Johnson's Russia List
22 April 2003
A CDI Project

  3. BBC Monitoring: Russian commentators see long arm of USA seen behind 
Estonia's new radar.
  4. Interfax: Russia concerned over Nordic countries' plans to give up 
  6. BBC Monitoring: US, Russian secret services conspired to kill first 
Chechen president - site.
  7. Moscow Times: Boris Kagarlitsky, Making Use of Extremism.
  8. BBC Monitoring: Kazakh paper blames computer games for gung-ho American 
  9. Interfax: Russian specialist views emergence of 'Pax Americana.'         
  11. The Russia Journal Monthly Magazine: Otto Latsis, Inflation for the
  12. The Russia Journal Monthly Magazine: Matt Taibbi, No bloom left on
change story.
  13. Mass Media Hush Up Solzhenitsyn Was Informer. He readily
to cooperate with the KGB.
  14. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace meeting summary: Russian
Class. (Tatyana Maleva)
  15. Zbigniew Brzezinski, CIVIL SOCIETY IN UKRAINE.]


MOSCOW, APRIL 21 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Russian per capita public incomes increased 
by 33.1% in the first quarter of the year, as against January into March 
2002, reports the federal State Statistical Committee. 

The average monthly income for March 2003 was 4,727 roubles. The present rate 
of the Central Bank of Russia is US$1/R31.20. 

Implicit average wages and salaries were at R5,125 last month, say 
preliminary statistics - 27.9% above March 2002. 

Gas, petroleum-drilling and fuel industries accounted for the highest average 
wages - 37,879, 16,863 and 15,000 roubles, respectively. The lowest wages and 
salaries are in education, 2,969 roubles; culture and the arts, 3,073 
roubles, and health, physical culture and social welfare, 3,146 roubles. 

Total wage arrears in economic branches covered by regular statistical 
reports amounted to 34,131 million roubles, as of April 1 - 1.6% less than on 
March 1, and 0.7% below the figure for April 1, 2002. Wage arrears due to 
inadequate allocations from budgets of all levels accounted for 4,193 million 
roubles of that, and to insufficient corporate assets for 29,638 million. 



MOSCOW, APRIL 21 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Inflation is to keep within 12% this year, 
according to governmental blueprints. There is every chance to meet that 
target, reassure staff experts of the federal Ministry of Economic 
Development and Trade, as ministerial PR said to Novosti. 

Inflation was at 5.1% in the initial quarter of the year. The gross domestic 
product increased by an approximate 7%, industrial output by 6%, and 
investment in fixed assets roughly by 10%. 

Ministerial forecasts of national social and economic development say 
inflation rates will not overstep 12% throughout the year to come down to 
8-10% next year, and on to 6.5-8.5% in 2005. To bring inflation rates down 
below 8% is the primary goal of the government's monetary and crediting 
policies for the next three years. It will be the best possible prospect to 
keep inflation at 5% to 7%, consider ministerial experts. 


BBC Monitoring
Russian commentators see long arm of USA seen behind Estonia's new radar 
Source: Ekho Moskvy radio, Moscow, in Russian 0900 gmt 21 Apr 03
[Presenter] A long-range tracker radar is being commissioned in Estonia 
today. It will enable the Estonians to monitor the air space of their own 
country and of their immediate neighbours, including Russia...

[Corespondent]... The deployment of the radar in Estonia is designed to 
undermine the correlation of forces in the region, according to military 
analyst Professor Vladimir Slipchenko:

[Slipchenko] Basically, we're talking about an invasion of our air space from 
a foreign territory and one that penetrates a fairly long way. In other way, 
the situation in the air is being monitored in our Western Group [of Forces], 
which is fairly powerful and strong and where there are a lot of flights, 
including military flights. They're engaged in routine missions and training, 
including exercises under specific programmes. All this is going to be 
monitored now. It's not Estonia that needs this information, it's NATO and, 
specifically, the United States of America that, in this way, will be able to 
monitor all our air space and situation from a distance and to assess new 
types of aircraft that are involved there. In other words, we shall have to 
be more cautious in that sector. This invasion of Russia's air space is aimed 
at undermining the correlation of forces. We're not invading them. They're 
invading us and, what's more, this is the second time. The first was from 
Poland. It's an invasion of Russia's air space which will be under permanent, 
round-the-clock observation, picking up all the details, and that's dangerous.

[Presenter] Independent military observer Pavel Felgengauer is of the same 

[Felgengauer] Estonia is to have an FPS-117 tracker radar. A couple of months 
ago there was a report that Latvia is to have an equally accurate radar. At 
the same time as the Latvian authorities are saying the radar will monitor 
air space in the interests of civilian air-traffic control, it will be part 
of the Baltic states' shared system, Baltnet. NATO and the United States of 
America have no great need for more radar in Estonia or Latvia. They've been 
monitoring all the activities of our military quite effectively since the 
Cold War anyway although, of course, these radar could be used for military 
purposes too. It's perfectly possible that once they join NATO, certain 
elements in the Western or US system of gathering objective information on 
our military could appear in the Baltic states as well. I don't, however, 
think that Russia should get too upset about this. It doesn't make sense, 
there's no point, especially as we've said on many occasions that we don't 
plan to fight the West, that they're no longer adversaries.


Russia concerned over Nordic countries' plans to give up neutrality 
Moscow, 21 April: Russia's relations with Nordic countries generally meet the 
standard of "the belt of neighbourliness", [Russian] Deputy Foreign Minister 
Vladimir Chizhov told Monday [21 April] hearings at the Federation Council on 
Russia's national interests and experience of international cooperation in 
North Europe.

However, he said a number of problems have appeared, as Finland is trying to 
increase its influence among Nordic countries and plans to give up its policy 
of neutrality.

Chizhov did not rule out that Sweden may adopt a similar policy in the near 

"We are concerned about Norway dropping restrictions on participation in 
military exercises. The Globe-2 radar station in Norway, which is capable of 
controlling an area of 35,000 sq m, also troubles us," he added.

Chizhov said that NATO and the USA assign the function of controlling Russian 
territory to it. "However, Norway assures us that the facility is needed to 
control space," he said.

Russia is also concerned about the prospects of developing NMD [the US 
National Missile Defence System] and the involvement of some Nordic countries 
in that process, he said.



MOSCOW, April 21 /from RIA Novosti's Maria Balynina/ -- Russia is concerned 
about Norway's attempts to rescind the demilitarised status of its 
Spitsbergen archipelago. Sergei Mironov, Speaker of the Russian Federation 
Council, or the upper parliamentary house, said this as addressing the 
Council hearings devoted to Russia's national interests and experience of 
international co-operation in Northern Europe. 

Spitsbergen islands, which are rich in oil and natural gas, marine resources 
and are a perfect place for scientific research, are the zone of Russia's 
special interests, emphasised the speaker. 

Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, on his part, recalled the 
Treaty of Spitsbergen that was signed by 39 countries back in 1920. It gave 
Norway sovereignty over the islands and other countries the right to do 
business on Spitsbergen. However, Norway's new law on environment protection 
that came into force in 2002 is derogatory to the rights of the entities, 
including Russian ones, working on the archipelago. 

The conferees resolved to recommend the Cabinet to work out a set of 
political and economic measures to ensure Russia's interests and retain its 
presence on Spitsbergen. Apart from that, the senators will recommend that 
the Russian Cabinet should consider attracting investments in the development 
of Russia's business and research activities on the archipelago. 


BBC Monitoring
US, Russian secret services conspired to kill first Chechen president - site 
Source: Kavkaz-Tsentr news agency web site in Russian 21 Apr 03
21 April: On the evening of 21 April 1996, the first president of the 
independent Chechen state, Gen Dzhokhar Dudayev, became a martyr as a result 
of a terrorist act. The Chechen president was hit by a missile as he was 
speaking on a satellite telephone in a remote area not far from the village 
of Gekhi-chu in the west of Chechnya.

The Russian administration hoped that with Dudayev's death the Chechen 
resistance would be quashed and the war would soon end in favour of the 
occupation troops. But subsequent developments showed, however, that the 
Kremlin's hopes were not to come true. Not only did the Chechens refuse to 
accept that, they concentrated all their might on dealing a violent blow to 
the aggressor and freeing the capital of their country and regaining full 
control over the situation in the country.

