|JRL #7083||Plain Text - Entire Issue|
1. RIA Novosti: 17 RUSSIANS INCLUDED IN SUPER-WEALTHY LIST.
2. UPI: Russia could use veto power at U.N.
3. Vremya MN: Leonid Sergienko, VOLOSHIN RISING - AND SO IS THE PRESSURE Analysis of Alexander Voloshin's visit to the United States.
4. AP: U.S. Adding Chechen Groups on Terror List.
5. Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye: THE AMERICANS DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. The USA needs the war in Iraq in order to get rid of its complexes (inteview with Yuli VORONTSOV)
6. Komsomolskaya Pravda: Andrei Baranov, RUSSIA BETWEEN WEST AND EAST: WHO'S A FRIEND, WHO'S A FOE?
7. BBC: Stephen Mulvey, Russia's great political survivor. (Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov)
8. Luba Schwartzman: TV1 Review.
9. Moscow Times: Vladimir Pribylovsky, Noviye Izvestia Dead Who's Next?
10. The Guardian (UK): Geoffrey Roberts, Victory on the Volga. The anniversary of Stalingrad has inspired major celebrations in Russia, but a strange silence here.
11. DEMOKRATIZATSIYA: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization: Harley Balzer, Demography and Democracy in Russia: Human Capital Challenges
to Democratic Consolidation.
17 RUSSIANS INCLUDED IN SUPER-WEALTHY LIST
LONDON, February 28th, 2003 /from RIA Novosti correspondent Sergei Kudasov/
-- Forbes Magazine has put 17 Russians on the list of 476 billionaires of
According to Forbes, YUKOS CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky with a $8-bln fortune
is at the 26th position in the rich league.
Chukotka's Governnor and Businessman Roman Abramovich with a $5.7-bln
fortune ranks 49th on the list. They are followed by Mikhail Fridman
/$4.3-bln/, Viktor Vekselberg /$2.5-bln/, Vladimir Potanin /$1.78-bln/,
Mikhail Prokhorov /$1.6-bln/, Oleg Deripaska /$1.5-bln/, Vladimir
Yevtushenkov /$1.5-bln/, Vagit Alekperov /$1.3-bln/ and others, Forbes said.
The magazine put Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates as the world richest man. He
has a fortune of $40.7-bln, that is $10-bln less than last year.
Russia could use veto power at U.N.
By Katherine Arms
HONG KONG, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Russia is prepared to veto a U.S.-British
resolution in the U.N. Security Council permitting a strike on Iraq if
doing so would keep global stability and peace, Russian Foreign Minister
Igor Ivanov said Friday in Beijing.
"Russia has the right to a veto in the U.N. Security Council and will use
it if it is necessary in the interests of international stability," Ivanov
told a news conference.
Ivanov's statement followed a joint communiqué Thursday of with China's
foreign minister that said a war with Iraq "can and should be avoided" and
called for weapons inspectors in Iraq to be given more time to do their job.
Washington and London are looking for votes to back a Security Council
resolution allowing a war on Iraq. But France and Russia, both with veto
power as permanent council members, have not backed the resolution and have
called for more time for weapons inspectors. Germany has also not backed
"Of course, if you use the veto power you should fully understand the
responsibilities of it before using it. It can only be used for
international peace and stability," said Ivanov. "At the same time Russia
will not be in favor of any new resolution which allows the use of military
force directly or indirectly to solve the Iraqi issue."
China's official news agency quoted the statement by the foreign ministers
of the two countries saying, "Both sides reiterate their determination to
render their full efforts for promoting a political solution to the Iraqi
The communiqué said the international community was pressing for measures
to avoid war and it said, "such aspiration should be respected."
The joint statement also said both countries would push for dialogue
between the United States and North Korea to solve their nuclear issue.
"Both China and Russia are ready to actively push for a political
resolution of the nuclear issue of the DPRK (North Korea) in both bilateral
and multilateral arena," said Xinhua.
Ivanov's meetings in Beijing follows a visit by U.S. Secretary of State
Colin Powell, who called on China to use its diplomatic ties with Pyongyang
and outlined Washington's stand on Iraq.
Ivanov met with China's President Jiang Zemin who expressed satisfaction
with the outcome of the talks with Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan. Jiang
reiterated that Iraq should cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors and that
"the Iraq issue should be resolved politically in which the United Nations
should play an essential role."
On the outside China and Russia hold the same position on Iraq, having
stated prior to their meetings in Beijing that they want more dialogue and
time for weapons inspectors. Observers said China could still change its
position on Iraq but Moscow appears determined to oppose war by promoting
its own peace proposals. Both countries appear to be united on the North
Korea issue, pushing for talks to calm rising tensions.
On Thursday, U.S. officials said North Korea has begun operating a
controversial nuclear reactor escalating the nuclear situation. The
International Atomic Energy Agency has said it cannot confirm the U.S.
reports and is opposed to North Korea restarting nuclear activities without
Jiang called for a peaceful resolution through direct dialogue between the
United States and North Korea and said that "peace and stability on the
Korean Peninsula should be safeguarded and the peninsula should be
nuclear-free," according to Xinhua.
February 28, 2003
VOLOSHIN RISING - AND SO IS THE PRESSURE
Analysis of Alexander Voloshin's visit to the United States
Author: Leonid Sergienko
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
SOME RUMORS SAY ALEXANDER VOLOSHIN WAS ORDERED TO THE UNITED STATES
BY PUTIN TO DISCUSS THE TERMS OF RUSSIA'S PARTICIPATION IN THE POST-
WAR RESTORATION OF IRAQ. QUIETLY AND UNOFFICIALLY, THE WHITE HOUSE IS
ALREADY CONDUCTING A TENDER FOR ENORMOUSLY PROFITABLE RECONSTRUCTION
The visit of Alexander Voloshin, Director of the Presidential
Administration, to the United States that ended on February 26 is at
the center of attention of rumor-mongers close to the Kremlin. They
categorically deny the assumption that the visit might be prompted by
Voloshin's imminent appointment as foreign minister. Such rumors
echoed in the corridors of power a year or so ago but eventually
ended. These days, rumor-mongers are talking of Voloshin's
phenomenally growing influence over political processes and even
diplomatic processes. They claim that Voloshin has been the principal
Russian-Ukrainian troubleshooter ever since the late 2000. There is
the widespread belief that it is Voloshin who arranged the agreement
of leaders of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine to prepare
documents on a common economic zone by September 2003. This success
has been allegedly decisive. Allegedly, President Putin put Voloshin
in charge of some issues of big-time international politics.
The Bush Administration praises the results of the visit. While in
Washington, Voloshin met with President Bush, Vice President Richard
Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, White House chief-of-staff
Andrew Card, and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. Richard
Boucher of the White House says that Powell in particular is satisfied
with the discussion that focused on the positions of the United States
and Russia on Iraq, among other issues. "The negotiations were not
restricted to the Iraqi resolution or Resolution 1441," Bowcher said.
He emphasized that Powell and Voloshin discussed a broad spectrum of
issues including "the war on terrorism, challenges, Mideast situation,
relations between our governments, and cooperation in the security
According to some rumors, Voloshin did not fly to Washington for
the sake of discussing all this. He was ordered to the United States
by Putin to discuss the terms of Russia's participation in the post-
war restoration of Iraq. Quietly and unofficially, the White House is
already conducting a tender for enormously profitable reconstruction
contracts. Besides, Voloshin is rumored to have been instructed to
clarify in Washington the price of Russia's abstaining from voting in
the UN Security Council on Resolution 1441. Save for participation in
restoration of the pacified Iraq, allegedly Moscow wanted Washington's
promise to overlook the Russian-Iraqi military-technical cooperation.
Needless to say, the matter is much too delicate for official
The upcoming accord on a common economic zone is clearly a
publicity stunt for the sake of the presidential campaign, but
Voloshin's visit to the United States is anything but. Does it
nevertheless indicate an unprecedented growth of Voloshin's influence?
Putin might have merely wanted to show to his American counterpart how
much he values their mutual understanding - hence the decision to send
to Washington someone with more influence than the foreign minister.
And the PR structures promoting Voloshin might have decided to
exaggerate the importance of the visit somewhat.
U.S. Adding Chechen Groups on Terror List
February 27, 2003
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Bush administration will announce Friday that it is
imposing sanctions on three rebel groups in the breakaway Russian republic
of Chechnya because of their involvement in terrorism, including
participation in an attack on a Moscow theater last October.
