This Date's Issues: 4661
Johnson's Russia List
30 November 2000
[Note from David Johnson:
Glitch notice: Some of you with email addresses beginning with the
letters a,b,c or d may not have received the past few JRLs (did you
notice?). I think the problem has been corrected.
1. Moscow Times: Valeria Korchagina, U.S. Professor Wins
$200,000 For Research Into Western Aid. (Janine Wedel)
2. Dickinson College: Top Ten Reasons to Study Russia &
3. AP: Duma OKs Immunity For Ex-Presidents.
4. BBC Monitoring: Putin aide plays down draft law on
guarantees for Russia's ex-presidents.
5. gazeta.ru: Government Attempts to Resuscitate Science.
6. Financial Times (UK): Andrew Jack, Drink saps Russian
productivity. ALCOHOL-RELATED PROBLEMS CONSUMPTION RESUMES UPWARD
7. Jamestown Foundation Monitor: Putin's power struggle with
regional governors is far from over. RUSSIA'S NEW STATE COUNCIL TAKES A
8. Reuters: Russian environmental referendum bid fails.
9. Interfax: PUTIN OPPOSES "IRON CURTAIN" BUT SAYS
BORDER MUST BE PROTECTED BY ADVANCED TOOLS.
10. Interfax: RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARY SPEAKS
ABOUT PRIVATE AND FOREIGN MEDIA IN RUSSIA.
11. Interfax: PUTIN'S RATING HIGHER THAN EVER - POLL.
12. Moscow Times: Yevgenia Albats, It Official's Official:
'Democracy' Is Canceled.
13. RFE/RL Paul Goble, Division Over Consensus. (re OSCE
14. AFP: Russia Accuses OSCE Of Targeting Only Ex-Communist
15. Nezavisimaya Gazeta: THE SECURITY STRATEGY OF RUSSIA.
(Interview with Security Council Secretary Sergei IVANOV)]
November 30, 2000
U.S. Professor Wins $200,000 For Research Into Western Aid
By Valeria Korchagina
Special to The Moscow Times
An American anthropologist who has spent more than a decade assembling
research critical of U.S. foreign aid to Russia and Eastern Europe has won
$200,000 academic prize for her work.
Janine Wedel, a professor with the University of Pittsburgh's Graduate
of Public and International Affairs, was on Thursday to be awarded the
University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order
Wedel's work was chosen from among 51 nominations and represents
groundbreaking research and writing on how the U.S. government, via the
Agency for International Development, used aid money in the early and
mid-1990s to support the programs and careers of Anatoly Chubais and his
Writing in The Nation, an American weekly magazine, and also in her book
"Collision and Collusion: The Strange Case of Western Aid to Eastern
1989-1998," Wedel has also been a vocal critic of USAID's
the Harvard Institute for International Development.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a legal suit in September against two
principal scholars at Harvard University and their wives. The scholars
accused of gaining profits while being under a contract from USAID to
economic and legal advice for privatization in Russia.
Wedel said in a telephone interview from Washington that she thought the
problems in Russian-American foreign aid relationships that she had
of were far from unique.
"With the ongoing processes of globalization, the nationality of
becoming increasingly irrelevant," Wedel said. "And global elite
more connections to one another and fewer to the nation state see
not as much as American or Russian, but as members of an exclusive
Russian Area Studies homepage
Professor Russell Bova, coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Top Ten Reasons to Study Russia & Russian
10. Russia is the world's largest country. Stretching across
continents, it is almost double the size of either the United States or
China. Found within that huge land mass is a wide diversity of
religions, climatic and geographic conditions.
9. There are an estimated 279 million speakers (native plus
Russian. That puts Russian in fifth place on the list of languages
the most people, trailing only Mandarin, English, Hindi, and Spanish.
(Source: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 1998).
8. Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov,
7. Russia is currently engaged in a grand experiment in political,
and economic transformation. How it fares will help determine the
of the 21st century not only for Russia but for the world as a whole.
6. Lots of Americans have seen the Eiffel Tower, visited Buckingham
and toured the Vatican. A lot fewer have strolled within the Kremlin
experienced the "white nights" of St. Petersburg, or spent an
sampling the treasures of the Hermitage. Study of Russia will not
you the excuse and opportunity to engage in such adventures, but will
that you more fully understand and appreciate them when you do.
5. Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Rasputin, Lenin, Stalin,
Yeltsin, etc. Can you think of a more intriguing set of historical
4. Russia is in economic crisis. Yet its vast resources and
population suggest that it is a country of great economic potential.
bust, the size of Russia alone suggests that its economic course will have
3. Since the end of the Cold War, the number of people studying
the US has declined. That may mean less competition in the job
those who do study and master the language-- especially if the economic
revitalization that some expect to see in Russia does in fact materialize.
2. Russia remains a nuclear superpower armed with thousands of
mass destruction. For this reason alone, the character of the
government and its ability to exercise command and control over its
arsenal is a primary concern (perhaps the primary concern) of US national
1. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Pushkin, Solzhenitsyn,
Pasternak, etc. Need one say more?
Duma OKs Immunity For Ex-Presidents
November 29, 2000
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
MOSCOW (AP) - The lower house of parliament gave initial approval
to a bill offering former presidents immunity from prosecution for
actions during their tenure, despite objections that it gives presidents
rein to violate the law.