After Dudayev's death the Chechen government set up a special investigation 
group to expose those behind this terrorist act. Until the Russian occupation 
troops were driven out of Chechen, the group had to work secretly, while 
after the restoration of sovereignty of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, 
from August 1996 till September 1999, the Chechen investigators worked 
legally, collecting all the necessary information about this terrorist act.

After the new invasion of the Russian aggressors in Chechnya the 
investigation group went underground again.

To date, a substantial number of materials and documents has been collected, 
shedding light on the murder of the first Chechen president in the terrorist 
act. Even though the investigation is still under way, it can already be said 
that the secret services of the USA and Russia, as well as top military and 
political leaders of these countries, were involved in the terrorist act 
against Dudayev.

According to one of the theories, Dudayev's exact location was reported to 
the Russian side on direct orders of the Clinton administration by the US 
National Security Agency which monitored the Chechen president's satellite 

Besides, it has been established that the order to carry out the terrorist 
act was issued by [the then Russian President Boris] Yeltsin. He personally 
decorated the organizers and executors with the golden stars of heroes of 

In the interests of the investigation it is so far impossible to reveal any 
other details of the crime. But it can already be said with a high degree of 
reliability and confidence that the investigation will continue and will not 
stop under any circumstances. The masterminds and executors of this terrorist 
act will be identified (some of them have already been determined) and duly 

M. Eskiyev
Member of the investigation group for Kavkaz-Tsentr


Moscow Times
April 22, 2003
Making Use of Extremism
By Boris Kagarlitsky   

Last week, a Saratov regional court sentenced writer Eduard Limonov to four 
years in prison for ordering the purchase of six Kalashnikov assault rifles. 
Given that state prosecutor Sergei Vergin had asked for a 14-year sentence, 
based mostly on a terrorism charge that was thrown out by the court, the 
result could be seen as a victory for the defendant.

The Russian intelligentsia generally dissociates itself from Limonov's 
radical political views, while praising him as a writer. Personally, I'm not 
all that fond of his work, apart from the early prose written in the United 
States. But the state's case against Limonov has as little to do with his 
literary achievements as it did with his politics. In fact, Limonov was 
largely beside the point. The ruling elite wanted to stage a show trial 
against an extremist group. Any extremist group. That their trial fell 
through in the end is an enormous achievement for the Russian judicial system.

The less democratic the regime, and the less it is capable of protecting its 
citizens' rights and freedoms, not to mention providing them with adequate 
social conditions, the more the regime focuses on battling extremism. This is 
the general rule, as observed in tropical Africa and Kazakhstan, in Latin 
America and in Russia. It's easy to scare the populace with the threat of 
extremism -- mysterious villains brandishing bombs, highjacking airplanes and 
taking over government installations. To prevent this kind of outrage from 
happening, the police, security services and even the military are given 
additional powers. Instilling fear in the public makes things a little easier 
for the ruling class. 

The concept of extremism proves extremely malleable in the right hands. 
Strictly speaking, a political extremist is someone who takes his views to 
the extreme, like the Russian reformers of the 1990s. Driven to prove the 
rightness of their ideas, they privatized everything in sight with no concern 
for the consequences. But for some reason, the law has no provision for 
punishing this sort of extremism. Acts of violence committed by extremists 
for political or religious reasons, on the other hand, are adequately covered 
by the Criminal Code. To my knowledge, no one has yet legalized pogroms or 
the bombing of apartment buildings. There is one law for all, regardless of 
motive. Criminal acts should be punished whether they are politically 
motivated or not.

The very fluidity of the concept of extremism makes it a convenient tool for 
those in power. By interpreting it broadly, they can label their political 
opponents extremists, or at least scare the pants off them by threatening to 
do so. It is indicative that after every outrage committed by the far right, 
inevitably played up by the mass media, the government steps in and takes 
decisive action against -- the far left. In the cold calculus of political 
expediency, this makes perfect sense, of course. Nazis and ultra-nationalists 
pose no real threat to the regime. Their victims are non-Russian street 
vendors, refugees from Chechnya and other "hot spots" in the former Soviet 
republics. It's pretty obvious that Azeri fruit vendors wield no political 
clout in Russia. 

The left is something else entirely. It poses no real threat to the ruling 
elite, either. But the battle with left-wing extremism provides the Kremlin 
with extremely effective tools for dealing with the official Communist Party. 
Just the suggestion that the regime suspects the party of ties to extremist 
groups is enough to make Communists in the State Duma bend over backward to 
prove their loyalty. 

The war on extremism can also be extended into the realm of ideology. Anyone 
who so much as mentions class warfare or the unjust social structure is 
immediately accused of sowing "social hatred." This country has enough hatred 
to go around without leftist agitators, of course. A run-in with the rising 
Russian bourgeoisie is enough to convince just about anyone that Karl Marx 
was right. But this only makes it all the more necessary to have laws on the 
books that can be used to combat this kind of thinking when it arises.

And finally, there is "Islamic extremism." Since Russians on the whole have 
an extremely superficial understanding of Islam, every practicing Muslim 
becomes a candidate for extremism. The less we understand, the more 
terrifying it is, and what terrifies the populace makes life a little sweeter 
for the ruling elite.

This means that the authorities will continue looking for extremists, despite 
their bungling of the Limonov case. And you can be sure that they will find 
someone before long.

Boris Kagarlitsky is director of the Institute of Globalization Studies.

BBC Monitoring
Kazakh paper blames computer games for gung-ho American policies 
Source: Ekspress-K, Almaty, in Kazakh 17 Apr 03
A Kazakh newspaper wonders if George Bush's view of the world has been shaped 
by computer games in which Arabs and terrorists are always the bad guys and 
the US special forces the heroes. They also play on the western public's 
ignorance of what is actually happening in the post-Soviet zone. Could 
Kazakhstan be next on the USA's hit list? The following is an excerpt from a 
light-hearted report by Kazakh newspaper Ekspress-K on 17 April:

Kazakhstan could become the next target for a military attack by the USA. The 
main charge against Iraq was that it had biological weapons. The USA could 
accuse us of harbouring virtual extremist groups.

This is the conclusion that we've come to after examining some computer games 
in our possession. We don't know if the Pentagon draws up its plans on the 
basis of virtual strategies, or if the programmers of the latest games are 
aware of the US command's intentions and are laying the ground in advance for 
public opinion and future military operations. Judge for yourselves. Take Red 
Alert 1 and Red Alert 2, both released in the late 90s. Their scenario is 
straightforward enough and a throwback to the Cold War. In the first Red 
Alert game, the story is as follows. The renowned Professor Einstein invents 
a time machine and returns to the Germany of the 1930s. He meets Hitler, who 
had yet to come to power, kills him and returns content to the present day. 
Whereupon he discovers that history has taken a different turn. All of Europe 
has been seized by Stalin, and the goal in Red Alert 1 is to destroy the 
Soviet Union or the anti-Communist coalition, depending on whose side you 

So, Stalin's done for. We load up Red Alert 2 and discover that after the 
collapse of the Soviet empire a Gen Aleksandr Romanov comes to power in the 
USSR. He stands for peace and is backed by the USA and its partners in NATO. 
But one fine day Romanov decides that the USSR is entirely capable of taking 
on the whole world and embarks on a new anti-American campaign. As a result 
he is captured. After that, you have to get through an add-on to Red Alert 2 
called Yuriy's Revenge (in fact, Yuriy is Lenin brought to life with an 
inbuilt cyberbrain), in which you have to destroy the tyrant and exult in 
your lawful victory.

The Soviets' top military advisor, a sexy lady by the name of Sonya who 
rushes around in a skin-tight leather catsuit, strongly resembles Celine Dion 
and glitters with Hollywood-style make-up. Meanwhile, a bearded general 
called Vladimir, another aide to Romanov, enjoys himself in a swimming pool 
with two buxom blondes of very un-Soviet appearance, more like clones of 
Pamela Anderson. But I digress. There's nothing unusual is this by 
present-day standards. But the lone missions to be carried out in parallel to 
the game are quite entertaining. One of the warring countries is Iraq - whose 
military is based on "ecosavages", equipped with personal biological weapons. 
When activated, they kill everything around either by radiation or some other 
nasty potion. And their own side get it too if they're in the wrong place at 
the wrong time. So maybe the whole shebang around Saddam Husayn goes up in 
flames because George Bush Jr has been playing this game? Maybe he believed 
in it and wrote off his father's failure in Desert Storm on account of some 
mythical Iraqi superweapon?

