The ISCIP Analyst
Behind the Breaking News
Volume II Number 21 (November 20, 1997)
Kazakov sacked over "The History of Privatization"
Kazakov has been replaced by the Deputy Prefect for Moscow's Zelenograd district, Viktoriya Mitina. Mitina is a relative unknown, however she did work on both of Yel'tsin's previous presidential campaigns, supervising regional support for Yel'tsin on the 1996 presidential election campaign team. (Agence France-Presse, 20 Nov 97; clari.net news)
While details of the corruption scandal follow in the "Government" section, it may be more appropriate to contemplate here the timing of the dismissals which ensued. There have been countless stories hinting at high-level corruption circulating throughout the media, particularly following the Svyazinvest auctions. Why did Yel'tsin choose to act on this information and why now? Some suggest the earlier Berezovsky dismissal, which was engineered by Chubais and Nemtsov, holds the key. Having rid the administration of a Chubais "rival", Yel'tsin moved to weaken the Chubais faction in a familiar presidential pattern of balancing the relative power of his close advisers. Possibly. It may be important to be mindful, however, that Chubais and Berezovsky were, until this summer's auctions, playing on the same team and together brought several new members into the Presidential Administration. Where do their mutual friends, for example, the new Chief of Staff Valentin Yumashev, stand on issues dividing the tycoon and the privatization tsar?
Having already dismissed one chief of the State Property Committee, Alfred Kokh, in August for involvement in a similar [the same?] scandal, President Yel'tsin was finally faced with a corruption investigation that threatens the once seemingly-untouchable Chubais. The fallout so far has resulted in the dismissal of the current State Property Chief Maksim Boiko and the head of the Bankruptcy Administration Petr Mostovoi. Chubais was initially given a stern reprimand by Yel'tsin, who said "such activities cannot be allowed." (Reuters, 15 Nov 97; clari.net news)
The decision not to fire Chubais outright, which is currently under fierce attack from the State Duma, was made after considering the "whole complex of economic, financial and investment consequences of these resignation," according to Yel'tsin's press service. (RIA-novosti, 18 Nov 97) In other words, the dismissal of Chubais could have serious ramifications for the Russian Stock Market and threaten foreign investment.
This situation has resulted in a markedly higher profile for the prime minister, who was vaulted into a position of mediator and peacemaker between the president and the primarily Communist opposition. As a result of his negotiations, a deal has been reached whereby Chubais will lose his post as finance minister, but retain his first deputy status. (RIA-novosti, 20 Nov 97) The presidential decision, unpublished at this writing, apparently states that deputy premiers cannot simultaneously hold ministerial portfolios. The ramifications of this decision would also affect First Deputy Premier Nemtsov, who, although unsullied by this scandal, would be forced to give up the post of Minister for Fuel and Energy.
Chernomyrdin refrained from gloating, but showed little sympathy for Chubais and his co-authors. In his comments on the book deal, Chernomyrdin noted that the various authors were "qualified, knowledgeable people" and therefore "it can't be said that they've just made a mistake. There is something else to it." (RIA-novosti, 15 Nov 97)
Apparently the Procurator's Office agrees that there is more to it. Two of the authors, already out of state service, Alfred Kokh and Arkadi Yevstafyev, were called to the Moscow City Procurator's Office for questioning. (RIA-novosti, 18 Nov 97)
New appointments have already been made to replace Boiko and Mostovoi. They will each be succeeded by their first deputies. Farid Gazizulin will now head up the beleaguered State Property Committee and Georgi Tal is the new chief at the Federal Bankruptcy Administration. (RIA-novosti 18 Nov 97)
by Susan J. Cavan
Russia's success was ensured on Wednesday, 12 November, when the United States was unable to convince the Security Council to pass a resolution threatening Iraq with military reprisals if it did not allow Americans to remain on teams investigating Iraqi compliance with orders to halt its production of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons. (Monitor, 14 Nov 97).
Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov secured Chinese support during extensive talks with his Chinese counterpart, Qian Qichen, on 11 November. (Interfax, 1144 GMT, 12 Nov 97; FBIS-SOV-97-316) Russian President Boris Yel'tsin met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin from 9-11 November, and French Premier Lionel Jospin on 1 November.
Following the Security Council's endorsement of a weaker condemnation than Washington had wanted, President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright were forced to seek Russian intervention, rather than the direct US-Iraqi talks that the White House had originally sought. Clinton consulted Russian President Boris Yel'tsin on Sunday, 16 November, while Albright began speaking to Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov daily.
