Whos who at Smolenskaya Square: A review of Russias deputy foreign ministers
On 27 April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that his ministry would comply with Kremlin guidelines to reduce its staff. Unlike other ministries, which have handed over functions to other federal agencies or consolidated responsibilities with other ministries, Lavrov says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) will "retain all of its functions." (1) He acknowledged, however, that he would reduce the number of deputy foreign ministers.
Given Russias wide ranging foreign policy activities, it may seem to be a difficult task to decide which of the twelve deputy foreign ministers to let go. However, the Kremlins guidance to cut back on personnel is also an opportunity for Lavrov (by subtraction) to create a staff that is more closely aligned with him, rather than the previous foreign ministers (who appointed the current staff). This pending housecleaning at the MFA is an ideal opportunity to examine the roster of deputy foreign ministers, their assignments, backgrounds and potential for future service. (2)
The current deputy foreign ministers generally can be divided into three categories: security service professionals (siloviki), career diplomats and those that were apparently selected for a specific quality they possess.
There are currently two veterans of the security services among the deputy foreign ministers.
Vyacheslav I. Trubnikov: A real silovik, Trubnikov is one of the MFAs three First Deputy Foreign Ministers. He worked for the KGB from 1967-1991. While serving as head of the KGB in Azerbaijan in January 1990, Trubnikov was purported to have been involved in military operations to "put down demonstrators" which resulted in the death of over 100 civilians. This operation was reportedly inspired and orchestrated by President Mikhail Gorbachevs special advisor (who later became Russian Foreign Minister and then Prime Minister), Yevgeni Primakov. (3) In 1992, Trubnikov served as First Deputy Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) under its Director, Primakov, and when Primakov became Foreign Minister, Trubnikov replaced him as SVR head. In June 2000, he was appointed First Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Representative of the Russian President to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Though he is a versatile representative of the MFA, he is generally immersed in issues related to the CIS, particularly the problems involving Nagorno-Karabakh and Moldova. While his security services background and the relevance of his work in Moldova and the Caucasus might bode well for his future employment at the MFA, his ties to Primakov might be too strong for Lavrovs liking.
Anatoli Ye. Safonov: Another of the siloviki, Safonov worked with the KGB from 1988-91, and from 1991-99 with the Russian Ministry of Security and the Federal Security Service (FSB), serving as Deputy Director from 1995-99. Notably, his time as deputy director overlapped with Vladimir Putins leadership of the FSB service from 1998-99. That relationship and his charge as the MFAs primary agent for issues related to the fight against terrorism could provide him with solid job security.
Career diplomats make up the plurality of the deputy foreign ministers. All but one of them began their diplomatic careers in Soviet times, although, all of the deputy foreign ministers were appointed to their current posts under President Vladimir Putin.
Valeri V. Loshchinin: Loshchinin is another one of the MFAs three first deputies. He worked in the MFA of the Soviet Republic of Belarus (beginning in 1965), then he served as Russian ambassador to Belarus, and worked in the MFAs Second European Department under Yevgeni Primakov. He was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister in 2001 initially with the task of supervising Russias relationship with the CIS countries (4) and in 2002 was named First Deputy Minister. Loshchinin remains entrenched in Russian-CIS relations, most recently heading a delegation in Beijing to discuss mutual Russian and Chinese concerns regarding the CIS.
Vladimir A. Chizhov: A veteran of the MFA of the USSR and Russias MFA under Primakov, Chizhov served as Deputy Director and Director of the Second and Third European Departments (5) of the MFA, respectively. In 1996, Chizhov served as Deputy High Commissioner for a peace settlement in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He served from 2000 to 2002 as Russian envoy for Balkan issues and was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister in November 2002. His tasks as deputy foreign minister generally revolve around his European expertise; he often handles issues involving the European Union (E.U.), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Council of Europe. Most recently, Chizhov has been engaged in events surrounding Russian-E.U. relations connected with the E.U.s 1 May enlargement and in planning for the 21 May E.U.-Russia Summit in Moscow.
Andrei I. Denisov: Denisov has worked in the MFA since 1992, including as Director of the MFAs Economic Cooperation Department. In 2000, he was Ambassador to Egypt. The December 2001 ITAR-TASS report that announced his appointment as Deputy Foreign Minister described him as being in charge of Russia's relations with CIS member-countries and of supervising economic cooperation. (6) Despite these reported assignment concentrations, Denisov deals with issues ranging from terrorism cooperation, to Black Sea regional negotiations, to the North Korea situation.