The bill, proposed by the government, parallels the main provisions of a
decree signed shortly after the resignation of Boris Yeltsin by his
Vladimir Putin. The move led many to speculate that Yeltsin's motivation
stepping down six months before the end of his term was fear of
investigations into his corruption-tinged administration.
The State Duma, the lower house of parliament, gave the bill 282-130
on the first of its required three readings.
Along with stating that a former president is immune from prosecution for
actions during his term, the bill also says the former president's offices
cannot be searched and his documents cannot be perused.
Communist legislator Anatoly Lukyanov said the measure violates the
Constitution that says that all citizens are equal before the law.
``A president receives the right to commit any crime during his term,''
Lukyanov, chief of the Duma's committee for state legal affairs. ``No
reasonable politician would try to get immunity guarantees if he doesn't
intend to break the law.''
Prosecutors investigating alleged Kremlin corruption have said there was
evidence that Yeltsin and his daughters received kickbacks from a Swiss
construction company that renovated the Kremlin. The Kremlin has denied
allegations and no charges were ever filed.
Under the bill approved Wednesday, a former president's family members do
share immunity from prosecution.
The Duma on Wednesday also approved Putin's bill offering compensation to
some of the regional leaders whose powers he had sharply curtailed. The
approved in the first of three readings, would allow nearly 30 of Russia's
regional governors to seek a third term. The existing law limits them to
Since his election in March, Putin has pledged to rein in unruly
which gained broad powers under Yeltsin. He has pushed through a package
laws that would deprive governors and heads of regional legislatures of
seats in parliament's upper house, and allow the president to remove
governors determined by courts to have violated the law.
Putin aide plays down draft law on guarantees for Russia's ex-presidents
Text of report by Russian Public TV on 29th November
[Presenter Kirill Kleymenov] And now we have the president's
in the lower house, Aleksandr Kotenkov, to comment on today's debate in
Duma [on the draft law granting legal immunity to ex-presidents]. Good
evening Aleksandr Alekseyevich.
[Kotenkov] God evening, Kirill.
[Q] It is well known that the initiative for introducing the draft law on
guarantees for the ex-president and members of his family came from
Putin. In the light of this, I would like to ask you this: did the
presidential side need to make any sacrifices in order to get the deputies
confirm this document in its first reading? Or, in other words, did your
make any concessions?
[A] Undoubtedly there were no major concessions. We did not consider that
amendments which we agreed to during the first reading are concessions. If
the deputies believe that it is really necessary for our law enforcement
system to retain the possibility of indicting an ex-president for actions
for criminal actions - he carried out during his term as president, then,
evidently, such a possibility must be granted. According to the
the incumbent president bears responsibility for any serious crimes he
commits in so far as he can be removed from office and he can subsequent
held criminally responsible.
Therefore, we agree that such a procedure, the actual lifting of immunity
new circumstances are uncovered, should be possible and permissible. But
must be sufficiently complicated so that his opponents are not tempted to
settle accounts with a former presidents. In particular, it is proposed
a former president can be charged with alleged crimes if the prosecutor
general puts forward a strongly argued case if both houses of parliament
agree. This procedure is in some way similar the procedure for removal
office and in principle virtually all deputies agreed that such an
could be introduced in the second reading.
[Q] That is a very important aspect. In general the opponents of the draft
law describe as unprecedented the guarantees proposed in this document. I
would like to ask you: which country's experience served as a basis in
drawing up this law?
[A] In fact, a former president is not being granted any super guarantees
envisaged by existing laws. Indeed, the only disputed feature was, as it
were, the discovery of the constitutional concept of immunity for the
president. I would recall that among other guarantees is the president
granted a lifelong state guard, but this is envisaged by the current law
state protection. The former president is allocated a pension of 75 per
of the president's monetary salary. But this is a norm contained in the
on the basis of state service. The president is allocated one of the state
dachas since as a guarded person he should have the appropriate conditions
for the guarding to be carried out.
As regards the members of the family, unfortunately there have been too
insinuations by people who had simply not read the draft law. With regard
the family, in fact there operate only three definite norms, These are
primarily that members of family living with the president can be provided
with a state guard. You must understand that it is impossible to do
as they live together in a guarded building. They are granted the
of using automobile transport and - well, a regulation is a regulation
although it may be rather unpleasant to speak about it - in the event of
death of a former president, the members of the family are allocated
for the loss of the bread-winner in line with the law on state pensions.
Thus, no extravagant or extraordinary guarantees are being granted to the
president or his family.
[Q] Aleksandr Alekseyevich, we have very little time left but I would like
ask you one more question. Today, during the debate, the question of
Gorbachev arose. Is the presidential side prepared to extend this law to
cover the first and last president of the USSR?
[A] The point is that the law which has been adopted in its first reading
ceases to be, as it were, the property of the author of the legislative
initiative and becomes the responsibility of the Duma. And its final
appearance will depend on what the deputies decide. At least, I think that
the president - and I have consulted the president of the Russian
about this - will not object if this provision is put into the law.
