Created: 1/5/1994

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CMficr ol Slavic and Eurasian Analysis


MDTE FOR: Deputy Director for Intel ligeriCG


houghtful piece by IHssssPssssssssHhought you might

find interesting, jhas sent it toouple of working level contacts.)







Thanks, it was indeed interesting and thought provoking. end to the "suspicious agnosticisn" approach on this one.

Doug MacEachin

cMIYrs II)


Odon'a Assessment of Russian Poli< Toward the New Independent States

question of "what ths Russians are up to",the other former Soviet republics, has become ain the discussion of Russia's future and itsthe west, zhirinovskiy's success in the recentenhanced the topicality of this question. It isthat, over the past year, Russian policy toward theStates (NTS) has evolvedore Russia has sought to strengthen theIndependent States"sed economic leverage toconcessions, vigorously asserted the right tointerests of the Russian minority population in the NIS,

Elllfll tried to dominate the mediating rols in conflicts among rnpnber states and between them and ethno-territorialthem, and sustained orussian Military

presence along the southern tier in Moldova, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. What lies behind this assertiveness; what does

influential school of thought amongholds that we areecrudescenceRussian imperialism. Generalour through Central Asia and thehis former NSC boss, ZbignicwbegunPaul Goble among the vocal advocates of this position.major article in The Washington Posteneral Odom asserted that:

The Russian government has boon pursuing two different foreign policies over the past year: iberal, "Westernizing" policy toward the US, Europe, and East Asia;mperialist policy toward the

UIIHIIJcHlim "near abroad."


ilcMIYrs IUI



EousiiRiicMirn IUI

SUBJECT: General Odom's Assessment of Russian Policy

Toward the New Independent States

The liberal line, "centered in the Foreign Ministry, and supported by liberal reformers around President Borisas been losing outtruggle with the neo-imperialists, centered in the Ministry of

The driving force motivating the Slavophiles has been the "yearning for empire."

The evidence indicative of such motivation consists of MOO entanglement of Russia on the side of the old communists in the civil war in Tajikistan, covert intervention in and manipulation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and Abkhazian conflicts to reestablish Russian control in the Caucasus,complex and duplicitous" strategy for breaking Ukrainian independence throughussian military enclave on Ukraine's southwest borderh Army in the "Trans-Dniesterhallenging Ukrainian "control" of the Black Sea Fleet, manipulating the Ukrainian oil supply, instigating strikes in the Donetsk region, and using "diplomatic pressure to get Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons which remain under Russian control."

The acceptance by Yel'tsin of neo-imperialism toward the NIS represents an alliance with the Devil to gain military support for himself, and to protect his domestic equities of political reform {the Constitution) and marketization.

3. Some of the main propositions that General Odom advances are basically wrong. The evidence strongly suggests that there have not been two distinct Russian foreign policies for the "far abroad" and "near abroad." On the contrary, much of what Andrey Kozyrev and other top officials in the MFA were doing3 was precisely to seek Western acceptance of and support for the activist "southern" strategy. Indeed, Kozyrev himself has taken the lead in promoting "peacekeeping" on CIS territory, sometimes out in front of theacknowledging that only Russia can or will provide the bulk of the military force required for this mission. He has repeatedly endorsed Russian military action inmove seen by some liberals outside the Government aa leadingew "Afghanistan."

By the saae token, the Russian milita fit the "neo-imperialist" mold.

l"1IYrs (I)

SUBJECT: General Odoa's Assessment of Russian Policy Toward the New Independent States



Nor does the evidence sustain the argument that Yel'tsin gave way reluctantly to "the military" or was forced toore robust line toward the NIS just to protect his flanksthough there was such sentiment in the Russian parliament. Yel'tsin himself propounded the key principle that it was Russia's duty to "guarantee stability" in the CIS, he was an early advocate of strengthening the Russian military presence in Tajikistan, and his behavior on many other issues throughout the year was thoroughly consistent with personal commitment to the firm line toward the NIS.

elements of Russian behavior are alsoreconcile with General Odom's thesis:

Russia is in fact withdrawing its military forces from the Baltic states, and is simply trying to use its ever-diminishing leverage to strike aseal as possible.

The Russian leadership (including Yel'tsin personally) opted decisively3 against creationenuine "joint" CIS armed force, in favor of the eventual creation (albeit with Russian assistance) of individual NIS armies.

Tho Russian Government has repeatedly expressed its commitment to the principles of peaceful settlement of disputes, territorial integrity, and no border changes in the CIS, and it forthrightly condemned the Russian parliament's attempt unilaterally to subordinate the city of Sevastopol in Crimea to Russia.