In this game the backbone of the socialist camp consists of the 
aforementioned Iraq, Russia (note, not the USSR but Russia, in which there 
remained not a trace of socialism by the time the game was written), Libya 
and Cuba...

But all this is in the past. And the war against Iraq has happened. The 
question now tormenting many pessimists is - who's next? These people are 
sure that Iraq alone will not sate the democratic appetite of Mr Bush. So to 
judge by the computer games, the next in line are - us! If Red Alert 
contained merely vague hints at an arms race with Iraq, then Generals (in 
which you can choose from three armies - the US, terrorists and China) 
couldn't be clearer. Valiant US special forces rout the extremists in 
Kazakhstan, with all the geographical names preserved. The evil Chechens hold 
sway in Shymkent, while the main international terrorist forces are based in 
Astana. Moreover, our capital is depicted in the US-made graphics as a 
medieval-style walled fortress for some reason. Should our government have 
held such a huge tender for the construction of a new capital? And 
incidentally, the Kazakh army gets not a mention in the game. What an insult 
to our country! Our territory is controlled by the Chechens and Chinese. Is 
this a hint?

As regards Astana, the programmers have been a little too smart. The initial 
presumption is that the capital is occupied by the Chinese. Alongside them, 
various outrages are committed in Astana by Arab terrorists - and you can 
play as these as well. The job of sorting out the Chinese and Arabs and at 
the same time imposing a kind of order in the shattered city falls to - 
you've guessed it - the valiant Americans...

We could probably take a humorous view of all this, were it not for one 
thing. The fact is that the Western public has been shown to be not too well 
up on the political and economic realities of the present-day post-Soviet 
zone. To the capitalist layman, the word Kazakhstan means either a collection 
of unfamiliar letters or a wild desert land populated by equally wild tribes. 
So if Mr Bush were to suddenly want to plant democracy in our land, then 
after exposure to such openly ideological games his free citizens would be 
guaranteed to back him. Meanwhile, our commanders should think deeply while 
keeping their powder dry. Or urgently nurture some terrorist groups here, so 
that we won't be so offended when we get hit with democratic shells bearing 
the legend "Made in the USA".

Russian specialist views emergence of 'Pax Americana'  

MOSCOW. April 19 (Interfax) - A Russian expert 
believes that reinforcement of the United States' domination of other 
countries, the so-called Pax Americana, is a key feature of the 
contemporary world. 
   "The Fourth Rome is doing what the First Rome failed to accomplish, 
but it is not forever, maybe not for a long time," President of the 
Israeli and Middle Eastern Studies Institute Yevgeny Satanovsky told 
   "Swallowing others' sovereignty is not enough, it should be digested. 
Therefore, the constantly swelling empire will be unable to cope with 
communications, borders and different problems in territories where it 
will have to restore order," Satanovsky noted. 
   In the wake of the Iraq war, Russia must behave "calmly, steadily and 
reasonably. It must not rush from one side to another or try to catch a 
passing train," he said. Moscow should not write off debts, recalling 
that France's debts to pre-Revolutionary Russia emerged a century later. 
   Russia "should not try to stop the Americans in other Middle Eastern 
countries if they move there, unless" its interests are seriously 
affected, he said. Moreover, "we should prompt the Bush Administration to 
act in the situation with the Arabian monarchs on the Arabian Peninsula," 
he said. 
   The United States "is a main competitor and senior partner, but its is 
not Russia's enemy," he said. 
   Furthermore, efficient partnership will become a reality when a 
Russian lobby emerges in the United States. "Such an instrument will 
inevitably appear, because a growing number of Russia structures are 
seeking integration into the contemporary world, which is dominated by 
the United States," he said.


No. 69
April 2003
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
Fyodor BURLATSKY, chairman of the Learned Council on 
Political Science, Russian Academy of Sciences 

     The regime of Saddam Hussein has fallen, surprisingly 
quickly and with minimal losses, while Russia has been fighting 
two years to suppress separatists in Chechnya and the struggle 
is not over yet. The US victory in Iraq was won not only thanks 
to the giant military might of the USA; the dictatorial regime 
of Saddam Hussein, which seemed so firm outside, was rotten 
The people submitted to the dictator but did not let him into 
their hearts. 
     It may seem strange but this is the most difficult time 
for Iraq and the whole of the Middle East. It will take the 
sophisticated efforts of winners' minds to deal with 
complicated tasks in Iraq. Contrary to the "might is right" 
saying, it is reason that eventually wins in global politics. 
Let's try on the winners' shoes for a minute. The initial 
desire would be to erect a barrier between them and the other 
countries that are not members of the coalition and especially 
those that tried to prevent the use of force. The US Congress 
has suggested excluding France, Germany and Russia from the 
post-war settlement in Iraq.
Knowing the US elite, I do not believe that the US 
administration would take this line. But it will try to remain 
the boss in Iraq and may try to use force against Iraq's 
neighbours, especially if it transpired that Saddam has taken 
shelter in Libya or Syria. 
     But what about Europe? What will Russia do? And what role 
will the UN play? As of now, it is for the USA and the 
anti-Iraqi coalition to decide. Will friend George and friend 
Tony want to involve Russia in the renewal of Iraq and the 
Middle East settlement as a whole? I think they are smart 
enough to act realistically and suppress the natural feeling of 
irritation that accompanied their difficult decision to go the 
whole hog despite odds and launch the military operation. Iraq 
is not the only pebble on the global beach or even in that 
explosive region.
There are other major interests and problems that keep together 
the USA, Europe and Russia. The struggle against international 
terrorism has only just begun. 
     Yet this is not the main thing either. We are witnessing 
the development of a new world order, which cannot and will not 
be like an Egyptian pyramid with one, even if the most powerful 
in the world, state at the top. But we must admit facts, in 
particular the special role of the USA in tackling security 
problems in the world. 
     So, what will happen? What will the coalition do with its 
military success? I believe, as the Chinese say, that it is 
very difficult to forecast anything, in particular the future. 
To my mind, President Bush and his allies will try to find a 
place for Europe and Russia in the Middle Eastern affairs. They 
do not know yet what place this would be. The USA is tempted to 
continue to tackle regional problems without the interfering 
involvement of the NATO allies and Russia. But it will overcome 
this temptation, provided the other political players take a 
reasonable and constructive stand. 
     In my opinion, the formula of agreement could include at 
least three elements. First, in addition to the Jay Garner 
administration in Iraq, there should be a council of 
representatives of NATO countries and Russia designed to 
develop relations between the new Iraq and Europe. Second, a UN 
office should be established there primarily to render 
humanitarian aid and protect human rights in Iraq. And third, 
the issue of economic revival of Iraq and cooperation with the 
other oil giants should be tackled within the framework of G8, 
where Russia is a member. It is the recognition of principle 
that is important. The coalition has won a victory in Iraq, but 
it can be sealed only by the concerted efforts of the civilised 
world. As for Russia, it should stop dreaming that the 
coalition will let the UN rule Iraq and join efforts to 
implement reasonable decisions that will take into account our 
political and economic interests. 
     I want to remind you in conclusion that the USSR, Russia 
and the USA paid a very high price for learning to trust each 
Russia has pulled out of Eastern Europe, dissolved the powerful 
Soviet Union and accepted the advance of NATO to its borders. 
The USA agreed to sign arms reduction treaties, accepted 
NATO-Russia cooperation and has launched business collaboration 
with Russia.
Not that it was an equal exchange, but Russia did what it did 
not only in the name of rapprochement with the West, but also 
in order to choose a new way of development. The current 
disagreements over Iraq cannot outweigh these historical 


The Russia Journal Monthly Magazine
April 2003
Inflation for the poor 
By Otto Latsis

The prices that are rising the fastest, outstripping the general inflation
rate, are the prices for the most basic foodstuffs that are of most
importance to the poor.

