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JRL #7106 ~ RAS 17 Plain Text - Entire Issue

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From the editor


1. Russian public opinion and human rights

2. Restrictions on the funding of political parties


3. The tax police


4. Physical growth in children

5. The affordability of prescribed drugs

6. Social determinants of access to healthcare


7. Who are the Dagestanis?


8. North Korea: a Russian perspective

9. Russia--Turkey: rivals no longer?


10. Why did Khrushchev survive Stalin?

11. Feedback: CIA estimates of the Soviet economy


12. Oil and mineral water



My apologies to those who were expecting the announced special issue on the
early post-revolutionary years this month. I am deferring it until I have
received and read a new Russian study on war communism.

Tuberculosis in Russia and the FSU, especially in its drug-resistant
strains, is almost as great a threat to regional and global public health
as AIDS, but does not receive the same level of public attention. I have
therefore decided to prepare a special issue on the subject. As always,
your suggestions are welcome.

Stephen D. Shenfield




SOURCE. Theodore P. Gerber and Sarah E. Mendelson, "Russian Public Opinion
on Human Rights and the War in Chechnya," Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 18, No.
4, October-December 2002, pp. 271-305

A number of recent public opinion studies have reached quite optimistic
conclusions about the strength of Russians' commitment to democratic values
in general and human rights in particular. On the basis of survey data
collected in September and October 2001, (1) Theodore Gerber (University of
Arizona) and Sarah Mendelson (Center for Strategic and International
Studies, Washington) challenge this body of work and argue that "optimism
with respect to human rights norms is premature."

The data analyzed by Gerber and Mendelson do not look very different from
the data of other researchers. Why then are their conclusions so different?

[1] A general point. Their methods of question design and data analysis are
more sophisticated than those of most other researchers. They avoid the
usual traps that cause sociologists to misinterpret statistical data. (2)

[2] They take a much more skeptical attitude to respondents' statements of
support for human rights. Thus they dispute the conclusion of Colton and
McFaul that support for "civic and personal freedoms" is extremely high
among Russians because in a 1999 survey 70--87 percent of respondents said
that freedom of thought, expression, press, and religion are "important" as
opposed to "not important." (3) In the authors' view, questions like "Do
you consider such and such a right important or not?" are "abstract": they
do not reveal depth of commitment, which becomes evident only when
respondents are asked about concrete situations and are forced to balance
human rights against other priorities.

Gerber and Mendelson tackle this problem by correlating respondents'
"abstract" expressions of opinion with their views on human rights abuses
in Chechnya and government policy pertaining to the war there. (4)

[3] They formulate a more differentiated set of response options that
distinguish "strong support" for a right (The observance of this right
should be a top priority of the state) from "weak support" (This right
should, of course, be observed, but in our current circumstances there are
other more important priorities).

They find that there is NO correlation between views on Chechnya and
support for rights (lumping together strong and weak support), but that
there is a correlation, albeit a modest one, between views on Chechnya and
strong support for rights. (5) Therefore only strong support for rights is
of practical significance, while "weak support is just that -- weak."

Here are the proportions of respondents who express strong support for
various rights:

- right to a minimum standard of living 89 percent
- right to private property 80 percent
- right to a job 79 percent

- freedom from torture 73 percent
- freedom from arbitrary arrest 60 percent

- freedom of expression 37 percent
- freedom of religion and conscience 26 percent
- freedom of association 25 percent

Thus economic rights are strongly supported by a large majority, but civil
liberties are strongly supported by only a minority, with rights of the
person in between. (6)

Respondents were invited to choose up to two from a list of six "goals" and
six corresponding "threats" that "would justify the suspension of at least
some human rights." For instance, the threat "weakening of state power"
corresponded to the goal "to strengthen state power." The other goal-threat
pairs pertained to the country's economic situation, its international
status, corruption and mafia structures, social order and the crime rate,
and terrorism. Respondents could also indicate "other" or approve the
statement that "none of these goals (threats) can justify limiting human

Only 19 percent consistently said that no goal or threat justified limiting
human rights. Three-quarters said that human rights could be limited in the
interest of public order (i.e., to fight crime, terrorism and/or
corruption). One-third (34 percent) said that economic goals could justify
limiting human rights; state power or international status could justify it
for 28 percent.

In what sections of the population is support for human rights
concentrated? The authors' data "provide little support for the
conventional wisdom about the demographic, material, and geographic bases
of democratic norms." Thus:

* The young are NOT more democratically minded than their elders. In fact,
"younger Russians are somewhat LESS likely than their grandparents to
strongly support civil liberties."

* The highly educated are more likely than the least educated to strongly
support human rights, but not by a very wide margin (15 percent versus 8
percent for civil liberties).

* Family income has "a substantively trivial effect" on support for civil
liberties and rights of the person.

The authors identified only two variables that make a big difference:

* The self-employed are considerably more likely than other Russians
(controlling for income) to strongly support civil liberties, though not
economic rights.

* Strong support for rights is on average most common among residents of
large cities (over one million population). BUT it varies widely from one
large city to another. The citizens of St. Petersburg are much more
supportive of civil liberties and rights of the person than Muscovites are;
other large cities tend to lie between the two. Even rural villagers are
more supportive of civil liberties than Muscovites are. The least
supportive of civil liberties are inhabitants of small towns (40-80,000


(1) A set of questions formulated by the authors was included in the
"Monitoring" survey of the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion and Market
Research (VTsIOM). The sample size was 2,405.

(2) The typical practice in American universities is for students of
sociology to take (reluctantly) a single compulsory course in statistics
that equips them only to follow a standard set of statistical procedures in
"cookbook" fashion. It is clear that Gerber and Mendelson -- wonder of
wonders! -- really do understand the methods they use. I do not go into
this in detail because the issues are technical and unlikely to be of
interest to many readers, but I am willing to discuss the matter with
anyone who is interested.

(3) See RAS No. 11 item 3. Another optimistic study was summarized in RAS
No. 1 item 11; others are cited and discussed in the source. RAS No. 12
item 2 is also relevant.