The Russian Government has sought to gain UN, CSCE, and other international involvement in the resolution of

SKcMIYri conflicts on CISthat aimperialist power would not have tolerated, much

less solicited.

some Russian leadership attitudes and behaviorbe viewed as compatible with the In particular:

SUBJECT: General Odom's Assessment of Russianthe New Independent States pJ^pMf^pH


On the "emotional" side, many members of the current Russian political elite are not convinced that the splintering of the Soviet republics that took place in1 was inevitable. Almost all probably believe that the breakup of the Union was highly undesirable. And all the topespeciallyon record as detecting anderceived accelerating trend toward "integration" of the CIS states

All the top Russian leaders have talked casually about modalities of close future association among the CIS states or have otherwise publicly used language in politically incorrect ways that, non-Russians say,entality irretrievably afflicted with Great Russian chauvinism.



Russian insistence on observance of the principles of

maintenance of the territorial integrity of CIS states, autonomy for ethno-territorial minorities (like the Russians in the Dniester region, Abkhaz and Ossetians in Georgia, Karabakhtsy in Azerbaijan,now, but perhaps sometime in thein eastern Ukraine and northernnd peaceful settlement of disputes implicitly callsussian military presence to manage conflicts between such minorities and the dominant ethnic groups in other CIS states. Insistence on these principles by Russia couldfrom some host states' (Moldova, Georgia) standpoint alreadyto justify an unnecessary Russian military presence and greater minority autonomy than the situation warrants.

A broad spectrum of Russian leaders, including Grachev and Kozyrev, referred openly3 to Russian geopolitical

SUBJECT: General Odom's Assessment of Russian Policy Toward the New Independent States


economic "interests" in the other CIS states, and have sought enhanced Russian influence there.

Russia repeatedly brought economic pressure to bear on other NIS3 to promote political or economic aims.

8. ey issue in evaluating General Odom's thesis is th< quostion of Russian security. Critics of his position would argue that it ignores the massive security problems and challenges to Russia's legitimate interestsreat power that Russian leaders confrontery toughhese familiar problems include:

The problematic statehood and durability of some of Russia's CISpotential for what Kozyrev has called "Somalia-ization."

The vulnerability of the ethnic Russian minority on the one hand to discrimination, and on the other hand to crisis-provoking extremist mobilization.

Serious potential spillover effects into Russia of conflict between dominant ethnic groups and ethno-territorial minorities in other NIS.

Military, political, and ethno-religious penetration by states outside the CIS which challenges Russia's geopoliticalby Turkey, Iran, China, or other powers.

The twofold Ukrainian danger of nuclearization and socioeconomic implosion.

Tnc possible descent of Central Asiana tidal wave of refugees, violence, and

political extremism.

9. By implication, General Odom seems to be saying that "security" arguments are aorfor behavior driven by an imperial urge. Since we cannot look into theconscious orYel'tsin and his colleagues, we cannot conclusively sort out the driving Impulses here. What we can say, however, is that (a) from our

Odora's Assessment of Russian Policy Toward the New Independent States




i LI J

analytic standpoint these are indeed potentially real snd serious security problems facing Russia; (b) their gravity is magnified by Russia's own current domestic vulnerability to socioeconomic disorder, state fragmentation, and overthrow of democracy; and (c) Russian leaders give every appearance of responding to them*

10. General Odom argues that liberal development of Russia depends on Russia's leadership adhering to the "western axis" and playing down the "southernn which Russia "becomes entangled in tho domestic concerns of the newly independent states of Central Asia and theets trapped into supporting "old communistnd la compelled to remilitarize. There can be no question but that these are dangers. Nevertheless, the difficulty with this argument is that any Russian government that seeks to protect democracy in Russia must engage itself seriously along the "southerne prepared to use military force, and "intervone in the internal affairs" of other CIS states. There is no serious option of pulling up the drawbridge when the moat has not been dug and the wall not constructed, when stabilization in nost of the CIS arena cannot succeed without the presence of some military muscle, and when nobodythe UH, CSCE, NATO, nor anyonedo the job. The question then becomes, both for Russia and the West, precisely how Russia deals with the "southern axis.

Asymmetry ofnatural wealth, military force,always affect Russia's relations with the former Soviet republics. ussian predisposition to promote closer association among the NIS, even when this reflects the more chauvinistic strain of Soviet and Russian political culture, does not necessarily predetermine an "imperial" outcome. Key aspects of the future are still open. Itritical difference if Russia exercises influence rather than outright domination; if it relies on economic pressure rather than military control; if its military presencereaty basis rather than continues without consent;


SUBJECT: General Odom's Assessment of Russian Poli Toward the New Independent States

CM Ot rs IUI

its covert action focuses on intelligence gathering and influence operations rather than on sabotage and subversion; and if, over the mid-to-longer term, it seeks tostability" that is based on democratization, marketization, and respect for minority rights rather than simply on oppression of the population by client regimes.


of Slavic and Eurasian Analysis


Washington Post Item


Ihe Ambivalent^ear


Russia's unique character, ind insisted that il mustlopmenlattern incompatible with Western


he contemporary West firmer faction,he Foreign Ministryi departments, seeks to achieve what ila lineal antecedents couldRussia to the Westay ihatliberal path of cVmestieSergei Blagovohn, an academic and one of Ihe more articulate Westernizers, speaks of three axes cf Russian foreignWest. East and Sooth.

