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JRL #7174 Simple Text - Entire Issue

Editor: Stephen D. Shenfield shenfield@neaccess.net
May 2003

1. Women and politics in Russia
2. Business and politics in middle Siberia

3. Problems of economic statistics
4. Output trends for industrial products

5. The census in Chechnya
6. Soviet war losses

7. Military cooperation within the CIS

8. Political Islam in Dagestan
9. The ideology of Hizb al-Tahrir

10. Russian reactions to Nietzsche

11. Depleted uranium munitions in the Gulf wars
12. New book on East-West cultural exchanges




SOURCE. S. G. Aivazova, Gendernoe ravenstvo kak problema rossiiskikh reform: politicheskii aspekt [Gender Equality as a Problem of Russian Reforms: The Political Aspect] (Moscow, 2002). (1)

Professor Aivazova, Doctor of Political Sciences, examines in historical and international perspective the marginal status of women in Russian state structures and political parties.

(a) Historical background

It was only after the February revolution of 1917 that women in Russia got the vote and the first woman was appointed as a minister. She was Countess Sofia Panina and headed the ministry of social care. After the October revolution the job went to a woman Bolshevik, Alexandra Kollontai. The tradition of putting a token woman in charge of social policy continues today in the person of deputy premier Valentina Matvienko.

In the Soviet period the real power structure, i.e. the party hierarchy, was overwhelmingly male. Thus in 1966-67 women made up 21 percent of party members and under 3 percent of members of the Central Committee. The only woman ever to belong to the ruling group at the very top, consisting of members of the Politburo and the Secretariat, was Yekaterina Furtseva, a colleague of Khrushchev.

At the same time, women had guaranteed quotas in the rubber-stamp Soviet legislatures (30 percent in the Supreme Soviet, 40-50 percent at lower levels). However, when these bodies began to acquire real power in the late 1980s the quota system was abandoned. Women were under 6 percent in the Congress of People's Deputies elected in 1990.

(b) A few facts and figures

In the Duma the proportion of women fell from almost 14 percent in 1993-95 to 10 percent in 1995-99 and under 8 percent in the current Duma. (2)

The proportion of women in regional legislatures is similarly low (9 percent in 1999-2000). No woman is head of a regional administration. Only in local councils do women play a much more prominent role (over 40 percent of deputies).

Women predominate in the lower reaches of the civil service but occupy only 23 percent of higher-level posts. 37 percent of state prosecutors and investigators are women.

(c) Ideological change

Post-Soviet ideological changes and the increased influence of the West have had a mixed impact. To the extent that the "woman's question" is still perceived as part of socialist ideology it has been discredited. At the same time, Western feminist ideas have made some inroads, at least in the academic community. (Aivazova's report is itself evidence of the fact.) Russia has signed international agreements that proclaim the goal of gender equality, although it has done very little to implement them.

(d) State bodies for women's issues

Five state bodies have been set up in the 1990s to deal with women's issues:

* the Commission for Women's, Family, and Demographic Affairs under the President

* the State Duma Committee of Women's, Family, and Youth Affairs

* the Commission for Women's Affairs under the chairman of the Council of the Federation

* the interdepartmental Commission for Questions of Women's Situation under the Government

* the Department of Children's, Women's, and Family Affairs in the Ministry of Labor and Social Development

The author points to four factors that limit the effectiveness of these bodies:

1) Their functions are limited mainly to consultation and coordination.

2) Their goals are not clearly conceptualized and tend to be in the spirit of Soviet paternalism -- i.e. to improve women's situation without insisting on gender equality.

3) Their continued existence is not protected by law but depends on the goodwill of powerful figures. For example, after five years of quite successful work the president's commission was abolished when the Presidential Administration was reorganized. The commission at the Council of the Federation met the same fate.

4) Most of these bodies exist only at the federal level and have no infrastructure in the regions. Partial exceptions are the Ministry of Labor and the government commission, which has subordinate commissions in 31 of the 89 regions.

(e) Political parties and women

Women are almost absent from the leadership of major political parties that have fractions in parliament. The sole exceptions are Irina Khakamada and Ye. Mizulina, two of the three leaders of the Union of Right Forces (SPS). (3)

In the 1999 elections, the percentage of women on the list of candidates nominated by each of the main parties was:

SPS 17 Fatherland--All Russia 12 Yabloko 11 CPRF 10 Unity 10 LDPR 2.5

When account is taken of the fact that a candidate's chance of election depends on where her name stands on her party's list, the position of women in the parties turns out to be somewhat worse than these figures suggest.

Women were much more prominent in some of the minor parties that failed to get into parliament, especially in parties of a social-democratic or ecological orientation. Thus the list of the new movement "Peace. Labor. May" contained 30 percent of women's names, and that of "For Civic Dignity" 29 percent. (4)

The author also examines the treatment of women's issues in the programmatic documents of the main parties published at the time of the 1999 elections. No mention was made of women's issues in the CPRF and Unity programs. The same went for the SPS and Yabloko, despite the relatively high profile of women in these parties. However, in March 2000 Yabloko's leader Grigory Yavlinsky did commit himself to the goal of gender equality. The SPS also adopted this stance in March 2002.

The LDPR program contained a special section on "women and the LDPR," declaring BOTH support for "women's equal rights" AND opposition to women occupying leading positions in society.

