Putin has embarked upon an interesting approach to the fight against terrorism
in the weeks since the Beslan tragedy: He has redefined Russiaıs view of
terrorism, simultaneously recommending his redefinition of the term for the
entire international community; he appointed a trusted associate as envoy to
the conflict-prone southern region of Russia; and he has destabilized further
domestic political institutions, in the name of strengthening hierarchical
an interview with Chinese newspapers and television, Putin laid out his concern
with terminology by emphasizing the ideological change wrought by the end of
the Cold War: ³We must do away
with the stereotypes and rhetoric of the ³cold war,² when the same actions by
practically the same organizations, but in different parts of the world were
declaredto be either terrorist acts or a struggle for independence, a struggle
for national liberation and so on.We must understand that terrorists can be
distinguished not by the goals that they hide behind, but by the methods that
they use. And the key element here
is the use of violent methods that make innocent people suffer.² (1) Intriguing words from the president, but time will tell if
this represents a true policy shift or only a rhetorical outreach for
Presidentıs Representative to Southern Russia, Dmitri Kozak, has been busy
putting out fires: In
Karachayevo-Cherkessia, he negotiated with protestors after the local police
announced that they were seeking the arrest of the son-in-law of the Republicıs
President, Mustafa Batuyev, in connection with the abduction and murder of
seven persons, including a regional legislator. (2) Protestors
demanded the resignation of the local leaders of the MVD and FSB. Kozak called for calm: ³I request the
kith and kin not to give way to these provocations. The criminal case will be
investigated objectively and comprehensively and all those who organized this
crime and those who executed it¾nearly all the perpetrators
have been detained¾those who were directly or
indirectly, be it in a juridical or political sense, to blame for the
commission of this crime will be punished.² (3) Following the surrender of Ali Kaitov (Batuyevıs
son-in-law), Kozakıs spokesman suggested that there would be little purpose in
the resignation of the local security chiefs. However, if public outrage over
these murders (and the presumed complicity of authorities) does not subside,
the Republicıs President himself may be forced to resign. (4)
also received a controversial assistant, a position that is in itself an
unusual adjunct for an envoy; Ramzan Kadyrov, son of the assassinated Chechen
President, was named as advisor to Kozak.
Opinions vary widely on the purpose, even the source of this
appointment. Whether it originated
in the Kremlin, as some believe, or was requested by current Chechen President
Alu Alkhanov, it is clear, as one analyst has noted that naming Kadyrov to a
presidential post is more suitable than sidelining him otherwise: "Kadyrov's group is too influential to argue with
it.² (5) (For more on this issue, please refer to the ³Caucasus² section.)
Clearly, there are a number of important, even urgent, issues
for Putinıs Representative to address, just how this will aid in the prevention
of another terrorist attack or help bring to justice the organizers of Beslan
however, has yet to be seen.
The third of Putinıs anti-terror initiatives likewise confounds
analysis of its utility as part of a domestic security package. While the harshest criticism of Putin
has been reserved for his attempts to strengthen the ³vertical of power,² his
intention to override local authorities by nominating (with the right to
dissolve local legislatures if they wonıt approve his nominations, Putin has
taken de facto right of appointment) regional governors seems far more likely
to stir up local discontent, rather than help the Center contain it.
has suggested that corruption and the inability to have federal executive
orders implemented form the backdrop for his decision to intercede in regional
politics, but it is becoming increasingly clear that any heavy-handed central
move might instead propel centrifugal forces. Consider, for example, the response of Mintimer Shaymiyev,
President of Tatarstan, who disagreed, on democratic principles, with attempts
to circumvent local assemblies, which reflect the choice of regional citizens: regional parliaments are elected by people's votes,
"and we must not agree with the possibility of a regional parliament being
Other regions present challenges on different fronts: an insensitive central appointment in
Dagestan, for instance, could, quite conceivably worsen ethnic tensions. Sergei Artyunov, Director of the Sector
of the Caucasus of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology at the Russian
Academy of Sciences, points out the potential pitfalls in Dagestan: ³Dagestan is the home of fourteen
peoples mentioned in the Constitution. The State Councilis a form of consensus
democracyWhenever a president or, even worse, an appointed governor appears
there, the question of this ethnic origin will be raised immediately. It will be all right if he is a
representative of some small ethnic group. If however, he represents a majority ethnic groupall the
rest will probably turn to mutiny.² (7)
Thus far, President Putinıs post-Beslan approach to combating
terrorism seems to have little to offer, perhaps thatıs because Putin needs
answer to no one.
Putinıs decision to insert himself into the Ukrainian
presidential elections are perplexing enough, but his comments to the Ukrainian
electorate might prove even more confounding. During a phone-in program for three Ukrainian television
channels, Putin quoted some verse by the Ukrainian national poet, Taras
Shevchenko. Speaking in Ukrainian,
Putin waxed, ³The day goes by, the night goes by, burying my head in my hands,
I keep wondering why the apostle of truth and science stays away.² (8) He noted that he had found, at the time he learned the
lines, the verse ³suits me to a tee.²
(9) That may speak volumes.
(1) ³Interview with Chinese
newspapers,² Kremlin website via (www.kremlin.ru/eng/text/speeches/2004/10/13/2023_77912.shtml).
(2) The Moscow Times, 26 Oct
04 via Lexis-Nexis.
(3) RTR Russia
TV, Moscow, in Russian 0700 GMT 22 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
No 197, p.A2; RusData Dialine via Lexis-Nexis.
(5) RIA Novosti, 21 Oct 04
(6) Moscow News, 27 Oct 04
(7) Novye Izvestiya, 15 Oct 04; What the Papers Say (WPS)
Defense and Security 20 Oct 04 via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(8) UT1 Kiev, 1700 GMT, 26
Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Database.
Susan J. Cavan (email@example.com)<
11 marked three months since President Putin signed the order authorizing the
reorganization of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). In that missive, he gave the FSB
Director, Nikolai Patrushev, three months to prepare specific proposals for FSB
restructuring. (1) There has been
no official or leaked word on any such proposals thus far. This suggests one of two
things: Either Patrushevıs plan is
still in the hands of President Putin and is being held in such secrecy that no
word of it has reached the outside (possible, but unlikely given the current
climate in Russia); or the Beslan siege in September, in which nearly a dozen
of the FSBıs special forces troops were killed, in addition to over 300
civilians, has altered the timetable for an FSB shakeup. The latter explanation is the more
plausible, given the mass of other changes enacted or planned by the
Beslan siege is bound to have caused reverberations throughout the security
services on many levels, not just because of the loss of life within the
services (whose replacements will take time to train), but because it
demonstrated the inefficacy of the administrationıs Caucasus strategy. Some journalists have reported that the
security services themselves drafted a new Chechnya plan, which was thought to
be unpopular with some in the presidential administration and thus was leaked
in order to garner support, not an uncommon move. It appears to contain some ³out-of-the-box² thinking,
including cooperation with Israel on counter-terrorism. The plan reportedly
elicited some support in the Kremlin, but there has been no formal announcement
so far. (2) Meanwhile, the (Federation Council-led)
investigation into the Beslan tragedy continues, with few results yet available
(or expected). (3) With so many new developments and
diverse responses since August, the plans for an FSB reorganization imagined in
the relative political calm of July, probably will need more time to
changes were included in the original decree, namely cutting the number of
departments from twelve to four; this was largely cosmetic, since many of the
³cut² departments simply were renamed ³services² and their leaders were left
untouched. (4) On the one hand, the FSB may be the one
organization in which President Putin, had the most faith, rightly or wrongly,
and his siloviki
appointees are the individuals on whom he most relies. On the other hand, the FSB may be the
single most disappointing organization in the Putin administration, a fact made
especially obvious in the three months since the reform decree was signed. Although its budget has increased many
times in the past four years, the FSBıs ranks are still marred by rampant
corruption, and the service seems signally incapable of preventing the most
horrific acts of terror on Russian soil. (5) Only if Putin has the ability to comprehend the true state
of this highly publicized service is there the slightest chance of genuine
words indicate that he is aware of the problems linked to corruption. His moves to strengthen the ³vertical
of power² conceivably might reduce corruption at the regional level, by keeping
local leaders at the Kremlinıs mercy, although this approach certainly is
questionable. With respect to the
security services, however, his actions thus far appear to fall short of the
mark. Indeed, the Kremlin has
raised salaries for cabinet members, but so far there is no word on whether the
50-billion ruble FSB budget for 2005 will include increases in the salaries of
lower-level security service employees, in addition to the plan to procure
hardware and training. (6) Presumably, a better wage would tend to
reduce corruption, but it is not clear what constitutes an ³honest wage² in the
Russian security services. With
FSB members allegedly selling fake passports for $1500 each, and Interior
Ministry members charging upwards of $100,000 to close troublesome
investigations into major businesses, pure compensation alone will not solve
the problem of corruption within the security services. (7)
the Putin administration continues to rely almost solely on current and former
FSB personnel, even recycling seemingly spent siloviki.