(4) The authors' findings concerning Russian public opinion on Chechnya
were summarized in RAS No. 7 item 9. They suggest that future research
correlate abstract expressions of opinion with concrete views on the trials
of alleged spies like Nikitin and Sutyagin or on the shutting down of media
that criticize the government.

(5) The authors persuasively argue that a crucial reason why abstract
support for human rights does not translate more effectively into
opposition to human rights abuses in Chechnya is the poor media coverage of
such abuses (a striking contrast with the first Chechen war). More Russians
would demonstrate practical support for human rights if they were better
informed. However, they are poorly informed in part because they do not
care very much about freedom of the press.

(6) More complex analysis reveals that "support for civil liberties is even
weaker than these numbers indicate."




SOURCE. Jeff Gleisner, The Funding of Political Parties in Russia
(1998-2001). Unpublished paper

A major step in Putin's drive to reshape Russia's multiparty system as
"managed pluralism" (1) was the July 2001 federal law on political parties.
An important aspect of the law is the restrictions that it imposes on the
funding of political parties, which are analyzed in this paper. (2)

The restrictions on funding are one part of a broad range of restrictions
imposed on parties. Responsibility for monitoring party activity and
enforcing restrictions belongs to the Ministry of Justice, whose
representatives are entitled to attend all party meetings.

A party must have a minimum of 10,000 members. (Previously the minimum was
5,000.) To prevent any party from representing regional interests members
must be spread out among all subjects of the federation (SFs), with at
least 100 in each of 45 SFs and at least 50 in each of the remaining 44
SFs. Nor can the members of a party belong to a single profession. A party
cannot espouse a religious, racial, ethnic or professional cause, though it
can stand for "social justice." All members must be individuals: collective
membership is forbidden.

A party must meet minimum norms for participation in elections of various
kinds (parliamentary, presidential, gubernatorial, regional, and
municipal). For example, it must field candidates at municipal elections in
at least half of the SFs. Failure to meet such a norm over a period of five
years constitutes grounds for suspension of a party's registration.

Not only must parties contest elections, but they are the sole type of
organization permitted to do so. (Back to "what is not compulsory is
forbidden"?) Civic associations of other kinds, which were previously free
to put up candidates, can now participate only indirectly, by joining
electoral blocs with political parties.

Parties are not allowed to accept donations from:

* anonymous donors

* foreign states, organizations, and citizens; or Russian companies with a
foreign capital stake over 30 percent; or stateless persons; or
international organizations or international social movements

* government bodies at any level; or organizations 30 percent or more of
whose property is owned by government

* charities

* religious associations

* organizations that have not been registered for at least one year

Ceilings are set on the size of donations that a party can accept in any
one year. (3) An individual donor can give up to R1m and an organization up
to R10m. Up to a further R1m can be taken in cash collections. Total
donations to a party must not exceed R1bn (to a regional party organization

Parties that pass certain thresholds of electoral performance will receive
small amounts of state funding: $1m a year are to be assigned for this
purpose from 2004 on. A party that receives at least 3 percent of the
party-list vote in a Duma election OR at least 2 percent of the party-list
vote plus 12 or more single-mandate seats will get 50 kopecks for each
vote, as will a party whose candidate wins at least 3 percent in a
presidential election.

Parties are allowed to raise funds from joining fees and membership dues,
the size of which is not regulated, and also from business operations. They
are allowed to conduct business in three areas: media and publishing; real
estate; and the production and sale of party souvenirs. (Previously parties
were allowed to go into any kind of legal business.)


(1) See RAS No. 16 item 1.

(2) The author is a leading British expert on parliamentarism in
post-Soviet Russia: see RAS No. 2 item 3. The paper also analyzes the
financial reporting requirements imposed on parties and the ways in which
specific parties were funded in 2001. I do not cover these matters.

(3) The ceilings cited are based on an announcement in February 2002 by
Yelena Dubrovna, chair of the working group on parties of the Central
Electoral Commission.




SOURCE. Gerald M. Easter (Boston College), "The Russian Tax Police,"
Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 18, No. 4, October-December 2002, pp. 332-362

As a hybrid fiscal and security agency, the tax police is a response to the
specific difficulties of tax collection in post-communist society. There
was no need for a tax police in the USSR, nor do most Western countries
have one. (1)

Russia's first tax police was set up in March 1992 within the State Tax
Service (GNS) as the Main Administration of Tax Investigations (GUNR). Its
officers, drawn from the old KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD),
and the Ministry of Defense, had the job of enforcing revenue claims and
protecting (mainly female) GNS personnel from death threats.

The GUNR resented subordination to the civilian GNS and pressed for
autonomous status. In June 1993 the two bodies were separated and the
GUNR's mandate expanded to cover prevention as well as exposure and
suppression of tax crimes and official corruption. Soon it was given the
right to initiate investigations on its own, even of companies that had
passed GNS audits, and refer criminal cases directly to the procuracy
instead of through the MVD.

In December 1995, the GUNR was upgraded to the Federal Service of the Tax
Police (FSNP) while the GNS became the Ministry of Taxes and Collections
(MNS). But its autonomy was still contested: attempts were made to
subordinate it to the MNS, the MVD or the Ministry of Finances. The issue
was settled in December 1998 when the FSNP was placed directly under the

The FSNP was further strengthened in the period following the 1998 crash.
It was given greater powers to seize property, recruit informants, and
conduct secret investigations, and crimes pertaining to banking, trade,
foreign currency, real estate, bankruptcy, and licensing were added to its
mandate. (2) However, its director Vyacheslav Soltaganov (appointed in
March 1999) did not realize his ambition to make the tax police responsible
for fighting ALL economic crime. For instance, misappropriation of
budgetary funds and the defense of the interests of investors and
shareholders remained matters for the Audit Chamber and the Federal
Securities Commission respectively.

