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Russia Report: January 21, 2002


21 January 2002, Volume 2, Number 3
FOREIGN POLICY
RUSSIA AND NATO: THE BEGINNING OF A NEW RELATIONSHIP?
Russia's unprecedented willingness to seek closer ties with the West has left European and American officials wondering what to make of Moscow's apparent change of heart, and how to respond. President Vladimir Putin has suggested in recent months that Russia is prepared to radically reassess its relationship with Cold War arch-enemy NATO, and appears to accept the possibility the organization may soon expand into the Baltics. Putin has also offered the European Union opportunities for closer security and political cooperation. And contrary to expectations, Moscow barely reacted when the United States announced its withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty -- long a source of contention between the two countries.

Russia's changing relationship with the West was the subject of a two-day seminar held last week in Brussels. Participants at the seminar, organized by the Center for European Policy Studies, seemed to agree that the shift in Russian attitudes has finally made the Cold War a thing of the past. There was some debate, however, over whether the shift is sustainable.

Dmitri Trenin, deputy director of the Carnegie Center in Moscow, calls Russia's sudden willingness to establish closer ties with the West the result of strategic calculations aimed at modernizing Russia. This strategy, he says, has led Putin to "let go" of the Cold War and seek integration. Putin, Trenin adds, wants to be seen as one of the great modernizers in Russian history. According to Trenin: "What Putin did was to start bringing his foreign and security policy in harmony with [a] 'Russia project' at home. I would submit [that] nothing is more important to Mr. Putin than to relaunch the Russian economy. He may not be known in the future as a great democratizer of Russia. In the order of his priorities, that is certainly not the highest [priority]. But he wants to be known, I think, as the guy who relaunched the Russian economy -- restructured it."

To achieve this, says Trenin, Putin has made a rational decision to -- as he put it -- "move the United States out of the way" and plead "no contest" in the Cold War in order to close that chapter of history and enable Russia to freely embrace the new global economy. Trenin says this does not mean Putin should be seen as "pro-American," despite his apparent tolerance of NATO expansion and the scrapping of the ABM Treaty. According to Trenin, the focal point in integrating Russia into the broad Euro-Atlantic political and economic structures is the European Union. Integration into Europe will be a long-term project but one which will not lead to Russia's membership in the European Union, at least not in the foreseeable future. But it should result in a close economic, security, and political partnership.

Again, says Trenin, this ambition should be viewed as a domestic initiative, a result of Putin's drive to radically modernize Russia: "When one talks about Russia's integration with Europe, I think one has to make it very clear -- above all in Russia -- that what we're talking about is not a foreign policy proposition. Russia's entry into Europe will not be the result of a deal made in Moscow and Brussels. It will be 95, 97, 98 percent made at home. It's the extent of Russia's 'Europeanization,' the depth and breadth of Russia's economic transformation, social restructuring, political [and] legal evolution that will turn Russia eventually -- and I believe it will -- into a European country."

Trenin says Putin's modernization drive is supported by the fact that both the elites and the wider public in Russia are beginning to give up the illusion that there is a uniquely "Russian way" to develop.

In Trenin's view, Putin's line is domestically sustainable and "sufficiently protected against adverse international political conditions," and the West should reward it by granting Russia closer institutional links.

Trenin's belief in the sustainability of Putin's reforms is shared by Angela Stent, director of the Center for Eurasian and Russian Studies at Georgetown University in the United States. But Stent notes that misgivings still exist in certain Russian military and policy circles.

She says a lot will depend on how the West compensates Russia for concessions made by Putin: "There are a number of ways in which the U.S. hopes to encourage Russia's greater integration -- if you like, globally, but also into Euro-Atlantic structures -- and some of these are on the economic side. The United States is now pushing for accelerated WTO [World Trade Organization] membership for Russia -- something that the EU has also endorsed. We're finally getting rid of Cold War legislation, the Jackson-Vanik amendment that tied most-favored-nation status for Russia to emigration policies. The United States is encouraging its business community to become more involved, to invest more in Russia, but obviously that's a longer-term process."

Stent says core security relations between the United States and Russia, especially arms control, remain a "more complicated issue." The U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty was followed by an "in principle" agreement with Russia on cutbacks of nuclear warheads, but now disagreement has erupted over numbers. Stent indicates it is in the global interests of the United States that both NATO and the EU forge closer links with Russia. She says avoiding regional divisions is a major U.S. concern. Stent says: "The one area where there is concern as one looks to the future, and this includes the EU and NATO, is the possible effect of the dual enlargements on the wider Europe: Russia, but some of the other countries in the post-Soviet space -- this is a term I know some people don't like, but for want of a better word -- and also in Southeastern Europe. I think the concern in general is that these dual enlargements not create new divisions within Europe [between] the prosperous 'have' countries -- the ones who are in, full members of these institutions -- and the ones who are not, who have associate membership, who have different forms of association with both institutions."