November 29, 2000
Government Attempts to Resuscitate Science
On Tuesday, November 28, the Russian government resolved to render
financial support to young scientists and pledged 50 million rubles to the
Nobel Prize winner Zhores Alfyorov to build a scientific-educational
under the auspices of the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute he chairs.
The government has also promised to revive financial support for young
scientists at other institutes.
Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union support for Russia's
scientists has virtually vanished. In the Soviet era, the momentous
achievements of Soviet science were a source of national pride and huge
resources were made available for scientific research. Scientists were
of the best-enumerated Soviet citizens.
But the current state of Russian science could hardly be more different.
Equipment is scarce due to the lack of funding and the country's leading
specialists are barely paid enough to cover most basic expenses. As a
result many of Russia's top scientists have changed occupation or moved
abroad to work for foreign scientific research institutes.
According to the first deputy Minister of Industry, Science and Technology
Mikhail Kirpichnikov, each year nearly two thousand highly qualified
scientists leave Russia and forty thousand have left scientific research
take up commercial activities. Thus, in the past decade Russian science
lost over 400 thousand excellent specialists.
The Russian scientific elite is aging. According to the Industry and
Science Ministry, currently half of Russian scientists are over 50 years
old and according to Kirpichnikov, nearly all significant discoveries are
made by scientists aged between 27 and 40.
Incidentally, Zhores Alfyorov's Nobel winning invention is no exception.
Alfyorov won the Nobel Prize in physics this year for his role in
discoveries that paved the way for the creation of everyday devices such
cellular phones and CD players, work that Alfyorov conducted in the late
1960s and early 1970s, the golden era of Soviet scientific research.
Alfyorov's first discoveries pertaining to semi-conductor lasers were made
back in late 1950s.
Another such example is the renowned Russian eye surgeon Svytoslav
who invented his revolutionary laser technology when he was in his early
Presently, only 20 percent of Russian scientists are in their 30's and,
according to Kirpichnikov, in two years time, that number will have
to just 12-14 percent left.
In the meantime, one cannot become a great scientist by merely graduating
from some mediocre technical school. The only way to replenish the
scientific ranks is improved university education.
Existing scholarship programs provide no incentive for young people to
devote themselves to scientific research. Grants do not exceed 5-10
monthly wages and junior scientific specialists in the Moscow State
University earn just 250 rubles (less than 10 dollars) per month.
In the draft budget for 2001, 820 million rubles have been set aside to
scientists' wages. However, the word "scientists" implies not
experts, whose sole occupation is fundamental scientific research, but
assistants, technicians, etc, thus the amount allocated will hardly be
enough to improve their financial situation.
The budget provides for allocating 800 million rubles for the renovation
scientific research equipment. It is easy to calculate that the sum will
just be enough to pay for only three hundred modern appliances.
The government has also earmarked 62.5 million rubles for housing for
scientists, enough to build one block with 2000 small apartments.
Financial Times (UK)
29 November 2000
Drink saps Russian productivity. ALCOHOL-RELATED PROBLEMS
CONSUMPTION RESUMES UPWARD TREND
By ANDREW JACK
It was not yet 9am, but a Russian in the cafeteria of Moscow's Vnukovo
airport was already buying two large glasses of beer and a miniature
of cognac for immediate consumption.
His action was all too typical in a country that can boast one of the
vocabularies in the world for drinking, an activity that continues to cast
shadow over the country's development.
As the latest figures from the Health Ministry show, Russia's economy may
growing fast but so too are the number of alcohol-related problems, which
risk damping the upward trend.
Official statistics for the first seven months of this year show 20,000
alcohol-related deaths, indicating an annual tally of more than 34,000.
is close to the peaks of the mid-1990s.
Coupled with the "hidden" factor of alcohol accounting for
diseases such as
heart attacks and strokes and its significant role in causing car
and violent crime, drink is triggering huge healthcare costs as well as
damaging Russian productivity.
"In the past, heavy drinking was the result of our culture and
but now it is about the economic situation, poverty and stress," says
Demin, head of the Russian Association of Public Health. "Especially
the August 1998 financial crisis."
Since the mid-1980s, the trend of consumption has been rising steadily
As far as the figures can be trusted, it stands at an annual average of
than 13 litres of pure alcohol per head. That makes it one of the highest
levels in the world, and contrasts with an upper limit of eight beyond
the World Health Organisation (WHO) believes there are severe health
One reason is the Russian preference for hard spirits, notably vodka. That
not for historical reasons only, but also because it is cheaper than the
recent alternatives such as beer and wine.
The statistics may still be too low and the health risks understated
attempts to limit drinking - such as recent rises in duties - have
the widespread illegal production of moonshine. Grigory Zaigrayev from the
Russian Interior Ministry warned last week that many of these concoctions
contained window-cleaning fluids.
While there are high consumption levels in some other countries, Russian
drinking patterns bring additional risks. A recent study led by Dr Laurent
Chenet of the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition in
warned that excessive "binge drinking" concentrated over the
weekends was a
particularly potent cause of death.
Mark Tsechkovsky, a healthcare researcher, reflects a widespread view that
the underlying cause of alcohol abuse in Russia is stress caused by
inequality and the economic strains of the past decade.
"People who used to have a profession and be respected find
themselves at the
bottom of society and unable to make ends meet," he says.
supporting their family, they find that vodka is the best way out."