The position of the tax police has now stabilized. Mikhail Fradkov, whom
Putin appointed to succeed Soltaganov in spring 2001, does not press for an
FSNP monopoly on fighting economic crime. Cooperation between the FSNP and
the MNS has been renewed.

The FSNP inherits the corporate culture of the Soviet security
establishment. Its officers (like KGB officers in Soviet times) appear in
pulp fiction and the TV serial "Maroseika, 12" as tireless and selfless
fighters for state interests against the forces of evil. Soltaganov
deviated from the stereotype in playing down the role of coercion and
stressing the need for lower tax rates and a cooperative relationship with
business. But Fradkov again places the main emphasis on coercion, despite
his own background being not in the force structures but in the Ministry of
Foreign Economic Relations. He wants mandatory jail terms and confiscation
of property for those found guilty of major tax crimes. "It is necessary
that people be afraid of us." (3)

Within the FSNP there is an Administration for Physical Defense consisting
of teams of 5--7 men, many drawn from the old KGB elite Alfa force. If a
tax police inspector feels that he is under physical threat at a business
office or is simply not being treated with due deference -- if, say,
company employees argue back instead of obeying instructions or insist on
the presence of a lawyer -- he can call in such a team. They arrive wearing
black ski masks and toting automatic rifles. About a third of all
investigations involve such a "mask show."

The author traces how the FSNP's caseload has evolved over time. The number
of violations of tax laws exposed has fluctuated widely from year to year
(e.g., 57,000 in 1994 but a mere 18,633 in 1998). The number of criminal
cases initiated reached about 6,000 per year in 1996-98 and then shot up to
32,000 in 2001 (out of 48,000 violations). The increasing proportion of
audits that generate criminal cases is attributed in part to the expanding
powers and mandate of the agency.

More interesting is the shift that has occurred in the targets of

* While firms still constitute the majority of targets, the proportion of
individuals investigated has risen (11 percent in 1996, 30 percent in 1998).

* The proportion of large businesses among those investigated has
increased. This is reflected in the proportion of all violations exposed
that are classified as "huge" tax crimes (only 14 percent in 1994 but about
60 percent in 1999).

In the early 1990s, the tax police concentrated their fire on traders in
consumer goods -- in particular, on cross-border smuggling of cheap alcohol
and tobacco (an activity still of major concern). They were barred from
pursuing big companies with high-level political connections, even though
it was their tax payments or non-payments that were crucial to the state
budget at both federal and regional level. By the mid-1990s many of these
companies were deep in arrears.

Only since the late 1990s has the FSNP been allowed to investigate large
firms, beginning with the investigations into AvtoVaz and LukOil in 1997
and into the Kuzbass coal industry in 1998. Some effort has been made to
uncover dubious import-export operations and money laundering in the
commercial banking sector. (4)

However, big business interests have been targeted selectively. Political
motives often play a clear role. Thus in summer 2000, when the oligarchs
Gusinsky and Berezovsky fell out of favor, the tax police were unleashed
against their business and media empires. Putin has also used the tax
police as an instrument for reining in independent regional bosses by
undermining their economic base. For example:

* In 2000, investigations were opened into Kamaz and other companies in
Tatarstan that were formerly under the patronage and protection of
President Shaimiev.

* In 2001, companies in the Maritime Territory [Primorsky krai] came under
scrutiny in connection with Putin's drive to unseat governor Nazdratenko. (5)

How much difference have the tax police made to tax collection? According
to the FSNP's own estimates, the proportion of total state revenue that was
collected through their efforts rose from 2 percent in 1994-95 to 3 percent
in 1996-97, and peaked at 6.6 percent (of a low total) in 1998. In 1999 the
ratio was 3.7 percent, in 2000 2.5 percent, and in 2001 4.6 percent. These
figures may not seem very impressive, but Professor Easter points out that
"this contribution is a significant amount for a law enforcement agency."
The FSNP is "a profit-making agency for the state budget," returning 20-30
rubles for every ruble spent on its upkeep.


(1) Italy with its Financial Guard is an exception. `A tax police exists in
several post-Soviet states (Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan) as well as China, Romania, and

(2) By July 2002, 53 crimes came under FSNP jurisdiction. Tax police
offices have also been established in the federal districts.

(3) Rossiiskaia gazeta, March 14, 2001

(4) See the account of "black cash" tax evasion in RAS No. 1 item 2.

(5) Regional bosses have also used the regional tax police to harass local
opposition media. See RAS No. 6 item 2.




SOURCE. T. M. Maksimova, Sovremennoe sostoianie, tendentsii i perspektivnye
otsenki zdorov'ia naseleniia [Contemporary State, Tendencies, and Prospects
of the Health of the Population]. Moscow: Per Se, 2002, pp. 61-87

While cited less often than infant mortality and life expectancy, the
physical growth of children and adolescents (assessed mainly in terms of
height, body weight, and circumference of ribcage) is an important
indicator of the present and especially future health of a population. (1)
Data on the physical growth of children and adolescents have been collected
periodically in the USSR and Russia using a standardized methodology since
the early 1960s, permitting analysis of long-term trends.

The greatest improvement in growth indicators occurred in the 1970s. While
a comparison between the 1980s and 1990s reveals no uniform pattern of
deterioration, in a majority of regions average height stopped growing and
average weight fell, returning the situation back to that characteristic of
the 1960s. The proportion of children whose physical development was
"normal" declined from 68-70 percent in 1991-93 to 55-56 percent in
1995-97; then it recovered to 67 percent in 2000.

As in the past, average growth indicators vary substantially among regions.
Thus the difference in average height between the best regions and the
worst is 3-4 cm. The worst regions include the northern part of Siberia and
European Russia, some depressed areas of central European Russia, (2) Mari
El, and Orenburg province. The best places include Moscow, Ulyanovsk, Omsk,
and Kemerovo. However, even in Moscow the proportion of children with
height and weight deficits increased during most of the 1990s. A shift
toward later menarche (age at which menstruation starts) was also observed
in girls.