Aleksei L. Fedotov: A.L. Fedotov has served in the MFA since 1972, devoting most of that time to relations with the countries of South and Southeast Asia, including service at the USSR embassy in Singapore. In July 2000, he was appointed deputy foreign minister. A review of his activity as deputy minister reveals no particular regional focus, although one ITAR-TASS report from July 2002 describes him as being "in charge of the ministry's work with personnel." (7)
Yuri V. Fedotov: Yu. V. Fedotov began working with the USSR MFA in 1971. He served as Deputy to Moscows permanent representative to the United Nations (U.N.) from 1991-93 and later as Director of the MFAs International Organizations Department. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in July 2002. Yuri Fedotov is one of the most visible Deputy Foreign Ministers, giving the appearance that he may be a particular favorite of the Kremlin. An April 2004 ITAR-TASS report described him as the Deputy Foreign Minister "in charge of the ministry's contacts with the U.N." (8) His recent work in East Asia might indicate that he is in line to replace Aleksandr Losyukov as Russias specialist in East Asia relations. (9)
Sergei I. Kislyak: A veteran of the USSRs MFA, Kislyak served in the Soviet embassy in the United States and later as Deputy Director of the MFAs International Organizations Department. From 1994-98 he directed the MFAs Department for Issues of Security and Disarmament. From 1998-2003 he served as Russian Ambassador to Belgium and representative at the Russia-NATO Council, from where he was temporarily recalled to Moscow in 1999 in protest over NATOs military actions in Kosovo. He was appointed deputy foreign minister in 2003. Making use of his scientific education and technical background, (10) Kislyak has frequently handled Russias issues of nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Sergei S. Razov: This veteran of the USSRs and then Russias MFA since 1975 focused, in Soviet times, primarily on East Asian affairs. Later, he served as Russian Ambassador to Mongolia (1992-96) and then to Poland (1999-2002). In March of 2002 he was named deputy foreign minister. Upon his appointment, the MFA announced: "New Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Razov apart from being in charge of relations with Central, Eastern and Southeastern European countries including "the Balkan knot" will coordinate problems of the Kaliningrad Region." (11) A review of his work indicates he has done just that, including frequent consultations with Turkey.
Aleksandr V. Saltanov: Saltanov began working in the Soviet MFA in 1970. Throughout his career, he has focused on the Middle East, serving in various positions in Kuwait and Syria. He has also worked in the MFAs Departments of Middle East Countries and of the Middle East and North Africa. From 1992-98 he was Russian Ambassador to Jordan and since October 2001 has served as Deputy Foreign Minister. His more than 30 years of experience and extensive network of contacts in the Middle East make him Smolenskaya Squares expert on the region. His duties appear to be restricted to activities in that region alone. Given his value as a Middle East specialist (rivaled only by that of his former boss, Yevgeni Primakov) and the relevancy of the Middle East to Russias contemporary foreign policy, Saltanov is unlikely to be let go anytime soon.
There are three more deputy foreign ministers whose professional backgrounds lack significant diplomatic experience but who perhaps were hired based on other criteria.
Viktor I. Kalyuzhny: Kalyuzhnys educational and professional background in the oil business no doubt makes him a valuable asset to the MFA. He was trained at the Ufa Oil Institute in 1970 and then worked in various positions in and related to the oil industry, ranging from underground oil well repair foreman to first vice president of the Eastern Oil Co. During the Soviet era, Kalyuzhny represented the oil industry in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and in 1997 he entered Russian politics as a deputy in the State Duma of the Tomsk region. From 1998-2000 Kalyuzhny was First Deputy Minister and then Minister of Fuel and Power Engineering. In May 2000, he was appointed Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Representative of the Russian President to the Caspian Sea region. In this capacity he continues to lead Russias efforts to negotiate a settlement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.
Eleonora V. Mitrofanova: First Deputy Foreign Minister Mitrofanova holds a doctorate in economics. She worked privately until 1993 when she served as a State Duma deputy and later worked as an auditor at the Russian Accounting Chamber. In 2001-03 she served as Deputy General Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and was appointed to her current post in May 2003 with the specific task of "protecting the rights of fellow countrymen abroad." (12) Mitrofanova has focused primarily on the situation in the Baltic countries and in Turkmenistan. Her résumé, which reflects a career that is uniquely short on diplomatic experience compared to her peers, might lead one to speculate that her appointment was partially intended to gain the administration points for womens rights (she was the first ever Russian Deputy Foreign Minister). (13) But with the presidential elections over and the Baltic countries now belonging to the E.U., she might have lost some of her value to the foreign ministry team and the Kremlin.
Doku G. Zavgayev: Although Zavgayev has seven years of diplomatic experience as Russian ambassador to Tanzania from 1997-2004, some Russian analysts argue that the appointment of this former Moscow-backed president of the Russian Republic of Chechnya to the MFA was an merely an attempt to bolster "Moscow's contention that the restive Caucasian republic (
) is being integrated into the Russian Federation." (14) Upon returning from Tanzania in February 2004, Zavgayev was, according to MFA Spokesman Aleksandr Yakovenko, put "in charge of [the MFAs] business administration and financial issues, while also carrying out foreign political assignments like all other [deputy foreign ministers]." (15) Since his appointment however, Zavgayev has largely been invisible in the news reports of foreign affairs.
A dramatic purge of deputy foreign ministers in the near future is unlikely. Personnel levels (currently there are twelve deputy ministers) are not at their highest (there were 15 at one point under Igor Ivanov), and the ministry already seems pressed to cover all spheres of its foreign relations with its current staff. However, some of the deputy foreign ministers are less active and/or less regionally or topically focused than some of their colleagues. As such, they might be considered less valuable to the Ministry than the others. Foreign Minister Lavrov may also be considering a shift in focus for the MF. While the CIS remains important to Russia, Lavrov specifically pointed out that there was no need to devote a department to focusing on the CIS as a distinct entity. (16) The issue of personal loyalty and patronage will also likely enter the equation, and new appointments and dismissals may provide a rare insight into the political connections among MFA officials. President Putin will no doubt also have input into the formation of his foreign ministry team.
(1) ITAR-TASS, 27 Apr 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-0427 via World News Connection.
