politics on display at Boston Symposium
U.S.-Russian Investment Symposium in Boston this week, certain clear
difficulties and obstructions to trade, development, and investment in Russia
emerged through the panels and discussions. The WTO accession negotiations were a conspicuous focal
point (with most participants arguing in favor of rapid accession) and demanded
discussion of Russia's need to improve its protection of intellectual property
rights, tighten banking regulations and general conformity with international
norms, prevent capital flight (even if there are reasonable motives to move
money out of the country), and, more broadly, develop as a rule of law state
that has a truly independent judiciary, which applies its legal standards
uniformly both to individuals and companies. Negotiating the complex allies and footpaths of the Russian
bureaucracies (national, regional, etc.) also represents an obvious impediment
to regularized trade and, of course, daily life.
noting the difficulties in attaining the appropriate conditions for WTO
accession, Russian First Deputy Minister of Trade and Economic Development,
Andrei Sharonov, highlighted the need for diversification of streams of
capital, and the danger of relying too heavily on the energy sector as the
"golden goose," despite the many "golden eggs" it has
Sharonov recommended the "commercialization of technological ideas,"
which would make use Russia's significant pool of expertise and trained
specialist, particularly in high technology, biotechnology, and civilian
aviation. Ambassador Thomas Pickering (currently senior vice president for
international relations at Boeing) echoed Sharonov's upbeat appraisal of the
value of Russia's human and intellectual resources.
political situation, from difficulties in executive-legislative cooperation to
the coming parliamentary and presidential elections, serves as a backdrop for
any consideration of short and long term planning, investment and
development. Despite the impending
succession, constitutionally required in 2008, participants in the Symposium
reiterated a familiar Putin-era refrain: Political stability in Russia is the
good newsand the bad news.
Illarionov, Adviser to President Putin on Economic Affairs, delivered the
keynote address and covered a range of elements crucial to doing business in
Russia. Perhaps the most
fascinating aspects of his presentation consisted of the companies he chose to
highlight his points: RAO UES,
which has seen comparatively small growth and fluctuating returns; and Mikhail
Khodorkovsky Yukos, which, particularly prior to 2004, produced remarkable
growth and returns. Yukos,
Illarionov noted, began investing in oil and politics, which was painful for
certain members of the political establishment. Illarionov, somewhat dryly,
noted that the attitude of the political authorities could prove a significant
factor in any company's success.
during the question and answer session if he had presented his report to
Anatoli Chubais, the Chair of RAO UES, Illarionov responded only that the
management company of RAO UES that took over in 2001 had recently begun to pay
attention to capitalization.
on National Priorities
October, President Putin decreed the creation of a council for the implementation
of national priorities. The
composition of the Council includes Putin as Council Chairman; Head of the
Kremlin Administration, Dmitri Medvedev, as First Deputy Chair, with Deputy
Prime Minister Aleksandr Zhukov and Presidential Aide Igor Shuvalov as Deputy
members of the council include select regional leaders (governors and mayors)
and government ministers; the president's plenipotentiary representatives to
the regions (including former Chief of the General Staff Anatoli Kvashnin);
president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yevgeni Primakov;
presidential aides and academicians.
The Council specifically will address issues of healthcare, housing,
construction, education and the agro-industrial complex. (2)
Council's mission and composition suggests an attempt to circumvent or overlap
governmental structures established to address these same priorities, but with
an added impetus of direct presidential oversight and with regional
implementation built-in through the president's plenipotentiary representatives
and the chosen regional leaders. A
Nezavisimaya gazeta report suggests that Prime Minister Fradkov is the target of the
creation of this Council.
However, this Council could be a natural extension of Putin's "strengthening
of the power vertical" by subsuming a wide range of functions under direct
presidential oversight. If Putin were directing an attack against Fradkov, it
would seem he might pick a different playing field than that afforded by the
new Council's brief. Indeed, if
the President truly wanted to sideline the Prime Minister, he might have put
Fradkov in charge of the agro-industrial complex; it is a time-honored
tradition, after all.
ITAR-TASS, 21 Oct 05, 0551 EST; FBIS Transcribed Text via World News Connection
24 Oct 05; FBIS Translated text via WNC.
J. Cavan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Security Services respond to Nalchik attack
of questions raised about the effectiveness of Russian security forces¹
response to previous high-profile terrorist attacks, a review of their recent
conduct during the 13 October militant attack in Nalchik clearly is warranted. While not quite a repeat of previous
encounters, the recent Nalchik attack targeted armed Russian security forces
where previous high-profile attacks centered on hostage-taking events, the
reaction and performance of Russian security forces bear similar
resemblances. Each of the events
indicates a particularly repressive and brutal response by security forces that
terrorists argue reflects the behavior which led the militants to take extreme
measures in the first place. (1)
security forces seem plagued by incompetence and extremely disproportionate
response. During the infamous
Nord-Ost Theater attack in October 2002, 50 terrorists held 800 Russians
hostage. The FSB response was
uncoordinated, poorly-planned and culminated in the release of an
as-yet-unknown gas, which claimed the lives of 120 hostages; all 50 terrorists
were killed, ³mostly with well-placed shots to the head.² (2) In the September 2004 attack at the
Beslan school, at least 32 terrorists held 1200 hostages. Three days into the crisis, security
forces stormed the school with indiscriminate firing from tanks, flamethrowers,
and grenades killing 331 hostages, including 170 children and all but one
terrorist. (3) The security forces
non-proportional responses appear more as a matter of routine than exceptions
for high-profile hostage situations; the flattening of houses with tanks to get
the terrorists inside also has become a standard operating procedure. (4)
am on the morning of 13 October, Internal Affairs troops encountered a group of
armed militants in Nalchik, killing three and wounding seven of them. (5) Several hours later (reports continue
to vary on the specific time of the attack, precise number of targets and the
number of targets hit), between 9:30 and 10:00, somewhere between 60 and
several hundred militants simultaneously attacked 12-15 local Interior Ministry
(MVD) buildings, Internal Affairs Department (OVD) buildings, FSB buildings, a
military garrison near the airport, a military enlistment office, and a Border
Troops section. The attackers
primarily used automatic weapons and grenades. (6) Within an hour, air contact with Nalchik was cut off,
stifling information, except from official sources, as to precisely what
Despite limited media reports, it is clear that confusion
reigned among the security forces for several hours. At 1:00 pm, Dmitri Kozak, the Presidential Envoy to the
Southern Federal District, arrived in Nalchik and stated that security forces
had managed to control the situation. Various reports widely contradict his assessment; for
several hours, security forces apparently reacted with a limited response,
enabling most of the attackers to escape the city. At 2:00 pm, reports arrived that attackers, some wounded,
were holed up in two locations, an OVD building and the Podarki store, near an
FSB building. By 10:00 pm MVD
reported that all fighters inside have been killed and all hostages freed; however
other reports suggest some hostages were held until the following morning.
(7) Individual stories and reports
raise questions regarding the conduct and effectiveness of the security
analysts agree that Moscow¹s heavy-handiness in the Caucasus regions is causing
extremist reactions among the population and that might have spurred the
Nalchik attack. The newly-elected
President of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic, Arsen Kanokov, agreed, stating
that Russian officials may be guilty of ³certain excesses² including closing
Mosques and mistreating Muslims. (8)
choice of targets, the militants seemed intent on attacking the security forces
directly, but also chose targets of opportunity, including civilians. The security forces¹ response to the
hostage situations displayed a total lack of regard for the hostages. One former hostage, a local police
captain who was lucky to survive, reports that armored personnel carriers
arrived and began to ³hammer away,² constantly hitting the second floor where
the hostages were located while most of the attackers were on the first floor.
(9) In a separate hostage
situation that lasted until the following morning, a witness reported that
Spetsnaz troops, under cover of heavy machine gun fire ³pumped round after
round of grenades² into a small shop for 30 minutes where militants had taken
hostages. (10) Security forces
subsequently reported to the press that all hostages had been freed. Another surviving hostage reported
Russian troops stormed a store after firing gas grenades to kill militants who
were already too weak to resist.
The surviving hostages suffered from the effects of an ³unspecified
officials have a history of overstating the number of ³enemy² killed and
underestimating their own losses.
Reports from Nalchik raise intriguing questions. On 14 October, officials reported 61
militants killed and 27 captured. (12)
One week later officials reported 92 killed and 13 captured, with only
12 civilians killed and no explanation for the reported increase in persons
killed or reduction in those captured.
(13) Seasoned military
analysts recognize that wounded in action typically far exceed those killed in
action. Russian officials claim 24
security personnel were killed while over 100 were wounded, a similarly high
ratio of wounded to killed. (14)
Meanwhile, Chechen warlord, Shamil Basayev, who claimed responsibility
for organizing the attack, reported only 41 militants were killed. (15) Other reports that indicate ³all the
dead terrorists have holes in the back of their heads² and that a large number
of innocent bystanders were captured by Russian security forces. (16) Reported revenge attacks against the
population may go a long way to explaining the disproportionate number of
³militants² killed versus those captured.
A former KGB Colonel, Sergei Goncharov, accurately assessed the
status of Russia¹s elite antiterrorism forces, ³Everywhere there is pervasive
corruption and complete treachery.