The most progressive document on women's issues to be issued by any party during the electoral campaign was adopted by Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's "Fatherland" at a special women's forum held in July 1999 in Ivanovo. It proposed legislation to secure gender equality, including equal representation of the sexes in the structures of power. Unfortunately, these proposals were "lost" in the course of the negotiations to form the electoral bloc of "Fatherland" with "All Russia."

(f) Gender differences in political preferences

Using data from various surveys, (5) the author presents various differences between the distribution of political preferences for women and for men:

* More women than men acknowledge that their electoral behavior was influenced by the mass media, e.g. 32 percent of women as against 25 percent of men agreed that "the mass media clarified the pre-electoral situation for me."

* More women than men (36 percent as against 28) acknowledged that in deciding whether and for whom to vote they took account of the advice of other people.

* More women than men (39 percent as against 31) say that they decided to vote for a particular party on the basis of the trust or sympathy they felt for its leaders, rather than for reasons of principle, policy or party loyalty.

* More women than men (43 percent as against 38) agreed that the state should exert control what is and is not made public by the mass media.

* Fewer women than men (36 percent as against 47) see the need for a multiparty system in Russia. …

* More women than men (61 percent as against 55) say that there should not be a division into rich and poor.

* Fewer women than men (29 percent as against 40) agree that Russia should become a power that is not only respected but feared, rather than a power that is respected but not feared.

* More women than men (76 percent as against 70) agree that it is more important over the next 5-10 years to "establish a normal, stable life" than it is to "revive Russia as a great power."

* Fewer women than men (27 percent as against 52) think that Russia should expand its arms exports.

Clearly there do exist consistent differences between the political preferences of the sexes in some areas. For example, there can be no doubt that women on average are less attached than are men to imperial and militaristic values. However, some of the above differences, e.g. concerning attitudes to the mass media, are not large enough to be considered important. The author tends to exaggerate their substantive significance. (6)


(1) This is one of a series of reports on topical problems of political science published by the Institute of Comparative Politology of the Russian Academy of Sciences under the editorship of G. Yu. Semigin.

(2) These fluctuations were connected in part to the rise and fall of the Women of Russia movement: see RAS No. 1 item 13. For a more recent analysis of the position of women in the Duma, see RAS No. 15 item 1.

(3) The other leader of the SPS is Boris Nemtsov.

(4) The leader of this party is a woman: Ella Pamfilova. Minor parties of other types, e.g. of Russian nationalist orientation, had few or no women on their lists.

(5) The data were analyzed by G. L. Kertman.

(6) See the discussion in RAS No. 18 item 2.




SOURCE. Andrew Yorke, "Business and Politics in Krasnoyarsk Krai," Europe-Asia Studies [http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals], Vol. 55, No. 2, March 2003, pp. 241-62

The source is of interest both as an analysis of the evolving relationship between business and regional government in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and as a comparative study of this relationship in four neighboring regions of middle Siberia -- the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Taimyr and Evenk Autonomous Districts, and the Republic of Khakassia. (1)

The government of each of the two Autonomous Districts, both large but poor and sparsely populated regions, has in effect been taken over or "privatized" by a single business. In Taimyr the dominant business is the metals combine Norilsk Nickel, owned by Vladimir Potanin's Oneksimbank. In Evenkia control is exercised even more openly by the Yukos oil company, one of whose top managers, Boris Zolotarev, became governor in April 2001. (2) The previous governor, Alexander Bokovikov, stood down, admitting that a Yukos man would be in a better position than he to get the supplies the region needs for the winter.

Khakassia shows a variant of the same pattern. Here the top politician (in the absence of a governor or president, the chairman of the Council of Ministers) is Alexei Lebed, brother of the late Alexander Lebed, but the power behind the throne is the firm "Siberian Aluminum," owned by Oleg Deripaska, one of the new breed of oligarchs.

The Krasnoyarsk Territory is a sharply contrasting case. Anatoly Bykov, director of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Factory, tried to gain control of the region but was foiled by governor Alexander Lebed. The underlying reason for the failure of his bid for power was the insufficient preponderance of his business empire in the region's economy. Other major businesses, such as Russian Aluminum (RusAl) and the electricity monopoly UES, have been in conflict with Bykov -- as well as with one another. This enables the governor to avoid being co-opted by any of the conflicting economic players and to try to act as arbiter between them. If he fails in this role -- as (in the author's view) Lebed did -- the result is the "all against all" power configuration described by one group of Russian political scientists. (3)


(1) For more on the tangled relations between the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the Taimyr and Evenk Autonomous Districts, see RAS No. 16 item 2. On business-government relations in European Russia see RAS No. 15 item 2.

(2) The author notes another poor and sparsely populated Siberian region "privatized" by an oil company -- Chukotka in the far northeast, taken over by Roman Abramovich's Sibneft. See RAS No. 11 item 6.

(3) The work to which the author refers here is S. Peregudov, N. Lapina, and I. Semenenko, Gruppy interesov i rossiiskoe gosudarstvo [Interest Groups and the Russian State] (Moscow: Editorial URSS, 1999), especially chapter 5 on interest groups in the Russian regions.




SOURCE. Sergey Nikolaenko, "Problems of Economic Statistics in Russia," Russian Economy: The Month in Review (published by the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition), No. 9, 11 October 2002, p. 4 http://www.bof.fi/bofit/fin/4ruec/pdf/o0902.pdf

The author, a Principal Analyst at the Bureau of Economic Analysis in Moscow, criticizes the State Committee on Statistics (Goskomstat) for using inadequate methods to calculate economic indicators and for not publishing information that the outside analyst needs to make effective use of its statistics. He does not consider the issue of the reliability of the raw data collected.

