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  • Author: Andrei Ryabov
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Not too long ago, the analysts studying the development of the Russian political process under Vladimir Putin attached foremost attention to efforts aimed to formulate the political priorities of Russia's second president and to ascertain his vision of the way the nation should develop. The actions and decisions made by Putin were analyzed primarily from that angle. For a long time, that way of analyzing today's Russian politics was regarded as perfectly operational: it is common knowledge that the political system in Russia is monocentric and the president is the principal political agent whose position largely determines the character and the thrust of political change. However, the two years that have elapsed since Putin's rise to power have compelled many experts to revise their attitudes. The reason is that despite the occasional changes in the system of government institutions made by the second president of the Russian Federation and his announcement of a continued market-oriented reform, what lies ahead remains uncertain. There are still doubts about the firmness of the stabilization attained under Putin, while the influence wielded by most of the key Russian political actors who arose back in Yeltsin's times has not diminished whatsoever. In this connection it has even been said that, in the final analysis, Putin will have to return to the policy pursued by his predecessor.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Alexei Malashenko
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Despite the interest for Islam in Russia, for the Islamic factor in the country's domestic and foreign policy, and despite the growing number of publications on the subject, the Russian Muslim community remains largely a thing in itself, an enigma. In other words, there are more questions than answers here.
  • Topic: Government, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Louise Shelley
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: The globalization of the fruits of Russian organized crime and corruption have affected Russia's international image and undermined state capacity. The departure of illicitly gained billions quickly diminished the capacity of even a once formidable power. It deprived Russia of the resources it needs to rebuild the state infrastructure, service its debts and pay the salaries and pensions of its citizens. The failure of a former superpower to meet the basic needs of its citizens has served as a powerful lesson to the international community. This occurred, in part, because those who controlled the state's capital could move money abroad in enormous amounts and great rapidity.
  • Topic: Government, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Virginie Coulloudon
  • Publication Date: 08-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University
  • Abstract: One of the main difficulties in examining corruption both under the Soviet regime and in post-Soviet Russia lies in its definition. Ever since Yurii Andropov launched systematic anticorruption campaigns in the late 1970s and raised the level of awareness of this social disease, all Soviet and Russian leaders have emphasized the necessity of eradicating corruption without really clarifying what particular phenomenon they had in mind. When analyzing Russian corruption, one is surprised to see how many forms it takes: from rule evasion and bribe taking to rent-seeking, abuses of power, embezzlement, bureaucratic extortion, and insider dealing. Adding to this already complex picture, the causes of such infringements of the law and endemic corruption are perceived differently in different contexts – whether under the Soviet regime or in post-Soviet Russia, or if such actions were motivated by the necessity to survive in an economically and politically hostile environment or merely by a thirst for personal gain.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Judyth L. Twigg
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Aspen Institute
  • Abstract: It has become routine for Russian policy makers to characterize their various health and social problems—rising male mortality, HIV/AIDS, illegal drug use, even pension system reform—as threats to the stability and national security of their country. Russia's importance to American national interests was thrown in sharp relief by the events of September 11 and their aftermath. A stable, prosperous Russia is a crucial partner in the war on terrorism. The fact that so many of Russia's health and social indicators remain stagnant or in decline, despite limited improvement along some dimensions, should therefore be troubling to the United States.
  • Topic: Government, Health, Human Welfare, Science and Technology, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Duncan DeVille, Danielle Lussier, Melissa Carr, David Rekhviashvili, Annaliis Abrego, John Grennan
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Russian support for U.S. efforts in the war on terrorism has surprised many Western observers. But this was not the only recent surprise from Moscow — Western advocates for the rule of law in Russia also had much to celebrate in the closing months of 2001. Under strong prodding by President Vladimir Putin, the Duma passed several impressive pieces of reform legislation, including an entirely new Criminal Procedure Code, a potentially revolutionary land reform law, new shareholder protections in amendments to the Joint Stock Company Law, and the first post-Soviet Labor Code.