It is laughable to talk about fighting terror.² (17) Indeed, Russian security services¹ and armed forces¹ total
disregard for human rights and treatment of prisoners, against any accepted
international norms, has not resulted in subordination of the population to the
will of Moscow. On the contrary,
such actions have now spread the violence from Chechnya throughout the entire
Caucasus. Russian President
Vladimir Putin fuels the instability with statements of praise for the security
forces like, ³It's great that all of the law
enforcement and power agencies acted in a coordinated, effective and ruthless
manner.² (18) Given this level of
support for unprofessional, undisciplined, ruthless actions by security forces
against its own citizens, Russia cannot hope to achieve either pacification of
the populations in its Caucasus republics or stability.
1) ³Why Kabardino-Balkaria is
Becoming a Second Dagestan² by Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia, 19 Oct 05 via
Johnson¹s Russia List (JRL) #9271.
2) See ³Security
Services² The NIS Observed: an Analytical Review,
Vol. VII, No. 19, 4 Dec 02.
3) ³Beslan: Russia¹s 9/11?² by
John B. Dunlop, 12 Oct 05 available at http://www.peaceinchechnya.org/reports/Beslan.pdf
4) See ³Security Services² The NIS Observed: an Analytical Review, Vol. X, No. 3, 4
5) ³Background, Possible Motives
for Nalchik Terrorist Attack Explored,² Izvestia, 21 Oct O5, via JRL #9276.
6) Ibid, and ³Nalchik Under
Attack: Moscow Unable to Respond² by Andrei Smirnov, Eurasia Daily Monitor, 14
Oct 05, Vol 2, Issue 191.
8) ³Why Kabardino-Balkaria is
Becoming a Second Dagestan² by Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia, 19 Oct 05, via
9) ³Background, Possible Motives
for Nalchik Terrorist Attack Explored,² Izvestia, 21 Oct O5, via JRL #9276.
10) ³In the Line of Fire² by Paul
Quinn-Judge,² Time Europe, 24 Oct 05, via JRL #9268.
11) ³Hostage in Russia Attacks
Recalls Ordeal² by Mike Eckel and Fatima Tlisova, JRL #9268, 15 Oct 05.
12) ³Questions Remain Over Militants¹
Nationality, Numbers,² Ria Novosti, 14 Oct 05, via RFERL NEWSLINE.
13) ³Background, Possible Motives
for Nalchik Terrorist Attack Explored,² Izvestia, 21 Oct O5, via JRL #9276.
14) ³Nalchik² by Pavel
Felgenhauer, JRL #9271.
15) ³Basayev Says He Arranged
Botched¹ Raid² by Nabi Abdullaev, The Moscow Times, 18 Oct 05 via ISI Emerging
16) ³Background, Possible Motives
for Nalchik Terrorist Attack Explored,² Izvestia, 21 Oct O5, via JRL #9276.
17) Experts Consider Raid to be
Political and Intelligence Failure,² ej.ru, 14 Oct 05 via RFEFL NEWSLINE.
18) ³Putin Praises Ruthless¹
Operation² by Nabi Abdullaev, The Moscow Times, 17 Oct 05 via ISI Emerging
H. Kafer (email@example.com)
Domestic Issues and Legislative Branch
goes to Moscow
Wolfowitz visited Russia for two days in October as part of his first official
trip since formally assuming leadership of the World Bank. Wolfowitz¹s other
destinations included China and Japan. A key issue for discussions between
Wolfowitz and President Vladimir Putin was the potential for Russia to make
economic development a top priority when it assumes chairmanship of the G8 next
year. Wolfowitz also met with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov to discuss
judicial reforms and stressed the importance of addressing prevalent corruption
within Russia¹s state and society.
keeping with previously expressed World Bank concerns, Wolfowitz urged Putin
not to waste the money from the Stabilization Fund (the account set up to hold
the extra income the state has received in the last several years because of
high world energy prices). The state has come under increasing pressure to use
the Stabilization Fund to ease the pain of some of its social policies, not
least of which was the monetization of pensions issue in January. The state
dipped into the fund to boost military pensions after protests last winter.
with recent World Bank trends that view the Bank as an exporter of ideas as
well as capital, the new World Bank president commented on the changing nature
of the Russia-World Bank relationship. ³The World Bank Group's role in Russia has evolved over time. Today our
partnership is less about money and more about the transfer of ideas and
expertise to address key priorities in health, education, regional development
and the fostering of public-private partnerships,² said Wolfowitz. (1) Relations between Russia and international financial
institutions hit an all-time low during the 1998 ruble crisis when Russia
defaulted on its loans and the International Monetary Fund responded to the crisis
by offering too little help, too late. In the intervening years, Russia has not
taken concerns by these organizations very seriously; nonetheless, the World
Bank currently has a number of active projects in Russia.
raised an interesting possibility when he discussed the prospect of World Bank
lending to Russia¹s regions. "As far as I
know,² said Putin after his meeting with Wolfowitz, ³the World Bank is
examining the possibility to offer financial resources to Russian regions even
without guarantees of the federal centre.² (2) Access by the regions to capital from the World Bank apart
from approval by the Kremlin could introduce an interesting dynamic into the
ongoing struggle between a centralized state and regional authorities.
related economic note, predictions about when Russia will join the World Trade
Organization (WTO) are varied and often contradictory. Unwieldy negotiations
with the United States about trade barriers constitute a significant step that
must be completed before Russia¹s accession to the WTO can move forward.
However, U.S. ambassador to Moscow, William Berns, has said that he hopes trade
negotiations with the United States can be concluded by the end of the year,
provided Congress cooperates. (3)
to Moscow City Duma¹s 35 seats will be held on December 4. These elections
assume added significance in light of the fact that the City Duma will be
responsible for appointing the next mayor of Moscow. The incumbent, Yuri
Luzkhov, is standing for election to the City Duma and will be stepping down as
Duma elections are set up similarly to the old State Duma elections that were
replaced earlier this year. Twenty seats are elected on the proportional
representation system, while 15 are chosen on the basis of single-mandate
districts. There is a 10 percent threshold (of the vote) for participation in
the distribution of proportional representation seats. This threshold has been
criticized by the Central Electoral Commission Chair Aleksandr
Veshnyakov because it contravenes a federal law stipulating that
regional legislatures have thresholds for participation not exceeding 7
percent. The ³against all² option has been removed from the ballot this year.
Additionally, the city Duma must be composed of at least two political parties
by law, even if the second party fails to clear the threshold for
participation. The minimum voter turnout has recently been lowered from 25 to
dominant party in the elections is United Russia. Yuri Luzkhov has teamed up
with the favored party and will lead its party list. The Communists, the
political party that historically has the strongest base, tends to perform less
favorably in Moscow. It is stronger in the regions and among certain social
groups, such as the pensioners. The liberal parties, on the other hand, receive
more support in Moscow and Saint Petersburg than they do regionally and can be
expected to clear the threshold, something they may not be able to do when it
is time for elections to the State Duma.
liberal parties Yabloko and Union of Right Forces (SPS) are contesting the
elections jointly under the Yabloko name. Yabloko has not placed its more
notable members such as Grigori Yavlinsky at
the top of its list. Instead, the combined Yabloko party has decided, according
to Nikita Belykh, head of SPS, to rely on ³current members of the Moscow City
Duma, who can and will work professionally in the City Duma, while Grigori
Alexeyevich and me would act as agents. That is, we would be able to take part
in debates, speak about this campaign, thus giving it federal significance.²
(4) This decision may hurt the
group that has been cobbled together to contest the elections, since it has
typically been the name recognition of politicians that has drawn support in
Russia, rather than a particular party platform.
³President Wolfowitz: Discovering Russia's new role in global development² via http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:20691351~pagePK:34370~piPK:34424~theSitePK:4607,00.html
³Fradkov, Wolfowitz discuss prospects for RF-WB cooperation,² 20 Oct 05,
ITAR-TASS via Lexis-Nexis.
ambassador wants speedy end to WTO talks with Russia,² 20 Oct 05, Interfax;
FBIS Transcribed text via World News Connection (WNC).
³Press conference with Yabloko leader Grigori Yavlinsky and Right Forces Union
leader Nikita Belykh,² 28 Sep 05, Interfax; Official Kremlin Int'l News
Broadcast via Lexis-Nexis.
industry: exports, imports and the future
Russian arms sales sector complex continues a strong push for export markets as
it fights for survival. Russian
military hardware and services have been displayed prominently in military
exercises and trade shows with the aim of generating business. The aviation industry received a boost
following the Peace 2005 joint military exercises as China placed an order for
nearly 40 Russian air lifters and air-refueling tankers worth over one billion
dollars. (1) In addition, the MAKs
2005 Air Show near Moscow provided the opportunity to view virtually every
available Russian fighter including the experimental SU-47 fifth generation
fighter. (2) Russian naval exports
are also expected to rise in the near future as Asian and Middle Eastern
nations upgrade their navies. The
2nd International Naval Systems Show (July 2005, St Petersburg) was
considered particularly successful as several contracts for Russian submarines
and warships are expected from China, India, Indonesia, and other countries.
general, Russian military exports have increased in the last few years as global
arms sales have increased worldwide.
The United States remains the largest arms exporter in terms of net
sales, with Russia coming in second with well over $5 billion in sales in 2004
and nearly $6 billion expected in 2005.
China and India represent eighty percent of Russia¹s export market, and
the defense industry is reaching out to potential new markets in virtually
every corner of the globe in order to increase revenue. (4)
for defense procurement is also slated to increase in 2006. Nearly $6 billion is budgeted for
defense procurement, which would results in a rare balance, with the defense
industry potentially receiving as much funding from the Ministry of Defense and
is does from foreign customers.
numbers don¹t always tell the whole story
the recent increase in exports and domestic funding, Russia¹s military
industrial complex remains in a state of significant distress. The privatization plans of the past
decade were unmitigated failures.