Example 1. Monitoring changes in real incomes

Goskomstat uses the consumer price index (CPI) to calculate monthly changes in the real incomes of the population. Results are misleading because the weights used to calculate the CPI are revised to reflect shifts in the pattern of consumption only after considerable delay. However, the outside analyst can carry out alternative calculations using the deflator of retail sales of goods and services (index of nominal sales / index of real sales). This reveals that during the 1998 crisis real incomes fell by 10 percent less than official statistics show due to a shift in consumption from imported to cheaper domestic goods. The pre-crisis level of real consumption was reached at the end of 2001, not in the second quarter of 2002 as official statistics indicate.

Example 2. Estimating Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

GDP can be estimated in either of two ways:

* as the total amount spent in the economy (the method in general use in Western countries) or

* as the total of value added in production.

Goskomstat cannot use the Western approach because it has no reliable statistics of the large proportion of spending that occurs in the shadow economy. Value added is estimated using input-output coefficients extrapolated from 1980s data, more recent data not being available. This is valid only on the assumption that the proportions of total output constituted by intermediate output (output used as input to further industrial processing) and final output (output for end use) remain constant over time. If on the contrary we suppose that the efficiency of production has risen since the late Soviet period, then the method biases GDP downward.

Example 3. Preliminary versus revised indicators

Goskomstat first publishes preliminary indicators, followed later (often much later) by more reliable revised indicators. Thus on-year growth of GDP in the first quarter of 2000 was initially given as 8.4 percent; the final figure -- released two years later! -- was 11 percent. Why such drastic revisions? Goskomstat does not explain. The problem is that perceptions and analysis of current trends are inevitably based on preliminary figures. When revised figures appear at some later time they attract little attention.

Example 4. Non-comparability of time series

The data for successive time periods in time series are often non-comparable because the method of calculation has changed. For instance, in March 2001 Goskomstat published figures showing a remarkable increase in enterprise profits in January 2001 -- 40 percent. Too good to be true? Indeed. It was an artifact of a change in the sample of enterprises from which profit data were obtained: the immensely profitable Gazprom had just been placed in the sample. (1)

Of course, if sufficient information is provided then adjustments can be made so that comparisons are still possible. Ideally parallel series based on the old and on the new methodology should be published. The trouble is that Goskomstat does not provide the information needed.

The author cites similar deficiencies in the publication of data on wages and household budgets that prevent the outside analyst from assessing the impact of the tax reforms that were introduced in 2001 and 2002.


(1) A maxim dimly recalled from my days in the British Government Statistical Service was: "If it looks interesting, it's probably wrong."




SOURCE. A. P. Obedkov, Geografiia khoziaistva Rossii: otraslevaia i territorial'naia struktura [Geography of the Russian Economy: Branch and Territorial Structure] (Syktyvkar, 2002), pp. 20-21, 26-7

The post-Soviet transition led to a precipitous decline in the output of Russian manufacturing industry, which was especially marked in the case of high-technology products. To what extent has this decline been reversed by the modest rebound that followed the August 1998 crisis? (For an analysis of the rebound, see RAS No. 8 item 1.)

This source provides some clues to the answer. It gives figures for the quantitative output in physical units of a range of manufactured products and product groups in the Russian Federation at five-year intervals from 1970 through 2000.

Corresponding figures for 2001 should be available by now, but I wasn't able to access them easily. There might even be preliminary figures for 2002. If anyone would like to send them to me, I'll update the analysis.

In commenting on quantitative indicators, I don't mean to imply that they are in themselves an adequate measure of performance. Durability, safety, and other qualitative aspects of utility to the consumer should ideally be taken into account. Quantitative decline may have been compensated by improved quality, although not necessarily and only up to a point.

For various types of capital goods, consumer durables, and other consumer goods, products can be divided into two distinct categories:

(A) products the output of which continued to decline between 1995 and 2000

(B) products the output of which declined up to 1995 but rose between 1995 and 2000

I have classified 30 product groups into these two categories by comparing the maximum output achieved during the Soviet period, output in 1995, and output in 2000. For those who like pondering over figures, I give the detailed results below. Those who don't may just want to know the general conclusions I reached, which are:

* Continued decline in output characterizes two-thirds of the products (or product groups) considered (20 out of 30).

* Products the output of which has continued to decline outnumber products the output of which rose between 1995 and 2000 in each of the three broad classes of goods (capital goods, consumer durables, and other consumer goods).

* For most of the products the output of which rose between 1995 and 2000, the increase was quite or very modest in relation to the previous decrease. Motor vehicles, especially buses, are an exception in this respect.

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(A) Turbines, total capacity in millions of kilowatt-tons

Soviet max. (1985) = 15; 1995 = 5; 2000 = 2

(A) Steam boilers with capacity over 10 tons of steam per hour, total capacity in thousands of tons of steam per hour

Soviet max. (1975) = 56; 1995 = 13; 2000 = 4

(A) Generators for steam, gas, and hydraulic turbines, capacity in millions of kilowatt-tons

Soviet max. (1980) = 13.9; 1995 = 2.8; 2000 = 1.4

(B) Diesels and diesel generators

Soviet max. (1975) = 40,000; 1995 = 4,100; 2000 = 4,800

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(A) Freight wagons

Soviet max. (1970) = 28,600; 1995 = 7,100; 2000 = 4,000

(B) Passenger wagons

Soviet max. (1975) = 1,430; 1995 = 489; 2000 = 802

(B) Diesel locomotives

Soviet max. (1970) = 95; 1995 = 12; 2000 = 21

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(A) Metal-cutting machine tools

Soviet max. (1975) = 128,000; 1995 = 18,000; 2000 = 8,600

(A) Numerically programmed metal-cutting machine tools (that is, with computerized control attachment)

Soviet max. (1990) = 16,700; 1995 = 300; 2000 = 200 (!!)