In February, in an unusual wave of protest, thousands of Russian pensioners
throughout the country sent President Vladimir Putin money transfers for 30
rubles. This was the amount, the equivalent of $1, by which monthly
pensions had been raised by the Russian government to index pensions for

While most attention has been fixated on the March reshuffle of the
country’s top officials in what could be called probably the most
significant shakeup in Putin’s three years as president, hardly anyone
noticed the economic conflict underway. It was the reorganization of the
security services that got the most attention. 

The Federal Border Guards Service and the Federal Agency for Government
Communications and Information lost their independent status and rejoined
the Federal Security Service, in a move that prompted commentators to speak
of a revival of the all-powerful Soviet-era KGB, which was broken into
separate agencies under then-President Boris Yeltsin.

The decision to transfer Valentina Matviyenko from her post as deputy prime
minister responsible for social issues to the job of presidential
representative in the Northwest Federal District got less attention. 

Most commentary centered on the prediction that Matviyenko would run for
governor of St. Petersburg next year. Little mention was made of
Matviyenko’s work in charge of the social sphere over the last four years,
even though it is precisely in this area that particularly significant
events in an election year are taking place.

Going by the statistics, social policy has enjoyed unprecedented success
under Putin’s presidency. Real disposable incomes rose by 11.9 percent in
2000, by another 8.5 percent in 2001 and by 8.8 percent in 2002. 

Growth rates like these would do any country proud. 

The average monthly wage came to $150 in January, still far behind wages in
developed countries, but an achievement considering that, in 1999, the
average monthly wage in Russia was a mere $60. Indeed, with results like
these, do Russians have any reason to be complaining?

Formally, the government, in increasing the pensions by $1, was simply
acting in accordance with its laws on indexation. But it was seen as an
insult by the country’s pensioners. 

Preoccupied as it is with trying to trim budget expenditures, the Finance
Ministry did not consider the psychological effect of the miserly increase
or the real situation of pensioners today. 

At the end of 2002, the average pension came to 1,462 rubles, or around $45
per month, which is just 2 percent higher than the subsistence minimum.

Obviously, if the average pension is barely above this survival minimum,
then the millions of people whose pensions are near or below the average
cannot make do at all. Prior to the 1998 financial crisis that sparked
galloping inflation, the average pension was 15 percent higher than the
survival minimum. That was not a lot, but at least it was better than
today’s situation.

It is obvious that, while the budget might see oil-price windfalls, the
aftereffects of the financial crisis are still making themselves felt for

Obviously, it is too early for the government to limit itself to indexing
pensions only to current inflation. Instead, indexing should keep ahead of

People know that the government can do this, thanks to the surplus revenues
it has received from export duties on oil. 

This made the 30-ruble increase look like a callous act on the part of a
government completely indifferent to the country’s social problems. Putin
had to intervene hastily, ordering the government to revise and increase
its indexation for pensions. Pensioners, after all, account for a third of
the electorate.

As if that is not enough, strikes by public-sector workers, mostly
teachers, are flaring up here and there. 

Education-sector workers earn less than $100 a month, not even two-thirds
of the average wage. Health-sector workers are no better off. 

The worst news is the number of people with incomes below the $45 minimum
wage. An estimated 35.8 million people in 2002, or a quarter of the
population, earned less than this amount each month and are considered
below the poverty line statistically. 

Back in 1995, the figure was 24.7 percent of the population, and, since
then, it has fluctuated only slightly and seen no real change. 

The flood of petrodollars over recent years has bypassed the country’s
poor. In 2000, which was a record year for the economy, the share of poor
people in the population was even greater than in less-successful years.

Understanding why this is so requires a look at what the average indicators
hide. In January 2003, for example, the consumer-price index rose by 2.4
percent compared to December 2002. 

It has become traditional for inflation to make a seasonal jump in January,
and this year’s upsurge is smaller than in previous years. But what exactly
does this 2.4 percent represent? Prices for non-foodstuffs rose by 1.1
percent, for foodstuffs by 2.5 percent and for paying consumer services by
4.4 percent.

If we do a further breakdown of the figures for foodstuffs and services, we
see that the cost of the minimum basket of foodstuffs rose by 4 percent
over a single month. In other words, prices for the most basic foodstuffs
rose one-and-a-half times faster than prices for foodstuffs in general. As
for services, housing and utilities costs for private consumers rose by 7.2
percent, which is a more rapid increase than for utilities costs in general.

And all of this is just over one month. Over a year (January 2002 to
January 2003), housing and utilities costs rose by 46.6 percent – three
times as fast as the average inflation rate. Over the same period, the cost
of medical services rose by 27 percent, public transportation costs by 21.9
percent, preschool education costs by 29.7 percent and education costs by
23.2 percent. 

So, the prices that are rising the fastest, outstripping the general
inflation rate, are the prices for the most basic foodstuffs that are of
most importance to the poor, and for services that consumers cannot do
without, such as housing costs, water and heating. 

This is why, despite the exceptionally fast rise in real incomes over the
last three years, the number of poor people remains at the same level.
Their living conditions, on the other hand, keep worsening.

One can concede the government is not deliberately trying to make things
worse for poor people, and the accelerated inflation rates affecting the
poor are a spontaneous phenomenon. 

But the government is either indifferent to the situation, or is powerless
to do something for lack of a clear strategy to fight poverty and a foggy
understanding of its causes.

1,795 rubles in 2002 
Growth from 2001: 19.7 percent 
Forecast for 2005: 2,580 rubles (44 percent up from 2002)
1,380 rubles (2002, first quarter)
15.1 percent in 2002 (18.6 percent in 2001)
According to preliminary estimates made by the Labor Ministry, 34 million
people in Russia currently live below the poverty line.  


The Russia Journal Monthly Magazine
April 2003
No bloom left on economic change story 
By Matt Taibbi

It must be great to be the Moscow bureau chief of the New York Times. You
wake up in the morning, drink a leisurely cup of coffee, then stroll over
to the walk-in closet. 

"Hmm," you say, as you rifle through the clothes rack. 

"Maybe ... I think I'll wear the 'Russia is Finally Turning the Corner'
today. It's been six months, after all." 

Then you turn and look in the full-length mirror, holding the suit up
against your body. Yowsers. You forgot how good it looks on you. 

Michael "Seattle Slew" Wines, the current Times bureau chief, has outdone
himself once again. His April 11 feature, "Russia's Economy Seems to Be
Starting to Bloom," is an absolute parody of the "Russia is Turning the
Corner" genre. 

Never mind that such stories are now closing in on their second decade of
use - they began appearing regularly in 1995. 

And never mind that veteran observers of the Russian journalism scene have
been unable to control their laughter at the sight of these features since
at least 1999. 

The effort by the Times chief still stands out, and is the most remarkable
example of the genre since Andrew Jack's famous "Cheese" piece from nearly
two years ago. 

Like all such articles, the piece leads off at the scene of some stirring
monument to Western-style capitalism (i.e. Ikea, a car dealership, a
multiplex, an overpriced restaurant with English-speaking waiters, and the

In this case, it's the hideous Crocus City: 

"Crocus City, a complex of 200 luxury stores rising in a northwest suburb
here, is so immense that patrons get around in electric carts. ... There is
lots to get around to: for starters, a stable of European designer salons,
a Ferrari dealer ..." 

From here Wines pushes his tortoise-paced rhetoric in the usual direction:
"To anyone who watched the economic panic of 1998 drive this nation to
bankruptcy ... Crocus City is more than a fashion statement. It is a
question: could this really be Russia?" 

The answer, of course, is no, and Wines admits as such. 

But in order to support the boosterish headline and justify the gaudy
images in the lead, Wines still has to find something meaningful in the
Crocus City phenomenon. And he does. 

A quick note on Wines. Like all but the very best poker players, almost all
journalists have a "tell." In poker, a "tell" is a twitch that reveals a
bluff - a way of scratching the nose, an over-acted sigh, that kind of
thing. Likewise, journalists often leave clues particular to their own
personalities when they lie. 