Putin recently announced the appointment of Anatoli
Safonov to the newly created post of ³presidential special representative for
questions of international cooperation in the fight against terrorism and
transnational organized crime.² Of
late, Colonel-General Safonov was Ambassador-at-Large and FSB deputy director,
but he lost his position in a cabinet reshuffle last summer. Safonov has made a career of security service work in the
former KGB and FSB, all within the USSR and Russia. Newspaper reports find no distinguishing diplomatic or
counter-terrorism experience in his background, only the expected tradecraft
and cronyism one has come to expect from such appointments in the Putin
administration, making Safonov another typical Putin apparatchik. In short, Safonovıs
appointment is unlikely to provide the impetus necessary to develop a new breed
of dependable and well-trained soldiers, who can enhance the stateıs
must be remembered that the security services operate in a grey area of statecraft,
one that has changed significantly in the past few years, owing not just to the
breakup of the Soviet Union, but also to the altered strategic landscape that
recognizes state- and non-state-sponsored terrorists as major players. And while the KGB was especially
well trained to do what they did, their goals were limited and their methods
less circumscribed than they are today.
A good Soviet intelligence officer is unlikely ever to have been taken
alive following the assassination of an insurgent leader, much less captured,
tried, and convicted in a foreign country as were the two GRU officers in Qatar
(following their successful car-bombing of Chechen rebel leader Zelimkhan
Yandarbiyev). And while the Kremlin
denied any link to the minor damage caused by the fire-bombing of the London
apartment of Maskhadovıs deputy, Akhmed Zakayev, on 17 October, the fact that
it occurred mere hours after Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov reiterated Russiaıs
intention to strike preemptively where the terrorists and their supporters live
seems more than a coincidence.
(9) Perhaps the fire
bombings really were carried out by those seeking retribution for Beslan, as
the Kremlin suggested; maybe the GRU agents really were acting on their
own. If this is the case, then despite
the siloviki in the
cabinet, there is no control over these mechanisms of direct action. If it is not the case, perhaps
there are even more unsettling conclusions to draw—perhaps security
services have either lost a part of their operational expertise, or are still
relying on cold war methods (typified by a more Machiavellian ends-means
relationship) in the new strategic landscape.
larger point is the example Putin is setting for the security services. By maintaining, as his unstated requirement
for appointment to an administration leadership position, prior service in the
security services, he has created a model for the current generation of
security service officers—adherence to the values that made the KGB so
powerful in the USSR: cronyism; strict observation of orders from above with
little innovation; and a career resume that values simple service, not cultural
or academic broadening that might provide an enhanced perspective of the
problems facing the NIS. The
officers he has put into positions of leadership are not the best and the
brightest, only the most well-known (or loyal) to the president. And there appears little motivation to
alter this recipe for personal success in the government, at any level.
if there is to be any lasting reform, whenever it is discussed openly, one
would expect the conversation to include corruption proofing measures that
ultimately will help prevent future attacks by terrorists, aided by those whose
job is to protect the nation; and command and control measures aimed at helping
end terrorist incidences rapidly and with minimal loss of life, a shortcoming
discussed in previous NIS Observed (see archives). Until President Putin sets a higher standard for the upper
levels of the administration, do not expect any reforms, no matter how
well-conceived they may be, to change any of the security servicesı fundamental
FSB-produced Chechnya plan appears to be a step in the right direction. If so, it would be the first. One hopes it is not an aberration.
(1) "Reform of Russia's Federal Security
Service, Emergencies Ministry Detailed," Vremya novostey, 15 Jul 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-0715 via World
(2) ³Nukes Will Not Be Used,² by Pavel
Felgenhauer, The Moscow Times,
19 Oct 04, JRL #8416.
(3) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Newsline Vol. 8, No. 201, Part I, 22 Oct 04.
(4) ³FSB Reform: Changes Are Few and Far
Between,² by Andrei Soldatov, Moscow News, 6-12 Oct 04 via Johnson's Russia List (JRL) #9398, 7 Oct
(5) "Russian security budget expands
during Putin's watch," Agence France Presse (AFP), 19 September 04 via
Johnsonıs Russia List (JRL), #8374.
(6) ³The NIS Observed: An Analytical Review,²
Volume IX, Number 15, 29 September 04.
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) Newsline,
Vol. 8, No. 179, Part I, 20 September 04 and Ekspert, No. 39, Oct 04 via JRL
#8422, 22 Oct 04.
(8) ³President Picks Shady Character As
Envoy,² by Aleksei Tarasov, Moscow News, 20 Oct 2004 via ISI Emerging Markets.
(9) ³Nukes Will Not Be Used,² by Pavel
Felgenhauer, The Moscow Times,
19 Oct 04, JRL #8416.
By Eric Beene (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Putin traveled first to China and then to Tajikistan on a five day tour from
14-18 October to discuss bilateral issues between the respective countries.
Both visits were important occasions in the history of Russian bilateral
relations, as they brought the leaders together to examine mutual concerns
regarding economic and security matters in the region.
Putinıs meeting with President Hu Jintao in China (14-16 October) marked the
solidification of a partnership between the two countries that provides mutual
advantages. Putin landed with
three main objectives: to persuade China to give verbal support for Russiaıs membership
in the World Trade Organization (WTO); to resolve the problem of common
borders; and to convince China to commit heavy financial investments in Russia.
President Jintao hoped to secure approval for a 1,475 kilometer oil link from
Siberia to the Chinese port of Daqing. (1)
the worldıs second largest importer of oil (behind the United States), China
currently suffers from dwindling domestic supplies. Energy demands are almost doubling annually in China, and
although Russia currently supplies no gas to the Peopleıs Republic, the head of
Russiaıs Gazprom, Aleksei Miller, and Chinaıs National Petroleum company signed
a vague agreement that leaves the pipelineıs future uncertain. Chinaıs critical energy demands proved
a significant incentive to invest upwards of $20 billion in Russia by 2020;
Jintao also agreed to support Moscowıs bid for WTO membership. (2) Russiaıs
entrance into the WTO would benefit China greatly, as it should result in a
major increase in its investments.
founding agreement of the Russia-China Business Council was signed on 15
October during its first sitting in Beijing, timed to coincide with the talks
between Putin and Jintao. The
Council will become a tool for the strengthening of economic cooperation and
its main goal ³will be to ensure immediate access for businessmen in the two
countries to information on different projects in them,² stated Andrei Kazmin,
chairman of the board of Sberbank (Savings Bank). (3) Thirteen subcommittees,
including banking, have been set up through the council.
border issues, which have been a longstanding dispute, Putin and Jintao agreed
that their adjoining border will be legally registered and marked out, a first
in the history of Russian-Chinese relations. According to President Putin, this
decision creates opportunities for closer cooperation in developing shipping,
nature management, protection of the environment and farming. (4) President
Jintao declared, ³From this moment on, the Chinese-Russian border, an extent of
over 3,400km, will be a bond of friendship and cooperation between our
seems new frontiers have been opened for the two countries by this border
resolution. Overall, President Putin achieved his objectives during his visit.
This latest meeting with President Jintao, the one that occurred last month in
Russia, and the decision to make 2006 the Year of Russia in China, and 2007 the
Year of China in Russia, (6) all suggest a growing partnership that will make
agreements, especially in the realm of security, more likely.
spoke of positive dynamics and the beneficial prospects of strong bilateral
relations as he opened talks in Dushanbe with Tajik President Emomali
Rakhmonov. Putinıs sojourn to
Tajikistan showcased the successful completion of agreements that would help
solve the problem of Tajikistanıs debt to Russia and bind the two countries in
a fight against drug trafficking from Afghanistan.
