|Plain Text - Entire Issue
1. Reuters: Russia "will not allow" new UN Iraq draft.
2. The Guardian (UK): The bear's footprint. Catriona Kelly finds melodrama and gossip in Steven G Marks's study of Russia's cultural influence on the world, From Art to Antisemitism, Ballet to Bolshevism.
3. The Times (UK): Robin Shepherd, Boom time for Russia as turmoil subsides. The economic awakening of the old superpower.
4. Interfax: Russian officials accuse human rights groups of making biased reports.
5. AFP: Russian woman belongs in the home: poll.
6. Interfax: Most Russians consider March 8 "special day" - poll.
7. The Globe and Mail (Canada): Carolynne Wheeler, Russian rejects theory that Stalin was poisoned.
8. St. Petersburg Times: Claire Bigg, Fifty Years On, Russia Still Divided on Stalin.
9. New York Times: Victor Erofeyev, Even in a New Russia, Stalin Shadows Putin.
10. New book: William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era.
11. St. Petersburg Times: Vladimir Kovalyev, Russia's Nationalists a Waning Force Abroad.
12. New Treadgold papers from the University of Washington.
13. The Times (UK): Philip Howard, The word czars send footbolists, keks and khokkey to the gulag.
14. AFP: Russian tycoon settles with Forbes on "godfather" charges: report. (Berezovsky)
15. IWPR'S CAUCASUS REPORTING SERVICE: Sanobar Shermatova, CHECHNYA OFFERS KREMLIN NEW MEDIATORS. While officially ruling out any possibility of negotiating with Chechen freedom fighters, Moscow is keeping its options open.
16. Reuters: Russia faces limit on oil exports until 2005-report.
17. Vremya MN: Electoral Commission's Veshnyakov Mulls Upcoming Elections, Open Lists, e-Voting.
Russia "will not allow" new UN Iraq draft
MOSCOW, March 8 (Reuters) - A senior Russian foreign ministry official,
hinting at a possible use of veto, said on Saturday that Russia would do
all it could to block a proposed new U.S.-backed resolution on Iraq.
"Russia will do everything not to allow this resolution in the U.N.
Security Council," Deputy Foreign Minister Yuri Fedotov was quoted as
saying by Interfax news agency.
Fedotov, returning from New York where he accompanied Foreign Minister Igor
Ivanov in Friday's Security Council debate on the Iraq crisis, dodged a
direct question as to whether Russia would use its veto as a council
"How we do it is an operational question," he said.
But even if the resolution obtained the required support of nine of the 15
members of the Council it would "still not go through because Russia,
France, Germany and China look on this draft extremely negatively and will
not allow it to be adopted," he said.
In separate comments to Itar-Tass, Fedotov said: "As a permanent member
Russia has, in its arsenal, quite a few means for stopping the adoption of
a mistaken resolution.
"The possibility of using the right of veto is on of those methods," he added.
The new proposed resolution, backed by the United States, Britain and
Spain, would present Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein with an ultimatum to give
up banned weapons by March 17.
France, Russia and China, all of whom hold veto power as permanent members,
are opposed to any new resolution that would implicitly or explicitly
authorise military action.
Ivanov himself said in New York that the ultimatum was
U.N. arms inspectors themselves had asked for several months to complete
their searches for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The Guardian (UK)
March 8, 2003
The bear's footprint
Catriona Kelly finds melodrama and gossip in Steven G Marks's study of
Russia's cultural influence on the world, From Art to Antisemitism, Ballet
How Russia Shaped the Modern World: From Art to Antisemitism, Ballet to
by Steven G Marks
384pp, Princeton, £19.95
According to a widespread western view, the relationship between Russian
culture and modernity is vexed. The Soviet Union, a country that could send
rockets into space, but where ordinary cars were deficit items, seemed
threatening and ludicrous at the same time. Soviet (and more generally,
Russian) backwardness has been explained - according to beholders' tastes -
by authoritarian rule and political repression, poorly developed
infrastructure, a national taste for absolutism combined with
impracticality, or the territory's bewildering size.
There are of course alternative voices, which usually begin from a critical
attitude to western understanding of modernity. Within Russian culture
itself, nationalists have traditionally emphasised that Russia should not
be expected to follow the developmental paths of other European states; in
the west, Russian culture has sometimes been valued as a supposed
alternative to western progressivism.
Steven G Marks's How Russia Shaped the Modern World rolls both these views
into one. Marks once more evokes Russia's failure as a modern state: "How
could a nation so troubled that it imploded twice in less than a hundred
years produce ideas that swayed much of the globe?" But the answer he gives
to this rhetorical question lays bare his agenda: the investigation of how
"Russia became the symbol of resistance to western civilisation itself". At
the core of the book are the violent absolutism of Mikhail Bakunin and of
the Bolsheviks, Dostoevsky's messianism, and the paranoid fantasies of
Jewish world domination in the anti-semitic forgery, The Protocols of the
Elders of Zion.
Foreign interpretations of Russia in the modern age could have been the
subject of an original, brilliant book. Marks, though, substitutes
melodrama for thought. His book is an adventitious collage of alleged
responses to Russia and the Soviet Union here, there, and everywhere, from
political dictatorship in Iraq and Libya ("whether they were formally
communist or not, in all such cases Soviet inspiration has been active at a
basic level") to international modernism in architecture. (After the
collapse of the post-first world war Hungarian communist government, Laszlo
Moholy-Nagy "fled to Berlin with news of the Moscow avant-garde".)
Gossip and inference everywhere replace discussion of cultural
transmission. Some elementary information about dissemination is provided:
"In 1922 alone, 400,000 copies of Dostoevsky's books were sold" in Germany;
the channel by which The Protocols of the Elders of Zion reached France was
"the influential Catholic priest and conspiracy theorist Monsignor Ernest
Jouin". But more sophisticated questions - why The Protocols stood out from
the hundreds of anti-semitic publications released in the last decades of
the Russian empire; who was buying Dostoevsky's books and how they were
interpreted - are not even raised, let alone answered.
Even at the level of famous individual figures, Marks's discussion falls
short. How "Dostoevskian" (in a deep sense) are the novels of Carson
McCullers and William Faulkner? Both pay far more attention to landscape
and local language than did Dostoevsky even in The Devils and Brothers
Karamazov; neither is a troubled Christian moralist locked in controversy
with him or herself: a moment's consideration suggests that the resemblance
Marks also ignores some of the most important areas of contact between
Russia and the outside world. Films such as Battleship Potemkin did more to
shape 20th-century ways of seeing than the utopian buildings of 1920s
Moscow. Yet the Russian cinema doesn't get a look-in, probably because its
story would have undermined the trite view that Russian culture appealed
purely because of its "otherness". Research by film historians has shown
that Battleship Potemkin was far more popular with working-class audiences
in Germany than those in Russia: had he paused to consider this, Marks
would have found himself confronting the possibility that the romantic
appeal of the early Soviet Union to foreigners often lay in hopes (however
misplaced) for social justice, and a more perfect embodiment of "western"
values than western societies of the time were able to offer.
It seems strange that a major university press should have published this
book, given that the level of discussion is at times fatuous ("Taken as a
group, Existentialist thinkers deplored the dehumanisation of man in modern
industrial society and repudiated western rationalism"), and that Marks
relies heavily on translations, rather than original texts. Significantly,
How Russia Shaped the Modern World is at its best when cataloguing trivia:
forgotten western popular novels of days gone by, such as GA Henty's
Condemned as a Nihilist (1888), the Vogue covers drawn by the artist Leon
Bakst, or the eccentricities of the Tolstoy cult. As far as the more
demanding instances of cross-fertilisation in the book are concerned, let's
just hope that Marks's work has an irritant value, provoking a deeper
thinker to reconsider the mind-stretching question of the Russian
contribution to modernity.
Catriona Kelly's books include Refining Russia (OUP).
The Times (UK)
March 8, 2003
Boom time for Russia as turmoil subsides
The economic awakening of the old superpower
By Robin Shepherd
RUSSIA is back. She is certainly back in the headlines. BP’s recent $6.75
billion (£4.2 billion) foray into the country’s oil industry was the
largest foreign direct investment in Russian history. It was followed by
the announcement last week of a $250 million project by Renault to build
cars in Russia. Bentley, the luxury carmaker, has even opened a showroom
next to the Kremlin.