(2) All of the following biographical information in this report, unless otherwise noted, comes from the "Whos Who in Russia" website
(3) Yasmann, Victor. RFE/RL Daily Report, No. 12, 20 Jan 92, p. 3; and "Vesti" broadcast, Moscow Television Network, 1900 GMT, 22 Jul 92, trans. FBIS-SOV-92-143, 24 July 1992, p. 68 via Waller, J. Michael "Who is Making Foreign Policy?" Perspective Vol. V, No. 3, Jan./Feb. 1995. <http://www.bu.edu/iscip/vol5/Waller.html>
(4) ITAR-TASS, 30 Dec 01; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(5) The Second European Department focuses on the Baltic States and northern Europe; the Third European Department focuses on Central and Eastern Europe.
(6) ITAR-TASS, 30 Dec 01; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(7) ITAR-TASS, 4 Jul 02; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(8) ITAR-TASS, 5 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(9) Former Deputy Foreign Minister Losyukov was appointed ambassador to Japan in March 2004.
(10) Kislyak is a 1973 graduate of the Moscow Physics and Engineering Institute, worked in 1973-74 as an engineer-physicist at the Kurchatov Nuclear Power Engineering Institute and served in 1991-93 as deputy director and in 1994-95 as director of the MFAs Department of International Scientific and Technological Cooperation.
(11) BNS, 25 Mar 02; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(12) NTV MIR, 26 May 03; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(13) <http://english.pravda.ru/main/2003/05/26/47435_.html> 26 May 03.
(14) Agence France Presse 19 Feb 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
(15) ITAR-TASS, 18 Feb 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(16) ITAR-TASS, 27 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
By Scott C. Dullea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DOMESTIC ISSUES & LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Wishing on a star
Its official: regions aspiring to autonomy are a thing of the past in Russia. Indeed, it appears as though regional officials have been relegated to composing wish lists and funding anything the center says they should, with no autonomous power and little chance of gaining any. The central government debates draft legislation (for submission to the Duma in May) to ensconce the power division between the center and the regions. (1)
One of the last holdouts, the Republic of Bashkortostan, finally has acceded to the inevitable. Despite years of maintaining an independent stance, Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov announced at a recent meeting of the republics parliament that "Bashkortostan has always declared for effective vertical of the executive authorities and supports the policy of the federal authorities to consolidate the Russian state." He assigned the parliament the task of amending the republics Fundamental Law so that is in line with the federal governments legislation. (2) In presidential elections last year, Rakhimov faced strong opposition from a Moscow-backed candidate, though, to be sure, Rakhimov was not averse to imposing pressure on all sectors of society to ensure his triumph. (3)
Publishing an appeal to the Fradkov government, Yaroslavl Oblast Governor Anatoli Lisitsyn bemoaned the increasing powerlessness of officials away from the center. "The [Kasianov] cabinet of ministers did not take our role in development of the economy and social sphere into account.... In the last three years the government has not assembled all the governors to discuss problems a single time, not even to let off steam. ... During this time the federal Center adopted many poorly thought-out decisions that ultimately worsened the state of affairs in the local areas and exacerbated the inequality among subjects of the Federation," he warned. Indeed, he said, the center has been siphoning off funding at the expense of much-needed local improvements, leading to an increase in social tensions. (4) A subsequent article noted widespread dissatisfaction among regional leaders concerning the decrease in their powers in the face of an increasingly strong center. (5)
The federal government is doing everything in its not-inconsiderable power to ensure obedience, including the placement of individuals with proven loyalty to Moscow in leadership positions. One case in point: the recent appointment of 33-year-old Sergei Gaplikov as prime minister of Chuvash Republic after the republics governor, Nikolai Federov, dismissed the previous government, purportedly as part of administrative reform (although initial announcements were noticeably vague on details). (6) Federov announced that he had selected Gaplikov after meeting and discussing the situation with federal ministers, members of the presidential staff, and Chuvash parliamentary speaker Mikhail Mikhailov. Gaplikov recently served as a deputy chief in the federal Ministry for Economic Development and Trade. (7)
So, whats a concerned regional official to do? Make gestures whose meaninglessness will be highlighted by the centers attitude, apparently. The governors of the Far East and Baikal territories have signed a memorandum already signed by the leaders of the Jewish autonomous region, Khabarovsk and Maritime territories, as well as the governor of the Chita region seeking to protect the Amur territory from an ecological disaster. The leaders are appealing to the Russian Federation government, along with international NGOs, to support the initiative in Moscow and in the international arena, to create a mechanism for cooperation with Mongolia and China to protect the river. The main concern is that increased pollution will adversely affect the 75-100 million individuals who live in the Amur territory. (8)
A rose by any other name...
The Duma has decided not to censor the media overtly, but that doesnt mean that MPs will stop trying to pass legislative proscriptions. More importantly, of course, it doesnt mean that censorship wont happen covertly.
