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  • Author: Vladimir Mochalov
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces
  • Abstract: Following the disintegration of the USSR, there was no decrease in the total length of the Russian border in comparison with that of the Soviet Union (more than 60'000 km²). The number of bordering countries rose from fifteen to sixteen. Furthermore, 13'500 km² of new boundaries were created. This figure represented a fifth overall length of the border). Yet, the new boundaries were not formalised in legal terms, they were not appropriately equipped and, in fact, lacked border guard control.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union
  • Author: Luigi Manzetti
  • Publication Date: 11-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The North-South Center, University of Miami
  • Abstract: In December 2001, Argentina recorded the world's largest default ever, as it failed to honor payments on its US$132 billion foreign debt. Since then, five presidents have been in power, the Argentine peso has been devalued by 120 percent, and the banking system has virtually collapsed, dragging the economy into a depression. The gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 16.3 percent in the first quarter of 2002. Argentina's per capita income has become one of the worst in Latin America, and, as a result, more than one-third of its people live under the poverty line. 1 Argentines' confidence in their elected officials has disappeared. By most accounts, the country has literally imploded to a degree that has no precedent in Latin America's contemporary history. This is particularly bewildering, considering that only 10 years ago Argentina was hailed around the world as a model of successful economic reforms, with standards of living that were not only the highest in the region but comparable to those of some southern European countries. How could Argentina go from role model to international outcast so quickly? Some place the blame on external shocks created by the financial crises in Mexico (1995), Indonesia (1997), Thailand (1998), and Russia (1998). Others say the cause of the problem was misguided policy advice from the International Monetary Fund (Stiglitz 2002). Yet, most analyses ascribe much of the trouble to the Convertibility Law's fixed exchange rate policy adopted in 1991.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Indonesia, Argentina, South America, Latin America, Mexico, Thailand
  • Publication Date: 09-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Moscow will continue to devote scarce resources to maintaining its nuclear forces. Nevertheless, the aging of Russia's strategic systems and Putin's military reform plan to shift resources to the general purpose forces probably will result in Russia having fewer than 2,000 strategic warheads by 2015. Even with ongoing reductions, Moscow probably will retain several thousand nonstrategic nuclear warheads in its inventory because of concerns over its deteriorating conventional capabilities.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Andreas Umland
  • Publication Date: 06-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper uses some findings of research into non-Russian civil societies and ultra-nationalisms as well as selected examples of non-party Russian right-wing extremism to illustrate that the relative decline in radically nationalist party politics towards the end of the 1990s should not be seen as an unequivocal indication that „anti-liberal statism“ has lost its appeal in Russia. It also attempts to show that the considerable diversification in the non-governmental, not-for-profit sector of Russian society since the mid-1980s cannot be regarded as exclusively beneficial in terms of Russia's polyarchic consolidation, and further democratization. Not only is a Russian „civic public“ or „civic community“ developing only slowly. Some of the more significant preand post-Soviet groups, movements, and trends within the Russian voluntary sector are unsupportive, or explicitly critical of liberal democracy. A number of major non-state institutions and networks in Russian society contain ultra-nationalist, fundamentalist, and, partly, protofascist sub-sectors that question using the construct „civil society“ to designate them. These organizations' or groupings' primary function is less — or not at all — to enhance peoples' inclination and ability to participate effectively in political activities that could promote further democratization. Instead, they provide — sometimes expressly so — a medium for the spread of radically particularistic world views, ascriptive notions about human nature, and illiberal or/and bellicose political ideas, as well as an organizational training ground for potential political activists holding such ideas.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Government, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Michael McFaul, Timothy J. Colton
  • Publication Date: 06-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A NEW NARRATIVE ABOUT POST -S OVIET R USSIA is taking hold in policy, media, and academic circles and shows signs of entrenching as a new conventional wisdom. By this reading, Russia's experiment with democracy has flat-out failed. So misconceived and mismanaged were the political and economic reforms of the 1990s that they have fueled mass disenchantment with democratic norms and brought authoritarianism back into repute. Russians, in short, are said to be giving up on democracy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Adam Jones
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
  • Abstract: The progress of the Russian press in the late Soviet and post-Soviet eras can be described (with apologies to Vladimir Lenin) as "two steps forward, on step back." The flowering of glasnost (openness) under Mikhail Gorbachev le to a "golden age" of Soviet journalism, including an explosion of new publications and a lifting of nearly all state restrictions on journalists' professional activities. However, the collapse of the USSR and the onset of material crisis in 1991-92 quickly produced a winnowing of the press and a retrenchment on the part of surviving publications. At the same time, powerful new forces - especially oligarchs and regional and leaders - arose to vie with the state for influence over post-Soviet media. This paper explores the trajectory of one of the leading newspapers of the Soviet and post-Soviet period, Izvestia, in the light of those broader trends. While Izvestia emerged from the ashes of Soviet communism with formal control over its material plant and journalistic collective, it was soon subjected to a tug-of-war between powerful actors determined to control its destiny - first the Communist-dominated Duma (parliament), and then large corporations and business oligarchs. The struggle led, in 1997, to the dismissal of the paper's editor. Oleg Golembiovsky, and the departure of many staff to form Novye Izvestia (New Izvestia) - though this publication too, was also unwilling or unable to avoid the temptations of a close alliance with one of the leading oligarchs, Boris Berezovsky. The findings are place in the broader comparative context of the press in transition, based on the author's research into process of media liberalization and transition worldwide.