In the case of Wines - a terrible descriptive and figurative writer with
absolutely no talent for evocative prose - you know he's under duress when
you catch him lacquering the page with wretchedly flowery,
teenage-girl-style rhetorical flourishes. 

Here he is on, I kid you not, the crocus that is the Russian economy: 

"But like the real crocus, something may finally be stirring beneath the
snows that have iced the rest of this country's economy during a dozen
years of capitalism." 

You can be kicked out of the Romance Writers Association of America for
writing like that. On the other hand, the New York Times doesn't mind. 

For as long as gargantuan and transparently useless shopping complexes are
built in Moscow, these stories will continue to appear. 

And Americans might very well continue to believe them. But sooner or
later, one would think that people would notice that the setting of the
"turning the corner" story is never a new hospital, a new school, a new
laboratory, even a new housing project. 

But who needs those things, when you can buy a Ferrari? 


April 21, 2003
Mass Media Hush Up Solzhenitsyn Was Informer 
He readily agreed to cooperate with the KGB

The name of the Russian author and dissident in the US, Alexander 
Solzhenitsyn, that seemed to be forgotten after the 1990s' euphoria, comes up 
from time to time in the mass media. The author is especially loved by 
provincial mass media, as it always considered honor for a small town to have 
any kind of connection with important figures of the country. The Russian 
city of Bryansk is not an exception in this case. In different times (with an 
interval of about ten years) two publications appeared in the city, a booklet 
of local journalist Vasily Shpachkov and an article in the AiF-Bryansk 
newspaper (which mostly repeated the booklet). Both publications concerned 
relations between Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who wasn't a Nobel Prize laureate 
at that time, and Nikolay Vitkevich, the head of chair at the Bryansk 
Technical Machinery Construction Institute. Both authors told about 
"friendship" between the two men, about their meetings at the front, 
simultaneous arrests and about the reasons of subsequent breakup. 

Here is a quotation from Solzhenitsyn's works: "Looking back at my inquest 
from the time of imprisonment, I saw I had no reasons to be proud of it. 
Certainly I could have behaved more firmly and dodged better. In the first 
weeks, I experienced derangement of mind and low spirits." 

Soviet army captain Nikolay Vitkevich was arrested right at the front, near 
Berlin on April 22, 1945. Special services blamed the officer of his 
anti-Soviet attitudes and confirmed the guilt with letters he wrote to and 
received from Alexander Solzhenitsyn, an old friend of his since his school 

The friends moved apart at the very beginning of war: Vitkevich defended the 
Soviet capital in trenches, and the other, Solzhenitsyn had been first 
recognized unfit for army service. Later, he all the same came to the front. 
In 1943, the friends met. They talked and argued about politics a lot, spoke 
about political leaders and about the reasons of the 1941 war catastrophe. 
Nikolay Vitkevich told the Bryansk journalist who issued the booklet about 
Solzhenitsyn: "We reconsidered our views to such extent that even called the 
supreme commander-in-chief a "sheep". And that wasn't the harshest criticism 
to him at all." In the spring of 1944 the friends got separated again, but 
still continued their polemics in letters. As a result of this kind of 
correspondence, captain Nikolay Vitkevich was sentenced to ten years of 
imprisonment according to the clause 58-10 of the Soviet Criminal Code. 

But the captain was mostly struck not with the fact of the sentence. An 
investigator working with the case showed Nikolay a hand-written confession 
of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The main idea of Solzhenitsyn's confession was 
that Nikolay Vitkevich, Kirill Cimonyan (another school friend of theirs) and 
Natalya Reshetovskaya (Solzhenitsyn's wife) in agreement with some Vlasov 
organized a criminal group to slander the leaders of the Communist Party and 
the Soviet government. 

Kirill Simonyan (a prominent scientist who was at head of several clinics in 
Moscow) was summoned to police in 1952 and was showed the thick copy-book of 
52 pages written by Solzhenitsyn's hand. On every page of the confession, it 
was said that he, Kirill Simonyan had always been anti-Soviet since his 
childhood; he demoralized all of his friends, especially Alexander 

Natalya Reshetovskaya, the wife of Solzhenitsyn whom he had also mentioned in 
the confession, later told who that Vlasov was. As it turned out, Alexander 
Solzhenitsyn defamed an accidental fellow traveller, a sailor with whom he 
had met in a train. 

When in several years Professor Simonyan  openly criticized Solzhenitsyn's 
views, the author expressed his regret in the book "The GULAG Archipelago": 
"I wish you were imprisoned then! You missed a nice opportunity." In his 
interview in 1992, Alexander Solzhenitsyn regretted that the investigation on 
the case had been negligent. He said that on the basis of the confession he 
had given, at least 5 people more from his division could have been 

Many taboos has been lifted since that time, and it's no longer prohibited to 
say that "the all-Russian messiah" Alexander Solzhenitsyn wasn't only an 
ideological fighter against the Soviet power, but its ideological ally: he 
closely cooperated with the inquest.  Alexander Solzhenitsyn seriously 
embellished his biography. 

He told about the horrors of Soviet concentration camps, but in fact he 
himself got off lightly: he was sentenced to a rather short imprisonment as 
concerning his indictments (the clause 58-11, confession of an anti-Soviet 
group, was even more threatening that the clause 58-10 that implied property 
confiscation and deprivation of all awards).  Nikolay Vitkevich was exiled to 
the northern city of Vorkuta, which was a very long way, and many people died 
on the way to the place. But Alexander Solzhenitsyn wasn't even pressed by 
the special services for cooperation, he readily agreed. For this very  
reason he was sentenced to a smaller term, eight years. He spent the period 
in Moscow's Butyrka prison where he had an opportunity to order books from 
the central Soviet library, and the rest of the period he spent somewhere in 
the Moscow region. 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Nikolay Vitkevich had a chance to meet after the 
war once again. The Soviet captain wasn't angry with his "friend", however, 
he couldn't any longer treat him as a normal man. 

In the booklet by Bryansk journalist Shpachkov the author told about 
Solzhenitsyn's "heroism" a lot, but documents proving this conduct 
(information against other people, to be more exact) were never published in 

The most notorious instance was Solzhenitsyn's denunciation that further 
helped the authorities to violently suppress a strike of Ukrainian 
nationalists in a camp in Ekibastuz (former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan). 
As was traditional for socialism, all documents in the archives of the state 
security services were and are carefully kept there. It is a very nice 
document indeed that allows to exert pressure upon the Nobel Prize laureate 
and "the conscience of the Soviet nation". At that, the KGB allowed two 
foreign journalists to see the document, which both certainly used for their 
own purposes. The document was information provided by some man who called 
himself Vetrov. The information concerned preparation for an overturn in a 
camp, all details and the organizers of the action. What  is more, Vetrov 
also informed how exactly the overturn was planned to happen. The author of 
the denunciation once again asked the special services to secure him against 
criminal who exasperated him with suspicious questions. 

One of the foreign journalists, Germany's Frank Arnau, a criminologist by 
profession, analyzed the document. He says that the authenticity of the 
document is proved by the identity of handwriting of some invented Vetrov and 
actual Solzhenitsyn, by the manner of writing and other typical details which 
were alike in his books and in the above mentioned denunciation. The 
journalist also emphasized the likeness of Solzhenitsyn's psychological and 
moral characteristic features over the whole period of his defamatory 
activity. Researchers say that this Vetrov acted in a big way: he gave 
information against all friends from his young age; he even defamed his 
fellow traveller Vlasov, not to speak about his friend Kirill Simonyan, the 
denunciation against whom made up 52 pages. 

As concerning the denunciation about the overturn organization, the whole 
group of people mentioned in the denunciation was executed by shooting. After 
that, "Vetrov", under which name Solzhenitsyn wrote his denunciations, was 
taken to a camp hospital and then moved to another camp. 

Gorod_24 news agency
Nash Mir news agency

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
meeting summary
Russian Middle Class
A presentation by Tatyana Maleva on the findings of her recent research, 
which is based on surveys of over 4000 households in twelve Russian regions. 

On April 9, 2003, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosted a 
presentation by Tatyana Maleva on "The Russian Middle Class." Maleva, 
Director of the Independent Institute of Social Policy in Moscow, discussed 
the findings of her recent research, which is based on surveys of over 4000 
households in twelve Russian regions. Anders Aslund, Senior Associate at the 
Carnegie Endowment, moderated the session. 