Unscrupulous and unsupervised government officials and investors raided
military industries during the shock therapy of the 1990¹s. (5) Even today nearly one third of defense
industries is bankrupt with most others in poor financial straits. (6) Labor issues in the defense sector abound
with fears of strikes and labor demonstrations imminent. The low wages and disorganization of
the defense industry is depleting the workforce of talent. Experienced workers are leaving for
greener pastures and young replacements are not forthcoming. For example, the average age of the
defense sector worker is reported to be 54, with specialists even older at 57
years old. (7). Combined with
Russia¹s already grim demographic trends and population loss, the aging of the
defense industry workforce will be difficult to correct considering the low
wages and profit margins.
planned consolidation of the defense industry constitutes a move in the right
direction; however, the record of past performance for instituting defense
reforms is not encouraging. Plans
to merge various aspects of the defense industry into large holdings with
government oversight are preferable to the free for all currently in
existence. Some of the benefits of
this plan are to increase oversight for effective regulation and streamline
operations to increase efficiency. (8)
Unfortunately, there is still too much resistance to change and not
enough urgency to engender genuine optimism. Progress on previous reforms has been tortuously slow. For the period of 2002 until 2004, only
three of the 75 planned integrated business structures were completed. (9) Moreover, many of the legacy companies
are hesitant or financially unable to downsize and modernize their Soviet-era
facilities which leads to continued inefficiencies. (10)
from labor unrest and poor organization, the defense industry also suffers from
a tenuous relationship with the Ministry of Defense. The bottom line is that much of the money earmarked by the
MoD never reaches industry. (11)
In October 2005, a new organization, the Federal Defense Order Service,
was established to be the single monitor for defense contracts. Prior to this, accountability for funds
and product delivery was highly decentralized in the government leading to a
corrupt system with a well known legacy of bribes and embezzlement (12).
is not an adjective usually associated with Russian defense spending, however,
sources estimate that of the approximately $6 billion allocated for
procurement, $3 billion goes to nuclear forces, and the rest is distributed
thinly to the rest of the defense industry, supporting conventional forces and
space. (13) There is little
tangible return for this investment as only 30 tanks and seven aircraft were delivered
to the MoD in 2004, and the vast majority of product generated by the defense
industry is sent overseas (14).
Corruption, mismanagement, and a lack of consistent funding apparently
conspire to squander the MoD¹s investment in modernizing the conventional
international arms market has been the best source of revenue for the defense
industry in the past few years, but the long term outlook is cloudy. China and India account for the vast
majority of Russian defense exports, and both countries will diversify their
arms imports in the future. China
is actively courting European Union countries to acquire technology not
available from Russia, and it is possible that the EU arms embargo on China may
not continue much longer. (15)
China also has shrewdly acquired licensing rights for much of the
imported Russian technology and is in the process of nurturing its indigenous
defense industry (16). India also
is diversifying its arms sources and recently received approval to consider
U.S. and European fighters in an upcoming bid to purchase replacements for its
aging fleet of Russian fighters. (17)
The failure of the Russian defense industry to modernize and keep pace
with the revolution in military affairs already is having a negative impact and
will steadily devalue their arms relative to other competitors.
plight of the defense industry has not gone unnoticed by Russia¹s military
leaders. Senior ranking officers
in all of the service branches are alarmed by the "permanent under funding
of the country's defense requirements." (18) The commander of Russia's Space Forces commented on defense
funding: "There has been an
increase in budget funding but if you consider the growth of inflation, then
this is, rather, horizontal development.² (19) In other words, there is enough money to keep the
establishment from falling apart in the short term, but not nearly enough
funding and priority to effect genuine reform and restructuring for long term
defense industry continues to struggle in an effort to restructure and
modernize its operations and technology.
Meager funding from the Ministry of Defense has contributed to failure,
as has the inability to remold the expansive Soviet-era defense industry into a
smaller, more efficient enterprise suited for the Russian Federation. Current promises to reform the defense
industry and provide more funding appear to be more talk than action and do not
bode well for true change and improvement. The critical issues of the 2008 elections have captured the
attention of Putin and other civilian elites which has led to a de-emphasis on
declining competitiveness and desperation of the Russian defense industry will
increase pressure sell ever more complex and controversial arms to legally (and
illegally) to countries such as China, Iran, Syria, and North Korea where
western competition is curtailed by legal or ethical constraints.
³Military-transport aircraft will cost China a billion dollars,² Gazeta, 9 Sep
05, WPS via ISI Emerging Markets.
³Unexpected success of the MAKS-2005 air show², RIA Novosti, 22 Aug 05 via ISI
(3) ³Defense Industry Boosts Naval Exports,² Rossiiskiye vesti, No. 33, 26 Sep 05, WPS via ISI
³Russian Military Industrial Complex Is On The Brink Of Collapse,² WPS Russian
Business Monitor, 17 Jun 05 via ISI Emerging Markets.
³Russian defence industry privatization damaged national security,² Krasnaya
24 Dec 20; BBC World Wide monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
³One-third of Russian defense enterprises are broke,² RIA Novosti, 29 Jul 05
via ISI Emerging Markets.
³Consolidated Aircraft Company: Pros And Cons,² RIA Novosti, 29 March 05 via
ISI Emerging Markets.
³Military-Industrial Complex: Crisis Or Recovery,² Nezavisimoe voennoe
27, 22 Jul 20; WPS via ISI Emerging Markets.
Defense Sector's Last Chance,² Ekspert, No. 4, 31 Jan 05; WPS Defense and Security via
Ibid.; ³The Ministry Of Accounting Defense,² Nezavisimaya gazeta, 13 Oct 05; WPS Defense and
Security via Lexis-Nexis.
³Russia Isn't Really Developing Its Armed Forces At All,² Vremya novostei, 9 Aug 05; WPS Defense and
Security via Lexis-Nexis.
The EU Arms Embargo: The Repercussions For Russia,² Jamestown Foundation China
Brief, Volume 5, Issue 7, 29 Mar 05.
³India prepares RFP for fighters,² Flight International, 11 Oct 05, Reed
Business Information via Lexis-Nexis.
³Achilles' Heel of Defense. Regime's Inability To Carry Out Military Reform Is
Pushing Generals Into Ranks of Opposition,² Nezavisimaya gazeta, 26 Oct 05 via Johnson¹s Russia
Jeffrey Butler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Joint naval forces in the Caspian
In a televised briefing on October 24, Russian Minister of
Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and President Vladimir Putin discussed their
desire for a joint Caspian Sea force. (1) This very public brief signaled
Russia¹s commitment to an idea that Russian officials have been promoting for
almost a year. What Russian leaders envision is a joint naval force that would
provide ³protection against terrorism and trafficking in arms, narcotics and
weapons of mass destruction (WMD)² in the Caspian region. (2) Comprised of
navies from the five states bordering the Caspian, this joint naval grouping
would be called CasFor for short.
Although the threats CasFor would conceivably face are
legitimate, they are not new. In fact, until this year, Russia seemed
content to address these threats with the status quo of forces in the
Caspian. However, when U.S. offers to modernize the Azerbaijani and
Kazakhstani navies foreshadowed change in that status quo, Russia¹s leaders
responded with a vigorous promotion of CasFor. If it is made a reality, this
joint naval force will not alter naval capability in the Caspian, but it will
affect the interests of Russia, Iran, and the United States.
The Caspian: current issues, status of forces
The Caspian Sea covers an area nearly the size of
California and it touches the shores of five countries: Russia, Kazakhstan,
Turkmenistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan. Although it is termed ³landlocked,² this
body of water is accessible via a canal linked to the Black Sea. However,
its significance lies in large deposits of oil and gas beneath its waters (20
to 40 billion barrels of proven oil reserves) and in its usefulness as a route
for trade - both legal and illegal - between its five border countries. (3)
Because these five border countries cannot agree on whether the Caspian is a
sea or a lake, they have interpreted international law differently when
divvying up the Caspian¹s valuable resources and trade routes. At
present, only Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan have reached consensus. (4) A
joint naval force headed by Russia would help them to solidify their control of
the Caspian – regardless the outcome of the sea-or-lake issue.
Since 1992, each of the Caspian¹s border nations has been
represented by some form of flotilla. For Russia, Azerbaijan,
Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan these flotillas were born of a re-distribution of
ex-Soviet assets that left Russia with the largest fleet, Azerbaijan a distant
second and both Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with only honorable mention status.
(5) Meanwhile, Iran focused on its navy in the Arabian Sea, leaving only a
small presence in the Caspian -- some patrol boats and a minesweeper based at
Bandar-e Anzelli. (6) When compared to navies in similar bodies of water, like
the Black Sea for example, the five Caspian flotillas were below average in
numbers and strength. Still, these flotillas matched the threat presented
by smugglers, illegal trade, and other criminal activity. More
importantly, Russia was happy with its position as the sole influence in the
region. In fact, in 2003, it did not ³envisage any kind of new military
presence in the Caspian.² (7) However, the Russians would change this
thinking less than two years later.