will invest a total of $2 billion in the Tajik economy within the next five
years, an investment that Putin believes will pay off as Tajikistan regains
stability. It also stands as a sign that Russia views political developments as
hopeful and that mutual confidence is building. (7) This bilateral economic
partnership rests on lucrative investments that hopefully will lead to economic
progress throughout the entire region. Showing support for the economic
partnership, but not wanting to alienate other investors, President Rakhmonov
stated, ³We assign priority to Russian partners, however, the interests of
foreign investors in Tajikistan keeps growing.² (8)
military-political sphere of Russian-Tajik relations is probably the most
important development to note, as the respective leaders signed four new
military agreements that will allow for the largest Russian military base
abroad to be established, with over 20,000 servicemen. (9) Russia will waive
tuition and begin training Tajik soldiers next year as a part of the
agreements, as well. (10) This base is supposed to promote not only the security
of Tajikistan but greater regional and European security, as Tajikistan becomes
a ³buffer to protect Europe and other regions from terrorism, extremism and
drugs.² (11) This move by Russia to establish a large military presence in the
region is yet another consequence of the Beslan attacks. Rakhmonov stated, ³The
recent terrorist acts in Russia, above all, the tragedy in Beslan have shown
the danger of terrorism. We are ready to join all efforts to prevent terrorist
acts and to punish those who perform them.² (12) Russia likely is pleased to
have another partner in the war on terror, but this also appears to be a useful
instrument through which to assert his power within the Central
worldwide debates continue on what to do with Iranıs nuclear program, Russia
has voiced again its desire to see Iran settle all remaining questions on its
transparency and character. The
Russian Foreign Ministryıs Information and Press Department commented during a
recent G-8 meeting in Washington: ³We are speaking in favor of switching the
agencyıs control functions onto a normal track, similar to that of most member
states of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.² (13) Russia
favors diplomatic means in dealing with Iran as the November IAEA Board of
Governors session approaches, and further calls on Iran to ³suspend the
enrichment and processing of nuclear materials as a confidence building
measure.² (14) According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, what Iran
should do is ratify the Additional Protocol on IAEA Guarantees; he also
encouraged Iran to enforce a moratorium on the enrichment of uranium. (15)
to the Bushehr nuclear power plant project, Lavrov firmly stated that ³it is
not an IAEA concern and therefore Russia will go on in cooperating with Iran in
[constructing] the site.² (16) He
noted that what the parties involved have yet to do is sign protocols on the
supplies of Russian-made nuclear fuel to Iran and on the return of the nuclear
waste back to Russia. IAEA experts are in the process of preparing their report
for the November 25 meeting; certainly the Bushehr site and the depth of
Russiaıs involvement in Iranıs nuclear program will be discussed. This relationship between Iran and Russia
continues to have the worldıs attention, as Iran remains a strategic ally for
Russia in the Middle East, and the nuclear potential of Iran poses concerns,
for many, particularly the U.S. and Israel.
interesting energy development on the horizon that involves Russia, Iran and
Azerbaijan is the possible synchronization of their respective energy systems.
Anatoli Chubais, on an official visit to Azerbaijan, said that ³Azerbaijan is
interested in the expansion of energy contacts with Iran and boosting contacts
with RussiaIf the talks confirm the technical possibility for broadening the
zone, this decision will be a breakthrough to expanding the integrated
synchronized zone with the centre in Moscow.² (17) Should this happen, this
would be an unprecedented synchronized energy system that would secure Russiaıs
interdependence with Iran and likely mark a blow for Azerbaijani independence.
Russia is seeking to propagate stronger bilateral relations with countries that
have strategic importance. Economic, security and energy issues inextricably
tie these regions together. How Putin uses these ties to enhance his regional
and global objectives will demonstrate his commitment to advancing the
well-being and stability of the regions at large, as well as his commitment to
increasing his own strategic power, both at home and abroad.
(1) Moscow News, 22 Oct 04 via ISI
(3) RIA-Novosti, 15 Oct 04;
(4) Kremlin.ru, 15 Oct 04; (http://www.kremlin.ru/eng/text/speeches/2004/10/15/1328_78017.shtml).
(7) RIA-Novosti, 16 Oct 04; file://localhost/(http/::en.rian.ru:rian:index.cfm%3Fprd_id=160&date=2004-10-16).
(13) RIA-Novosti, 18 Oct 04; (http://en.rian.ru/rian/index.cfm?prd_id=160&date=2004-10-18).
(15) RIA Novosti, 17 Oct 04; (http://en.rian.ru/rian/index.cfm?prd_id=160&date=2004-10-17).
(17) RIA Novosti, 20 Oct 04; (http://en.rian.ru/rian/index.cfm?prd_id=160&date=2004-10-20).
ISSUES & LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
and United Russia – Doomsday or the chance of a lifetime?
Vladimir Putin taking long strides toward changes in Russiaıs government
– he has proposed alterations affecting the executive, legislative and
judicial branches – an examination of the effect of those moves on the
Kremlin-favored United Russia political party seems in order. To summarize the
primary steps under discussion: 1) the elimination of the direct election of
governors, replacing it with presidential nomination and confirmation by the
regional legislature; 2) the elimination of single-member parliamentary
constituencies, confining elections to party lists, with seats allocated by
proportional representation; 3) the restructuring of the Supreme Qualification
Collegium, reducing its numbers and splitting the power of appointment between
an emasculated Federation Council and the president. The Supreme Qualification Collegium, which has oversight of
judges and authorizes new judicial bodies, was the subject of an earlier
³reform² attempt under Dmitri Kozakıs judicial reform package. Clearly, previous efforts to insert
presidential appointees failed.
recent coverage, there have been two primary, and quite divergent, opinions
expressed about United Russia: The first is that it is in decline or, at the
very least, seriously challenged by other political parties. (1) The second is that United Russia is
poised to become the dominant party in Russia, much as the Communist Party was
in the Soviet Union. (2)
changes will affect United Russiaıs power and composition in a number of ways.
There have been some forecasts that the recently proposed bill legalizing party
membership for ministers may push most ministers to join the ³party of power.²
(3) Others allege that Putinıs recently initiated reforms simply formalize a
shift toward regional politics that has been under way for the better part of
this year. (4)
erupted over the details of electoral reform at a recent conference. The
Central Electoral Commission favors mandating the presence of at least four
parties in the Duma. (5) United Russia opposes the suggestion, theoretically on
the basis that it could lead to a party that has not earned the requisite share
of the vote being allowed to have members in the Duma (if not enough parties
pass the seven percent mark). This objection makes sense if United Russia
expects to acquire a high percentage of the vote. In that case, United Russia
would be forced to yield some of its votes to parties who legally were not
supposed to be in the legislature.
Russia has supported the proposed reforms calling for proportional elections to
the Duma. On the one hand, United Russiaıs support for the reforms is
consistent given the partyıs close relationship with Putin. On the other hand,
based on the last election, the reforms could injure United Russiaıs standing
within the Duma. According to some accounts, United Russia earned more seats
based on the current electoral system than it would have, if the newly proposed
laws had been in place. (6) United Russiaıs support could be a form of rational
self interest if the party anticipates increased membership and electoral
backing based on Putinıs other reforms. The decision to replace the direct
election of governors with presidential nomination and legislative confirmation
has encouraged regional leaders to join the Kremlin-favored party. However, the
shift to proportional elections theoretically could injure United Russiaıs
presence in the federal legislature until it proves its ability to garner more
of the vote.
fears of a return to one-party government have surfaced often in Russiaıs media
coverage of late, the possibility seems somewhat more remote than is
with unease in Ingushetia and North Ossetia
is a prevalent belief in North Ossetia that there were Ingush among the
hostage-takers at Beslan. This belief, as yet unconfirmed, certainly does not
help the already tense relations between Ingushetia and North Ossetia, which
are the by-product, in part, of the 1992 five day war between them. Some
members of the government, however, are attempting to address Ingush-North
Ossetian relations before conflict breaks out again.
People's Assembly of the Republic of Ingushetia sent an appeal to the
parliament of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania on (or about) 12 October, at
the end of the official 40 day Orthodox mourning period over Beslan.
appeal asked three main questions. First, ³do you not believe that Ossetians
and Ingush found themselves in the path of essentially the same criminal
groups? Second, do you agree that
behind the various publications and contradictory statements by individuals in
the media, a kind of psychological and ideological climate is being developed
that is trying to justify new tragedies for our peoples? And should we not take
into account, too, that there are certain forces in Russia and beyond its
borders who have a vested interest in the destabilization of the Caucasus, and,
in particular, are using a conflict between the people of Ingushetia and
Ossetia for their own political and financial interests? Third does it not
seem to you, esteemed parliamentarians, that it is the duty and obligation of
elected representatives to stand above such private feelings and impulses for
the sake of common and neighbourly interests?² (7)
incorporating a certain amount of conspiracy theory (though perhaps not
unjustly – Russia has a history of using tension between ethnic groups as
a means of maintaining its own influence), the fact that an overture is being
made on the level of regional parliaments gives at least a token of hope that
cooperation between the two regional governments could help address the
residual issues in the area. The North Ossetian parliament Council is currently
discussing whether to submit the Ingush appeal to debate on 28 October.
(8) This screening appears more
wary than this (probable) olive branch deserves; however, one member of the
North Ossetian parliament expressed annoyance at the fact that the appeal
appeared on the Internet before it arrived at his workplace. Perhaps he
suspects that the documentıs purpose is more propaganda than regional
security seems to be on everyoneıs mind. Police and other troops are a concrete
presence in North Ossetia, (9) and
Ingushetia is reinforcing its border posts. (10)
federal response to a potential Ingush-North Ossetian conflict remains unclear.
President Putin fired his special representative for settlement of the
Ossetian-Ingush conflict on 7 October. He also signed a decree to advance the
work of federal bodies on relations between the two regions. (11) Most of Putinıs response to the Beslan
crisis, however, seems to have been directed at political reform and
threatening speeches about terrorists rather than concrete actions toward
prosecuting those responsible for Beslan. A strong assurance by the government
(and visible actions) that it is exacting justice may be the response required
to prevent those affected by the attack from taking justice into their own
(1) ³Rodinaıs challenge begins to bite,²
Moscow Times, 15 Oct 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
(2) ³Party membership card number one,² Itogi, 12 Oct 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
(3) ³Russian reform raises
spectre of The Party,ı² Reuters, 13 Oct 04 via Johnsonıs Russia List (JRL)
#8408, 14 Oct 04.
