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DEMOCRACY IN RUSSIA IS THE CAUSE OF ITS MASSIVE DEMILITARIZATION, NOT A WEAK ECONOMY
Leon Aron, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, The Weekly Standard, April 20, 1998: Pg. 23, HEADLINE: THE REMARKABLE RISE OF DEMOCRATIC RUSSIA , acs-VT99

Russia's epoch-making choice to disarm is the result of democratization, not of a weak economy, as is often suggested -- as if insecurity, hatred, wounded honor, messianic fervor, and a dictator's will did not regularly override economic considerations in determining the priorities of nations. The shrinking of Russia's armed forces is due to the loosening of the state's grip on the economy and to the new constraints imposed on imperialism, aggression, and brutality by public opinion, a free press, and competitive politics. The public's pressure to end the war in Chechnya is a case in point. Slow to bestow on Russia its other blessings, democracy has already made high defense expenditures and imperial adventures difficult to sustain.


RECENT CHANGES IN RUSSIA HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY SHIFTS IN PUBLIC OPINION
Matthew Wyman, Prof. of Politics at Keele University [UK], 1997, PUBLIC OPINION IN POST COMMUNIST RUSSIA, p. 238 , acs-VT99

However, the disjunctions between public opinion and Government policy have, as yet, had less dramatic implications than the emergence of fascism. Clearly it was possible to govern without popular support for many policies for a period of time, but the continuing pressure for a moderation of economic policy and for a somewhat more authoritarian form of political leadership was finally reflected in the changes to the composition of the Russian Government after the December 1993 elections.


BARRIERS PREVENT RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY FROM MATURING
RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY IS BETTER THAN IT WAS, BUT HAS FAR TO GO TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE RUSSIAN PEOPLE
Grigory Yavlinsky; Russian economist and the leader of Yabloko, a democratic, reformist political party, Foreign Affairs, May, 1998 / June, 1998; Pg. 67, HEADLINE: Russia's Phony Capitalism acs-VT99

In sum, Russian democracy still has a long way to go. True, elections are held, freedoms are respected, parties exist, and the media express divergent views, but such minimum democratic institutions exist in both Latin American and Western democracies. Russia is better off with its imperfect institutions than without them, but they do not yet properly reflect the people's needs and will.


RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY CANNOT FUNCTION EFFECTIVELY BECAUSE IT LACKS A REAL OPPOSITION
Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation, August 11, 1997; Pg. 24; HEADLINE: The other Russia: Moscow glitters, the economy collapses, the army rumbles. acs-VT99

Russia lacks an effective opposition. Under strong pressure from more radical activist, the leadership of the Communist Party, which remains by far the largest and best organized in the country, has called from a nationwide "political strike" in the fall, but many observers doubt its resolve. Since losing the presidential election to Yeltsin last year, its leader, Gennady Zyuganov, has repeatedly prevented a parliamentary vote of no confidence in the government, despite the efforts of two otherwise dissimilar young leaders of smaller opposition parties in the Duma -- the liberal democrat Grigory Yavlinsky and the nationalist Sergei Baburin. Nor have any effective opposition leaders emerged outside the Moscow political establishment. A television blackout has largely muffled the anger roar of GEn. Aleksandr Lebed, and trade union officials seem unwilling to mobilize their membership fully.


RUSSIAN MEDIA IS NOW UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE ECONOMIC OLIGARCHS
Grigory Yavlinsky; Russian economist and the leader of Yabloko, a democratic, reformist political party, Foreign Affairs, May, 1998 / June, 1998; Pg. 67, HEADLINE: Russia's Phony Capitalism acs-VT99

The Russian media also earns a mixed review. On the one hand, Russians have a variety of news sources from which to choose. Opposition newspapers exist, and journalists are free to do investigative reporting and write their own opinions. The November book payment scandal, where senior members of Yeltsin's economic team were revealed to have accepted $ 500,000 for writing a book on privatization, first broke in the Russian media. Political leaders appear on programs like Hero of the Day and Itogi to explain their views to the people. Even so, in the past two years the media has become entirely controlled by the oligarchs, who are part of the government and use their editorial boards and programmers to promote their own selfish agendas.


