The ISCIP Analyst
Behind the Breaking News
Volume III Number 4 (March 5, 1998)
Yel'tsin must have changed his mind however, because he abruptly left the meeting following an hour-long address by Prime Minister Chernomyrdin. Chernomyrdin's address was itself highly critical of the government's performance. Yel'tsin's departure was unexpected enough to spark speculation as to the state of his health -- his movements were halting, he coughed frequently, but spoke coherently without notes. A Kremlin spokesman claimed that, despite the impulsive appearance of the president's exit, it had been planned; in fact, the president went directly to the Kremlin to record his weekly radio address.
In any event, the long-awaited personnel changes have begun. Please see the "Government" section for further information.
There are innovations in the Yumashev plan however. Several staff commissions and departments are amalgamated into more broadly defined administrations. In this regard, folding the president's Archive, Clerical Work Department, Computer Database Department, Software and Technical Support departments, among others, into a Presidential Information and Documentation Support Administration would seem to be a sensible, and perhaps even efficient, move.
Most notable among the changes envisaged by Yumashev is an enumerated maximum limit on personnel per department and overall. The President's Staff, as set forth in this decree, will comprise a maximum of 1,945 employees, which represents a reduction of 100 staffers. The personnel cuts will come from the various subdivisions of the staff, including 8 from the Security Council Apparatus (leaving a total of 45); 12 from the Defense Council apparatus (leaving a total of 88); and 8 from the State Military Inspectorate (leaving a total of 168). But wait. As is often the case, recent developments may have already out paced this reform. See "Security Council" below.
The personnel and structural changes have generated policy ramifications as well. Chechen policy will no longer be formulated by the Security Council but will move with Rybkin to become part of the government's competence. Andrei Kokoshin, in addition to supervising the synthesis of Security and Defense Councils, has been directed by President Yel'tsin to work with Chernomyrdin to produce and submit within one month a new plan outlining military development and reform. (RIA-Novosti, 3 Mar 98)
Also released from government service was the transportation minister Nikolai Tsakh, and the education minister, Vladimir Kinelyov. Tsakh is replaced by Sergei Frank and Kinelyov will be succeeded by his first deputy, Aleksandr Tikhonov. (RIA-Novosti, 2 Mar 98) While it seems unlikely that Tsakh and Kinelyov really represent the "culprits" Yel'tsin intended to identify and hold accountable for Russia's economic difficulties, they do have an interesting element in common in their employment histories: They both became ministers in the government in January 1996. January 1996 may best be remembered as the month most remaining "reformers" left or were dismissed from government service in the wake of the December 1995 Duma elections, in which the "reform/centrist" parties fared woefully against a resurgent Communist Party led by Gennadi Zyuganov. January 1996 also marks the only time in his long service that Anatoli Chubais was dismissed from the government.
Lest any officials sense relief in this round of dismissals, both government spokesman Shabdurasulov and presidential spokesman Yastrzhemsbky have stated that more personnel changes may be in the offing. (RIA-Novosti, 3 Mar 98)
Viktor Mikhailov leaves MinAtom
There has been speculation that Mikhailov's departure is connected with recent (and not-so-recent) allegations of technology transfers to Iran and Iraq. Some have even suggested that Mikhailov was sacrificed as a salve to the Americans in the lead-up to next week's Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission meeting. It would be an unusual and indeed heartening development, if true.
As for Mikhailov himself, his remarks suggest bitter resignation: "It is impossible to work, and especially in the atomic sector, when people don't trust you." (Nezavisimaya gazeta, 3 March 98; NEXIS)
Yevgeni Adamov, the director and chief designer of the Research Institute of Nucleonics, has been selected to replace Mikhailov at MinAtom. Adamov was apparently recommended for the post by Mikhailov. (ITAR-TASS, 4 Mar 98; NEXIS)
by Susan J. Cavan
Hungarian visit to build trust but...
Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov's talks with the Hungarian prime minister confirmed their countries' willingness to boost bilateral cooperation. The talks revealed disagreements on the issue of Hungary's accession to NATO, but at the same time Primakov and Horn expressed the hope that these disagreements will not impede mutual efforts to promote trust and dialogue between Russia and Hungary. He admitted that "Hungary's orientation to Euro-Atlantic structures is a fait accompli," but Moscow is still worried by the possibility of NATO's military infrastructure moving to Russian borders. (ITAR-TASS, 1732 GMT, 18 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-049)
Although Primakov asked the journalists not to interpret his visit to Hungary, which is seeking NATO membership, as a "tour of the countries invited to the North Atlantic Alliance," he used the occasion to reaffirm Moscow's opposition to future NATO expansion. Primakov said that Russia continues to be strongly opposed to NATO expansion to the east and considers the admission of any of the ex-Soviet republics, including the Baltic states, to the alliance as "absolutely inadmissible." He also added that one of the main tasks now is to oppose the creation of new deep dividing lines in Europe. (ITAR-TASS, 2037 GMT, 18 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-049)
Development of bilateral relations deemed 'priority'
While Primakov was in Greece, an intergovernmental Russo-Cuban commission for trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation opened its session in Havana. Among the most important projects discussed in the framework of the commission was the construction of a nuclear power plant in Juragua. The first phase of the once "frozen" plant will soon be put into operation. The participants in the session are representatives of the state structures of the two countries and Russian businessmen seriously interested in long-term partnership with Cuba. (ITAR-TASS, 1018 GMT, 20 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-051)
Back in Moscow, attention was focused on Mideast policy. "Russia regards the development of relations with friendly Syria as a priority of its Middle East policy," Yel'tsin said in a message to his Syrian counterpart Hafiz al-Asad. He "confirmed Russia's intention to cooperate with Syria as a key player in the Middle East settlement," a Russian foreign ministry spokesman said in a briefing in Moscow on 22 February. The two sides have signed a memorandum of understanding between the Russian Atomic Energy Ministry and the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission. (Interfax, 1256 GMT, 24 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-055)
The following day, Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamal Kharrazi, arrived in Moscow. Diplomatic sources said that talks were planned with Primakov and other members of the Russian government on 24-26 February. The Russian diplomat noted that political dialogue between Moscow and Tehran is developing most successfully. "Relations with Iran are a priority for Russia in the region," a Russian foreign ministry spokesman stated on the eve of the visit (ITAR-TASS World Service, 2154 GMT, 23 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-054) Kharrazi also planned to discuss working out a new legal status for the Caspian Sea. (Interfax, 1323 GMT, 16 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-047)
Duma head in Israel
Russian involvement in Iraq situation denied, appreciated
While Russian eyes were, evidently, focused on the Persian Gulf, this reportedly was due to the possible effects conflict would have on Russia. Vladimir Ryzhkov, first deputy speaker of the State Duma, stated his certainty that American attacks on Iraq will prevent Russia from ratifying the START II Treaty. He also commented on two other obstacles to ratification. Ryzhkov said that "in spite of all the statements by the Americans that they will not press ahead" with the admission of new members to the alliance, "their actual foreign policy contradicts this." He cited the charter signed recently with the Baltic states, and recent US promises to Bulgaria to facilitate its admission to NATO. "The third reason is the prospect of a START III Treaty. Russia is making ratification of START II conditional on the drawing up of specific parameters for START III," Ryzhkov said. (ITAR-TASS, 19 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-050)
Russian intervention did earn gratitude from at least one quarter. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on 23 February thanked Yel'tsin and Primakov for their "invaluable role" in the settlement of the Iraqi crisis. Hussein expressed gratitude for the contribution made by Yel'tsin and Primakov during his meeting with Russian special envoy Viktor Posuvalyuk. The president also thanked Posuvalyuk for being constantly in Baghdad during the crisis which, the INA news agency said, was caused by the United States. (ITAR-TASS, 1920 GMT, 23 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-054)
by John McDonough
DOMESTIC ISSUES AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Lapshin claims that if the sale of farmland were to be allowed, a "revolutionary upheaval" in the countryside would result. According to Lapshin, a better solution would be to support the farmers -- and the present system.
Clearly the sale of farmland could be organized in such a way as to benefit small- or medium-sized farmholders. This issue is not whether land should or should not be sold; the issue is how Russia wishes to distribute land ownership. The Agrarian Party is quite simply not the party of the individual farmer -- at least at the national level -- it is the party of the agricultural collective and of those administrators who benefit from the status quo. It is unfortunate that the interests of the simple farmer are not represented anywhere (Interfax, 1156 GMT, 2 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-033).