Even within a single city, average height and weight may vary significantly
between one district and another, depending on distance from industrial
enterprises and other ecologically harmful objects. (3)

Children's growth is very strongly correlated with the adequacy of their
diet. In surveys conducted in 1996-97, over one half (51 percent) of mother
respondents said they were unable to provide their children with diets of
adequate nutritional value (i.e., with enough meat, fruit, dairy products,
etc.). Over one quarter (27 percent) said that their children at least
sometimes did not get enough to eat even quantitatively, and one tenth said
that they were constantly underfed. In these families, children are
shorter, lighter, and physically less active. The author notes that feeding
at preschool institutions is inadequate while feeding at school has all but

The adequacy of children's diet is mostly a function of their parents'
income, though how parents use their income is also a factor. In
particular, children of fathers who abuse alcohol are more likely to be
underweight. According to mothers' reports, the proportion of families with
alcoholic fathers doubled from 7 percent in 1991 to 14 percent in 1996.

Of course, some children are under height or underweight as a result of
medical conditions of genetic rather than environmental origin. Even in
families where the living standard is above average and the parents report
being in good health, 3 percent of the children are physically
underdeveloped. The author uses this figure as a baseline for assessing the
impact of low income and poor parental health. Proportions of
underdeveloped children in other types of family are as follows:

average living standard
parental health good -- 9 percent

below average living standard
parental health good -- 17 percent

below average living standard
parental health satisfactory -- 26 percent

below average living standard
parental health poor -- 45 percent


(1) Since 1996 the EU has regarded life expectancy and average height of
adolescents as health indicators of equal value.

(2) In the north of European Russia, Vologda has especially poor
indicators, and in central European Russia Ivanovo province and the city of
Kineshma in particular.

(3) This was demonstrated by a comparison carried out in 1998 between the
industrial district of Kemerovo and other parts of the city.




SOURCE. As preceding item, pp. 139-41

"Practically every visit to the physician ends with the writing of a
prescription." According to surveys of physicians, 80-90 percent of
physicians discuss the cost of drugs with their patients, although surveys
of patients suggest that such discussion occurs in only 45 percent of
cases. The usual outcome of the discussion is that the physician prescribes
a drug that is cheaper but less effective than the one she would have
preferred to choose, often leading to complications, death or some other
unfavorable outcome. Despite physicians' efforts to accommodate patients'
limited purchasing power, surveys show that 12--16 percent of sick people
are still unable to buy the drugs prescribed for them.

In a population survey conducted in 1999, respondents were asked to what
extent they could afford drugs prescribed for themselves or their children.

* 40 percent said they would buy a drug regardless of price if it was for
their child, but only 14 percent if it was for themselves.

* 33 percent would be able to buy only a drug that was cheap enough if it
was for their child, 56 percent if it was for themselves.

* 5--6 percent would seek financial help from relatives.

* 15 percent said they would leave their own condition untreated; only 0.3
percent said they would get no medicine for their child.

However, the situation is worse than these figures indicate because those
groups that have most need of medicine -- in particular, the elderly -- are
least able to afford it. The proportion of people in good or excellent
health who say they would buy a prescribed drug regardless of price is 2.7
times greater than the proportion of people in poor health who say the
same. The author remarks that many healthy people may make this statement
because they have not encountered the problem: that is, they do not realize
how expensive a drug might be.

Matters would be yet worse were it not for the fact that 15 percent of the
population, including almost 40 percent of people aged 50 and over, have
privileged access to medicines.

In a survey of pediatricians conducted in Moscow in 2000, 86 percent took
the view that the necessary children's drugs are on sale in pharmacies but
are beyond the reach of the mass of parents. Another 5 percent stated that
some necessary drugs are often missing from pharmacies. About 40 percent of
those pediatricians questioned who had children of their own said that they
too were unable to afford the necessary drugs for them.




SOURCE. Nina L. Rusinova (Russian Academy of Sciences) and Julie V. Brown
(University of North Carolina), "Social Inequality and Strategies for
Getting Medical Care in Post-Soviet Russia," Health: An Interdisciplinary
Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine [Sage
Publications], Vol. 7, Issue 1 (January 2003)

On the basis of in-depth interviews conducted in St. Petersburg, the
authors examine the relationship between people's social status and the
strategies they use to seek medical help. Unsurprisingly, they find that
access to medical care varies greatly with social status.

Access depends not only on income but also on education: even at the same
income level, people with more education receive better health care. Those
with connections and better knowledge of the state medical system are able
to interact more effectively with physicians, take greater advantage of
supposedly free services, and thereby gain access to the best care. The
brunt of the inadequacies of impoverished and inefficient state medicine is
therefore born by those who lack both the skills to "work" the system and
the resources to pay for private care outside it. This reinforces the
long-standing cultural predisposition to delay treatment until health
problems become more difficult and costly to manage.




SOURCE. Robert Bruce Ware, Enver F. Kisriev, Werner J. Patzelt, and Ute
Roericht, "Dagestani Perspectives on Russia and Chechnya," Post-Soviet
Affairs, Vol. 18, No. 4, October-December 2002, pp. 306-331

With 14 recognized principal ethnic groups and 20 other ethnic groups
identified by ethnographers, Dagestan (in the northeastern Caucasus) is
unrivaled in Russia and the FSU for the complexity of its ethnic relations.
In the spring of 2000, the authors (1) conducted a survey of the political
attitudes of 1001 Dagestanis, supplemented by open-ended interviews with 40
members of the Dagestani intelligentsia.

The interviewers faced formidable logistical and security problems.
Traveling to interview people face to face was often dangerous, while
telephone interviewing could not be relied on because many Dagestanis,
including most villagers, lack telephones. Even when respondents could be
reached, it was not easy to secure their cooperation. As a result, the data
do not meet the usual criteria of Western sociology. Nevertheless, they are
the best data -- indeed, the only non-anecdotal data -- available on
Dagestani public opinion. Nobody has even attempted such a survey before.