THE PROBLEM IS LAW IN RUSSIA -- IT IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY
Victor Sergeyev, Moscow State Institute for International Relations, 1998; THE WILD EAST: Crime and lawlessness in post-communist Russia, p. 115-116 , acs-VT99

And hardly any proof is needed that real administrative activity in the USSR and present-day Russia is to a great extent the practice of defying law. One can easily observe the Communist practice of violating constitutionally stipulated civil rights or the recent practice of ignoring the legislative activity of Russia's representative power under the pretext that the laws adopted are "Impracticable" (a ready example is provided by numerous ill-fated laws and decrees concerning the restoration of individual savings depreciated through the economic reform of 1992). And with a dossier being kept on every "criminal i zed" bureaucrat that could be used to dismiss and perhaps even repress him/her at any time, it is much easier for political leaders to, ensure obedience on the part of the bureaucracy.


UNIFYING SOCIAL CONCEPTS AND SYMBOLS ARE LACKING IN RUSSIA TODAY
Bertram Silverman & Murray Yanowitch, Profs. of Economics Hofstra Univ., 1997; NEW RICH, NEW POOR, NEW RUSSIA: Winners and losers on the Russian road to capitalism, p. 136137 , acs-VT99

Confusion with and disaffection from market reforms is exacerbated by another important aspect of the devolutionary process: the breakdown of important social symbols and values. Unlike the great revolutions of the past, the discredited ideology of Soviet communism has not given birth to a more compelling sense of purpose toward which society is moving. The idea of an open society - the appeal to freedom from the oppressive constraints of the state --- is an important force for modernization. 16 But it does not answer the question, Freedom for what?


THE RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT (DUMA) IS WITHOUT REAL POWER IN RUSSIA
Judith Matloff, Chicago Sun-Times, March 24, 1998, Pg. 6, HEADLINE: Politics as usual in Russia acs-VT99

The Duma is basically a fangless institution, however, and the dismissals seemed to be more a product of Yeltsin's manipulation of his own inner circle, analysts said.

THE CURRENT YELTSIN REGIME WAS NOT DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED
RECENT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN RUSSIA WERE FIXED
Gennady Zyuganov, chairman Communist Party of Russia, member of parliament, 1997; MY RUSSIA: a political autobiography, p. 180 . acs-VT99

According to the norms accepted in the entire civilized world, the recent presidential elections in Russia cannot be considered democratic, equal, or honest. From the very start, candidates found themselves in unequal situations. The entire state machine worked for the incumbent President who also received huge financial support including donations from very dubious sources. Numerous instances of open attempts to pressure voters and to falsify election results were noted. We have initiated approximately one hundred criminal cases involving flagrant violations of the election laws.


THE CURRENT RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION WAS PASSED IN A TOTALLY RIGGED ELECTION
Gennady Zyuganov, chairman Communist Party of Russia, member of parliament, 1997; MY RUSSIA: a political autobiography, p. 18 acs-VT99

Today we know enough to state that in December 1993 the Constitution was adopted as the result of a fraudulent addition of nine million ballots to the tally. This fact was confirmed by the published results of an American electronic-intelligence data survey which has not been challenged by the central authorities nor by the Election Commission. Unfortunately this can no longer be checked because all the documents have been destroyed.


YELTSIN’S ACTIONS TO DISSOLVE THE SOVIET UNION WERE EXTRA-CONSTITUTIONAL
Stanislav Menshikov, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Monthly Review, October, 1997; Pg. 49; HEADLINE: Revolution from Above: The Demise of the Soviet System; acs-VT99

The real anticonstitutional coups were on Yeltsin's part, first in December 1991 when he (together with the Ukraine's Kravchuk and Shushkevitch from Belarus) illegally dissolved the Soviet Union, and then the October 1993 tank assault on the Russian parliament (the "White House," as it was then called) and the arrest of its leaders. Once again, the latter episode demonstrates the largely anticapitalist composition of the first Russian parliament. Real democracy was introduced in Russia before Yeltsin came to power. I visited the White House many times and still recall the spontaneously free democratic spirit which reigned in that body. It was like inhaling fresh air as compared to the predominantly procapitalist propaganda in most of the progovernment media.


ARGUMENTS THAT DEMOCRACIES STAY OUT OF WARS HAVE BEEN DISPROVEN ON MANY LEVELS
Stephen M. Walt, professor of political science University of Chicago, Foreign Policy, March 22, 1998; Pg. 29; HEADLINE: International relations: one world, many theories; acs-VT99

It is therefore ironic that faith in the "democratic peace" became the basis for U.S. policy just as additional research was beginning to identify several qualifiers to this theory. First, Snyder and Edward Mansfield pointed out that states may be more prone to war when they are in the midst of a democratic transition, which implies that efforts to export democracy might actually make things worse. Second, critics such as Joanne Gowa and David Spiro have argued that the apparent absence of war between democracies is due to the way that democracy has been defined and to the relative dearth of democratic states (especially before 1945). In addition, Christopher Layne has pointed out that when democracies have come close to war in the past their decision to remain at peace ultimately had little do with their shared democratic character. Third, clearcut evidence that democracies do not fight each other is confined to the post-1945 era, and, as Gowa has emphasized, the absence of conflict in this period may be due more to their common interest in containing the Soviet Union than to shared democratic principles.