The deputies noted the contradictory nature of the charter, which wishes no dividing lines in Europe, while speaking of a further expansion of NATO. The deputies were also annoyed by the timing of the agreement, which came soon after the Baltic states essentially rejected Russia's security guarantees. The statement is also critical of the Baltic-US Charter's concern for human rights, claiming that the rights of ethnic Russians in the Baltic states are continuously being violated.
The exaggerated importance that Russia places on the internal affairs of the Baltic states may come primarily from the states' former status as members of the Soviet Union. But it is also clear that this is perhaps the last area of Europe where Russia believes it retains a degree of influence. However, judging from the Baltic states' independent actions of late, such influence must be considered to be marginal (Rossiyskaya gazeta, 3 Feb 98, p. 5; FBIS-SOV-98-034)
Lebed is the former secretary of the Russian Security Council. Winning the governorship would provide him with a platform from which to launch the widely rumored candidacy for president. In addition to the title of governor, Lebed would also become a member of the Federation Council in Moscow, creating, presumably, a thorn in Boris Yel'tsin's side. As for the inhabitants of Krasnoyarsk, they must decide if they are willing to accept someone who will most likely be an absentee governor (Interfax, 1602 GMT, 9 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-040)
by Michael Thurman
Commander discusses Strategic Rocket Forces
The commander-in-chief of the Strategic Rocket Forces, Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev, held a Moscow press conference recently and stated the combat capability of his troops remains high. Given the growing obsolescence of his present force and the limited funds for new systems, Yakovlev stressed that there was "no alternative to ratification of START II." (Jamestown Foundation Monitor, 20 Feb 98)
In a late January interview, Defense Minister Igor Sergeev announced that comprehensive testing of the Topol-M missile would be complete and that the facilities of the Topol-M-equipped 104th missile regiment would be operational. (Flag rodiny, 24 Jan 98; FBIS-SOV-98-043)
Swedish foreign minister visits Baltic Fleet
Another officer arrested in Kholodov case
Military told to pay electric bills
Ukraine to keep last Slava class cruiser
In other Russian Navy news, the Frunze Naval Academy in St. Petersburg will be getting its first woman cadet. She will be the only woman in a school of 1500 students. The defense ministry approved her request and Lyudmila Yolshina will become the first female naval cadet in Russian history. No other Russian naval school admits women. (St. Petersburg Times Weekly internet edition, 23 Feb 98)
Defense ministry goes on-line
by CDR Curtis R. Stevens
NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES
CIS defense ministers approve plan for future cooperation
At their recent Minsk meeting, the CIS defense ministers approved a draft plan for military cooperation through the year 2001. According to a press release from the CIS Staff for Coordination of Military Cooperation, the plan covers "all areas of military cooperation," but highlights the further development of the joint air defense system. The council also approved budgets for several joint military programs and reappointed Russian General Viktor Prudnikov as chief of staff of the headquarters for coordinating CIS military efforts and the chief of the CIS anti-aircraft (air defense) system. (Interfax, 30 Jan 98; FBIS-SOV-98-030 and FBIS-UMA-98-030)
After the meeting, Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev proudly announced that the CIS is heading towards a "collective defense space." He then revealed his intentions by making reference to the recently signed Moscow-Minsk defense pact and announcing that "forming a single defense space in the framework of the Russian- Belarusian Union" will be discussed in the future (Interfax, 30 Jan 98; FBIS-UMA-98-030). Provisions of the Russian-Belarusian pact include: a joint defense policy, the organization of joint armed defense, and the unification of the countries' defense legislation. (Belapan, 16 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-047)
General Prudnikov had some comments on the future of Russian and CIS peacekeeping efforts. Prudnikov linked the creation of joint peacekeeping forces to the formation of national armed forces. Commenting that not all national forces are completely developed, he said that once they were, the CIS would move to the "second stage" of military development. In the next stage, member states will be required to designate certain military units to perform CIS peacekeeping duty -- thereby creating a CIS common peacekeeping force. Responding to primarily Georgian and Moldovan calls for the establishment of non-Russian-led, NATO-like peacekeeping units, Prudnikov shot back, "If a desire is expressed to recruit outside peacekeepers, that is absolutely wrong." (Nezavisimoye voyennoye obozreniye, No. 5, 6-12 Feb 98; FBIS-UMA-98-043)
Foreign ministry stays on message, sort of
In another example of spin control, the Russian foreign ministry now sees the creation of the CIS in 1991 as "an instrument ... conceived for a 'civilized divorce' of the former Union republics." Today, however, it serves as a "certain creative force."