A release by the Reporters without Borders organization noted that government control over most media and the All-Russia Center for Public Opinion Research (VTsIOM) served as a contributing factor to Russias "further deterioration in press freedom." The organization also highlighted the trials and detentions of journalists Grigori Pasko (released after serving two-thirds of his four-year sentence) and German Galkin (appealing a one-year sentence of hard labor) for their reporting; attacks by regional authorities against journalists; the deaths of five reporters (although whether those murders were linked to professional activity has not been determined) and the kidnapping of a sixth; as well as severe restrictions on access to Chechnya. (9)
While dealing with these challenges, the media still must cope with overzealous MPs who seek to control press coverage. One recently withdrawn attempt a draft that would have prohibited showing the bodies of terrorism victims prompted that champion of press freedoms, Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov, to announce that there was no need to restrict further the coverage of terrorist acts. "We have a sufficient legal framework for mass media to respond correctly to situations connected with terrorist acts," he said. (10) Other proposals, which do not have the support of the Dumas Information Policy Committee, include a bill prohibiting media coverage (beyond official government announcements) of terrorist activity, a ban on the broadcast of all scenes of violence between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.; and an official, and explicit, description of pornography. Rather than encourage these initiatives, according to the chairman, Valeri Komissarov, the committee is working closely with the media to protest freedom of speech and prevent "censorship or return to 1937." (11) How much freedom of speech will be left to the media, however, is still open to question. Komissarov is credited with proposing a ban on media coverage of terrorisms victims, although one speaker in the Duma reportedly stated that the ban originated with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Yet the committee chairman subsequently signaled a change of heart concerning the proposed ban, citing a lack of support by the professional journalist community.
Apparently, there is strong public support for censorship of the media, but thats where the connection to Duma attempts at censorship end. A survey conducted in mid-April by the VTsIOM polling center indicated that 62 percent of Russians were in favor of government censorship of television. Yet this shouldnt be taken as meaning that the populace supports the notion of government-managed media. According to the polling, the public is more concerned with censoring sex and pornography, as well as violence, cruelty and crime, than with government interference in programs on political topics or news shows. (12)
1. ITAR-TASS, 1231 GMT, 26 Apr 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-0426 via World News Connection.
2. ITAR-TASS,1452 GMT, 22 Apr 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-0422 via World News Connection.
3. Noviye izvestia, 4 Nov 03, Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press via Lexis-Nexis; Ren-TV, 1830 GMT, 7 Dec 03, BBC Monitoring International Reports via Lexis-Nexis.
4. Nezavisimaya gazeta, 22 Apr 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-0422 via World News Connection.
5. Nezavisimaya gazeta, 30 Apr 04, BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
6. ITAR-TASS, 5 May 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
7. Rossiyskaya gazeta, 28 Apr 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-0429 via World News Connection.
8. ITAR-TASS, 0649 GMT, 22 Apr 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-0422 via World News Connection.
9. Reporters Without Borders, The 2003 Global Press Freedom World Tour, Russia-2004 Annual Report, http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10229 via Johnson's Russia List, #8194, 4 May 04.
10. ITAR-TASS, 28 Apr 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-0428 via World News Connection.
11. Nezavisimaya gazeta, 29 Apr 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-0504 via World News Connection.
12. Rosbalt, 30 Apr 04, via Johnsons Russia List #8190, 30 Apr 04.
By Kate Martin (email@example.com)
Three-pronged diplomacy in Georgia
Unlike the Abkhaz precedent, in which Russian military force was used first to enable secessionists to prevail and then to preserve their gains, in the recent confrontation between Georgia and would-be Adjar secessionist Abashidze, Russia abstained from intervention. Putin took a cautious stance between the government of Mikheil Saakashvili and factions tied to Aslan Abashidze. With Abashidzes resignation and flight to Moscow now a reality, the outcome might have been different but for the neutral stance of Russian troops stationed in Georgia.
The Putin Administration had an opportunity to undermine the Saakashvili governments hold on power, but chose not to do so. As several former Soviet republics move to consolidate their ties with the west through NATO and the E.U., Russia may have been tempted to seek "compensation" in the Caucasus. Abashidze looked to Moscow for such support, only to realize it would not materialize.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented to INTERFAX on 06 May at the conclusion of the impasse that "We are satisfied with the fact that the situation surrounding Adjaria was settled in a peaceful manner and that the parties managed to avoid bloodshed, the option Russia has always favored." (1) His statements came at the conclusion of talks with Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili. In fact, there was a two-pronged diplomatic effort by Sergei Lavrov (in dealing with President Saakashvili's government) and former Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (in dealing with Abashidze). ITAR-TASS opined that "there is no doubt that the visit to [the Adjar capital] Batumi by Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov influenced Abashidze's decision." (2)
There is ongoing speculation that ex-Russian Lieutenant General Yuri Netkachev was behind the demolition of bridges linking Adjaria to Georgia, but "to subdue Adjaria, Mr. Saakashvili needed the assent of powerful Russians; [and] he appears to have got it." (3) Russian forces in their remaining two bases at Akhalkalaki and Batumi did raise their security and alert status, and the Adjar "militia forces at Choloki seemed to believe that Russia would back them in the event of an armed conflict. Many of them told IWPR (Institute for War & Peace Reporting) that the Russian military base in Batumi had placed one battalion on high alert. The Russian factor, which Abashidze has for years used as leverage in his standoff with Tbilisi, [was] of critical importance." (4) Yet, the Russian military intervention failed to materialize.