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(A) Tractors

Soviet max. (1985) = 261,000; 1995 = 21,200; 2000 = 19,200

(A) Combine-harvesters for harvesting grain

Soviet max. (1980) = 117,000; 1995 = 6,200; 2000 = 5,200

NOTE. In the Soviet period there were also special combine harvesters for harvesting potatoes and crops for animal feed. These seem to have virtually disappeared.

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(A) Cement, millions of tons

Soviet max. (1985) = 354; 1995 = 115; 2000 = 95

(A) Wall-building material, billions of brick equivalents

Soviet max. (1990) = 79; 1995 = 28; 2000 = 18

NOTE. Figures are given for some other types of building material. None of them show an upturn.

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(B) Automobiles, thousands

Soviet max. (1980) = 1,166; 1995 = 835; 2000 = 969

(B) Trucks, thousands

Soviet max. (1985) = 688; 1995 = 134; 2000 = 184

(B) Buses and trolley buses, thousands

Soviet max. (1985) = 62; 1995 = 40; 2000 = 54.5

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(A) Personal computers, thousands

Soviet max. (1990) = 313; 1995 = 118; 2000 = 26.5

(A) Tape recorders, thousands

Soviet max. (1990) = 3,408; 1995 = 343; 2000 = 4

(A) VCRs, thousands

Soviet max. (1990) = 473; 1995 = 23; 2000 = 0 (!)

(A) Washing machines, millions

Soviet max. (1990) = 5.4; 1995 = 1.3; 2000 = 0.95

(A) Sewing machines, thousands

Soviet max. (1990) = 1,754; 1995 = 43; 2000 = 32

(A) Radios, millions

Soviet max. (1990) = 5.75; 1995 = 0.5; 2000 = 0.4

(B) TV sets, millions

Soviet max. (1985) = 4.8; 1995 = 0.3; 2000 = 1.1

(B) Refrigerators, millions

Soviet max. (1990) = 3.6; 1995 = 0.97; 2000 = 1.15

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(A) Cameras, thousands

Soviet max. (1980) = 2,383; 1995 = 296; 2000 = 137

(A) Clocks and watches, millions

Soviet max. (1990) = 60.1; 1995 = 7.6; 2000 = 7.4

(A) Footwear, millions of pairs

Soviet max. (1990) = 385; 1995 = 52; 2000 = 33

(A) Rugs and carpets, millions of square meters

Soviet max. (1985) = 44.5; 1995 = 13; 2000 = 9

(B) Fabrics, billions of square meters

Soviet max. (1990) = 8.45; 1995 = 1.8; 2000 = 2.3

This increase is wholly attributable to cotton fabric. Output of other more expensive fabrics -- wool, flax, jute, silk, etc. -- has continued to fall.

(B) Knitted goods, millions of items

Soviet max. (1990) = 770; 1995 = 108; 2000 = 121




SOURCES. Musa Yusupov, Perepis' v Chechne [The Census in Chechnya] and Samuel Marie-Fanon, Political and Ethnic Issues of the Census in Ingushetia. Papers presented to the 8th convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, April 3-5, 2003

Preliminary results of the October 2002 census published in the press give Chechnya's population as 1,100,000. Prior to the census observers had estimated that at most some 700,000 people remained in Chechnya, with the remainder of the prewar population (roughly 1,200,000) living elsewhere, mainly as refugees. (2)

Why such a big discrepancy? If the census data for Chechnya are distorted, is it the result of falsification inspired by the Putin administration, which wants to show that life is returning to normal in Chechnya? Or did it happen for other reasons?

Yusupov reports that the census in Chechnya was conducted in extremely unfavorable conditions. Exhausted and exasperated by penury and war, people had a negative attitude to the census. Many enumerators were less than conscientious -- for instance, asking only a few of the census questions and filling in answers to the rest themselves. This was partly no doubt because they received no pay at the time. (3)

But why should these conditions cause an UPWARD bias in the population figures? On the contrary, one might expect a DOWNWARD bias as a result of people refusing to take part in the census, either out of fear or by way of political protest. Thus some Russian families refused to speak to a Chechen enumerator and vice versa, while one Chechen told Marie-Fanon: "I refuse to be counted by a state that has bombed us numerous times."

Nevertheless, a number of phenomena are mentioned in these sources that would tend to bias the population figure upward:

* About 30 percent of the displaced population travel back and forth between Ingushetia and Chechnya. Some of these people may have been counted twice.

* Some refugees returned to Chechnya from Ingushetia or Ossetia specifically for the purpose of being counted in Chechnya.

* A case is mentioned of a dog being listed on the census form as a member of the family. (4) This may not have been an isolated case.

* Yusupov reports that instead of interviewing people enumerators in some places completed census forms on the basis of the records kept in the offices of residential administrations. As a result, former residents of buildings that had been destroyed in the war might be counted even though they were absent -- that is, dead or refugees outside Chechnya.