(4) ³Russian parties'
increasing interest in regional legislative assemblies viewed,² Moscow
Nezavisimaya gazeta, 7
Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1008 via World News Connection.
(5) ³A two-party Duma,² Nezavisimaya
gazeta, 5 Oct 04 via
(6) ³Power vertical: A
double-edged sword,² Argumenty i fakty, September 04 via JRL #8379, 24 September 04.
(7) ³MPs in Russia's
Ingushetia say conflict with North Ossetia must be prevented,² BBC Monitoring,
12 Oct 04 via JRL #8408, 14 Oct 04.
(8) ³Russian daily reports on
Beslan commission, threats against Ingush,² Moscow Nezavisimaya gazeta, 14 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1014 via World
(10) ³Ingush Interior
Ministry working to prevent unrest in North Caucasus,² Interfax, 13 Oct 04;
FBIS-SOV-2004-1013 via World News Connection.
(11) ³Putin fires
representative for North Ossetia, Ingushetia,² Interfax, 7 Oct 04;
FBIS-SOV-2004-1007 via World News Connection.
Robyn Angley (email@example.com)
Russian Federation Defense Ministry has released the specifics regarding the
(leaked) plan to cut 100,000 active troops from the armed forces. In surprising detail, an article in Kommersant on 11 October outlined exactly which
units will bear the brunt of this latest force reduction. Although ³noncombatant² personnel such
as club managers, sportsmen, builders and instructors were easy targets, these
totaled only 40,000-45,000. Many
of the cuts appear to be an accounting ³smoke and mirrors² play, because they
simply transfer responsibility for tasks from the Defense Ministry to other
organizations (like transferring the responsibility for storing decommissioned
nuclear submarines from the Navy to the Federal Nuclear Agency); it is,
nonetheless, obvious that the military would need to find real ways to reduce
its manpower requirements. At the
macro level, it appears that the Air Force (cutting 36,000 of their 180,000, or
20%), military construction units (cutting 9,000 troops, or 15%), and the Navy
(cutting 17,000 of their 171,000, or 10%) are the big losers. The railroad troops will lose their
independence, and after cutting 2,000 troops, will be moved to the rear forces
of the army. The Strategic Rocket
Forces will cut 3,000 of its 149,000 troops and will re-organize to afford more
efficiency. The Space Forces lose
only 1,000 billets and are forced to make no major structural changes. The Ground Forces will cut 20,000 soldiers
(only about 2%), nearly 8,000 of them are instructors, who lost positions in
the merger of several army educational institutes. Additionally, a number of the cuts will come by reducing
redundancies in headquarters staff positions. This will be accomplished through a 10% cut across the range
of administrative structures. (1)
article in Nezavisimaya gazeta
cited ³authorized sources in the Air Force² as having ³candidly stated that
they never anticipated that the Air Force would be subjected to another cut.²
(2) The Air Force loses nearly 175
fixed-wing aircraft, more than 100 of which are third and fourth generation
fighters, along with 20 long-range Backfire bombers. They will also close numerous Mi-8MT and Mi-24 helicopter
squadrons; (3) after years of thin
defense budgets, the operational capability of many of these aircraft, and the
readiness of their pilots certainly are suspect. Maintenance has not been kept up and modifications are
behind schedule on many of the airframes.
Pilots have been leaving the Air Force in droves. (4) However, while the Air Forceıs strike
and air defense units have been reduced dramatically, it is interesting to note
that not one airlift/transportation unit suffered any cuts. This is very much in line with Defense
Minister Sergei Ivanovıs desire to have highly mobile, permanently ready
professional forces capable of being deployed to a conflict area on short
notice. Those troops will need
aircraft to get them from their garrison location to the action.
losing nearly 10% of its authorized manning, the very expensive force structure
of the Navy suffers little in the way of substantial cuts. Nearly all of the personnel cuts will
be accomplished through the transfer of several functions to other civilian
agencies, similar to the transfer mentioned above regarding decommissioned
nuclear submarines. There was no
mention at all about any further cuts in the Russian surface fleet, a fleet
that appears to be in a very poor state of readiness, according to the report
summarizing the investigation into the sinking of the Kursk. (5) The absence of surface ships on the
list of force structure reductions seems to fall outside of the security
strategy being followed by Ivanov and the Defense Ministry. It is difficult to see exactly how
Russiaıs current fleet of nearly 200 surface warships (including cruisers,
destroyers, frigates, battle cruisers and an aircraft carrier) fits Ivanovıs
concept of how best to meet Russiaıs existing threats. (6) The only boats mentioned for retirement
in this round of force reductions are nuclear missile launching submarines. The strategic nuclear forces are
central to the deterrence that Russia is counting on to maintain security while
the armed forces continue to reform into a viable fighting force capable of
defending against a large scale attack.
These cuts only make sense in light of the fact that the boats already
lack operational readiness due to old age and neglect. The Project 667BDR (Delta 3) submarines
were originally slated to leave service in 2003. Currently, nearly all of them are restricted to harbor
cruises due to their lack of seaworthiness. (7) They will be retired by 1 January, 2005. The Project 941 (Akula, or Typhoon as
it is known in the West) inventory will be cut in half, leaving only two
operational and only one that is, reportedly, capable of firing missiles.
(8) The Project 667BDRM (Delta 4)
submarines, operated only by the Northern Fleet, were not cut and continue to
make up the heart of the Russian nuclear missile launching fleet. (9)
the Defense Ministry is trying desperately to cut costs in order to press ahead
with modernization efforts that have languished due to lack of financing,
negligence and engineering failures.
The keel of the first of Russiaıs next generation nuclear missile
launching submarine, the project 955 (Borei), was laid in November of 1996, but
will not launch until late 2005, and will not become operational for two years
after that. There are plans to
have three of these subs completed by 2010. When the Borei does become operational, it should be
equipped with 12 of the new Bulava (MACE)-30 missiles, which are currently
undergoing testing. (10)
same basic strategy of eliminating expired weapons as a cost saving measure to
fund modernization is being used with the Strategic Rocket Forces as well. An entire missile division is being
retired or dispersed to other units to replace systems already past their life
expectancy. (11) Savings also will
be realized by lowering the alert levels of selected units. Specific regiments will absorb
personnel cuts and then, instead of being ready for action at any moment, will
have delays built in, as they take from several hours to several days to become
ready. Other SMF units will simply
become storage bases for missiles. (12)
As with the nuclear submarines, these cuts are necessary to make
budgetary room for the modernization of the SMF. The budget for 2005 includes money for another regiment, 6
missiles, and the newest ICBM, the Topol-M (SS-27 is its Western designation).
Ground Forces see virtually no cuts.
In addition to the military instructors already mentioned, most other
reductions in troop strength are simple accounting functions. The only unit specifically named for
reduction is the 98th Airborne Troop Division, which will be
reorganized as a brigade in line with Ivanovıs organizational concepts.
(14) The Ground Troops also
announced that its new, all-professional peacekeeping brigade would be formed
in the Volga-Urals district near Samara, which is close to the military staging
airfield of Kryazh. (15) This
announcement also reflects a freedom to act that Ivanov apparently now has,
which he did not have prior to Kvashninıs departure. The stationing of this brigade was an issue on which the
Defense Ministry and the General Staff had disagreed; Kvashnin advocated moving
the brigade to Kartaly as the most suitable location. It is true that the Kryazh airfieldıs proposed receipt of
the Russiaıs Il-76MD transport aircraft make it an ideal location. (16)
the absence of a detailed study identifying the appropriate force structure to
meet the current threat, Ivanov is intent on re-sizing the Russian military and
achieving enough economy to modernize and professionalize the force. The announced cuts are aimed at the
most expensive aspects of the defense ministry; the Air Force, nuclear
submarines, and the officer corps (the current troop reduction plan also calls
for writing off 5,000 generals and other officers who wear the uniform of the
Russian Federation armed forces but serve in organizations outside of the
military). (17) Some sources
indicate that the Defense Ministry is not hiding the fact that there are more
cuts to come. (18) These recent
moves seem to confirm that Ivanov has wrested enough power away from the
General Staff and services to affect real change, decisively moving away from
the old force structure paradigms of the Cold War. This is evident especially in the massive cuts in the Air
Force. Rumors also abound within
the military departments that Ivanov in his sights has up to 80 more generals,
Kvashnin cronies, target for removal. (19) Now in more control than ever, Ivanov likely will initiate
more significant changes in the shape and size of the armed forces in the near
future as he continues an aggressive, if frustrating, path towards creating an
effective Russian military. With
the current emphasis placed on modernization and acquisition of new armaments,
expect future Defense Ministry initiatives aimed at gaining increased control
over the military industrial base.
obstacles still must be addressed before the Russian military pulls itself out
of collapse. Problems with quality
and quantity of the conscripted force, the persistence of the destructive
culture of hazing, crime, and corruption that characterize the Russian
military, and the faltering transition to a professional force all must be
addressed. Lots of work lies ahead
and it may continue to be extremely slow going.