The designations will allow the U.S. government to block the assets of
these groups in U.S. financial institutions. Members of these groups would
be barred from receiving visas to visit the United States.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher declined to name the three
groups. He also denied that the designations are related to U.S. efforts to
enlist Russian support as the United Nations Security Council debates a
U.S.-British proposal for war against that country.
The step to be announced Friday was not based on political expediency,
Boucher said, but is the product of a careful process dating back many months.
The Russian government has consistently maintained that the uprising in
Chechnya is mostly the work of foreign terrorist organizations.
Last October, 41 Chechens seized a Moscow theater to dramatize their
demands for an end to the war in the breakaway Russian republic. Russian
forces stormed the building and killed all the hostage-takers, as well as
129 hostages. Virtually all the deaths occurred from the effects of a gas
used to incapacitate the militants.
Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
THE AMERICANS DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING
The USA needs the war in Iraq in order to get rid of its complexes
Yuli VORONTSOV, special representative of the UN Secretary
General and head of the Iraq-Kuwait negotiations, has recently
visited the region, which has been in the international
spotlight for quite some time. He met with representatives of
Iraq and several other countries and saw American troops
prepare for future battles. He talked with Andrei ARTYOMOV of
Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye about his impressions.
Question: Can Iraq mount serious resistance to the USA?
Answer: It probably has a certain amount of chemical
munitions but they are not very effective in theatre operations.
They can do some damage, but not very large.
Question: Can Iraq send some of its missiles to
neighbouring countries, above all Israel?
Answer: No, it has only missiles with the range of 150 km;
all other missiles have been put out of commission. Israel
nevertheless fears potential Iraqi strikes, especially
biological ones. But as far as I know, Iraq can no longer do
Question: What do you know about plans for the post-Saddam
Answer: The country can be split, though other Arab and
Moslem countries will be against it. This is why the Americans
say they would keep the country intact. But some of its
neighbours are already reaching out to the Iraqi territory. And
the Kurds will not sit on their hands while others would divide
the Iraqi pie.
Question: Can the Kurd leaders attempt to integrate all
Kurdish areas in the neighbouring countries?
Answer: We should assume that they would try this. It is
not by chance that Iran has ordered its troops to advance to
the border with Iraq. And Turkey will have a hard time, too.
On the whole, I think the Americans don't know what they
are doing. Their war plans may end very soon, possibly in a
victory and subsequent occupation of Iraq. But they cannot
imagine what would happen after that.
The USA is nurturing the idea of bringing democracy to
Iraq but this plan will also affect, one way or another, the
neighbouring countries that have never had democracy. This is
what the American politicians cannot foresee. Nobody can
recarve and change whole countries and regions with impunity.
Some people in Washington, first and foremost in the State
Department, have analysed all possible variants and some
politicians there know the Arab world rather well. But nobody
listens to them, or rather, nobody in the White House or the
Congress wants to listen to them.
But Europeans can count better and have more experience in
foreign policy than the Americans who still prefer the daring
cowboy style. Why is Europe worried? Because during - and
especially after - the war masses of not just refugees but also
terrorists would spill over from the region where Iraq is
situated into Europe. But what do the Americans care? Iraq is
situated far away from their country. They would fight there,
just as they did in Afghanistan, picking the fruit of victory
and leaving Europeans to combat with the roots.
Question: You represented the Soviet Union in the UN on
the eve and during the 1991 Gulf war. At that time we abstained
during the voting on the crucial Iraqi resolution in the
Security Council. Will we act likewise now?
Answer: I think everything will depend on the atmosphere
in the Security Council. The Russian delegation may vote
against the new resolution on going to war with Saddam Hussein.
As you know, the council has five permanent and ten
non-permanent members and it takes nine votes to pass a
resolution - provided no permanent member votes against.
Question: Russia's stand is ambiguous, as Bush is a friend
and Europe is not an adversary either. Are we doing right by
manoeuvring between them?
Answer: Absolutely right. We are pursuing a very cautious
policy that is firmly based on principle. We are against war.
Question: What would Russia lose and what would it gain
from the war?
Answer: It is clear that the Americans will not compensate
for anything after they win the war. Those Russian economists
and politicians who believe Washington's hints are doing this
to their own peril. I know the Americans very well: they will
not let anything out of their hands. Look at the 1999 events in
Kosovo and you will see that I am right.
Question: Has the USA missed the time for launching the
Answer: I think the Americans had not launched the war
earlier not only because they had not amassed enough troops but
also because they were not ready for it morally. I think the
war will begin around March 15 and the Americans will try to
end it by April 15-20.
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
RUSSIA BETWEEN WEST AND EAST: WHO'S A FRIEND, WHO'S A FOE?
By Andrei BARANOV
Will the United Sates become closer?
The majority of Russians celebrated the coming of the
Third Millennium in the atmosphere of festive euphoria and in
the hopes for the peaceful future. Many people thought that the
major threats to their well-being had been internal problems
and nobody feared the external dangers. With the end of the
Cold War, the fears to become victims of a nuclear strike and
the inevitable civil defense exercises disappeared from a
The leading Western and Eastern countries gradually became
friends of Moscow, and we lived in peace with most of our
neighbors without any intention to wage another war.
Two years have past and this idyllic picture started to
fade away. First, international terrorism and Islamic extremism
presented new challenges to our national security by
penetrating Chechen territory. Secondly, it's becoming more and
more clear that the old threats related to traditional
geopolitical factors have never totally disappeared, they
simply acquired new forms.
For a number of years NATO has been relentlessly getting
closer to our borders. It's true - the United States and other
Western countries are not our enemies today. However, as George
Bush once admitted in the conversation with Vladimir Putin, in
a decade another American leader will be making decisions
according to ever-changing global situation. Nobody knows what
kind of decisions those may be, but the fact that other
countries will soon deploy the mightiest military potential
only several hundred kilometers from Moscow could be taken as a
given fact even now.
Besides, quite recently, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld,
"taken aback" by the rebellious attitude shown by Berlin on the
Iraqi issue, announced that the Pentagon might re-deploy its
tactical nuclear missiles from Germany to Poland. What for? To
make it easier to hit Saddam Hussein's targets or to shorten
the flight time of American missiles aimed at potential targets
on Russian territory?
Speaking about Iraq, by the way. It's absolutely clear
that only a few weeks are left until the US forces strike
against that country. Baghdad's regime won't withstand the push
of the American might for too long. After occupying Iraq, the
United States will strengthen its positions in the Middle East
taking control over rich oil resources in the region. The next
step would probably be the build-up of American military
presence in the Central Asian countries of the CIS and
Transcaucasia. As a result, Russia would not only lose many
important economic positions in the region, but also would face
the presence of new American military bases right by the
vulnerable southern part of its border. According to a
statement made by a well-known American political analyst,
Stephen Cohen, "it's hard to avoid noticing that Russia is
being tightly surrounded."
Those who are not with us...
A year ago, US President George Bush promised to "break
the axis of evil", which includes Iran and North Korea. Those
countries maintain a steady dialogue with Moscow. In that
respect, what consequences Russia might face? Pyongyang, for
example, announced this week that in case the United States
establish a maritime blockade of the PDRK, the country would
abandon the 1953 Truce Treaty with South Korea and would be
ready for a nuclear war against the USA. But that means that we
would have a nuclear war raging right by our borders!
Following the example of the warmongering Washington,
other countries, using the excuse of the American expansion,
are getting ready to accomplish their own expansionist plans.
Having aimed their scarce nuclear arsenals at each other, India
and Pakistan lie in patient waiting. China is waiting for a
chance to "finally solve the Taiwan issue." Any of these
conflicts directly involves vital interests of Russia and
demands immediate political and probably even military
interference. Is Russia capable of taking all necessary
decisive steps? Does it have enough potential to support those
steps? Would other countries pay heed to Russian might?
So far, the most reliable guarantee of preserving our key
role in the global affairs is the Russian nuclear potential. No
country in the world could successfully counter its strength.
The problem is that year after year this potential is getting
"rusty," and the geography of the deployment of the US National
Missile Defense system leaves no doubts as to which country's
missiles this system is designed to intercept when such
February 28, 2003
Russia's great political survivor
By Stephen Mulvey
BBC News Online
Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has one of the hardest jobs in Moscow,
working for a president who runs his own foreign policy with the help of
his own advisers.
The hard-working Mr Ivanov is left perpetually trying to catch up with his
master, often remaining one step behind.