I suspect that this last factor is the most important. If there was pressure from above to falsify the figures, most likely it was exerted in the form of encouraging enumerators to rely on the records of the residential administrations.

Besides bias in the total population figure, some population distributions may also have been severely distorted. For example, many Chechens in Chechnya are in the habit of claiming a higher occupational status for themselves (e.g., as teachers) than they really have, in the hope that this will protect them from abuse at military checkpoints and in sweeps [chistki]. To the extent that this tendency carried over to the census, it would invalidate data on the occupational distribution of the population.


(1) This is the third in a series of articles related to Russia's 2002 census. For the first two see RAS No. 6 item 10 and No. 18 item 5.

(2) The census was conducted in Chechnya on October 12 and 13, 2002. For pertinent information on living conditions in Chechnya, see RAS No. 7 items 6-8.

(3) 50 million rubles were allocated to pay enumerators, but the money did not start to arrive until March 2003 (on the eve of the referendum).

(4) Perhaps this was intended as an expression of protest, a way of saying: "After all, you treat us like dogs too."




SOURCE. Michael Haynes, "Counting Soviet Deaths in the Great Patriotic War: a Note," Europe-Asia Studies [http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals], Vol. 55, No. 2, March 2003, pp. 303-310

How many Soviet citizens died in the 1941-45 war? Soviet officials used to repeat the figure of 20 million war dead. In recent years a scholarly consensus has taken shape that the number was between 26 and 27 million. Challenging the consensus, Professor Haynes (University of Wolverhampton, UK) argues that the true figure must have been considerably higher than this, though he does not venture to offer an alternative estimate of his own.

The author's crucial point is that "war losses" is an ambiguous concept. He distinguishes three main definitions:

* real deaths directly or indirectly caused by the war

* excess demographic deaths EQUALS the difference between actual deaths in the war years and the deaths that might have been predicted to occur in the absence of war

* hypothetical demographic loss EQUALS excess demographic deaths PLUS the estimated shortfall in births compared with the number of births that might have been predicted to occur in the absence of war

All these definitions are legitimate but they serve different purposes. The last two are of most use to demographers analyzing population trends, but real war-related deaths is the most relevant to historians and others interested in the human cost and impact of war. From this point of view, it is absurd to make downward adjustments to the number of soldiers who died in battle just because a certain proportion of them would have died anyway even if there had been no war (e.g., in industrial and traffic accidents).

The figure that is widely accepted for war losses -- 26.6 million -- corresponds in fact to excess demographic deaths. This is the difference between actual deaths in the war years, 42.7 million, and "normal deaths" that might have been predicted to occur in the absence of war, 16.1 million. Real deaths directly or indirectly caused by the war must be substantially greater than 26.6 million though substantially smaller than 42.7 million.

The author hopes that a more precise estimate can be made "one day" by means of a "building-block approach" in which all wartime deaths are categorized according to their causes. "We are a long way from being able to do this."




SOURCE. Reports on http://www.psan.org

Cooperation between Russia and other post-Soviet states in the military field, and especially in military industry, is becoming more intensive, and also drawing in previously reluctant partners.

In March 2003 there were meetings of the chiefs of military staffs as well as of the foreign and finance ministers of several post-Soviet states. Formally the meetings took place under the aegis of the Collective Security Treaty (CST). However, participants included not only the CST member states (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan) but also Ukraine and Georgia, which do not belong to the CST. The agenda included:

-- Formation of a unified staff of CST states' armed forces by January 1, 2004, to be in charge of joint training and operations. The staff will be in Moscow and will be headed by Russian chief of staff Anatoly Kvashnin. (1)

-- Consolidation of the joint anti-air defense system

-- Creation of a single military communications system

-- A program of military-technical cooperation that will allow other states to buy Russian weapons and spare parts by a simplified procedure and at internal Russian prices, which are significantly lower than world prices. This document was signed by non-CST states Ukraine and Georgia.

The fact that Ukraine still does not formally belong to multilateral structures of military cooperation in the CIS looks increasingly anomalous: its military-industrial ties with Russia grow ever closer and it is starting to cooperate on military matters with Belarus as well. (2) In February 2003 there was a meeting between the top people in the armaments industries and armed forces weapons procurement administrations of the two countries. The following joint projects were considered most promising:

* the production of optical instruments and sighting systems for missile complexes

* the upgrade of Mig-29, Su-24 and Su-27 fighter jets, Mi-24 helicopters, the S-300 missile and the Buk, Tor and Tunguska air-defence missile complexes

It was agreed that each side could buy licenses to upgrade fighter aircraft and helicopters that had been developed by the other side.

Commentators in the Ukrainian press say that the main impetus to closer defense industry cooperation comes from Ukraine not Russia. Except perhaps in the aerospace industry, Ukraine needs Russia much more than Russia needs Ukraine. Ukraine's military industry cannot survive without close cooperation with Russia, nor can Ukraine's armed forces get by without a reliable supply of spare parts from Russia. For Russia, however, Ukraine is one of several alternative partners and is not necessarily given preference over, for instance, India. Thus in February 2003 the Ilyushin organization made a $250m deal with Hindustan Aeronautics to cooperate in building a new military transportation plane.

The contrast habitually drawn between Belarus' total dependence on Russia in the military field and Ukraine's relative independence may no longer be valid, especially in view of the deadlock in the envisaged unification of Russia and Belarus. (3) No political decision to merge the armed forces of the two states has yet been made.