TRANSITION FROM YELTSIN’S RULE IS THE CRITICAL ISSUE IN THE FUTURE OF RUSSIA
WHEN YELTSIN DIES ALL HELL WILL BREAK LOOSE IN RUSSIA
Ariel Cohen; Senior Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation, Heritage Foundation Reports, April 6, 1998; Pg. 28, HEADLINE: WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP? WHAT KIND OF RUSSIA? acs-VT99

Business concerns allied with presidential candidates are busily acquiring newspapers, radio stations, and TV channels while security services are using eavesdropping against members of the government to acquire compromising materials for their political enemies. When Boris Yeltsin dies or steps down, all hell will break loose. And while I hope that the players will understand that following the path of law and the constitution in the minefield of Russia's politics is in their interest, no one can be certain that this is what will happen. The high courts of Russia have not yet established themselves as the guarantors of the constitution and the rule of law.


THE POLITICAL STABILITY OF RUSSIA IS TOTALLY DEPENDENT ON YELTSIN’S TENURE IN OFFICE
Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation, August 11, 1997; Pg. 24; HEADLINE: The other Russia: Moscow glitters, the economy collapses, the army rumbles. acs-VT99

Every political figure we met -- liberal, Communist and nationalist, as they are somewhat misleadingly typecast in the Western media -- agreed that the country's fragile political stability rests largely upon Yeltsin's tenure in office, but no one knew the real state of his health.


IF YELTSIN DIES, THERE WILL BE A DISTURBING POWER VACUUM
Fred Coleman, USA TODAY, April 6, 1998, Pg. 1A, HEADLINE: Who's running Russia? Even aides say he works few hours, lacks focus acs-VT99

Chernomyrdin was fired, Russian analysts say, for becoming a presidential rival. They say Kiriyenko, a former banker in government for less than a year, was chosen because he won't be a political threat to Yeltsin. Critics say he is too inexperienced for the prime minister's job.

If Yeltsin dies in office, Russia's constitution says the prime minister becomes interim president and must call elections within four months.
YELTSIN'S HEALTH ISSUES HAVE REPLACED DECISION MAKING WITH JOCKEYING FOR POWER
F. Stephen Larrabee & Theodore Karasik, National Defense Research Institute, 1997; FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICY DECISIONMAKING UNDER YELTSIN, p. 3, acs-VT99

Yeltsin's health problems have aggravated these problems. His long absences have encouraged political infighting and jockeying for power among his chief aides. As a result, the decisionmaking process has been chaotic and confused, and various bureaucratic players have often been able to impose their own special interests on the foreign policy agenda.


YELTSIN IS STRONG AND IN CONTROL
YELTSIN HAS SHOWN THAT HE IS THE STRONGEST POLITICAL FIGURE IN RUSSIA
Daniil Osmolovsky. Kommersant-Daily, April 25, 1998, pp. 1, 3. Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press, May 27, 1998; Pg. 4, HEADLINE: Kiriyenko Wins Confirmation on Third Try acs-VT99

In obtaining the State Duma's approval of his nomination of Sergei Kiriyenko for the position of Prime Minister, Boris Yeltsin has proved that he is still the country's strongest political figure. For that very reason, his main task now will be to make the most constructive use of his colossal constitutional powers.


YELTSIN IS CONSISTENT AND LOGICAL -- HE INTENDS TO REMAIN IN CONTROL
Pavel Felgenhauer, defense and national security affairs editor of Segodnya, The Moscow Times, March 26, 1998, HEADLINE: DEFENSE DOSSIER: Yeltsin's Stagnation Politics , acs-VT99

Yeltsin may seem deceptive and unpredictable, but his actions are always consistent with his overall determination to accumulate and keep power. Personal connections and merit mean nothing when a minister or an aide become a potential threat.


SOMETHINGS DON’T CHANGE -- YELTSIN IS THE BOSS
ARIEL COHEN, PH.D., AND EVGUENII VOLK, Heritage Foundation,, Heritage Foundation Reports, April 6, 1998; Pg. 1, HEADLINE: YELTSIN'S GAMBIT: POLITICAL CRISIS IN MOSCOW acs-VT99

Despite the dramatic changes in Russia's political field, some important aspects remain the same. Most conflicts between the United States and Russia lie in the realm of foreign policy and security: the supply of missile technology and nuclear reactors to Iran, support of Iraq, close cooperation with China, and the failure of the communist- dominated State Duma to ratify the START II arms control agreement. All of these policies are sanctioned by Boris Yeltsin and need to be taken up with him. Even in his frailty, Boris Yeltsin remains the true boss of Russia.