It has not helped that Russian foreign policy has undergone a major change
of direction since Mr Ivanov's appointment under then-President Boris
Yeltsin in 1998.
With Kosovo in turmoil, Mr Ivanov soon became Russia's chief denouncer of
Nato's air campaign against Yugoslavia.
New US partnership
It was a job he appeared to relish, accusing the West of hypocrisy,
cynicism and open contempt for morality.
"In Yugoslavia a double crime is currently being committed - namely, Nato's
aggression against a sovereign state, and blatant genocide against the
peoples of Yugoslavia," he said in March 1999, calling for those
responsible to face the United Nations war crimes tribunal.
But if railing against the West was part of Mr Ivanov's job description
under Mr Yeltsin - Nato's expansion plans were another major cause of
friction - everything changed with the arrival in the Kremlin of Vladimir
Russia stopped picking fights it could not win, and began to seek a new
partnership with the West - one that was firmly sealed after the 11
Mr Ivanov is still allowed to criticise the US - over policy towards Iraq,
for example - and he still occupies the more hawkish end of the Putin
But you will not now hear him accusing Washington of trying to "foist on
the world its political, military and economic diktat", or talking of his
reluctance to shake the hands of Western leaders, as he did during the
Mr Ivanov was originally appointed foreign minister by Yevgeny Primakov,
the foreign minister and former spymaster who Mr Yeltsin made prime
minister in September 1998.
1973 - 1983 trade representative in Spain
1991 - 1994 Ambassador to Spain
1994 - 1998 Deputy Foreign Minister
1998 appointed Foreign Minister
Throughout the Putin years, from 2000 onwards, pundits have regularly
predicted that he would be sacked in the next reshuffle.
He is not much loved by the president's A-team of aides and advisers, many
of whom would like his job to go to a youthful parliamentarian, Mikhail
Margelov, who already sometimes accompanies Mr Putin on foreign trips.
In seeking to shape Russia's foreign policy, Mr Ivanov has to compete with
these advisers, as well as the Defence Ministry, the Security Council and
even the crucial oil and gas industry.
But while his position has been uncomfortable under Mr Putin, the low point
of his career undoubtedly came earlier, under Mr Yeltsin, when he was dealt
the kind of blows that in many countries would have triggered automatic
First, Mr Ivanov - a veteran of the Dayton peace accords on Bosnia and the
Rambouillet peace talks on Kosovo - was abruptly sidelined from Balkan
peacemaking when Russia chose as its special envoy the former prime
minister, Viktor Chernomyrdin, a tongue-tied man with no diplomatic
Secondly, he was humiliated when, in June 1999, Russian paratroopers dashed
into Kosovo and occupied Pristina airport, in violation of international
Taken by surprise, Mr Ivanov described the move as a "mistake" and promised
the troops would be withdrawn, only to find himself overruled by the
Despite difficulties of this kind, Mr Ivanov has continued loyally plugging
away at his job, and the chances are that he will now keep it until the
presidential election in early 2004.
He cuts a suave, if slightly stiff figure, and is said to favour Italian
suits, a taste perhaps picked up during 15 years in Madrid first as trade
representative and then as ambassador.
Other rumours focus on his mental powers and his stamina.
One says he can memorise documents with almost photographic accuracy.
Another is that that he thinks nothing of holding a four-hour meeting
without a break, and regularly works for 14 or 15 hours a day.
Compiled by Luba Schwartzman (email@example.com)
Research Analyst, Center for Defense Information, Moscow office
Thursday, February 27, 2003
- The Russian Cabinet discussed laws on property taxes. By 2006,
it plans to replace four separate tax clauses – on the property of
organizations and individuals (apartments and houses) land,
inheritance and gifts -- by a single property tax. Prime Minister
Mikhail Kasyanov has been hospitalized with the flu, so Deputy
Prime Minister Aleksei Kudrin chaired the meeting in his absence.
- The world premier of the one-act "Princess Pirlipat" ballet was
held at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg. The new ballet is a
preface to the famous Nutcracker.
- A Russian delegation of parliamentarians, cultural figures and
journalists is in Estonia. Today they will meet with representatives
of Russian organizations and attend cultural events.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Roland Paksas on
his inauguration as Lithuanian President. They also discussed the
development of Russian-Lithuanian relations, and the Kaliningrad
issue in particular.
- President Putin met with Minister of Science, Industry and
Technology Ilya Klebanov to discuss the reform of the national
defense complex. The minister asserted that the defense complex
has been recovering from the crisis of the mid-90s. He noted that
production grew by 60% over the past 4 years. However,
according to Klebanov, financing of the sector remains a major
- Deputy Prime Minister Aleksei Kudrin declared that the Ministry
of Finances will begin compensating Chechens for lost housing and
- The Union of Armenians in Russia appealed to Armenians in
Yerevan to be prudent. Ara Abramian, the union's president,
declared that the blind protest against the government could have
- Housing problems faced by Russian citizens were discussed at the
meeting of the Presidium of the State Council. There are about 5
million people who are waiting for housing. A new mortgage
credit lending system would help.
- State employees throughout Russia, are protesting the government
decision to reform the salary system to sector-based calculations.
In Yekaterinburg, over 10,000 people took to the streets – even the
policemen joined the demonstration.
- Pension Fund Chairman Mikhail Zurabov declared that pensions
will grow to an average of 1790 rubles ($58) a month by the end of
- President Putin spoke with US President George W. Bush about
pressing international issues, including UN work on the Iraqi
problem and the "nuclear problem" of North Korea.
- Oleg Protopov and Ludmila Belousova, the first Soviet Olympic
Gold finalists in pair figure skating, gave a press conference on
their visit to Moscow.
- The Constitutional Court ruled that detention time before a court
verdict will be counted towards the sentence.
- The All-Russian Forestry Congress is drawing to a close in
- President met with the Supreme Mufti of Russia to discuss
pressing questions, such as the countering extremism and
- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov signed an agreement on
military-technical cooperation with Azerbaijan. The contract
envisages arms export, cadre training and other forms of
- The situation in Iraq and in North Korea will be at the top of the
agenda during Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov's visit to
- A plane carrying 160 Russians and Ukrainians arrived in Moscow
- President Putin met with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in his
personal apartment, rather than in the official halls of the
February 28, 2003
Noviye Izvestia Dead Who's Next?
By Vladimir Pribylovsky
Vladimir Pribylovsky, director of the Panorama think tank, contributed this
comment to The Moscow Times. His article "Plus Putinization of the Entire
Country. A Chronicle of Glorification" ran in Noviye Izvestia's last issue.
Sergei Markov and Gleb Pavlovsky, the ideologues of "managed democracy,"
assure us that the current regime has no intention of eradicating free
speech in Russia. According to their reasoning, the country's ruling elite
cannot tolerate the existence of opposition television networks, but
opposition newspapers are another matter. Newspapers exert no serious
influence on the voters, and therefore pose no threat. In addition, they
provide a harmless way for the intelligentsia to let off steam.
The facts do not support this theory, however. Markov and Pavlovsky clearly
overestimate the rationality of the politicians who watch over them. Either
that or those politicians possess a home-spun wisdom that their ideologues
and political consultants cannot fathom.
The campaign to cut the print press down to size began with the closing of
the Segodnya newspaper two years ago. Shutting down Vladimir Gusinsky's
paper was a byproduct of the Kremlin's victory over Media-MOST and the
confiscation of Gusinsky's television network, NTV. The newspaper was
published by Sem Dnei, in which Dmitry Biryukov, formerly a loyal Gusinsky
man, owned the controlling stake. But when the tide turned against
Gusinsky, Biryukov sought the patronage of someone a little more powerful
-- President Vladimir Putin. Sem Dnei closed Segodnya to curry favor with
the Kremlin. The firing of Sergei Parkhomenko, editor of Gusinsky's Itogi
magazine, was the icing on the cake.
Exactly one year later another opposition newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, found
itself under threat. In April 2002, Mezhprombank won a libel suit it had
brought against the newspaper in a Moscow court. The bank was awarded 15
million rubles (about $500,000) in "lost revenue." The award placed the
paper's continued existence in doubt. Mezhprombank filed the lawsuit in
response to a Novaya Gazeta article implicating the bank's top executives,
including founder Sergei Pugachyov (a businessman close to Putin and the
St. Petersburg chekists), in the Bank of New York money-laundering scandal.