Tatyana Maleva opened her presentation by noting that her research is partly 
a response to discussions that took place two years ago at a Carnegie 
conference entitled "Russia-Ten Years After." A straw poll conducted at that 
meeting revealed that only 30% of the attendees believed that a middle class 
existed in Russia, and that it had the potential to succeed. She added that 
her desire to evaluate the success of Russia's transition also contributed to 
her interest in the middle class; the presence of a strong and growing middle 
class would mean that after years of upheaval, reform has finally worked. 
Studying the middle class in Russia presents the researcher with several 
challenges, however. First and foremost among these is the question of how to 
define the group. This problem does not exist in stable countries with 
healthy economies, where the sociological definition of the middle 
class-those who are educated, hold stable jobs, and enjoy a strong position 
on the labor market-tends to overlap with other indicators of social status, 
including wealth and self-identification. In Russia, however, Maleva had to 
work with three discrete indicators: wealth, occupation, and 

In Maleva's survey, 21.9% of respondents could be classified as middle class 
by virtue of their occupation, and 21.2% by virtue of their wealth. 39.5% of 
participants identified themselves as "middle class." Only 7% of those 
surveyed are classified as middle class in all three categories, a group 
which Maleva refers to as the "core middle class." Nearly twice as many 
respondents-12.2%-are considered middle class according to two categories. In 
total, then, Maleva classifies about 20% of the Russian population (those who 
fit two or three of her criteria) as middle-class. Her survey sampling is 
intended to be representative of the entire country, but she noted that the 
proportion of middle-class citizens in urban areas is substantially higher 
than 20%; in Moscow and St. Petersburg, 13% of the population is included in 
the core middle class.

Maleva then proceeded to discuss whether the fact that one-fifth of Russians 
are considered middle class should be cause for celebration or concern. At 
the very least, she argued, her study disproves two major myths about the 
Russian middle class: that it doesn't exist; and that the majority of 
Russians are sociologically "middling." Her research also illuminates some 
troubling facts. It shows that only one-third of the well educated have 
learned to make money, and that only one-third of the wealthy are well 
educated. Oddly enough, it also reveals that wealth does not necessarily 
ensure a high self-ranking. On the other hand, Maleva's data indicates that 
Russians are more optimistic than might be expected; although only 20% are 
classified as "middling," twice that number consider themselves to be middle 

Next, Maleva discussed the activities of the emerging Russian middle class, 
which can be classified as both traditional and innovative. The most striking 
feature of this class, she argued, is its stability and its ability to adapt 
to changing political and economic situations, but a number of other 
characteristics of the middle class emerge when this group is compared to 
other social groups. The incomes of middle class citizens are two times 
higher than that of other Russians, and they are three times more likely to 
have savings (which tend to be held in banks rather than in cash). Their 
long-term financial planning tends to focus on accumulating personal savings 
rather than relying on state subsidies. They have a high level of economic 
activity; 76% of the middle class is regularly employed, compared to just 47% 
of those who fall below the thresholds established by Maleva. Additionally, 
the middle class is far more likely than the general public to be involved in 
small business ventures and to have secondary employment. Maleva noted that 
her data disproves two other myths about the middle class: that it derives 
from the shadow economy, and that it seeks to legitimize its status. There 
seems to be no common origin of the middle class, and once Russians attain 
this social position, they are no more likely than the general public to be 
politically active or to participate in civic initiatives. 

Maleva concluded her presentation by imploring the meeting attendees, "don't 
worry about the Russian middle class." It has managed to weather the changes 
of the 1990s and the 1998 currency crisis, and it seems to have adequate 
economic and social resources for its further development. However, the 
Russian government and international community should be worried about the 
vast majority of the Russian population that is not part of the middle class, 
particularly the 10.8% of citizens living far below the poverty line. 
Considering its poor education and the continuing weakness of the Russian 
economy, this group has few prospects for social mobility in the coming 
years. It also remains to be seen what will happen to the 70.2% of the 
population whose social status falls below that of the middle class but above 
that of the destitute. Maleva insists that segments of this group do have 
some chance of joining the ranks of the middle class, and noted that their 
fate will likely serve as an indicator of the health of Russian 
capitalism-and the future of the Russian middle class. 

The question and answer session opened with further discussion of Maleva's 
methodology and definition of the middle class. Maleva noted that her survey 
did not find a distinct upper class; she considers the proportion of Russians 
whose social status falls above that of the middle class-about 
.1%-statistically insignificant. She acknowledged that the Russian middle 
class differs from similar groups in other countries by virtue of the fact 
that it is located at the top of the social pyramid and values stability over 
social engagement or political activism. Still, she argued, its vitality and 
strength distinguish it from other segments of Russian society. Maleva added 
that with regard to wealth, she defined the middle class as those with income 
of at least $200 per capita per month, though this threshold was lower ($110) 
in Tomsk. In response to questions about the demographic makeup of the middle 
class, she also noted that it is considerably younger than the population at 
large, with an average age of 30-40 years. 

Another attendee asked Maleva which of her discoveries most surprised her. 
She responded that in spite of the importance that is assigned to education 
in Russia, she found that only about 22% of respondents are well educated. 
Maleva pointed out that of these, the majority have a Soviet education, which 
cannot readily be applied to the new challenges posed by the post-Soviet 
labor market. The slow growth of the middle class-according to Maleva's data, 
this group has not expanded at all in the last four years-may in part be a 
result of structural deficiencies in the Russian education sector. Maleva 
argued that this emphasizes the need for comprehensive reform of the 
education system. Anders Aslund added that while institutional reforms would 
be a positive development, economic growth would do the most to help resolve 
these problems. 

Other questions centered around the role of professionals and public-sector 
employees in the Russian middle class. In contrast to Soviet times, when 
teachers served as the backbone of "middling society," only 50% of those 
comprising Maleva's core are employed by the educational sector. The 
impoverishment of small-town educators has further reduced teachers' share in 
the middle class; the majority of educators identified as middle class reside 
in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Overall, though, Maleva did not find a strong 
correlation between respondents' type of employment and their likelihood of 
being considered middle class: the portion of the middle class employed in 
any particular sector tended to correspond to its general share of the 
population. The one exception to this rule is small business, which is 
disproportionately staffed by the middle class.

Anders Aslund closed the meeting by noting that the small size of the core of 
the Russian middle class is disturbing, as is the apparent disjuncture 
between level of education and wealth. On the other hand, he noted with 
optimism that many more Russians consider themselves to be part of the middle 
class than actually belong to it. Although the development of the middle 
class has been halting, he pointed out, no part of Maleva's findings indicate 
that this important social group will not grow and flourish in the future.

Summary prepared by Faith Hillis, Junior Fellow with the Russian and Eurasian 
Program at the Carnegie Endowment. 



Elliott School of International Affairs,
The George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
Monday, April 7, 2003

Transcript by:
Federal News Service
Washington, D.C.

JIM GOLDGEIER: I'd like to welcome you all. I'm Jim Goldgeier, director of 
the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George 
Washington University, part of the Elliott School of International Affairs, 
and I want to welcome you all to the George Washington University. It's been 
a wonderful day at the Carnegie Endowment and we're delighted to have you 
here. And we have so many distinguished guests that it would be difficult to 
distinguish among them, but we're certainly delighted with the 
representatives - the diplomatic corps who are here: Congresswoman Kaptur, 
members of parliament from Ukraine, and others who are here. As I said, you 
are all distinguished guests and we're delighted to have you here.

I have a couple of words of thanks and then I know that you are all eager to 
hear our speaker, so I will get off the podium as quickly as I can. I, of 
course, first have to thank the people who truly made this possible -- my 
staff at George Washington University: Jennifer Sieck, Suzanne Stephenson, 
who made the plane reservations for many of you, and especially Vedrana 
Hadzialic, who has been working night and day - grateful to them and to 
Marina Barnett at the Carnegie Endowment. (Applause.)