  • Topic: Cold War, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Raymond J. Struyk, L. Jerome Gallagher
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: A hallmark of the administration of social assistance under the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe and the USSR was the universal nature of eligibility for benefits, either to all citizens or to categories of deserving citizens, e.g., the physically handicapped. During the transition period since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has taken limited steps to improve the targeting of benefits. The challenge to improvement is acute because the administration of the great majority of programs rests with agencies of local government. The question addressed here is how amenable local program administration is to improved targeting and more progressive program administration in general. Presented is an analysis of the results of assessments of two pilot programs implemented in two Russian cities in 2000–2001. The “school lunch pilot” introduced means testing in the school lunch program on a citywide basis; eligible families receive cash payments and all children pay the same price for their lunches in cash. The “jobs pilot” is a new, local means-tested program that provides cash support to families while unemployed workers search for work; continued receipt of funds is conditional on a minimum job search effort. We find that both programs were successfully implemented and that there was little resistance to the sharper targeting. On the other hand, a variety of problems with program administration were identified—problems that need to be addressed if program integrity and credibility are to be maintained.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Richard W. Bulliet, Fawaz A. Gerges
  • Publication Date: 10-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Columbia International Affairs Online
  • Abstract: For several months prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, a videotape calling Muslims to a holy war against forces described as Crusaders and Jews circulated underground in the Arab world. Produced on behalf of Osama bin Laden and prominently featuring his image, words, and ideas, the tape is designed to recruit young Arab men to journey to Afghanistan and train for a war in defense of Islam.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Government, International Cooperation, International Law, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: U.S. Government
  • Abstract: Both the number and intensity of humanitarian emergencies, as well as the number of people in need, will remain at about the same high level or even increase somewhat by December 2000- testing the capacity and willingness of the international donor community to respond adequately. According to the US Committee for Refugees, roughly 35 million people are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. There are twenty-four ongoing humanitarian emergencies and new or renewed emergencies could appear in the Balkans, Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, and/or Central America. Humanitarian conditions throughout the former Yugoslavia, Haiti, Iraq, and North Korea will continue to have a particularly significant impact upon regional stability, as well as on the strategic interests of major outside powers. Conditions are likely to worsen in Angola, Colombia, Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Republic of Serbia within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), excluding the province of Kosovo. The current drought in the Horn of Africa may induce a famine as severe as that of the mid-1980s. The humanitarian situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DROC) and Sierra Leone are unlikely to improve significantly even if pending peace accords hold, and could worsen considerably if such accords were to fail. In addition to the emergencies cited above, several other major countries and regions may experience conflict, political instability, sudden economic crises, or technological or natural disasters- leading to new or renewed humanitarian emergencies: Resumed hostilities between India and Pakistan that expanded beyond the borders of Kashmir, as they did in previous conflicts, would displace a million or more people on both sides of the border. The countries of Central America and the Caribbean that were battered by hurricanes in 1998- especially Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, and Haiti-remain vulnerable to weather-induced disasters. Internal ethnic conflict would create substantial humanitarian needs in The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The possibility of additional sudden economic emergencies also cannot be discounted. In Russia, drought threatens the grain harvest, and unless the outlook improves, Moscow will again need large-scale food assistance. Despite Nigeria's turn toward democracy, escalating conflict in the oil-rich Niger River Delta region could lead to widespread refugee flows into neighboring countries. The possible effects of widespread Y2K-related difficulties could aggravate current humanitarian emergencies or lead to new emergencies. The overall demand for emergency humanitarian assistance through December 2000 may exceed the willingness of major donor countries to respond. Overall funding for ongoing emergencies has probably temporarily spiked upward owing to Hurricane Mitch and Kosovo. Nevertheless, the focus on the Balkans could detract attention and resources from other regions with extensive humanitarian needs. Absent major new emergencies, the longer-term funding trend is likely to continue downward, increasing the shortfall. Government funding is likely to decline fastest for long-lasting conflicts where attempts at political resolution continue to fail.
  • Topic: Genocide, Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Balkans, Central America
  • Author: Nina Khrushcheva
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: One goal of Russia's economic reforms during the last ten years has been to establish a new class of businessmen and owners of private property—people who could form the foundation for a new model post-Soviet citizen. However, the experience of this post-communist economic “revolution” has turned out to be very different from the original expectations. For as people became disillusioned with communism due to its broken promises, the words “democracy” and “reform” quickly became equally as unbearable to large sectors of the Russian public after 1991. Such disillusion was achieved in less than ten years—a record revolutionary burnout that would be the envy of any anti-Bolshevik.
  • Topic: Communism, Democratization, Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union