Pugachyov chose not to sue for defamation. Instead, Mezhprombank sued for
damage to its reputation and financial losses resulting from the
publication. According to Mezhprombank, a number of its clients --
Veststroiservis Ltd., Biznes Master 2000 Ltd. and Utek -- were spooked by
the article, fearing that it could undermine the bank's stability. That
very day, the bank contended, these clients changed the terms of their
accounts, forcing the bank to pay a 15 million ruble penalty under its
contract with Utek, and costing it another 15 million in lost revenue (a
total of some $1 million).
The unprecedented size of Mezhprombank's damage claim made clear that its
real intention was to force Novaya Gazeta into bankruptcy and shut it down.
Alexei Simonov, president of the Glasnost Defense Foundation, made this
point explicitly in an article he contributed to Nezavisimaya Gazeta in
June 2002. "A contract was put out on Novaya Gazeta," he wrote. "When a
court awards such astronomical damages -- $1 million, then $500,000 ... it
becomes clear that the lawsuit is just the means to an end."
Among the organizations that might have ordered the hit, Simonov named the
Defense Ministry (for articles written by Anna Politkovskaya and Vyacheslav
Izmailov), the Federal Security Service (for articles by Georgy Rozhnov),
the Security Council and the Moscow City Court.
Novaya Gazeta was saved by its own ingenuity, specifically by the
investigative reporting of Yulia Latynina. In an article that ran in May
2002, she showed that the three Mezhprombank "clients" named in its lawsuit
were in fact direct subsidiaries of Mezhprombank or were owned by members
of the bank's board of directors. Among the owners Latynina discovered not
only Pugachyov, but his wife Galina Pugachyova and other top bank
executives. (Latynina's column on the scandal ran in The Moscow Times on
May 29, 2002.)
In late May, Latynina and the Novaya Gazeta editorial board requested that
the Moscow prosecutor's office open a criminal fraud investigation into the
activities of Mezhprombank and its affiliates. In this instance, the
journalists prevailed. The bank's fraudulent practices, outlined in
documents it filed with the court, were so obvious that in June 2002 it
renounced its claim to the court-ordered award.
Just as Novaya Gazeta was narrowly avoiding bankruptcy, another independent
newspaper, Obshchaya Gazeta, the last mouthpiece of the 1960s-era liberal
intelligentsia, closed its doors. Facing an uncertain financial future,
founder and editor Yegor Yakovlev sold Obshchaya Gazeta to St. Petersburg
businessman Vyacheslav Leibman, who turned around and closed the paper,
launching a new paper called Konservator, or The Conservative, in its
place. To no one's surprise, Konservator hewed a consistently pro-Putin
line, unlike its predecessor.
Yakovlev seemed sure to the end that Obshchaya Gazeta would continue to
operate after the sale, and that the editorial staff would remain intact,
at least for a while. It remains unclear why Leibman spent a considerable
sum buying and closing one newspaper before launching his own. It seems
reasonable to assume that the purchase of Obshchaya Gazeta was in fact
funded by a third party in order to ensure that someone else (Gusinsky and
Berezovsky come to mind) didn't get there first.
Noviye Izvestia's Oleg Mitvol was every inch a loyal Berezovsky man. He
owns 76 percent of the stock in Noviye Izvestia; the newspaper's staff owns
the rest. Mitvol's controlling stake once belonged to Berezovsky, who
signed it over to Mitvol before he fled the country. In his haste to clear
out of Russia, Berezovsky put nothing in the transfer documents to prevent
Mitvol from acting unilaterally. The risk, of course, was that Mitvol would
stab him in the back. But at the beginning, Mitvol betrayed no inclination
of twisting the knife.
Mitvol did not interfere in Noviye Izvestia's editorial policy. He was far
more concerned with his own business interests -- chemical companies --
which he bought up one after the next, very much in the manner of his
namesake, Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska gets away with expanding his business
empire because he doesn't finance opposition newspapers. On the contrary,
he has taken an active part in "re-educating" Yevgeny Kiselyov's team at TVS.
It should be noted that Berezovsky, not Mitvol, continued to bankroll
Noviye Izvestia. Officially, it seems, the money flowed through Mitvol's
companies, bringing him a tidy profit in exchange for accepting a
considerable risk. It therefore came as a surprise last week when Mitvol
accused the newspaper's management of misusing "his" money. He sacked Igor
Golembiovsky from his post as general director, and shut the paper down
"Oleg Mitvol's charges of financial mismanagement are absurd," Valery
Yakov, deputy editor of Noviye Izvestia, told Kommersant. "Mitvol himself
was responsible for our finances. We believe that these events are linked
to recent articles critical of Putin."
Assuming that the version about the Kremlin being behind the closure of
Noviye Izvestia is indeed close to the truth, then it should come as no
surprise if, in the near future, the remaining oppositional and
semi-oppositional papers -- such as Novaya Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta and
Moskovskiye Novosti -- start to experience serious problems.
The Guardian (UK)
February 28, 2003
Victory on the Volga
The anniversary of Stalingrad has inspired major celebrations in Russia,
but a strange silence here
By Geoffrey Roberts
Dr Geoffrey Roberts is senior lecturer in modern history at University
College Cork. His book Victory at Stalingrad: The Battle that Changed
History is published by Longman. firstname.lastname@example.org
Sixty years ago the greatest battle of the second world war reached its
climax. The site of that decisive battle was not the windswept sands of
north Africa beloved of British war mythology, nor the broad expanses of
the Pacific favoured in the American version, but the debris of a
devastated city on the Volga.
The German surrender at Stalingrad in February 1943 was the strategic
turning point of the second world war. After Stalingrad, Hitler had no hope
of winning on the eastern front and that meant inevitable defeat in the
In Russia, the 60th anniversary of the battle has been marked by great
celebrations. President Putin led the commemoration in Volgograd (as the
city was later renamed) and was joined by the British and American
ambassadors. But in Britain and the US the silence about the battle has
At Stalingrad the Soviets lost a million people - more than the British and
Americans during the whole war. Such sacrifices, as Churchill said, tore
the guts out of the German war machine. More than 90% of German losses were
suffered on the eastern front, including 10 million military casualties.
All other theatres were a sideshow compared with the gigantic battles in
Russia. At the time it was clear that the second world war was primarily a
Soviet-German war. During the cold war, however, the western narrative of
the struggle against Hitler was rewritten to minimise the Soviet
contribution and to exaggerate an Anglo-American crusade to make Europe
safe for democracy.
The Soviet war effort was not so much a crusade as a struggle for national
survival. When the Germans attacked Russia in June 1941 they launched a war
of annihilation - a campaign to destroy "judeobolshevism" by the mass
murder of Soviet citizens. Among the victims of the Germans in 1941-42 were
2 million Soviet Jews - a massacre that marked the beginning of the
The German campaign inspired a popular mobilisation to save the Motherland.
"Kill the Germans," exhorted the Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg, "or they
will desecrate the whole of Russia and torture to death millions more
Among the many heroic episodes on the eastern front, none was more awesome
than the Red Army's defence of Stalingrad following the launch in June 1942
of a German offensive in southern Russia. This was Hitler's war for oil,
the aim being to reach Baku on the other side of the Caucasus and occupy
the oilfields that supplied 80% of Soviet fuel.
The capture of Stalingrad was a secondary objective, but deemed vital to
the German defensive line along the Don and Volga rivers and a convenient
point to intercept oil supplies shipped to northern Russia. Neither was the
symbolism of a German occupation of the "city of Stalin" lost on Hitler. By
October 1942 General Friedrich Paulus's 6th Army occupied 90% of
Stalingrad. Yet the Soviet defenders clung to positions on the western
banks of the Volga, denying the Germans complete control of the city.
The traditional story of Stalingrad has emphasised the heroism of the Red
Army's defence. Antony Beevor questioned this heroic narrative,
highlighting the coercive measures used by the Soviets to force their
troops to fight. His reinterpretation has been seized upon by many
conservative commentators, keen to depict the struggle as a contest between
totalitarian systems in which the more ruthless emerged as victor. But the
contemporary evidence of Soviet heroism at Stalingrad is enormous and
cannot be dismissed as wartime propaganda or retrospective romanticism.
The turning point came in November 1942 when the Red Army launched a
massive counter-offensive that broke through the Germans' flanks and
trapped Paulus's 6th Army in the city. Within three months Paulus had
surrendered and 150,000 Germans lay dead, with another 100,000 captured.