The administration was reduced to complaining from the sidelines about Russian and French complicity in the ensuing crisis. Speaking on CNN, Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering said that the two nations bear some responsibility for the crisis because they abstained last month on a UN resolution seeking a travel ban on Iraqi officials over Iraq's withholding of information from weapons inspectors.
The abstentions, Pickering said, "at least were a contributing factor, perhaps, to enticing Saddam or maybe encouraging Saddam with the feeling that the unity of the Security Council had fallen." (The Associated Press, 16 Nov 97; Johnson's Russia List #1371)
In another move against the Western alliance, Russian officials also criticized Turkey for deploying forces in northern Iraq in an attempt to defeat Kurdish separatists.
"Turkish Army units must immediately be withdrawn from sovereign Iraq," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Gennadiy Tarasov said at a briefing in Moscow on 11 November. (Interfax, 1800 GMT, 11 Nov 97; FBIS-UMA-97-315)
Russia courts Asian neighbors China...
The agreement was signed during Yel'tsin's 9-11 November trip to China, which included a 21-gun salute in Beijing and a visit to the Chinese city of Harbin, which lies near the border with Siberia. The agreement leaves only a 25-mile section of the border in the east, surrounding two islands, unresolved.
"We have solved a problem which remained unsolved for several decades. This is a concrete embodiment of the friendship between the two nations," Yel'tsin said. (Kyodo, 1122 GMT, 10 Nov 97; FBIS-CHI-97-314)
Japan had previously maintained that investment in the Russian oil and gas industries would have to await resolution of the dispute over the islands, which Russia seized at the end of World War II. Japan still insists that the islands must be returned, but will now pursue a "multi-plane" approach that allows discussion of investments and the islands' status to run concurrently. (Financial Times (UK), 1 Nov 97; Johnson's Russia List #1327)
Zavarzin: Russian side of NATO Council will "firmly uphold interests"
Zavarzin, whose last appointment was as commander of the peacekeeping forces in Tajikistan, said the members of his eleven-member delegation were drawn mostly from the Main Directorate of International Military Cooperation of the defense ministry and ministry specialists on disarmament. (RIA-novosti, Nezavisimaya gazeta, 5 Nov 97; Johnson's Russia List #1339)
New US ambassador to Russia condemns religion law, backs START II
"The United States is going to speak out if we see religious persecution, and we believe that religious freedom is a fundamental aspect of the development of democracy," Collins said. He was referring in oblique to a new law requiring religious organizations to register with the Russian government, which some Catholic and Evangelical Protestant groups say discriminates against them.
Collins also urged the Duma to pass the START II Treaty before a visit from President Clinton in 1998. (Washington Times, 14 Nov 97; Johnson's Russia List #1364).
French prime minister, in Moscow, calls for "multipolar world"
The doctrine, a thinly-disguised complaint of American hegemony, has commonly been endorsed only by developing or former Communist countries. French and Russian gas companies angered Washington last month by agreeing to develop Iranian gas fields.
Jospin also noted France's understanding for Russia's anxieties over the expansion eastward of the NATO defense alliance and said Paris would strive to ensure Russia did not feel isolated. (The Straits Times (Singapore) 1 Nov 97; Johnson's Russia List #1330)
Comment: the wages of economic diplomacy
The White House has conducted its foreign policy as if it were an investment bank. Only countries that overtly threatened US interests, such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq, were to be pressured. The suspicious dealings of others, such as China, Russia and France, were to be overlooked in the interest of developing closer economic ties. These ties alone, it was assumed, would gradually intertwine the world's capitals in a web of common interests.
To rely on anonymous "market forces" as the primary agent of foreign policy is to adopt an essentially Marxist vision of the world order, according to which all actors on the international stage are motivated so strongly by their economic concerns that the potential for conflict is mitigated. Such a doctrine suits not only the executives of large American corporations, who seek deals abroad, but also the current occupants of White House, who crave international consensus above all. Why take a strong diplomatic stand, when one can instead assume that Boeing's negotiators will pursue the national interest themselves?
This essentially passive policy was bound to come undone the first time that the promise of economic gain came in conflict with the need to punish a renegade regime. Having done little to shore up the coalition that won the Gulf War, the United States now finds that France, an erstwhile partner, would rather pursue potential contracts in Bahgdad (estimated at $13 billion) than hold the line against Iraq's recalcitrance.