Russia¹s newfound Caspian Sea desires
When the United States expressed interest in upgrading
both the Azerbaijani and Kazakhstani navies in 2005, Russia began to express
publicly its desire for a joint naval force in the Caspian. In April sources at
the Russian Defense Ministry leaked plans for the development of a ³rapid
reaction force² to be deployed to the region. Most telling in this report
was mention of Russia¹s expressed intent to ³forbid the presence of other
countries¹ armed forces in the region – countries that do not have direct
access to the sea.² (8) This theme would be repeated over the next six months
as Russian naval commanders and political leaders continued to lobby for
The pace of Russia¹s CasFor campaign accelerated in July
when Russian delegates chaired an ³unofficial² conference with representatives
from each of the five Caspian states. The conference broached the subject
of forming a joint naval group in the region, and it laid the groundwork for
further discussion in the fall. (9)
In October, diplomats expanded on the navy¹s
efforts. First, at an October 6 meeting ostensibly to discuss the
Caspian¹s legal status, Russian ministers spent significant effort promoting
the creation of a ³unified naval operations group² in the Caspian. (10) Second,
during visits with Turkmenistan President Niyazov and Iran¹s Minister of
Foreign Affairs Mottaki, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov seemed to garner more
support for a CasFor concept. (11) But, diplomatic and military efforts
notwithstanding, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Iran still needed more coaxing.
Courting Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Iran
Azerbaijan turned down offers to participate in
CasFor. In fact, Azerbaijani representatives revisited Russia¹s 2003
theme of ³demilitarization² of the Caspian. (12) Azerbaijan¹s stance
likely had roots in the (U.S.) $30 million spent by the United States to
upgrade radar facilities on the Azerbaijan coast (strategically located near
Iran¹s border) and to repair ships and train personnel in the Azerbaijan Navy.
(13) Even though this U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan did not threaten Russia¹s
naval dominance among Caspian flotillas, it could challenge the Russian
government¹s regional influence. By promoting CasFor to the Azerbaijani¹s,
Russia seeks to re-capture that influence.
In conjunction with offers to Azerbaijan, the U.S. also
has made non-specific offers to modernize Kazakhstan¹s navy. (14) Consequently,
Kazakhstan seems as hesitant about CasFor as Azerbaijan does. It is notable
also that Kazakhstan¹s Caspian flotilla is far behind Azerbaijan¹s in
capability, so, as far as the Russian Navy is concerned, any ³modernization²
the U.S. undertakes for Kazakhstan would have less effect than would an upgrade
of Azerbaijan¹s force. This is further evidence that Russia¹s desire to join
naval forces with Kazakhstan is more political than military.
Iran is a different story. Of the five Caspian
flotillas, Iran¹s is the fourth largest, with just a few patrol boats and a
minesweeper. Nonetheless, Putin made a specific effort to include Iran in
CasFor. (15) Although Iran has supported the concept only with trepidation,
Russia continues to press for its cooperation. Again, like that of Azerbaijan
and Kazakhstan, an Iranian flotilla would not add much capability to CasFor.
Yet the Russians remain committed to the CasFor concept, even going so far as
to bundle Iranian participation with the push-button issues of arms sales and
nuclear non-proliferation compliance (or noncompliance). (16) Given the current
state of U.S.-Iran relations, Russia¹s overtures seem unnecessary. Still,
Iranian President Ahmadinejad recently expressed support for Russia¹s Caspian
Sea philosophy, and thereby rewarded Russia¹s persistence in the matter. (17)
November and beyond
A working commission on CasFor will meet in Moscow on 22
November. (18) The goal of this commission will be to flesh out the
details of the proposed joint naval force. Given the status of the other
four flotillas, there is no doubt the Russian navy would comprise the bulk of
CasFor – in equipment, personnel, command and facilities. Most
importantly, the Russians have stated already and will continue to pursue
aggressively their goal of ³maintaining regional securitywithout involvement
of armed forces of third countries.² (19) To accomplish this, Russia will need
Azerbaijani and Kazakhstani compliance, at the expense of U.S. interests and
commitments. To entice Iran, the Russians likely will continue their ³carrot²
approach by promising to improve Iran¹s Caspian fleet through arms sales and by
offering to act as Iran¹s mediator in the international arena. If the
five Caspian players agree on Russia¹s CasFor proposal, the formal naval
balance in the Caspian would remain unchanged while, by excluding the U.S., the
Russians would tilt the strategic balance strongly in their favor.
(1) ³Russia Pressing for Exclusionary Naval Grouping in
Caspian Sea,² Interfax, 25 Oct 05 via Eurasia Daily Monitor (EDM), Volume 2,
(3) Via www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/mf-caspian.htm.
(4) Via www.defencetalk.com/news/publish/article_003688.php.
(5) Via www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/mf-caspian.htm
(6) Via www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/navy-base.htm.
(7) ³Russia Critical of Kazakhstani Plans to Form Caspian
Flotilla,² ITAR-TASS, 26 Feb 03; FBIS-SOV-2003-0226 via World News Connection.
(8) Interfax-AVN, 8 Apr 05; FBIS Transcribed Text via
World News Connection.
(9) ³Russia, Iran, Other Caspian States May Form Naval
Group to Fight Regional Threats¹,² ITAR-TASS, 12 Jul 05; FBIS Transcribed Text
via World News Connection.
(10) ³Russia Urges Creation of Joint Crime-Fighting Naval
Force in the Caspian,² ITAR-TASS, 6 Oct 05, BBC Monitoring via World News
(11) EDM, Ibid.
(12) Via www.defencetalk.com/news/publish/article_003688.php.
(15) ³Putin Proposes to Include Iran in Planned Caspian
Security Forces,² VY, 25 Oct 05, RFE/RL Vol. 9, No. 201, Part I.
(17) ³Iran-Moscow Cooperation Headquarters to be Created,²
BS, 27 Oct 05, RFE/RL Vol. 9, No. 203, Part III.
(18) ITAR-TASS, 21 Oct 05; FBIS Translated Text via World
Marcel LeBlanc (email@example.com)
with a capital T, that rhymes with V, that stands for Voting
easy to be Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev – there are crowds
protesting in the capital, even when you tell them not to; there are
international observers decrying ³excessive force² used by police against those
disobedient demonstrators; no one will help you arrest a political rival with
substantial support among the populace; and there¹s the specter of a coup plot
running, apparently, rampant, throughout your administration. In the run-up to the November 6
parliamentary elections, what¹s a president to do?
this president is going to offer the Azeri people firm words about the need for
democracy, some bland reassurances that innocent people were not beaten by
police and security officers, and a last-minute change of heart about allowing
observers into Azerbaijan. ³We
want our country to become more democratic and our society to become
freer. In this light, free
elections meet everyone¹s interests,² Aliyev said. (1) He also called for lifting the
ban on having observers from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with more
than 30% foreign involvement; the late date of the introduction to parliament
of the necessary amendment, and parliament¹s acceptance, presumably will
preclude many NGOs sending in teams, however. (2) Still, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
did announce that it will send 47 observers. (3) That should make everything better.
of course, you are one of the hundreds who massed on the streets of Baku in any
number of protest rallies in October, culminating in mass arrests on October
17. On that day, supporters
of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan were arrested, and police reportedly beat
on a car after a bunch of carnations was thrown from it. (The ³Red
Revolution²?) Moreover, several
hundred internal troops were deployed across Baku international airport, (4) in
response to expectations that Democratic Party chairman (and former
parliamentary speaker) Rasul Quliyev, who is serving as a lightning rod for
opponents to Aliyev¹s government, would be returning to Azerbaijan. Baku has charged Quliyev with
embezzlement of state property and placed him on an international wanted list;
however, a Ukrainian court determined there was insufficient evidence to
warrant his extradition to Azerbaijan. (5) Interestingly, both the government and Quliyev want him back
in Baku, but under vastly different scenarios – Quliyev is seeking a
parliamentary seat (with parliamentary immunity, of course), while Baku wants
recent actions by Baku appear to be fanning the flames of opposition, rather
than quelling them. Reports were
issued on the arrest and beating of Quliyev¹s lawyer, Samo Arif, and parliamentary candidates Akif Soltanov
and Novruz Salahov; the kidnapping of relatives of Quliyev; and the detention
of parliamentary candidate (and party deputy chair) Sovkat Balayeva, newspaper
editor Aydin Quliyev and other party activists. (6)
condemnation to earlier suppressions of rallies and the October 17 sweep was
widespread and clear – Max Boot, the chairman of the U.S. Council on
Foreign Relations, told a conference in Baku that the U.S. condemned the use of
police against the protesters, and placed high importance on guarantees of
democracy in the upcoming elections. (7)
Several days later, the head of the Organization for the Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mission in Baku, Maurizio Pavesi, asked Baku to
³explain the necessity of operations carried out by security forces in order to
avert a further aggravation of the already tense political atmosphere in
Azerbaijan. We are concerned about the growing rate of violence, the
unmotivated and exaggerated use of force against demonstrators, arrests and
detentions.² (8) The European
Union praised the president¹s resolution to open up the election to observers
but noted the ³belated² nature of that resolution as well as its deep concern
about the mass arrests and the excessive force used by police against
opposition supporters. (9)
police in Baku reportedly detained another several dozen participants of an
unauthorized rally of hundreds of protesters held by the opposition alliance
Azadlyg (Freedom) – consisting of the Democratic Party, Musavat and the
Popular front of Azerbaijan –
on October 23. Police
Chief Yashar Aliyev told reporters that violence was not used, and that the
police ³acted in a civilized manner.² (10)
having been) in the government is no protection from legal action either, it
seems: the Aliyev government and
security services rounded up several ministers and former ministers in one
week, charging them with planning a coup.