Maintaining a foothold in Stalingrad was crucial to Soviet plans for the
great counter-offensive, which aimed not only to encircle Paulus but to
entrap another half million Germans fighting in the Caucasus. A few days
after springing the Stalingrad trap, the Red Army launched another
counter-offensive in front of Moscow, aiming to destroy German positions
all along the eastern front. This was to be followed by a drive to Berlin
that would deliver victory against Hitler in 1943.
In the event Stalin had to be content with stunning success at Stalingrad.
Hitler's last chance came at the great tank battle at Kursk in July 1943.
The Germans lost that, too, and thereafter the war on the eastern front was
one Soviet victory after another.
Stalingrad was the most decisive encounter in military history, a clash of
two European superpowers that determined the outcome of the second world
war. It meant that the main victor of the war would be the Soviet Union: a
result that determined the shape of Europe.
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003
From: "Harley D. Balzer" <email@example.com>
Subject: Demokratizatsiya/DEMOGRAPHY AND DEMOCRACY IN RUSSIA
DEMOKRATIZATSIYA: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
Volume 11, Number 1, Winter 2003
Introduction to the Tenth Anniversary Issue
Fredo Arias King
Russia as an Economic Superpower: Fantasy or Possibility?
Marshall I. Goldman
Trade Access Versus an Economic Model
The End of Three Ideological Eras: What is Next for the Russian Economy?
Is Russia Rising?
Andrew C. Kuchins
The United States, Russia, and the New Challenges
Nikolai V. Zlobin
With or Against the West: Russia’s Debate Continues
Belarus: To Democracy through Neo-Communism
Generational Change in Russia
The Russian Left and the French Paradigm
Joan Barth Urban
The War on Terrorism in Central Asia and the Cause of Democratic Reform
Martha Brill Olcott
Demography and Democracy in Russia: Human Capital Challenges to Democratic
Crime and Corruption: Enduring Problems of Post-Soviet Development
Louise I. Shelley
On the Future of the Russian State
Constitutional Law and Politics in Russia: Surviving the First Decade
From Partiinost to Zakonnost: The Languid Creation of Legal Consciousness in
Sally W. Stoecker
Post-Sovietology Blues: Reflections on a Tumultuous Decade
Sovietology, Post-Sovietology, and the Study of Postcommunist Democratization
Stephen E. Hanson
The Centrality of Elites
Copyright 2003, Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation
For subscriptions and single issues, contact Heldref Publications
1319 Eighteenth St. NW
Washington, DC 20036-1802
DEMOGRAPHY AND DEMOCRACY IN RUSSIA: HUMAN CAPITAL CHALLENGES TO DEMOCRATIC
Prepared for 10th anniversary issue of Demokratizatsiya.
Two years after the exit of Boris Yeltsin, Russia appears more stable
politically and better-off economically. The apparent consolidation of
"managed democracy" under Vladimir Putin is applauded by many, both inside
and outside Russia, who consider that the regime's economic policies
warrant downplaying shortcomings in domestic politics and human rights.
Invoking examples like Chile or Korea, optimists suggest that over time the
Russian system will evolve into a competitive rather than a managed
There are (at least) two related flaws in the argument that Russia is now
on an "indirect" but nevertheless inevitable path to democracy. Democracy
does not develop automatically; it is achieved by contestation. Leaders and
their cronies do not willingly give up political power and the economic
opportunities that it offers. They must be constrained by other political
forces. Yet Russia's demographic, health and human capital situation
portends political issues that will make it dauntingly difficult to advance
an agenda of democracy, liberal politics (as opposed to economics) or human
rights. More likely, the demographic challenge will encourage Russia's
leaders to do what they are inclined to do anyway-continue to try to manage
the nation's political life, while adhering to an extreme version of
laissez faire where social welfare is concerned. This prospect offers the
chimera of short-term stability at an enormous cost to long-term development.
One of the important lessons of the first decade of the post-Soviet
experience was that although education was crucial for the "East Asian
miracle," high levels of literacy and millions of engineers are not
sufficient to ensure economic development or democracy. A key lesson of the
second decade is likely to be that human capital issues present gargantuan
challenges that create economic problems while making it more difficult for
a political system to evolve in a more democratic direction. This essay
will provide a brief summary of Russia's demographic and human capital
crisis, and then turn to an explication of some of the potential political
consequences. Prognostication is always a dangerous endeavor; in this
instance, the projections are made in the sincere hope that Russia's
leaders adopt policies that will make the forecasts offered here appear
foolish a decade from now.
Is Demography Russia's Destiny?
Russia's human capital crisis begins with but is hardly limited to
demography. The challenges are both quantitative and qualitative. The
fundamental quantitative issue is that the number of Russians is declining.
The Soviet Union experienced the "demographic revolution" following World
War Two, a process accompanying urbanization that entails reduced family
size. It thus far has not been reversed in the societies where it has
occurred. The declining birth rates accompanying high levels of
urbanization and education were in the Soviet case magnified by other
negative population phenomena. Beginning in the 1970s, infant mortality
increased and adult life expectancy began to decline. Both trends were so
anomalous that they provoked intense debate. Not only Soviet but also many
Western specialists rejected the data as counter to what should be expected
in "advanced" societies. It eventually became quite clear that the USSR was
experiencing unusual levels of infant mortality due to defects in the
health care system and poor health practices, including substance abuse and
excessive use of abortion as a means of birth control. While infant
mortality was higher among non-Slavic groups in the USSR, declining adult
life expectancy, particularly for males, clearly affected the Slavic and
Following the demise of the USSR, the negative demographic trends became
more acute. Throughout the former Soviet bloc illness and mortality rates
increased as economies atrophied and social welfare systems evaporated. The
extent of the tragedy may be explained in large part by economic upheaval
and extremely rapid social mobility, both upward and downward: extreme
movement in either direction can be tremendously disruptive
psychologically. In the nations of the former Soviet Union, the population
shock has been more than a temporary cost of the transition. Russians are
dying at rates unprecedented for a nation at Russia's level of development;
births are well below replacement levels; and immigration is not sufficient
to maintain population size.
Despite an effort by some Russian scholars to offer a positive gloss by
invoking Lenin's famous slogan, "better fewer, but better," the shrinking
numbers have not been accompanied by an overall improvement in quality.
Rather, the Russian population is not only smaller , but also older, more
fragile, and, despite unprecedented enrollments in higher education,
overall less well-educated. A smaller and physically less fit working-age
population faces the burdens of staffing the military and security services
while also supporting a growing proportion of non-workers. Education and
medical care are rapidly being stratified into private systems serving
those with means or connections and distinctly inferior public systems for
the rest of the population. The extensive Soviet system of scientific and
technical activity is gone, and will never reappear on its former scale.
During the first decade of the 21st century, Russia will experience:
Continued low adult life expectancy, especially among males, due largely
to cardio-vascular disease and alcohol-related causes that are not easily
Increased mortality resulting from AIDS and TB.
A declining birth rate, with fewer healthy women and fewer women in the
cohorts of child-bearing age, while most families will continue to limit
An ageing and increasingly fragile population that will put strains on the
medical system and the economy (See Table I).
(Relative) population increases among non-Russian, non-Slavic and
Increased immigration, both legal and illegal, overwhelmingly from
countries with quite different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and
predominantly with lower educational levels.
Increasing economic differentiation, accompanied by continued
stratification in provision of educational and medical services.
A continuing trend for the most talented individuals, particularly in
science and technology, to join the global labor market and spend at least
part of their working lives outside Russia.
Intense competition among the military, the education system and employers
for the declining number of healthy working-age people.
The young people who will turn 17-the threshold age for military service,
higher education or marriage-in the coming fifteen years have already been
born. These numbers are daunting (See Table I).
The challenges facing Russia are complex and intricately interrelated. The
declining number of Russians has encouraged pro-natalist policies. Such
programs are rarely effective, but to the extent they do succeed they tend
to keep women out of the labor force, increasing the need for immigrant
labor. Immigration creates enormous social problems, and in a highly
competitive global market Russia is likely to attract large numbers of
migrants from regions quite different from Russia itself-China, Central and
South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Slavic immigrants on average are
not likely to be younger or more healthy than Russians, and immigrants
everywhere place special burdens on education and health care systems. If
Russia succeeds in adding to the population, this is likely to represent a
net decline in intellectual capital. Increased diversity exacerbates social
tensions, as young people without good employment prospects take out their
resentments on "foreigners." Poor children's health has an adverse impact
on education, children who are hungry or sick do not do well in school, and
children of immigrants often have special needs.