France may merely be playing the fool. But Russia and China, two countries that sat out the Gulf War, have an even less appealing agenda. They recognize American foreign policy, for all the rhetoric of economic cooperation, to be a vacuum into which they can easily slip. On the one hand, they can spin ties to a range of unsavory countries without fearing serious repercussions. On the other, they can use the White House's own doctrine of the supremacy of economic interest to sow seeds of resentment among the world's poorer nations. It would be a fitting irony if the White House, hiding its passivity behind a range of global business contracts, were to be isolated and reviled as the very global hegemon it so adamantly refuses to be.
by Chandler Rosenberger
DOMESTIC ISSUES & LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Regarding NATO expansion, Lebed said that the process "poses no threat to Russia at this stage. Membership of the North Atlantic alliance for the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary is the expression...of the common history of western civilization," he said.
"While NATO expands within the limits of the Western world, Russia will have to acknowledge its right to go ahead. It would be another matter if the expansion of the alliance were to enter the area of Russia's geopolitical interests and if there were to be any attempt to expand into the Baltic countries and Ukraine."
Which type of Russian president the West should prefer is unclear -- one who questions the value of military blocs as Yel'tsin does, or one, like Lebed, who accepts them and might set up one of his own (ITAR-TASS World Service, 0759 GMT, 6 Oct 97; FBIS-SOV-97-279)
The Constitution provides for the dissolution of the Duma in three ways: The Constitution provides three possible causes for the dissolution of the Duma: 1) Duma's three-time rejection of a candidate for prime minister; 2) a second vote of no-confidence in the government by the Duma in the course of three months; 3) a request by the premier for a vote of confidence in the government in the lower house.
Of the three methods, the last is clearly the simplest method available to the president. In fact, Yel'tsin has used this tactic before. In June 1995, in response to the Duma's vote of no-confidence, Chernomyrdin's government threw the question of a vote of confidence back at the Duma, ruining the Duma deputies' political game and forcing them to retreat. In response to the debacle, the deputies decided to safeguard themselves by amending their procedural rules. The proposal was made by deputy Vishnyakov of the LDPR faction, and in effect said that the question on a vote of confidence -- by the premier -- could not be considered during the three-month period between votes of no confidence initiated by the Duma as a whole. The constitutionality of this new mechanism is unclear and has yet to be tested. Ultimately the Duma was not disbanded, and the vote of no confidence proffered by the Duma was rescinded by it on 21 October 1997. (Moskovskaya pravda, 1 Oct 97; FBIS-SOV-97-279)
Article 9 of each treaty gives the regions standing in federal court to challenge the actions of the federal government. The oblasts "have the right to contest, in the appropriate court, legal enactments of the federal organs of executive power that regulate issues falling under the jurisdiction of Russian Federation subject, enactments inappropriate to the authority of federal organs of executive power in a sphere of joint jurisdiction of the Russian Federation and [oblasts], or enactments that unilaterally redistribute instruments of the jurisdiction and authority of [oblasts] as established by the Russian Federation Constitution and this Treaty."
This article has the potential to affect severely federal legislative and regulatory power, if, as noted above, the courts are wise -- and willing. How the judicial system operates is becoming increasingly important in forming the conduct of Russian political affairs (Rossiyskiye vesti, 25 Sep 97; FBIS-SOV-97-290)
by Michael Thurman
Although Russia has reportedly succeeded in catching up on the back pay due its armed forces, there remains a large debt not only to its own indigenous defense industry but to some CIS nations. MTI reported on 5 November that Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Bulgak and Hungarian Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Szabolcs Fazakas have worked out a plan for Russia's repayment of debt owed Hungary which includes military deliveries totaling up to $240 million. (MTI, 1331 GMT, 5 Nov 97; FBIS-EEU-97-309) Obviously, the transfer of arms to pay past debt does not generate the revenue required to bolster an ailing economy. However, by clearing the debts, Russia may be hopeful that other future cooperative efforts and arms sales may transpire.
Russia touts new weapons at Budapest exhibition...
...But arms export expert Trofimov claims Rosvooruzheniye is broke
Russia's arms export system has some tough challenges: find ways to become more competitive and generate better cash flow to the defense industry with the burdens of old debt and unpaid defense work orders. These challenges will have to be met in an environment that Trofimov says is a shrinking arms market. He says that the annual world volume is actually dwindling to $17-20 billion with more countries forced to focus on modernization instead of rearmament.
by LtCol Dwyer Dennis
Unrest continues at defense plants
The new navy chief is Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov, who was serving as
Chief of the Navy Main Staff and First Deputy Navy Commander-in-Chief. Admiral
Kuroyedov was born in 1944 in the Primorsky region. He graduated from the
Pacific Higher Navy School in 1967. From 1967 until 1993 he served in the
Pacific fleet in a number of afloat command and senior staff positions.