The former Minister for Economic Development,
Farkhad Aliyev, was detained on October 20, along with his brother, Rafik, the
director of the AZPETROL company. (11)
So was Health Minister Ali Insanov, who had been first relieved of his
duties. (12) Charges were pending
against the newly dismissed Labor and Social Security Minister, Ali Nagiyev,
Education Minister Misir Mardanov, and presidential property manager Akif
Muradverdiyev. (13) The alleged coup planners were colluding with Quliyev, the
prosecutor general¹s office charged. (14)
And withdrawing from the parliamentary race did not protect the head of
the state-owned Azerkhimia company, Fikret Sadykov, who was detained on October
23. (15) Sadykov, an MP, cannot be charged without parliamentary
approval due to the immunity his position grants him.
Azadlyg has denied any plans for a coup, issuing a statement that
³the alliance has been using solely peaceful methods, relying on the
constitution and other laws of Azerbaijan guaranteeing freedom of assembly.²
this mean for democracy in Azerbaijan?
It clearly has not developed into a fully functioning system as
yet. And Ilham Aliyev, who
basically inherited his position as president from his father, the late Geydar
Aliyev, needs to review some basic Democracy and You manuals, to understand
that sometimes, Change Happens.
model for democracy? Not yet.
367 candidates registered through October 22 for parliamentary elections that
will be held in Chechnya on November 27. (17) Representatives of most of Russia¹s national parties
will be on the ballot, for party seats and/or single-mandate constituencies,
including the United Russia party, Yabloko, Rodina (Motherland), Right-Wing
Forces Union SPS, the Communist Party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), the
Eurasian Union, and the People¹s Will party. The Republic Party, on the other hand, was excluded by the
Chechen Electoral Commission because over 20 percent of the voter signatures on
the registration forms were invalidated.
document issued by the Memorial Human Rights Center warns that, due to such
problems as kidnappings, violence, security questions and law and order issues,
the elections are unlikely to be ³free and fair.² Moreover, ³the center is forced to say that these elections
are not likely to be a step towards peace in the Northern Caucasus.² (19)
President Alu Alkhanov said that the situation regarding security in the region
is improving, and is ³under the control of power-wielding structures.²(20) And Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan
Alkhanov reported that the ³rate of solved acts of
terrorism has more than doubled - over 65% of such crimes were solved in
January-September 2005 as compared to 26% a year ago," he said. "Four
hundred and thirty-one suspects on federal and local wanted lists have been
others – notably, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
(OSCE) – disagree. According
to OSCE Chairman Dmitri Rupel, the group will not be sending observers to
Chechnya for security reasons and for considerations related to freedom of
access to polling stations throughout the republic. (22) An interesting response to such
concerns came from the Interior Ministry spokesman, Ruslan Atsayev, who
announced that almost all of the ministry¹s personnel – and there are
more than 15,000 individuals on the rosters – will be employed to
guarantee security. (23). Ah,
happiness really is a warm gun.
turns to the West for help with breakaways
already passed a resolution demanding an increase in the effectiveness of the
³peacekeeping² forces in the breakaway republics of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and
Ajaria, the Georgian government is now requesting backup from the United
States. The chances of success,
however, seem slim. U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried told
journalists that ³Russia should participate in the South Ossetian conflict
settlement, where it can play a constructive role.² (24) Yet slim chances are still
chances: Fried did not say that
Russia ³has been playing² a constructive role; merely, that it could play such
a role. And consultations with the
United States are ongoing, according to Separatist Conflicts Minister Giorgi Khaindrava.
certainly will not be getting any backing of its demand from Russia, which
maintains its stand that only the ³well-coordinated functioning of the Joint
Control Commission and the selfless contribution by Russian peacekeepers² have kept
the situation in the conflict zone under control, as Russia¹s envoy to the
OSCE, Alexei Borodavkin, explained. (26)
Borodavkin reiterated the oft-made claim that Georgia is the aggressor
trying to provocatively alter the situation in the breakaway republics. And yet, the Russian chairman of the
Joint Control Commission purportedly tasked with finding a solution to the
conflict apparently sees only one solution: acquiescence by Georgia. Valeri Kenyaikin explained that,
despite Tbilisi¹s refusal to accept separatist South Ossetia¹s independence, it
was ³necessary to begin work on creating a zone of most favoured nation
treatment.² (27) He seems to have
difficulty comprehending that such an agreement would amount to de facto
acceptance that South Ossetia was a separate entity – perhaps the Joint
Control Commission needs a chairman who could see the conflict aspect of the
charges that had been thrown Georgia¹s way for nearly a month – that
Georgia reacted to South Ossetia¹s celebration of independence with mortar fire
on the capital, Tskhinvali, on September 20 – was refuted by peacekeeping
investigators, but not by those originally making the claims, the South
Ossetians and the Russians.
Lieutenant Colonel Sergei Yantsevich, chief-of-staff of the Joint
Peacekeeping Forces, said that ³a landmine planted in a booby trap,² not mortar
fire, caused the explosion in Tskhinvali. (28)
meantime, demonstrating a remarkable degree of political savvy, Tbilisi is
working to avoid the creation of any more breakaway zones, out of financial
necessity, a la Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Ajaria and Nagorno-Karabakh. The last TIA reported rumblings by the
Armenian population in Javakheti that Georgian Armenians would work towards
autonomy to regain control over the region in which they form a majority.
(29) Giorgi Khaindrava, Georgian
State Minister for Separatist Conflicts, reported that the government will
actively encourage the return of Meskhetian Turks, who were deported in large
numbers during the Stalin era from the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Khaindrava already has met with
representatives of local Meskhetian Turk communities in Central Asia and
southern Russia, and plans to visit similar groups in Azerbaijan and
ITAR-TASS, Oct 25, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Oct 28, 2005; FBIS Translated Text, via WNC.
ITAR-TASS, Oct 28, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Oct 17, 2005; FBIS Translated Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 20, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Oct 17, 2005, FBIS Translated Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 15, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 19, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Oct 29, 2005; FBIS Translated Excerpt, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 23, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
11. ITAR-TASS, Oct 21, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
12. Interfax, Oct 20, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
13. Interfax, Oct 20, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
14. ITAR-TASS, Oct 21, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
15. Interfax, Oct 23, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
16. Interfax, Oct 25, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
ITAR-TASS, Oct 25, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Oct 22, 2005; FBIS Translated Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 18, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Txt, via WNC.
ITAR-TASS, Oct 21, 2005; FBIS Translated Text, via WNC.
ITAR-TASS, Oct 18, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 17, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 25, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 19, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 24, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Interfax, Oct 17, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
ITAR-TASS, Oct 24, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Agentstvo Voyennykh Novostey, Oct 18, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
The Institute Analyst, Oct 18, 2005.
Interfax, Oct 18, 2005; FBIS Transcribed Text, via WNC.
Andijan 'trial' winds down & The crackdown continues
September, the trial of 15 'Islamic militants', accused of instigating the
Andijan rebellion (in May of this year), began in Tashkent. All 15 defendants
pleaded guilty during the Supreme Court's first session. (1) Events both in and
surrounding the trial showed that the Uzbek government was using the process
for a wider, more sinister purpose–namely a lock-down of the
country–than simply to establish the culpability of the defendants.
before the trial started, President Islam Karimov initiated by decree a massive
military call-up. Contrary to usual procedure, conscripts who had completed
their required service would not to be released, but would be posted to reserve
units. Moreover, all citizens not immediately drafted by the call up but who
were judged eligible for service would similarly be posted to reserve units.
Finally, commanders were advised that for the foreseeable future, all units
were to be kept "combat ready."
same time as its military was being placed on indefinite alert status, the
Uzbek government also was carrying out a massive campaign against journalists
and human rights campaigners, both Uzbek and Western, designed to discredit
them and force them to flee the country. On 13 September, the government issued
a statement claiming that the Western media were guilty of "unleashing an
information war" against Uzbekistan. (2) Human Rights Watch in the same week reported that 15 rights
activists had fled the country, while a further 11 had been arrested by the
National Security Service. (3)
presenting the government's case at trial, the Uzbek prosecutor painted a
picture of a nation under threat. He alleged that the Andijan rebellion had
been carried out by Islamic militants, trained by Chechens at camps in
Kyrgyzstan, funded by the BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (as well as
other media outlets) and by the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. The aim of the
alleged militants was to use Uzbekistan as a base for the creation of a
world-wide Islamic caliphate. (4) The Uzbek government's argument seems to be
that these ³threats² serve ex-post-facto to justify its pre-trial actions, and
to validate its actions against opposition figures and the media in the last
October, Uzbek Security forces arrested Sanjar Umarov, leader of the Sunshine
prominent opposition group. (5) Umarov is a well-known businessman, apparently
with "ties to the west." (6) In June of this year, Umarov called on
President Karimov to dissolve the cabinet and appoint new and
"progressive" officials. He also stated that if the Sunshine
"win the people's trust," he might run against Karimov in
Presidential polls slated for 2007. (7) Days before his arrest, Umarov
apparently issued a statement directed at the Parliament calling for Deputies
to begin talks with the opposition without Karimov's blessing if necessary. (8)
At the same time, he sent an open letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov (then visiting Uzbekistan), expressing the Sunshine Coalition's desire to resolve the current
"political crisis" in Uzbekistan. (9) Press reports on Umarov's
arrest indicate that he recently returned from a trip to the United States
where he was seeking financial and political support for the Sunshine
Coalition and its
reform proposals. (10) Mr. Umarov is not the only opposition figure to have
been targeted since the events in Andijan. Human Rights Watch recently was
notified that Yelena Urlayeva, a senior member of the Free Farmers—a group also calling for
economic and political reform was arrested in late August. An Uzbek court in
closed session recently declared her insane. According to the sentence,
Urlayeva is to undergo "psychiatric treatment," which will involve
forcible restraint and the administration of psychotropic drugs. (11)
actions against the media have been equally effective: on 26 October,
the BBC World Service announced that its Uzbek offices would be closed for the
foreseeable future, and its correspondents withdrawn, as a direct result of a
campaign of "harassment and intimidation," which have made it
impossible for the organization to "report on events in the country."