The list could be expanded. In particular, the detrimental effect of
income disparities on health and education deserves more attention. A
growing body of data suggests that beyond a basic minimum level of economic
development, a nation's overall wealth is less important than the
distribution of that wealth for peoples' physical and psychological
well-being. In Russia, where the Soviet regime maintained at least the
rhetoric of equality, the psychological reaction to marked economic
disparities is a particular concern.
The political ramifications of the demographic disaster are potentially
damaging to democracy. It may help to think about ten of the ways these
complex, interrelated and multi-faceted issues are likely to have an impact
on Russian politics. The challenges are not unique to Russia or to
post-communism, but they may be more serious impediments to consolidation
in new democracies. That the problems are shared by Europe and a growing
number of Asian countries may provide some common experience in dealing
with the adverse effects, but it also means there is intense competition
not only for skilled people but also for people with the skills to cope
with the challenges.
1. Immigration/migration and diversity
The magnitude of the demographic challenges facing Russia combined with
the leadership's desire to play a major role in world affairs makes it
unique. Many European countries now have population growth below
replacement levels, but in most the population decline can be compensated
by moderate levels of immigration. Estimates are that Russia's population
will decline from 144.6 million in 2002 to between 126 million (optimistic
estimate) and 77 million (pessimistic estimate) by 2050. The working-age
population will decline by as much as 15% between 2005 and 2015. The
evidence from countries experiencing far less pronounced population
decline, ageing, immigration and stratification than Russia suggests that
the political impact is often to strengthen right-wing, chauvinist and
anti-democratic tendencies. The June 2002 meeting of European leaders
focused largely on immigration. Britain, until now one of the most liberal
countries in terms of asylum policy, joined with Spain in proposing a
pan-European border police. Austria, France and Australia have already
experienced the political impact of openly racist politicians campaigning
Germany's 2002 election campaign offers insights into the debate over
immigration and the need for controls. The basic slogan might be phrased as
"workers, yes; refugees, no." Competition for the skilled immigrants is
increasing as those with needed skills are able to market themselves on a
global scale. Few nations have successfully fine tuned their immigration
policies to guarantee that they admit only individuals with talents that
are needed in the economy and not supplied by the indigenous population.
Some of the needed skills can be acquired only through education/training,
or require periodic upgrading, so that access to the education system
inevitably becomes an issue, as do health care, insurance and social
welfare. Highly skilled immigrants are in a position to make demands, and
frequently insist that spouses, children, and in some instances other
relatives be permitted to accompany them. There is growing evidence that
the rich nations need not only highly skilled professionals in fields like
medicine and information sciences, but also someone to collect the
garbage-many immigrants work in the low-end service and construction jobs.
New arrivals (immigrants) are almost universally the target of resentment
and discrimination. Illegal migrants generally fare the worst, but large
numbers of legal immigrants have significantly altered the electoral
landscape in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and a growing number
of other European states. In Russia, many regions have adopted policies
that directly violate the Russian Constitution, and anti-immigrant,
anti-foreigner groups have taken government inaction in the legal realm as
a tacit endorsement of their growing violence against people who look
"different." Without drastic change in official policy in this realm, the
growing number of immigrants in Russia will face more hostility and
increased violence. Even if the regime had a choice regarding continued
legal immigration (and the demographic reality leaves it little choice),
illegal immigration and natural increase among non-Russian groups will make
this a continuing challenge.
One of the consequences of globalization is the phenomenon of the "angry
young majority ethnic male." In many societies disadvantaged members of the
main ethnic group blame immigrants and in general anyone who is different
for their economic and social problems. In the industrialized nations, they
tend to form a subculture inclined to "skinhead" lifestyles. In the
developing world, they often turn into informal military groups-young,
uneducated, and armed with AK 47s. Moscow is now home to white supremacist
groups with aspirations to both street violence and a role in future
elections. Before September 11, 2001 immigrants were almost everywhere
blamed for rising crime rates. Now terrorism has been added to the list of
their presumed sins.
Incidents of racial violence have become regular occurrences in Moscow and
other Russian cities. Skinhead attacks on foreigners also regularly occur
in many European cities. It might be plausible to argue that Russia has
simply become like many other countries in this regard. The crucial
questions involve how the problems are handled, whether they continue to
become more acute, and whether they break into mainstream political life.
Russia, with the Soviet heritage of state-sponsored discrimination, may be
especially prone to abuses. President Putin has made laudable public
statements condemning intolerance, but action against specific groups has
been selective: Eduard Limonov is in jail, but People's National Party
founder Alexander Ivanov?Sukharevsky maintains an office in Moscow and
regularly gives interviews to journalists proclaiming his views.
One of the major potential sources of immigrants to Russia is China. Where
Russia suffers from a population shortage, China has a large "floating
population," and WTO membership will result in increased unemployment.
Reports of Chinese overrunning the Russian Far East are exaggerated.
Chinese are more likely to go where economic opportunities are most
attractive, which means major urban areas like Ekaterinburg and Moscow.
Many would prefer to go to the U.S., and Chinese who spend time in Russia
are often seeking to accumulate sufficient savings to finance a move to the
West. Those who are not successful may end up in Russia for a longer time.
Chinese who immigrate to Russia are likely to be those with lower skills
and lower intellectual capital. There may be as many as 4 million Chinese
in Russia in 2002, and over time poorly managed Chinese immigration could
present serious difficulties. Tatars have voiced concerns that by 2010 they
will be replaced by Chinese as the second largest ethnic group in the
Chinese migration demonstrates the complex and cross-cutting interests
involved in Russia's population policy. A large portion of the Chinese in
Russia are traders, providing inexpensive goods that Russians both crave
and disparage. Some employers in the Far East want Chinese workers, who are
willing to take jobs Russians eschew and often can be exploited at low or
delayed wages; yet many Russian traders and businessmen resent competition
from Chinese who demonstrate entrepreneurial skills. University
administrators view Chinese youth as a potential source of tuition-paying
students, particularly as the number of school-age Russians declines. Their
interests conflict with the security concerns of government officials and
the fears of many Russians, which provide fodder for populist politicians.
Sober analysts provide compelling arguments that Chinese migration to the
Russian Far East does not represent a serious threat. Yet these same
scholars note that 3/4 of Russians in the Far East perceive it to be a
threat. For the short term, it is a political rather than a demographic
problem. In the longer term it could be both.
The Russian Duma approved a new Law on Foreigners as deputies left for
vacation in July 2002. The legislation does little to address the problems
of thousands of individuals from former Soviet Republics living in limbo
across Russia. They represent a potentially significant political force,
one more example of the growing importance of demographic issues in Russian
2. Regional and Federation Politics
Population movement will also influence politics within the Russian
Federation. The Russian "core" is becoming more Russian, as Russians move
back from former Soviet republics and from the Russian North and East. This
may temporarily offset the lower birthrates among Russians in regions like
the Volga. At the same time, non-Russian regions are becoming more
"ethnic," with the proportion of members of the titular nationalities
increasing in some Republics. In the short term, this represents a decline
in intellectual capital in regions where the Russians and other Slavs
provided the scientific, technical and administrative personnel, a factor
that could hinder economic development. (It is also part of a broad drain
of talented managers to Moscow, which creates difficulties for business
development in some regions.) In the longer term, the consequence of a
reduced Russian presence could be to encourage immigration from other
countries, and eventually new demands for greater autonomy. The situation
is an invitation to politicians both in the regions and in Moscow to "play
the ethnic card."
Vladimir Putin's policy of reasserting central authority must be viewed in
this context. In the short run, it appears to have induced (at least
formal) compliance. In the longer run, it may result in greater resentment.
The Duma passed legislation prohibiting Tatarstan from abandoning the
Cyrillic alphabet; a future generation might seek to replace it not with
Latin script, but with Arabic.
The seven Federal Districts are also potentially double-edged. To the
extent that the new Presidential Representatives are successful, that
success will be due to their ability to develop strong ties to their
regions and foster a sense of regional economic cooperation and identity.
But some of the seven Districts could be viable independent entities, in
ways that the individual subjects of the Federation are not. The Federal
Districts have already added a new level to the federal political game.
3. Gender imbalance
One of the less-emphasized aspects of Russia's demographic crisis is the
shortage of males. At the beginning of 2001, there were 9.3 million more
women than men in the Russian Federation. While men outnumber women in the
age cohorts younger than 35, the picture changes drastically for males in
what should be their prime working years (see Table I). Russian men between
16 and 60 die at a rate unlike anything known in other industrialized
nations. Russia, and especially rural Russia, is home to vast numbers of
elderly single women.
