animated crowd of burnished New 
Yorkers, a bartender in white shaking and pouring martinis: just another 
Wednesday night at the 21 Club. But upstairs in the paneled Remington Room 
(with Frederic Remington's images of the West in gilded frames on every 
wall), a most unusual dinner party: 20 media heavies from print and 
broadcast, and the president of Russia. It was Vladimir Putin's first visit 
to 21. 

Hard to imagine Joe Stalin at 21--or even Mikhail Gorbachev. But 
Putin--small, calm, unassuming in manner--seemed perfectly comfortable. This 
may have been his mission: reassurance. Before the night was over, he had 
surprised his dinner companions with several observations.

Putin's pal Tom Brokaw (they met in Moscow last June, when Brokaw interviewed 
the president for NBC) was the host. When Putin arrived for dinner at 9, he 
circulated among the guests a little stiffly, shaking hands and saying "good 
evening" to each, without much of an accent. The guests were programmed to 
make a memorable impression on the president. But the president was 
programmed to say "good evening" (the last that was heard of his English) and 
didn't seem to be absorbing their efforts.

In the days before, Brokaw spent a lot of time on the phone arranging this 
dinner. "Protocol is not my thing," he acknowledged. When he proposed the 
idea, Putin's people wanted to know who would attend, so Brokaw suggested the 
editor of the New York Times, the editor of The Washington Post, the editors 
of Time and Newsweek and the New Yorker, Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric, 
Maureen Dowd and Richard Cohen.

The Russians agreed. Then on Wednesday one of Putin's guys called back. Have 
you invited too many people, he asked. Can such a large group have an 
informal conversation? Brokaw convinced him that they didn't want to start 
disinviting the people on this guest list.

As the media types arrived some minutes ahead of the president, Brokaw broke 
some bad news to each of them, one or two at a time: Putin had insisted that 
the gathering be "off the record." Brokaw promised to try to persuade Putin 
himself to change that rule, but Putin initially said he wanted a private 
exchange of views.

There were three round tables. Katie Couric sat two seats from Putin, next to 
his interpreter, and got the president talking about the tragedy of the Kursk 
submarine. Evidently, her winning manner works even through an interpreter. 
Soon Putin was holding forth.

Brokaw, sitting on his other side, realized that Putin's comments would 
interest the whole group, and asked everyone to listen. Was Putin willing to 
talk about the Kursk on the record? He was. (His comments are reported in 
today's A section.) From then on, he seemed comfortable staying on the record 
nearly all the time.

Maureen Orth of Vanity Fair, author of a profile of Putin in next month's 
issue, aggressively questioned the president about harassment of media owners 
in Moscow, which led to spirited exchanges, but no conceptual breakthroughs. 
Orth asked how the government could harass tycoon Boris Berezovsky since 
Berezovsky had helped choose Putin as Boris Yeltsin's successor. Did he 
really, Putin asked. "He wanted you to believe that." Putin seemed to enjoy 
the repartee, and enjoyed not answering the questions.

He was asked, "What kind of a democrat are you?" and replied by asking the 
questioner, "Were you a member of the Soviet Communist Party?" No. Then he 
explained: "We had 12 million members of the Communist Party. . . . The 
biggest problem we face is the poisoned consciousness of our people. It will 
take a long time for our people to realize that the quality of their lives 
will depend on their own effort."

Russia, Putin went on, needs "a real multiparty system"--not parties "that 
represent only themselves, but rather . . . reflect the interests of large 
groups of society," which could "shape the policies of the state." But Russia 
doesn't have such parties. Instead it has candidates for office "whom people 
vote for because they like them."

"Like you?" he was asked. Putin won an overwhelming majority in this year's 
presidential election after forming a new party whose only platform was to 
support Putin.

"Like me," he agreed. "And that's very dangerous."

A politic reply. As was his response when asked if Russia needs a free 
press--really free, the way Americans understand the term.

"A modern state is not possible without freedom of the press," he replied. 
Really free? "Absolutely." But in Russia, he has denounced "the anti-state 
press"--which is what the American press thinks it is supposed to be. He has 
also denounced Russian media coverage of the Kursk accident.

Putin did least well trying to explain why he remained on vacation on the 
Black Sea after the Kursk submarine sank with 118 hands on board. He had a 
lot to say about the accident, but very little to say about his own decision. 
If a similar accident happens again, will he behave differently?

"I couldn't have done anything that would have helped," he replied. He meant 
he couldn't have helped the sailors. A politician better attuned to public 
opinion would have found a way to at least help himself. "I didn't have a 
choice between a good and a bad response," Putin added. "I had a choice 
between a bad and an awful option." He didn't explain which he had chosen, or 
what the other one might have been.

At 11:25, the party broke up. When it began, Putin had said he hadn't slept 
for 20 hours, but when it was over he didn't rush to leave. He signed 
autographs and schmoozed. This old KGB man, easier to sum up before you'd met 
him, had enjoyed himself.


