A bid to define national security needs
According to the current Secretary of the Security Council,
Igor Ivanov, the Sovbez is preparing to
draft a new national security concept.
Again. Ivanov held a public
forum at Moscow State University on November 3 to invite discussion of the
wording of the document. Of
course, the Sovbez presumably has
been engaged in the process of drafting a new security concept since October
2002, when Putin requested a revision of the existing concept in light of the
Nord-Ost Theater attack. (8)
In September 2004, following the Beslan hostage taking,
Ivanov initially announced the reworking of the security concept, which he
noted was now ³demanded by life itself.²
(9) Among the areas of
increased concern: the struggle
against terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and proliferation.
While a dictatorship does not require truly effective
security services, but merely those perceived to be so, it seems unlikely that
Putinıs siloviki minions are making an
overwhelmingly favorable impression.
The security services needed to be prepared for acts of terrorism
– Chechen, international or a mix thereof – if not after Budennovsk
or Kizlyar, then certainly after Nord-Ost. Perhaps, outside the Security Council chamber, they have
formulated methods of protecting the state, however, the announcement of a
public meeting to discuss the proper wording of a national security document
that should, it seems, be drafted and implemented by security services
professionals certainly does nothing to inspire confidence, instill fear or
support for a democracy, dictatorship or hybrid.
Democradura and dictablanda refer to ³neither here nor there² transitional
conditions: democracies with
suppressed civil and voting rights or ³soft dictatorships² with a formal
centralization of authority.
gazeta, 4 Nov 04 via Johnsonıs Russia List
(JRL)#8442, 5 Nov 04.
(4) Interfax in
Russian, 1916 GMT, 3 Nov 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1103 via World News Connection.
(5) Interfax in
Russian, 1859 GMT, 3 Nov 04; FBIS-SOV-2000-1103 via World News Connection.
voyennykh novostey in English, 1512 GMT, 1
Nov 04; FBIS-SOV-2000-1101 via World News Connection.
RIA-Novosti, 3 Nov 04 via Lexis-Nexis Academic Database.
By Susan Cavan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Speaking to the State
Duma late last month, Federal Security Services (FSB) Director Nikolai
Patrushev outlined what appears to be part of his response to the task laid
before him last July—the specific structures that will make up a reformed
FSB, geared toward implementing the federal governmentıs response to terrorist
acts. He recommended the creation
of a command center that would coordinate the efforts of all participating
sections of government and the civilian sector during an event such as another
Beslan-style siege involving hostages.
The FSB, along with the Defense and Interior Ministries, has developed
an additional initiative to set up regional command centers, as well to monitor
and analyze situations in their respective regions, develop response plans, and
to coordinate the responses of all participating parties. The federal and regional command
centers would work together, as required; however, an important element of this
initiative is the special authority the regional command centers will have to
organize and execute a response to a terrorist event. (1) This plan
appears aimed directly at one of the major shortfalls highlighted most recently
by the Beslan siege: the apparent
lack of command and control and communication with on-scene authorities. By creating permanent federal and
regional response centers, tasked with developing response plans and
coordinating them, and given the authority to execute them without the
requirement to wait for specific authorization from the Kremlin, the power
ministries will have taken a major step forward in combating the threats
Chechen separatists seem intent on bringing to Russia proper.
Recognized in this
recommendation is the requirement for legislative changes that will enable
tougher responses to terrorist events, not just the decentralization of
response authority, but new prosecution and punishment rules and standards. (2)
Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has also recommended tightening entry requirements into
Russia in an attempt to enhance border security and minimize the corrupt
practices that have allowed instigators passage into and out of the
country. (3) Drawing significant criticism, Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov suggested ³use of the
help of the relatives of terrorists by the law enforcement agencies during
special operations.² (4) This was interpreted in the Duma and
the media as a request for legal leeway to take the relatives of hostage-takers
hostage to assist in the release of civilians. Variously assailed as state-sponsored terrorism, a return to
Nazi tactics and an overwhelming abuse of human rights, it is not clear that
this legal change will be pursued further. (5)
On the same day that
many of these proposed changes were announced, regional authorities carried out
a counter-terrorism exercise in front of media at a military training facility
near Novocherkassk in the Rostov region, although it is not clear that the
announcement and the exercise were purposely coordinated. However, this exercise demonstrated,
in highly scripted form, exactly how the government would respond, in an
idealized situation, to the next hostage-taking event. In this exercise, approximately 1,500
troops from the FSB and Interior Ministry special forces, Civil Defense,
Emergency and Defense Ministries, and police fell under the command of Russian
Army Colonel Vladimir Afonin to respond to a gang of 30 hostage-takers who had
simulated the takeover a village.
This regional ³tactical team² responded with full force, and executed all
the procedures with the efficiency one might hope such a team would possess,
including, somewhat surprisingly, on-scene negotiations (over a loudspeaker for
demonstration purposes) with hostage-takers to gain more time and a pair of
helicopters delivering a landing team to engage the hostage-takers and take
prisoners. The whole event took no
more than an hour to conclude with a minimum of simulated friendly casualties
and included a display of all the latest weaponry and tools. (6)
This demonstration appears
to have highlighted all the elements for the lack of which the government was
criticized during the Beslan siege:
a quick and coordinated response with representatives from all necessary
branches of government under the command of one competent leader; real-time
communications across this force; well-practiced actions, restraint and
negotiation until the last possible minute; and the ability to make decisions
on the scene, rather than waiting for word from the authorities in Moscow on
what to do next. Indeed, if the
government could guarantee such an effective response to terrorist attacks, no
doubt popular perceptions of security in Russia would be significantly
However, there are
limits to the lessons one can draw from such a sleek and highly staged
event. For one thing, Rostov
Deputy Governor Viktor Usachev told reporters that such tactical command teams
operate throughout the country, headed by ³the senior deputy chairmen of the
regional counter-terrorism commissions,² but it is not clear that they are all
as well-manned and regionally responsive as they appeared during this
demonstration. Of course, southern
Russia, in and around the region where this demonstration took place, has been
the scene of quite a number of such terror attacks, so if this response is
repeatable in real time, the government should be lauded, but it is somewhat
bewildering that this capability could have been created in a scant two months,
as it was clearly not available during the first days of September in North
Ossetia. Also, it is unlikely all
the tactical teams that do exist are as well equipped as demonstrated
here. It is also somewhat
disingenuous to show such a tidy conclusion after so short a time, without
demonstrating how such a force could respond to a much longer-lasting
event—will troops operate 12 hours on/12 hours off to stay sharp? Are there first-responders scattered
across the regions to buy time for the rest of the force? Will they be able to operate effectively
at night (indeed, would that not give them an advantage over
hostage-takers)? This last
question may be the most enlightening as night scopes for rifles cost upwards
of a million rubles each.
Evidently, the press were also left with many unanswered questions
during a media conference that preceded the exercise. (7)
While the coordination
between the public discussion in Moscow and the demonstration in the Rostov
region is itself impressive, in addition to the coordination demonstrated
during this exercise, there is a higher level of coordination not demonstrated
here that has already been highlighted—the ability to prevent such
events. Earlier in October,
Lieutenant General Yevgeni Abrashin, deputy Commander of federal interior
troops in the North Caucasus region, wrote an opinion piece for Izvestiya discussing how
terrorists were able to set up several successful attacks in Russia this year
(Grozny, Ingushetia, and Beslan) and what could have been done (and could be
done in the future) to prevent such attacks. Not surprisingly, he highlighted the security servicesı
tendency to fail from acting on the most basic information (not the nuanced
human intelligence from deeply-inserted spies, but practically common knowledge
in the area, including known movements of large bands of militant groups), to
refrain from reinforcing poorly-manned units in areas of known militant
activity, to neglect the need for increased attention at specific border entry
points when necessary, and to fail coordinating federal and regional forces. He did not even mention corruption as a
contributing factor in these events.