Respondents were offered a list of 5 identity categories -- Dagestan,
Russia, their ethnic group, their religion (in most cases Islam), and their
djamaat (a traditional political entity consisting of a group of related
villages) -- and asked to choose one or two categories that were most
important to them. The proportions choosing each category were as follows:

Dagestan 74 percent
Russia 64 percent
ethnicity 14.5 percent
religion 10.5 percent
djamaat 6 percent

Thus, contrary to conventional stereotype, broad civic identities (Dagestan
and Russia) are more important to the majority of Dagestanis than
traditional group identities (ethnicity, religion, djamaat).

Moreover, this identity pattern prevails among each of the main ethnic
groups except the Chechens who live in the northwest of Dagestan close to
the border with Chechnya (Chechen-Akhins) and are much less integrated into
Dagestani and -- more broadly -- Russian society. Their choices were:

Dagestan 47 percent
Russia 23 percent
ethnicity 40 percent
religion 51 percent
djamaat 11 percent

There is also a significant difference between the sexes, with women less
inclined than men to identify with traditional categories:

Dagestan men -- 73 percent women -- 74 percent
Russia men -- 61 percent women -- 66 percent
ethnicity men -- 17 percent women -- 12 percent
religion men -- 12 percent women -- 9 percent
djamaat men -- 7 percent women -- 5 percent

Question: On what principles should the Dagestani state be built -- those
of Islam and Shariah (Islamic law), those of Western democracies, or those
of socialism?

The breakdown of responses was:

socialism 63 percent
Western democracy 22.5 percent
Islam 11 percent

Here there was considerable variation by ethnic group. Support for both
Western democracy and an Islamic state was well above average among
Chechens (34 and 36 percent respectively). Laks also deviated from the
general pattern, dividing fairly evenly between Western democracy (38
percent) and socialism (48 percent).

Question: What external factors could threaten the stability of Dagestan?
How serious are these threats? (a) from Russia, (b) from Chechnya, (c) from
Western countries, (d) from Eastern countries.

Overall, Russia is seen as the least threatening of the four, Chechnya as
much more threatening, with Western and Eastern countries in between.
However, not only many Chechens but also many Avars and Kumyks are afraid
of Russia. Russians and Laks are particularly prone to see a threat from
Eastern countries.

Question: How should the relationship of Dagestan and Russia develop?
Should it grow even closer, stay as it is, or should Dagestan become more

Although the independence option is phrased in relative terms -- "more
independent" rather than "independent" -- it was chosen by only 15 percent
of respondents (albeit by 36 percent of Chechens and 23 percent of Avars).
A clear majority (63 percent) chose the "even closer" option.

Thus it would require a massive shift in Dagestani opinion to justify fears
of Dagestan seceding from Russia. But in the authors' opinion, Dagestanis
might become alienated from Moscow if Putin insists on bringing Dagestan's
unique political institutions into line with the rest of the Russian
Federation. These complex institutions have evolved to preserve an ethnic
balance of power. Above all, the administration is headed by the State
Council, a collegial body each of whose 14 members represents one of the
principle recognized ethnic groups. (2) Proposals to replace the State
Council by a one-man president have been defeated in three referenda. So
far Dagestan has successfully resisted all attempts to standardize its
constitutional system. Putin would be well advised to leave well alone.


(1) Robert Ware, a leading specialist on Dagestan, teaches at Southern
Illinois University--Edwardsville. Enver Kisriev is a senior researcher at
the Dagestan Scientific Center, Makhachkala. Werner Patzelt and Ute
Roericht are at the Technische Universitt Dresden.

(2) The balance of power is also maintained by complex arrangements for
parliamentary elections and government reshuffles. These are explained in
the article.

One persistent source of controversy is the fact that a balance of power is
maintained not among all ethnic groups but only among the 14 principle
recognized groups. The other unrecognized groups are more or less excluded
and do have cause for complaint. In 1999 the Duma passed a law to guarantee
the rights of indigenous small ethnic groups (of up to 50,000 members) in
the RF. The Dagestani authorities have resisted the application of this law
to Dagestan, and the authors agree with them that it would have a
destabilizing effect. They point out that the ethnic identity of many
Dagestanis is mixed and fluid: if small groups were given special rights,
larger groups would fragment into their component subgroups in order to
claim those rights, thereby undermining the whole system.




SOURCE. Alexander Pikayev. The North Korean "Threat" and How to Counter It.
Carnegie Moscow Center Policy Brief, January 2003

The author, a co-chair of Carnegie's Nonproliferation Program, analyzes how
the current crisis in US-North Korean relations arose and offers proposals
for resolving it. (1)

Like some other observers, Pikayev sees North Korea's defiance of global
nonproliferation norms not as a serious attempt to become a nuclear power
but rather as the desperate bargaining ploy of an insecure and isolated
regime, designed to extract foreign aid and diplomatic recognition. The
1994 framework agreement with the US represented a success for this
strategy. In exchange for shutting down its nuclear reactor, North Korea
would get food, fuel oil for its thermal power plants, and new US-made
light-water reactors to replace its old Soviet gas-graphite reactor. It
would then be able to start producing nuclear energy again.

The spent nuclear fuel produced by the new reactors would be much less
enriched, reducing though not eliminating the risk of proliferation. To
finance the retooling and the fuel oil supplies, the Korean Energy
Development Organization (KEDO) was established. Its members were Japan,
the US, South Korea, and several European states.

Russia was unhappy with this deal because (like China) it was kept out of
KEDO, as it has been kept out of other international diplomatic efforts
concerning Korea in recent years. The author concludes that Yeltsin was
wrong to break off political relations with North Korea so abruptly: had he
not done so, Russia would have been better placed to preserve its positions
in the region. Moreover, re-equipping North Korea with American reactors
meant the loss of one of Russia's few potential export markets for its own
reactors. The North Korean market was no great loss in itself, seeing that
the North Koreans could not pay, but Russia was upset at being barred from
the market of a future united Korea.