A special welcome to Jessica Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment, 
and to Harry Harding, the dean of the Elliot School, who are representing our 
cosponsoring entities for this conference, and we're delighted that they are 
here. (Applause.) And I do have to tell you that George Washington president,
Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, is chairing a meeting in New York this evening, 
which is why he couldn't be here, but he sent me a very nice note reminding 
me that both of his parents and all four of his grandparents are from 
Ukraine. (Applause.) You have to stop clapping or I'm going to be here 
longer. (Laughter.)

A few other quick words. One, we're very grateful to the International 
Renaissance Foundation for their support. Grigorian Amirian (ph), Yevhen 
Bystrytskyy graciously agreed to help support some of those coming here from 
Ukraine, and we're grateful to them. The United States Department of State 
has brought 20 Muskie and Fulbright Scholars here for the conference. And 
working with the staff of the State Department has been a real pleasure, and 
also working with Sarah Lenti at the NSC, who unfortunately could not make it 
tonight because she's working. (Applause.) And then just finally, it's been a 
great pleasure to work with my old friend, Andy Kuchins, with whom we have 
put this conference together, and it's been a lot of fun. And it's been so 
much fun that we're going to have to do it again sometime. (Applause.)

This conference is made possible in large part because of a gift to the 
university that was made several years ago. This is the William and Helen 
Petrach Endowment for Ukrainian Exchanges and Programs at the George 
Washington University. This endowment supports a special relationship with 
Lviv State University, bringing scholars from Lviv here. We have two this 
spring, and also our faculty go to Lviv and teach classes over at Lviv State.

We also this year introduced Ukrainian language at George Washington 
University with the endowment, which we're very pleased about. (Applause.) 
And we also have a graduate class this spring called Geopolitics of Ukraine. 
It meets on Monday evenings, and so the professor brought her class to dinner 
tonight, and I just want to say to the students I can't promise you I can do 
this again for you for the remaining part of the semester.

None of this conference would have really been possible without the vision 
provided by U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Carlos Pascual. As you all know, he's 
an extraordinary individual. He's extremely disappointed that he is not able 
to be here, and he would be here if he could be here. But he called me this 
morning to again say how disappointed he is, but of course with wishing all 
of us well, and I told him that I would provide him regular reports on how 
things were going. And he was especially important in helping with getting 
our dinner speaker this evening. We knew who we wanted, and Ambassador 
Pascual said to me, well, do you want to ask him or should I? And I said, 
well, you ask him because I think we'll have a much better chance of getting 
him to agree. As you know, he's a very persuasive guy.

Well, our speaker, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, I don't need a long introduction 
since you all are familiar with all he has done. And of course he's most well 
known for his work as national security advisor and then his tremendous 
influence on American foreign policy since he served as national security 
advisor. But particularly since we are at a university, at an academic 
institution -- and since some of our younger students may not realize this -- 
I have to also add that in addition to the extraordinary career he has had in 
the world of policy, he had an extraordinary career in the world of academia. 
And the works that he produced as a scholar, including the very massive and 
incredibly detailed work, "The Soviet Bloc," are really extraordinarily 
influential in the scholarly world, and so as an academic it's also a great 
pleasure to be able to introduce him here. He's been just an extraordinary 
voice for freedom, for human rights, for all the things that we are 
discussing here at this conference, and it's just a great privilege and a 
pleasure to welcome him to the George Washington University. (Applause.)

DR. ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen, first of all, 
thank you for that very generous introduction. I am always somewhat 
embarrassed by introductions and I don't know really how to thank the person 
who has introduced me. But recently I attended an evening in honor of 
President Carter where he was introduced with similar very great generosity, 
and President Carter stood up and said, "Thank you so much for that 
introduction. Of all the introductions I have ever heard, this one was the 
most recent." (Laughter.) 

Let me begin first of all by saying that I am very delighted to be here among 
many Americans who have an interest, a genuine interest, in Ukraine. I'm also 
delighted to be here with many friends from countries which are neighbors of 
Ukraine and therefore have to have an interest in Ukraine. (Laughter.) And 
last but not least I am delighted to see many of my Ukrainian friends who 
have a truly significant personal interest in Ukraine.

Now, some of you may not have attended dinners of this kind here in 
Washington and therefore I'd like to begin by explaining to you that there is 
a certain almost eccentric protocol for official evening dinners in 
Washington. They usually begin with one of three procedures, and sometimes 
more than one but two or even three. The first is that there is a religious 
blessing given to the dinner. I notice that this must be an atheistic group 
because that wasn't followed. (Laughter.) But the usual procedure is for some 
venerable clergyman to stand up, give a very elaborately worded prayer to God 
that he bless this dinner, using phraseology which very carefully does not 
cross theological boundaries. (Laughter.) 

The second protocol, which also was not observed here tonight, involves 
what's called in Washington the presentation of the colors. Our Ukrainian 
friends might have been surprised, if it had been followed, by the sudden 
appearance of a number of American soldiers carrying flags who would very 
formally march in here and then present the flags to you and then very 
formally march out. This procedure was also not followed tonight, which means 
that this dinner is not only atheistic but non-patriotic. (Laughter.) 

There is a third procedure left, and this one is being followed. It is to 
have someone speak after a full day's conference to people who have had 
drinks and food, and you call his speech a keynote address. (Laughter.) Now, 
I was already told that my keynote address doesn't preface the conference but 
is in the middle of it, and therefore it is a little difficult to set the 
necessary keynotes. (Laughter.) So let me just say a few words to you about 
the progressive evolution of the American attitude towards Ukraine. 

In a nutshell - but not as a keynote - in a nutshell, and oversimplifying, I 
would say it has evolved from ignorance through arrogance to perseverance. It 
is not such a long time ago when, if I were addressing an American audience 
of this size and if I was speaking of the Soviet Union, everyone in the room 
would have assumed that I speak of Russia and that Russia is the Soviet 
Union. Even slightly more than a decade ago, the predominant American 
perception of the Soviet Union was that it is a nation state and that it is 
essentially Russia, and that Russia is the Soviet Union. 

When I was in the White House I proposed to the president the formation of 
what is called an interagency group, a group of officials from different 
departments, to develop policies addressed to the national problems of the 
Soviet Union. I was convinced that the national problems of the Soviet Union 
were the Achilles' heel of the Soviet Union. The State Department protested 
in writing, saying that there is no national problem in the Soviet Union 
because there is now a Soviet nation. The president approved the proposal, 
the interagency group was established, and one of its products was the 
development of an action program designed to assist national movements within 
the Soviet Union, a program which was very elegantly called "a program for 
the delegitimization of the Soviet System." 

Slightly more than a decade ago, the citizens of Kiev, assembled in one of 
its major squares, were publicly warned to beware of excessive nationalism, 
at a time when the Soviet Union was falling apart. Within the last decade, 
there was still considerable doubt as to whether the Ukrainian people feel 
themselves to be truly European. There were predictions that Ukraine would 
split in half between Eastern and Western Ukraine. All of that, in my view, 
reflected a very fundamental ignorance about Ukraine's history and its 
national identity, an ignorance which fortunately has very much faded in the 
course of the last two years.

But it has been followed at times with a rather arrogant attitude towards the 
newly independent Ukraine. I have read many analyses to the effect that 
Ukraine is an economic basket case. These analyses were written at a time 
when a very close neighbor of Ukraine was very much a petro state. We were 
told repeatedly that Ukraine is unusually corrupt, and the question of course 
necessarily had to arise, corrupt as compared to whom? One would not 
necessarily even have to mention any city close to Kiev; one could mention 
some cities very far from Kiev, including some on this continent where 
corruption also politically manifests itself.

There has also been a tendency to politically ostracize Ukraine for 
shortcomings which, in the case of analogous shortcomings elsewhere, did not 
lead to similar ostracism. There is no doubt that from a moral point of view, 
the killing of an individual or the sale of arms to a criminal state are 
troubling developments, but are they different, for example, from mass 
killings in Chechnya or from export of arms, also to a criminal state, from 
that source? Fortunately, that phase too is gradually fading, and it is 
giving way to increasingly dominant indications that there is perseverance in 
the development of America's relationship with Ukraine.