(1) ³Minus 100,000,² Kommersant, 11 Oct 04; What the Papers Say via ISI
Emerging Markets and Janeıs Sentinel Security Assessment – Russia and The
CIS from (www4.janes.com).
(2) ³Russia to Make Further
Cuts in Military,² Nezavisimaya gazeta, 12 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1012 via World News Connection.
(3) ³Minus 100,000,² Kommersant, 11 Oct 04; What the Papers Say via ISI
(4) Janeıs Sentinel Security
Assessment – Russia and The CIS – Air Force, from (www4.janes.com)
posted 15 Jun 04.
(5) Janeıs Sentinel Security
Assessment – Russia and The CIS – Navy, from (www4.janes.com)
posted 03 Jun 03.
(7) ³Newspaper Lists
Shortcomings of Russian Navyıs Nuclear Submarine Fleet,² Rossiyskaya gazeta, 29 Jul 04; BBC Monitoring via
(8) Ibid and ³Minus 100,000,²
Kommersant, 11 Oct
04; What the Papers Say via ISI Emerging Markets.
(10) ³Russiaıs New Nuclear
Mace,² RIA Novosti,
29 September 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
(11) ³Minus 100,000,² Kommersant, 11 Oct 04; What the Papers Say via ISI
(13) ³Russiaıs 2005 Defense
Budget Grows, Becomes More Open,² Stana.ru website, 28 September 04; BBC
Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets.
(14) ³Minus 100,000,² Kommersant, 11 Oct 04; What the Papers Say via ISI
(15) ³Newspaper Reveals
Location of First Russian Peacekeeping Brigade,² Kommersant, 18 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(17) ³Russia to Make Further
Cuts in Military,² Nezavisimaya gazeta, 12 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1012 via World News Connection.
(18) Stana.ru web site, 14
Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets.
(19) ³Russia to Make Further
Cuts in Military,² Nezavisimaya gazeta, 12 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1012 via World News Connection.
Jeff Kubiak (firstname.lastname@example.org)
NATO-Russia Council: prospects for cooperation
NATO and Russian defense ministers held an informal session of the
NATO-Russia Council in Romania on October 14. While Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov chose this
opportunity to highlight Russia's views of the failures of the Council, he
ignored the Council's accomplishments within its very limited mission.
According to a NATO press release after the Rome Summit in May 2002, the NATO-Russia Council was designed to
provide a mechanism for consultation, consensus-building, cooperation, joint
decision making, and joint action for the member states of NATO and Russia on a
wide spectrum of security issues in the Euro-Atlantic region. Additionally, the NATO-Russia Council
would serve as the principal structure and venue for advancing the relationship
between the two former antagonists. (1)
The creation of the Council seemed like a new start for Cold War
foes and a way for NATO and Russia to work together to address 21st
century security challenges.
Many defense leaders publicly were optimistic about the fledgling
relationship: "We want to build a culture of cooperation," said
Aleksandr Alekseyev, one of Russia's envoys to the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization. (2) "It is a
mark of the political will underpinning the new NATO-Russia relationship that
we have been able to get down to real business so quickly and so
effectively," said then-NATO Secretary General George Robertson. (3)
"We are confronted with very serious threats to our
security," Russian Minister Sergei Ivanov said. "Those threats need
to be combated with very different tools than those used during the Cold
the NATO press releases were joint statements, NATOıs and Russiaıs perceptions
of the Council were never the same.
Russia viewed the Council as a way to give
Moscow a voice in NATO decisions on such issues as terrorism, proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction, arms control, crisis management and military
cooperation. NATO saw the Council
as a confidence-building measure, a way to assure the Russians that they have
nothing to fear from NATO or NATO expansion.
Despite the differences, two weeks after the new council was
established, Russia and NATO agreed on a joint defense regime. The package included increasing
cooperation on countering terrorism specifically for NATO peacekeepers in the
Balkans, conducting a joint assessment of terrorist threats to airliners,
nuclear power plants and other civilian and military targets, and preventing
the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
Quick start followed by little operational unity
The NATO-Russia Councilıs quick start did not lead to the
development of a highly useful or productive military relationship. Distrust, fueled by deeply ingrained
Cold War mentalities and differing expectations, froze the Council in its
immature and initial state.
NATOıs and Russiaıs expectations of the Council appear to have
been as different as their perceptions of its mission. The U.S. Ambassador to
Russia, Alexander Vershbow, represented the NATO expectation saying, "We
should think big for the long term but move step by step in the short
term." "For the first
phase,² Vershbow added, "it is better to have a concrete list of modest
goals to avoid being disappointed." (5)
Russiaıs view of the limited scope and slow progress of the
Council can be summed up by the deputy head of the Moscow-based Institute for
Applied International Research, Andrei Zagorsky, who said, "What is most
worrying is the lack of any real military cooperation" between Russia and
NATO. (6) Aleksei Arbatov, Deputy
Head of the State Duma's Defense Committee, agreed, saying that the
much-heralded improvement in NATO-Russia relations had been mostly hype.
(7) "New relations with NATO
are contained to high-level summits and meetings, while common programs are
rare and lack interest," Arbatov said. (8)
The Council has worked slowly, but a few successes have been
achieved over its two- year history.
The Council has:
a military-to-military interoperability program to allow Russian and NATO
troops to operate jointly. This
program led to a fairly aggressive 2004 schedule of 21 joint exercises,
including eight conducted within Russia; (9)
civil emergency exercises in Russia.
With the intended goal of developing a multinational rapid deployment
capability for civil emergencies, exercises have been conducted including a
chemical attack exercise in September 2002 and a nuclear attack exercise in
2004. A large-scale civil-emergency planning
exercise (850 participants from 30 countries) was completed in Noginsk, Russia.
The NRC is currently studying lessons learned; (10)
joint assessments of terrorist threats to
the Euro-Atlantic Area, including al-Qaida, and the threat of chemical and
biological weapons from non-state actors; (11)
on submarine search and rescue, including actual exercises conducted earlier
this year; (12)
a Joint Theater Missile Defense Command Post Exercise in Colorado Springs in
March 2004; (13)
to Russia participating in Operation Active Endeavor, NATO's anti-terrorist
naval operations in the Mediterranean. (14)
In the opinion of Vadim Razumovsky, Director of the Institute of
Applied International Studies, the most important goal of the NATO-Russia
Council is to overcome mutual distrust in relations, however, overcoming
distrust has proven to be very difficult. (15)
Current Chief of the General Staff, Colonel-General Yuri
Baluyevskiy, wrote in April 2003, ³despite the transformations that have
occurred in the North Atlantic alliance under the impact of the dynamic changes
of the past decade and its own so-called modernization, it has remained,
basically, a military bloc.² (16)
He wrote in the same article, ³it is still our view that the decision on
NATO enlargement is erroneous. It will have a negative impact on the general
security architecture in Europe, affecting the security interests of a number
of states, including Russia's.² (17)
and NATO conducted their first ever joint naval maneuvers in the Atlantic Ocean
in August of 2004. Just days prior
to the exercise, Admiral Vladimir Valuyev, Commander of the Baltic Fleet,
commented on Russian television, "Every nation, including Russia, must
seek to strengthen its armed forces and its navy. It will come in useful. If
NATO behaves peacefully, we'll stick to peacetime tasks. If, however, the
situation is escalated, we'll always be ready to take appropriate action."
Baluyevskiy and Admiral Valuyev are primary players in the Russian
military. Their rhetoric reflects
a deeply ingrained view within Russian military circles that continues to
portray NATO as the enemy. Their
assessment of the threats faced by the Russian Federation does not take into
account the rapprochement between NATO and Russia, nor does it adequately convey
our shared 21st century threat environment. NATO's view is that each successfully
conducted joint exercise will continue to erode the "NATO is the
enemy" view, especially in the junior officers.
NATO will continue to view the NATO-Russia Council as a
confidence-building device more than as a useful institution in itself. The
councilıs mandate deliberately has been circumscribed to help ensure that its
functioning corresponds to Russia's own readiness to cooperate productively
with NATO. Russia has yet to prove
itself a reliable or constructive partner in operational matters. Practical cooperation in the
operational environment has not increased over the past two years, however
Russia and NATO have found some common ground and numerous exercises have been
completed. While the current
relationship seems much less than Russia originally wanted from NATO, the
council does serve as a communications conduit – even if it is currently
reserved primarily for exercise development and political propaganda. Taking the long view, the council has
achieved its limited goal of maintaining a working relationship with Russian
diplomats while establishing contacts with the next generation of Russian
"Insiders Question if NATO-Russia Bonding is Little More Than Hype,² 8 Dec
02 via (www.eng.yabloko.ru).