Putin ends U.N. summit with frank interview
By Ron Popeski

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin closed a 
lackluster U.N. visit on Friday with a freewheeling television interview 
laying bare his thoughts on the Kursk submarine tragedy, disarmament and 
hitherto unknown aspects of his private life. 

Putin raised eyebrows at the U.N. Millennium Summit by adopting an 
uncharacteristic low profile at his appearances. 

Largely absent was the poise so evident in previous foreign appearances or at 
summit talks with U.S. President Bill Clinton in Moscow last June. Back then, 
his calm, off-the-cuff approach to difficult issues left his guest looking 

His colourless performances invited comparison with the buzz which Boris 
Yeltsin always generated at such gatherings, although the lively atmosphere 
around Putin's predecessor was badly harmed by his increasingly shaky 
demeanor and unpredictability in the final stages of his mandate. 

Putin's chance to shine -- he was among the first of more than 150 leaders to 
speak after Clinton -- fell flat in a speech highlighted by two relatively 
obscure proposals. 

Putin said he had received favourable responses to his calls to hold a 
conference on the militarization of space call and entrench peaceful uses of 
uranium and plutonium. 

But they barely got a public mention amid a welter of speeches, four round 
tables and broad calls for U.N. reform. 


His speech to a special Security Council session on boosting the U.N.'s 
peacekeeping effort stuck to known Russian positions on insisting on Council 
approval for any military intervention. A late-night news conference shed no 
new light on Russian ideas for the U.N.'s future role. 

The highly publicised interview with CNN's ``Larry King Live'' allowed Putin 
to let his hair down on the tasks facing him as president and disasters 
recently befalling him, among them the sinking last month of the 
nuclear-powered Kursk submarine. 

Putin said he might act differently if confronted again with such a disaster. 
He was lambasted in the Russian press for not breaking off a Black Sea 
vacation to rush to the scene where 118 seamen died. 

``The only thing which could have been changed was ... possibly to halt my 
working meetings, to suspend them at my place of vacation ... I could have 
gone back to Moscow,'' Putin said, according to a transcript released by CNN. 

``But again, this would have been a PR (public relations) action, since in 
any city of the country or throughout the world, I'm always linked to the 
military... From the point of view of PR, that could look better. Maybe yes 
it would look better.'' 

Putin dealt at length with Russian objections to U.S. proposals to create a 
national missile defence system -- Moscow's main point of contention with 
Washington -- saying the notion upset the nuclear balance established during 
the Cold War. 

``If we disrupt that balance, we'll put the whole world before this really 
great danger, which doesn't serve the interests of Russia or other 
countries,'' he said. 

``The most acceptable solution would be to preserve the balance of interests 
as we know it today and jointly try to avert all these dangers.'' 


Putin dismissed suggestions that press freedom might be under threat in 
Russia because of complaints by two business magnates with media interests -- 
Vladimir Gusinsky, jailed briefly in June on embezzlement charges, and Boris 
Berezovsky, who has accused the Kremlin of putting pressure on him. 

The real issue, he said, was debts incurred by both. 

He repeated long-held positions that the conflict against Chechen separatists 
was coming to a successful conclusion and that Moscow was confronting Islamic 
extremists with foreign funding. The Russian people, he said, were fully 
behind him. 

``Yes, absolutely so, they do support me,'' he said. ``When federal forces 
stopped the resistance of organised troops...the political process was 
started with the local population. Today there are no large-scale military 
operations. None.'' 

Putin was enthusiastic about the economy, saying it had undergone ``dramatic 
change, unprecedented internationally.'' 

Difficulties for Russian consumers, he said, had not been unexpected. 

``Nobody expected there would be change without imagining what would be 
entailed. But I think that right now we can confidently state that the 
country is able to deal with it.'' 

Of his personal life, Putin told King he had twice visited Israel and had 
begun wearing an Orthodox cross, a gift from his mother, after it was nearly 
lost in a fire at the family's country house. 

Putin, a former agent of the Soviet KGB secret services infamous for its 
campaign of harassment of religious believers, had previously said he was 
baptised in Russia's Orthodox church and carried a cross. 

``I was surprised completely when one of the workers, sifting through the 
ashes ... found the cross intact,'' he said. ``And the house fell. This was a 
surprise, a revelation and therefore I always now keep it with me.'' 


Source: 'Segodnya', Moscow, in Russian 8 Sep 00 

A Russian newspaper has cast doubt on whether a simple arithmetical
downsizing of the armed forces will generate significant savings. According
to 'Segodnya', no amount of downsizing will help unless Russia stops
producing arms for general mobilization and training for combat operations
after a nuclear strike, abandons strategic air defence, disbands the
Internal Troops and transfers the Federal Agency for Government
Communications and Information (FAPSI) and the Railway Troops either to the
Defence Ministry or to civilian funding. The following is the text of a
report published in the newspaper on 8th September 

Information about military reform is usually circulated in our country by
means of rumours and "leaks". Yesterday the Military News Agency followed
by Interfax reported, citing their Defence Ministry "representatives", that
it is planned to downsize the army alone by 400,000 by 2003 (from 1.2
million to 800,000). This includes the Ground Forces (180,000); the navy
(over 50,000); and the air force (around 40,000), while the Defence
Ministry central apparatus, the logistics services and the military medics
will also shed "live flesh". 