With such prestigious names putting their faith and their money back into
Russia, optimists have been falling over themselves to designate 2003 as
the year when investors finally put the disastrous 1998 crash behind them.
Economists see good cause for such optimism but caution that all in Russia
is not as it seems.
By common consent, Vladimir Putin’s management of the Russian economy has
been impressive. Although growth slowed to 4.3 per cent last year — the
fourth successive year of growth — Russia remained among the most rapidly
growing economies in Europe. At $31.7 billion, the current account surplus
was almost 10 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Russia’s budget
surplus in January was 4.5 per cent of GDP. In 2002 the benchmark share
index, the RTS, rose 38 per cent. If Tony Blair or George Bush could boast
such figures they would probably throw a party.
“Macroeconomically, Russia is pretty well managed at the moment,” Willem
Buiter, chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD), says.
“It is clear that the situation today is vastly improved compared to early
1999 after the Russia collapse. The BP investment is just a confirmation of
The cynics have long argued that the improvement in Russia’s economic
fortunes is all down to the surge in the oil price in recent years. Few
could dispute the significance of oil to the Russian economy. Almost all of
Russia’s major companies are in the energy sector. And with oil prices
hovering about $30 a barrel (the state budget assumed prices per barrel at
just over $20) Putin has clearly been blessed with good fortune. Mikhail
Kasyanov, Russia’s Prime Minister, once estimated that for every $1 drop in
the price of oil, the Russian economy risks losing as much as $2 billion.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is quick to point out that windfall
gains have been squandered by many countries in the past. Responsible
economic managment in Russia has ensured that oil money has been wisely
used. “If the Government had not in effect saved much of the higher oil
revenues by running large fiscal surpluses, the rouble would have been much
stronger and this could have choked off the recovery,” Poul Thomsen, the
IMF’s head of mission in Moscow, says.
This kind of praise for the Russian Government’s economic management has
become the consensus in recent months. But no one underestimates the
economy’s weaknesses or the challenges that lie ahead. In important
respects the core problem is balance, or rather the lack of it. BP’s
investment itself is illustrative.
Thomsen says: “It is still an economy where a handful of huge companies,
almost all in the energy sector, account for most of the growth. So the
economy is still extremely vulnerable to a downturn in the oil price. The
economy needs to be more diversified and in order to achieve this reforms
need to improve the investment climate outside the energy sector.
“Particularly important in this regard are reforms of banking, natural
monopolies and the civil service and state administration.”
Balance is also lacking between Moscow and the regions across Russia’s 11
time zones: “The vast majority of foreign direct investment has been
concentrated in the Moscow region. There is a high degree of inequality
between average incomes in the Moscow area and the rest of the country,”
Laza Kekic, director of the East European department at the Economist
Intelligence Unit, says.
Official figures show that more than a fifth of Russia’s 145 million people
live at, or below, the subsistence level. This means that poorer parts of
Russia risk being locked into a vicious cycle where low disposable incomes
act as a disincentive to foreign investment, particularly in the consumer
sector. The poor become poorer, the rich richer.
There have also been signs that Russia’s hitherto solid growth rates may be
slowing. The IMF last week cautioned that the economy would grow by just
3.5 per cent this year compared with government forecasts for 4.2 per cent.
Inflation, currently running at 14 per cent, continues to erode
competitiveness and there are fears that the pace of structural reforms has
slowed in the run-up to parliamentary elections in December and the
presidential elections in March 2004.
“Implementation is of course the Achilles’ heel of government reform
everywhere and in Russia it is definitely the source of remaining concern
that those who look at the country’s many opportunities keep in mind before
they take decisions,” Buiter, at the EBRD, says. “Russia without
significant reforms is in danger of becoming an enclave economy. They have
high productivity, wealth-oozing islands of prosperity in an otherwise
investment starved industrial structure. It must get diversification away
from the extractive sectors or I think Russia’s longer-term prospects as a
modern, mature industrial state will not be realised. It’s a critical
Appraising the Russian economy, its record and its prospects, is largely a
question of whether one sees the cup as being half full or half empty. The
scale of the BP investment was impressive by any standards. But since the
end of communism total foreign direct investment in Russia has amounted to
not much more than $20 billion. Last year alone, China drew in $53 billion.
The economy has done well in recent years but real GDP still stands at a
mere 64 per cent of 1989 levels. Central and Eastern Europe has already
surpassed its starting point. Poland’s economy stands at 129 per cent of
its size in the last year of communism.
Even the oil sector may not save Russia in the long term. It is the world’s
second largest oil exporter, just behind Saudi Arabia. But unlike Saudi
Arabia with proven reserves of more than 250 billion barrels, Russian
reserves are estimated at just 50 billion barrels — another reason why
international institutions are so keen to see greater economic
Solid economic management in Russia has also been pushed through at the
price of a near emasculation of checks and balances in the political
system. The chaotic relationship between the Duma and the presidency which
did so much to wreck fiscal discipline in the 1990s may be over. But that
is because the Duma is now little more than a talking shop. Few observers
of Russian history can fail to see the irony that economic progress has
been underpinned by increasingly authoritarian rule.
And not even authoritarianism has so far managed to root out corruption,
one of the major obstacles to general economic development and foreign
investment in particular. The world’s leading anti-corruption agency,
Transparency International, last year ranked Russia the 71st most corrupt
country among 102 countries surveyed. Russia was given the same overall
ranking as Zimbabwe.
More broadly, the Russia problem for foreign and domestic investors alike
can be summarised in one simple question: What happens next? As Vaclav
Klaus, former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe’s
most loyal disciple of Margaret Thatcher, never tired of saying in the
1990s: the post-communist reform process is historically unique. Many
countries have embraced capitalism but, prior to 1989, none had ever taken
that route from a socialist starting point. The governing assumption of the
1990s that Russia is inexorably locked on course for transition to
Western-style democratic capitalism remains just that, an assumption.
Even in the second decade of reforms, it is by no means clear that the
models and methods used by economists in the West are appropriate for
countries such as Russia. For foreign investors, humility, caution and
in-depth knowledge of the local environment are prerequisites to success.
Russia may have moved far from the dark days of 1998. But much remains to
be done and the smarter observers are aware that they cannot be entirely
sure how and when it will be accomplished.
Russian officials accuse human rights groups of making biased reports
MOSCOW. March 6 (Interfax) - Russia's human rights commissioner on
Thursday accused Russian and international human rights organizations of
blackening the situation in Russia.
"The approach should be well-considered and balanced. It's too early
for us to play fanfares, but there's no reason why we should pour dirt
over ourselves, either," Oleg Mironov said during a meeting in Moscow
with Russian ethnic policy minister Vladimir Zorin.
Some international monitors used unverified information, Mironov said.
"For example, how can you give advice to the Russian authorities if
you're in Strasbourg and have never been to Russia?" he said.
Zorin said Russia will make its next progress report on racism to a UN
commission in Geneva on Monday. He said the Russian state had recently
been paying more attention to ethnic minorities and has brought out an
He said the report makes assessments differing from those in an
alternative report prepared at the United Nations' request by Russian
Mironov branded the latter report as "fragmentary." "You should see
the whole picture," he said.
One of what he called the disputable points was a protest against
residence registration. He argued that registration is essential for
employment and housing. "It's another matter," he said, "that our
registration is often not a matter of notification, as it should be, but
a matter of obtaining permission, when one has to ask the authorities for
Mironov also hailed quotas for the number of aliens resident in
Russia, adding that formalizing labor immigration would be a good idea.
"It's absolutely wrong to try to represent Russians as nationalists,
who are ready to drive members of smaller peoples out of the regions
where Russians are the predominant population," he said.
He said the majority of marriages in Russia are mixed and that
historically, smaller ethnic groups "have not been exterminated, but have
Russian woman belongs in the home: poll
March 7, 2003
Most Russians believe that a woman's place is in the home, a far cry from the
Soviet-era view that her place was on the factory floor or behind the wheel
of a tractor, according to a new poll released Friday on the eve of
International Women's Day.