My sense is that there is growing awareness within the American elite, within 
the American government, and more vaguely in the American public that Ukraine 
has been successful in overcoming enormous historical handicaps that it 
confronted when it became independent. And like its post-communist neighbors 
to the west, Ukraine has not had an independent state in effect since Kievan 
Rus, except for a very brief period in the late nineteen-teens and the early 
twenties. Not only did it not have an independent state, but much of its 
intellectual elite was physically decimated in the course of this century. 
Nonetheless, a state has emerged and a state has consolidated itself, and a 
state today exists that functions as an independent state. 

One of the most critical accomplishments in that respect was the prompt 
nationalization of the Soviet army stationed on Ukrainian territory. The full 
history - the dramatic history of how that occurred, in essence in just a few 
weeks, has not yet been written, but that was absolutely essential to the 
emergence - to the survival and emergence of a state. Some scholar ought to 
undertake an interview project with the key players - several key officials, 
some senior officers who played a truly historic role in the course of a very 
concentrated period of time in very dramatic circumstances. Moreover, it is 
quite evident that national unity has been preserved and preserved 
successfully, transcending linguistic differences, the importance of which 
was often politically exaggerated. 

We know now that about eight million Ukrainians consider themselves to be 
Russians by nationality, a much smaller number than previously assumed, but 
even then there is no ethnic conflict between the Ukrainians and the 
Russians. Crimea, despite enormous tensions, has avoided serious ethnic 
conflicts. Moreover, in terms of foreign policy, despite some zigzags in the 
course of the last several years, the general trend is towards the West. That 
process has become clearer in the course of the last year or so. The 
multi-vector policy, which was proclaimed earlier, in fact no longer has any 
meaning because the direction of history is indeed towards the West. And that 
is possible because among the Ukrainian people there is no nostalgia for 
empire because they were never in charge of that empire. And there is 
certainly no desire just to be a part of an empire. 

All of that, in my view, creates a situation which involves genuine 
preconditions for significant change in the course of the not-too-distant 
future. To me the question is not so much whether that sense of direction 
will be continued but rather whether it will be slow or more rapid. Within 
the top leadership, within some vested interests, there is still lingering 
ambivalence. Among the younger generation I sense a very significant shift 
and almost an ultimaticity of identification with the West. And on a very 
superficial level - very superficial - one sees the increasing commonality 
between Ukrainians and the West. Ten years ago I would have had no difficulty 
identifying Ukrainians in this room. Today I can't really tell who are 
Americans and who are Ukrainians. And that would be true also of Germans or 
Poles or French. Ukraine naturally, by history, by culture, is European; it 
is not Eurasian. And that makes for a fundamental difference. And that has 
implications also for what we do. 

After the end of the Cold War and the defeat of the Soviet Union, the first 
phase was the strategic enlargement of NATO. The inclusion of Poland, the 
Czech Republic and Hungary was a strategically significant step taken 
immediately in the wake of the victory in the Cold War. It had strategic 
significance vis-à-vis a Russia that was changing but still problematical. 
The second phase was the political enlargement of Europe through NATO. The 
admission of the seven to NATO defines the new political frontiers of Europe 
because it's going to be accompanied also by the enlargement of the European 
Union. The next phase after that is going to be the historic enlargement of 
Europe through NATO and the European Union. And obviously, in that third 
phase, Ukraine has to be an object of serious commitment on the part of the 

As I said earlier, I have no doubt that this is the direction in which 
history is marching, both from here and from Kiev. The real issue for us is 
with what rapidity can the obstacles be overcome? Creation of an enduring 
civil society, an established, well working democracy is one of the critical 
preconditions for participation in the larger Europe, in the Atlantic 
community, in the democratic world. The people that I see here tonight are 
engaged in that enterprise and I feel myself very much committed to it as 

Thank you for your attention. 


MR. GOLDGEIER: Dr. Brzezinski has graciously agreed to take a couple of 
questions. I was wondering if we had any Muskie Scholars or GW graduate 
students who had a question. We would like to - I would like to have the 
first question come from one of our younger scholars.

Q: Thank you. We're definitely flattered and just knocked down with this 
opportunity. And I'm really sorry that I didn't bring the Ukrainian version 
of Grand Chessboard with me. (Chuckles.) My name is Serhiy Kostyuk. I'm a 
Muskie Scholar from Ukraine at Georgia State University, Atlanta. On behalf 
of our Muskie family, I'd like to thank you to George Washington University, 
to the United States Department of State, to Dr. Brzezinski, to all Americans 
for inviting us to this country. And we're very proud -- and myself I am very 
proud that all of my friends, we're going back home to Ukraine. (Applause.)

I'm curious, Dr. Brzezinski, have you ever traveled to Russia and delivered a 
speech to a Russian audience, and what's their reaction to your pro-Ukrainian 
policy? It would be nice to hear. Thank you.

DR. BRZEZINSKI: I've traveled many times to the Soviet Union, probably the 
first time before you were born -- (laughter) -- and my travel to the Soviet 
Union included travel to Russia. In more recent times I have been asked by 
some Russian friends as to what are the sources of my Ukrainian deviation -- 
(laughter) -- and I have told them that it comes out of my love for Russia. 
(Laughter, applause.) I have said to them - and I'm serious, actually - that 
Russia will never be free if it is an imperial state. It will never be part 
of Europe if it is an imperial state. It cannot take to Europe its imperial 
baggage, whether it be in Ukraine or in Chechnya. 

And I have often said also to my American friends that if we want a good 
relationship with Russia and if we want Russia to be part of the West, we 
have to make sure that it is discouraged from any imperial nostalgia. And 
therefore, the earliest feasible, practical entry of Ukraine into NATO, into 
the European Union, is actually an act of friendship towards Russia as well. 

Q: My name is Lana Sedritskaya and I'm a graduate student in the class of 
geopolitics of Ukraine here, and I have a question for you. You've talked 
about Ukraine's foreign policy orientation -

DR. BRZEZINSKI: Could you speak just a little slower? (Laughter.)

Q: Sorry, I'm a little nervous. You've talked about Ukraine's foreign policy 
orientation towards the West. How does Ukraine's presidency of CIS affect its 
foreign policy orientation today?

DR. BRZEZINSKI: Well, you know, in a way, the answer to that is somewhat 
dialectical. (Laughter.) The symbolism is not attractive, but the reality is 
not threatening. First of all, to have a non-Russian as a chairman of the 
CIS, a president of another country, emphasizes the fact that the existence 
of that other country and then others later on, is legitimate. In general, if 
you have normalization of relations between Russia and Ukraine, demarcation 
of borders, legally binding agreements regarding the Russian presence in 
Sevastopol, you are de facto legitimizing and consolidating the separate 
statehood of Ukraine.

Q: Could it just be a ploy to bring Ukraine towards Russia and away from the 

DR. BRZEZINSKI: Well, but what does that mean? You know, how can Ukraine be 
moved towards Russia? What does that mean in practice other than, for 
example, increased Russian participation in ownership of some Ukrainian 
resources? That, as of itself, might be occasionally difficult, but it's not 
decisive for the existence of the Ukrainian state. 

Yet Russia faces truly enormous internal problems. It is facing a demographic 
catastrophe. It is undergoing de-industrialization, which is obscured only by 
the fact that it is a petro state. Its population is shifting from the east 
to the center of Russia because Russia can no longer subsidize the population 
in the far east. To the east of Russia there is now a state with a population 
nine times that of Russia and an economy six times that of Russia. To the 
west of Russia, and to the west of Ukraine, there is emerging an economic 
entity that is beginning to acquire political identity. For Ukraine, 
normalization of relations with Russia makes sense, and movement towards 
Russia in any serious fashion makes no practical sense whatsoever. 

So in that sense I don't think there really is a choice. There may be some 
misguided individuals, very often connected with somewhat dogmatic parties, 
that have some nostalgia of that sort, but by and large, one might almost 
make the hazardous statement that anyone whose IQ is above average doesn't 
entertain that point of view. (Laughter.) 

Thank you very much. Good night.

MR. GOLDGEIER: I'd just like to say again thank you to Dr. Brzezinski for 
joining us. Thanks to all of you for joining us this evening. I hope you get 
a good night's sleep because we're bright and early at the Carnegie tomorrow 
morning and we've got a full day ahead of us. So thanks again.


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