CURRENT LEVEL OF PRESIDENTIAL AUTHORITY IN RUSSIA SEEMS TO HAVE WORKED VERY WELL
Daniil Osmolovsky. Kommersant-Daily, April 25, 1998, pp. 1, 3. Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press, May 27, 1998; Pg. 4, HEADLINE: Kiriyenko Wins Confirmation on Third Try acs-VT99

The gist of the proposals that are being heard most often now is that the Constitution should be revised to limit the President's powers. However, four years under the 1993 Constitution have demonstrated the workability and effectiveness of the present model of presidential authority -- even when the President himself was physically unable to perform his duties. . . .


YELTSIN’S PRESIDENCY HAS BEEN A TRIUMPH
YELTSIN HAS BEEN ABLE TO ALLOW DEMOCRACY TO TRIUMPH
Carl Linden, Prof. Intl. Affairs George Washington Univ., 1997; RUSSIA AND CHINA ON THE EVE OF A NEW MILLENNIUM, p. 100- 10 1 , acs-VT99

Regardless of the future, Yeltsin's rise as leader -of the movement for a democratic Russia in seeming defiance of all odds and his staying power in dire circumstances have been little short of astonishing. From the time of his entrance onto the political stage in the mid-1980s he survived a series of lethal challenges from various adversaries. Without him the democracy movement would probably have come to a halt soon after the death of Andrei Sakharov. Within a period of a little more than two years after his national election as President of Russia, Yeltsin parried the attack of two sets of coup leaders and delivered a riposte that brought them down. The coup attempts in August 1991 and in October 1993 were counterrevolutionary and aimed at restoration in some form of empire in the former Soviet territories.


YELTSIN HAS BEEN ERRATIC, BUT HAS ALSO BEEN A POWERFUL FORCE FOR GOOD AND FOR PEACE WITH THE NEAR ABROAD
Fred Hiatt, editorial page staff of The Washington Post, The Moscow Times, April 11, 1998, HEADLINE: Perils of Disengagement , acs-VT99

In this context, it's important to remember that Yeltsin, erratic as he is, has been mostly a force for good - for helping his compatriots understand that the 14 other former Soviet republics are not Russian suzerainties. Russia could destabilize all these nations - by withholding gas and oil, by military threat, by encouraging ethnic Russians to make trouble. Yeltsin has played those cards, but far less than he might have. At home, he has stocked his government with Jews, ethnic Germans and others perceived in Moscow as "non -Russian."


YELTSIN HAS OVERCOME HEALTH AND ALCOHOL PROBLEMS
YELTSIN HAS OVERCOME HEALTH CHALLENGES
Dmitry Zaks, The Moscow Times, December 30, 1997, HEADLINE: Russia's Biggest Stories of 1997 acs-VT99

Russia's wild year seemed to end much as it began - with Yeltsin shuttling between work and the hospital.

Despite some daunting medical problems, Yeltsin met his biggest challenge for 1997: He managed to stay alive, keeping communist and nationalist rivals safely outside the Kremlin and reformers on the inside.
ALCOHOL HAS NOT MADE YELTSIN VULNERABLE, HIS RECORD SHOWS THAT
EDITORIAL; The Press (Christchurch). March 27, 1998; Pg. 4; HEADLINE: Upheaval in Moscow , acs-VT99

Drinking may have blunted his wits, but it has not dented his durability. Sacked from Communist Party posts in 1987, he was elected to the Russian parliament two years later. In 1991, when hardliners launched a half-hearted coup against the then Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, it was President Yeltsin who called Russians to resistance. His victory ended communist rule in Russia and led to the collapse of the Soviet Union four months later.


YELTSIN HAS NOT LOST HIS MARBLES
Lisa Hoffman, Scripps Howard News Service, The Patriot Ledger , March 24, 1998; Pg. 01, HEADLINE: Cleaning Russia's house ; Russian upheaval may be dramatic gesture acs-VT99

-- Has Yeltsin lost his marbles?

Probably not. This is not the first time the mercurial leader has upended his government. Last March, for instance, he eliminated several ministries and ousted more than a dozen ministers.
YELTSIN IS AS FIT AS A FIDDLE
Alexei Pushkov, Russian Press Digest, April 3, 1998, HEADLINE: Sergei Kiriyenko And "Big Eight"SOURCE: NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA, p. 6 acs-VT99

No one is going to deny that Yeltsin looked fit as a fiddle last week when he launched the big shake-up, and then received a number of leading foreign statesmen. In fact, at times, it seemed that Yeltsin was his former strapping self.