Forty percent of those polled by Romir Monitoring said they thought women's
main role was as a mother and 23 percent said they thought it was as "life
companion" to their men.
The poll's results show to what extent the widely celebrated holiday has
evolved from a recognition of women's contribution to the Communist struggle
to a post-Soviet celebration of the femininity they were so long denied.
Fifteen percent of those polled said they believed women should strive to
become businesswomen, while the same number said they thought her main role
was as a homemaker.
And just two percent said they thought women's main role was in politics.
On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin said that just 7.3 percent of deputies
in Russia's lower house of parliament were women and seven percent in the
Yet the Russian leader urged women to increase their involvement in
government because of the contribution they could make to social problems.
"Social questions can be efficiently resolved by the government only
legislative bodies are made up of at least 20 percent women, since they pay
closer attention to social questions," he said.
Fifty-six percent of Russians believe equality between the sexes exists, the
Only 14 percent of those polled said they would choose to have a female boss,
while 38 percent said they preferred male employers and 45 percent said it
made no difference.
And an overwhelming 67 percent said they thought men should go out of their
way to be polite to women, opening doors and giving them their arm, while
just three percent disagreed.
The Romir Monitoring poll found that most Russians thought a role model that
represented the Russian woman did not exist, while nine percent named
Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, and eight percent named
veteran pop idol Alla Pugachyova.
Just six percent named the wife of Putin, Lyudmila.
Most Russians consider March 8 "special day" - poll
MOSCOW. March 7 (Interfax) - Nearly two thirds (60%) of Russians consider
March 8, International Women's Day, "a special, important, and significant
day," a poll has shown.
In the view of 35% of the respondents, March 8 is a "traditional,"
"springtime," "joyful," and "bright holiday" which "the state celebrates in
honor of women."
This holiday involves "a pleasant fuss," gifts, flowers, and attention,
which improves everybody's disposition, in the view of 24% of Russians.
Some value March 8 because it provides an additional day off ("you can
take a rest and spend more time with your family").
The Public Opinion foundation published this information after conducting
a poll of 1,500 urban and rural residents on March 1.
At the same time, about a third of the respondents (32%) do not single
this day out from other ordinary days.
For 23% of the respondents, March 8 is a typical day. They explain this
primarily by personal reasons, such as bad mood, poor health, hard living
conditions, a situation in their family, and the negative attitude towards
holidays as such.
In the view of 2% of those polled, there are "more significant" holidays,
such as "birthday or New Year's," or "Easter, Whitsunday, or St. Nicholas
Day," while March 8 is "only a drinking day."
One percent of those polled do not consider March 8 a holiday because
"this is women's day and not men's." Others reject this holiday as a matter
of principle - as "a heritage of the evil past" and "invented by
[international revolutionaries] Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin." Some refuse
to recognize March 8 as a special day because "for women every day must be a
holiday, and they deserve this."
The Globe and Mail (Canada)
March 7, 2003
Russian rejects theory that Stalin was poisoned
By CAROLYNNE WHEELER
Special to The Globe and Mail
MOSCOW -- Fresh accusations that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was poisoned
to death 50 years ago come as no surprise to Yelena Zaks, who lost her
diplomat father to the gulag during the Second World War.
Still, the 68-year-old Moscow resident, who now works with Memorial, an
organization dedicated to recording Stalin's crimes, scoffs at the suggestion
the dictator died of anything other than natural causes.
"There is no proof," Ms. Zaks said dismissively in heavily accented
"He was old enough, he was not in very good health. I think journalists begin
to invent stories when they have nothing new to report."
When Stalin died at age 73, an estimated 10 million people had perished in
the gulag. Fears of nuclear war were growing and, with massive new prison
camps under construction, so were rumours of another major relocation
program, this time directed at Jews.
Ms. Zaks, who is of Jewish descent, says she remembers schoolmates telling
her Jewish friends they were going to be rounded up. She and her mother were
relocated from Moscow to the Urals after her father's arrest.
But the anti-Semitism seemed to peak three months before Stalin's death, when
nine doctors -- six of whom were Jewish -- were accused of poisoning a senior
official and trying to poison Stalin. The doctors were saved from execution
by Stalin's death, and later exonerated.
Those arrests "were part of a wider-ranging anti-Semitic campaign which
have ended with the deportation of all Soviet Jews if Stalin had not died,"
Baruch Gorin, spokesman for Russia's chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, said in
January, ahead of a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the
revelation of the so-called doctors plot.
That threat of millions more deaths lends historical weight to a new study by
Russian and U.S. historians that argues Stalin died after ingesting rat
poison during a dinner with a group of his senior officials. Powerful and
flavourless, warfarin thins the blood and causes hemorrhages in humans.
But the theory of death by poison has circulated in Russia for nearly 20
years, since the days of perestroika (restructuring) under Mikhail Gorbachev.
Nothing official has ever been done to prove or disprove it; the Russian
government has stayed silent and Stalin's body continues to rest in the
Soviet Walk of Heroes behind Lenin's mausoleum on Red Square, with no talk of
A poll of 1,600 Russians conducted over the two weeks preceding the
anniversary by the All-Russia Centre for the Study of Public Opinion shows 53
per cent of respondents saw Stalin's role in history as "absolutely positive"
or "more positive than negative."
"I think [believing Stalin was poisoned] depends on your social strata.
People who are better educated, they don't believe it," Ms. Zaks said. "And
people who do not know anything, who do not know their history and who are
not interested in books, they think it."
St. Petersburg Times
March 7, 2003
Fifty Years On, Russia Still Divided on Stalin
By Claire Bigg
As part of countrywide events to mark the 50th anniversary of Joseph
Stalin's death on Wednesday, a group of about 40 mostly elderly people
gathered at the statue of Karl Marx on the grounds of Smolny to mark the
occasion. But, while the gathering was relatively small, a couple of polls
released this week indicate that the number of Russians who feel either
positive or ambivalent about the dictator's role in Russian history remains
The speeches by officials at Wednesday's meeting and comments from a number
of those present showed that, for some, questions of Stalin's repressions or
crimes are of little interest.
"Stalin was a great man and a great builder. He built a big and powerful
state, where the vast majority of people lived a decent life, even if they
were not rich," Gennady Turetsky, the Secretary of the Leningrad Council of
Russia's Communist Worker's Party, which organized Wednesday meeting, said in
"The Russian Communist Party [KPRF], views the anniversary of the death
Stalin as an event that needs to be celebrated, just as we do," he said. "We
regard Stalin as a great political leader, who provided for the workers, for
education, for medicine, and who carried out socialist reforms."
The people who came to listen to the speeches, huddling together in the cold,
proved no less supportive of Stalin's legacy than the speakers.
"Stalin is the most precious thing we had. I didn't cry as much when my
mother died as when Stalin passed away," said Vera Ivanova, who was 26 years
old when the Soviet leader died in 1953, clutching a placard bearing a photo
of Stalin adorned with roses. "I remember, when he died, I was on Nevsky
Prospect. We stopped near the loudspeakers to hear how he breathed his last.
Absolutely everyone was crying."
An opinion poll carried out by the Public Opinion Fund found that 42 percent
of Russians associate Stalin with "dictatorship, repression and the Gulag
chain of concentration camps," while 32 percent associate him with
"unequivocal orderliness, industrial rise and the pride of a great empire,"
Another poll carried out by the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion
Research reveals that 45 percent of St. Petersburg residents think Stalin
played a positive role in history, against 38 percent who assessed his role
as negative, Interfax reported on Wednesday.
According to the human-rights group Memorial, 720,000 people were executed
during Stalin's rule, while 500,000 people perished in the Gulag between 1945
and 1953. As many as 2.7 million people fell victim to repression - either
arrest or execution. Although officials at Memorial are reluctant to attempt
to provide an exact figure for the total of people who were executed, or died
due to conditions in the camps or famine, a commonly cited figure is over 20
Analysts offer a number of explanations for the seemingly renewed interest in
Alexei Kulegin, the deputy director for academic research at St. Petersburg's
Museum of the Political History of Russia, says that Stalin's rising
popularity doesn't necessarily mean that those Russians who laud the dictator
actually sympathize with the mass repression and executions that took place
under his rule.