In any case, the deal was never carried through. The North Korean leaders
did not get the new reactors they had been promised, and no doubt felt
swindled. One reason was that it was so difficult to reach agreement on the
issues of transparency and the return of spent fuel. Another was the
influence of criticism from the Republican majority in the US Congress
(criticism with which Pikayev has some sympathy).

Other factors also contributed to the deterioration of US-North Korean

* The US effort to improve relations lost steam as Clinton increasingly
concentrated on the Middle East, and the Bush administration was not
initially interested in dialogue with North Korea, resuming the process
only in 2002.

* North Korea developed long-range missiles and continued to export missile

* Bush included North Korea in the "axis of evil"; the implications are
especially alarming in the light of the imminent US attack on Iraq.

What is to be done? Sanctions can have little impact on such an isolated
economy. Like Japan, China, and South Korea, Russia is against US military
intervention against North Korea. Pikayev doubts whether the US has
adequate intelligence for successful surgical attacks on weapons
facilities, while full-scale invasion might again trigger Chinese
counter-intervention, as in 1950.

So there is no realistic alternative to a diplomatic solution. To achieve
this the US is compelled once more to involve Russia and China in
negotiating a Korean settlement.

The author considers that the principle of economic aid and diplomatic
recognition in exchange for adherence to nonproliferation norms remains
valid. But he recommends a number of changes from the terms of the 1994 deal:

* Reconstitute KEDO as soon as North Korea accepts strict nonproliferation
conditions, but include Russia and China in the organization.

* Exclude nuclear energy from KEDO's remit. North Korea should be helped to
develop NOT nuclear energy but thermal and hydroelectric energy instead.
(The mountainous terrain is very suitable for hydroelectric power.) If
North Korea is to be supplied with nuclear energy, it should come from a
plant in South Korea.

* Buy up North Korea's stores of fissionable material.

* Set up a multilateral framework involving both Koreas, the US, Russia,
China, and Japan along the lines of the 1975 Helsinki Act in Europe, with
economic, humanitarian, and security "baskets." The security basket should
include both declaratory measures of the kind sought by Pyongyang
(non-aggression undertakings) and practical confidence-building measures
(e.g. constraints on military exercises).

Pikayev hopes that in the context of such a settlement Russian companies
will be able to establish themselves in the North Korean energy sector.
North Korea could be supplied with energy from the Russian Far East, where
Russia will have surplus electricity after the Bureya hydroelectric plant
is commissioned. Another option would be to join North Korea to the oil and
gas pipeline system under construction in eastern Siberia, so that North
Korean thermal power plants could run on Russian gas. (2) The energy supply
would be financed collectively through KEDO.

The author helpfully suggests that North Korean spent nuclear fuel be
dumped in Russia. Russia already has so much spent fuel of its own: adding
a bit more won't make the ecological situation appreciably worse.

The long-term goal, he concludes, must be to involve the North Korean elite
in international cooperation and thereby encourage the economic, and
eventually political, reforms that will facilitate Korea's peaceful


(1) I have the full paper on an Adobe Acrobat file and will send it to
anyone interested on request.

(2) Russia and North Korea have a short common border south of Vladivostok,
which the pipeline would presumably cross. However, North Korea's
mountainous terrain would be a problem. See RAS No. 16 item 9.




SOURCE. Igor Torbakov, The Turkish Factor in the Geopolitics of the
Post-Soviet Space. E-notes of the Foreign Policy Research Institute
(www.fpri.org). January 10, 2003

The author, a Russian historian currently attached to the Central Eurasia
Project at Harvard University, analyzes the shift in Russian perceptions of
Turkey that has taken place in recent years. (1)

Russo-Turkish relations have been and continue to be a mix of competition
and cooperation. The overlap of the two states' "near abroads" in the
Caucasus and Central Asia makes some rivalry inevitable. However, while in
the early and even mid-1990s Russia's political elite saw Turkey as a
serious strategic rival in these regions they now view Turkey in more
neutral terms. Cooperation is emerging as the dominant element in the
relationship. How did this occur?

In the early 1990s, Turkey sought to play the leading role in forging a
commonwealth of Turkic states with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan,
Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. (2) The West saw Turkey as its proxy in
providing these countries with a secular democratic model, reducing
Russia's influence, and blocking Iran's penetration of the region. In this
new version of the "Great Game," opposing blocs took shape around the
Caucasus: US--Turkey--Azerbaijan--Georgia versus Russia--Iran--Armenia.

But Turkey failed to realize its pan-Turkic ambitions. The results of its
activism in the Caucasus and Central Asia have been meager. Why?

* The newly independent Turkic states were wary of getting a new "big
brother" in place of the old one, and preferred to pursue a
"multi-directional" foreign policy.

* The Turkish political model did not appeal to the post-Soviet rulers of
these states, who preferred to restore Soviet-style dictatorships. US
support for the Turkish model also slackened as the realization dawned
that Iran was a much less serious threat than initially feared.

* Russia retained important levers of influence over the post-Soviet South
in the economic, military, and ethnopolitical spheres (e.g., energy supply,
bases, manipulation of ethnic conflicts).

* As a relatively poor country itself, Turkey was able to conceive of big
regional schemes like Black Sea cooperation but not to fund them.

* Turkey had competing priorities at home, in Europe, and in the Middle East.

Instead of continuing to use Turkey as a proxy, the US has become directly
involved in the region, especially after September 11.

Since the late 1990s, Russia has revised its view of Turkey's role in
Eurasia in light of the new realities. The weakness of Turkey's position
and the limits of its involvement were finally recognized. The Russian
Security Council downgraded Turkish penetration of the Caucasus to a
"low-intensity risk." Other factors of rapprochement include:

-- Turkey's emergence as a major export market for Russian gas and a
transit country for gas exports to Europe, especially following the recent
completion of the Blue Stream gas pipeline to Turkey under the Black Sea.

-- Areas of agreement between Russia and Turkey in foreign policy, e.g.,
with respect to Iraq and Iran, where they find themselves on the same side
of the argument vis--vis the US.