"NATO-Russia Meeting Follows on Heels of Deal," The Associated Press,
7 Jun 02 via (www.sptimes.ru).
"Insiders question if NATO-Russia bonding is little more than hype,"
8 Dec 02 via (www.eng.yabloko.ru).
Dec 02 via (www.wps.ru/e_index.html).
Thought, March-April 2003 via (www.findarticles.com).
Thought, March-April 2003 via (www.findarticles.com).
(18) NTV, Mir,
7 Aug 2004 via Eurasia Daily Monitor (Jamestown) Volume 1, Issue 70 10 Aug 04.
By Kyle J. Colton (email@example.com)
will be the year for parliamentary elections in Moldova. There are already
fears that the elections will be jeopardized, however, by the current
governmentıs harassment of the political opposition, intimidation of local
authorities, especially non-Communist mayors, and attempts to control the
media. ³The representatives of the prosecutors, police and the center for
combating economic crimes and corruption are monitoring the activities of mayors
and are making groundless accusations against them. We are now facing the same
situation, which prevailed ahead of the 2003 local elections,² said Vasil
Balan, the chairman of The National League of Association of Mayors of Moldova.
(1) This month, a project called ³Electoral Impact on Good Governance² was
launched in the country. The project is designed to support free elections
through the local press. The project is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Moldova,
the Eurasia Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy and the OSCE
Mission to Moldova. The project will be implemented by the Media Impact Agency
in cooperation with 16 TV stations and several radio stations, which will
broadcast debates and feature programs on various elections topics. (2)
are growing fears of the possibility of massive disturbances in various parts
of Ukraine, both before and after the presidential elections, due to the
authoritiesı pressure tactics applied against the population, mass media and
the opposition, as well as their possible falsification of the election
results. There is even speculation that the military parade in Kiev, which is
to take place on 28 October and which is dedicated to the 60th
anniversary of Ukraineıs liberation from Nazi Germany, is an excuse to bring
troops into the center of Kiev and introduce a state of emergency. (3) The MVD
currently is training for possible mass protests and assures the populace that
³methods of suppression of the actions of protest will not be harmful to peoplesı
health and are even approved by the Ukrainian Ministry of Health.² (!) (4)
pro-Yanukovich press and current Ukrainian authorities are contemplating the
possibility of Yushchenkoıs organizing a ³chestnut revolution² in Ukraine.
According to Yushchenkoıs alleged plan, the revolt, which is to take place next
to the Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission building, will begin right after
the elections, the night of 31 October to 1 November. The storming of the presidential administration is,
supposedly, the first step. (5) Whether or not such a scenario is planned or
realized, the larger issue of electoral fraud and the legitimacy of the results
possibly rending Ukraine between Western and Eastern Sections is a concern. No
matter who wins, each candidate has strong enough support to cause major
disturbances in the country, which might even be enough to start a civil war.
announcement that Lukashenko ³won² the right to run for a third term with 79.42
percent of the vote came as no surprise in Belarus. As the referendum vote
became public, so did the results of the independent poll conducted by the
Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys, which found that only 48.3 percent of the
voters approved Lukashenkoıs running for a third term, which is short of the 50
percent requirement. (6) As for the parliamentary elections results, not a
single candidate from the opposition managed to obtain a seat in the lower
house of parliament.
the pre-election campaign, opposition candidates were allowed to spend only
$440 per person, which was just about enough for 25,000 leaflets. (7) TV
debates were limited to 5-minute pre-recorded messages from the opposition
candidates. Often, door-to-door campaigning was the only way to reach voters. (8)
Closures of newspapers, raids on the apartments of opposition party leaders,
numerous arrests and intimidation, in general, of opposition leaders, and
finally an outrageous falsification of the elections results led to this
inevitable loss for the Belarusian opposition.
violations of international norms haunt these parliamentary elections and the
referendum. The most compelling evidence was obtained by the leader of the
United Civic Party Anatoli Lebedıko, who took photographs that showed a pile of
ballots with the ³Yes² column already marked off. (9) These ballots were given
out to the elderly, who came to vote before the election date. Many voters
testified that when they arrived at the polling, their names simply were not included
in the lists. In one of the apartment buildings in Minsk, residents of fifteen
apartments were missing from the voter lists. (10) In one village, a voter was
given the passport of his neighbor, who died several years ago, and was ordered
to vote using this document. Numerous instances where voters were given 2-3
ballots per person were also common. (11) No wonder turnout at the majority of
polling stations in Minsk exceeded 100 percent, according to the United Civic
Party report. (12) Information that election stations were not locked up for
the night came from independent observers, says the Charter97 website.
Representatives of the ³law guarding² organs allegedly were present at the
polling stations at night, which is in direct contradiction to electoral law.
At some polling stations, seals on voting boxes were damaged. (13) Election
committee members carried on despite such outright violations of election norms
– of course they were paid twice their daily salary for their work on
elections day. (14)
day since the announcement of the elections and referendum results, protests
have taken place in Minsk. More than five thousand protesters went out onto the
streets on 18 October. The protesters, who carried placards reading:
³Lukashenko Lost!², ³Victory!², ³No!² and ³Down with Lukashenko!², demanded
Lukashenkoıs resignation and the cancellation of the parliamentary elections
results. (15) The militia hemmed in the crowd, not allowing the protestors to
move along roads that lead to Lukashenkoıs administration building. More than
60 people have been arrested and jailed since the protests began.
International reaction to the
Both the United States and European Union
expressed sharp criticism of the elections in Belarus. George Bush signed the
³Belarus Democracy Act² on 20 October, which calls for sanctions against
Belarus should the Belarusian authorities continue to persecute the opposition
and the media, refuse investigations into those who have ³disappeared² for
political reasons, etc. This document has serious consequences for the
Belarusian authorities, such as restrictions on travel to the United States and
a reduction of financial aid from international financial institutions. (16)
The European Union expressed deep concerns about Lukashenkoıs use of violence
against the opposition and called the situation in Belarus a process of
³further self-isolation.² (17)
Russia and the CIS, on the other hand,
did not find any violation to have taken place during the parliamentary elections
and the referendum. Russian
observers defended the election results, claiming that the vote showed
authentic support for Lukashenko. (18) CIS observers declared that: ³The
elections in Belarus were democratic, free, conscious and legitimate.² (19)
Future of Belarus
Belarus is going slowly down the path of
complete isolation. The country is stuck in the ³bright past,² a distortion of
even socialist reality. The administration clearly fears democratic processes
deeply enough to choose isolation from the West over the possibility of losing
control. Perhaps pressure from the East, as well as the West, would bring a
more positive result for the majority of Belarusian citizens.
(1) Chisinau Infotag, 13 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1012 via World
(2) National Democratic Institute, 14 Oct 04
(3) RFE/RL Newsletter, Vol. 8, No. 197, Part
II, 18 Oct 04.
(4) Ukrainskaya pravda, 19 Oct 04 via (www.pravda.com.ua).
(5) Rossiyskaya gazeta, 15 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via
(6) RFE/RL, Vol 8, No. 197, Part II, 18 Oct
(7) Novaya gazeta, 18 Oct 04 via (www.novayagazeta.ru).
(9) Charter97 website, 17 Oct 04 via (http://www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/10/17/lebedka).
17 Oct 04 via (http://www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/10/17/spisok).
17 Oct 04 via (http://www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/10/17/ruki).
Ekho Moskvy news agency, 18 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring
17 Oct 04 via (http://www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/10/17/golos).
17 Oct 04 via (http://www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/10/17/zena.)
17 Oct 04 via (http://www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/10/18/vybor).
Western Region, Vol IX, No. 16.
21 Oct 04 via http://www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/10/21/usa).
ANSA English Media
Service, 18 Oct 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
18 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
Elena Selyuk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Beslan incident revisited and revised
more than one month has passed since the Beslan tragedy, the details of the
incident are still shrouded by Russian political double-speak and bureaucratic
secrecy. When the hostage crisis
ended with hundreds dead, the Russian authorities portrayed the anti-terrorist
assault as an unplanned operation of last resort. Officials claimed that the mysterious blast inside the
school building, combined with terrorists shooting at the escaping children and
adults, compelled the Russian Special Forces to conduct a rescue attempt. However, recent reports by military
analysts and first-hand observers, along with survivor testimony counter the
official version of the story.
These accounts indicate that the Russian military knew a terrorist
attack was to occur in North Ossetia and should have been prepared both
tactically and strategically to handle a Beslan-type scenario. When the militants stormed the school
in Beslan and caught the Interior Ministry troops in the North Caucasus
unaware, the Kremlin, in an attempt to contain the incident, ordered the
emergency anti-terrorist command unit in Beslan to end the crisis at all costs. Due to the poor planning and heavy-handed
execution of the mission, the civilian death toll was much higher than
envisaged. The Russian government,
being fully aware that its inept handling of the terrorist attack was a major
factor in the death toll, has taken great pains to hide the exact details of
the operation from Western journalists, the domestic public and human rights
of the first independent accounts that contradicted the Kremlinıs version of
the Beslan incident was an editorial by military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.