But they will retain their status, which cannot be said about the Strategic
Missile Troops [SMT]. Since sources claim that the reform is following
Chief of the General Staff Anatoliy Kvashnin's plan (the worst-case
scenario for [Defence Minister] Marshal [Igor] Sergeyev's supporters), the
SMT will not only lose the Military Space Forces and the Missile and Space
Defence Troops, but will also be considerably transformed themselves - from
a branch of service into a combat arm and in 2005 the SMT as a whole will
become part of the air force. Only 12 of the current 22 missile divisions
will be left, which does, however, fully accord with the START-2 treaty. 

Other troop formations are also falling prey to the reformers' knife. It is
planned to downsize the Internal Troops by over 20,00 men, the Border
Troops by 5,000, the Railway Troops by 10,000, and everyone else by 22,000.
Only Sergey Shoygu, the emergencies minister, will not lose a single unit
of his 25,000 troops, which is quite permissible for the chief "bear"
[reference to Shoygu's position as head of the Unity party, whose acronym
in Russian is Medved, meaning bear]. 

'Segodnya' tried to find out how far the agency reports can be trusted. It
is strange that authorship of the reform is ascribed to the chief of the
General Staff (he is not authorized to decide the fate of all the power
departments) - this smacks of an attempt to turn the "military masses at
large" against Kvashnin, who is seeking to become defence minister. Also
dubious is the source itself, who has allegedly seen the directive that had
already been signed by the chief of the General Staff but failed to
remember any of the pertinent details. It is also clear that this kind of
"information leak" is not possible in principle without authorization from
a military boss with a very real interest. 

The State Duma's Budget [and Taxes] Committee, which your `Segodnya'
correspondent asked to comment, has already estimated that, even with a
really militarized (R206bn) state budget, there is still not enough money
for the procurement of modern military hardware. Nevertheless, the idea of
radically downsizing the army has aroused interest. However, people are in
no hurry to take it seriously. A simple arithmetical downsizing will in
principle have no effect - it should not be people who are downsized first
but the military ambitions in leaders' heads. No downsizing will help
unless we stop producing arms for general mobilization and maintaining
strategic arsenals with generals as their custodians. Training the army for
combat operations after a nuclear strike is another great anachronism. Nor
do we need strategic air defence - as the Americans are successfully trying
to persuade us. The Internal Troops' tasks could quite easily be performed
by army special troops. Evidently, having two intelligence services - the
[General Staff's] Main Intelligence Directorate [GRU] and the Foreign
Intelligence Service - is a loser, one would be enough. The Federal Agency
for Government Communications and Information [FAPSI] and the Railway
Troops could quite well either become Defence Ministry structures or
transfer to civilian funding - rails can be laid and communications
established without uniforms. 


INTERVIEW-IMF says Russia managing well without IMF loans

WASHINGTON, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Russia is managing well without financial help 
from the International Monetary Fund, and there is no pressure for a new 
reform program with the global lender, the fund's deputy head said on Friday. 

First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer told Reuters in an interview 
that the Russian economy was "going well" and officials were starting to 
implement an ambitious tax reform program. But he noted that the economy 
remained heavily dependent on oil, which hit a 10-year high price this week. 

"Clearly the economy is going well, and the reform program, including the tax 
reform, is ambitious and has begun to be implemented," Fischer said. "They 
seem to be able to manage without our financial assistance and they are 
repaying us at a good rate, which is as it should be if the economy goes 

He added: "We will maintain close consultative relations with them, and we 
will just wait and see whether they want a program or need a program... 
Relations are very cordial, but there is no pressure to be in a program." 

A deal with the IMF, even one which does not involve cash payments, might 
help signal to outsiders that the economic plans were sensible and the 
country deserved investment and other forms of financial support. 

Russia's last lending program with the IMF ended in disarray last year amid 
doubts about the course of reforms and allegations that previous payments had 
been misused. 

Independent audits commissioned by Russia at the IMF's request said Russia, 
the fund's largest single borrower, had misled the IMF about the size of its 
reserves, but the auditors found no evidence that money had been misused. 

IMF figures show that Russia owed the fund some $12.7 billion at the end of 
July, down from a peak of $18.5 billion in the depths of the world financial 
crisis of 1997-99. Russia says it repaid some $235 million in August and an 
additional $58 million on Friday. 


Moscow Times
September 9, 2000 
IN BRIEF: Primakov Assures West 

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Former Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said Friday the 
West should not fear that Russia is heading back to become a totalitarian 

There has been no noticeable rise in human rights violations, but activists 
have criticized President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, for what he 
calls a "dictatorship of law" that targets corrupt officials, gangsters and 
shady businessmen. 

"Those decision-makers in the West should understand that there is no return 
to totalitarianism and Russia doesn't represent a threat to anyone," Primakov 

Primakov gave a lecture to lawmakers, officials, foreign ambassadors and 
reporters at the parliament building in Copenhagen. 


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