Russia and Turkey are also in the same boat with regard to the European
Union. Both want economic integration with Europe but are held at arm's
length, their European credentials distrusted. The future of Russo-Turkish
relations (as of much else) depends on whether Turkey's bid to join the EU
succeeds or fails yet again.

Two further factors may be partly causes and partly consequences of
improved relations:

* The confrontation between Russia and Turkey over pipeline routes for the
export of Caspian oil has eased off. Russia now sees the issue in economic
rather than geopolitical terms. (3)

* The two states' militaries are forming ties. The process began with
Turkey's purchase of Russian helicopters and APCs for its civil war against
the Kurds. Chief of staff Anatoly Kvashnin visited Ankara in January 2002.

The Russo-Turkish rapprochement found ideological reflection in an
interview recently given to the Turkish Daily News by Russia's ambassador
to Ankara Alexander Lebedev. The ambassador stressed that Russia and Turkey
are both Eurasian countries. He downplayed the history of wars between the
two states and recalled the times when they were allied against Britain and


(1) For a survey of corresponding Turkish views, see RAS No. 8 item 11.

(2) Turkey had much weaker cultural ties with the three non-Turkic states
of the post-Soviet South (Georgia, Armenia, and Tajikistan), although it
did establish strong political and economic links with Georgia.

(3) On the general shift away from geopolitical toward economic calculation
in Russia's foreign policy under Putin, see RAS No. 2 item 10.




SOURCE. William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Main and His Era. New York and
London: W. W. Norton & Co., 2003, ch. 5-9 (1)

Professor Taubman of Amherst College has produced a brilliant biography of
Khrushchev, the fruit of many years' work. But this is not a review of the
book -- I'll do that later. It's my attempt, inspired mainly by the
biography, at answering a question that puzzled Khrushchev himself. Why did
he survive to challenge Stalin's legacy (or part of it at least) when so
many Soviet officials perished at Stalin's hand?

Did he survive because he had no doubts about Stalin or disagreements with
his policies until after Stalin died? Or because he succeeded in concealing
from Stalin any such doubts or disagreements? Was it because even Stalin
could see that Khrushchev was totally loyal, obedient, and reliable?

The evidence supports none of these hypotheses. True, it was as a supporter
of Stalin that Khrushchev rose in the hierarchy, and he rendered Stalin
numerous services:

-- He caught Stalin's eye in 1929 by leading a campaign to expel
oppositionists from the Industrial Academy, where he was a student.

-- As party boss of Moscow in the early 1930s, he pushed ahead with the
building of the Metro, a high-priority project of Stalin's, sparing neither
the workers nor himself. (1)

-- In the purges of the late 1930s, he assisted in the arrest and
liquidation of colleagues in both Moscow and Kiev, making no effort to save
even close friends. (He was party boss in Ukraine in 1938-41 and again in

-- In the late 1940s, he oversaw the suppression of the Ukrainian
nationalist rebellion in newly incorporated western Ukraine, insisting on
the harshest measures, including assassination and the massacre of entire

Yet Khrushchev's loyalty to Stalin had its limits. While he accepted
"necessary" suffering, he felt an inner protest at suffering that he
considered unnecessary. Nor did he always keep that feeling to himself.
Taubman mentions incidents in which Khrushchev gave voice to his bitterness
at the purges:

* On a surprise visit to an old friend in April 1938, he swore: "When I can
I'll settle with that Mudakshvili in full" (a wordplay on Jugashvili,
Stalin's original name, and mudak = prick).

* "They destroyed people for no reason" he lamented in early 1943. This
time he was confiding not in an old friend but in a Komsomol official whom
he did not know well.

Luckily for Khrushchev, nobody with whom he shared such thoughts turned out
to be an informer.

Khrushchev also expressed opposition to "unjustified" repression at party
gatherings. Here he blamed not Stalin but lower-level officials. At a 1945
plenum of the Ukrainian Central Committee, he rebuked an NKVD man for
arresting a peasant woman who complained about the shortage of salt and
kerosene -- quite reasonable complaints, he said, and not in the least
anti-Soviet. In April 1944 he told a meeting of party personnel specialists
not to distrust or smear people who had remained behind under German
occupation -- an attitude that sharply contrasted with Stalin's. He hinted
that he was against sending former Soviet prisoners of war to the camps.

On a number of occasions in the 1940s and early 1950s, Khrushchev stood up
to Stalin or thwarted his wishes on an important matter of policy:

* In May 1942, as political commissar on the southern front, he appealed to
Stalin (in vain) to halt a counteroffensive to retake Kharkov after he
realized that Soviet troops were falling into enemy encirclement. He
persisted in his appeals even after he was told that Stalin had made up his
mind. (2)

* In October 1946, when war-devastated and drought-stricken Ukraine faced
famine, Khrushchev insistently appealed to Stalin to send emergency aid and
reduce grain delivery quotas. Stalin replied that Khrushchev was allowing
hostile elements to manipulate his "sentimentality" in order to waste state
reserves. This time Khrushchev's appeals were not totally in vain, as some
aid was sent to Ukraine. But they prompted Stalin to doubt Khrushchev's
reliability. Then at a Central Committee plenum in February 1947 Khrushchev
urged a general shift in state policy on grain procurement, so that it
would no longer take priority over storage of seed for the next year's
harvest. (3) The next month he was removed from his party positions, though
remaining chairman of Ukraine's council of ministers. However, by the end
of 1947 he was back in Stalin's good books and his demotion was reversed.

This may have been Khrushchev's closest escape. Apparently Stalin suspected
that Khrushchev had come under the influence of Ukrainian nationalists, but
his suspicions dissipated before he reached the point of resolving to act
on them.

* Following the purge of the Leningrad party apparatus in 1949 (which led
to several executions), Stalin told Khrushchev -- now again party boss in
Moscow -- that "Moscow too is teeming with antiparty elements" and handed
him a list of alleged "conspirators" among his subordinates. Khrushchev
locked the document in his safe and quietly transferred the "conspirators"
to provincial towns where they would be out of harm's way.