Yevgeni Ivanov, Press Secretary for the Russian embassy in Georgia, stated, "We believe this is Georgias internal affair and the Georgian authorities themselves should resolve the problem in the autonomous republic. At the same time, we believe that the main thing is to prevent bloodshed. A military conflict will exacerbate the situation in Georgia itself, as well as in the area as a whole. It will also have a negative impact on relations between Georgia and Russia. We have said more than once that the 12th Russian Military Base stationed in Batumi has clear-cut instructions from the Russian Defense Ministry command to maintain neutrality and not to interfere in Georgias internal affairs." (5)
The risk of Russian intervention constituted a genuine concern for the Saakashvili government, amplified by the fact that "up to 70 percent of the 12th Russian military base in Batumi are local residents, but all of them have Russian citizenship." (6) The Georgian Defense Minister, Gela Bezhuashvili, acted to reduce the likelihood of Russian military involvement by trying to prevent "provocations being hatched by illegal Adzharian armed formations against servicemen of the Russian military base in Batumi."(7) He warned that "measures will be taken to prevent any provocation against servicemen of the Russian base in Batumi and against their families."(8)
The possibility of Russian intervention increased exponentially as tensions between Batumi and Tbilisi increased over the course of President Saakashvilis 10-day ultimatum to Adjaria calling for the resignation of Abashidze and the disbanding of militia forces. The potential for conflict was heightened by the 30 April to 02 May "Dioskuria-2004" exercises conducted by Georgian Armed Forces near Poti. Givi Iukuridze, Georgian Chief of the General Staff stated that the exercise could be viewed as a show of force or a dress rehearsal for impending conflict with Batumi, adding, "the maneuvers will be conducted in Poti but if the troops receive an order to go to Batumi they will go."(9) During the maneuvers, the Adjars demolished three bridges across the Choloki and Kakuti rivers as well as sections of the Batumi-Tbilisi railroad line.
Russia concluded apparently that, in the light of the absence of support for Abashidze in Adjaria, prudence was the better part of wisdom and offered him asylum in Moscow.
(1) RFE/RL NEWSLINE, Vol. 8, No. 86, Part I, 07 May 2004.
(2) RFE/RL NEWSLINE, Vol. 8, No. 86, Part I, 07 May 2004.
(3) The Economist (UK), May 8-14, 2004 via Johnson's Russia List, #8198, 07 May 2004.
(4) Institute for War & Peace Reporting (firstname.lastname@example.org); Caucasus Reporting Service, No. 230 05 May 2004 via Johnson's Russia List; #8196; 6 May 2004.
(5) Mayak Radio, 5 May 04 1100 GMT; FBIS-SOV-2004-0505 via World News Connection.
(6) ITAR-TASS, 5 May 2004 1224 GMT; FBIS-SOV-2004-0505 via World News Connection.
(7) ITAR-TASS, 5 May 04 1235 GMT; FBIS-SOV-2004-0505 via World News Connection.
(8) ITAR-TASS, 5 May 04 1235 GMT; FBIS-SOV-2004-0505 via World News Connection.
(9) Gazeta, 05 May 2004; What the Papers Say via ISI Emerging Markets - Defense and Security database.
By Paul Lyons (email@example.com)
NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES
Dniester talks resume
Moldovan Dniester talks resumed on 26 April after an almost six month break. The previous round of negotiations ended in November 2003, after Vladimir Voronin's refusal to sign the Kozak memorandum, which proposed the creation of an asymmetric federation in Moldova. Failure of the November talks to reach an agreement created an atmosphere of stagnation and decreased expectations for a successful outcome.
The current negotiations show that differences are still great between Chisinau and Tiraspol. The Dniester region is asking for a status equal with that of Moldova (the two entities would pay their foreign debts separately and have separate armies), while Chisinau is proposing a grant of autonomy similar to that given the Gagauz. (1) "The Moldovan side struck out all compromises from the Russian memorandum, which had been reached during its preparation last year," said Foreign Minister of the Dniester republic Valeri Litskai. (2) The Moldovan side claims that the document that was submitted this time did not bring anything new, the difference, they claim, is only that "previously they [Tiraspol] included the notion of federation, while now it was replaced with the notion of a federation of two parts." (3) Both sides agree, however, that the region should be demilitarized and the creation of a new federal state should be decided on the basis of a referendum. (4)
Earlier in the month of April, two representatives of the Moldovan centrist opposition reportedly met with the Foreign Minister and the security head of the Dniester region in Moscow. They allegedly agreed to sign the Russian plan to create a federation in Moldova if the current President Vladimir Voronin is not re-elected president in 2005. (5) Dimitru Diacov and Dimitru Braghis also met with the deputy head of the Kremlin administration Vladislav Surkov and discussed the strengthening of the pro-Moscow centrist forces in Moldova. It is possible that after Moldova's 2005 parliamentary elections, Russia will strongly support the consolidation of the centrist forces in Moldova and a possible alliance with the communists in order to make possible the election of Serafim Urechen as President of Moldova (instead of Voronin). Tiraspol and Moscow are not optimistic about the success of the Dniester settlement talks under the current president. (6) The next session in the negotiating process on a Dniester region settlement has been set for 25-26 May 2004. (7)
a surrealistic period is beginning in Ukrainian politics, a period of strange, unpredictable alliances, incomprehensible talks and absurd compromises."
The atmosphere of Ukrainian politics is tensing up before the October 2004 presidential elections. The situation is more uncertain than ever. The political reform bill failed in the parliament on 8 April, only six votes short of passage. The nomination of Viktor Yanukovych as presidential candidate for the pro-governmental "majority" followed on 14 April. Yanukovych's nomination does not mean that Kuchma is "out of the picture," however. It seems likely that he may still have an ace up his sleeve.