He has commanded the Baltic Fleet and the Pacific Fleet. He has been in
Moscow on the Main Navy Staff since July 1997. (ITAR-TASS, 1636 GMT, 8 Nov
97; FBIS-SOV-97-313, and Agence France-Presse, 1424 PST, 7 Nov 97; clari.net)
by LCDR Curtis R. Stevens
NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES
CIS executive secretary accused of fraud
Belarus units patrol border with Ukraine
Fuel shortages at some power plants "supercritical"
Nationalists and Communists battle in Lviv
European relations remain strained
In a related story (Belapan, 3 Nov 97; FBIS-SOV-97-307), Javier Ruperez, president of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly asked a delegation from the 13th Supreme Soviet -- the parliament disbanded by Lukashenka -- to attend the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly standing committee's winter session. This action continues the record of legitimate structures snubbing Belarussian organizations, especially the Lukashenka appointed Supreme Soviet.
Most Moldovan leaders approve of MiG sale
Moldova, Dniestr leaders sign cooperation agreement
At an international conference devoted to security issues held early in November in Stockholm, US Undersecretary of State Ronald Asmus noted that the Baltic states and the US have all expressed clearly their support of the OSCE principle allowing countries to choose their own security guarantees. The United States' three-track policy of helping to develop security in the region, he said, included assisting the Baltic states in becoming strong candidates for NATO membership, supporting the improvement of relationships between the Baltic countries, the US, and EU members, and encouraging the development of ties between northern Europe and northern Russia. One factor that may affect the latter was the perceived shift in Russian policy from attempts to intimidate or isolate the Baltic states towards one of maintaining the security status quo while cooperating on other issues. (Baltic News Service Daily Report, 1900 GMT, 7 Nov 97)
Non-citizen rights situation warrants attention in Latvia and Lithuania
Authors of the Human Development report in Latvia, sponsored by the UN Development Program, proposed that Latvia drop its "naturalization windows" and professional restrictions, and grant citizenship to children born in Latvia after 1991. (Baltic News Service Daily Report, 1600 GMT, 25 Oct 97). If these proposals sound familiar, it is probably because the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and specifically its High Commissioner for Ethnic Minorities Max van der Stoel, has been suggesting similar changes for a while. Van der Stoel has been visiting Latvia twice a year since 1993 to prepare recommendations for the government to improve the situation of ethnic minorities. During his most recent visit, at the end of October, he reiterated the recommendations issued the previous week by the Human Development report authors. (Baltic News Service Daily Report, 1900 GMT, 30 Oct 97). The commissioner also argued against the adoption of Latvia's new draft language law since it fails to comply with the norms of international conventions. The draft law also has been criticized by the Baltic Sea Council Human Rights Commissioner and ambassadors of several European countries. (Baltic News Service Daily Report, 1700 GMT, 29 Oct 97) Aware that the make-up of the current government coalition precludes a unanimous agreement to change the current citizenship law--primarily due to the staunch opposition of the largest parliamentary factions, Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK--van der Stoel said he hoped that his recommendations would ignite active public discussions of the issues. In fact, just such a discussion occurred in parliament shortly thereafter. The Saeima's human rights and public affairs committee announced its plans to propose the lifting of several professional restrictions applied to non-citizens, allowing for entrance into the fields of law, private investigation and pharmacy. (Baltic News Service Daily Report, 1700 GMT, 4 Nov 97).
In the face of all of this discussion, the State Human Rights Office has launched an examination into the situation regarding social rights and whether the government duly observes international obligations in this sphere. (Baltic News Service Daily Report, 1600 GMT, 8 Nov 97)
In neighboring Lithuania, a state-prepared report on the human rights situation--including the position of ethnic minorities--has been given a positive appraisal, according to the director of the foreign ministry's Legal Department, Darius Jurgelevicius. The report focused on such issues as equality of the sexes, domestic violence, capital punishment and prison conditions, and the legal position of individuals, political parties, public organizations and ethnic minorities. (Baltic News Service Daily Report, 1900 GMT, 5 Nov 97)
by Kate Martin