So why did Khrushchev survive? Many were shot for lesser sins. One clue
lies in the title of chapter 5 of Taubman's biography: "Stalin's pet:
1929-1937." Khrushchev was indeed known in Kremlin circles as a pet of
Stalin's -- in Russian, liubimchik, a derivative of liubit', to love. (4)
It may sound ridiculous to suppose that a monster like Stalin was capable
of love, but even a monster may have the capacity to love after his own
fashion, expressing affection in a perversely cruel form. Stalin seems to
have felt this way about his daughter, about his wife (whom he drove to
suicide) -- and about Khrushchev, in whose company the lonesome dictator
spent as much time as he could. Perhaps Stalin, disappointed in his own
son, even looked on Khrushchev as a kind of son.

What made Khrushchev so loveable to Stalin? It was not his flattery:
everyone flattered Stalin. From his youth Khrushchev wanted above all else
to be liked by others, and he made himself liked mainly by joking and
clowning. Even when he got to the top he went on clowning, oblivious to the
effect on his dignity as a statesman. He put a special effort into amusing
Stalin, and was probably a lot more entertaining than the cowboy movies to
which Stalin was addicted. He was the court jester, who by tradition is
allowed to take liberties with the king that for anyone else would
constitute lse majest.

It was in general risky to argue with Stalin but not necessarily fatal.
Stalin's attitude to being argued with seems contradictory. On the one
hand, he loved a joke Khrushchev had told him about a general who silences
a colonel with whom he is losing an argument by barking: "Comrade Colonel,
do not forget yourself!" Later he would use the same phrase "with a smile"
in similar situations. On the other hand, he once complained to two wartime
interlocutors: "No matter what I say, you'll reply 'Yes, Comrade Stalin,'
'Of course, Comrade Stalin,' 'A wise decision, Comrade Stalin.' Only Zhukov
sometimes argues with me" (p. 152). Taubman corrects Stalin: Molotov and
Khrushchev too sometimes argued with him. All three survived, though toward
the end of his life Stalin imagined that Molotov had sold himself to the

The contradiction may not be a real one. When Stalin knew what he wanted he
did not want anyone to argue. But sometimes he was not sure what to do and
a good argument might help him decide. Perhaps also this was a vestige of
the Leninist principle of democratic centralism, which required open
discussion before taking decisions but unwavering discipline in carrying
out decisions once made.


(1) The Metro was built by over 70,000 workers. Khrushchev demanded that
they work 48 hours without respite and ignored engineers who forewarned him
of accidents.

(2) Taubman points out that Khrushchev shared responsibility for the
ensuing disaster, as it was he who suggested the ill-judged operation in
the first place. Stalin punished Khrushchev for the error by emptying his
pipe onto Khrushchev's bald pate, explaining that it was the custom in
ancient Rome for a defeated general to pour ashes on his head.

(3) Khrushchev gives a detailed account of the controversy in the first
section of Vol. 2 of his memoirs (N. S. Khrushchev: Vremia. Liudi. Vlast'.
Moscow: Moskovskie novosti, 1999).

(4) Before Khrushchev, the sobriquet of "[the party's] liubimchik" had
belonged to Bukharin.




Yale Richmond responded to the pieces in RAS No. 16 about GRU and CIA
estimates (items 13 and 14). He notes that one reason why estimates were
unrealistic was that so few intelligence analysts had any personal
experience of the country that they were assessing. "Anyone who ever served
in the Soviet Union knew how poorly the Soviet economy was performing." (1)

Regarding the failure of many American specialists to learn from migr
economists such as Igor Birman, he comments: "One of the reasons Birman was
not taken seriously by his American colleagues was his abrasive manner of
treating all those who disagreed with him. With Birman, as with many
Russians, it was all or nothing at all. You either agreed with him or you
did not, and if you did not he treated you accordingly."

He also draws attention to one American specialist who did challenge the
CIA estimates of the Soviet economy -- the late Franklyn Dunn Holzman. (2)

Holzman developed an interest in Soviet life while serving during the war
at a Soviet-US air base in Poltava, Ukraine. After the war he pursued
graduate studies at Harvard under two famous economic theorists of Russian
origin, Alexander Gerschenkron and Wassily Leontief. From 1961 to 1990 he
was professor of economics at Tufts University.

Besides making important contributions to the study of pricing, the
turnover tax, and other aspects of the Soviet economy, Professor Holzman
persistently argued in the late 1970s and 1980s that President Reagan, the
CIA, and the DIA were drastically overstating Soviet military expenditure
in order to justify increases in the US military budget.


(1) Yale Richmond is a retired US foreign service officer. His work on the
role of cultural exchange in the Cold War was featured in RAS No. 5 item 8.

(2) The biographical information that follows comes from the Tufts website.




SOURCES. Russian Environmental Digest, Vol. 5, Nos. 6 and 7 (February 3-9
and 10-16, 2003)

In RAS No. 16 item 8, I mentioned environmental objections to the routing
of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline through the Borjomi Valley of southern
Georgia. The route passes through a national park and within 15 kilometers
of the spring from which the renowned Borjomi mineral water is drawn.

Pressure from environmentalists is one of the factors that has prompted the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the
International Finance Corporation (IFC) to defer until later in the year a
$600m loan to the pipeline consortium while they re-examine the pipeline
route. (Other factors are high cost, technical difficulties, and security
concerns.) The BP-led consortium was hoping to have all external financing
in place by this month.

Construction is due to start on April 1. The first pipe sections have
already been unloaded at Georgia's Black Sea port of Batumi. It is unlikely
that the hitch with the EBRD-IFC loan will jeopardize or even delay the
project. BP and most other consortium members can easily afford to make up
the shortfall. The only question mark concerns SOCAR, the Azerbaijani state
oil company, which will have to contribute a quarter of the sum (i.e., some
$150m). The money is being diverted from the State Oil Fund, which is
supposed to channel oil revenues to non-oil public uses.