He did emphasize the fact that ³in August 2004, all areas of the
Southern Federal District set up permanent command-and-control groups to combat
terrorism,² presumably referring to the capability demonstrated by the Rostov
exercise, but blamed the Interior Ministry for not setting such groups up in
Ingushetia and North Ossetia, where they could have been very useful. (8) (Usachev claimed that such groups
existed everywhere except Chechnya and Astrakhanı, regions populated already
with significant numbers of troops.)
While both Duma
presentations and scripted counter-terrorism exercises are useful advances,
only the next terrorist attack will provide an adequate measure of the Russian
governmentıs true intent to attempt reforming its counter-terror capabilities
and the actual capability this intent engenders. Clearly, at least one tactical command unit exists, with
access to adequate response equipment, but it remains to be seen if there are
enough of these units across the country or if these can respond where needed
in time. Furthermore, all these
units need good equipment, from basic body armor to the high-technology tools
like night-vision equipment that can give government forces the tactical edge
over terrorists, but, as demonstrated during the Beslan siege, even the elite
FSB and Interior Ministry special forces units are not equipped adequately
today. (9) The 400 billion rubles that law
enforcement and security services are slated to receive may help relieve the
shortfall, but much of it is already earmarked for other necessities, including
wages, housing, and education.
And while all of these
plans serve to enhance President Putinıs tarnished reputation as the guarantor
of peace in Russia, only the next step will truly make Russia more
secure—using these and other forces to prevent terror attacks before they
occur, even if it means no headlines or lively television footage. Duma meetings and hour-long firefights
make for good theater, but the best theater in the war on terrorism is very
boring, ensures that such events never happen. It doesnıt bode well for the security services, and their
leaders, that they tend to demonstrate their capabilities publicly.
(1) ³Russian FSB Head Calls For Creation of
Counterterrorism Center, New Legislation,² Itar-TASS, 29 Oct 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-1029 via World News Connection.
(3) ³Russian FSB, Interior Ministry Prepare Plan
on Crisis Prevention, Handling,² Itar-TASS, 29 Oct 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-1029 via World News Connection.
(5) Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Newsline, Vol.
8, No. 206, Part I, 1 Nov 04.
(6) ³Russian South Hosts Anti-Terror War Game,² RIA
Novosti, 29 Oct 04 via Lexis-Nexis and ³Counter-Terrorism Exercise Takes
Place,² by Arkadi Yuzhny, Gazeta, 1 Nov 04 via ISI Emerging Markets.
(8) ³Unforgivable Mistakes: A General Speaks Out About Russia's
Failures in the Caucasus,² by Yevgeni Abrashin, Russia Profile, 20 Oct 04 via
Johnsonıs Russia List, #8421, 22 Oct 04.
(9) The NIS Observed: An Analytical Review,
Volume IX Number 15, 29 Sep 04.
Expenditures May Be Clarified by Third Reading of Budget,² Moscow Agentstvo
voyennykh novostey, 20 Oct 04, FBIS-SOV-2004-1020 via World News Connection.
By Eric Beene (email@example.com)
Stumbling blocks to peace?
Tensions remain high despite the 5 November negotiations in
Sochi between the Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania and the South Ossetian
leader Eduard Kokoity, in the presence of the Russian First Deputy Foreign
Minister Valeri Loshchinin. They
were supposed to create the necessary conditions for the eventual settlement of
the Georgian-Ossetian conflict.
In fact, expectations prior to the negotiations were more
realistic and dependent on whether ³Russia will give a positive signal to
Kokoity who is under its influence.² (1)
In an interview with Novaya gazetaıs
Anna Politkovskaya, Georgian Minister for Conflict Resolution, Georgy
Khaindrava discussed the results of closed-door talks in Moscow between
himself, Georgian Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze, Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Igor
Ivanov. Russia paid lip service to the concept that the territorial integrity
of Georgia presupposes that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are Georgian regions.
(2) Mr. Khaindrava emphasized that Georgia has all rights to the Rok Tunnel and
that it was evident that Georgiaıs rights have been infringed upon. According
to Khaindrava, Georgia would grant as much autonomy to S. Ossetia as North
Ossetia enjoys within Russia, and that in effect, one was not dealing with
distinct North and South Ossetian people – there are only Ossetians who
live in Russia and Ossetians who live in Georgia. (3)
Following the negotiations between Zhvania and Kokoity, a
statement disseminated by the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that all illegal
armed groups must be withdrawn from the Georgian-Ossetian conflict zone by 20
November. Only peacekeeping forces (present since 1992) are to remain in the
zone. (4) Mr. Kokoity claimed that
during the talks, the Georgian side acknowledged their responsibility for conflicts
last summer and that South Ossetia was forced to take defensive actions. (5)
Georgian Deputy State Security Minister Batu Kutelia, confirmed only that the
sides ³discussed the demilitarization of the conflict zone, joint control over
hills in the zone and establishment of joint control over the Roksy tunnel.²
(6) Tbilisiıs commitment to retaining its territorial integrity was not to be
undermined by the negotiations. Zhvania reaffirmed this commitment by stating,
³I explained to the representatives of the Ossetian and Russian sides that the
main aim of the Georgian government is to restore the integrity of Georgia.
This is the main thing weıre fighting for and weıll certainly reach it.²
During the course of the meeting, Georgian President Mikhail
Saakashvili held his own press conference at which he claimed that Georgia
would not allow itself to be provoked into any kind of confrontation or
large-scale conflict in the Tskhinvali region. (8) His commitment has been
tested by the recent alleged kidnappings of Georgians by South Ossetian forces
and an explosion that injured a Tbilisi news crew that occurred a day after the
Sochi negotiations. According to Georgian Minister of Internal Affairs Irakli
Okruashvili, these events are ³being used as a means to goad the Georgian side
into a reckless situation.² (9) The Georgian population has been urged not to
give in to any such provocations, and parties on both sides have agreed to join
in efforts to search for the missing, one in particular, a resident of Agabeti,
Georgy Kakhniashvili, who went missing 3 November and is believed to be held by
the Ossetians. Some Georgian
retaliation for the kidnappings occurred when ten Ossetian residents were taken
hostage on 5 November, though there are plans for their release. The Ossetians
have released 32 of 50 or so ³hostages,² though Mr. Kakhniashvili was not one
of them. (10) Representatives of the mixed peacekeeping contingent present in
the region are conducting a search for Mr. Kakhniashvili.
Mr. Kokoity, commenting on results of the meeting, claimed,
³Zurab Zhvania belongs to that group of Georgian politicians who support the
peaceful settlement of the conflict and I think weıll seek all possibilities to
release those people who were taken hostage² adding however, that South Ossetia
does not intend to make concessions over its status. (11) With neither side willing to concede
their ultimate intentions in the region – the Georgians desire for
territorial integrity and the South Ossetians claims of independence these
talks and even the current tensions may represent progress on the road to
peace, not just with each other, but with Russia. Russiaıs intentions with regard to Georgia are unclear,
particularly following the events in Beslan. Hostilities in the region provide
Russia with an advantage as mediator, one that enables it to influence policies
and arrange for outcomes that are to Moscowıs advantage. As the
Georgian-Ossetian conflict simmers, Russiaıs true desires, whether for peace or
for something less benevolent, may become more evident.