Meanwhile, health education efforts during the 1990s have been limited. A
draft law on the subject has been stalled for three years, regulations on
advertising are relaxed and Mr Demin says co-ordination efforts are poor.
"With so much money to be made on alcohol, the narrow interests of
not of concern," he says.
Jamestown Foundation Monitor
November 29, 2000
Putin's power struggle with regional governors is far from over
RUSSIA'S NEW STATE COUNCIL TAKES A BOW. The State Council of the Russia
Federation, President Vladimir Putin's new creation, met for the first
on November 22 (Russian agencies, November 22). This was a significant
occasion. Putin agreed to create the State Council last summer, after he
had succeeded in amending the law on the Federation Council. The heads of
the executive and legislative bodies of Russia's eighty-nine regions were
put on notice that they would, by January 2002, be required to vacate
ex officio seats in the upper chamber of the Russian parliament. As a
consolation prize, they were offered seats in a new consultative body, the
State Council. However, this new body had no status under the Russian
constitution or Russian law.
The first session of the new body was invited to debate Russia's state
symbols. This is quite a controversial issue, given that one option under
discussion calls for a return to the old Soviet anthem, but it is hardly
the stuff of high politics. Also on the agenda was a similarly worthy yet
insubstantial issue: a program for Russia's development up to the year
proposed by the governor of Khabarovsk krai, Viktor Ishaev (Nezavisimaya
gazeta, November 23). Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov put forward another
version of the program. As if to underscore the State Council's (so far)
purely consultative nature, Ishaev declared that both versions would be
presented to Putin and the president would be "invited to choose
them" (Russian agencies, November 21). Those liberal members of the
government who attended the session (Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Kudrin,
Trade and Economic Development Minister German Gref and presidential
economic adviser Andrei Illarionov) winced openly and made no attempt to
hide their disapproval when Ishaev came up with such proposals as boosting
the economy by inflating the money supply and favoring those banks which
provide credits to the "real economy" (Nezavisimaya gazeta,
The newspaper Izvestia wondered whether the Kremlin was ready to abandon
market liberalism to take account of Russia's "incomprehensible yet
peculiarity" (Izvestia, November 22).
The regional leaders had another agenda, however. What they really wanted
was to be seen to be setting a precedent and using the mechanism of the
State Council to make an input into federal policy. Therefore, the
governors attached considerable significance to Ishaev's report. In their
view, it prompted a useful discussion mutually beneficial both for the
president and for the regional leaders. For example, Tatarstan Republic
President Mintimer Shaimiev hailed Ishaev's report as "a serious
fill the strategic program with a regional perspective" (Russian
Putin was clearly not inclined to make it easy for the governors either to
set precedents or to consolidate into an effective political force.
Instead, he gave the governors until February of next year to put their
heads together with the federal government and to come up with a
medium-term plan for Russia's development (Russian agencies, November 22).
It is tempting to see this as busy work. Chuvash Republic President
Fedorov, who spearheads the regional opposition to Putin, summed up the
president's actions as "military cunning" (Russian agencies,
So far, the question of what the State Council will become and whether it
will replace the Federation Council remains open. Turovsky, head of the
regional studies department at the influential Center for Political
Technologies, called the creation of the State Council a
governors, Turovsky argued, are in a tricky position. "They must
the State Council is necessary and important. Putin has hung before them a
soap bubble that they must fill with content" (Noviye izvestia,
22). In fact, the governors are seeking to fill the bubble not with
abstract content, but with real power. To this end, they have begun to
agitate for adoption of a federal law on the State Council.
The media made much of Putin's words at the State Council's opening
session, where he exhorted the new body to assume the functions of "a
political body of strategic purpose" but warned it not to attempt to
the government or parliament as a policy-setting body (Radio Ekho Moskvy,
November 22). The governors appear confident that they will, over time, be
able to build the new body into something of significance; at present, it
seems far from certain that their ambitions will be realized.
In general, relations between the Kremlin and the regions are growing
increasingly complex. No one talks any longer about the unqualified
of Putin's centralization. Having exchanged the Federation Council for the
State Council, the governors have, through their appointed
kept control over the former while receiving as many as two new bodies in
exchange. At the end of December, the State Duma is to debate the creation
of a council of the heads of legislative assemblies of Russia's republics
and regions (Russian agencies, November 20). It is common knowledge that
most of the heads of regional legislative assemblies are under the thumbs
of the governors. If Putin hopes that creation of this new body will
provoke a split in the ranks of the regional elites, he may be
disappointed. It may merely cement them further. The president's struggle
for power with the regional barons is far from over.
Russian environmental referendum bid fails
MOSCOW, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Russian officials on Wednesday rejected a
referendum bid for a nationwide poll on the formation of an independent
environment protection agency.
Russian environmental groups, spearheaded by the local arm of Greenpeace,
last month said they had gathered more than two million signatures to back
request for a referendum on the issue, as required by the law.
The referendum bid was a response to the government's decision to merge
forestry, ecological and mining agencies.
But the Central Election Commission refused the petition, saying many of
signatures were not authentic.
"Out of 2,490,000 signatures collected in support of the referendum
1,873,000 were recognised as authentic, falling short of the required
of two million for a referendum to be called," a spokesman for the
said by telephone.