In the Southern Caucasus, Russia is trying to hold on in Georgia and retains a strong military presence in Armenia. There is a joint air defense system (covering Karabakh as well), joint exercises are held, and there is a Russian military base near Gyumri (formerly Leninakan) in northern Armenia.

However, there is no longer an exclusive Russian-Armenian axis directed against Azerbaijan. In February 2003, when Russian defense minister Sergei Ivanov visited Baku, the first military cooperation agreement between Russia and Azerbaijan was signed. It appears to be a framework agreement to prepare the ground for more specific agreements on arms sales, training, joint exercises, etc. Unlike many of Russia's CIS neighbors, Azerbaijan actually has the money to buy Russian weapons. (4) Other likely Russian motives are to "balance" Azerbaijan's increasing military cooperation with the US and to block (at least partly) the re-equipment of Azerbaijan's armed forces with weapons from NATO countries.

In Central Asia, the most important recent development is Russia's acquisition of an air base at Kant near Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. (5) The air group deployed there under the aegis of the CIS Collective Rapid Reaction Forces is planned to constitute 19 planes (including 10 fighters and 4 military transportation planes) and 2 helicopters. Kant "balances" the new US air base at Gansi, also near Bishkek. So Russian and American troops are deployed cheek by jowl -- a situation that also exists in Georgia.

Ukrainian experts observe that military cooperation is the least controversial aspect of integration in the post-Soviet region. Arguably it is also the most successful aspect.


(1) In the past other states have pressed the issue of rotating the post among representatives of the various member states instead of always appointing a Russian general. They seem now to have given in to the inevitable.

(2) The Ukrainian and Belarusian defense ministers met in April 2003. Among the points on the agenda was the possibility of Belarus allowing the Ukrainian air force to use military airfields in Belarus.

(3) See RAS No. 16 item 11.

(4) Russia owes Azerbaijan $100m for the Gabala radio station. Baku may agree to accept arms in repayment of the debt.

(5) For the political background to this development, see RAS No. 18 item 8.




SOURCE. Robert Bruce Ware, Enver Kisriev, Werner J. Patzelt and Ute Roericht, "Political Islam in Dagestan," Europe-Asia Studies [http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals], Vol. 55, No. 2, March 2003, pp. 287-302

The survey that the authors conducted in Dagestan in spring 2000 was described in RAS No. 17 item 7. In this article they report the results of that part of their survey that pertained to political Islam.

Islam in Dagestan is polarized between a traditional form, fused with local customs, and the fundamentalist tendencies widely labeled "Wahhabi." The term is confusing because Wahhabism has its origins in Saudi Arabia and many Dagestanis who are called Wahhabis by others reject the label. Thus Kisriev's estimate, based on semi-annual monitoring surveys, that 3 percent of Dagestan's 2.1 million people (mostly in the west-central mountains) identified themselves as Wahhabis in March 1999 somewhat underestimates the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in the republic. A distinction needs to be made between moderate "Wahhabis" associated with the Islamic Party of Revival (who do not call themselves Wahhabis) and more radical Islamists (who are more likely to accept the label).

While the exact proportion of Wahhabis (however defined) in the population is unclear, the authors are in no doubt that a large majority of Dagestanis are neither Wahhabis nor sympathetic to them. Respondents were invited to agree or disagree with each of three statements about Wahhabis:

-- "Wahhabis are Moslems, and they should not be considered extremists." Only 11 percent agreed.

-- "There are Wahhabis who are just simple believers, and other Wahhabis who are religious extremists." 39 percent agreed.

-- "Wahhabis are extremists who hide behind a religious façade." 87 percent agreed with this hostile characterization.

Responses varied considerably by ethnic group, but a majority even of the most "pro-Wahhabi" ethnic groups were hostile to the Wahhabis. For instance, 55 percent of Chechens agreed with the last statement. The authors acknowledge that some respondents may have been afraid to express sympathy for Wahhabis, but think that these people were among those who refused to answer, causing only a small bias.

Social correlates of sympathy for Wahhabism were analyzed. Age, gender, and urban/rural residence are important, education much less so. That is, Wahhabis tend to be young men in the villages, some of whom are highly educated.

Besides their main survey, the authors conducted 40 open-ended interviews with members of the Dagestani intelligentsia (e.g., a city administrator, a journalist, an artist, an agronomist). These respondents were asked what factors contributed to the spread of Wahhabism in Dagestan. The following factors were mentioned:

* economic problems: poverty and unemployment -- mentioned by 15 of the 40 people interviewed

* political alienation due to the corruption, weakness, deceitfulness, and indifference of politicians, both regional and national -- mentioned by 14 respondents

* external factors: well-funded Wahhabi missionaries from Moslem countries and also cultural and religious pressures from the West, which generate an Islamic fundamentalist backlash -- mentioned by 14 respondents

* the spiritual vacuum that emerged after the collapse of communism -- 7 respondents

* the strength of the Islamic tradition in Dagestani history -- 4 respondents

* the appeal of Wahhabism as a clear and simplified version of Islam -- 4 respondents

* competition among religious activists leading to ideological divisions -- 4 respondents

* the influence of events in Chechnya -- this was considered important by only 2 respondents




SOURCE. Alima Bissenova, Hizb Al-Tahrir's Political Thought from the Pan-Islamic Perspective. Paper presented to the 8th convention of the Association for the Study of Nationalities, April 3-5, 2003

Hizb al-Tahrir (HAT) is a transnational Islamist movement founded in 1952 in Palestine by Sheikh Taquiddin Nabhani (1909--77). It has many members in Central Asia, especially Uzbekistan (see RAS No. 11 item 8). In this paper, Alima Bissenova of the American University in Cairo analyzes its political ideas and compares them with the ideas of the Moslem reform movement known as Salafiyyah that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century.