The Kyoto Protocol
On 5 November, President Vladimir Putin ratified the Kyoto
Protocol on global warming. The
United States and Australia, among others, rejected the treatyıs ratification
and thus Russia was the only country left whose signature could clear the way
for the treaty to take effect next year. (12) The decision to ratify the treaty
was made in September and the Russian Parliament voted to ratify the protocol
on 22 October, but these decisions did not occur without extensive internal
debate among Russian officials.
The debates were centered on whether Russiaıs ratification
would benefit or harm the Russian economy. According to Vsevolad Gavriolov,
Deputy Director of the Economic Development and Trade Ministry Department, the
protocol itself will not harm the Russian economy; it depends on Russiaıs own
actions whether it will benefit the country. (13) For success within the context of the treaty, Russia needs
to ³make the Kyoto Protocolıs mechanisms a natural continuation of the
countryıs internal policy.² (14) Proposals have been made to implement the
protocol successful in two stages. The first would be to offer support for
industry operators who are willing to restrict greenhouse emission limits on
their own accord; the second, well into the future, assumes that Russian
national procedures have been aligned with those in the protocol, and the
decision that remains is whether to make the obligations binding and
Though the ramifications may be unknown, it is apparent that
Russiaıs decision to sign the treaty opens it to greater international
cooperation and pride in the fact that the Kyoto Protocol could only take
effect because of Russiaıs participation.
Arafat, Russia and the Middle East
With Yaser Arafatıs rapidly declining health, Russiaıs role
in the Middle East peace process has the chance to change. Potentially,
Arafatıs decline could propel Russia to assume a greater role in implementing
the ³Road Map,² which it signed in 2003, along with the United States, the U.N.
and the European Union. Russia also could take a more neutral stance than it
has In the past.
President Putinıs relationship with the newly re-elected
President Bush could be an asset, as Russia has aligned itself with strong
anti-terrorist U.S policies, though this type of alignment could also be seen
as detrimental in the region. Russiaıs ties with both the large number of
Russian-speaking émigrés in Israeli, and its support for the Palestinians could
truly work to an advantage, giving Russia the chance to play both sides.
gazeta, 4 Nov 2004; No.82, p.20; What the Papers Say via ISI Emerging Markets.
Novosti, 6 Nov 04, via ISI Emerging Markets.
Novosti, 6 Nov 04, via ISI Emerging Markets.
(7) The Messenger,
8 Nov 04; (www.messenger.com.ge/issues/0736_november_8_2004/news_0736_1.htm).
Novosti, 6 Nov 04, via ISI Emerging Markets.
(12) The New
York Times, 6 Nov 04; (www.nytimes.com/2004/11/06/international/europe/06kyoto.html?th=&pagewanted).
Novosti, 5 Nov 04, (en.rian.ru/rian/index.cfm?msg_id=5055540).
By Rebecca Mulder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DOMESTIC ISSUES & LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
POLITICS AND SOCIETY
If you canıt take the news, donıt read the paper
³I simply wanted to read every copy of that paper, and I
paid for all of the copies with my own money. I can show you the receipt,² said
acting Prefect Alla Revazova in her explanation of why she seized copies of Ekran
Vladikavkaza that contained an article
criticizing North Ossetiaıs President Aleksandr Dzasokhov. (1)
The article was a reprint of a piece by Konstantin
Chedzhemov, an outspoken member of the opposition, criticizing Dzasokhov for
the massacre in Beslan. The article was printed initially in Sotsial-Demokrat
Alanii, a paper with a circulation of
3,000, which remained undisturbed at newsstands for a week, indicating that the
confiscation by government officials may have had more to do with the reprintıs
wider distribution of about 7,700. The same day those papers disappeared from
kiosks, Sergei Burnatsev, editor-in-chief of Ekran Vladikavkaza, was notified that he would have to vacate the
property where the editorial offices are currently located – the
Iristonskiy municipal district prefecture.
This incident, along with the recent revocation of the
license of the newspaper Angusht in
Ingushetia for publishing a list of persons who had been killed, wounded, or
had disappeared in the last few years, (2) highlights several of the problems
with media ³freedom² in Russia. (Angusht earlier had reprinted an article from Novaya gazeta – a paper registered at the Russian Ministry
of the Press – by Anna Politkovskaya, criticizing Russiaıs policy toward
Chechnya. For this it received a warning from M. M. Kalimatov, the prosecutor
and senior justice advisor of the Republic of Ingushetia.) (3) The Russian Federation actually
possesses fairly sound media laws, originally drafted in 1991. These laws
outline the rights of journalists, prohibit censorship, and detail the
registration process. For example, the law confirms the right of journalists
³to visit specially protected places of natural disasters, accidents and
catastrophes, mass disorders and mass gatherings, and also localities where a
state of emergency is declared.² (4)
The problem lies in the application and enforcement of the law (or lack
During the events in Beslan, a number of journalists were
detained or hassled by the police and the Federal Security Service. Some
journalists, among them reporters for Novye izvestia and Moskovskie novosti, were detained by police asking to see passports,
accreditation certificates, and North Ossetian provisional registration documents.
Other journalists, Anna Politkovskaya and Nana Lezhava, allegedly were poisoned
while attempting to cover the hostage taking. (5) If the rights of Russian
journalists have any meaning, these incidents should be followed up and
The media law currently is undergoing revision. The Ministry
of Culture and Mass Communications, the Agency for Press and Communications,
and the Industrial Committee are developing a draft of a new media law,
expected to be ready by the end of this year.
The draft involves several points of contention, among them
the inclusion of the Internet in the law as a form of media, the question of
normative censorship, and the inclusion in the new law of the word ³owner² in
addition to/or in place of ³founder.²
Use of the Internet in Russia (the Runet) boomed in 2003, at one point reflecting as many as
350,000 new users a month. (6) Current levels recently surpassed the 15 million
mark of persons who have used the Internet at least once in the last six
months. (7) Although Internet usage is heavily concentrated in Moscow and St.
Petersburg and is hampered by the low bandwidth capability of phone lines, the
Internet is growing as a viable means of spreading information. For instance,
Anna Politkovskayaıs article that led to the Angusht a warning from authorities was posted subsequently
on the Internet as an alternative source. (8)
Those in charge of drafting the new law are divided
concerning the issue of the Internet. Senior Deputy Culture Minister, Leonid
Nadirov, says the law should include the Internet. (9) The Chairman of the
Dumaıs Information Policy Committee, Valeri Komissarov, advocates regulating
online publications, but acknowledges the drawbacks of regulating the entire
World Wide Web. ³If we were to shut down the .ru domain, for example, which many sites use, they would all
just switch to the .com domain
Komissarov expects licensing requirements to apply to online
publications, the definition of which could become complex. What qualifies as
publishing? Is there a distinction between publishing and posting information?
How is such a law enforced?
The Deputy Minister of Information Technology and
Communications Ministry, Dmitri Milovantsev, disagrees with Nadirov and
Komissarov. He says the Internet should not be considered part of the mass
media. (11) It remains to be seen
which elements will prevail.
The issue of censorship has also arisen with the new law.
