Michael McFaul says Russian President Boris Yeltsin's decisions regarding the hostage crises in Chechnya and changes in his government reflect his new strategy as he runs for a second term as president, and the success of Yeltsin's strategy will depend upon how the war in Chechnya unfolds.
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In basketball, "finishers" are the ones that win. Anyone can make a good move to the basket, but finishers make a good move and make the basket. Many teams in the American NBA are good for three quarters, but finishers are those teams that play best in the fourth quarter. The Chicago Bulls are finishers; the Orlando Magic are not.
On 17 December 1995, Russian voters elected representatives to the Duma, the lower house of parliament. For the first time in the thousand-year history of Russia, these elections were held under law, as scheduled, and without serious fraud or falsification. Though the balloting occurred in the dead of winter, was only for one house of the parliament, did not include a presidential election, and was confused by the participation of 43 parties, nonetheless an amazing 65 percent of eligible voters turned out.
In this book, distinguished U.S. and Russian scholars analyze the great challenges confronting post-Communist Russia and examine the Yeltsin government's attempts to deal with them. Focusing on problems of state- and nation-building, economic reform, demilitarization, and the definition of Russia's national interests in its relations with the outside world, the authors trace the complex interplay between the Communist legacy and efforts to chart new directions in both domestic and foreign policy.
Western analysts have become increasingly alarmed with Russia's assertive foreign policy -- in both the economic and the political/strategic spheres -- toward the new states of the former Soviet Union. Many have cited Russia's military interventions in Georgia, Tajikistan, and Moldova as signals of Russia's new imperialist designs. Russian policy toward the Baltic states has also spurred alarm.
Despite the alarmist cries in the West over the outcome of Russia's election on Sunday, the overall balance in Parliament between the Communists and nationalists, on one hand, and the broad reformist middle, on the other, will not change.
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After Chechnya, many analysts predicted that Russia's flirtation with democracy was over. However, the process leading up to the parliamentary vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's government last week suggests that the future of Russia's fragile democracy may not be so bleak. In fact, the so-called governmental crisis of the last two weeks has demonstrated that respect for the democratic process by Russian politicians is greater now than perhaps at any time in Russian history.
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On December 10, 1994, Russian president Boris Yeltsin ordered Russian armed forces into the Republic of Chechnya. For eight weeks thereafter, the Russian military waged a poorly organized but brutally destructive assault on the Chechen capital of Grozny.
The neoliberal economic and political models used by Western analysts to explain Russia's recent transformation ignore the interrelationship between the economy and politics. Russia is in the midst of a social revolution. Economic reform without political reform-as attempted by Yegor Gaidar-will fail. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's policies have met with some success because of accompanying political changes. This interrelated pattern of reform must continue.
In January 1992 Russia's first postcommunist government launched a comprehensive economic program to transform the Soviet command system into a market economy. Privatization was and remains the heart of this plan. The original program had a clearly defined objective, namely, to create profit-seeking corporations, privately owned by outside shareholders and not dependent on government subsidies for their survival. As of two years later, however, this objective had not been achieved.
Since 1992, the CISAC Defense Conversion Project has been working with the Moscowbased Impuls. Impuls is a medium-sized firm with expertise in control microdevices for the military, such as control heads for guided bombs and detection equipment for various weapon systems. Currently Impuls is working aggressively to break into several commercial high-technology markets.
Given the privileged position of the military-industrial complex in the old Soviet order, many have asserted that the military-industrial complex would be most resistant to radical economic reform. As the coddled employees of the Soviet state, we should expect directors and workers of military enterprises as well as their ministerial superiors to fear liberalized prices, commercial markets, and privatization.
Presidential Decree No. 1400 issued September 23, 1993, fundamentally altered the course of Russia's political transition. Debilitating polarization during the two years before between President Boris Yeltsin's government and parliament had resulted in the virtual collapse of the Russian state. As Yeltsin explained when he announced the decree: "All political institutions and politicians have been involved in a futile and senseless struggle aimed at destruction. A direct effect of this is the loss of authority of state power as a whole..."
The Russian privatization program has been heralded as the crown jewel of Russia's economic reform. While other aspects of Russia's economic reform have been less successful, privatization has continued unimpeded throughout the first two years of economic reform. On paper, Russian privatization appears to be more successful than any other government privatization program in history. By January 1994, 90,000 state enterprises were privatized.
The papers in this volume are revised versions of presentations made by the authors at a conference on economic reform in Russia, which was held at Stanford University on November 22 and 23, 1993. Professor Kenneth Arrow from Stanford chaired the conference, which was sponsored by the university's Center for International Security and Arms Control ( CISAC), under the auspices of its project on Russian defense conversion, and by the Moscow-based Institute for the Economy in Transition.
The first of its kind to focus on the concept of world security, this comprehensive collection offers nineteen original essays written by renowned scholars. Now in its third edition, World Security: Challenges for a New Century tackles the most significant challenges to world security in the post-Cold War era, giving a thorough and dynamic introduction to contemporary global issues. Completely revised to address the dramatic changes in the global arena, the third edition features eleven new essays and the addition of new discussion questions after each essay.
The demise of communism in the Soviet Union could not have occurred without the activism of dissident, anticommunist leaders who created a climate that gave ordinary Russians the courage to stand up to and defeat communist control. But with communism ousted, what new form of government and what new leaders will emerge in Russia, a society that has never known democracy?
During the most recent Russian-American summit in Vancouver, Canada in April 1993, President Clinton announced a major new initiative to assist Russia's transition to a market economy. In discussing how to aid the process of Russia's economic reform in ways of mutual benefit to both the United States and Russia, both President Yeltsin and President Clinton underscored the importance of promoting the conversion and privatization of state enterprises of the Russian military-industrial complex.
Far fetched? Of course. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? No. The chances of
fascist dictators seizing power in Russia are still slight. In a Las Vegas
casino, the odds would still firmly be with Boris Yeltsin.1 Yet, the specter
of Russian dictatorship is real and growing at a frightening pace.
Meanwhile, American engagement, and Western involvement more
generally, has come under sharp criticism by both Russian nationalists and
even Russian liberals who vested their political careers on their ability to