Salafiyyah represented a combination -- not atypical of Islamist movements -- of fundamentalism and modernism. It derived inspiration from the Moslem state that supposedly existed at the time of the first four "rightly guided" caliphs, before the caliphate became corrupt and cut off from the people. The ideal vision of the early caliphate came mainly from the writings of Al-Mawardi, who lived in the 11th century. While aspiring to revive an authentic caliphate, Salafiyyah also sought a compromise between this pristine Islam and the modern political ideas then penetrating the Moslem world from the West.

Sheikh Nabhani also aimed to revive the caliphate, but his conception diverged from that of his Salafiyyah precursors in several important ways:

1. Earlier caliphate revivalists said that future caliphs, like first four, would be Arabs descended from the Quraysh tribe (to ensure that their authority would be respected) and that the new caliphate would have its capital in Mecca.

By contrast, Nabhani said that any male Moslem who was "mature, sane, just, and free" could become caliph. If the Moslems of any country, big or small, chose a qualified caliph by valid procedure, then Moslems in other countries should swear allegiance to him. So the capital of the caliphate might be in any Moslem country. This refusal to assign a special status to the Arabs enables HAT, unlike the older Salafiyyah, to appeal to non-Arab, including Central Asian, Moslems.

In 1979, following the Islamic revolution in Iran, HAT leaders thought for a time that the caliphate might be re-established in Teheran. They met with Khomeini and told him how he could make himself caliph, but he ignored their advice and later HAT decided that Iran was not a genuine Islamic state after all. (1)

2. The Salafiyyah reformers accepted the modern Western principle of the separation between secular and religious authority. Future caliphs would be universal religious leaders of the Moslems (as the pope is of Catholics), but worldly authority would remain in the hands of national governments.

By contrast, Nabhani regarded the separation of government from religion as anti-Islamic. He envisaged that future caliphs would have absolute power in both the worldly and the religious sphere, including the power to adopt new divine laws (provided they did not contradict Shariah). He opposed existing national governments as agents of Western imperialist domination.

3. However, in some other respects Nabhani's ideas were more modern and democratic than those of his precursors. He insisted that all caliphs be elected and denied the right of a caliph to appoint his successor. Moreover, while earlier caliphate revivalists envisaged that caliphs would be elected by a vaguely specified group of influential people assumed to represent the Ummah (Moslem community), Nabhani said that all Moslems should have the right to take part in their election, which might be conducted by secret ballot with a choice among several candidates. The candidates would be nominated by a "council of the Ummah" (whose members could not themselves be candidates). But once a caliph was installed this council would have only consultative, not legislative functions.

Nevertheless, caliphate revivalists assign ultimate authority not to the caliph but to the Ummah as a whole, which in principle can depose a caliph who is no longer worthy of the office. Nabhani proposed an institutional mechanism to implement this principle: a special "Court for Acts of Injustice" would hear complaints about unjust acts committed by state officials and would also have the power to depose a caliph found to be unjust.

Thus HAT remains under the influence of the traditional ideal of the "just" autocrat in direct communion with God and with the people. But its ideas about how to select a just ruler and how to get rid of him if he later proves to be unjust reflect the unavowed influence of modern Western democratic ideas.


(1) HAT accused the Iranian leaders of being influenced by Iranian nationalism and Western political ideas. Another difference was that HAT, unlike Khomeini and Shi'ites in general, does not recognize any special position for clergy and religious scholars (ulema) in Islam.




SOURCE. Russian Studies in Philosophy (just published by M. E. Sharpe http://www.mesharpe.com), Vol. 41, No. 3, Winter 2002-2003. Translated by me.

Here are four articles by Russian philosophers devoted to the famous -- or infamous -- 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Three of them discuss the responses to Nietzsche of three of his Russian contemporaries: the religious philosophers Vladimir Solovyov (by Yu. V. Sineokaya) and Nikolai Fyodorov (by S. G. Semyonova) and the great novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky (by I. I. Yevlampiev). (1)

Nietzsche's best-known book is "Thus Spoke Zarathustra." Zarathustra is a strange prophetic figure who lives in a mountain cave, whence he ventures to explore the world and harangue anyone who will listen about the evils of a corrupt civilization. (2) He prophecies the evolution of man -- or, more precisely, of a human elite -- into a higher species (just as man himself evolved from the apes) that he calls "superman" or (my preferred translation of the German Ubermensch) "overman." The supreme task of man is to prepare the ground for the arrival of the overman.

The overman is a paragon of good health and physical strength -- vicarious compensation (says Semyonova, no doubt rightly) for the debilitating illnesses that eventually reduced Nietzsche to idiocy. The overman takes an exultant joy in life: he is often laughing, singing, and dancing. He is free and noble in spirit, contemptuous of pettiness and convention, frank and generous, but also pitiless, even cruel. (That, of course, is my "but"; Nietzsche would have said "and.")