The ecologists said the move was meant eventually to force a reversal of
President Vladimir Putin's decision to scrap the State Ecology Committee
the Federal Forestry Service as separate government bodies and merge them.
In a message posted on Russia's Greenpeace internet site (www.greenpeace.ru),
the group said it would fight the commission's decision and promised to
the hundreds of thousands of people whose signatures had been rejected.
Russian ecologists have said the merger decision would effectively
independent control over the environment in Russia, which has seen
PUTIN OPPOSES "IRON CURTAIN" BUT SAYS BORDER MUST BE PROTECTED
MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) - There
will be no "iron curtain," but
advanced tools are needed to protect the country's
President Vladimir Putin said in his address to the Security Council
its meeting on Wednesday.
The theme of the meeting,
"Strategic Issues in the State Border
Policy," is important and challenging, he said.
"There was much talk but not
a lot of work statewide to create a
new view of the state border," Putin said. While the
must be protected, "the border should look
like the gates into a
democratic country, open for the entire world
and never hindering
economic contacts between businesses," he said.
In this connection, Putin spelled out five
important problems, the
resolution of which would promote the reinforcement of the state border.
First, "coordination between federal
agencies' activity on the
border is still imperfect," the Russian president noted.
"It is hard to
count the number of agencies now working on the border, and each of them
is sometimes guided by narrow corporate interests," he pointed out.
Second, the work on international legal
registration of the border
needs to be completed, because the current state
of affairs in this
sphere complicates Russia's relations with CIS countries, the
went on to say. He also emphasized the need to resolve
the problem of
protecting Russia's national interests in Arctic areas.
The third problem in need of
resolution is the regional aspect of
the border policy, the president said, calling on
envoys to federal districts to pay particular attention to
"Serious significance must be attached to the
development of border
regions and territories," he said.
The fourth problem is illegal
migration, which poses "a serious
threat to national security," Putin pointed
out. "Citizens of 33
countries, including those Russia has no common border with,
the people who illegally cross the Russian border," the president
The fifth problem that needs to
be settled is the comprehensive
equipment of the border, Putin said, adding that he is
not implying a
defense disposed in depth like the one that existed in Soviet-era times.
"No one is going to lower a new 'iron curtain,' but up-to-date tools
needed to protect the country's borders," he remarked.
RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL SECRETARY SPEAKS ABOUT PRIVATE AND FOREIGN
MEDIA IN RUSSIA
MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax)
-Russian Security Council Secretary
Sergei Ivanov has commented on some aspects of the Doctrine of
information security, saying that he believes the
state should not
interfere in the work of the private mass media if they do not break the
In an interview published in the Wednesday
edition of Nezavisimaya
Gazeta, Ivanov touched on the relations between private
mass media an
the state: "_ The role of the latter [the state], from my point of
is reduced to not hindering the former [mass media], on
that they do not violate the law."
Speaking about the role of the private mass
media in Russia today,
he noted: "_ Since Soviet times, the
mass media in Russia have
traditionally been viewed not only and not so much
as a source of
information, but also as an effective instrument of
social problems. Today the press, both printed and electronic, is losing
its communicative function, which is its main function for society,
is doing so on its own initiative. Now the private mass media
>reflects the interests of
political and economic elites. Tough
totalitarian technologies predominate." In his opinion, Ivanov said,
a result of this, the national media
are gradually losing their
competitive power on information markets."
As to the work of foreign mass
media in Russia, Ivanov said: "We
welcome the expansion of investments in our country,
including in its
information sphere. On the other hand, the doctrine consistently
the establishment of 'equal rules' for national and foreign mass
"I would like to say firmly
once again: we favor full freedom of
speech, the right of the people to have access to information.
information lines connecting us with the surrounding
world should see
two-way traffic," the Security Council secretary said.
PUTIN'S RATING HIGHER THAN EVER - POLL
MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) - Russian
President Vladimir Putin's
rating is now higher than it has ever been
with 70% of Russians
approving of his work, where 64% approved a month ago.
These figures were provided to
Interfax by the All-Russia Public
Opinion Research Center on Wednesday. They
were obtained from a
representative poll of 1,600 Russians conducted
November 24-27 and
compared with a similar poll at the end of October.
Twenty-two percent of Russian
citizens now disapprove of Putin's
work (in October 26% disapproved of it).
The rating of Prime Minister Mikhail
Kasyanov has somewhat risen:
last month 45% of Russians approved of his work
and this month 47%
The latest polls also shows
that 38% percent of respondents
generally approve of the work of the Russian
government, whereas in
October 39% approved.
November 30, 2000
POWER PLAY: It Official's Official: 'Democracy' Is Canceled
By Yevgenia Albats
There was a radio show called "Democracy, Freedom, Human
Rights." When it was
first broadcast nine years ago on state-owned Radio Russia, its name
the slogans and desires of the new country struggling to be born out of
collapsed Soviet state.
But good things don't last forever. This September, "Democracy,
Human Rights" was canceled. Why? "The policy of Radio Russia has
said Alexei Abakumov, the station's newly appointed director. And that is
The show was hosted by human rights activist Tatyana Kasatkina and
by the human rights organization Memorial. It was never a beloved child of
the state network, featuring harsh criticism of the war in Chechnya and
generally advocating the concepts in its title.