YELTSIN WAS THE STAR OF THE G-8 CONFERENCE -- HE IS WELL AND IN CONTROL
DEBORAH ANNE PALMIERI, Journal of Commerce, August 29, 1997, Pg. 8A, HEADLINE: Russia's productive summer acs-VT99

On the foreign affairs front, Russia's performance was no less impressive. The Group of 7 largest economies at their Denver summit for the first time since 1975 included Russia as an equal participant. President Yeltsin stole the show with his statesmanlike demeanor, and his delegation displayed unexpected professionalism.


YELTSIN WILL NOT BE A LAME DUCK PRESIDENT
Judith Matloff, Chicago Sun-Times, March 24, 1998, Pg. 6, HEADLINE: Politics as usual in Russia acs-VT99

Since his 1996 heart surgery, several illnesses have forced Yeltsin to take time off, and he often bounces back by strengthening his position with a political juggling act such as firing ministers.

The latest surprise occurred just days after Yeltsin returned to work on Friday after being ill for several days.

"This is consistent President Yeltsin behavior," said one diplomat. "Yeltsin is doing everything he can to show that he is not a lame-duck president, short of announcing his candidacy for 2000."


YELTSIN WILL FINISH HIS TERM IN SPITE OF AGE AND HEALTH
EDITORIAL; The Press (Christchurch). March 27, 1998; Pg. 4; HEADLINE: Upheaval in Moscow , acs-VT99

President Yeltsin is now 67. For all of his often wayward governance and extended absences, he apparently remains determined to complete his second term. Those who thought him finally ready to accept health and age constraints have again been surprised.


YELTSIN HAS STOPPED DRINKING SO MUCH
Dmitry Zaks, The Moscow Times, December 30, 1997, HEADLINE: Russia's Biggest Stories of 1997 acs-VT99

His doctors say Yeltsin no longer goes on wild boozing sprees.


YELTSIN AND CLINTON HAVE AN EXCELLENT WORKING RELATIONSHIP
YELTSIN AND CLINTON HAVE A CLOSE AND PRODUCTIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIP
JIM MANN, Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1998, Part A; Page 5; HEADLINE: Clinton's Call-Boris Policy Still Vital but Has Its Limits acs-VT99

So on the surface, at least, it's back to business. Remarkably, the Boris-and-Bill show just keeps on running. Between the two of them, the presidents of the United States and Russia survive elections, coup attempts and scandal. Their personal attributes are often open to question; their tenacity is not.

In the view of the administration, the warmth between Clinton and Yeltsin remains a crucial element of American foreign policy --one that can help determine the outcome of issues ranging from North Atlantic Treaty Organization expansion to Russia's help for Iran.
CLINTON WORKS MORE CLOSELY WITH YELTSIN THAN ALMOST ANY OTHER WORLD LEADER
John F. Harris; Washington Post Service, International Herald Tribune (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), May 5, 1998, Pg. 1 HEADLINE: Clinton Under Pressure to Test Bond With Yeltsin // acs-VT99

Rejecting charges of high-level inattention, White House officials say Mr. Clinton talks with Mr. Yeltsin more than he does with any foreign leader except Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain and that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright talks more frequently with Foreign Minister Yevgeni Primakov of Russia than with any of her other counterparts.


YELTSIN’S GOVERNMENT SHAKE UP (APPOINTING KIRIYENKO) WAS A SUCCESS
YELTSIN’S GOVERNMENT SHAKE UP WAS A SUCCESS
David McHugh Staff Writer, The Moscow Times, May 13, 1998, HEADLINE: President Applauds Primakov's Policy Line // acs-VT99

On Monday, U.S. President Bill Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, said that Yeltsin "made a gamble and won" when he suddenly dismissed his Cabinet in March, launching the country into a monthlong government crisis. Berger said that the new prime minister, Sergei Kiriyenko, had formed "probably the most reformist government in seven years of Russian democracy," The Associated Press reported.


KIRIYENKO IS WELL ABLE TO BE PRIME MINISTER OF RUSSIA
JIM MANN, Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1998, Part A; Page 5; HEADLINE: Clinton's Call-Boris Policy Still Vital but Has Its Limits acs-VT99

Talbott heaped praise on Russia's new acting prime minister, Sergei V. Kiriyenko, who is only 38 years old and has only a year of government service in Moscow.

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