Many have charged that by promoting the overman ideal Nietzsche was laying the ground for Nazism. That may well be so, though in his personal life Nietzsche seems to have been a harmless and soft-hearted character. Indeed, he died of a heart attack induced by the sight of a horse being flogged on the streets of Turin. As a philosopher, however, he despised weakness and believed in cruelty as a matter of principle.

What did the Russian thinkers of the time think of Nietzsche? They were sympathetic to the general idea that man should strive to develop into a higher being. But they had a very different conception of what that higher being would be like. They were all Christians, while Nietzsche tended to denounce Christianity as a religion of the weak. Solovyov and Fyodorov understood human evolution as a spiritual process in which all people -- not just an elite -- will come closer to God and eventually merge with God (the idea of God-humanity). Fyodorov saw the ultimate goal of the process as the universal resurrection of the dead into God-humanity.

Yevlampiev advances the provocative argument that both Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky were dual figures. Under Nietzsche's rough surface hid the kinder persona of a Christian, albeit one of an unorthodox kind, (3) while under Dostoyevsky's conventionally religious surface hid a rebellious iconoclast. Thus he uncovers a convergence between the "real" Nietzsche and the "real" Dostoyevsky. He shows that Nietzsche knew and appreciated Dostoyevsky's novels and was influenced by them. (Nietzsche does not appear to have known or cared about Solovyov or Fyodorov.)

A crucial issue here is the attitude of Dostoyevsky to a type of young rebel who recurs in his novels -- for example, Raskolnikov in "Crime and Punishment" or Kirillov in "The Possessed" [Besy]. Kirillov expounds the following "syllogism":

1) Man invented God so that he could live without killing himself. (4) Therefore there is no God.

2) However, God is necessary. There must be a God.

3) Therefore, I am God.

This does bear a certain resemblance to Nietzsche's religious faith, in which man murders God (God is dead!) in order to become God himself.

The conventional wisdom is that Dostoyevsky created characters of this type to serve as negative examples, to warn his readers against the dangers of human pride and presumption. Yevlampiev argues that Dostoyevsky really sympathized with his young heroes and shared their defiant thoughts, though he could not admit the fact openly. A third possibility that I incline toward is that Dostoyevsky had a certain sympathy for both the defenders of conventional morality and the rebels against it.

It is a pity that Professor Taras Zakydalsky, the editor of RSP, was unable to find an article on the relationship between Nietzsche and Konstantin Leontiev, the 19th century philosopher who is sometimes described as "the Russian Nietzsche." Leontiev expressed an aristocratic moral and esthetic ethos rather similar to that of Nietzsche. It is true that Leontiev remained, at least formally, within the framework of Christianity, but his Christian critics argued, plausibly enough, that his ethos was incompatible with that of Christianity. (5)


(1) The fourth article (by A. R. Gevorkian) deals with Nietzsche's philosophy of "tragic optimism" and his relationship with Schopenhauer.

(2) Zarathustra is the German form for Zoroaster, the ancient Iranian prophet who founded the religion of Zoroastrianism. As Semyonova points out, Nietzsche's Zarathustra bears no relation whatsoever to the original Zoroaster.

(3) In some of his writings Nietzsche claims that historical Christianity, which is indeed contemptible, is a perversion of the authentic Christianity of Christ, a hidden doctrine that has somehow been revealed to Nietzsche.

(4) Kirillov ends up killing himself anyway -- not however out of metaphysical despair but in the hope of teaching people by his example not to be afraid of death (or so Yevlampiev argues).

(5) Leontiev, like Nietzsche, can be viewed as an intellectual precursor of fascism. See my book "Russian Fascism: Traditions, Tendencies, Movements" (New York: M. E. Sharpe, 2001), pp. 29-30.




SOURCE. Paul Brown, "Cancer check for UK troops," The Guardian Weekly, May 1-7, 2003, p. 4

In RAS No. 18 item 9, I raised the issue of the use by the US and its allies of depleted uranium (DU) munitions in the Gulf wars. I mentioned the Chernobyl-like effects of radioactive contamination of the Basra region in the wake of the first Gulf war. At that time I did not have information about the use of DU munitions in the recent second Gulf war. This source enables me to fill the gap to some extent.

According to expert estimates, "well over 300 tons" of DU were released into the environment in the first Gulf war -- and between 1,000 and 2,000 tons in the second! And a much wider area will have been affected this time around.

The Royal Society, Britain's top scientific body, has warned that "soldiers and civilians might be exposed to toxic levels." The British Ministry of Defence responded by announcing that "soldiers returning from the Gulf will be offered tests on the levels of DU in their bodies to check if they are in danger of kidney damage and lung cancer as a result of exposure." This condition could perhaps be termed "friendly cancer" by analogy with "friendly fire" (when you get shot up by what is supposed to be your own side).

Will American soldiers -- or Iraqi civilians -- be offered these tests?

The coalition governments could easily have protected their troops by supplying them with potassium iodide pills. Alternatively, they could simply have used other types of munitions. What military rationale DU serves is beyond my comprehension. Would anyone care to enlighten me?

Stephen Shenfield




Pennsylvania State University Press has just released a new book by Yale Richmond, "Cultural Exchange and the Cold War: Raising the Iron Curtain." It is a history of cultural exchanges between Western countries and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, drawing on the author's personal experience in organizing the exchanges as a US foreign service officer.

Some of the research on which the book is based was summarized in RAS No. 5 item 8.

The book can be ordered from http://www.psupress.org ($35 cloth).