"I don't think people who have a positive view of Stalin sympathize with
horrors that were committed under him," Kulegin said in an interview on
Tuesday. "The phenomenon of the strong leader, and of Stalin in particular,
is strong nowadays, because Russia is going through a period of crisis.
People tend to look back at leaders that ruled the country in times of
crisis, like Stalin, and who were able to take the country out of this
crisis. That Stalin was able to do so is a myth, in my opinion, but people
cling to it."
Sergei Khakhayev, who heads Memorial's Human Rights Protection Committee,
says that the feeling of admiration for Stalin stems from the fact that many
Russians are nostalgic for the political and military power the country
enjoyed in the soviet period.
"Today, an significant part of the population is upset by the fact that
Russia has lost its status as a world power that once threatened to drop
atomic bombs and was able to scare the entire world. Russia can't do any of
this now, and this is why the cult of Stalin is re-emerging," Khakhayev said
He also suggested that the way the polls were carried out may not provide an
accurate image of how Russians actually feel about Stalin.
"I think that one of the reasons for [the numbers indicating] Stalin's
popularity is that the population is eager to please the state, or at least
those who carry out surveys," Khakhayev said. "The head of state is a KGB man
and, under Stalin, the KGB was all-powerful, so people wonder what will
happen to them if they criticize Stalin in the polls."
The reasons the people at Smolny gave for their adoration of the late leader
vary, but they generally revolve around the relatively good living conditions
in the post-war Soviet Union that most elderly people have lost in
post-Communist Russia, where they receive only tiny pensions.
"We had a very happy childhood under Stalin. We went to masquerades, had
kindergartens, were brought up well and had great teachers," Vera Ivanova
said. "Today, teachers are nowhere as good as they were then. There were no
street kids either. And now, under the capitalists, you see them everywhere."
For Yury Terentyev, a member of the KPRF, Stalin is the leader who most
successfully managed to apply Marxist theories to life in the Soviet Union.
"Stalin was able to propagandize Marx's theories, to put them into
in an ideological, revolutionary struggle that brought great benefits to the
country," he said.
People who attended Wednesday's gathering seemed to agree that the mass
repressions were a fair price to pay for the construction of a system capable
of giving all Russians a decent and stable life.
"Mass repressions were unavoidable, it was a period of struggle. The
repressions took place so that nothing would interfere with the construction
of socialism. And Stalin talked about it, he said that the class struggle
would intensify with time," said Gennady Alexeyev, a 70-year-old pensioner.
Others, like Ivanova, refuse to believe that the atrocities committed under
Stalin ever took place.
"I've seen or heard nothing about mass repressions. There were no mass
repressions," she said. "It is enemies of the people, enemies of Stalin, who
wrote about repressions in the newspapers. A normal person wouldn't write
things like that. Now, people write such foul things about Stalin, things
that didn't happen."
Memorial's Khakhayev was riled by some of the comments.
"It is convenient to say that nothing happened. All these deaths are on
Stalin's conscience, because he personally signed execution orders," said
Khakhayev. "It is a terrible thing to want to glorify Stalin today, but what
is even worse is the idea that every crime can be forgiven if it is committed
in the name of the state's greatness."
New York Times
March 8, 2003
Even in a New Russia, Stalin Shadows Putin
By VICTOR EROFEYEV
Victor Erofeyev is editor of "The Penguin Book of New Russian Writing," and
author of "Russian Beauty," a novel.
Russia's greatest paradox could well be that Stalin, the ruthless Soviet
God who conquered Hitler and created a superpower, will live on in Russian
folk memory as a hero — rather like the French with their far more innocent
Napoleon. This is not masochism, but a peculiar feature of the Russian
soul. As thousands of Russians observed the 50th anniversary of Stalin's
death this week — gathering in city centers and laying wreaths at his
statues — many beyond our borders may wonder whether this nostalgia is
actually a yearning for a return to totalitarianism.
It's more complicated than that. As a Russian writer who has long watched
my country try to escape its oppressive past, I feel obligated to point out
that this struggle is fraught with conflicted desires. A genuine civil war
is being fought in Russia between productive people aspiring to a better
life (in the Western sense of the word) and others who nurse an ideology of
resentment for the loss of Russia's superpower status, or even an affection
for the days of Stalin.
It's a conflict that can also be seen playing out in the presidency of
Vladimir Putin. Independent politicians of the liberal camp whom I have met
regard Mr. Putin as a "Westernizer" (he knows German and is studying
English; his daughters attended school at the German Embassy in Moscow) and
a democrat who, independently of his own will (he never dreamed of becoming
president), finds himself caught in the mire of the Russian mentality.
That mentality has led many Russians to live inside themselves, taking
pride in their indifference to money, rejecting out of hand the Westerner's
orientation toward personal success. This is what some call Russian
spirituality. The poet Pushkin glorified Peter the Great for cutting a
window through into Europe. But cutting a window is not the same thing as
It is hard for Russia to build on a past that offers little choice beyond
the excessive costs of czarism or Communism. I think no more than 10
percent to 15 percent of Russians have any real idea of the modern world.
The rest are hostage to a past that allows 36 percent, according to one
recent poll, to say they thought Stalin did more good than bad. Is it so
surprising, then, that Russians have chosen Vladimir Putin, a president who
has opened the window to the West with one hand and closed it with the other?
The fairest summing up of Mr. Putin's recent behavior is rather like a
cardsharp stacking the deck (though in world politics it is regarded as
tactics rather than cheating). It was remarked some time ago that Vladimir
Putin likes to tell people what they want to hear. He was, after all,
schooled in the K.G.B. He says one thing to the American president and
another to the Russian generals. (The exception to these agreeable
conversations is his irreconcilable tone on the subject of Chechnya.) Mr.
Putin is a secretive individual, a total contrast with the explosive Boris
Yeltsin and the sensitive Mikhail Gorbachev. But what is actually happening
under his administration?
There has been a fierce struggle against Catholic influence, with the
government expelling clerics and accusing the Vatican of proselytizing. Mr.
Putin's former K.G.B. colleagues have infiltrated the upper levels of power
for the imposition of "social order." The Russian Parliament, pandering to
the president's conservatism, has proposed a raft of prohibitive laws on
homosexuality and abortion. Mr. Putin has stifled elements of the
independent news media; dissident writers like myself, Vladimir Sorokin and
Victor Pelevin are labeled enemies of Russian culture. The government
expels the United States Peace Corps and ends the humanitarian mission in
Chechnya of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. And as
though deliberately provoking international revulsion, the police use
brutal tactics to free hostages from a Moscow theater. Judging from this
list, Russia is recoiling into its totalitarian past.
On the other hand, Vladimir Putin is achieving something that Boris Yeltsin
could not: he is splitting and weakening the Communist Party. He allows
NATO to expand to the very borders of Russia and, his decision on the war
in Iraq notwithstanding, acts like the American president's friend. He
cracks down on corruption and tries to break up monopolies. He paralyzes
the Duma as it is imposing restrictions on the press, and pursues a liberal
economic policy in an effort to make room for new businesses and attract
Like New York and Paris, central Moscow at night is illuminated by millions
of bright lights, and Vladimir Putin has shown little desire to extinguish
them. Of course, Moscow is not Russia, but Mr. Putin clearly wishes to
extend Moscow's economic boom to the entire country. Doing so may require
that he maintain his dual role as appeaser of the old guard and champion of
the new. And so we will have to live with it — for now.
Stalin's minister of culture once complained to him about Soviet writers:
some had taken to drink, some had let fame go to their heads. Stalin
replied:"I haven't got any other writers for you." It's the same with
Vladimir Putin; we haven't got any other president, and won't anytime soon.
Mr. Putin needs intelligent help from the West, not harassment and
unrelenting suspicion. So please, hold the window open from your side.
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003
From: William Taubman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
Khrushchev: The Man and His Era
New York, W. W. Norton, $35, 876 pp.