The presidential majority turned out not to be a majority after all. The failure to pass the political reform bill indicates that many pro-government politicians are "playing their own game." (8) Yulia Timoshenko in her recent article "Ukrainian Opposition Leader Hails End of Kuchma Era" names some unusual alliances that are currently in play on the Ukrainian political scene: "Kuchma and the U.S., Medvedchuk and Moroz, Pinchuk and the U.S., and Symonenko and Russia." (9) Even if Kuchma wanted to run for a third term, she claims, there is so much kompromat' piled up against him (the Georgy Gongadze case, e.g.) that he might have agreed to step down at the request of the U.S., in return for certain guarantees for his future prosperity and security. As for Medvedchuk, he seems to be more in favor of (the opposition candidate) Moroz becoming president, since it is more likely that Moroz will carry out constitutional reform.
In addition, several defections last year from the pro-presidential majority (Ivan Pliusch, Oleksandr Zincheko and Anton Butenko) exemplify increasing disunity among the ruling elite. (10) Zinchenko was expelled from the SDPU for protesting against Ukraine's membership in the Single Economic Space. Butenko (Ukraine's ambassador to Romania) resigned over the same issue and Pliusch was not content with Havryth's agreement to, in fact, head the pro-presidential parliamentary majority. (11)
One of the reasons Kuchma nominated Yanukovych as the presidential candidate from the pro-Kuchma majority was to keep that very majority in check and demonstrate to the deputies that he is still in charge. Moreover, if Kuchma still wants to try to push political reform through the parliament one more time, he needs a lot of support. By nominating the country's second most popular politician as a presidential candidate, Kuchma might be signaling to supporters that it is still possible to pass the reform bill with the help of Yanukovych. Kuchma also wants to be sure that the majority he leaves behind is willing to assure him a comfortable retirement after his term comes to an end. (12)
Even though Kuchma and his allies have lost the political reform battle and the pro-presidential majority is falling apart, it does not mean that the opposition has won the war yet. First, Kuchma is still entitled to run for a third term based on the December ruling of the Constitutional Court. This is an unlikely scenario, however, as the E.U. and U.S., whose opinions are important to Ukrainian authorities, are not likely to accept the legitimacy of such an outcome. Kuchma may also simply change his mind and nominate a completely different candidate for the race. Wolodymyr Lytvyn, the parliamentary speaker, is one option. (13) Some other possible candidates are Defense Minster Yevhen Marchuk, as well as Serhiy Tyhypko or Valery Pustoytenko. (14) The game is not over yet and there might be more surprises in store. Stay tuned
A key opposition figure arrested
A well-known public and political figure and one of the founders of the Five-Plus opposition coalition, Mikhail Marynich, was detained by the Belarussian KGB on 28 April. Marynich is a presidential candidate, who heads the Business Initiative NGO, was head of the Minsk city government, ambassador to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, minister of foreign economic relations in 1994-98, and ambassador to Latvia, Estonia and Finland in 1999-2001. (15)
Marynich was charged under Article 377, Part 2 of the Penal Code of Belarus with "theft of or damage to documents, seals and stamps," and under Article 295 Part 2 with "illegal actions in relation to firearms, ammunition or explosives." (16) Many believe that this action is aimed at curtailing Marynich's presidential ambitions. "The trumped-up cases against potential candidates who could be fielded by the coalition in the parliamentary elections follow in the wake of an escalating onslaught on opposition parties, public organizations, trade unions and independent media outlets," reads the statement issued by leaders of the Five-Plus coalition. (17)
and another arrest
The leader of the Belarussian national strike committee of entrepreneurs and a participant of the European Coalition "Free Belarus," Valery Levanewski, was detained on 1 May. Levanewski was inviting city residents to take part in an unauthorized rally on 1 May. His two children were also detained the same day. The police stopped their car, searched their belongings and confiscated the posters they had. The family complained that while in custody, they were harassed and threatened, and refused access to a telephone. (18)
and another one
Several activists of unregistered Youth Front and Young Social Democrats organizations were detained by plain-clothes police on 1 May during a rally that they organized to mark E.U. expansion as well as Labor Day. "This is crazy. We just wanted to celebrate E.U. enlargement and our connection to European civilization," the detained commented. (19) This arrest is yet another demonstration of the arbitrary nature of the Belarussian authorities and their readiness to suppress any deviations from Belarussian state ideology.
(1) ProTV, 27 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(2) ITAR-TASS, 30 Apr 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-0430 via World News Connection.
(3) ProTV, 1 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(4) ProTV, 27 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(5) Flux, 27 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(7) Moscow ITAR-TASS, 30 Apr 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-0430 via World News Connection.