(1) Felgenhauer traveled to
Beslan from 1-5 September and related that he had noticed helicopters appearing
in the schoolıs vicinity 17 minutes after the assault began. According to Felgenhauer, this occurrence is inconsistent
with the governmentıs story, as it usually takes at least half an hour for a
helicopter to warm up its engine.
Other indications that preparations for the assault were underway on the
morning of 3 September are that the fenced off area near the school had been
expanded, and that local hospitals were told to prepare for a large influx of
patients. In addition, some of the
survivors told Izvestiya that the first
blast came from somewhere near the gymnasiumıs porch and not along the
schoolıs inner wall as was claimed by Russian Special Forces and government
13 October, Novaya gazeta
obtained information from sources within the Investigation Commission of the
Russian Federal Assembly.
According to the sources, tanks and armored vehicles were transported to
the schoolıs vicinity on 2 September.
Moreover, several casings from rocket-propelled flame-throwers were
found on the roof opposite the school.
Finally, some witnesses claim that a rocket-propelled grenade destroyed
one of the walls of the gymnasium, while flame-throwers were used to set the
roof of the school on fire at the onset of the attack. (3) The information in
the Novaya gazeta
story indicates that Russian special forces launched a planned attack, which
ignored the possibility that some of the hostages might perish during the
assault. In the wake of the Novaya
gazeta article, the
parliamentary Commission officially stated that the Russian forces had used
³tanks, flame-throwers, and grenade launchers² during the assault. (4)
both articles suggest that Russian authorities were planning an assault on
School Number #1, further evidence indicates that the Russian military knew a
terrorist attack was to occur in North Ossetia. In an 18 October Izvestiya editorial, Lieutenant General Yevgeni
Abrashin, first deputy commander of the federal interior troops in the North
Caucasus, criticizes the Russian political and military establishments for not
averting recent terrorist attacks in Grozny, Nazran and Beslan. (5) Abrashin
claims that Federal forces failed to heed warnings of potential terrorist
attacks, engage in preventive operations, or perform adequate follow-up or
clean-up operations after both Kadyrovıs assassination in Grozny and the raid
in Nazran. The Beslan tragedy
could have been prevented if security officials had learned from the Ingushetia
raid and organized check-points for vehicles, monitored roads by helicopters,
and carried out a massive clean-up of ruined buildings in the suburbs of
Vladikavkaz and Beslan. While an
Interior Ministry regiment was formed in Ingushetia following the events in
Nazran, Abrashin asserts that the unit was not large enough to prevent
militants from staging the Beslan attack.
During the alert, every military unit should have been put on duty,
something that was not done.
Abrashinıs editorial is even more damning in light of a 19 October
public statement made by Putin aide Aslanbek Aslakhanov to the effect that
Russian authorities had received advance warning of a raid into North Ossetia.
(6) Although the authorities did not believe a school to be a viable target,
they viewed the seizure of a theater or cinema as a possibility. Aslakhanov and Abrashin indicate that,
although the Federal forces in the North Caucasus were aware of an imminent
terrorist attack, the Russian authorities did not take the necessary tactical
or strategic military steps to prevent a potential assault.
although the Russian government knew the terroristsı demands, it chose not to
negotiate with the militants but opted to launch a futile rescue mission. In Shamil Basaevıs letter to
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Basaev demanded the recognition of the
independence of Chechnya and the withdrawal of Russian troops from the
republic. He offered in exchange
to stop all anti-Russian activities in the Caucasus and to close all terrorist
training camps. Basaev also
promised that an independent Chechnya would become a member of the CIS and join
the Collective Security Treaty. (7) Putin effectively answered Basaev by stating
in his 2 September speech that he would never ³endanger the fragile balance in
the North Caucasus² by recognizing Basaevıs claims. (8) The assault on the
Beslan school occurred the next day, suggesting that authorities were already
preparing for the operation and had no intention of cooperating with Basaev.
Basaev clearly has placed himself solidly in the category of terrorists, with
whom the Russian government will not negotiate; The Kremlin, therefore, may
have assumed that the repercussions from dealing with Basaev would be far worse
than the backlash from launching a poorly executed rescue operation in
Beslan. Moreover, if the Russian
government had negotiated with Basaev, it would have deprived itself of its
most convenient political black-sheep, leaving Putin to find another ³blame-
Alkhanov sideline Kadyrov?
his return from the PACE session in Strasbourg, President Alu Alkhanov began
forming his cabinet. On 13
October, Alkhanov requested that outgoing Prime Minister Sergei Abramov head
the new government. (9) Abramov
announced on 14 October that all key figures from the previous cabinet,
including First Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, Deputy Prime Minister and
Finance Minister Eli Isaev, and the ministers of economic development,
industry, and agriculture would be reappointed to the same posts. (10) Any changes to the composition of the
government would be ³purely cosmetic² according to an interview Alkhanov gave
to Nezavisimaya gazeta
on 15 October. (11) These reassignments
reflect Alkhanovıs desire to avoid alienating any powerful Russian or Chechen
politicians and risk a debilitating power struggle.
Alkhanov is consolidating his government and building a loyal power structure,
he also is trying to sideline his younger rival Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov derives personal power from his
command of a ³presidential security force² estimated to number between
2,000-8,000 men. Acting on a
proposal from Alu Alkhanov, Dmitri Kozak, Putinıs envoy to the Southern Russia Federal
District, named Chechen First Deputy Ramzan Kadyrov as his adviser on security
issues. (12) Although Kadyrovıs
appointment as Kozakıs aide appears to underscore Kadyrovıs ³elevated status,²
in reality, the new job will require Kadyrov spend a good deal of time outside
of Chechnya. (Kozakıs headquarters
are in Rostov-na-Donu.) (13) That,
in turn, would provide Alkhanov with the opportunity to strengthen his position
without the risk of being undercut by the punitive actions of Kadyrovıs
security guards. Alkhanov has
already taken measures to restrict Kadyrovıs use of his force against the
Chechen civilian population, as indicated by Alkhanovıs condemnation of
Kadyrovıs operation in the village of Novye Atagi. When Kadyrovıs security guards cordoned off Novye Atagi for
three days to conduct a search for resistance sympathizers, searching every
home and corralling all males between the ages of 14-16 into a barbed wire
enclosure, Alkhanov dispatched officials to order Kadyrov to desist. Alkhanov subsequently warned that such
³egregious² human rights violations are likely to undercut the populationıs
support for the pro-Russian Chechen leadership. (14) As it is highly unlikely that the
populace would ever support any Russian sponsored Chechen government,
Alkhanovıs interests lie in undercutting Kadyrovıs power.
elections: What a mess
3 October Abkhaz presidential elections have created a political deadlock in
the break-away republic that threatens to catapult the region into civil confrontation. On 11 October, Central Election
Commission (CEC) officials declared Sergei Bagapsh the winner of the vote, amid
widespread allegations of electoral fraud. Raul Khajimba, the pro-Moscow candidate, refused to admit
defeat and appealed to the Abkhaz Supreme Court to cancel the CECıs
decision. Outgoing President
Vladislav Ardzinba deepened the crisis by trying, without success, to resolve
the dispute in Khajimbaıs favor.
On 12 October, the incumbent leader slammed the CECıs decision to
appoint Bagapsh as ³absurd² while accusing the CEC of being an ³agent² of
Tbilisi. (15) Ardzinba then called on parliament to dismiss the Abkhaz
Prosecutor-General, Raul Korua, who had supported the validity of Bagapshıs
election victory. (16) The parliament responded by urging the general Abkhaz
populace and the representatives of the presidential candidatesı campaign
staffs not to foment the situation, refrain from mass actions, and wait for a
definitive decision from the Supreme Court. (17) Ignoring the parliamentıs heed to caution, the outgoing
president denied printing privileges to four independent newspapers that had
supported Bagapsh throughout the election campaign. (18)
an attempt both to wrest control from Arbinza and to appeal to the Abkhaz
populace, Bagapsh called for an all Abkhaz National Convent rally from 14-16
October. (19) A convent is a
ritual gathering of ethnically pure Abkhaz community elders that is used to
appoint tribal or political leaders.
By specifically calling for a ³convent² as the venue by which to
legitimize his presidential nomination, Bagapsh is designating himself as an
ethnically and culturally ³pure² Abkhaz citizen capable of pursuing the
regionıs interests. Significantly,
Bagapsh used the cultural setting of the convent rally to align himself
politically with Russia. On 14
October, Bagapsh declared that, ³Abkhaziaıs pro-Russian orientation is the
choice of the Abkhaz people² and that he was interested in strengthening ties with
Moscow. (20) Bagapshıs rhetoric towards Moscow reflects his desire to repudiate
Khajimbaıs accusations of his pro-Georgian leanings while also initiating a
rapport with the Kremlin.
on 11 October, the Abkhaz Supreme Court considered Khajimbaıs petition for a
new vote, but judicial proceedings were interrupted when Khajimba supporters
challenged the impartiality of the judges assigned to hear the case. (21) On 12
October, four members of the CEC resigned, including its chairman Sergei Smyr,
claiming that they were illegally pressured by Bagapsh and his supporters.