There can be no doubt that President Boris Yeltsin's lieutenants were
to get rid of it more than once. But they never did. But the time has
The last straw came with a program that was devoted to violations of the
basic rights of refugees in Chechnya and Ingushetia. "The program is
indelicately stated the immediate supervisor of the show (and another
newcomer to Radio Russia) Alexander Zelenkov.
To be fair, he had no choice but to be so blunt. After all, the show could
not be accused of participating in any of the oligarchs' information war:
sponsorship was obvious. Radio Russia couldn't even claim lack of funding
a reason for killing the show, since it didn't cost the station a kopek.
As a result, station managers lacked any means for controlling it, and
is precisely f in addition to the content f why the show was intolerable.
Control, after all f in various guises like "building a strong
"creating vertical power" or "bringing order to
society" f is the official
slogan of the day.
This was demonstrated to me again the other day during a conversation with
the government's information boss, Alexei Volin. I wanted to attend a
briefing by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, so I called Volin. Explaining
why my attendance would be impossible, Volin resorted to a lovely
technocratic expression: "It is not technological."
"What do you mean?" I asked, having a hard time getting at the
essence of his
vocabulary. "I have my pool," he said, referring to the regular
journalists who cover the government, "and they will write whatever
[information] I pour out to them." I was stunned: In 24 years of
never heard a government official f either Soviet or Russian f speak so
cynically and openly about the corrupt nature of his relations with
I wanted to hear more. "Surely you cannot control everything. After
about the foreign press?" But he had a straightforward answer for
too: "I don't have any problem placing articles in the Western press
I was speechless and could only mumble: "You should be careful about
admitting that over an open phone." Maybe I should have thanked him
tacitly admitting that I was beyond his control and he couldn't
information into me.
As I hung up I was left wondering. Why was British Prime Minister Tony
so silent about human rights during his recent visit, and did he cancel a
scheduled interview with nonstate Ekho Moskvy because guys like Volin got
their way? Or was he just too busy drinking beer with President Vladimir
Yevgenia Albats is an independent journalist based in Moscow.
Russia: Analysis From Washington -- Division Over Consensus
By Paul Goble
Washington, 29 November 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Moscow's decision to block an
declaration that contained language critical of Russian actions in
Georgia, and Moldova has generated a sharp reaction from Western
and raised questions about the future of both the OSCE and East-West
Most of the 55 countries represented at an OSCE ministerial meeting in
this week were sharply critical of Russian actions in Chechnya as well as
Moscow's slowness in reducing the number of its troops in Georgia and
withdrawing them from Moldova -- as it had promised to do at the OSCE
Istanbul summit. They sought to issue a joint OSCE statement on all three
But Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was able to prevent OSCE action
Tuesday by refusing to join a consensus, as required by the rules of that
organization. As a result, the two-day meeting broke up without a joint
declaration. Instead, Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner,
country currently chairs the pan-European organization, issued a less
authoritative chairman's summary.
At the sessions this week, Western diplomats sharply criticized the
Federation for its approach in Chechnya. But Ivanov lashed out at his
interlocutors, complaining that the West had adopted a double standard on
ethnic conflicts and noting that Moscow is not prepared to take lessons on
how to behave from anyone.
Despite the tone of these remarks, Western participants at the meeting
that Ivanov had reaffirmed that Moscow would live up to its promises about
troop reductions and withdrawal in Georgia and Moldova. And they suggested
that other differences between Moscow and the West on questions such as
political situation in Belarus could be addressed in the future.
But the Russian foreign minister's sharp response to criticism about
actions in Chechnya, his government's unwillingness to allow OSCE
to visit there, and most of all Moscow's decision to block an OSCE
suggest that the Vienna meeting is likely to cast three shadows on the
for some time to come.
First, this latest standoff in Vienna recalls the way in which this
organization functioned at the end of the Cold War. Known at that time as
Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the group seldom was
to reach agreement because the Soviet delegations routinely refused to
the consensus which existed among most other countries.
At that time, Moscow typically sought to have others, such as its East
European satellites, take the lead in denying consensus when the Soviet
government sought to improve East-West ties. Only when it lacked such
when tensions were high, or when it wanted to make a more dramatic point
the Soviet delegation take the lead in doing so itself.
By staking out such a tough position now, the Russian government
its own isolation not only within the OSCE but more broadly and thus makes
East-West cooperation on these and other issues less rather than more
Second, the near unanimity of the non-Russian delegations on Chechnya and
elsewhere may make some of the individual governments involved more
to speak out against Russian behavior than they have been up to now.
Again, during the period leading up to the end of the Cold War, that is
precisely what the CSCE routinely did. By highlighting what was then
"consensus minus one" -- that is, consensus by all members
except the Soviet
Union -- the CSCE emboldened its members to speak and act on their own and
other forums. That in turn sometimes forced Moscow to modify its position.