(8) Ukrainskaya Pravda website, 16 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring, 19 Apr 04 via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(10) Kuzio, Taraz, RFE/RL Poland, Belarus and Ukraine report via www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/2003/450303.shtml
(12) Zerkalo Nedeli, 17 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(13) Ukrainskaya Pravda website, 16 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring, 19 Apr 04 via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(14) Zerkalo Nedeli, 17 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(15) Belapan News Agency, 27 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(16) Belapan News Agency, 28 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(17) Belapan News Agency, 28 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(18) Charter-97 web site, 3 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(19) Belapan News Agency, 1 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
By Elena Selyuk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Moscows man assassinated
On Sunday 10 May at 10:35am, a bomb ripped through Dynamo stadium in Grozny during a Victory Day ceremony, killing Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov, Khusein Isayev, head of Chechnyas State Council, and Eli Isayev, Chechnyas Finance Minister. (1) The Russian Commander of Forces in Chechnya, Colonel General Valeri Baranov is in critical condition and has been replaced temporarily by Colonel General Mikhail Pankov, with Chechen Prime Minster Sergei Abramov stepping in as Chechnyas acting president. (2) The attack harshly underlines the difficulties Russia faces in "restoring order" to Chechnya, despite a massive military presence, and despite Kremlin claims that normalcy is being restored after nearly five years of fighting. Grozny has an immense contingent of Russian troops, and yet they still have not been able to eliminate insurgents in the city. Although no group, as yet, has claimed responsibility for the explosion, suspicion inevitably fell on separatists, who have tried to assassinate Kadyrov several times before. In an interview given to rebel news agency Chechenpress, however, secessionist leader Aslan Maskhadov denied any involvement in the stadium bombing.
Kadyrov had been a Chechen separatist in the mid-1990s, but switched to Moscow's side at the start of the current Chechen war in October 1999, earning the enmity of many Chechen fighters. In October 2002, Kadyrov ran for and won the presidency of Chechnya in a Moscow rigged election, which was widely viewed as illegitimate.
As Moscows point man in Chechnya, Kadyrov was central to Putins plan to pacify Chechnya; he oversaw the power transition from Russian forces to his 4,000 strong security forces. (3) Putin made it imperative that powers be transferred from Russian authorities to the Kadyrov regime, leaving Kadyrov with the responsibility of crushing further resistance from Chechen fighters. To this end, Kadyrov's forces carried out joint operations with Russian troops to round up Chechens seen as a threat to Russian dominance. However, the transition of power from Russia to Kadyrov came at a hefty price as Kadyrov sought control of the limited oil industry, an industry previously dominated by the Russian military. The Chechen presidential security service, headed by Ramzan Kadyrov (Akhmed's son), intermittently clashed with Russian troops keen to retain their grip on the republic. Yet the most significant move Kadyrov made in trying to secure control was to employ former rebels in his private army. These former rebels, paid from the Moscow supplied Chechen budget, in turn tried to persuade their former colleagues to unite with the Kadyrovtsi Kadyrovs personal army. Although Russian casualties remained very high, Kadyrovs tactics began, slowly, to bear fruit with the surrender of crucial Maskhadov aides, such as Ichkerian defense minister Magomed Khambiyev, Boris Aidamirov and Maskhadovs personal security chief Shaa Turlayev. (4) Additionally, according to reports by the Russian newspaper Gazeta, Kadyrov undertook a massive operation around the beginning of May to capture Maskhadov. (5)
In recent months, reports surfaced that Kadyrov had been holding talks with Maskhadov. The Russian newspaper Gazeta cited federal and Chechen sources as saying Kadyrov knew the secessionist leader was hiding in Gudermes village and had been conducting secret talks with him to arrange a surrender. (6) Such discussions abhorrent to Moscow, which says Russia "obliterates" rather than negotiates with "terrorists" were emphatically denied by Kadyrov (7) and are of questionable veracity, yet demonstrate his range of operations. In addition to his efforts to undermine the rebel power structure, Kadyrov, with Moscows heavy-handed help, rid Chechnya of power rivals. For the past four years his main political rivals, such as Malik Saidullayev and Aslanbek Aslakhanov, were kept out of Chechnya, losing touch with voters and their power base in the republic. Under strong pressure from Moscow, Saidullayev and Aslakhanov, among others, withdrew before the October presidential polls to guarantee Kadyrov a landslide win. Kadyrovs power moves devastated Chechnyas political landscape and leave few potential successors of quality from whom to choose. Moving quickly to fill the political vacuum created by Kadyrovs death, Putin appointed Ramzan Kadyrov First Deputy Head of the Chechen government, indicating Putins intentions to give Ramzan the hot job. (8) However, Ramzans former position as head of Kadyrovs security forces has not endeared him to the Chechen populace, and he lacks his fathers personal power, intelligence and connections to establish his own power base independent of Moscow.
Rose revolution on the move
The Georgian government moved swiftly May 6 to restore its authority in Adjaria, as residents celebrated the downfall of the regions strongman, Aslan Abashidze. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili referred to Russia as playing a key role in preventing the political crisis from turning violent. Abashidze, who had been locked in a power struggle with Saakashvili for months, departed the Adjarian capital, Batumi, in the early hours of May 6 after accepting an offer of political asylum in Russia. Abashidzes resignation came after four hours of talks with Russian National Security Council Secretary (and former Foreign Minister) Igor Ivanov, who had flown to Batumi to mediate an end to the political standoff, which up until the last moments threatened to turn violent. (9) Saakashvili described the peaceful ending to the crisis as a "big revolution" that established a precedent in the former Soviet Union. "It is the first time on post-Soviet territory that separatism failed and a conflict was resolved," Saakashvili told Russian NTV after arriving in Batumi to revel in his political victory. (10)
Saakashvili views Abashidzes departure as the beginning of a "genuinely new era" of Georgian political stability and economic recovery, (11) as the Tbilisi-Batumi dispute eroded Georgias political cohesion and hampered the central governments revenue collection ability. Batumi is one of Georgias main export venues, and Abashidzes authority had maintained tight control over the customs regime in the region, but with Abashidze gone, revenue from customs duties will again start flowing to Tbilisi. In addition, the authorities announced the restoration of rail links between Batumi and other points in Georgia after Abashidze severed road and rail connections in the ill-fated effort to insulate Adjaria from Tbilisis pressure.