Contrary to his image as a clown who banged his shoe at the United
Nations, Nikita Khrushchev was one of the most important and complex
political leaders of the twentieth century. In the first full and
comprehensive biography of Khrushchev, and the first of any Soviet
leader to make use of the full range of sources that have become
available since the USSR collapsed, William Taubman unravels the
contradictions of Khrushchev’s character which shaped his era and were
shaped by it. How did a poor ill-educated peasant rise into Joseph
Stalin’s inner circle, and then not just survive but succeed Stalin? Why
did a man who was complicit in Stalin’s crimes unmask his former
master? How did Khrushchev’s awkward efforts to ease the Cold War
trigger its most dangerous confrontations in Berlin and Cuba? To answer
these questions, Taubman draws on archives in Russia, Ukraine and
elsewhere, on numerous trips to places where Khrushchev lived and
worked, and on extensive interviews with Khrushchev family members,
Kremlin colleagues and subordinates, and Westerners who jousted with
Subject: CWIHP Book Launch and Seminar, March 25
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003
From: COLDWAR Project <COLDWAR1@WWIC.SI.EDU>
Book Launch---Khrushchev: The Man and His Era by William Taubman
Date: March 25, 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Place: Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington, DC.
The Cold War International History Project and the Kennan Institute invite
you to a book launch and discussion of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era, by
William Taubman, Bertrand Snell Professor of Political Science at Amherst
College and author of Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (W. W. Norton, March
Daniel Schorr, Senior News Analyst, National Public Radio;
Strobe Talbott, President, The Brookings Institution and former Deputy
Secretary of State.
This CWIHP seminar is co-sponsored by the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute.
A reception in the Woodrow Wilson Center Boardroom will follow the
discussion (5:00 p.m - 6:00 p.m.).
Publications will be available at the meeting.
For further information on the program, updates and directions--and to RSVP
online, visit the CWIHP website http://cwihp.si.edu. You can also RSVP by
replying to this email (email@example.com).
St. Petersburg Times
March 7, 2003
Russia's Nationalists a Waning Force Abroad
By Vladimir Kovalyev
LOOKING at the results of last weekend's parliamentary elections in Estonia,
it seems that most of the 170,000 ethnic Russians who have the right to vote
there no longer see themselves as Russian nationals, but are thinking of
themselves as Estonians, instead.
Whereas, in the last elections in 1999, Russian nationalist parties won six
seats in the Estonian parliament, this time around, they failed to garner
even one. This is a real sign of a positive trend of Estonia's ethnic
Russians finally coming to the conclusion that they are now part of another
country that they are choosing to make their home.
The situation now is similar to that of immigrants in, say, the United States
or Canada. Whether Asian or African-American, members of ethnic minorities in
the two North American countries would rather vote for candidates who
campaign on platforms that deal with practical issues reflecting everyday
life. This is because most of these immigrants call themselves American or
Canadian, rather than Sudanese or Algerian, say, even if they only got their
citizenship within the last 10 years.
To be honest, I find it quite hard to imagine that a nationalist party - for
the sake of argument, let's call it the United Chinese People's Party -
campaigning in elections in the United States would have any chance at all of
winning a single seat in the Senate.
I want to believe that this is exactly what is happening in Estonia.
You could argue that the country's ethnic Russians just didn't bother to show
up at the polling stations, because they thought that their representatives
wouldn't make a noticeable difference within the Estonian majority in
parliament. You'd be wrong.
In a total turnout for the elections on March 2 of 491,000 - roughly 60
percent of the electorate - the 170,000 ethnic Russians could have influenced
the result, and did influence it, in one of two ways - by either coming to
vote, or by ignoring the whole shenanigans and staying at home.
You could, like the Russian nationalists, argue that another 120,000 people
living in Estonia have applied for and been granted Russian citizenship since
1991, and that the Estonians have infringed these people's human rights by
not letting them vote. You'd be wrong again.
These 120,000 will next be able to vote in December this year - in the
Russian State Duma elections - and March next year - to pick a successor to
or, more likely, re-elect President Vladimir Putin.
They've voted before, as well, in the State Duma elections of December 1999
and the presidential vote of March 2000, at the Russian Embassy in Tallinn,
and at mobile and stationary consulate offices opened by the Russian
authorities in towns across Estonia.
The biggest problem is a further 180,000 people who have neither Estonian nor
Russian citizenship and, therefore, can't vote, but I am sure that it is just
a question of time before this is resolved and they are able to express their
views officially. Moreover, I believe that this question would be settled
more quickly if Russia stopped trying to interfere in Estonia's affairs.
Russian state-controlled television and the pro-Kremlin United Russia party
have been disrupting this process by convening demonstrations and
broadcasting reports of human-rights demonstrations in the Baltic states -
many of which, coincidentally enough, appeared on television in the few weeks
in the immediate run-up to last weekend's elections.
Watching state-controlled Russian television in the last month or so, I got
the impression that journalists here are unable to find work reporting on
violations of any kind happening in their own country. It's far more
important, of course, to broadcast damp-eyed footage such as the clip on the
Rossia channel on Feb. 26. that showed Viktor Andreyev, a former deputy of
the United People's Party in Estonia, complaining about "just six Russian
deputies having seats in the parliament."
This time, Andreyev's party has no seats at all.
Not even political assistance from Moscow helped. The assistance took the
form of State Duma deputy Lyubov Sliska - of United Russia, surprisingly
enough - who arrived in Estonia just a few days before the elections. Local
analysts say that the visit had absolutely the opposite effect to what was
intended - it just scared ethnic Russian voters away from a party that, now,
appeared to be supported by Moscow.
As a result, the United People's Party garnered just 2.1 percent of the votes
cast. Its colleagues in the Russian Party of Estonia fared even worse,
picking up a measly 0.18 percent - or 911 votes.
The Kremlin merely said the results of the elections were
this, I thought that the Moscow bigwigs had at last understood that their
sphere of influence is limited by the deep waters of the Narva River.
Watching Rossia television, however, makes me think I'm still wrong.
From: "Treadgold Papers" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Recent publications
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003
The Donald W. Treadgold Papers in Russian, East European, and Central Asian
Studies is pleased to announce the following recent and forthcoming issues:
No. 35 The Land Question in Ukraine and Russia – Stephen K. Wegren
(January 2002) $7.50
In the Soviet period, Ukraine and Russia had similar agricultural systems.
During the 1990s, however, the two diverged, as Russia pursued neo-liberal
reforms while Ukraine maintained the Soviet system of agriculture. With
new agrarian reforms introduced in Ukraine in late 1999 and into 2000,
Ukraine may pass Russia, although significant obstacles remain.
No. 36 Russian Regionalism: The Economic Dimension - Steven Rosefielde, et
al. (January 2003) $7.50
In this collection, Tabata, Uegaki, and Ohtsu analyze rates of foreign
direct investment, exports, dollar receipts, revenue transfers, and
unemployment to document the failure of Russia’s regions to competitively
integrate themselves into the global economic system since the collapse of
the Soviet Union. At the same time, they illuminate the systemic causes of
Russia’s insularity and the evolving ties between Moscow and the Regional
No. 37 Regionalism in Russia’s Foreign Policy in the 1990s: A Case of
“Reversed Anarchy” Mikhail Alexseev (March 2003) $7.50
As a state challenged by internal fragmentation coming into contact with
increasingly interdependent groups of strong states, post-Soviet Russia has
faced the condition defined by the author as “reversed anarchy.”
Characterized by a perception that domestic political cohesiveness
decreases at the time when international political cohesiveness increases,
“reversed anarchy” explains why Russian policymakers viewed international
interactions of the federations constituent regions and republics through
the prism of the security dilemma, discounting opportunities for economic
development in the borderlands. As a consequence, Russia’s foreign policy
and national security concepts of the late 1990s failed to articulate a
proactive strategy for integrating Russian regions into the world economy
along the lines of the Euro-regions or Chinese coastal provinces.
No. 38 Macedonia’s Child-Grandfathers: the Transnational Politics of
Memory, Exile, and Return, 1948-1998 - Keith Brown (March 2003) $7.50
In 1948, 28,000 children left Northern Greece as refugees during a brutal
civil war. In this paper Brown traces the role of these "child refugees" -
as victims of the Cold War, as objects of nationalist ideology, and as
political actors in their own right - in modern Macedonian history.