And third, the division over consensus in Vienna this week seems certain
have yet another consequence for the organization itself, one that could
either lead to the renovation of the OSCE or contribute to its eventual
For much of the last decade, the Russian authorities and some in Western
Europe have urged that the OSCE -- rather than NATO or any other
-- should serve as the foundation of European security. But Ivanov's
to block action simply by using the organization's own requirements for
consensus raises serious questions about whether the OSCE could ever play
Some countries may now call for moving beyond consensus to some system of
majority or super majority vote, but Ivanov's rhetoric suggests that
would be among those who would oppose such a move. There is thus little
opportunity for such reforms anytime soon.
The OSCE appears likely to be entering a new period of difficulties, one
which divisions between East and West on key issues will prevent the
formation of the consensus on which that organization ultimately relies.
Russia Accuses OSCE Of Targeting Only Ex-Communist Bloc
VIENNA, Nov 29, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Russia accused the OSCE
pan-European security organization Tuesday of unfairly concentrating on
problems in the former communist region, after Moscow was again rapped
Russian OSCE ambassador Yevgeny Gusarov was speaking after Moscow was
criticized by the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE) over failing to keep promises on Chechnya.
"It is not fair ... that the OSCE concentrates solely on ex-Soviet or
Balkan countries. The OSCE was founded as an equal cooperation
It has to remain like this," he said.
He notably cited proposals which Russia had made which could focus
on western European countries, or the United States or Canada which are
OSCE members. The proposals were rejected, he lamented.
"We proposed that the OSCE should take a look at the increase of
neo-Nazism, xenophobia and anti-semitism. We regret that seven countries
vetoed it," he said.
Moscow had also proposed that the OSCE carry out a comparative study of
electoral systems in member states. "We regret that one of them
he said, without specifically citing the United States.
The OSCE ministerial meeting ended in failure Tuesday after ministers
to agree on a global declaration by consensus, due to the Chechen
In an unusual step, OSCE chairperson-in-office issued a statement in place
the usual declaration, detailing criticism of Russia's failings over
Chechnya, Georgia and Moldova.
"Maybe one positive result of this dramatic situation is to have a
stop one moment and think what is the OSCE about, how to make it an
organization of more equal partners," said the Russian envoy.
November 29, 2000
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
THE SECURITY STRATEGY OF RUSSIA
Security Council Secretary Sergei IVANOV answers
put by Nezavisimaya Gazeta and Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye
Question: In accordance with Presidential Decree
of June 3, 1992, the Security Council was created to ensure the
implementation of the president's functions of guiding the
state, formulating the domestic, foreign and military policy in
the sphere of security, protecting the state sovereignty of
Russia, maintaining socio-political stability, and protecting
civil rights and freedoms. Do you think that the Council has
overlapping functions with the ministries of foreign affairs,
the interior and defence, as well as the FSB and many other
ministries and departments?
Answer: I cannot agree with this. The Security
the Russian Federation as a constitutional body designed to
prepare the decisions of the president on questions of ensuring
the protection of vital interests of the individual, society
and the state from internal and external threats and pursuing
an integrated state policy in the sphere of security, is
tackling unique tasks.
They include the elaboration of the basic
elements of the
strategy of ensuring the security of the Russian Federation and
of corresponding conceptual documents, as well as of proposals
on coordinating the operation of federal bodies of executive
authority, the bodies of executive authority of constituent
members of the federation and plenipotentiary envoys of the
Russian president in federal districts on questions in the
competence of the Security Council.
You must agree that none of the aforementioned
or any other ministry for that matter, has the possibilities to
fulfil such tasks. And the main thing is that they do not have
powers to do this.
If formulated concisely, the tasks of the
are to tackle questions of national security as a package, on
the basis of analysis of information provided by all elements
of the system of ensuring security, with the subsequent
elaboration of decisions and recommendations on the
neutralisation of arising threats.
Everyone is involved in the mechanism of
including the president as the chairman of the Security
Council, and members of the Security Council, on which sit the
premier, the heads of the two houses of the Federal Assembly,
and the heads of the key ministries and departments.
Question: The Security Council is a
that drafts the decisions of the president in the sphere of
These presidential decisions should be formalised in decrees or
instructions. However, of late the decisions of the Security
Council (without decrees and instructions of the government)
have become binding for their fulfilment by all federal bodies
of authority. Will you comment on this situation?
Answer: In accordance with the Regulations on the
Council, approved by Presidential Decree No. 949 of August 2,
1999, the decisions of the Security Council come into force
after their approval by the chairman of the Security Council,
meaning the president of Russia.
Presidential decrees formalise only the decisions
Security Council on key questions, while other decisions are
formalised by protocols. Instructions to departments included
in such protocols are to be regarded as the instructions of the
president and are to be fulfilled unconditionally.
It should be remembered that the decisions of the
Council designed for the bodies of legislative and judicial
authorities have the nature of recommendations. This proceeds
from the constitutional principle of the division of powers.
As for the federal bodies of executive authority,
chairman of the Russian government and a number of ministerial
and departmental heads, who are members of the Security
Council, are directly involved in the elaboration of the
Council decisions. This predetermines the obligatory nature of
these decisions for this or other department, even though they
are not formalised by a presidential decree. Moreover, any
decision of the Security Council that concerns the competence
of the federal bodies of executive authority is subsequently
formalised in the form of instructions, orders and resolutions
of the government.
Question: It has been reported that the status of
Security Council will be further strengthened. Will you add
Answer: The current status of the Security
defined in the federal law "On Security," approved back in 1992.