On 6 May, the Georgian parliament approved Saakashvilis decision to impose direct presidential rule in Adjaria, and to appoint an interim council to maintain basic government functions to fill the void created by the collapse of Abashidzes authority. Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania, who is to head the election commission, stated that new elections will be organized within six weeks and that Adjaria will regain its autonomous powers once it has an elected assembly. (12)
Georgian security forces spread out across the region to head off possible provocations by Abashidze loyalists, and to prevent potential looting. At the same time, authorities arrested General Roman Dumbadze, the former commander of a Batumi-based Georgian military unit, whom the Georgian Prosecutor-General charged with treason in April after he declared loyalty to Abashidze. (13) As Abashidze cannot be indicted for his actions against the Georgian government, Tbilisi seems to have chose Dumbadze as its principal political target.
Foreign governments and international organizations congratulated Saakashvili on resolving the Tbilisi-Batumi standoff without turning to violence, as indicated by Bulgarian Foreign Minister and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Solomon Passy's statement that "Georgia has once again shown the world an example of political maturity and adherence to democratic standards." (14) However, some voiced concern over the solidification of the new Tbilisi-Batumi relationship, including Plamen Nikolov, the special representative in Tbilisi of Council of Europe Secretary General Walter Schwimmer, who called on the Georgian leadership on 6 May to set about drafting a document on the distribution of competencies between the central government and Adjaria as soon as possible. (15)
Saakashvili gave the credit for the successful outcome to Russian officials, including Ivanov and President Vladimir Putin. For Ivanov, it was the second time in six months that he had become involved in efforts to prevent a violent political confrontation in Georgia. Last November, when he held the post of foreign minister, Ivanov helped convince former president Eduard Shevardnadze to resign, thus completing the so-called Rose Revolution in Tbilisi. Georgian officials indicated that the resolution of the Tbilisi-Batumi crisis could provide a boost to Georgian-Russian relations, which have been marked by distrust and tension since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili departed for Russia on May 6 to discuss bilateral cooperation with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. "Abashidzes resignation creates a favorable atmosphere for talks," Zurabishvili said. (16) Until recently, Moscow had provided firm political support for Abashidze, often cautioning Tbilisi against armed action. Indeed, some worried that troops stationed at a Russian military base in Batumi might intervene to protect Abashidze. However, Russian defense officials characterized the Tbilisi-Batumi confrontation as Georgias "internal affair," and troops at the Batumi base remained neutral as the end game surrounding Abashidze played out. (17)
While the United States kept a lower profile in the resolution of the Tbilisi-Batumi tensions then its Russian counterpart, the U.S. Ambassador to Tbilisi was in close touch with all the parties to the dispute. Additionally, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stated that Secretary of State Colin Powell had discussed the situation on 4 May at the United Nations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with Powell criticizing Abashidze's partial destruction of bridges and rail links between the province and Georgia and warning against other attempts to provoke military confrontation. (18)
The peaceful resolution of the Tbilisi-Batumi stand-off succeeded in endearing Saakashvili to the Western powers, elevating him to deity-like status among the Georgian populace, while laying the foundation for a working relationship with Moscow. However, the focus is shifting to the two other Georgian breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Previous presidents of Georgia tried clumsily to quell rebellions in those areas but failed. Thus far, Saakashvili has been realistic about Abkhazia and South Ossetia, saying merely that he hopes to lure them back by creating a prosperous Georgia. In Adjaria, his tactics worked. But it will be harder in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
1. Agence France Presse (AFP), 10 May 04 via ISI Emerging Databases.7. Novye Izvestia, 12 Ap 04, via What the Papers Say via Lexis-Nexis, April 14; Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 16 April, via What the Papers Say via Lexis-Nexis.
2. AFP, 9 May 04 via ISI Emerging Databases.
3. Guardian News, 9 May 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
4. Gazeta, 12 Mar 04 via What the Papers Say, 15 March via Lexis-Nexis; Russian ITAR-TASS, 12 March via Lexis-Nexis.
5. Gazeta, 6 May 04; What the Papers Say via Lexis-Nexis.
6. Russian Interfax, 29 Apr 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis; Financial Times, 8 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
8. Financial Times, 10 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
9. Moscow ITAR-TASS, 5 May 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
10. NTV Moscow, 6 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
11. Guardian, 6 May 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
12. Adjaria Television Batumi, 8 May 04; Financial Times; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
13. Adjaria Television, Batumi, 7 May 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Databases.
14. Georgian Imedi TV, 6 May 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Databases.
15. Eurasianet.org, 6 May 04 via ISI Emerging Databases.
16. Financial Times, 9 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis; RFERL, 6 May 04, Vol. 8, # 85.
17. Russian Interfax, 6 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis
18. Russian ITAR-TASS, 5 May 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
19. Associated Press, 5 May 04 via Lexis-Nexis.