Pastukhov also discussed the armed conflicts occurring within the CIS and, like his friends in the defense ministry, quickly pointed out that "Russia alone carries the burden of their settlement," since Russia's "leading role in peacemaking in post-Soviet space is acknowledged by the international community." Maybe he doesn't consider the UN, EU, OSCE and many other organizations as part of the international community.
by Mark W. Jones
Luzhkov: Sevastopol has not been abandoned
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov reasserted that the city of Sevastopol must be returned to Russia, citing it as the "front post" of Russia's southern border. (Interfax 1217 GMT, 21 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-052) This was in the wake of his visit to the city on 21 February to present Black Sea sailors with keys to two new apartment blocks (financed from Moscow's coffers) which he promised would not be the last built there. He stressed that he was only a representative of Muscovites, the majority of whom "believe Sevastopol was (illegally) torn from Russia." Luzhkov also protested what he saw as the forced Ukrainization of Crimea's Russian population, via Ukrainian schools, newspapers and street signs. (Obshchaya gazeta, No. 7, 19-25 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-051) Mr. Luzhkov is considered by many to be one of the front-runners in Russia's presidential elections in 2000. He prides himself on his "patriotic, pro-Russian" platform. A UN report refutes his accusations, since currently there only two Ukrainian-language schools in the Crimea, compared to 586 Russian-language schools and fifteen Tatar-Crimean schools. (Jamestown Monitor, 24 Feb 98)
Crimea's and Sevastopol's status as part of Ukraine's territory has yet to be recognized by the Russian Duma, which has yet to ratify the Russian-Ukrainian Friendship, Cooperation, and Partnership Treaty that would demarcate borders.
Currently over 85,000 Russian sailors live in Crimea. When Ukraine became independent in 1991, their citizenship status was in limbo. Under the terms of the Black Sea Fleet arrangement last year, they were supposed to be permitted to choose either Russian or Ukrainian citizenship. It has now been over six months and the issue has still not been resolved, since the Russian government has yet to issue those soldiers who have chosen Russian citizenship the appropriate documents. These soldiers are routinely stopped when they cross the Russian border. (Flag rodiny, 25 Dec 97, p. 1; FBIS-SOV-98-050) Separatists in the Crimea are hinting that it might be advantageous to offer Russian soldiers Ukrainian citizenship, permitting them to vote in any referenda on Crimea's status. (Zerkalo Nadeli, 22 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-057)
Crimean parliament agrees to 29 March elections
In the days following the storming of the Yalta City Council building, quiet seems to have settled over the Crimea. This may be due to Ukrainian interior ministry officials who have stationed over 6,500 police on the peninsula. Since the beginning of February, interior ministry officials reportedly have detained over 677 people suspected of various crimes, as well as initiating investigations of over 7,000 entities, 50 percent of which are private companies. Further investigation will try to determine whether the rate of detentions is due to a rise in crime or governmental harassment. (Zerkalo Nedeli, 21 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-057)
Ukraine and Russia sign ten-year economic cooperation accord
Mr. Kuchma also expressed reservations about the CIS, saying that "big quantities of paper are wasted to little effect.... Ukraine prefers bilateral ties,...(since they) produce practical fruit." He said that Ukraine supported "preserving" the CIS, but that it was not in favor of "groups of two and four" progressing at different speeds. He said efforts would be better spent forming a free-trade zone. (Interfax, 1745 GMT, 24 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-055)
In related news, a former KGB colonel, Leanid Rachkov, had been appointed as the new Belarusian Ambassador to Iran. Mr. Rachkov said he looked forward to working in Iran, since "many of our positions are close in both foreign and trade-economic issues." (Svaboda, 4 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-044)
Regional leader Georgi Tabunshchik and Dimitru Motopan, Moldovan parliamentary chairman, had asked the Gagauz parliament to consider postponing the referendum, since it may "affect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova." (Basapress, 1855 GMT, 17 Feb 98; FBIS-SOV-98-050) Piotr Pashaly, chair of the Gagauz assembly, has sent a draft of the constitution to the Council of Europe for its opinion of the document and its potential ramifications. (RFE/RL Report, 17 Feb 1998)
Russian Duma heeds request of Tiraspol to delay ratifying Moldovan