Alexander Kotenkov, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Russian president at
the Federation Council and head of the commission for information policies at
the Federation Council, says the new law should include ³normative² censorship,
providing explicit legal norms on what may be covered. (12)
That a representative of the president is advocating
censorship raises concerns in a country whose media already are affected by a
great deal of self-censorship, a tendency that increased after the 2002
Dubrovka attacks, when the authorities threatened to pass laws regulating media
coverage of terrorist attacks. The result was the Antiterrorist Convention
developed by the Industrial Committee and signed by representatives of the
media. The conventions are voluntary, but nevertheless are observed by the
media. Indeed, coverage of Beslan skated a treacherously thin line between
lamenting the event and ensuring avoidance of criticism concerning the
authoritiesı response to the situation. Even so, some politicians are lobbying
for regulations prohibiting the media from covering terrorist events supposedly
for the sake of protecting the nationıs psyche. (13)
notwithstanding, the Russian Television Academy awarded several honors to
canceled political shows, sending what analysts agree amounted to a message
protesting government pressure on the television industry in Russia. Awarded
shows included the canceled NTV programs ³Freedom of Speech,² ³Namedni,² and
³Krasnaya strela.² (14)
It appears that the lack of diligent protection of
journalistsı rights, coupled with the failure to follow through on suspicious
actions by the authorities, and the voluntary self-censorship of the media,
already amount to a form of normative censorship. As for protecting the
nationıs psyche, it is the citizenıs decision whether to read the paper or not,
and the mediaıs job to provide balanced and accurate reporting. The role of the
authorities is simply to enforce the laws protecting the journalistsı rights to
pursue and provide information.
The third issue concerns the inclusion of the word ³owner²
in the new law. FC Deputy Speaker Dmitri Mezentsev, who works on information
policy-related issues, recently commented that the new law ³must protect
copyright and intellectual property and will not only do that but will also
make provisions to curb unfair advertising and dirty tricks. The new media law,
of course, must become an instrument for fight [sic] against those
organizations that have made terror a tool for obtaining money.² (15) One wonders if media owners who permit their
reporters to print critical articles will be subject to charges of using terror
as a tool for obtaining money.
Protest at last
Public political action was visible in Moscow on October 23,
when more than 2,000 persons congregated to protest the Chechen War. The
seemingly small turnout was over four times what the organizers had
The protest was coordinated by For Human Rights and the
Committee for Anti-War Activities with support of Committee 2008. The speakers
also decried the increased role of the security services under Putin and the
rising number of politically-motivated criminal cases.
Score: Mothers 1, Putin 0
The Union of Committees of Soldiersı Mothers will meet with
Aslan Maskhadov, possibly in November, to discuss the war in Chechnya. The New
York Times published an appeal by the Union
in October. Akhmed Zakayev responded to the message on Maskhadovıs behalf. The
subject and details of the meeting have not yet been determined. (17)
paper pays price for criticizing North Ossetian president,² BBC Monitoring, 22
Oct 04 via ISI Emerging Markets.
in Russiaıs Ingushetia denies printing of extremistı material,² BBC
Monitoring, 26 Oct 04 via ISI Emerging Markets.
editor hits out at attacks on press freedom,² BBC Monitoring, 20 Oct 04 via ISI
V: The Rights and Duties of the Journalist,² accessed 3 Nov 04 via (http://www.internews.ru/law).
operation in Beslan a success: Operation against journalists,² Novaya
gazeta, 20 Sep 04 via ISI Emerging Markets.
use skyrocketing in Russia,² accessed 3 Nov 04 via
(7) ³Over 15
million Internet users in Russia,² RIA-Novosti, 3 Nov 04 via Johnsonıs Russia
List (JRL) #8439.
editor hits out at attacks on press freedom,² BBC Monitoring, 20 Oct 04 via ISI
³Self-censorship,² What the Papers Say (WPS), 7 Oct 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
censorship is introduced, we would have a different country,² WPS, 20 Oct 04 via
³Self-censorship,² WPS, 7 Oct 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
says media law should envisage normative censorshipı,² ITAR-TASS, 6 Oct 04;
FBIS-SOV-2004-1006 via World News Connection.
official says antiterrorism steps must not restrict media freedom,² Moscow
RIA-Novosti, 19 Oct 04: FBIS-SOV-2004-1019 via World News Connection.
media elites honor canceled shows to protest pressure on TV,² FBIS Report, 18
Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1018 via World News Connection.
³Russiaıs FC to discuss concept of new media law Wednesday,² ITAR-TASS, 6 Oct
04 via Lexis-Nexis.
call for end to Chechen war,² St. Petersburg Times, 26 Oct 04 via ISI Emerging
donıt be silent,² Kommersant, 21 Oct 04
via ISI Emerging Markets.
By Robyn Angley (email@example.com)
In a report released on 20 October, the New York-based
group, Human Rights Watch, shines a light on one of the uglier problems facing
Russian officials. The report
outlined the culture of abuse that exists primarily among the conscripted force
in the Russian military. According
the report, virtually institutionalized dedovshchina, or ³rule of the grandfathers,² exposes hundreds of
thousands of new recruits in the Russian armed forces during their first year
of military service to grossly abusive treatment at the hands of more senior
conscripts. (1) The report claims
that dedovshchina exists in
military units throughout the Russian Federation and that ³[w]hile dedovshchina may once have served the purpose of initiation, it
has in the past twenty years degenerated into a system in which second-year
conscripts, once victims of abuse and deprivation themselves, enjoy untrammeled
power to abuse their juniors without rule, restriction, or fear of punishment.²
(2) It concludes
that ³abusive practices associated with dedovshchina have persisted due to an almost universal failure on
the part of the officersı corps to take appropriate measures² and accuses
Russian leaders of having largely ignored the problem. (3) Along with making a number of other
specific recommendations, Human Rights Watch called on Russian leadership,
starting with President Putin, to take a firm and clear stance against dedovshchina.
appears to make conclusions that are not entirely supported by the data. The groupıs research consisted of
interviews with persons concerned in cases involving only 100 conscripts. These cases had to do with conscripts
from 50 bases across 25 of Russiaıs 89 provinces over a two year time period.
(5) The horror stories documented
are substantial enough not to be discounted, but they hardly appear to
constitute a scientific sampling that can be used to draw conclusions about the
entirety of the Russian military and its readiness. In this time period, more than 600,000 conscripts were
inducted into the Russian armed forces.
Despite making statements such as ³even when conscripts complain about
their treatmentmilitary officials were wholly uninterested in investigating,²
(6) the report made no mention about the fact that the Main Military
Prosecutorıs Office had tried more than 1,500 cases this year and convicted
more that 3,200 servicemen (over 400 of them officers) on charges of abuse or
physical violence. In 2003, 3,500
cases were tried and 3,400 servicemen (500 officers) were convicted. (7)
Defense Ministryıs response to the report was predictably defensive, yet
appeared somewhat persuasive. The
official response from the Defense Ministry was posted on the Human Rights
Watch website and cited these facts:
For a number of years the crime rate in
the armed forces has been 2-2.5 times lower than the overall national level.
During 2002, 2003 and 2004, 90% of units experienced no dedovshchina, and 80%
had no violations whatsoever. The fact that hooliganism in the barracks does
not take place on a massive scale is also proven by the findings of Human
Rights Watchıs rights-defenders, who found only 100 victims of dedovshchina in
the 3 years of research, and on whose statements they rely for their report.
in many situations when analyzing matters Russian, using government numbers,
statistics, or other facts is problematic due to a lack of transparency and
inability to validate the data. The
reality is that dedovshchina is just one
of several debilitating problems facing the Russian military. The author of the Human Rights Watch
report claimed during a recent press conference that ³tens of thousands of
families every year² have tried to ensure their sons are not called up due to
their fear of dedovshchina. (9) The
reality is that the system of deferments, which allows the vast majority of
draft-eligible young men to avoid service and reduces the conscription pool to
the sludge of society, has evolved over more than a decade. During this time period the army could
not feed, shelter, clothe or provide medical care for its troops and was
engaged in bloody fighting in Chechnya.