(22) Following the resignation of
four of its members, the CEC was left without a quorum, and thus could not
participate legally in the courtıs review of Khajimbaıs appeal. The disputed presidential vote was
thrown into deeper uncertainty on 18 October, when Abkhaz Supreme Court
Chairwoman Alla Avidzba announced her resignation, and Abkhaz Supreme Court
member Giorgi Akaba was appointed to preside over the trial. (23) At present, the Supreme Court has not
reconvened to deliberate Khajimbaıs complaint, leaving the political fate of
Abkhazia hanging in the balance.
(1) Novaya gazeta, 2 Oct 04; What the Papers Say via ISI
(2) Izvestiya, 4 Oct 04; WPS; BBC Monitoring via ISI
(3) Novaya gazeta,
13 Oct 04; WPS; via BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets.
(4) Independent News website, 24 Oct 04, see ³Flamethrowers
Used at Beslan Siege.²
(5) Izvestiya, 18 Oct 04; Johnsonıs Russia List #8421,
20 Oct 04.
(6) Chechnya Weekly, 20 Oct
04, Vol. 5, Issue #38; Jamestown Foundation.
(7) See NIS Observed: An
Analytical Review, Caucasus Report, 15 September 04, Vol. IX, # 16.
(8) Interfax, 3 Sept 04 via ISI Emerging Markets.
(9) Itar-Tass, 13 Oct 04; BBC
Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets.
(10) Interfax, 14 Oct 04 via
(11) Nezavisimaya gazeta, 15 Oct 04; WPS; BBC Monitoring via ISI
(12) Ria Novosti, 19 Oct 04;
BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(13) Novaya gazeta, 21 Oct 04; WPS via ISI Emerging
(14) RFE/RL Caucasus
Newsline, 19 Oct 04.
(15) Eurasianet Website via (www.eurasianet.net), 20 Oct 04, see ³Abkhazia Debacle
Presents Russia with Difficult Decision.²
(16) Civil Georgia Website
via www. civil.ge/eng, 14 Oct 04, see ³Abkhaz Prosecutor General Backs
(17) Itar-Tass, 15 Oct 04;
BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets.
(18) Imedi TV Tbilisi, 16 Oct
04; BBC Monitoring via Lexis-Nexis.
(19) (www.civil.ge/eng), 14 Oct 04, see ³Bagapsh Supporters
Rally In Sokhumi.²
(20) (www.civil.ge/eng), 14 Oct 04, see ³Bagapsh Claims
(21) Agence France Presse, 12
Oct 04 via ISI Emerging Markets.
(22) (www.civil.ge/eng), 19 Oct 04, see ³Abkhaz CEC Members
Admit Election Results are Illegal²;
Itar-Tass, 21 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1021.
(23) Rossiyskaya gazeta, 20 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1020 via World
J. Ariela Shapiro (email@example.com)
the month since Kazakhstanıs parliamentary elections, there has been a
considerable degree of activity, all of which serves to undermine the countryıs
³democratic² image. Both the electoral process and the results have been
criticized harshly, not only by the OSCE, but also by Kazakhstanıs opposition
after the elections, Ak Zhol
announced that it would be filing suit with the Kazakh Supreme Court in an
attempt to overturn the polls. At the same time, Ak Zhol, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan and the Communist Party announced their intention to organize a
massive nationwide protest against the results. (2) As yet, there have been no
reported rulings on the lawsuit from the Supreme Court, nor has any news
regarding the protests emerged. (3) Despite their seeming failure to organize a
major protest, Kazakhstanıs opposition groups clearly have not been inactive.
13 October, Asylbek Kozhakmetov, head of the political council of Ak Zhol held a press conference in Almaty. He
stated that Democractic Choice of Kazakhstan and Ak Zhol were holding ³vigorous consultations² to
determine the possibility of a merger between the two parties. The purpose of
such a merger would be to propose a joint Presidential candidate to stand
against President Nursultan Nazarbaev in the Presidential elections, due to be
held in January 2006. (4)
move towards a merger seems to be one that has wide approval: on 15 October,
Akezhan Kazhegeldin, Kazakhstanıs exiled former Prime Minister, published an
open letter in Respublika.
Kazhegeldin argued that the next 14 months would prove decisive in showing
whether Kazakhstan moved fully towards Democracy or ³authoritarian
dictatorship.² (5) He stated that, in his view, the recent elections in
Kazakhstan had been the least ³free and fair² in the countryıs history.
Kazhegeldin claimed that in order to prevent a full-blown dictatorship, the
opposition groups in Kazakhstan should immediately merge around the leadership
of Ak Zhol in order
to defeat Nazarbaev in 2006. Finally, Kazhegeldin intimated that he would be
willing to join a united opposition party. (6)
is not clear whether Kazhegeldin published the letter with an altruistic motive
of offering advice to the opposition, or whether he received news of the talks
and published the letter with the intention of putting himself forward as the
joint partyıs Presidential candidate in 2006. Such a development is unlikely to
concern Nazarbaev deeply: in the last Presidential polls (which also were
criticized by the OSCE), Nazarbaev garnered 78.3% of the vote. The most recent
election has shown that Nazarbaev is prepared to do anything to keep his grip
on power and to maintain Otanıs majority
in the Majlis. At this point in time, the most realistic question is not
whether Nazarbaev will win the election, but what his margin of victory will
mid-October, several high-level Russian officials visited Kyrgyzstan for talks.
First, on October 12, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to Bishkek.
During his stay, he met both with President Askar Akaev and Prime Minister
Nikolai Tanayev, as well as his counterpart, Askar Aitmatov. (7) According to
reports, the central point of discussion was the possibility of increasing
cooperation on defense issues between the two nations: Lavrov informed Akaev of
Vladimir Putinıs decision to continue providing Russian military equipment and
assistance at extremely favorable (Russian internal prices) terms. (8) A
further topic discussed during Lavrovıs visit was the issue of Kyrgyzstanıs
debt. Prime Minister Tanayev apparently requested that Russia speak for
Kyrgyzstan at the Paris Club in order to help reduce its national debt.
the same time Lavrov was in Kyrgyzstan, Russiaıs Interior Minister, Rashid
Nurgaliev was also in Bishkek to meet with his counterpart to discuss increased
cooperation on counter-narcotics, organized crime and anti-terrorism. (10)
May of this year, the Central Asian Cooperation Organization, apparently at the
instigation of President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, offered Russia full
membership in the group. (11) On Monday, 18 October, the heads of state of four
Central Asian Republics (only Turkmenistan is not a member) and President Putin
met in Dushanbe. The leaders of the Republics held a joint news conference, to
welcome Russia into the fold. Specifically, President Karimov noted that the
Republics had ³always recognized Russiaıs historic and strategic interests in
the region.² (12) He further noted that it was in Russiaıs interests that the
settlement of outstanding disputes (such as water rights, energy, as well as
security concerns) be resolved by ³joint efforts.² (13)
most important results of the summit were the decisions to create a common
Central Asian market and to increase Russian investment in the region.
Secondly, the heads of state agreed to expand their cooperation with regards to
security issues. In relation to those issues, the Presidents decided to order
their respective security services to work together in drawing up a list of
terrorist organizations, which are to be banned on each otherıs soil, and to
coordinate operations against those groups. (14)
next summit of CACO will be held next summer in Kyrgyzstan.
cooperation with Russia is nothing new for the Central Asian states, the level
of discourse seems to have increased in recent months. The United Statesı
attention has of late been focused more on Iraq and the Middle East and less on
Central Asia. The reduced interest in Central Asia on the part of the U.S. has
been noted by President Putin, who seems determined to take advantage, and is
attempting to regain, or increase, once more Russiaıs power and influence in
(1) See NIS Observed: An
Analytical Review Volume IX Number 16 (15 October 2004).
(4) Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty (RFE/RL) Newsline Vol. 8, No 196, 15 Oct 04.
(7) Kommersant, 13 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI
Emerging Markets Database.
(9) Kabar-Daily News, 12 Oct
04, via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(10) Kabar-Daily News, 20 Oct
2004, via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(11) Moscow ITAR-TASS in
English, 0812 GMT, 18 Oct 2004; FBIS-SOV-2004-1018 via World News Connection.
(13) Tajik Radio First
Program in Tajik, 18 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
(14) Moscow ITAR-TASS in
Russian, 0728 GMT, 18 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-20041018 via World News Connection.
Fabian Adami (firstname.lastname@example.org)