Stent says the United States would "probably welcome" Russia's involvement in the EU's nascent defense project, although there is considerable skepticism in Washington over whether the EU is willing to commit the necessary resources to make a success of the undertaking.

Dmitri Trenin echoed Stent's comments, saying both the EU and NATO should set up concrete institutional structures to allow for practical cooperation with Russia. He says the twice-yearly EU-Russia summits should become a permanent EU-Russia Council, overseeing the implementation of joint decisions with special emphasis on "soft security." He says special emphasis should be given to cooperation in the EU's "eastern neighborhood." The EU and Russia could also embark on joint peacekeeping missions in the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. However, says Trenin, Chechnya would remain off-limits for foreign military involvement, although the EU could still perform a useful role promoting economic and social rehabilitation there.

With regard to NATO, Trenin suggests the alliance should become the main forum of European-Russian security relations. He says that far from withering away, the recent British proposal to involve Russia in NATO could give the alliance a special role in enlarging the "zone of stable peace in Europe."

The only European representative at the Brussels seminar, Stephan de Spiegeleire, a researcher with RAND Europe, is the most skeptical about forging permanent institutional links with Russia. He says many governments in Europe are not convinced the new Russian policy is sustainable and fear a backlash if the Russian public finds Western concessions disappointing. This, de Spiegeleire says, could lead to a reversal in Russian security thinking, bringing with it recriminations that would "probably be even more virulent than in previous episodes like German reunification or the first round of NATO enlargement."

De Spiegeleire says existing mechanisms of cooperation have not been used to their full potential, and the EU should stick to its policy of slow, organic integration. Arguing against "conjunctural" impulses to change this long-term strategy, he says the EU's low-level engagement reaches "into the fiber of the Russian society and polity in a way that no other external actor could currently come close to." (Ahto Lobjakas)

POLITICAL INDEX
POLITICAL CALENDAR
21 January: Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov to visit Moscow

21-23 January: Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to visit Spain and Portugal

22 January: The Russian Constitutional Court will hear two challenges from Chavash Republic President Nikolai Fedorov contesting federal laws allowing the president to dismiss the head of the federation subjects and dissolve regional parliaments

22-24 January: Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev will visit Moscow, according to Turan on 4 January

23 January: Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kavan will visit Moscow

24 January: Russian cabinet to meet to discuss the Railways Ministry's draft investment program

25 January: Unified Energy Systems board of directors to meet and discuss the restructuring of the company

27 January: Presidential elections in North Ossetia

28-29 January: Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel to visit Russia

28-29 January: Deputy Foreign Minister Georgii Mamedov and U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton to hold consultations in Washington, D.C. on the reduction of strategic offensive weapons

29-30 January: International conference on "Globalization and the Trade Union movement in Russia in the 21st Century" will be held in Moscow

30 January: State Council to meet and discuss the role of physical education and sports in the formation of a healthy way of life for Russians

31 January: Prime Minister Kasyanov to arrive in Washington, D.C.

February: Newly established committee for financial monitoring will begin work, according to Finance Minister Kudrin on 1 November

1 February: Deadline by which government will have prepared its strategy for cooperation with the World Bank

1 February: Fast-track, three-day visas for entry into Russia for citizens of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Britain, Switzerland, and Japan will become available, according to "The Moscow Times" on 19 December

1-2 February: Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov to visit Munich to attend international conference on security problems along with his U.S., German, and British counterparts, ITAR-TASS reported

6-9 February: Spain's Crown Prince Felipe to visit Moscow and St. Petersburg

13 February: Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien will visit Moscow

23 February: New state holiday honoring "Defenders of the Fatherland"

26 February: All-Russia conference on the Russian Regions and the WTO to be held in Moscow

8 March: International Women's Day

17 March: Tuva Republic will hold presidential elections

24 March: By-elections to be held in single-mandate district in Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Okrug for State Duma seat vacated by Aleksandr Ryazanov, who went to work for Gazprom

March-April: Russia will issue up to $2 billion in Eurobonds, according to Vneshekonombank head Andrei Kostin on 15 November

end of March: CIS Interparliamentary Assembly will hold its 19th plenary session

April: Unified party of Unity and Fatherland to officially register as a political party

April: The St. Petersburg Dialogue, a Russian-German forum, will hold its second conference in Weimar, Germany, according to ITAR-TASS