(12) Reportedly, the next targets are Deutsche Welle, and the Associated Press.
(13) Taken together, the Uzbek government's actions amount to an attempt to
purge the country of 'undesirable' influences.
October, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried held a series of talks
with Karimov. Fried noted that unless the Uzbek government cooperated fully in
all areas including democratic reforms, the U.S. would be forced to "draw
conclusions." (14) On 26 October, during closing arguments, Anvar Nabiyev,
Deputy Prosecutor took the death penalty off the table, instead asking the
court to sentence each of the Andijan defendants to a 15-20 year prison term.
(15) This move clearly represents President Karimov's attempt to ³step back
from the brink² in terms of relations with the United States. However misguided
this belief might be, Karimov hopes that the fig leaf of ³leniency² will
prevent the United States from drawing "conclusions" and severing not
only diplomatic, but also financial and military aid (not withstanding the imminent closure of K2) ties with his
With The devil, and he won't let go!
last six weeks, Kyrgyzstan has witnessed the assassination or murder of two
high-profile Parliamentary Deputies. On 21 September, Bayaman Erkinbayev, an
ally of President Kurmanbek Bakiev, was shot and killed in Central Bishkek.
Bakiev's reaction was to allege that Erkinbayev's murder had been possible only
because the latter's bodyguards had been arrested by the Interior Ministry for
unspecified reasons, making him an easy target. (16) The Interior Ministry's
³collusion² in Erkinbayev's death meant, so claimed Bakiev, that "law
enforcement agencies everywhere must be purged." (17) This statement,
given Prime Minister Feliks Kulov's intimate relationship with the Kyrgyz
Security Forces—has to be viewed as a direct attack on the Prime
Minister. It seems possible that the Bakiev-Kulov rapprochement, formed in the
immediate aftermath of Kyrgyzstan's ³Tulip Revolution² might be coming to an
October, a riot erupted at Novo-Pokrovka prison near Bishkek. Inmates at the
facility—one described as having a "strict regime"–were
demanding improved conditions. During the course of the riot, two prisoners
were killed, allegedly because they were acting as informants for the prison
warden and administration. (18) Rioting apparently became so severe that the
guards were forced to leave the facility. The next day, rioting erupted at
another prison—Moldovanovka—near Bishkek.
response to this riot, the Kyrgyz government dispatched two officials:
Parliamentary Deputy Tynchbek Akmatbayev (Head of a Parliamentary Committee on
Defense and Security) and Ikmatulla Polotov (Head of the Main Penitentiary
Department) to the jail to negotiate with the prisoners. When they arrived at
the prison, their bodyguards, as is standard procedure under Kyrgyz law,
surrendered their side-arms to prison guards. At this point, prisoners
apparently overwhelmed the guards, seized the surrendered weapons, and took the
two delegates hostage. (19) In the process of taking hostages, Akmatbayev was
shot and killed, while Polotov was seriously wounded. In an attempt to resolve
the situation, Prime Minister Feliks Kulov traveled to Moldovanovka, where he successfully
negotiated Polotov's release, as well as the surrender of Akmatbayev's body.
Six days later, Polotov died of his wounds in a Bishkek hospital. (20)
death resulted in a series of protests in Bishkek. The protestors alleged that
Kulov was responsible for Akmatbayev's death, and demanded his resignation. A
central figure in the demonstrations was Akmatbayev's brother Rysbek. Rysbek
Akmatbayev is a "legendary" figure in Kyrgyzstan. Allegedly a mafia
"kingpin," Rysbek was a fugitive from the Akaev regime for several
years. Facing murder, embezzlement, racketeering, kidnapping, and other
assorted charges, he agreed to a deal with the Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General in the
aftermath of Akaev's overthrow to stand trial. He was to be allowed to remain
at large on payment of bail and on condition that he sign a pledge not to leave
the country. (21)
disturbing details have emerged about Tynchbek Akmatbayev's death, and the
resultant protests. First, one of the prisoners at Moldovanovka prison was a
Chechen, Aziz Batukaev. Apparently, Batukaev had a long-running feud with
Rysbek Akmatbayev, resulting from the latter's (alleged) murder of Batukev's
brother-in-law in 2003. (22) As such, Tynchbek Akmatbayev's ³assassination²
carries all the "hallmarks of an underworld-related blood feud."
(23) Secondly, the
"protestors" challenging Kulov apparently constituted no-one but
"friends and relatives" of the murdered deputy. (24) The anti-Kulov
protests are placed in a whole new light, if viewed through the prism of
serious allegations, which recently have arisen about the March revolution.
According to Tolekan Ismailova, Head of Citizens Against Corruption, a Kyrgyz NGO, "funding from
underworld figures" was central in bringing protestors to the streets of
Jalal-Abad, Osh and Bishkek for the demonstrations and riots that caused
President Akaev's downfall. (25) These allegations, if true would explain the
new Kyrgyz government's readiness to release a figure (Rysbek Akmatbayev)
widely portrayed as one of the country's most senior and powerful crime bosses.
Bakiev's reaction to the anti-Kulov protests was two-fold. First, the
President's criticism of the Security Services over Erkinbayev's death ceased.
Instead, Bakiev stated that he fully trusted the Prime Minister and endorsed
his continued service. (26) A day
later, he met with Rysbek Akmatbayev and his supporters to promise a full
investigation into the deaths at the prison. Upon receipt of this promise,
Akmatbayev apparently agreed to suspend demonstrations pending the outcome of
an inquiry. (27) The results of this inquiry are to be released on 15 November.
President Bakiev's central campaign promises was to end government corruption.
Anti-corruption rhetoric has continued since the election, most visibly in his
initiation of an inquiry into the Akaev family finances, and, for Western
observers, in his September 16 speech at the High Level Plenary Meeting of the
60th Session of the UN General Assembly. (28)
Tolekan Ismailova's allegations are true, Bakiev owes the Presidency to two
fundamentally opposed parties–organized crime and the Security Services;
effectively, he dealt with the devil. Kulov, as their former commander,
commands the loyalty of the country's two most powerful law
enforcement/security organs (the National Security Service and the Interior
Ministry). Due to his position, Kulov is, if not in name then de facto, the person in charge of
anti-corruption operations. It is because of his position that Akmatbayev's family
is demanding Kulov's dismissal.
Without Kulov's (and therefore the Security Services) support, Bakiev's
position is untenable: it was only through the introduction of the Security
Services that the government was able to restore order in the prisons, (29) and
stop the rioting in the aftermath of the revolution. On the other hand, without
the financial support of underground organizations, Bakiev would likely not
have won the Presidency. Should either party remove its endorsement, Bakiev's
Presidency would likely collapse. Given the current climate in the country, it
is understandable that the President is attempting to play to both sides of the
gallery. How this crisis is resolved by Bakiev—or whether it is taken out
of his hands—remains to be seen.
ISCIP Analyst, Volume XI, Number 1 (20 Oct 05).
TCA-Uzbekistan, 26 Oct 05; The Times of Central Asia via ISI Emerging Markets
"Uzbekistan: Sanjar Umarov—An Oligarch Angling for the
Presidency," 2 June 05 www.rferl.org
/featuresarticle/2005/10/6d71c69d-06c2-4e, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Features Article, www.rfe/rl.org/featuresarticleprint/2005/06/0eflae22-9c55-49d
TCA-Uzbekistan, 28 Oct 05; The Times of Central Asia via ISI Emerging Markets
TCA-Uzbekistan, 26 Oct 05; The Times of Central Asia via ISI Emerging Markets
"Uzbek Opposition leader Charged," 24 Oct 05; BBC News, www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4371256.stm
"Uzbek Activist Declared Insane," 24 Oct 05; BBC News, www.news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4361508.stm
TCA-Uzbekistan, 27 Oct 05; The Times of Central Asia via ISI Emerging Markets
ISCIP Analyst, Volume XI, Number 1 (20 Oct 05).
TCA-Uzbekistan, 27 Oct 05; The Times of Central Asia via ISI Emerging Markets
"Prominent Kyrgyz Parliamentarian Shot Dead," 22 Sept 05 The
"Two Prisoners Killed in Kyrgyz Prison Riot," 19 Oct 05, Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty Features Article via www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/10/6d71c69d-06c2-4e.
"Kyrgyz Parliament Discusses Prison Riot, Deputy¹s Death," 21 Oct 05,
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Features Article, www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/10/f18aabdf-a0db-448
Kyrgyz Television First Channel, Bishkek, in Russian, 27 Oct 05; BBC Monitoring
via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
"Kyrgyzstan, Restive Days in Bishkek," 30 Oct 05, Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty Features Article via www.rferl.org/features
Eurasianet Civil Society, 28 Oct 05 via www.eurasianet.org/departments/civilsociety/articles/eav1028.
ITAR-TASS, 26 Oct 05, FBIS Translated Excerpt via World News Connection.