It has become greatly obsolete and some of its provisions have
clashed with the constitution and the federal laws promulgated
in accordance with it.
Since under the constitution the status of the
Council should be defined by a federal law, work is under way
to draft a corresponding law. This work is not finished yet and
hence it would be premature to speak about any changes in the
status of the Security Council.
Question: The Security Council and its staff
acted as the
arbiters in the dispute between the top officials of the
Defence Ministry in mid-2000. Why was the dispute between the
defence minister and the chief of the general staff made public
Answer: Your evaluation of the role of the
Council and its staff in the settlement of the dispute between
the defence minister and the chief of the general staff is not
quite correct. In accordance with the procedure stipulated by a
corresponding normative legal act, this function belongs to the
president alone. His decision also stipulates a mechanism of
taking into account the opinion of the top defence officials in
case of differences between them on vital questions in the
competence of the Defence Ministry.
Now for the specific situation under discussion.
It is an
open secret that back in the spring of 2000 the staff of the
Security Council started preparing materials for a regular
session of the Council on questions pertaining to the situation
in the armed forces and the guidelines for their development
until the year 2010. All concerned federal bodies of state
authority, including the Defence Ministry, were involved in
these preparations. In view of the significance of this
problem, the Russian president issued instructions on forming
an expert commission, led by Vice-Premier Ilya Klebanov, for
preparations for that session.
The commission comprehensively discussed five
variants of further reforms of the armed forces. Using the
standard integrated "effectiveness - cost - feasibility"
criterion, it chose the best variant, which was subsequently
moved for the consideration of the Security Council.
Naturally enough, changes in the structure,
and strength of the armed forces discussed by the commission
were coordinated with all Security Council members without
exception, including the military officials you mentioned.
Question: Discussions of directions of military
development have well nigh become the prerogative of the
Security Council of late. Is this normal? Don't you think
questions of military development and military reform should be
discussed in a broader format, above all with the involvement
of the State Duma and the Federation Council?
Answer: All concerned federal bodies of state
are involved in the elaboration of proposals on military
development, and discussions of the conceptual elements of the
military reform also involve the public. One such example is
the public discussion of the Military Doctrine before its
approval by the president in April this year. The president
makes the final decisions on questions of military development.
It is another matter that the Security Council
staff draft these decisions by summing up the proposals of all
concerned federal bodies of state authority, including the
State Duma and the Federation Council, as well as scientists
and practical workers in the sphere of military security. The
most important questions are preliminarily discussed in
corresponding inter-departmental commissions operating under
the Security Council on a permanent basis. Ad hoc
inter-departmental comprehensive working commissions are
created by decision of the president for tackling the
fundamental, the most complicated and important questions of
military development. I mentioned one of such commissions, the
one led by Ilya Klebanov.
As you know the Security Council met to discuss
of the state's military organisation as a whole on November 9.
That session was the logical continuation of the August 11 and
the September 27 sessions. An inter-departmental working
commission, established by presidential instructions, prepared
the November 9 session. I headed that commission, which
included top officials from all concerned bodies of state
authority. Three vice-premiers - Ilya Klebanov, Aleksei Kudrin
and Valentina Matviyenko, represented the government.
Not only commission members worked on the
questions of the
reform of the military organisation. An inter-departmental
working group was established at the commission, which included
the members of the staff of the Security Council, the
government, State Duma and Federation Council committees, as
well as leading scientists from research organisations and
We received quite a few proposals on the reform
military organisation, including from the State Duma and the
Federation Council, which we discussed and took into account
when preparing the Security Council session.
Question: It was reported that the power
above all the armed forces, would be further slashed. Many
experts point out in this connection that the limit of
proportionate-share reductions has been exhausted and the
subsequent organisational measures should be based on a
functional or territorial attitude. Which of the tasks facing
the armed forces now can be safely removed from them?
Answer: To begin with, I want to say that the
cited distorted the essence of the reform of the military
organisation, including the armed forces, underway in the
country. The reduction of the strength of the armed forces,
other troops and military formations and agencies is only one
of the elements of the structural and functional reform of all
component parts of the military organisation. And there have
not been any limits for "proportionate-share" reductions.
Moreover, President Vladimir Putin more than once warned
against a mechanical attitude to the reduction of the strength
of the armed forces, other troops, military formations and
The idea of streamlining the military
organisation of the
state is based above all on the evaluation of threats to
national security, strict account of the economic possibilities
of the state, the analysis of tasks set to the power ministries
and departments, the search of possibilities for their
comprehensive fulfilment, and the creation of integrated or
joint systems of logistic, technical, personnel and other kinds
of supplies. This attitude incorporates a considerable reserve
of saving material and financial resources, liquidating
duplicating elements, and on this basis reducing the strength
of the power component of the military organisation of the
As for removing certain tasks from the armed
question should be tackled from another angle.
The tasks of the armed forces can be strictly
depending on different factors (external and internal). And
priority supplies should be ensured for the fulfilment of tasks
of exceptional importance for the security of the country today
and in the foreseeable future. It is stipulated that these
tasks should be formulated as a package, with some of these
tasks to be fulfilled by the armed forces, whose composition
should be streamlined and reasonable reductions ensured on this
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