April: Gubernatorial elections in Penza Oblast

7 April: Presidential elections in Ingushetia

22 April: State Duma will hold a hearing on the buying and selling of agricultural land, according to Interfax on 17 January

May: Foreign ministers of NATO countries and Russia will meet in Reykjavik

19 May: By-elections to be held in Altai Republic for State Duma seat left vacant by newly elected Altai Republic President Mikhail Lapshin

19 May: Gubernatorial elections in Smolensk Oblast

28 May: Russia-EU summit to be held

31 May: CIS summit to be held in Chisinau, Moldova

June: Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit to take place in St. Petersburg, ITAR-TASS reported

June: Baltic State Council meeting to be held in St. Petersburg

June: Government will have drafted a federal program for putting Russia's armed forces on a professional basis, according to Prime Minister Kasyanov on 7 December

June: Russia and the U.S. will have drafted an agreement on radical cuts in strategic offensive weapons, according to Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on 18 December

9 June: Repeat elections for legislature of Primorskii Krai

26-28 June: Group of Seven summit to be held in Canada

9-16 October: All-Russia census

26-27 October: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to be held in Las Cabos, Mexico

7 November: Day of Reconciliation and Agreement.

A NEW BREED OF LOBBYIST/LEGISLATORS.
As the Federation Council convened in its new form last week, the large number of businessmen-senators, and even oligarch-senators, drew much attention, raising concerns that the legislators-businessmen will be engaged more in promoting the particular interests of their business or industry than that of their respective region (see "RFE/RL Russian Political Weekly," 14 January 2001). While such fears may be justified, the new businessmen-legislators should find themselves in good company, since their counterparts in the lower legislative also engage in "lobbying." Last December, "Versiya" in its issue number 49 published the results of an informal survey it conducted of State Duma deputies, their assistants, and journalists who cover the Duma. The report suggests that there are a number of Duma deputies who often act on the behalf of specific industries or economic interests. For example, according to the weekly, Andrei Skoch (People's Deputy) "promotes the interests of the metals industry and particularly those of the Novy Oskol ore combine." And Vladimir Dubov [Fatherland-All Russia (OVR)], a former YUKOS executive, reportedly lobbies for the interests of the oil industry.

Other members, at least according to "Versiya," promote a broader range of interests. For example, Yurii Maslyukov, a former deputy prime minister, is considered the second most influential legislator in the State Duma, and he reportedly presses the cause of the military-industrial complex, road construction firms, and Udmurtia, from which he was elected. Vladimir Reznik is supposedly the most influential, even though he does not head either a faction, deputy group, or committee. According to the weekly, he is from St. Petersburg, and is friends with Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin and Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov.

While lobbyists are usually thought of as persons outside of the government, trying to influence people inside, "Versiya" appears to conflate the two ideas. The legislators whom it identifies as lobbyists might also be thought of as influence peddlers, whose specialty is not setting the political agenda but arranging government subsidies. Both Reznik and Maslyukov, along with the other three men listed in the top five of the ranking below, are reportedly capable of arranging subsidies of hundreds of millions of dollars. In terms of raising subsidies, the Budget Committee is clearly the place to be. Of the committee's 11 deputy chairmen, seven are listed below among the Duma's top 20 "lobbyists." And the chair of the committee, Aleksandr Zhukov, is considered the third-most-influential legislator in the lower legislative house. According to the weekly, the second tier of "lobbyists," beginning with deputies such as Vladimir Katrenko, can arrange subsidies only worth tens of millions of dollars. (Julie A. Corwin)

The Duma's Top "Lobbyists"

1. Vladislav Reznik, Unity, deputy chair, Information Policy Committee
2. Yurii Maslyukov, Communist, chair, Committee for Industry, Construction, and High Technology
3. Aleksandr Zhukov, Russian Regions, chair, Budget Committee
4. Gennadii Kulik, OVR, deputy chair, Budget Committee
5. Vitalii Shuba, Russian Regions, deputy chair, Budget Committee
6. Vyacheslav Volodin, OVR leader
7. Georgii Boos, OVR, former federal tax minister
8. Oleg Morozov, Russian Regions leader
9. Gennadii Raikov, People's Deputy leader
10. Nikolai Daikhes, Communist, deputy chair, committee on health and sports
11. Vladimir Katrenko, Unity, chair, Energy Committee
12. Mikhail Zadornov, Yabloko, deputy chair, Budget Committee
13. Ashot Yegiazarjan, LDPR, deputy chair, Budget Committee
14. Oksana Dmitrieva, independent, deputy chair, Budget Committee
15. Aleksandr Shokhin, People's Deputy, chair, Committee on Credit Organizations and Financial Markets
16. Sergei Shtogrin, Agro-Industrial group, deputy chair, Budget Committee
17. Vladimir Dubov, OVR, member, Budget Committee
18. Andrei Skoch, People's Deputy, member, Committee for Industry, Construction, and High Technology
19. Vladimir Pekhtin, Unity leader
20. Valerii Galchenko, People's Deputy, deputy chairman, Budget Committee