Mir, Moscow, in Russian, 27 Oct 05; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets
"Statement by H.E. Mr. Kurmanbek S Bakiev, President of the Kyrgyz
Republic, at the High Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of
the UN General Assembly," 16th September 2005, www.un.org/webcast/summit2005/statements16/kyr050916eng.pdf
"Kyrgyz Authorities Order Guards and Officials Out of Prisons," 21
Oct 05, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Features Article via www.rferl.org/2005/10/95389737-5164-42.
One large step forward and then?
unquestionable success of Ukraine¹s $4.8 billion auction of the Kryvorizhstal
steel plant provided a much-needed boost to President Viktor Yushchenko last
week. But by highlighting the
potential benefits of ³reprivatization,² the sale also could create problems
for Yushchenko as his party prepares for March¹s parliamentary elections.
has been under seemingly constant criticism over the last several months. This criticism particularly has swirled
around the dismissal of the Yulia Tymoshenko¹s government, charges that his
aides were involved in corrupt activities (charges he strenuously rejects), and
the dismissal of the Prosecutor-General who had been assigned to follow-up on
these charges. Even more, he has
been accused of ³betraying² the ideals of the Orange Revolution by signing a
³Memorandum of Understanding² with his former presidential election opponent
Viktor Yanukovich, and by holding a series of meetings with businessmen he
accused during the presidential campaign of criminal activity.
Kryvorizhstal¹s sale – with a price that exceeded all expectations
– marked a major coup, and signaled a break with previous privatization
methods designed to benefit those well-connected to the government. The plant, which was previously handed
to former President Leonid Kuchma¹s son-in-law for just $800 million, was sold
using the most ³Western² of rules.
Instead of a privatization arranged behind closed doors, or held under a
system designed to favor one bidder, this sale was held live on three
television channels using criteria approved by international advisors and
organizations. Shell companies and
off-shore bank accounts were disallowed.
Specific payment, labor and capital improvement requirements were
demanded. And a live auction
on television illustrated that the highest bidder did, in fact, win. In every sense, the resale of
Kryvorizhstal epitomized what the Orange Revolution was about; it went to the
heart of protestors¹ demands for fairness, truth and equality.
more, the sale represented the greatest success of the ³team² that led the
revolution. It was, after all,
Yulia Tymoshenko¹s government, with the support of Yushchenko, that so
resolutely pressed for Kryvorizhstal¹s return to the state and subsequent
resale. Preparation for the live
television auction was one of Tymoshenko¹s last duties as prime minister. ³All channels
will carry a live relay from the auditorium where an open auction will be
conducted, where they will be raising cards,² she said, ³and you will see what
could have been done in our country [under President Kuchma]... if
privatization had been at least 50 per cent honest.² (1)
while Kryvorizhstal is a first, it is also a last. It is the last major project of the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko
revolution tandem. And it is,
according to Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov, the last (and only) resale of
questionably acquired state assets.
³There will be no reprivatization,² he said during one of his first
public appearance after his appointment to replace Tymoshenko. (2) The
statement was intended, no doubt, to reassure large investors who were unnerved
by Tymoshenko¹s wide-ranging reprivatization plans. This lack of investor confidence contributed to a slowdown
in economic growth, as did repeated attacks from those whose property was
thought to have been improperly acquired.
righting the wrongs of the Kuchma administration was one of Yushchenko¹s
promises during the protests that led to his current position, and removing
what are seen as improperly acquired assets from ³oligarchs² remains popular in
Ukraine. Suggestions from Yekhanurov
that ³there will be a negotiating table² and ³there will be out-of-court
settlements² may satisfy certain investors, but to many Ukrainians, these words
may sound like euphemisms for ³back-room deals.² How to balance himself effectively between the concerns of
those who supported him during the revolution and large investors – who
are necessary for the growth of Ukraine¹s economy – is one of the most
important challenges facing Viktor Yushchenko.
in her new role as Yushchenko¹s opponent, has made her position clear; her
message remains the same as it was during the revolution. A statement released last week by
her party reads, ³The Yulia Tymoshenko
Bloc recognizes the inviolability of private property, but it will never
recognize the inviolability of what was stolen.² Moreover, ³We denounce reconciliation between the government
and oligarchic clans,² and ³We will not allow any individual approaches or
amicable agreements that boil down to pure corruption.² The statement also called for the
resale of the Nikopol aluminum plant, which was ruled in court to have been
illegally privatized almost immediately prior to Tymshenko¹s dismissal. (3)
has shown little interest in ³rocking the boat² by continuing with the Nikopol
resale, or with the resale of other enterprises identified during Tymoshenko¹s
time as premier. He has been
steadfastly supported in this position by Western investors and economic
analysts who suggest that reprivatization causes instability in financial
markets. In fact, it did in
Ukraine, primarily due to a lack of a well-defined overall plan agreed to by
all political forces involved. The
number of companies to be reprivatized and the criteria for reprivatization
were never clear.
these same investors and analysts overwhelmingly applauded the transparency and
success of the Kryvorizhstal sale – a sale that was supported by all
government officials, based on a clear plan for its disposition. One wonders, then, if a limited,
well-defined and coherently articulated general resale strategy, to include the
most egregiously privatized plants, would not be met positively in the
end. Tymoshenko has signaled her
support for such a plan and undoubtedly will push for it during the campaign.
response could effect significantly the outcome of the election. Currently, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
and Yushchenko¹s People¹s Union Our Ukraine are polling within three percentage
points of each other – usually with Tymoshenko slightly ahead. As the two former Orange Revolution
leaders battle, former presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich has seen his
Party of Regions move slightly ahead of both. His and Tymoshenko¹s successes do not bode well for Yushchenko¹s
chance of maintaining control of the government in April – when political
reform will mean that the parliament, not the president, forms the majority of
success of Kryvorizhstal¹s resale must be applauded. But it highlights the need for Yushchenko to develop a plan
to deal with questionably attained property that meets the demands not only of
investors but also of his voters.
Responding only to investors, or to oligarchs seen to be protecting
their property, provides ample fodder for Tymoshenko. For her part, the former prime minister now may point to
Kryvorizhstal as the primary evidence of the potential success of her
Yekhanurov in the U.S.
Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov visited the U.S. on November 1 and 2. He was accompanied by Economics
Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, as
they attempted to tackle several extremely difficult issues in U.S.-Ukrainian
First and foremost, Ukraine is looking for the U.S. to back its
request to enter the World Trade Organization in December. The U.S. is one of eight countries
still to sign necessary bilateral agreements with Ukraine, and privately, U.S.
officials have been less than enthusiastic about Ukraine¹s chances to win
approval for WTO entry this year.
Officials point primarily to a lack of progress by Ukraine on the
economic reforms necessary to meet WTO standards. These officials suggest that President Viktor Yushchenko has
found it difficult since he came into office to win passage of necessary
laws. Since the confirmation of
the new government, this difficulty has risen to a level of near impossibility
as Yushchenko¹s always tenuous parliamentary support has fractured.
more, despite vigorous activity by the Foreign Ministry, and despite numerous
statements from the president calling for support for Ukraine¹s WTO entry,
necessary legislation has received only limited attention from the new
government and the parliament.
While members of the previous government routinely attended
parliamentary sessions when relevant bills were being debated and routinely
spoke to the press about the importance of them, the current government has
The president himself, however, recently increased his
interaction substantially with parliamentary factions, and on November 1, the
parliament approved two out of the eight bills that are absolutely essential if
Ukraine is to have any chance in December. It was the first WTO-related legislative success since July,
before legislators left for their summer recess.
the other six necessary bills has been less of a success for the government,
and does not bode well for the country¹s WTO hopes. On 18 October, in
particular, a bill that would eliminate the export duty on cattle and halve the
duty on leather products mustered only 108 votes in favor out of the necessary
226. (4) The government apparently
was not represented at the debate.
The bill is being required by Australia and the U.S. before they will
sign bilateral agreements on Ukraine¹s WTO entry.
analysts suggest that even with more intensive lobbying, parliament would not
pass all of the necessary bills this close to an election. (5) Regardless, this apparent lack of progress led WTO
Director-Secretary General Pascal Lamy to suggest on 17 October, ³Neither
Russia nor Ukraine will be able to complete all negotiations regarding entrance
by the end of the current year.
They should wait a bit.²
is Lamy¹s statement disturbing because it seems to confirm that the country
will miss an important Western integration target set by Yushchenko, but also
because he seemed automatically to attach Ukraine¹s entry to Russia¹s. Joint entry of Ukraine and Russia next
year, during which Russia will be given the opportunity to influence negatively
Ukraine¹s bilateral agreements in negotiations, would be both a financial and
psychological blow to the country¹s attempts to disentangle itself from
Russia¹s sphere of influence.
officials will need to decide if a political agreement allowing Ukraine to enter
the WTO with conditions still to be fulfilled (as was done with China), would
be more beneficial geopolitically than forcing Ukraine to wait to join the WTO
with Russia. The former would go a
long way toward influencing WTO officials like Lamy. Yushchenko and Yekhanurov obviously are hoping that U.S.
officials will support just such a scenario.