While Russia has an excess of women, China has the opposite problem:
China's one-child policy induced families to utilize sonograms, abortions,
and even female infanticide in an effort to insure that their one child is
a boy. This has produced a significant disproportion-by some estimates more
than 40 million excess males. One place they may find both outlets for
their energies and brides is across the Russian border. One Russian
oligarch has suggested that Russian women in the Far East prefer to marry
Chinese men-they work harder than Russians, drink less, and are less likely
to beat their wives. The accuracy of such accounts is far less important
than their frequency, and they provide fodder for populist politicians.
In addition to ethnic and territorial issues, population change involves
religious differences. The fastest-growing religion in Russia, as it is
globally, is Islam. In Russia, the growth is due in part to higher
birthrates among ethnic groups that are predominantly Muslim, in part to an
influx of refugees and laborers from the Caucasus, and in part to
conversion (there are reported to be 5000 Muslims in Karelia, many of them
converts). Despite adopting a Law on Religion that recognizes Islam as one
of four "traditional" Russian religions, Russian officials have a
distinctly ambivalent attitude toward Islam. Moscow authorities stigmatize
all Chechens, and indeed all people from the Caucasus, as Islamic
fundamentalists or terrorists. A portion of the Russian intelligentsia
perceives Russia as playing a historic role defending Western Christendom
from an Islamic onslaught. The growing number of mosques is disturbing to
Russians in many cities. In Yakutsk a newly opened mosque serves mainly
workers from the Caucasus, but the Mullah claims at least 50 local
converts. Without tolerant and intelligent political leadership, the
situation will become more fraught and pose a challenge to democratic
norms. This opens the door to a greater role for the Russian Orthodox
church in political life, and thus far the Church hierarchy has not shown
itself to be a strong force for democracy. Muslim leaders bean an equal
5. Educational and social stratification
Russian higher education institutions now enroll more students, both in
absolute numbers and as a proportion of the population, than at any time in
Russian history. Those with adequate financial resources (or connections)
can obtain world class education, but the educational opportunities are not
extending to a majority of the population. More than two-thirds of the
students in higher education come from the one-quarter of the population
that is relatively well-off. The cost of attending the best universities is
high, and a corrupt system of admissions makes it almost prohibitive for
most families. At the end of the 1990s a secret memorandum circulating in
the Ministry of Education warned of a possible bunt (riot) by parents
outraged at the cost of bribes for tutors and admissions. The Ministry has
responded by trying to draw some of the private money into the public
system, and is struggling to introduce a standardized entrance exam for
higher school admissions.
What are the increased numbers of university students studying? The honest
answer is that no one really knows. Of the 387 private institutions of
higher education in the Russian Federation, perhaps 1/3 are officially
accredited. At the state-funded institutions, enrollments in Soviet-era
specialties in construction, transportation and engineering are returning
to Soviet-era levels. In some cases the content of the curriculum has
changed while the labels have not, in other instances new labels disguise
unreformed educational programs. For half of the young men enrolled in
higher education institutions, avoiding military service is the top
priority. While the military operation in Chechnya continues, access to
higher education can be a matter of life and death. This increases both the
willingness to pay and the resentment when a son does not gain admission.
The increase in higher education enrollments has been accompanied by
decreasing coverage at the other levels of the education system, a trend
that is the opposite of what is occurring in OECD nations. Kindergarten and
day-care programs have declined markedly; many street children are not
attending school, and some 10% to 20% of those in school drop out by the
fifth year of elementary education. Poorly educated young people could
become a Russian "underclass."
The welfare state everywhere is under pressure from global economic
competition and the inability of a declining number of workers to support
growing populations of pensioners whose medical needs constantly increase.
In June 2002 Spain and France experienced strikes over government policies
to cut back welfare systems that are far less extensive than what the USSR
aspired to provide. Russia has both a tradition of more welfare and a more
acute version of the ageing population syndrome. If there is any saving
grace here it may be that in the USSR no one really believed that all the
social benefits would be provided as promised, so the reaction may be less
intense. But in Russia, as elsewhere, pensioners vote in large numbers.
6. AIDS, health and the medical system
The system of medical care has also become stratified. About 30% of
Russians now buy medicines at private pharmacies, a good indication of the
number with access to some sort of resources when faced with serious
problems. The fate of the other 70% is of particular concern given the
magnitude of the health crisis facing Russia. Russians are dying at an
unprecedented rate from causes that are not susceptible to short-term
solutions. Cardio-vascular disease, the number one killer, results from a
lifetime of bad habits. A disproportionate share of those dying are in the
working age population, and this problem is about to become even more
severe. HIV/AIDS affects overwhelmingly the working age and reproductively
active groups in a population, and in 2002 Russia had the largest
percentage rise in HIV infection in the world.
The AIDS epidemic that will strike Russia in 2005-2010 will have a
serious political impact. The learning curve for politicians and for
societies appears to be quite steep where this disease is concerned, and
most Russian politicians appear intent on repeating others' mistakes. In
South Africa AIDS is now the leading cause of death, and is having a
devastating impact on the economy as it kills people of working age, lowers
birth rates, and increases the proportion of the population unable to
support itself. Many Russian politicians sound disturbingly like Thabeo
Mbeki, rejecting scientific evidence and refusing to confront the Orthodox
Church in its opposition to sex eduucation. The 2002 International AIDS
Conference cited ignorance of the disease as one of the most serious
problems in combating it. Thailand, despite its reputation for sex tourism
and trafficking, has been relatively successful in decreasing the rate of
HIV infection by encouraging condom use. The lesson ought to be clear.
One relative bright spot is apparent stabilization or even decline in
heroin use, which could reduce the spread of HIV from shared needles. But
once the virus is present in a population, it spreads through sexual
contact. High incidence of sexually transmitted diseases is both an
indication of the likely trajectory and also a factor increasing
transmission. To the extent that Russia continues its economic integration
with other countries, this will encourage the spread of disease. Increased
traffic along truck routes between Asia and Europe will inevitably provide
a route for diseases as well. The political response may well be to blame
foreigners and turn inward, but economic necessity will make this almost
impossible. The result is likely to be a politics that recognizes the need
for economic intercourse but seeks to limit the unwanted side effects by
As AIDS in Russia spreads from drug users to general population through
sexual transmission, it will almost inevitably provoke a political
response. When the victims are drug users (or homosexuals) there is a sense
that the people suffering in some way deserve their fate as punishment for
their behavior. When "ordinary" people can be infected through "normal"
sexual relationships, the demand for action becomes impossible to ignore.
The focus on HIV/AIDS could divert attention from Russia's general medical
crisis. In every aspect of health care, there is sharp and growing
stratification. Myriad diseases have reappeared. Between one-quarter and
one-half of children are not receiving the medical immunizations considered
necessary during the first year of life. The contradictory situation can
be seen in data showing a simultaneous increase in the number of
underweight children and the number of overweight adults. The data on
children reflect increased poverty; the data on adults indicate both less
healthy diet for some and greater affluence for others.
If projections of increases in the incidence of AIDS are correct, by 2010
the cost of treating Russians with AIDS will be greater than the entire
national budget for health care. What political/policy response should be
expected? If more of the resources available for health care are used to
treat HIV/AIDS, the rest of the population will be furious. If the AIDS
sufferers are left to their own devices so that other citizens can receive
"normal" medical care, the AIDS rate will continue to increase. One
plausible response might be to copy the approach to other sexually
transmitted diseases, stigmatizing or even criminalizing the AIDS victims,
essentially placing them outside the mainstream population. A government
inclined to do this would be a government unlikely to protect civil rights
in other realms.
While it remains difficult to prove the direct relationship between
perceived general environmental degradation and deteriorating health,
Russia faces difficult choices as the country's water supply, sanitation
and other infrastructure systems require replacement. Little has been done
to remedy the decades of Soviet mistreatment of the environment. It is
politically risky for President Putin to state publicly that environmental
concerns are a luxury only rich nations can afford. The ecology movement
was one of the strongest political forces in the Gorbachev era, forming the
initial basis for many of the popular fronts in USSR Union Republics. In
Russia, a tradition of environmental awareness persisted despite Soviet
repression, and it remains a strong rallying point for Russians and other
ethnic groups. Activists collected some 2.5 million signatures on a
petition demanding a referendum that could have overturned Duma approval of
a plan to import spent nuclear fuel from other nations. The government
acceded to the economic demands of MinAtom, and declared enough signatures
invalid to void the petition. The issue, and others like it, will not go
away. One intriguing aspect of Russia's ecology movement is that it is not
solely the province of left-leaning "greens": It also attracts
conservatives and romantic nationalists. This gives it a highly
unpredictable and potentially destabilizing political character.