Source: "Versiya" no. 49, December 2001, duma.ru

...AND PLAN FOR NEW SESSION.
According to ITAR-TASS on 16 January, during this session deputies plan to consider 93 new legislative initiatives. Fifteen are from the president, 33 from the government, three from the Federation Council, and 42 from individual deputies. Presidential envoy to the State Duma Aleksandr Kotenkov said that several more laws outlining reforming the pension system will be submitted as well as additional law reforming Russia's court system. According to Kotenkov, a law on the trade in arable land will likely be approved during this spring session. JAC

Legislation

Name of Law_____________Date Approved_______# of Reading

Criminal Code______________16 January______________1st
(Article 329, Russian hymn)

Criminal Code______________16 January______________2nd
(Article 37)

COMINGS & GOINGS
TRANSFERRED: Rear Admiral Valentin Kuznetsov, chief of the directorate for international treaties at the Defense Department, will become Russia's military representative to NATO, "Novye izvestiya" reported on 17 January. Kuznetsov will replace Colonel General Viktor Zavarzin, who had been in that position for four years. Kuznetsov started out in army intelligence and speaks several foreign languages, according to the daily. Meanwhile, Russia's Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mikhail Konarovskii, 57, is being reassigned to Afghanistan, Interfax reported on 17 January. According to ITAR-TASS, Konarovskii is an "expert in Afghan affairs" and before his posting to Sri Lanka, worked as a deputy head of the Foreign Ministry's Second Asian Department.

IN: Aleksandr Kuznetsov has been appointed first deputy Railways minister, "Vedomosti" reported on 15 January. Kuznetsov is a former first deputy presidential envoy to the Northwest federal district. According to the daily, Kuznetsov was President Putin's personal choice.

IN: Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov appointed Dmitrii Mazepin and Svetlana Parshukova first deputy and deputy chairs, respectively, of the Russian Fund for Federal Property, polit.ru reported on 15 January. Mazepin is former general director for Kuzbassugel, while Parshukova was a former deputy at the fund in 1997.

OUT: Duma deputy (Unity) Vladimir Lushin died, Russian agencies reported on 17 January. Lushin, 58, was deputy chairman of the Defense Committee. He was elected to the Duma in 1999 by the Fatherland-All Russia's party list.

OUT: Four deputies -- Viktor Pokhmelkin, Sergei Yushenkov, Yulii Ryabkov, and Vladimir Golovlev -- left the Union of Rightist Forces faction on 14 January. The next day, Boris Nadezhdin was elected first deputy faction leader replacing Pokhmelkin.

STATE DUMA
DEPUTIES DEFEND NATIONAL ANTHEM...
State Duma deputies met for the first time in 2002 on 16 January. After an exhausting end to the last legislative session, deputies turned their attention to legislation that could not be considered landmark. For example, they approved in the first reading a bill that amends the Criminal Code making insulting use of the Russian national anthem a criminal offense. According to Interfax, the bill was opposed by deputies in the Union of Rightist Forces and Yabloko factions. Deputies also approved a bill in the second reading which also amends the Criminal Code, specifically Article 37. The bill, authored by Igor Artemiev and Sergei Ivanenko of Yabloko, attempts to clarify situations in which a citizen can act in self-defense. JAC

NEW SENATORS GATHER FOR FIRST MEETING.
The Federation Council met for the first time on 16 January composed only of members selected under the new rules, and 15 new members were confirmed, including a former cabinet minister, Aleksandr Dondukov. Dondukov, a former minister for industry and science, will represent Belgorod Oblast Governor Yevgenii Savchenko. Another new senator is Yurii Ponomarev, the general director of the cellulose plant Pitkyarant, who will represent Karelia's legislature. According to polit.ru, only 16 spots remain vacant. Among its first actions, senators voted to adopt a bill tightening restrictions on the sale of alcohol in the Far North. They also approved bills recently passed by the Duma, including the law on martial law, an amendment to the law on leasing, and the law on the all-Russia census. JAC

Legislation____________________________Date Approved

On state regulation of the__________________16 January
production and sale of alcoholic products

On martial law__________________________16 January

On leasing______________________________16 January

On the all-Russia census____________________16 January

FEDERATION COUNCIL
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