Funding of the military is still so poor that Russiaıs lieutenants get
paid only about $150 a month and nearly a third of the 165,000 officers do not
have apartments. (10) According to
Viktor Litovkin, in an article in RIA novosti, ³The situation with rights of
the militarycan be changed only when everyone, from privates to generals,
starts treasuring service in the army.
Without it there is no army.² (11)
Defense Ministry agrees wholeheartedly.
Its formal response to the report ended with this conclusion: ³The final
solution of the problem depends directly on the level of prestige of the
military service and on the level of moral, psychological and physical
readiness of the young generation for service in the army and awareness of its
public and political significance. And this is the field for the activities of
such an important instrument as mass media affecting the authorities, the minds
and hearts of people, as well as for different non-governmental organizations
and movements and society as a whole.² (12) To this end, proposals for reinvigorating the program of
patriotic education were discussed at a recent conference in Moscow. A large gathering from the various
regions, government ministries and departments, and leading social
organizations heard proposals to spend more that 669 million rubles to organize
patriotic education. The military
has asked that 406 million rubles from its budget be allocated towards the
governmentıs strategy for bringing order to the military has several points of
attack. First is to fix what
officials perceive as the public relations problem, illuminated above. The authorities apparently are pursuing
two courses of action to address this issue. Not only will they engage in a program of patriotic
education in order to encourage young people to want to serve in the armed
forces, but also, in typical Soviet fashion, they will attempt to silence
groups who would speak disparagingly about the army. The notorious ³Black Colonel² State Duma Deputy Viktor
Alksnis announced that he will ask the Justice Ministry and Prosecutor-Generalıs
Office to investigate the Soldiersı Mothers Committee. According to Alksnis, that organization
conducts an ³anti-army campaign with Western money.² (14) The security services have been
following the Soldiersı Mothers groups and claim to have ³data to prove that
they are financed by the West and are conducting subversive work against the
Russian Armed Forces.² (15) The
Human Rights Watch report, which was written with extensive assistance from
various Soldiersı Mothers groups, even quotes Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov as
asking questions about the purpose of the groups: ³One other thing that
concerns me are the runaways, sometimes hundreds of kilometers, to so-called
committees of soldiersı mothers... In fact, there are hundreds of such
committees, or even thousands. Who supports them, how they live, that remains a
big question.² (16)
second branch of Ivanovıs strategy to return order to the military is to
continue the conversion to a professional, contract force, reducing the reliance
on conscripts to fill the force.
The bad news here is that units fully converted to contract servicemen
have shown comparable moral weaknesses to those noted in the conscripted force. The program for conversion to contract
servicemen still suffers from being under-funded. The poor pay and general lack of infrastructure attracts and
satisfies only low quality recruits.
Statistics show that crime rates in contract units actually are higher
than in similar units comprised of conscripts. (17) The 76th Airborne Division has demonstrated additional
evidence of the lack of discipline in the contract forces. Barracks that were commissioned only
two years ago for this unit already are in need of refurbishment because,
according to the Russian Deputy Defense Minister in charge of construction and
billeting, Col-Gen Anatoli Grebenyuk, ³hotheads among the paratroopers like to
show bravado, reducing furniture, doors and washrooms practically to
smithereens.² (18) And although
Ivanov has claimed repeatedly that no conscripts will serve in Chechnya, he is
referring only to Ministry of Defense forces there. The Interior Troopsı 46th Brigade will be manned
by only 33% contract servicemen by the end of the year. (19) Other military units will still be
populated by conscripts, including construction troops, border troops, and
other security services units.
in a recent interview, Ivanov has stated that ³a modern military is not all
about troop strength – itıs primarily about technology.² (20) Questions regarding the soundness of
this assertion notwithstanding, on this issue his efforts are likely to fall
short as well. According to a
recent analysis, Russian military expenditure on armaments is not modernizing
the military but instead devoted to upgrading old hardware. The analysis claims that of the 300
samples of new weaponry and technology promised in 2005, the reality is that
most of these weapons are refurbished or updated versions of previous systems.
(21) Because the military
industrial complex was placed virtually on starvation rations by the defense
budgets of the past ten years, it has relied almost exclusively on sales to
foreign governments. In order to
maintain cash flow, elites in the military industries have focused on upgrading
late Soviet models to meet the immediate needs of foreign customers. As a result of privatization, the
industryıs design bureaus were separated from production units, inhibiting
enterprises from being capable of capitalizing on technological advances.
(22) For this reason, one of
Russiaıs premier defense manufactures, Sukhoi, will not be capable of producing
its fifth generation fighter aircraft until 2013, while the U.S. already is
producing F-22ıs and, by 2010, will be producing the Joint Strike Fighter. (23)
to soundness for the Russian armed forces undoubtedly will require that it pass
through a period marked by even more downsizing. Political forces are likely to render impossible improving
the quality of the conscripted force.
Fiscal constraints will continue to delay conversion to a contract force
of any size. Attempts to modernize
will be limited by corruption and a devastated military industrial
complex. In the meantime, it
appears that Russian officials will continue to attempt to find forces in the
West to blame for this condition.
(1) ³The Wrongs of Passage: Inhuman and Degrading
Treatment of New Recruits in the Russian Armed Forces,² Human Rights Watch, October
2004 Vol. 16, No. 8(D) .
(7) ³Human Rights Group Slams Army Hazing,² St
Petersburg Times 26 Oct 2004; World
Sources, Inc. via Lexis-Nexis.
(8) Response of the Russian Ministry of Defense to the
Human Rights Watch report ³Wrongs of Passage,² Russian Federation Ministry of Defense
from (hrw.org/english/docs/2004/10/22/russia9571.htm), 22 Oct 04.
(9) ³Press Conference with Human Rights Watch Officials on
Human Rights Abuses in the Army,² Federal New Service, Inc, Official Kremlin
International News Broadcast via Lexis-Nexis.
(10) ³Human Rights Watch Diagnoses Russian Army; Treatment
Debated,² RIA Novosti, 28 Oct 04 via
(12) Response of the Russian Ministry of Defense to the
Human Rights Watch report ³Wrongs of Passage,² Russian Federation Ministry of
Defense from (hrw.org/english/docs/2004/10/22/russia9571.htm), 22 Oct 04.
(13) ³A New Program of Patriotic Education of Citizens Has
Been Prepared,² Izvestiya, 27 Oct 04;
WPS-Defense and Security via ISI Emerging Markets.
(14) ³Legislator Attacks Soldiersı Mothers Committee,²
RFE/RL, 21 Oct 04.
(15) ³State Duma Deputy Viktor Alksnis and Expertsı Views
on the Soldiersı Mothers Committee Activities,² Moskovsky komsomolets 22 Oct 04; Federal News Service, Inc, Official
Kremlin International News Broadcast via Lexis-Nexis.
(16) ³The Wrongs of Passage: Inhuman and Degrading
Treatment of New Recruits in the Russian Armed Forces,² Human Rights Watch, October 2004 Vol.
16, No. 8(D).
(17) ³Crimes in the Army: An Attack From The Home Front,² Nezavisimaya
gazeta, 13 Oct 04; WPS Defense and Security via
(18) ³Deputy Defense Minister Says Funds for Contract
Personnel Inadequate,² Krasnaya zvezda,
26 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring International Reports via Lexis-Nexis.