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Moscow
  • Author: Ilias Akhmadov
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Observers of the situation in Chechnya know that the "prospects for peace" that Akhmadov's title refers to are virtually nil, as Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chechen rebel leaders continue to lock horns on how to end the hostilities that broke out in war over two years ago. Akhmadov devoted considerable time in his discussion to the problems confronting Chechnya since the development of a Bush-Putin alliance to combat "Islamic fundamentalism." He also challenged Putin's insistence that the conflicts in Chechnya are domestic and therefore not subject to international monitoring or mediation. Akhmadov opened his talk with the assertion that the destruction he had discussed at the Davis Center in January 2000 had grown more serious, with levels of physical devastation and civilian casualties on the rise and the world community more supportive than ever of armed Russian intervention. To illustrate his point that the Russian Federation is unfairly using the international war on terror to justify actions in Chechnya, Akhmadov said that two days after FBI agents found diskettes containing flying instructions which had belonged to the terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the US, Russian FSB agents reported finding similar diskettes belonging to Chechen terrorists in the woods near a pilot-training school. Akhmadov considered the presence of such a school in those woods unlikely. He added that a high casualty rate among Chechen civilians is now officially connected to the search for members of Al Qaeda. Akhmadov reminded the audience of a speech made by Putin on September 24, 2001, in which the Russian president expressed support for the United States' war on terror and urged Chechen rebels to disarm and abandon their separatist fight. Akhmadov's response to that speech was that disarmament could not be a condition for starting peace talks. As for the November meeting between Viktor Kazantsev, Putin's envoy to Chechnya, and Akhmed Zakayev, a prominent representative of Chechnya's rebels, Akhmadov said it "left no room for illusions about their relations, or about the Russian government's position on Chechnya." The talk ended when Zakayev refused to comply with Kazanstev's request that the rebels disarm. Akhmadov addressed allegations of ties between the rebels and Osama bin Laden in the question-and-answer session, restricting himself during his talk to criticism of what he considers unwarranted BBC and CNN reports about the "thousands of Chechens fighting in Afghanistan." While Akhmadov allowed for the possibility that a few Chechens could be fighting for the Taliban, he stressed the unlikelihood that Chechens played a critical role in Taliban efforts and reported that nobody yet had been able to provide any "concrete facts to verify that Chechens are fighting for the Taliban." Putin's affirmations that Chechnya belongs to Russia apparently strike Akhmadov as oxymoronic, as indicated by his remark that "the Russian Federation wants to integrate the territory of Chechnya but not the people." To convey the extent of destruction wrought by the Chechen-Russian conflicts, Akhmadov cited data culled by Russians showing that before the first war in 1994, there were 1 million Chechens; 100,000 people were killed between 1994-6; that casualty figure has been greatly exceeded during the fighting that started in 1999. In addition, 400,000 Chechens have emigrated or become displaced persons. Akhmadov pointedly remarked that "we don't count as refugees, because that only happens during a war . . . What is happening in Chechnya is, according to Russia, 'a small, minor anti-terrorist operation.'"Finally, Akhmadov stated that impartial monitoring groups were needed to observe the conflict. He also asserted that a one-on-one dialogue with Russians was not a realistic solution and that intermediaries were needed to promote discussion between Russian and Chechen leaders. Following his prepared talk, Akhmadov replied to questions from the audience about issues including Chechen rebel fighting in Abkhazia, hostage-taking, and Russian bombing of civilian and industrial areas. In response to a question about Maskhadov's ability to rebuild the war-torn region, Akhmadov said that "neither Maskhadov nor any other Chechen can do anything with Chechnya's meager resources." He also said that the international community should aid Chechnya in future attempts to rebuild the war-torn republic and that visiting Ground Zero in New York had given him the "feeling that I had seen that [kind of devastation] somewhere before, only on a larger scale." Finally, Akhmadov answered an audience member's question about Russian and Chechen military strategy by saying that it was hard forhim to believe that "someone is sitting at a map plotting points . . . We're [Russians and Chechens] just killing each other . . . Russians see us, they kill us, and vice versa. It's a snowball effect."
  • Topic: Security, Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Thomas E. Jr. Graham
  • Publication Date: 05-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: For much of the first decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the issue of reform—of transition to free-market democracy—dominated discussions of Russia in Russia itself and in the West. Russian president Boris Yeltsin advocated reform; Western governments declared their support and offered their assistance. This was particularly true of the U.S. government. President Clinton's administration came into office in 1993 determined to assist Russia in its transformation into “a normal, modern state—democratic in its governance, abiding by its own constitution and by its own laws, market-oriented and prosperous in its economic development, at peace with itself and the rest of the world,” as deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, the chief architect of the U.S. administration's Russia policy, was wont to put it.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since U.S. President George W. Bush's 24 June 2002 statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Palestinian reform has emerged as a key ingredient in Middle East diplomacy. In his statement, the president publicly identified “a new and different Palestinian leadership” and “entirely new political and economic institutions” as preconditions for the establishment of a Palestinian state. In early July, the Quartet of Middle East mediators (the European Union, Russian Federation, United Nations, and United States) established an International Task Force for Palestinian Reform “to develop and implement a comprehensive reform action plan” for the Palestinian Authority (PA). The September 2002 statement by the Quartet underscored reform of Palestinian political, civil, and security institutions as an integral component of peacemaking. The three phase-implementation roadmap, a U.S. draft of which was presented to Israel and the Palestinians by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State William Burns in October, provided details on this reform component.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East, Israel, Palestine, Arabia, United Nations
  • Author: Raymond Struyk, Douglas E. Whiteley
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: The objective of this paper is to introduce the concept of mortgage default insurance as developed in the United States into the context of Russian mortgage lending. The first part of the paper discusses the broad principles and operations of mortgage default insurance offered by private companies as it works in the United States. The pricing of this product and the preconditions for offering such insurance are highlighted. The second section outlines the operation of the U.S. government-supported default insurance offered by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The final part applies the foregoing information to the situation in Russia today and concludes that the conditions necessary for launching mortgage default insurance do not currently exist in the country. Nevertheless, there are a number of essential actions that can and should be taken over the next several months to put Russia on the road to establishing such insurance in a few years. The paper finishes with a possible action plan for the next two years.
  • Topic: Development, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia