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Johnson's Russia List


December 8, 2000   

This Date's Issues:   4675  4676


Johnsons' Russia List
8 December 2000

[Note from David Johnson:
1. Reuters: Experts urge bold U.S. moves on Russia policy.
2. Carnegie: Major New Report by Top Experts Advises Next U.S. President on Russia Policy.
3. Bloomberg: Putin Seen Hurrying Russian Clemency Bid for Convicted US Spy.
5. What Russians think about spies.
7. Interfax: Poll shows 26 per cent favour Soviet tune as Russia's national anthem.
8. Could Chubais' Reforms Stumble Over Lenin's Corpse
9. Sergei Markov: Only united by national symbols does a population become a nation and an actor of history.
10. RFE/RL INVITATION: Humanitarian Crisis in Chechnya briefing in Washington.
11. the eXile: John Dolan, A Fish Stinks from the Head. A timely review of "Democracy From Scratch: Opposition and Regime in the New Russian Revolution" by Steven Fish.]


Experts urge bold U.S. moves on Russia policy
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The next U.S. president should take bold steps
to mend Washington's frayed ties with Moscow, including unilateral cuts in
nuclear arms and a halt to NATO expansion until 2005, a prominent think tank
said on Thursday.

With a new U.S. president due to take office on Jan. 20 and Russian President
Vladimir Putin in power only a year, U.S.-Russia relations were at a critical
juncture, according to the report, called "Agenda for Renewal" and issued by
the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The report also recommended measures to promote Russia's long-term democratic
and economic development and urged that Washington not block oil pipeline
routes through Russia and Iran.

It is one of a number of studies expected to be released in the next couple
of months as members of the foreign policy elite on all sides of the
political spectrum seek to influence the successor to President Bill Clinton.

Differences over NATO, Kosovo, missile defense, arms sales to Iran and what
the Carnegie report called Putin's "dubious attachment to democratic norms"
have caused serious tensions in U.S.-Russia ties.

But the Carnegie experts argued that the relationship was on fundamentally
different and better terms than during the Cold War, and that the new
administration should neither continue the status quo nor operate as if
Russia was "merely a bundle of security problems."


The report urged strengthened steps to support Russia's democratic

"If Russia was a wobbly democracy under (former) President (Boris) Yeltsin,
it is now in the gray zone between democracy and authoritarianism," given
Putin's "weakening of all major sources of power independent of the executive
branch," the report said.

But the Carnegie experts said that on the economic front, Putin had surprised
many observers by assembling the "most pro-reform team in the government
since the early 1990s" and already posting accomplishments, including a major
tax reform package and a balanced budget.

Among the Carnegie study conclusions:

-- The weakness of Russian maintenance of and control over its nuclear forces
is a much greater threat to the United States than the possible use of those

-- The United States and Russia are already committed under the START II
treaty to slash their nuclear arsenals from more than 6,000 deployed weapons
to 3,000 to 3,500 weapons by 2007. But Washington should unilaterally reduce
its level to 1,000 to 1,500 weapons, with the expectation that Russia would
follow suit.

Russia has proposed a 1,000-1,500 level under a START III treaty that has not
been negotiated and it is unlikely Russia will be able to field a force
beyond that number in 2010.

Republican George W. Bush, who looks increasingly likely to win the U.S.
presidency, backed further nuclear weapons reductions during the campaign and
hinted he might take unilateral action.

-- The United States and Russia should increase the time required to launch a
nuclear strike from minutes to hours and then from hours to days. That would
entail a series of negotiated measures to de-alert and de-target land-based

-- Unless the missile proliferation threat significantly worsens (with
another North Korean test, for instance), Washington should not unilaterally
defect from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The new president should
make a fresh assessment of the threat of missiles capable of hitting the
United States and redouble diplomatic efforts to stem proliferation.

During the campaign, Bush strongly backed a robust missile defense system and
was willing to scuttle the ABM treaty, which limits missile defenses, if

-- In an effort to promote Russia's deeper integration into the Euro-Atlantic
security community, NATO should not consider expanding membership to states
on the territory of the former Soviet Union before 2005.

-- NATO must make every effort to build positive relations with Russia by
finding new areas of common interest, including opening NATO arms markets to
Russian producers.

-- The United States, which has been promoting an oil pipeline in the Caspian
that circumvents Russia and Iran, should adopt a genuine multiple pipeline
policy in this region and stop trying to limit Russian participation in its

-- The United States should recognize that while the Russian military has
committed numerous abuses in Chechnya, it is not in its interests or those of
the Caucasus region that the military simply withdraw from the republic. Such
a withdrawal would risk a return to anarchy.

-- The United States should boost efforts to foster Russian democracy by
raising the annual democracy aid budget for Russia from $16 million to $40
million and it should support higher education and training by allocating
U.S. funds to high-quality universities in Russia and other ex-Soviet states.


Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000
From: Julie Shaw <>
Subject: Agenda for Renewal release

An Agenda for Renewal: U.S.-Russian Relations

Major New Report by Top Experts
Advises Next U.S. President on Russia Policy

In a major new report, An Agenda for Renewal: U.S.-Russian Relations, senior
Carnegie Endowment experts call on the new U.S. administration to take the
necessary steps to put U.S.-Russian relations back on track. Such measures
include undertaking unilateral cuts in the nuclear arsenal, adhering to the
treaty, and refraining from expanding NATO membership to former Soviet states
before 2005. Concurrently, the United States should actively promote Russia's
democratic and economic revitalization with the long-term vision of the
country's integration into Western economic, political, and security
structures. It can achieve this by increasing democracy aid to Russia and
advancing the country's early entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).

"The theme of the report is renewal," says Jessica T. Mathews, president of
Carnegie Endowment. "It is not based on some feel-good optimism about Russia's
future. It proceeds rather from a measured assessment of the terrain." The
report notes that a Cold War mentality, especially on the security front,
remains an impediment to U.S.-Russian relations. It also recognizes the
critical juncture in the relationship between the two countries, given the
recent leadership transition in Russia and the ongoing one in the United
States. Although U.S.-Russian relations have been deteriorating in recent
years, positive change is possible.

The report covers core security issues, problems in Russia's southern
periphery, and ways to promote the country's long-term democratic and economic
renewal. In these areas, the new U.S. administration should:

On core security issues -- 
    * Undertake unilateral cuts in the nuclear arsenal to the level of
1,000 to
    1,500 warheads. This reduction would provide the United States with
    adequate deterrence and would be undertaken to encourage Russia to respond
    likewise. This measure is part of a broader nuclear security agenda with
    Russia that includes replacing the Cold War hair-trigger operational
    deterrence posture as well as doubling the resources allocated to the
    dismantlement of Russian weapons and the prevention of the
proliferation of weapons and fissile materials.
    * Adhere to the ABM treaty unless the missile-threat environment changes
    significantly. Major U.S. allies, as well as international powers like
    Russia, China, and India, all oppose the United States breaking with this
    treaty in order to deploy a national missile defense system.
    * Refrain from expanding NATO membership to states on the territory of the
    former Soviet Union before 2005. NATO should work more actively to promote
    security cooperation with Russia through the Partnership for Peace and
    identify potential common interests, such as maintaining stability in
    Central Asia and the Caucasus, and promoting Russian military
On problems in Russia's southern periphery -- 
    * Adopt a genuine "multiple pipeline" policy on Caspian oil and stop
    to limit Russian participation in its development. The Clinton
    administration's pursuit of a single pipeline policy slowed the
    of Caspian reserves. The new administration should not block the
    development of routes through Iran and Russia, which are economically
    attractive for marketing Caspian reserves.
    * Recognize that while the Russian military has committed numerous
abuses in
    Chechnya, it is not in the interests of the United States or the Caucasus
    region that the military simply withdraw from the republic. This would
    a return to the anarchy and Islamic extremism of 1996 to 1999. U.S. policy
    should be focused on trying to reduce the human suffering caused by the
    and to prevent it from spilling into neighboring Georgia.

On Russia's domestic transformation -- 
    * Boost U.S. efforts to foster Russian democracy by raising the annual
    democracy aid budget for Russia from $16 million to $40 million. A large
    part of that aid should be directed to the further development of the
    nongovernmental sector-political parties, civic organizations, business
    associations, and trade unions, not bureaucrats. Increased funds would be
    generated by decreasing economic aid to Russia by 50 percent.
    * Limit U.S. economic assistance by encouraging Russian expertise rather
    than the insertion of American consultants into the country. Economic
    relations should focus on trade and investment. In this respect, the
    States should advance Russia's entry into the WTO. Currently, Russia
appears unlikely to join the organization before 2004.
    * Promote the rule of law in Russia without blindly mirroring American
laws, practices, and institutions.
    * Support higher education and training by allocating U.S. funds to
    high-quality universities in Russia and the former Soviet states and to
    students from those countries for graduate and postdoctoral study in the
    United States.

An Agenda for Renewal: U.S.-Russian Relations is a product of the Carnegie
Endowment's Washington, D.C.-based Russian and Eurasian Program, a diverse and
bipartisan group of experts. The following persons contributed to it through
writing or discussion: Anders Åslund, Thomas Carothers, Thomas Graham, Stephen
Holmes, Andrew Kuchins, Anatol Lieven, Michael McFaul, Martha Brill Olcott,
Jon Wolfsthal. The full text of the report, as well as the webcast and
transcript of the related press conference, will be available on the Carnegie
Endowment web site at


Putin Seen Hurrying Russian Clemency Bid for Convicted US Spy

Washington, Dec. 7 (Bloomberg)
-- Russian President Vladimir Putin may be speeding his
handling of a clemency appeal from U.S. businessman Edmund Pope on his
conviction and sentencing on spy charges, Pope's congressman said.

``We are delighted that that's happening,'' Representative John Peterson,
Republican of Pennsylvania, said in a telephone interview from Moscow, where
he has been assisting Pope's defense. ``I think for relations between our
countries to grow, this issue needs to be behind them.''

Pope, 54, a retired U.S. Navy captain who has suffered from bone cancer, was
found guilty yesterday of spying for the U.S. and sentenced to 20 years in a
maximum security prison despite U.S. government pleas that he be set free.

The case has raised concerns about the future of U.S.-Russia political and
business relations, and Peterson cited evidence that Putin may be moving to
free Pope after insisting that the legal process first follow its course.

Pope formally filed the clemency request today, Peterson said. The Russian
government plans to act on it tomorrow, the Interfax agency said, citing
presidential press secretary Alexei Gromov.

Putin said he would move to resolve the matter following the trial in an
interview several months ago with the U.S.-based Cable News Network following
Pope's arrest on charges of trying to buy secret information about a
high-speed, anti-submarine torpedo.

Lawyer's Success

In addition to such expressions of Putin's concern about U.S.- Russia
relations, Russia might also be embarrassed by the trial successes of Pope's
lawyer, Pavel Astakhov, Peterson said. ``He has put the Russian criminal
justice system on trial, and I think they want that to be over,'' Peterson

The case prompted the U.S. State Department in October to warn Americans to
avoid any business activities with the ``Russian military-industrial
complex.'' The warning led some American executives to cancel visits to
Russia, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

Leading U.S. industry groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the
U.S.-Russia Business Council, however, downplayed any wider implications of
the Pope case and declined to take a position on his behalf.

``We've had sympathy from business leaders, but we never really received much
help from the chamber,'' said Peterson, who has made a series of trips to
Moscow to help Pope, who worked on projects related to naval weapons
development at Penn State University's Applied Research Laboratory.

Avoiding Criticism

The Chamber of Commerce may have been reluctant to help because Pope isn't a
member, while the U.S.-Russia Business Council may have been deterred by the
U.S. government's refusal, routine in such cases, to issue a blanket denial
of the charges against Pope, Peterson said.

Peterson also suggested last month that U.S. President Bill Clinton should
have become more directly involved in the case.

With signs now pointing toward a resolution, however, Peterson said he wanted
to avoid criticizing either U.S. business or the U.S. government. ``That
doesn't really matter now because I think we're coming to a positive
conclusion. So let's drive it home positively,'' he said.

Peterson offered his highest praise for Undersecretary of State Thomas
Pickering, with whom he has conferred repeatedly over the Pope case. ``No one
could have been more responsive than Tom Pickering has been,'' Peterson said.


 MOSCOW. Dec 6 (Interfax) - As many as 27.8% of the members of
Russia's elite groups regard corruption as the biggest threat to the
country's security, the Russian Public Opinion and Market Research
center, or ROMIR - Gallup International, reported on Wednesday.
 At the end of November, the center polled 650 people representing
the executive and legislative authorities, the business community, the
scientific community and the mass media. Several answers could be given.
 Other threats perceived by them included economic problems, 23.1%;
an unstable political situation, 20.8%; NATO's policy, 17.3%; Islamic
fundamentalism, 16.2%; international terrorism, 14.9%; a gap between the
center and the regions, 14.7%; and a lack of ideology, 14.1%.


December 12, 2000
What Russians think about spies
The trial of U.S. citizen Edmond Pope, who has been sentenced to 20 years in
high-security prison, has caused wide repercussions in Russia. The local
Public Opinion Foundation decided to find out the attitude of Russians to the
activities of foreign intelligence services in their country.

The results of the poll have shown that 67% of the people who took part in
the poll consider that foreign intelligence services have become more active
over the past years, and 51% are worried by this fact. Among people who are
concerned most of all over the espionage issue are supporters of communist
leader Gennady Zyuganov, pessimists, women, and rural residents.

Most of young people, persons with higher education and residents of big
cities do not see it as a problem (16%).

The poll has shown also that the Pope case attracted many people in this
country to the espionage problem. But because of a large amount of
contradictory information available to them, most people cannot say for sure
whether Pope worked for U.S. intelligence or not. For most of those who took
part in the poll much is vague in the case and it is unlikely that people
will ever know what really happened. And not all are prepared to trust any
decision taken by a Russian court on this case.

Nonetheless, people often said that precisely the intelligence services of
the United States and other NATO countries are interested in obtaining secret
information about Russia and they have greater opportunities to do that. Some
Russians have a stereotype view that foreign intelligence services have
unlimited, even almost supernatural, possibilities.

Many people answered that, of late, foreign intelligence services find it
easier to work in Russia because, in the opinion of three-quarters of
interviewed experts, the amount of classified information has reduced in this

The results of the poll have revealed people's more positive than negative
attitude to the intelligence services of Russia itself. To many of them these
services have a romantic aura about them. The most popular Russian
intelligence man still is Lieutenant-Colonel Isayev disguised as German nazi
officer Stierlitz from a serial film showing the last days of World War II,
which was popular in the 1970s.


 MOSCOW. Dec 6 (Interfax) - Almost two-thirds of the Russian elite -
62.7% - favor the continuation of the use of federal troops to settle
the situation in Chechnya.
 This conclusion was drawn by the ROMIR - Gallup International
independent public opinion service after polling 650 representatives of
the executive and legislative bodies, key figures in business, science
and the media in seven big cities at the end of November.
 In the same poll, 29.7% spoke in favor of a peaceful settlement (a
peace agreement, talks with rebels) and 7.6% remained undecided.
 The overwhelming majority, 92.1%, felt that Chechnya should remain
part of the Russian Federation; only 4.5% favored other options and 3.4%
were undecided.


Poll shows 26 per cent favour Soviet tune as Russia's national anthem

Moscow, 7th December: Almost one-quarter of Russians (22 per cent) consider
the Russian flag to be the main symbol of Russia as a state, 14 per cent
believe this symbol is the Kremlin, 14 per cent - the capital, and 11 per
cent - the emblem. The same number of people (11 per cent) think that the
symbol of Russia is its national anthem and 10 per cent think it is the
constitution; 14 per cent of Russian citizens found it difficult to answer
this question.

This information was provided to Interfax by the National Institute for
Socio-Psychological Research. The information was obtained by sociologists
with the independent Agency for Regional Political Research as a result of a
representative poll of 1,600 adult able-bodied Russians.

The research shows that 26 per cent of Russians want to have the Soviet
anthem, including the words, as Russia's state anthem. Twenty-five per cent
of respondents believe only the music of the Soviet anthem should be
preserved but the anthem needs new words. Twenty per cent of those polled
said they wanted new music and new words, 11 per cent said they wanted an
anthem with the music of the current Russian anthem (Mikhail Glinka's music)
and new words, 3 per cent said they wanted the song "God, Save the Tsar" for
the anthem and 12 per cent of those polled found it difficult to answer this

As for the flag, there was more accord among Russian citizens: 54 per cent of
those polled favoured the tricolour flag, 28 per cent wanted a red flag and 3
per cent said they wanted a black-gold-and-white flag.

An equal number of people (27 per cent each) fully or partially agreed that
"we do not need any national ideas and the constitution should be the only
idea in Russia". Seventeen per cent of Russians were inclined to disagree
with this. Approximately one-tenth of those polled (11 per cent) said they
did not agree with this viewpoint at all. Eighteen per cent of those polled
were undecided.


December 7, 2000
Could Chubais' Reforms Stumble Over Lenin's Corpse?
Late on Wednesday evening, Chief of Russia's Unified Energy Systems (RAO
UES) Anatoly Chubais convened a press conference to report that not only had
he settled differences with the Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeniy Adamov, but
that he is prepared to form a joint-stock company with the ministry. The main
thing is that Lenin's corpse does not interfere.

Anatoly Chubais is once again at the centre of media attention. Next
week could be his finest hour, or see his reputation hit rock bottom. On
December 14th the government will decide upon the fate of on the final
version of his reform proposals for the nation's electricity network.

Chubais said that on Thursday, December 7, he planned to meet with the
Minister for Economic Development and Trade German Gref, the Nuclear Energy
Minister Yevgeniy Adamov and the Fuel and Energy Minister Alexander Gavrin.
Chubais confidentally predicted that in the course of the meeting all
remaining difference would be discussed and eliminated.

According to the UES head, it was the Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeniy Adamov
who took the first step towards reconciliation. At a cabinet meeting on
Wednesday dedicated to the reform of the energy industry, he said he no
longer insisted on the 100% nationalization of the power grid.

According to Chubais, the head of the nuclear ministry said the state could
tighten control over the power grid using "less radical means".

In turn Chubais, also made a goodwill gesture, and said he was prepared to
negotiate the "foundation of a joint operator-company" with the concern
Rosenergoatom (the state agency that runs nuclear power stations).

Rosenergoatom has proposed that a RAO UES and Rosenergoatom form a joint
operating company, in which RAO UES would hold 60% of the shares, and
Rosenergoatom â?" 40%.

Also on Wednesday, quite unexpectedly politics interfered with the economy.
Being one of the leaders of the Union of Right-winged Forces (SPS), Anatoly
Chubais could not refrain from criticizing the prospective resurrection of
the Soviet-era anthem and once again raised the issue of Lenin's remains, or
corpse, as Chubais preferred to call them, saying that Lenin should be
removed from the Mausoleum and buried.

Quite naturally, Chubais' remarks pleased the "rights" and provoked an angry
reaction from the left.

The question of what to do with Lenin's remains, still mummified in a
specially constructed mausoleum on Red Square, has been a controversial issue
since the demise of Soviet power. Chubais' remark about Lenin's corpse was
certainly taken as an insult by the Communists. But the Communists do not
have much influence on the Kremlin and the president, rather the Kremlin has
influence over the Communists.

Some observers predict that Chubais' comments on the revival of the anthem,
which Putin is backing, could be decisive in the government's decision on the
UES reform proposal. If the Kremlin bosses perceive his words as an insult
and evidence of disloyalty towards the supreme power, the chances are they
may instruct the cabinet to put further discussion of the UES reform on hold
in order to jeopardize the reform.

RAO UES reform is vitally important for the economy and for improving the
investment climate in Russia. In the unlikely event that Chubais' remarks
influence the government's decision on the reform, it would be an ominous
indication that loyalty to the president is the leadership's top priority,
more important then freedom of speech and even the nation's well being.

Ivan Petrov


December  5, 2000
Sergei Markov: Only united by national symbols does a population become a
nation and an actor of history
Sergei Markov, political scientist
Today's debate on the national symbols may seem untimely to someone. The
country has many outstanding problems without this one - there have been
failures at the start of the heating season, most complicated economic
problems emerge in the economy, and there is the bleeding wound of Chechnya.
But those who say the national emblems are of minor importance are either
cunning or simply fail to understand what real politics is.

National symbols are not to be trifled with, and an anthem is just a piece of
music. They are symbols bringing people of a country together, uniting them
with each other, with their state and also with the past and future
generations. These symbols remind people of their responsibility before their
country, before its past and its future.

So, national symbols offer a most significant basis for enhancing the moral
level society, for combating corruption, they raise people's spirit,
stimulating a wish to develop themselves and to work for the benefit of
society. Figuratively speaking, such symbols give a possibility not just to
carry bricks but to build a temple.

Our citizens understand this pretty well, and that is why they demand that
the authorities help solve this problem as soon as possible, putting
political bickering aside.

In recent years, people's demand for law and order has become commonplace.
But by law and order they imply not just decreasing the crime rate but also
living a decent life, that is, a life in which it will be clear what is good
and what is evil, what is valor and what is villainy, and what people should
teach their children. Speaking in scholar terms, it is a matter of public
ideals and values, of the norms of conduct. National symbols are among these
pillars of society. Without them a population in Russia is an object of
manipulation on the part of any forces. And only if there are common ideals,
values and symbols does a population become a nation.

For this reason, one must not oppose approval of national symbols to economic
laws. Unifying symbols, like a big project, are essential if anything is to
be built. Without them, everything will be stolen and messed up. It is only
when they are present, when a passive population becomes "we, the people" and
the subject of history that Russia may make a spurt, modernize, and regain
its status as a leading world power.

Conscious of its modernizing mission and sensing the public moods, the new
Kremlin leadership responds to the people's requirements and is therefore in
a hurry to have the coat of arms, the flag and the anthem approved by the
legislature. It wants Russia to step into the 21st century a normal country
unaffected by an inferiority complex. It wants its citizens to feel proud of
being Russians.

The symbols will be accepted in a package, with Russia leaving its great
civil war in the 20th century.

Already now one may predict with a high degree of certainty the outcome of
voting on the national symbols. The public is almost agreed on the coat of
arms - the two-headed eagle - and on the flag - Peter's tricolor. And though
they do not delight the State Duma left-wingers, the latter will hardly dare
to turn them down if the Kremlin accepts Alexandrov's music for the anthem.
An impressive majority of legislators like the music, but there is an obvious
split among the public at large, with a number of liberal-minded individuals,
quite influential in the milieu of the political, intellectual and business
elites, being totally opposed to the revival of the USSR anthem.

One may predict therefore that with the Kremlin's support, the State Council
will bring all the three symbols before the Duma in a package and that they
will be supported by the deputies.

It is ideal, of course, that the symbols may be approved by a nation-wide
vote incorporated in the next general elections. But one can also understand
the Kremlin's desire to be through this year. Then the country will step into
the 21st century possessing endorsed national symbols to the satisfaction of
the majority of the people.

The unification of the three symbols, two of which have their roots in
pre-Soviet, imperial Russia, while the third one has been born in the Soviet
period, must simultaneously symbolize the end of the war between the Reds and
Whites that went on in Russia throughout the 20th century. The Kremlin wants
to leave the civil war in the past, before the doorstep of the 21st century,
and to lead a new Russia into the new century.

The debate on the anthem's music is a debate on the place of the Soviet
period in Russia's history

There are two main proposals concerning the national anthem: Glinka's
Patriotic Song, the current anthem, and the Soviet anthem composed by
Alexander Alexandrov. Everybody realizes that the current anthem is not up to
the mark. The Glory chorus from Glinka's opera A Life for the Tsar could
present a real alternative to Alexandrov's music - that magnificent, joyful
music would put Russia's anthem to advantage against the background of other
countries' anthems. Regrettably, though, Glory has had bad luck: opponents of
the Soviet anthem have opted for the current anthem as their bastion of

The debate, therefore, in effect boils down to a debate on Alexandrov's
music: whether it should be accepted as a piece of majestic music per se or
whether it should it be rejected as embodying the Soviet anthem which
accompanied crimes and whether the current anthem should be endorsed as the
lesser evil.

Alexandrov's anthem was not born at the height of repressions. On the
contrary it was born on the crest of nationwide inspiration when Hitler's
fascism, humanity's worst enemy in the 20th century, was suffering a series
of major defeats. It was that upsurge of national inspiration that was
reflected in the Soviet anthem.

The sounds of its music do not reflect the utopia of a world revolution or
the iron-clad step of special services or the gray rustle of Soviet
bureaucracy. It reflects the generous hearts of the Russian people, Russia's
might as a world power and the firm belief that Russia will emerge victorious
after overcoming all the sufferings. The music reflects the country's great
as well as tragic history and people's belief in ultimate victory. It is for
that reason that the people of Russia like the music so much.

Politicians who are represented at the State Council have no particular
ideological leanings, and they are in favor of Alexandrov's music because
they have been able to capture the public mood. Kremlin social technologists
working on a new phase of reforms are also aware of this. Russian liberals
too should realize that if they are to become a leading political force in
the country, their liberalism should be supplemented with patriotism.

Most people in Russia who do not regard Soviet times as a period of crimes
but as a contradictory period which saw dynamic development as well as
repressions are in favor Alexandrov's music - something like 60%. Russia's
liberals are against but they represent a minority view. However, their
opinion should not be ignored because Russian liberals are young and
vigorous. Strictly speaking, the future belongs to them, and besides they
reflect world public opinion. Therefore, I do not think that Alexandrov's
music should be endorsed simply by voting without taking account of the
Duma's liberal majority. What is needed, therefore, is a dialogue. Besides,
national symbols should unite the nation instead of sowing divisions among
the people. In fact, uniting the nation is the main function of national

Russian liberals and the Soviet anthem: between marginal ideology and liberal

I believe it would be very useful for the liberal political forces to
acknowledge Alexandrov's music. The country is putting an end to setting off
Communists against anti-Communists; it is tackling other more vital problems.
But one of the maladies of the Russian liberals is that they are obsessed
with anti-communism. It is high time they realized that communism has already
receded into the past and does not pose a threat to the country. I would
suggest to the leaders of the Union of Right Forces and Yabloko to forget the
word "communists" in general. The time has come to stop blaming them for all
of the problems of present-day Russia. The anti-communistic rhetoric of the
liberals is holding them to the past and does not allow them to become the
leading political force in the country.

The fact that the Russian liberals are obsessed with anti-communism prevents
them from building relationships with the elderly generations that make up
the majority of the electorate. Russian west-oriented liberals have branded
the Soviet period a period of crimes and mistakes. In so doing they have
pushed away from themselves a great majority of the country, those who had
worked honestly, those who had seen not only crimes and mistakes, but also
the forward movement of the country in economics and social life.

The Russian liberals should accept the Soviet period not as a solid black
stripe that should be crossed out of history, but as a great and tragic
period, as part of the great and tragic history of Russia in general.
Unifying the pre-Soviet coat of arms and flag with the Soviet anthem looks
artificial only to politicians overwhelmed by ideology. But for the majority
of the population it is acknowledged as a reconciliation between the reds and
whites, as an end to the civil war, as the heritage of all that was good from
all the periods of Russian history. And the Russian west-oriented liberals
should join that majority of people, that civic peace. Any other decision
retains the west-oriented liberals in the position of a marginal political

So far, the lyrics are outside the framework of discussion

Behind the disputes around the music for the anthem, it has been forgotten
that a national anthem should have lyrics, words that citizens could sing "in
days of the people's triumphs and troubles." A commission is to pass a
decision on the lyrics, but the public too should actively join the
discussion concerning those criteria on the basis of which the final choice
of lyrics will be made. However, discussions in society quite often begin
when practically everything has already been decided by the authorities.

What kind of symbols should be woven into the fabric of the anthem lyrics -
this is the kind of discussion that is needed so that the national anthem
instills a feeling of pride for their country, so that it unites all the
citizens into a nation.


Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000
From: ZvanersM@rferl@org
Subject: INVITATION: Humanitarian Crisis in Chechnya

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC  20036
tel: 202-457-6900  *  fax: 202-457-6992

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
invites you to a briefing by

Lecha Ilyasov
Director, Chechen Center for Pluralism, Lam
Edilbek Khasmagomadov
Director, National Library of Chechnya
Founding Member and Secretary, Lam

The Looming Humanitarian Crisis
In Chechnya:
What the International Community Needs To Do Now

Monday, December 11, 2000
in Conference Room A (4th Floor) at
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
1201 Connecticut Ave NW
[entrance on Rhode Island Ave NW, next to St. Matthew's Cathedral]

Chechnya and the Chechen people are now in the midst of another brutal
winter, one which finds many of them without adequate housing, heating or
food.  This humanitarian crisis threatens to damage even more lives than
the war itself, unless the international community takes action soon.

Lecha Ilyasov and Edilbek Khasmagomadov are senior officials of Lam
("mountain" in Chechen), an NGO committed to helping promote humanitarian
assistance to Chechnya, documenting human rights violations and war
crimes, and seeking to bring about an end to the conflict.  In addition,
their group has organized democratic education programs in Chechen refugee
camps.  Lam works closely with the Sakharov Museum in Moscow and the World
Movement for Democracy.

RFE/RL would like to thank the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe,
which organized Mr. Ilyasov's and Mr. Khasmagomadov's visit to Washington.

The briefing will be conducted in Russian with English translation.

Please RSVP by Friday, December 8, 2000 by email to, by telephone to Melody Jones at
(202) 457-6949, or by fax to (202) 457-6992.


the eXile
A Fish Stinks from the Head
A timely review of "Democracy From Scratch: Opposition and Regime in the New
Russian Revolution" by Steven Fish
By John Dolan

I've just had one of the most shocking reading experiences of my life.
It started out harmlessly enough: a Berkeley professor named W. Steven Fish
attacked Stephen Cohen's book "Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of
post-Communist Russia" for daring to cite the eXile, which Fish described as
"a cross between the National Enquirer and Hustler magazine." A pretty lame
insult--clearly Professor Fish isn't too knowledgable about American popular
media--but it gave me the notion of reviewing Fish's own contribution to
Russian studies, his 1995 book "Democracy from Scratch: Opposition and
Regime in the New Russian Revolution." I imagined the book would be dull,
cautious, stolid. I planned to  write a brief, funny review.

What I found was not funny at all. This book is vile beyond description,
crude beyond belief, written in childish, awkward prose, and demonstrably
wrong about every point it makes. But please don't take my word for it. I
urge anyone out there who really cares about the study of recent Russian
history: please read Democracy from Scratch for yourself. I would especially
urge Fish's colleagues in the Political Science Department at Berkeley to
read the book--because you certainly didn't do so when you decided to give
this man tenure.

Democracy from Scratch purports to be a "social-scientific" analysis of the
development of "democratic" institutions in the early nineties. Fish is a
professor of "political science," after all; and though more confident,
sensitive people in his field have long since abandoned the claim that their
work is "scientific," Fish is quite convinced that he is a scientist. This
makes it all the more remarkable that he writes like a half-literate
Kommissar, using loaded adjectives and adverbs to bolster a crudely
teleological historical model which informs his entire book. Here, for
example, is Fish using typically Leninist rhetoric to rationalize the purge
of all those who expressed concern about the suffering imposed by Gaidar's
discredited "reforms." Note Fish's body-metaphor, which he uses to
characterize Gaidar's opponents as parasites:
"Large, hard pieces of the ancien regime...remained lodged deeply and
extensively in the body politic, and these pieces proved adept at putting
themselves back together again and resisting radical reform."

Of course these "pieces" are people--specifically, the millions of people
who were appalled by the suffering and economic decline precipitated by
Gaidar's so-called "reforms." But they have been turned here into parasites.

The "scientific" Fish writes an allegory, in which Russia becomes a human
body, with Chernomyrdin and all others who oppose Gaidar reduced to mere
"pieces" of alien flesh, "lodged" in "the body politic." (Or are they meant
to be feces, the products of some social constipation?) The metaphor is
imprecise, but its implication is clear: all those who resist "radical
reform" are harming "the body politic" and must be eliminated. As Lenin and

Stalin demonstrated, once one's opponents have been dehumanized in this
fashion, it is easy to find euphemisms for their extirpation; the process
can be likened to antibiotics, surgery, laxatives... Whatever the metaphor,
the point is clear: eliminate the "pieces" which are getting in the way of
the grand historical process.

By an historical irony which has long since ceased to seem surprising,
Fish's historical process is the undoing of Lenin's grand plan; but the two
share the same savage, dehumanized, teleological view of the way in which
the great transformation must be carried out. Like Lenin, Fish continually
magnifies the numbers and importance of his faction, either implying or
stating outright that they, as the favorites of History, are the only real
people in Russia. Even when the signs of corruption and failure are obvious,
Fish finds some tortuous rhetorical excess which will allow him to dismiss
them. Here, in his Epilogue, note the way in which he concedes that it's all
falling apart, then, amazingly, uses this as evidence that all will be well:
"Indeed, the events of 1993 provide further evidence of the extraordinary
tortuousness of the path that lies between Soviet-style socialism and
democracy. And yet the very conspicuousness of the conditions and trends
that point toward the failure of democracy now urge the analyst to adopt a
strategy of "possibilism," to undertake a search for circumstances which
might push the transition forward and favor its success."

That's an exact quote, folks. I didn't make that up. You can find it on page
232 of Fish's book. This is the sort of thing which had me reeling as I read
the book. This passage actually says outright that, because it looks like
democracy will fail, "the analyst" should try to think that it's going to
succeed. This might be merely amusing, if spoken by a preacher. But for a
soi-disant "scientist" to tell his readers he intends to stand the evidence
on its head is, you will agree, rather surprising.

The comparison to the ars predicandi is inevitable when slogging through
this book. Like the messianic idiot he is, Fish has a single, universal
model of the progress of history. In his mind, events in Russia can move
toward "democracy" only according to "the path"--the one and only road to
salvation. And so he must impose his crude scheme on the murky, fetid
politics of early-nineties Russia. Yeltsin's victory is, in his view, "the
first crucial stage of posttotalitarian politics" in Russia. The next proper
stage will be the victory of Gaidar's faction, Democratic Russia. They
alone, in Fish's view circa 1995, understand the need for radical and rapid
privatization. And how should this be accomplished? By the voucher program.
The voucher has become a metonymy for all the worst aspects of post-Soviet
"reform," so it's rather painful to see the enthusiasm with which Fish, ever
the simple ideologue, endorses it:
"The large-scale scheme that the State Privatization Committee drew up in
the summer and fall of 1992 contains a number of progressive provisions,
including a 'voucher' system designed to 'popularize' property ownership.

The plan is based on liberal principles and demonstrates the government's
interest in departing from 'nomenklatura privatization.'"

For Fish, the voucher plan is good because it is aligned with the forces of
history: it is "progressive" and "based on liberal principles." He is so
entranced with his simple ideological division of Russia into "democratic"
progressives and their "antagonists" that he could not imagine asking
himself whether the voucher plan suited conditions in Russia. Indeed, for
Fish, the very idea that Russia has a unique culture which should be taken
into account when designing reforms would be unscientific. Kansas or Kazan;
it's all one to him. To the extent that he is aware of Russia as a specific
cultural context, it is only in terms of Russia's failure to match the norm;
he mentions that in Russia, "...there [is] no political spectrum in the
sense that this term is normally understood, with its socialists,
nationalists, and so on." He adds, "[Russia] still does not fulfill the
requirements for status as a civil society outlined in Chapter Three."

Isn't that an amazing sentence? My God, the arrogance of this tenth-rate
academic consigning a huge country to wretchedness because it fails to fit
the checklist of his wretched "chapter three"! I take back my comparison of
Fish to Lenin; it's hugely unfair to Lenin.

Fish constantly resorts to crude pamphletteering rhetoric when dividing
Russia into "democratic" forces and their opponents, whom he calls "reform's
antagonists." "Storm clouds had been gathering," he intones. In a single
paragraph (p. 209) he uses such melodramatic cliches as "cruel dilemma,"
"harsh authoritarian reversion and erosion of hard-won civil rights and
freedoms," "overweening executive power," and "the specter of dictatorship."
This, remember, from a man who sneered at Stephen Cohen for the "shoddiness"
of his writing!

Like a true Leninist, Fish only criticizes his faction when it fails to act
ruthlessly enough against the "forces of the old order," who have "resisted
thoroughgoing reform." Attacking Yeltsin for failing to call early elections
after the 1991 coup, Fish writes in that true Sovok style, at once boring
and bloodthirsty:
"[Yeltsin] squandered a fine opportunity to capitalize on the disgrace that
the failed putsch inflicted on the forces of the old order,...The old guard
had finally showed its stripes."

If those "stripes" seemed rather striking, take a look at what Fish can do
when he gets his Soviet-style cliche generator going at full strength, as in
this passage which follows closely the "stripes" rant:
"...[T]he lack of progress toward radical reform...leaves the sword of
arbitrary state power dangling over the new polity. Mass privatization
promises to begin dissolving the cement that fused state and economy for
seven decades."

One can't help wondering what would happen if the sword landed in the
dissolving cement. Why, it could be swept away by the river of fate, onto
the ash heap of history!

But though it's easy to laugh at Fish's narrative excesses, you can't help
remembering that these crude moral tales became the justification for the
"radical reforms" which jerked Russia in the historically-correct direction
(as determined by a band of third-rate intellectuals), regardless of the
suffering they caused.

As a "scientist," Fish is no doubt willing to have his analyses and above
all his predictions tested for their accuracy. Indeed, scientific rigor
demands that we examine them to see how well they stand, five years after
they were published. Let us begin by examining his estimation of Yeltsin
himself. Alas, Professor Fish seems to have gotten this one rather
spectacularly wrong. Here is his view of Yeltsin:
"El'tsin's stance vis-a-vis the democratic movement and his previous career
as a party functionary scarcely preclude the possibility that he holds at
least some truly "democratic" convictions. Still less do they support the
mistaken image of him, widely held in the west, as a populist demagogue."

Unfortunately, "populist demagogue" seems like a rather complimentary
description of Yeltsin, now that he has finished his disastrous reign. But
Fish's mis-estimate of Yeltsin is trivial compared to his
ideologically-driven overestimation of the "democrats." Because they fit
into his crudely teleological, generalized model of history, he failed to
notice the obvious elitism and corruption of Gaidar's faction, thus
providing the cover-story by which America gave its support to the
Kleptocracy which looted Russia, with the considerable help of that populist
demagogue Fish so admired--much as he may want to pretend otherwise now.
Nothing is so embarrassing as an old love-letter. Fish's book is a
particularly embarrassing billet-doux, since it reveals all too clearly his
besotted complicity in the looting of Russia. His "scientific" look at
Russia managed to get everything wrong. His prose is so awful that I really
recommend he toddle over to Dwinelle Hall and enroll in Rhetoric 1A. His
crude ideological bias is so utterly callous toward the suffering of
ordinary Russians as to invite comparison with Lenin.
--And yet, rather than retire to the forest to dress in burlap and
contemplate his sins, this odious halfwit still poses as an expert on
Russia, and even dares to criticize Stephen Cohen's work on Russia as

Can the members of the UCB committee which granted tenure to this
mean-hearted jerk please identify yourselves? Show yourselves for once, and
do the right thing: join Associate Professor Fish for a picnic lunch atop
Barrows Hall. Let the wine flow and the banter flap. And then, holding hands
and singing some Fleetwood Mac anthem, all of you take one giant step for
mankind, right over the edge.


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