No. 39 ‘Great Russians’ and ‘Little Russians’: Russian-Ukrainian
and Perceptions in Historical Perspective – Andreas Kappeler
No. 40 Back to the Front: Russian Interests in the New Eastern Europe –
For a full list of papers, information on ordering individual papers, and
our submission policy please visit our website:
Please send orders and inquiries to the attention of the Managing Editor at:
The Donald W. Treadgold Papers Tel: (206) 221-6348
Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies Fax: (206) 685-0668
REECAS, Box 353650 Email:
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-3650
Questions regarding submissions may be addressed to Glennys Young, Editor,
by email at email@example.com, or by writing to the address listed
The Times (UK)
March 7, 2003
The word czars send footbolists, keks and khokkey to the gulag
By Philip Howard
This is a fine old borsch that the Russians are stirring themselves into,
Russia's parliament (oops -Duma) has passed a law to prevent the Russian
language being taken over by English. The law requires Russian equivalents
for foreign words.
The (equally bolshie and chauvinist) French passed the similar "Toubon"
in 1977, banning the use of English loan words. For many years the German
post office insisted that Fernsprecher should be used on phone boxes,
although Germans use the English (Greek, actually) Telefon far more commonly
in everyday speech. In France you can find officially Frenchified menus and
billboards offering "Welsh Croquemonsieur". Should they not go the whole
camembert into "Lapin Gallois"? You are still more likely to find caffs
advertising such untranslatable (revolting?) English (Scottish?) delicacies
as "Kippers sur Toast". The Academie Francaise, and all such bodies
established to purify languages, are as useless as Canute at turning back the
Dislike of such multilingual code-mixing was popularised by the French writer
Rene Etiemble in Parlez-vous Franglais?, in which he condemned the spread of
Anglo-Saxon culture and language. He considered imported American terms such
as "call-girl", "drugstore" and "striptease" as marks of Americanisation.
Etiemble's critique, like President Putin's, combines linguistic nationalism
and purism with a jealous distaste for anything Yanqui.
You can beat back the imperial English language by changing the patent Anglo
Saxon spelling to Gallic. "Meeting" is Gallicised as Metingue, "ticket"
becomes tiquet, and "rocket" becomes roquette. Loan translation turns
"surfing" into rase-rouleaux, "flashback" into retour en arriere, and
"script-girl" into secretaire de plateau.
Calques (French calquer, to trace or copy, from Italian calcare, to trace or
tread, from Latin calx, a heel) forms a word by translating from another
For example, George Bernard Shaw invented "superman" by translating
German Ubermensch. Romans calqued freely from the Greek. From poiotes
(suchness) and posotes (muchness) they borrowed/invented qualitas and
quantitas. Sometimes a Greek original and its Latin calque have both entered
English. Apatheia and its Latin calque indolentia provide English with both
"apathy" and "indolence".
English has been affecting Russian vocabulary in recent years. In sport and
entertainment: basketbol, champion, futbol, kemping, khobbi (hobby), khokkey,
klub, striptiz, ralli. In politics: boykot, lider, pamflet. In food and
drink: bifshteks, dzhin, grog, keks, puding. Many Russian Anglicisms have a
surreal beauty. A "footbolist" is several pitches more distinguished than our
own dear (in every sense of the word) footballers. Russian has no equivalent
for the English "h" or our digraph sound "th". So Sir Edward Heath, our
former Prime Minister, is known admirably in Russia as Mr Git.
The tide has flowed in both directions, since the first travellers reported
back from the vast, wintry country. Remember Angelo in Measure for Measure:
"This will last out a night in Russia/ When nights are longest there." The
"rouble" (from rubl, a silver bar) was our first imported loanword,
suggesting that our early travellers were not in Russia merely for the
scenery. Many of our borrowings come from politics: gulag and commissar. Many
of our Russian loanwords stick out because of their exotic spellings and
connotations. Some are naturalised and indispensable: vodka (diminutive of
voda, little water) and intelligentsia. And no British government can make a
key initiative without putting a quadruple loanword in charge of it: tsar or
czar. Old Russian Tsisari, Gothic and Greek Kaisar, Latin Caesar, and Hi
Languages do not get taken over, even by AmerEnglish. They do not die, fade
away, or behave according to metaphors that imply an end of perfection or a
league table of linguistic excellence. Languages are like the tides. They
change, but never progress, as they ebb and flow. Chauvinist linguistic
commissars are doomed to failure and ridicule. As Mr Putin, M Chirac, and
other silly-billies will find out.
Russian tycoon settles with Forbes on "godfather" charges: report
March 7, 2003
Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky has struck an agreement in a London court
with Forbes magazine in which the publication agreed to drop claims that the
businessman is the "godfather of the Kremlin", news reports said Friday.
The agreement settles a six-year legal battle that pitted Berezovsky, once
seen as one of the most powerful figures in former president Boris Yeltsin's
Kremlin, against the first public account of how he allegedly made fortunes
in illegal dealings.
Berezovsky launched his legal action after a December 30, 1996 Forbes article
titled "Is He the Godfather of the Kremlin?" also indirectly linked him to
the 1995 murder of Vladislav Listyev, a popular television host and a top
executive at ORT television.
Russian media accounts of the court settlement said that Forbes agreed to no
longer re-publish unconfirmed information about Berezovsky's past, while the
tycoon agreed to drop his financial claims against the publication.
Berezovsky went into exile in London after President Vladimir Putin's
government opened a series of criminal inquiries into his past, and is seen
to have since lost much of his political influence in Russia.
He has since waged several unsuccessful battles to launch a political
movement that could topple Putin's immensely popular leadership.
Berezovsky tried to organize a democratic opposition party, which gained
little momentum, and was later kicked out from its ranks for his decision to
also court the Communist Party.
Most recently, in February, Berezovsky accused the Russian security service
of masterminding the hostage crisis in Moscow last October that claimed the
lives of some 130 civilians being held captive in a theater by Chechen rebels.
From: "Institute for War & Peace Reporting" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Caucasus Reporting Service No. 169
Date: Fri, 7 Mar 2003
WELCOME TO IWPR'S CAUCASUS REPORTING SERVICE, No. 169, March 07, 2003.
CHECHNYA OFFERS KREMLIN NEW MEDIATORS
While officially ruling out any possibility of negotiating with Chechen
freedom fighters, Moscow is keeping its options open.
By Sanobar Shermatova in Moscow
Sanobar Shermatova is a correspondent with Moscow News.
The Kremlin appears to be quietly priming itself for a referendum this
month on a new constitution that will strengthen the power of its chosen
leader in Chechnya Akhmad Kadyrov and formally include the republic as
part of Russia.
But on closer inspection, things are not that simple. Apparently, Moscow
may not have completely abandoned the idea of striking a deal with
supporters of Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov.
In fact, it has now emerged that a high-level Russian official was holding
talks with Maskhadov's envoys prior to the mass hostage seizure by Chechen
militants in Moscow last October.
The bloody Nord-Ost theatre siege, that took the lives of more than 120
hostages and all the extremists, put an end to those talks. However, the
Kremlin has reactivated its potential negotiating channels in recent
weeks - just in case. One of the new contacts for the Kremlin is Salambek
Maigov, authorised by Maskhadov to negotiate with Moscow.
A graduate student of Moscow's prestigious Institute of World Economics
and International Relations, Maigov, 36, has publicly put himself forward
as a peace broker, saying he was ready to negotiate with Russian
politicians prepared to discuss a peaceful settlement.
Another prospective mediator, Vakha Arsanov, Maskhadov's former
vice-president, was last heard of at the beginning of Russia's second
Chechen campaign more than three years ago. Before the first war, Arsanov,
50, served in Chechnya's traffic police.
Since the autumn of 1999, he has been campaigning among the rebels to stop
killing pro-Russian Chechen police officers and, more recently,
volunteered as a peace mediator for the Putin administration.
Why have these figures appeared now on the Chechen political scene?