(19) ³Draftees Will Serve in Chechnya,² Nezavisimoe voennoe
obozrenie, 29 Oct-4 Nov 04; WPS Defense and Security via Lexis-Nexis.
(20) Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov: We Will Deliver
Preventive Strikes If Necessary,² Komsomolskaya pravda, 26 Oct 04; WPS Defense and Security via
(21) ³Russian Army Said Cash-Starved, Rearmament Programme
Shelved to 2015,² Komsomolskaya pravda,
13 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring International Reports via Lexis-Nexis.
(22) ³The Military-Industrial Complex,² Expert, No. 37, 4 Oct 04; WPS Defense and Security via ISI
(23) ³Russiaıs Fifth Generation Fighter to Be Flight Tested
2006-Sukhoi,² ITAR-TASS News Agency, 3 Nov 04 via Lexis-Nexis.
By Jeff Kubiak (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Russia's Naval Future
Almost 15 years after the breakup
of the Soviet Union, Russia is still looking to reform its military,
specifically its Navy, into a 21st century force. The transformation of the Soviet Navy
into the Russian Navy has been slow and essentially without direction. Russian political and military leaders have
not forged any useful reform plans that take into account the current economic
realities, instead preferring to hold on desperately to the vision of the
Soviet blue water Navy.
President Yeltsin failed to
provide the Navy with any firm guidance regarding its role in the future of
Russian security, let alone fleet disposition or composition requirements. He was much more concerned with
solidifying power and strengthening the economy. His economic measures resulted in a severely reduced budget
for the Navy. It was not until after NATO's operation
in Yugoslavia and the Kursk disaster, that President Putin signed a directive
On Russia's Maritime Activity and an associated document entitled, "The
Foundations of Naval Policy of the Russian Federation Until the Year
2010." In July 2001,
President Putin approved the Naval Doctrine of the Russian Federation for the
period up to 2020. Both of these
documents are extremely vague and do not provide the Navy with any specific
requirements. The documents have
been characterized as nothing more than "a wish to return Russia to the
world ocean before other powers divide its riches." (1)
Last week at EURONAVAL 2004, the 5th International Naval
Force Equipment Exhibition, held in Paris, Russian Presidential Aide Aleksandr Burutin uttered the truism, "a concept outlining
further development of the Russian Navy is a serious issue." (2) During his interview with ITAR-TASS, he
openly pondered the question, "Should Russia have ocean-going aircraft
carriers with the necessary support ships or (should) the Navy be (focused on)
accomplishing missions in the Russian sea zone?" (3) "We have to know precisely what
kind of Navy we'll have by 2015, even by the year 2025 if we take into account
the long period of construction of serious naval equipment. We should adopt the
necessary programs of fleet development and follow them accurately,"
Burutin said. (4)
The idea of a long-term naval acquisition strategy is not
new to Russian politicians. In
1976, Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Sergei Gorshkov said, "the
long time needed to create the material and technical resources for a Navy, the
relatively short service life of ships and the associated danger of the
obsolescence of naval forces place special demands on science, which must
indicate the course of naval construction years and even decades in
Russian naval history
Russian state security has rarely, if ever, been threatened
from the sea and, therefore, the Russian Navy has never been considered a vital
element in state security.
Perceived threats and antagonists in the Baltic and Black Seas led to
the development of a Navy in the 17th and 18th
centuries. Naval development was
sustained by the view that a Navy is a symbol of great power status and
imperial expansion, but the Russian Navy never achieved more than a secondary
status compared with its predominantly land focused military.
The Soviet Union retained Russian naval traditions and
expanded the Navyıs role within the military. The Navy was seen as an example of Soviet economic and
scientific power. The USSR,
boasted the highest naval potential in the mid-80s – with 62
nuclear-powered guided-missile giant submarines of strategic designation, over
400 nuclear-powered and diesel-driven universal submarines and over 700 surface
ships in its service. These
numbers were always padded due to Admiral Gorshkov hesitance to decommission
The Soviet Navy did have numerous problems. One, with lasting effects for the
current Russian Navy, was its choice of ship designs. Instead of copying NATO ship designs, the Soviet leaders
wanted their Navy to comprise a new, original trend in the development of the
navies of the world. So, the
Soviet Navy was designed as an offensive force – to fight large World War
II style naval battles at sea against NATO forces. Admiral Gorshkov stated that the primary mission has to
"successfully oppose a strong enemy Navy and repel his attacks from
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Navy
lost numerous key bases on the Black, Baltic and Caspian Seas, several major
shipyards beyond the confines of Russia, and the majority of non-Russian
personnel. The rate of
decommissioning grew immensely while the rate of warship construction fell
dramatically. With no need for the
offensive power inherent in Soviet surface ship design, a severe lack of
funding, and limited basing, the Russian Navy was rendered useless except as a
Russian threat perception and the utility of a Navy in
Russian threat perception,
especially among its naval leaders seems to be stuck in the Cold War. 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 prove 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." (7) For naval leaders, the rhetoric also displays a type of
self-preservation; if the Russian Navy does not have NATO and the U.S. as
enemies, then it could be justified only as a large coast guard.
Russian threat perception, outside of the Navy, would likely
include, in varying degrees, the United States, NATO and NATO expansion, the
People's Republic of China, Islamic Fundamentalism and terrorism, and
Japan. Russian forces are active
in Chechnya, Georgia (Abkhazia, Adjaria, South Ossetia), Moldova, Armenia,
Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Additionally,
protection of Russian citizens and suppression of separatism in many autonomous
Republics, autonomous oblasts and other regions present a perceived, if not
real, security concern. In
surveying this list, Russia's perceived threats and security concerns are
almost exclusively land oriented with the exception of the United States and
NATO. With Russia's threat
perception and current economic position, it does not seem that the Navy is in
a position to win the competition for scarce military resources.
Putin and Kuroyedov
President Putin and the Russian Navy have been friends for a
long time. As Deputy Chief of the
presidential administration in 1997, President Putin served on the military
council of the Navy. Within months
of Putinıs appointment in 1997, Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov replaced Admiral
Felix Gromov as the Navyıs Commander in Chief. The President attended the defense of Admiral Kuroyedovıs
doctoral thesis, which has become the basis for the Foundation and Policy
papers of 2000 and 2001.
Admiral Kuroyedov appears to be much more savvy than his
predecessors or his other service contemporaries. He seems to be able to fuse President Putinıs
political arguments into his military strategies. In his maritime strategy essay (morskaya strategiya), he maintained that Russiaıs maritime strategy
should help it achieve practical results in the shortest possible time; almost
the exact the same words were used in Putinıs argument that Russiaıs first task
is improving its economy. (8)
Admiral Kuroyedov has suggested a much more progressive ship
building strategy, unlike his predecessorsı demands to counter the U.S. and
NATO ship for ship. He has
suggested developing new combat systems that are capable of adjusting or
flexing to disrupt enemy operations.
He has suggested additionally that the Navy should no longer be required
to maintain its global presence, but has made numerous contradictory statements
on this point. In the same
maritime strategy essay, he promoted the idea that the threat from the sea is
global and Russia requires a blue-water, balanced Navy to counter the threat.
Admiral Kuroyedov was approved for a one-year extension past
the mandatory retirement age earlier this summer. His extension will allow him to have the primary input as
the Navy concludes its bidding and design contest for construction of
long-range oceanic combatants. He
will also be able to approve the design of new joint interoperable weapons,
capable of being adapted to all ships of all projects. Both design contests will be complete
before the end of the year.