Yekhanurov continues to push the U.S. hard to fulfill its previous commitment
to work with Ukraine to develop an alternative to Russian nuclear fuel.
announced this year that it will not complete its funding for a major project
designed to allow Ukraine to procure nuclear fuel from Western, non-Russian
sources. The country currently
secures about 50 percent of its electricity needs through its nuclear power
plants. But the Soviet design of
its plants has meant that the country has depended entirely on Russia for
supply of its fuel; it has been
unable to integrate the alternative composition of Western nuclear fuel rods
into its reactors.
in 1998, to compensate Ukraine for its agreement to withdraw from participation
in the construction of Iran¹s Bushehr
Nuclear Power Plant, the U.S. initiated a project to develop
non-Russian nuclear fuel that would work in Ukraine¹s plants. The project also was thought to
have potential implications for other nuclear plants throughout the former
of this year, Westinghouse inserted the first four of such nuclear rods into
one of Ukraine¹s nuclear reactors, and seems to have had some success. At the time, the government announced
that nuclear fuel diversification would allow Ukraine to develop far greater
U.S. has removed the final funding that would support Westinghouse¹s production
of 42 additional fuel rods, in order to actually implement the project. In a letter that has recently been made
public by the Action Ukraine Report, U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman wrote,
³Reduced levels of funding to
the International Nuclear Safety Program recently forced the Department of
Energy to reduce the scope of its assistance work. The reduction impacted the Ukraine Nuclear Fuel
Quantification Project and funding for the core reload is not currently available.²
The withdrawal of funding places the entire project in jeopardy, and could cause Ukraine, out of financial necessity, to abandon its nuclear fuel diversification plans. This would be more than a shame, as diversification of its nuclear fuel is the easiest and clearest method for the country to develop a limited level of energy independence. While development of new gas pipeline systems, and exploration of new oil sources, would cost billions of dollars, the final stage of Ukraine¹s nuclear fuel diversification reportedly would cost $15 million and would have significant geopolitical implications in the region. The final cost would place the project¹s total spending at $65 million. This means that without this final $15 million, the previous expenditures may have been in vain – a significant waste of U.S. funding.
letter to Deputy Secretary of State Robert B. Zoellick, Senator Arlen Specter wrote, ³While I have
significant concerns from a policy standpoint of prematurely terminating a
commitment to an ally which took action at the request of our government in
order to advance security in that region, I am additionally concerned over what
appears to be substantial expenditures resulting in no final useful product.²
Specter¹s letter and others like it from Ukrainian officials
appear to have had no effect.
Yekhanurov undoubtedly hopes that a discussion of this topic in person
will produce better results. If
not, Ukraine will be forced to backtrack on previous statements to Russia that
in the coming years it would no longer need its nuclear fuel. While in Washington, Yekhanurov pushed
for the U.S. to recognize Ukraine as having a market economy and for the
abolition of archaic Soviet era trade restrictions contained in the Jackson-Vannik
amendment of the 1974 Trade Act.
old is new again
and Transnistrian representatives sat down at the negotiating table last week
for the first time in 15 months.
And for the first time ever, they were joined not only by the OSCE and
the so-called ³guarantor² countries of Russia and Ukraine, but also by
representatives of the United States and European Union. The negotiation format will now be
called 5 + 2, because the U.S. and EU technically will take part only as observers. Before the talks, the OSCE suggested that
the new scenario might provide a ³fresh impetus for finding a lasting
agreement.² (9) In reality, both
sides in the Transnistria dispute seem more strident than ever, as the infusion
of new negotiating parties seems to have led only to new vitriol.
President Vladimir Voronin, who has strenuously objected to recent settlement
proposals from Ukraine, preceded the negotiations with several hard volleys
aimed at Russia, and obviously intended to undermine any potential support the
U.S., EU or Ukraine might have for Russian propositions.
charged that his government had uncovered a major arms deal – presumably
brokered by Russia – that provided Saddam Hussein¹s Iraq with weapons
produced in Transnistria. "We have sent to Russia a file with documents on the
directions of arms exports from Transnistria,² he said. ³According to the data available with
us, 13 Transnistrian industrial enterprises manufacture armaments continuously.
We have a document from the Presidential Office of Saddam Hussein's certifying
that weapons from Transnistria used to be imported to Iraq. Now we are
scrutinizing this." (10)
He did not produce copies of documents or provide any further
Moldovan officials had repeated previous charges that Russian weapons and
ammunition were being transported from Russia¹s compound in Transnistria to
Chechnya and North Ossetia.
also suggested that a previous agreement in 2003 had been scuttled at the last
minute by Russian insistence on maintaining a military base in Transnistria for
20 years. Even more, he charged
that the leaders of the breakaway region, including self-styled president Igor Smirnov, ³have their hands steeped in blood.² He said his administration was in the
process of completing a list of Smirnov¹s political opponents in Transnistria
who have disappeared or died mysteriously. (11)
accusations were made by Voronin in the past, but never in such an unambiguous,
forceful manner. This particularly
strong response may be have been provoked at least partially by the settlement
plan recently offered by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. Moldovan officials have complained that
this plan isolates them and largely gives in to many demands from both
Transnistria and Russia. In particular,
the plan is silent on the removal of Russian troops from Transnistria, and
calls for elections ³soon² in the separatist republic.
elections, held in what is recognized throughout the world as an unfree,
dictatorial atmosphere would do little, according to Moldovan officials, but
legitimize Smirnov¹s regime. The
plan, which was rhetorically welcomed by weary OSCE representatives, is likely
providing significant impetus for Voronin¹s increasingly forceful statements.
(12) Isolation, after all, breeds either a fight for a staked position or a
flight from it. Voronin obviously
has chosen to fight. Given the
opinion of Moldovan voters, he has little choice.
and Transnistria, of course, reacted angrily to Voronin¹s charges. Transnistria¹s Vitaly Ignatyev called
them ³groundless,² while Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said
suggestions that Russia was transferring Transnistrian weapons to Chechnya were
³nonsense.² He said, ³We are
responsible for our military bases in the territory of the Dniester (sic)
region. I want to stress that
Russian weapons won¹t be removed from the region.² (13)
statement underscores the biggest issue faced by negotiators. Even though Moscow has signed numerous
agreements to withdraw its troops and weaponry from Moldova, including several
OSCE-brokered agreements, Russia has not fulfilled these commitments. Previously, its leaders presented a
litany of questionable justifications to explain the delay in removal of
troops. In recent months, they have
abandoned all pretext and stated simply that the troops will not be
July, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said, ³Our troops will not be
withdrawn from there until all of Russia's property is evacuated to the Russian
territory." Further, the
troops, he said, are there ³under the mandate determined by the two sides of
the conflict - Moldova and the [self-proclaimed] Dniester Republic." (14)
actuality, Moldova has said repeatedly that it does not want these troops
– a fact that Russia must have understood when it signed an OSCE
agreement to remove them. (15)
Ivanov¹s statement implies that the troops will not be removed until a full
settlement on the status of the Transnistrian region and its ³property² is reached. ³One can
hardly imagine,² Voronin responded, ³that a political settlement is a task for
the Defense Ministry.² (16)
everything, it is not surprising then that during the talks last week, little
progress appears to have been made.
The OSCE once again announced that it would not recognize elections to
be held in December in Transnistria – in partial fulfillment, Smirnov has
said, of the Yushchenko plan.
Ukraine¹s view on the elections is unclear, but any suggestion that the
poll, held in what the OSCE has called an ³undemocratic² environment,
represents the will of the people would be a major blow to Moldova and future
and Transnistria also agreed to exchange information on troops and armaments by
1 December, and that Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE would develop a plan to
monitor Transnistria¹s military plants.
If this were to occur, it would make a considerable contribution to
calming tensions between Moldova and Transnistria over alleged arms production
and distribution. Like all accords
in this process, however, there is a long path between agreement and
implementation; more often than not, implementation is never achieved.
(1) UT1,1800, 30 Aug 05; via ProQuest.
(2) Interfax-Ukraine, 1617 GMT, 9 Sep 05; via ProQuest.
³Timoshenko bloc demands re-privatization of ferrous alloys factory,² 27 Oct
05; via Lexis-Nexis.
Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine, Roll call vote, Bill No. 7567, ³ About export duty on live cattle and raw leather
material,² 18 Oct 05 via www.rada.gov.ua.
(5) See, in particular, ³The Battle for the
WTO: Ukrainian parliament
sabotaging WTO entry,² Delovaya Stolitsa, 24 Oct 05; BBC Monitoring, via The
Action Ukraine Report (AUR), 30 Oct 05.
1054 CET, 17 Oct
(7) Letter from U.S. Secretary of Energy
Samuel W. Bodman to Mr. Ivan Plachkov, Minister, Ukraine Ministry of Fuel &
Energy, 21 July 05, via The Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Number 593, 31 Oct 05.
(8) Letter of U.S.
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), 12 Sept 05; via The Action Ukraine Report (AUR),
Number 593, 31 Oct 05.
(9) ³European Report,² European Information
Service, 28 Oct 05; via Lexis-Nexis.
(10) Infotag, 31 Oct 05; via The Moldova
(12) For details about, and analysis of, the
Yushchenko plan, see Lynch, Tammy, ³Yushchenko undercutting Moldova in
Transnistria?,² NIS Observed: An Analytic Review, 26 Jul 05
³Voronin accuses Dniester region of arms shipments to Iraq,² ITAR-TASS, 29 Oct
05; via Lexis-Nexis.
policy worsening Moldova-Russia relations-Ivanov,² 29 Jul 05; via Lexis-Nexis.
(15) For background on Russia¹s past
commitments to withdraw troops and armaments, see Lynch, Tammy, ³Nothing New
for Moldova at Istanbul Summit,² Behind the Breaking News: A Briefing from the
Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology & Policy, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1
Interfax-Ukraine, 29 Oct 05; via The Moldova Foundation.