8. Military needs
Russia does not have enough fit conscripts to meet its current military
personnel targets, but the nation lacks the resources to fund the
professional military that would be the alternative. In late 2002 some
high-ranking officers proposed increasing the number of women serving in
the Russian army. The young men being inducted into the army are both less
physically fit and less well-educated than before 1990. Increasingly,
recruits have criminal records. The Spring 2002 draft called up 94% of the
number needed, but only 11% were considered fully suitable for military
service. One in five of those called up had only an elementary education.
As the number of young people declines after 2005, the military will
increasingly be competing with educational institutions and employers for
the shrinking pool of young men. Without improvements in nutrition and
education, the portion of the draft-age population fit to serve is likely
to decline even further.
What are the political consequences of a system where the wealthy can
afford higher education with the accompanying military service exemptions,
while the only way the poor can avoid serving is by being too frail? During
the U.S. Civil War, there were draft riots due in part to the perceived
unfairness of the wealthy being able to buy their way out of military
service. Even more serious, is it possible to maintain civilian control
over an increasingly corrupt military, especially when it is demoralized by
the ongoing ulcer in Chechnya?
9. Alienated Intelligentsia
One of the most catastrophic errors by the Russian government and its
international advisors has been the cavalier treatment of many educators,
physicians, engineers, scientists and other professionals trained in the
USSR. This is a "normal" aspect of neo-liberal reforms that everywhere have
an adverse impact on state employees, including those in critically needed
vocations like education and health. Not only has this undermined capacity
in important areas of public policy, but it has a highly detrimental effect
on democracy. Russia's post-Soviet middle class is missing the teachers,
physicians, professors and scientists who provided leadership to Russia's
democratic political parties before 1917. Many of them have experienced the
sort of downward social mobility that led many Central European
professionals to support non-democratic political movements between the
wars. While there is little evidence for a "Weimar Russia" syndrome thus
far, recent studies indicate that many of the young Russian skinheads are
children of the downwardly mobile intelligentsia.
10. Politics of a commodity economy.
The pressures stemming from Russia's demographic and human capital crisis
threaten to preclude addressing what may be the most serious long-term
threat to the nation-the increasing dominance of natural resources in the
economy. While some of the problems Russia faces are similar to (often more
extreme versions of) challenges in Europe, America and elsewhere, Russia
bears the special burden of an economy increasingly based on commodities.
The "resource curse" tends to spawn rent-seeking elites who derive enormous
wealth from selling natural resources, but see little reason to spend money
on education and medical care for the population in general. This both
exacerbates the human capital problem and makes the overall political
situation less promising for democracy.
Nigeria, Indonesia and Venezuela are all oil-producing nations that have
recently experienced serious political disturbances stemming from the
failure of oil wealth to improve the lives of people who live where the oil
is extracted. Conditions in West Siberia, initial reports from Sakhalin,
and evidence from other regions suggest that Russia faces similar
difficulties. The Russian state's capacity to repress protests remains
credible, but using it has a detrimental effect on democracy.
The ten issue areas identified here hardly exhaust the political
implications of the post-Soviet demographic crisis. For example, the
Russian government might well shift its policy in the former Soviet
republics from using Russians there as a source of leverage to one of
encouraging their return to Russia. Re-absorbing Belarus might become more
attractive, despite the enormous economic costs involved. Or, in a more
optimistic vein, the attractions of European Union membership might be
enormously greater (though this would severely limit the sorts of
restrictions on mobility that Russia's government could introduce). What is
certain is that the issues will have a growing prominence in both domestic
and international politics.
Russia's demographic disaster derives from a complex combination of
interrelated causes. There is no one "reason" for the situation, and there
is no single solution. All of the problems are multi-faceted; all of the
potential solutions involve trade-offs and difficult choices. Population
policy everywhere is a blunt instrument-government programs often cut
against tradition, culture and individual preferences, all the more so in
diverse societies. It is rarely possible to elicit compliance without a
"culture shift," and coercion is always a less effective and more costly
approach. Both voluntary and forced programs are subject to the inevitable
law of unintended consequences.
What are the likely political ramifications of the demographic issues? One
possibility is the "Le Pen" syndrome, where an anti-immigrant political
figure can regularly get 15-20% of the vote in national elections, and on
occasion win a local contest. Thus far, the Russian politicians who have
played the nationalist card have been a KGB-sponsored clown (Zhirinovsky)
and an unreconstructed Communist (Zyuganov). Younger individuals may adopt
more creative extremist programs. The Danish election in 2002 shows the
potential for "libertarian extremism" in the new Europe. To pre-empt the
rise of chauvinist candidates, Vladimir Putin may well choose adopt some of
their rhetoric and/or policies. This would not improve either human rights
or democracy in Russia.
An alternative is for the Putin regime to adopt differential policies in
different areas, permitting the locales with serious problems (or serious
reactions) to impose restrictions on population movement, forcibly expel
unwanted groups, and otherwise deviate from legal norms. The federal
government has ignored Moscow's unconstitutional perpetuation of the
"propiska" system (under city laws, an individual may not even obtain a
mobile phone without first showing a Moscow residence permit). Cities like
Norilsk have demanded "closed" status. Anti-foreigner campaigns in Rostov
and Krasnodar have been hailed as models by some politicians. Krasnodar's
new border zone requires residence and work permits, the region prohibits
foreigners from owning property, and local police are empowered to inter
and expel unwanted workers. Krasnodar authorities have begun raising
private funds to finance the repatriation of unwanted residents. The
program is clearly unconstitutional, but it is under consideration as a
model for other border regions. (It is politically important to note that
Krasnodar Governor Takchev was not known as anti-immigrant when he served
as a Committee Chairman in the Duma, but adopted more extreme policies
resembling those of his predecessors when he became leader of a region with
large numbers of recent immigrants). In Putin's attempt to be all things to
all people, he may well try to ignore local excesses in regions where they
appear politically popular, while simultaneously maintaining a formal
national policy of attracting skilled immigrants. This will not solve the
demographic problem, but it may be politically the least bad alternative
for coping with it. The complexity of the demographic challenge means that
every solution entails political costs.
Challenging policy conundrums are not necessarily fatal to eventual
consolidation of democracy. The United States for a century considered
itself to be a consolidated democracy even though a large region was
governed by a one-party political system based largely on racial prejudice.
But Russia's demographic and human capital challenges extend to far more
than immigration policy. The impact of a demoralized and criminalized
military; corrupt judiciary; extreme inequalities in incomes, education and
health care; and overall perception of insecurity are likely to make many
members of the Russian middle class seek security rather than democracy.
The lesson that real security comes from the protections offered by a
democratic society is difficult to implement and easy to forget.
The "Third Wave" of democratization was in part generated by an
international environment that encouraged democratization, and seemed to
offer no ideological alternatives. In the wake of 9/11, the international
environment has become far less conducive to democratization. In the battle
with Al Qaeda, Islam Karimov is an ally and Russia's grotesque war of
attrition in Chechnya is being tolerated. External influences favoring
democracy are greatly diminished.
The argument here is not that Russia is doomed, or that the government
must inevitably become a new incarnation of the Groznyi/Stalin
leader-centered polity that some observers consider the "norm" of Russian
history. Rather, it is a plea and a caution. The plea is for Russians
themselves, as well as international donors, to recognize the scope and
serious nature of the demographic and human capital problems, and the
extent to which is they are not just Russian problems. The caution is for
all of us who hope to see consolidated rather than electoral, delegative,
illiberal, managed or pseudo-democracy in Russia to recognize the political
implications of these challenges. Population movements and the accompanying
political reactions pose challenges to liberalism and democracy everywhere.
The political challenges of an increasingly diverse and inegalitarian
society make it enormously difficult to develop adequate policy responses
within a democratic context; but without democracy the potential for
corruption, demagoguery and abuse of human rights is even greater.
Population By Age Cohort as of
[Source: Chislennost' naseleniia rossiiskoi federatsii po polu i vozrastu
na 1 ianvaria 2001 goda Moscow: Goskomstat, 2001), pp. 5-7.