Russiaıs defense spending cannot
support a big, blue water Navy, so the Russian leadership has only two
options. It can allow the Navy to
continue its decline into obsolescence or transform the Navy into a smaller,
less personnel intensive, high tech force, which is interoperable with
Russia's current ground and air forces and capable of
interacting with regional associations, other naval powers and the United
Due to financial constraints,
Russia will continue to scrap her older ships and submarines, retaining only
those units necessary to maintain its strategic nuclear deterrent and coastal
defense. Unless there is a
dramatic turnaround in the Russian economy and a corresponding increase in
defense spending, it is unlikely that the Russian Navy will ever rival the
United States Navy or achieve the goal of a Soviet blue water Navy. President Putin has made it clear
that Russia's Navy will be rearmed. He said last October: "Russia has a program of
rearmament" and "its implementation will elevate our Navy to a wholly
new level." (9)
If the Russian Navy is going to be the first Russian armed
service that successfully reforms into a 21st century force, it does
not need to go to a new level. It
needs President Putin, Defense Minister Ivanov and Admiral Kuroyedov to forget
the Soviet blue water Navy and envision a much smaller, jointly interoperable
Russian naval force. The
acquisition decisions in the next few months will be a tell-tale sign as to
which option the Russian leadership has chosen.
(1) ³Vopreki doktrinam i progammam,² by Georgi Kostev and Igor Kostev via CSRC Rudderless in a
Storm: The Russian Navy 1992-2002 (www.csrc.ac.uk/pdf/b58-mt.pdf).
(2) Moscow ITAR-TASS, 28 Oct 04; ³Putin's Aide
Highlights 'Unique' Russian Military Technology,² FBIS-SOV-2004-1028 via World News Connection.
(5) Sea Power and the State (A Soviet View),
Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov. Moscow Military Publishing
House. Moscow. 1976. Pg 315.
(7) NTV, Mir, 7 Aug 04 via EURASIA DAILY MONITOR
Volume 1, Issue 70, August 10, 2004.
novaya morskaya strategiya Rossii² by
Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov via CSRC Rudderless in a
Storm: The Russian Navy 1992-2002 (www.csrc.ac.uk/pdf/b58-mt.pdf).
(9) ³Russian Navy conquering the world again,² by
Dmitri Litovkin via WPS Monitoring Agency, (www.wps.ru/e_index.html).
By Kyle J. Colton (email@example.com)
NEWLY INDEPENDENT STATES
Russian-speakers are still not convinced
According to the official results, the first round of the
presidential elections in Ukraine led to a virtual tie between the two main
candidates: Viktor Yushchenko gained 39.78 percent of the vote and the current
Prime-Minister, Viktor Yanukovich, 39.32 percent. (1) According to independent
exit-polls, however, Yushchenko was a clear victor in this tour. Some
exit-polls reported an obvious landslide in Yushchenkoıs favor. Apparently,
Yushchenkoıs lead was large enough that the authorities, fearing massive
disturbances in the county, did not dare present Yanukovich with a clear
victory in this round. But they may attempt to do so on 21 November – the
second round of the elections.
While it is undoubtedly true that Yanukovich and his whole
entourage resorted to lawless measures in order to assure their ³victory² in
the first round; while there was massive fraud and intimidations of Ukrainian
citizens by Yanukovichı supporters to vote for him; while there were shameless
exclusions of the Ukrainian citizens from the voterıs lists; while is it almost
certain that the current administration is to blame for the disappearance and
murder of an opposition
journalist, Georgy Gongadze, and an apparent poisoning of Victor
Yushchenko; while Ukraineıs economy is in a desperate state; and while
Ukrainians realize that the current government is extremely corrupt and that
their potential president is an ex-convict, a large proportion of the
population still voted for Yanukovich without being forced to do so. Why?
The argument that Ukraine is divided into the
Russian-speaking East, which seeks some form of federation with Russia, and an
Ukrainian-speaking West, which is Europe-oriented, may not suffice to explain
this phenomenon. Despite the sentiment for Mother Russia, it is doubtful that
Russian-speaking Ukrainians will be willing to trade potential prosperity and stability
in Ukraine (should Yushchenko become the president and put Ukraine on the path
to join EU and NATO) for an almost unachievable dream of unification with
Russia. However, this depends on Yushchenko showing the Russian speakers that
he is serious about protecting the interests of this very large group.
Although Yushchenko does claim that he does not divide his
electorate into Russian and Ukrainian speakers and promises to work for the
wellbeing of both groups, many feel that he was not very successful with
getting this message across. He may not have achieved enough of that crucial
outreach to Russian-speakers, even if this consists of as little as speaking in
Russian occasionally. Many Russian-speakers still fear that their children will
not being able to communicate in proper Russian if the only choice they have is
to attend Ukrainian schools and universities; they are concerned that Russian
will never obtain the status of a state language, they are worried of not being
able to see a movie or a theatre play in Russian. They realize full well that
an ex-convict Yanukovich is far from being the most desirable candidate, but
they still believe their life as Russian-speakers will be more assured with him
as president. And while they also realize that Yushchenko is someone who can
open a new chapter for Ukraine and put it on the path of economic recovery,
they are not sure what role they will play in this process.
To be fair, given difficult conditions under which the
opposition had to work, it was often hard to reach out to its primary voters
(Ukrainian-speakers), let alone Russian-speakers and there certainly is a fine
line between upsetting your clear supporters and pleasing potential ones, but
the Russian-speaking minority is too large not to be targeted more
aggressively. Yushchenko needs all possible support when, almost certainly, it
will come to contesting the results of the second ballot. It is clear that he
is a much better candidate when it comes to the future of Ukraine and all its
peoples but, for some reason, many Russian-speakers in Ukraine still are not
convinced. Yushchenko has ten days to persuade them.
The Russian ruble may never become the means of payment in
Belarus. Initially, the date of its introduction into the Belarusian economy
was scheduled for 1 January, 2005, later it was moved to 1 January, 2006, but
even this date seems too close to actually making the introduction of the
Russian ruble a reality. (2) Vladimir Novikov, the First Secretary of
Belarusian embassy in Russia explained some reasons why Belarus is apprehensive
about this step. He expressed concern about how Russia would support Belarus in
case of economic problems there, which could, for example, be caused by a sharp
drop in oil prices. He also declared that Belarus would expect financial
support in case of adoption of the Russian currency: ³There (in the EU) all new
members receive funds for economic adaptation,² stated Novikov. (3)
As more time elapses since the Belarusian referendum, more
information about lawless actions by the authorities becomes public. According
to the Gallop organization exit-poll, only 48.4 percent of the population voted
in favor of allowing Lukashenko to run for the third term, not the 79.4 percent
declared by the government. (4) Falsification to the amount of 30 percent is
definitely substantial (evidently, it was necessary to obtain overwhelming
³support² of the population in order to change the constitution). Still, the
fact that almost half of all Belarusians are happy with Lukashenko and his
policies and are willing to solidify a dictatorship in the country is
astonishing. A not very substantial showing of protesters several days after
the elections is a confirmation of this.
Half of Belarus may indeed have made a democratic choice – to
remain a dictatorship.