Apparently, Arsanov is pursuing his own agenda. Fired by Maskhadov three
years ago, he has little influence among the rebels. There are indications
that he has good links to Chechnya's pro-Russian leader, Akhmad Kadyrov, a
former mufti. Arsanov may have decided that this is the right time to
stake out his claim as Maskhadov's successor.
Maskhadov's appointment of Maigov as his envoy in Russia is more
mysterious. What makes Maskhadov, for whom Russia has an official arrest
warrant, think that Russian officials will be willing to talk to his
President Vladimir Putin's recent statements and Moscow's activity in
Chechnya leave no doubt that the plans for the constitutional referendum
in Chechnya are final.
After the new constitution is adopted by plebiscite, parliamentary and
presidential elections will follow. The script leaves no place for the
However, Russia's policy in Chechnya has another, hidden side to it. Two
unconnected sources have told IWPR that shortly before the Moscow theatre
siege, talks were held with Maskhadov in North Ossetia, and the Kremlin
knew about it. The talks were conducted by a high-ranking Russian official
who was in no danger of falling foul of the Russian authorities for
meeting with an envoy of Maskhadov.
In any event, the Moscow hostage crisis and ensuing arrest of Maskhadov's
European envoy Akhmed Zakaev in Copenhagen and London destroyed whatever
hope there was of a peaceful settlement.
Maskhadov lost his negotiating leverage. Arrest warrants were issued for
other long-standing mediators, such as Maskhadov's former interior
minister Kazbek Makhashev, who were no longer in a position to talk to the
federal authorities. Those not branded terrorists had left the scene for a
number of different reasons.
According to analysts, Professor Ruslan Khazbulatov, the prominent Chechen
politician who designed his own peaceful settlement plan for Chechnya and
had Maskhadov's go-ahead to negotiate with Russia, has lost influence.
Last summer during informal talks in Liechtenstein with Zbigniew
Brzezinski, former US national security advisor and chairman of the
American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, Khazbulatov reportedly agreed
that international peacekeepers should be deployed in Chechnya. Moscow
consequently abandoned him as a mediator.
Anxious to recruit new mediators, Maskhadov apparently chose Maigov who
never fought against federal troops and was therefore acceptable for
Moscow, although he still supports the cause of Chechen independence.
Like the rebels, he is opposed to the March 23 constitutional referendum,
which, he believes, will not only fail to bring peace to Chechnya, but
will deepen the existing rift in Chechen society.
Moscow is unlikely to give up its plans to hold the plebiscite. Obviously,
Maskhadov's envoy is a backup player in this game, who will enter the
field when the moment is ripe.
The question is when is the right time for negotiating? What may happen
after the referendum? The latter question has been partially answered by
Umar Avturkhanov, who headed the pro-Moscow opposition fighting against
Dudaev's regime in Chechnya in 1994.
Like Arsanov, Avturkhanov has recently reappeared on the scene after many
years of political oblivion. After the pro-Russian Provisional Council,
headed by Avturkhanov, was disbanded in 1995, he got a job at the federal
tax service and seemed to have left politics. But a few days ago
Avturkhanov hosted a Chechen roundtable in the Golden Room of Moscow's
prestigious Rossiya Hotel.
Avturkhanov announced that he had met with rebel negotiators in Karabulak,
Ingushetia, at the end of January. The two sides agreed to form a steering
committee of the National Council of Chechnya. The purpose of the council
is to find a peaceful settlement in collaboration with the rebels.
Avturkhanov believes the effort should start with drafting an amnesty law,
as fighters will never return to peaceful life without cast-iron
guarantees of immunity.
But this point has already sparked controversy. No legislation will
guarantee safety for the rebels as long as Chechnya is controlled by
Instances have been reported when former rebels surrendering to federal
troops were executed or mysteriously "disappeared". Partial withdrawal of
federal troops appears to be essential to Chechen reconciliation. Power
should be transferred to civilian authorities. These are crucial issues
that cannot be solved as long as Russian military authorities in Chechnya
disobey the Kremlin's orders.
Avturkhanov also suggests that Moscow should appoint a commissioner for
Chechnya who would combine military and civilian powers, and report
personally to Putin. This way, he argues, federal military would be
deprived of their omnipotence in Chechnya. Naturally, Avturkhanov is
prepared to volunteer as such a commissioner.
Avturkhanov told IWPR he has no claim to the presidency and is therefore
free to negotiate with marginalised rebel leader Shamil Basaev and Muslim
militants of the Wahhabi movement.
Are these plans viable? Peace brokering is a risky business in Russia.
Avturkhanov is not guaranteed to win even though he reportedly enjoys the
backing of certain FSB factions and business tycoons who would like to see
Certainly, these contacts weaken Kadyrov and show that he has many rivals
for the leadership of Chechnya. He earlier insisted that under the new
draft constitution, candidates for president should have lived for ten
years in Chechnya, which would have
excluded Chechen pretenders resident in Moscow. But this point has been
removed, giving hope to some of Kadyrov's competitors.
Kadyrov it seems has the trust only of Putin himself - and even this could
change later in the year.
The true balance of forces will become more apparent after March 23.
Russia faces limit on oil exports until 2005-report
MOSCOW, March 7 (Reuters) - Russia's Transneft is not building oil
pipelines quick enough to pump rising output, Alfa Bank said on Friday,
forcing Moscow to face continuing domestic gluts and a cap on significantly
Alfa Bank said it expected crude oil production to rise by at least 16
percent by 2005 to 9.4 million barrels per day from the current 8.1 million
bpd, possibly allowing Russia to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's top
It said output growth would require the expansion of state monopoly
Transneft's export capacity of 3.5 million bpd by at least 1.8 million bpd.
But such an enlargement, it said, seemed highly unlikely given the projects
planned by the monopoly before 2005.
By 2005, Transneft plans to expand the port of Primorsk on the Gulf of
Finland, Novorossiisk on the Black Sea and Butinge in Lithuania. It also
intends to start shipping crude to Croatia's Adriatic port of Omisalj.
"As these projects would boost export capacities by about 400,000 bpd
between 2003-04, they would only ease the current situation," said the
report, which added that Russia's export capacity deficit would stand at
930,000 bpd by 2005.
Russia's oil production is booming for the fifth straight year and oil
majors already face a huge domestic oil glut. That has twice halved local
prices in the past two winters, when Transneft was forced to slash exports
due to bad weather.
The report said the situation could ease after 2005 if the state quickly
supported a project by Russia's No 2 oil firm YUKOS to build a
400,000-600,000 bpd pipeline to China at a cost of $1.7 billion.
"The quicker it is built, the better. Should construction start this
the project would likely be completed before the end of 2005," the report
Russia's government is due to decide on March 13 whether to support a
pipeline route to China, an alternative plan to build a pipeline to the
Pacific or an idea to combine the two.
The report said the project to the Pacific could add as much as one million
bpd to export capacity, but its main disadvantage was that construction
would be completed only by 2009.
"The prospects for implementation of both projects are rather doubtful,
there would simply not be enough crude to fill a pipeline with an overall
capacity of 1.6 million bpd," the report said.
A long-term export solution could be found if the state supported a plan by
the four largest private majors to construct a one million bpd terminal in
the Arctic port of Murmansk as a pipeline to China would leave the capacity
"Ownership of the Murmansk pipe remains a major stumbling block. While
majors planning to invest in these rather costly pipelines want partial
ownership, the government is unlikely to cede control," said Alfa Bank.
It also said it expected significant changes in the hierarchy of Russia's
top oil producers by 2005, with YUKOS overtaking LUKOIL as the top oil firm
with output of 2.0 million bpd and LUKOIL's producing 1.73 million bpd.
Electoral Commission's Veshnyakov Mulls Upcoming Elections, Open Lists,
March 4, 2003
Interview with Central Electoral Commission Head Aleksandr Veshnyakov
by Armen Urikhanyan; date and place not given: "Open Party Lists Would
There is less than a month left before the
beginning of the work of the new line-up of the Russian Central Electoral
Commission [TsIK], which soon faces holding the federal elections. In
an exclusive Vremya MN interview, Russian Federation TsIK Chairman
Aleksandr Veshnyakov gave his assessment of the commission's work and
talked about its upcoming plans. And about his own too.