Protest in Chisinau
A group of protesters, which included teachers, parents and
students of Romanian schools in Transdniestr, as well as the representatives of
the Moldovan Bureau of the Helsinki Human Rights committee picketed the embassy
of the Russian Federation in Chisinau last Wednesday. The protesters carried
posters saying: ³Politicians and criminals, do not involve children into your
dirty games.² (5) The protesters claimed that the Russian Federation was the
only country capable of influencing the Dniestr authorities with regard to this
Approximately fifty Romanian schools in Transdniestr, which
currently use the Cyrillic alphabet, would like to switch back to the Latin
alphabet. They reason that studying in the so-called ³Moldovan language² might
close a lot of doors to Transdniestr students, since the Dniestr republic is
the only (unrecognized) country where this form of language is used. (6)
pravda website, 10 Nov 04 via (www.pravda.com.ua).
website, 4 Nov 04, via (www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/11/04/rubl).
website, 04 Nov 04, via (www.charter97.org/rus/news/2004/11/04/referendum).
(5) Moldova Azi, 3 Nov 04 via (www.azi.md/news?ID=31572).
(6) Moldova Azi, 2 Nov 04 via (www.azi.md/news?ID=31554).
By Elena Selyuk (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A month and a half ago, Kazakhstan held elections for the
Majlis (lower house). The polls resulted in an overwhelming majority for
President Nursultan Nazarbaevıs Otan
party, and a significant achievement for his daughter Dariga Nazarbaevaıs Asar party. However, according to the OSCE as well as
Kazakhstanıs opposition parties, the election was characterized by massive
fraud and voter intimidation. (1)
Immediately after the results were published, Ak Zhol and Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan announced that they had filed suit with the Kazakh
Supreme Court to reverse the outcome. (2) Several weeks later, the two parties
announced that they were holding consultations regarding a possible merger. The
purpose of such a venture might be to propose a joint candidate to stand
against Nazarbaev in presidential elections slated for early 2006. (3) It is
possible that the exiled former Prime Minister, Akezhan Kazhegeldin,
Nazarbaevıs vocal critic is preparing to propose himself as a candidate. (4)
Most recently, on 27 October, the leadership committee of Ak
Zhol held a news conference in which it
proposed that a nationwide referendum be held in order to challenge the
election results. The committee, including Altynbek Sarsenbayev and Bolat
Abilov, proposed six questions for the Kazakh people, regarding general reforms
of Kazakhstanıs political system. The question pertaining to the elections
asked: ³Do you deem it necessary to find the elections to the Majlis of
parliament unlawful and to initiate new elections?² (5)
Although President Nazarbaev probably expected attacks from
opposition parties, it is likely that dissent from within his own Otan party was surprising and unexpected.
On 14 October, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, the Speaker of
house, and Deputy Chairman of President Nursultan
Nazarbaevıs Otan party, published an open letter in Vremya, in which he claimed that the elections had
witnessed ³massive violations of votersı rights.² (6) Several days later, on 18
October, Tuyakbai held a press conference, during which he resigned as Speaker.
During the press conference, Tuyakbai stated that Nazarbaev should find the
election result ³illegitimate² and order new elections are held. (7)
On the Presidentıs behalf, Yermukhamet Yertsbayev, President
Nazarbaevıs spokesman and adviser, was quick to respond to these attacks.
Speaking to the newspaper Respublika on
22 October, Yertsbayev stated that Tuyakbaiıs comments should be viewed as
nothing more than ³political provocation and treason,² and intimated that
Tuyakbai was working at the instigation of former Information Minister Altynbek
Sarsenbayev, rather than being impelled by his own convictions. (8)
Early this month, on November 3, Nazarbaev addressed the
newly-elected Majlis deputies. Nazarbaev told the house that he was ³convinced²
that confrontations between the various branches of government would serve only
to slow the reform process. (9) He added that ³you have heard and are hearing
all the thoughts and opinions regarding parliamentary elections I believe that
from now on, you will be responsible yourselves for your words and deeds.² (10)
In the context of recent events, this statement surely must be viewed as a
warning, rather than as an attempt at conciliation. It is clear that Nazarbaev
and those loyal to him are becoming increasingly concerned because the furor
over the elections has not subsided. Therefore, they are attempting to
terminate discussion of the polls so that they can move forward with their
plans for ³reform,² (11) consolidation of power, (12) and the establishment of
Nazarbaevıs daughter as successor once the President chooses to retire.
On 26 October, President Askar Akaev gave his traditional
annual address to the people and parliament of Kyrgyzstan. Akaevıs speech
focused on the lead-up to next yearıs Presidential and parliamentary elections.
He stated that as a result of the events of 1991, Kyrgyzstan had made an
³abrupt turn from authoritarianism to democracy.² (13) Akaev noted that the
Kyrgyz media have a responsibility to ³strengthen statehood² instead of
provoking ³civil conflict² (14) during the forthcoming elections. Finally, the
President promised that he would ensure that these elections would be in
³complete conformity with the Constitution of the country and Elections code.²
President Akaevıs comments are of interest, not least
because of his own position. Under the Kyrgyz constitution, as it currently
stands, he is forbidden from running for the Presidency again. As yet, no clear
candidate to replace him has emerged, and until this point Akaev has stated
that he will not run again. At the same time, there is a movement under way in
Southern Kyrgyzstan, under the auspices of a public fund called ³Elim uchun,
elim menen² (for the people, together with the people), which is collecting
signatures to allow Akaev one more term in office. (16) At this point, it is
not clear whether the ³fund² is a cover organization designed to gauge the
publicıs mood on Akaevıs behalf, or whether it is, in fact, a grassroots
organization set up legitimately by private citizens.
Kyrgyzstanıs opposition groups have also been active in
recent weeks. A new group has emerged in the wake of last monthıs local council
elections. Led by former Foreign Minister Muratbek Imanaliev and former Finance
Minister Sultan Meredov, the group, calling itself New Direction has stated that its goals are the ³revamping of
government,² as well as the removal of corruption from politics in Kyrgyzstan.
(17) As yet, the group has not announced any Presidential ambitions. The
absence of an announcement now however, does not rule out the possibility that
the group may propose a candidate in the coming months.
Another opposition party, the Popular Patriotic Movement has begun gathering signatures for the impeachment
of President Akaev. (18) The group claims that the initiative has been started
because of Akaevıs failure to remove from office the head of the Central
Election Commission (Sulaiman Imanbaev) for not preventing violations during
the October local council elections. (19)
These activities on the oppositionıs part make clear that it
does not trust President Akaevıs declared intentions to step down. It remains
to be seen whether it is correct in that assessment.
(1) See NIS
Observed: An Analytical Review Volume IX Number 16 (15 October 2004).
(2) See NIS
Observed: An Analytical Review Volume IX Number 17 (28 October 2004).
Interfax-Kazakhstan in Russian, 1320 GMT, 27 Oct 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1027 via
World News Connection.
Insight, 19 Oct 04 via (www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/archives/eav101904_pr.shtml).
(8) Respublika, 22 Oct 04; BBC Monitoring via ISI Emerging Markets
Partner Post from RFE/RL, 6 November 04 via (www.eurasianet.org/departments/civilsociety/articles/pp110604_prshtml).
Interfax-Kazakhstan in Russian, 0541 GMT, 3 Nov 04; FBIS-SOV-2004-1103 via
World News Connection.
(12) See NIS
Observed: An Analytical Review Volume IX Number 16 (15 October 2004)
News, 26 Oct 04 via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
Newsline-Transcaucasus & Central Asia, 27 Oct 04 via ISI Emerging Markets
News, 26 Oct 04 via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
News, 29 Oct 04, via ISI Emerging Markets Database.
Newsline-Transcaucasus & Central Asia, 1 Nov 05 via ISI Emerging Markets
Newsline-Transcaucasus & Central Asia, 1 Nov 04 via ISI Emerging Markets
By Fabian Adami (email@example.com)