[Urikhanyan] Aleksandr Albertovich, are you reckoning on taking up the
post of chairman of the Russian Central Electoral Commission again?
[Veshnyakov] Yes, I was not hiding that three years ago and, naturally,
am not hiding it now, one month before the Central Electoral Commission's
first organizational session. I believe that I have grounds to lay
claim to this job. But at the same time I understand that it is an
elected post and I am not ruling out the possibility that there will be
[Urikhanyan] What is the most important thing that your commission has
managed to do to improve the electoral system?
[Veshnyakov] In my view, the Central Electoral Commission's work merits
a positive assessment, something that is to a certain extent confirmed by
the federal state power bodies' attitude toward our commission.
When new TsIK members were being appointed a few days ago, three of the
current line-up obtained State Duma support.
Russia's regions also listen to our commission's opinion, which has
become influential. In its turn, the Federation Council has left Nina
Kulyasova and Sergey Bolshakov in the Russian TsIK line-up. Moreover,
they were supported by over thirty federation components.
The most important thing that we have managed to do to improve the
electoral system is that there has been a heightening of the role and
responsibility of political parties in the election process. The
updated legal norms will allow the elimination of many negative phenomena
spotted in the practice of our elections, especially regional ones. The
tasks we had been set were mainly accomplished a year before the
elections and the laws that have been adopted received overwhelming
support in the State Duma and Federation Council. That means we have
been able to correctly determine the sore points in the electoral process
and have proposed way to legally cure them that are entirely adequate at
[Urikhanyan] When will the final Central Electoral Commission line-up
reshuffle take place? What is known about the president's block of
[Veshnyakov] Two blocks of five -- ten commission members -- have
already been appointed. I think the Russian President will appoint the
third block of five in the next two weeks. That is to say, the entire
commission line-up will be appointed before mid-March and its first
organizational session will take place roughly on 30 March but certainly
after 23 March, when the current line-up's powers end.
Regarding the president's block of five, I can say that they will be
people worthy of working in the commission. People who are already
Russian TsIK members and people who have a good knowledge of election law
and the election process will be represented among them.
[Urikhanyan] Who does the president intend to nominate? What is known
about your candidacy?
[Veshnyakov] It is somewhat improper to name the other candidates. I
have long been invited to be among those appointed by the Russian
president. I agreed to this offer and so declined initiatives to be
nominated through the State Duma or Federation Council quotas.
[Urikhanyan] What is your assessment of the politicized voting in the
Duma and the rather placid voting in the Federation Council?
[Veshnyakov] I would not say that people voted in a very politicized
way in the Duma.
After all, it is structurally different from the upper house and that is
natural. A fight developed between the SPS [Union of Right-Wing Forces]
and Yabloko factions for representation on the TsIK and it was settled
within the adopted rules. At the same time, it must be borne in mind
that there were not seven candidates but several tens of candidates.
The main procedures to coordinate them took place in the run-up to the
session itself and the rest took place there at the plenary session. As
regards the Federation Council, many Russian Federation components
managed to consolidate around the most worthy candidates. It was
entirely fair that the vote was held on all thirteen candidates who had
the right to run. Some people well known for their professionalism in
the regions received almost unanimous support. At the same time, I will
not hide the fact that component heads consulted me in a number of cases.
[Urikhanyan] What will the new line-up's top-priority tasks be?
[Veshnyakov] Above all, we must prepare for the first organizational
session, at which we must elect a chairman, deputy chairman, and TsIK
Secretary, determine its main areas of activity, and assign specific
commission members to them.
We must prepare thoroughly. After all, around half the line-up, or
maybe a little less, will be new people. It is a good thing when there
is some renewal. But they will naturally have to adapt somewhat.
Another top-priority tasks is to continue the campaign to prepare for the
federal elections without a pause while at the same time drafting the
numerous normative documents required by the legislation. It is best to
do this before the beginning of the election campaign in order to get
them to potential election campaign participants and political parties in
It is important to prepare methodological materials to help commissions
(district and regional) in order that work proceed not chaotically but
systematically. We have an enormous number of district commissions,
94,000 across Russia. In addition to this, we must roll out an
information campaign among voters, who should know their rights to take
part in the election process and the consequences of not taking part.
So there is large-scale work ahead to implement the norms of the current
laws. The most important thing is to work in such a way as to make
high-quality preparation for the forthcoming campaign, which is expected
to start on 1 September.
[Urikhanyan] You have repeatedly suggested that State Duma deputy
elections be held on open party lists. Could such a procedure be
introduced in the upcoming parliamentary elections? Or is it a matter
for the future?
[Veshnyakov] Yes, I regret that we did not manage to solve this
question when modernizing the election legislation. But we did manage
to enshrine one element to some extent. In the future, federal lists
must be broken down into at least seven regional groups. At the same
time, no one is prohibiting the parties from breaking the list down into
a greater number of groups. From my point of view, if a party goes down
the road of its lists being open by breaking them down into regional
groups and by personifying the lists for each group, in the end the party
will benefit. Then no one will be able to hurl a reproach saying that
people appear on your list not for their ideological principles but
simply as sponsors of your election campaign. Our mass media and our
voters must bear this in mind. As regards the possibility of making
lists open through legislation -- that is a matter for the future. The
federation components can do it now when the proportional system is
coming into being and being applied in the regions. We are ready to
[Urikhanyan] In the second half of the year, regional elections will be
held on party lists. What is your attitude toward the criticism
alleging that local parliaments will become too politicized and will not
solve vital problems in the components?
[Veshnyakov] This criticism does contain a certain grain of truth.
But if we lay down a system of open party lists or a system whereby a
party list is attached to parts of a federation component and whereby
candidates on the party lists are directly tied to specific voters, they
will be closer to the needs and problems voters live with whether they
want to or not. This legal basis is entirely capable of weakening
politicization and, on the other hand, structuring local parliaments in
terms of the main political views and assessments of the situation in the
region. It can lead not to the atomization and fragmentariness that are
sometimes currently present in parliaments elected by the
first-past-the-post system but to a more systematic view on current
issues and to decisions being made by two-five factions in the
legislative power body. After all, world practice has proved that it is
always hard to reach an agreement when twenty-thirty interest groups
assemble and sometimes the parliamentary system is altogether
[Urikhanyan] Some people believe that along with its convenience, an
electronic voting system will allow the authorities to exert
administrative control. Perhaps that is why Europe, which is far ahead
of us technically, nevertheless uses the traditional manual system for
[Veshnyakov] We are not particularly hurrying anywhere in this matter.
It must be solved cautiously like in other countries. Incidentally,
talking about Europe, elements of electronic voting are being used in
Great Britain and France. We will only use it when we get certain
guarantees that the system ensures complete security from the
possibilities of falsification, including falsification for any
administrative names. In this we are acting in a much more cautious
and, in my view, more considered manner than even our colleagues in the
United States, for example. They are already using electronic voting
there. When I asked them a question, "OK, the vote has taken place.
As a voter, I have pressed a button for my candidate. But what
confidence do I have that the computer has accepted precisely my result
and that there is no other program embedded there ascribing, for example,
52% to Bush?"
We have set our developers a condition that, after voting, a voter get a
chit from the computer, a small piece of paper with the result of his
vote. After this, the piece of paper is dropped into a ballot box.
That is to say, if there are any unexpected doubts about the data that
then come through the electronic system, they can always be checked.
This requirement extends to our information system, the Vybory
[Elections] state automated system, as a whole. It allows information
to be very quickly collected, transferred, and processed. If it did not
exist, we would spend three-five days calculating the results. Such an
enormous time interval would open up opportunities for manipulation.
Here we immediately establish the results of the vote from each polling
place and immediately put them up on view. In accordance with the law,
we will now put them on the Internet. This creates the opportunity to
include the powerful mechanism of public supervision.
That is also our innovation, our Russian know-how. Other countries are
technically unprepared for such a scale. I have no doubt that the
future lies with electronic voting. The 21st century is a century of
information technology and you can convince yourself of this with your
own example. Ten years ago, a cell phone was something fantastic and
out of this world but it has now become a commonplace accessory of a
significant section of citizens, especially those living in Moscow.