The southern axis, in his view, is most dangerous. Were Russia to becomein the domestic concerns of ihc newly-eVpendenl states cf Centralhe Caucasus, liberal development in Russia would be impossible. Military priorities would again become primary. Already Russia is seeking to shore up the old communist elites still ruling in most of these countries. The strengthening of these ties would also reinforce conservative and reactionarygroups in Russia.

Blagosobn argues that the westerntoward Europe and the Unitedhave primacy. The rationale lor this strategy is simple aad tough-minded. Keeping Russia from slipping back into its ok)is ibe Commonwealth andEurope is the sin* qua non for keeping Russia on the long and difficult path toward domestic liberalism. To succeed, the Wes-tenuzers must avoid the creationaD of hostile stales in Eastern Europe that would isolate Russia. Since thai region istrategic vacuum that the bbeial Russians do not want to fill, they wanl to encourage NATO to fill it by extending some form of membership to Poland, the Ciech Republic and Hungary.

Thus tbe Westerners hope to makeornerstone of Russia's ownThe eastern axis, ineally an extension oftera axnt through coop-eratlon with ihe United States, Russia should seek to integrate its economy andconcerns with the prosperousof East Asa.ifferent strategy has taken shape

Abkhazian separatists and also! the warring groups of Georgians who seek to unseat former Soviet foreign ministerShevardnadze as head of state. Realiz-ing that be is cornered by this RussianShevardnadze has resorted to asking the Russian military lo save him from hisopponents. And Ihis wasew days snd weeks after blarriTjf-Hussia for his difficulties. Thus the RossC^fuhtary has trapped the man whom (hry blame fortbe Soviet position io Central

The Russian strategy for breakingindependence is equally complex and duplicitous. although not as far advanced. Theth Army in theRepublic has taken that region away from Moldova andussian enclave on Ukraine's southwest border. Russia has challenged Ukraine's control of the former Soviet naval fleet in the Black Sea. It has ma-nipalated its supply of oil toiigate strikes among miners in Ibe Donetsk region, and, along with the Western powers, used diplomatic pressure to gel Ukraine to give up its nuclearwhich remain under Russian control.

In shoit, over the last year ihc Russian foreign policy toward the near abroad has begunin out over the foreign policy for the far abroad. The shilt became visible when Andrei Kozyrev, Ihe foreign minister.

addressed the United Nations in September, seeking thai body's approval for Russianin ihe Commonwealth, He asserted Russia'srole first of all in the territory of theall Ihese problems are tooo speculate about 'neo-imperial' plans of rus-sh."

Yrllsin's aluance wiih the military and the police has succeeded. During the pailiamcn-tary rebellion in September, the president enjoyed the backing of the secuiily forces. One ran hardly condemn Yeltsin for making common cause with ihem; without removing the parliament from the political struggle,progressarket economyew constitution was impossible. Yet the risks of lhai alliance are great

II Yeltsin cannot liberate himself from the policy of his new allies, the contemporary Russian Westernizers will lose lhe battle.. policy depends almost entirely on Yeltsin's ability to make another dramatic lurn in policy, jettisoning his leaciionary


he extent to which the Climonis willing to go on gambling on Yeltsin will become apparent in its policy toward Eastern Europe. Theissue is the request by Poland, the Czech Republk and Hungary for admission toatter thai will be considered al the annual NATO meeting next month. If tbe United States does not back their request to the fullest, it will be undercut those Russian Westerners who have provided arationale for NATO's eastward

An. strategy needs three tracks, not just one: *

The first track,eeds more imagination. Russia should he made amember of, the grouping of the world's leading economic states. This would put more pressure on Moscow to continue economic reforms, and il would dignify(oimaliyreat powerritical iole in both Europe and East Asia,the reactionaries believe Russia has lost

A second track,s urgently needed for the Commonwealthhe West cannot become directly involved in these regions, but it can certainly mobilize Western public awareness of Russiathere, condemning it unambiguously. Given Shevardnadze's key role in ending the Cold War and settling tbe Germanissueonflict. Ihe United Stales' supine behavior during his recentis reprehensible. He deserves at least moral support

The third track,ould make permanent the gains of the past four years in Central and Eastern Europe.Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO is imperativeedge against Yeltsin's losing. The new NATO can serveoof over consolidated Europe. Without it, political instability in Eastern Europe wffl grow more likely. The chaos in formercughl to quicken Western resolve in this regard.

Coupling the curreni policy of cooperation wilh policies of reproach and consolidation would not only serveedge againstof the Russian liberals. It would actually strengthen Russia's Westernizers. Genuine liberal reform in both Russia and the Soviet Union has never thrived in periods ofand preemptive concessions by the West. Liberals have gained the upper hand only when the West's strength r* reflectedefusal to accommodate RussianThat historical record needs lo be kept in mind as Russia goes lo vote.

itJf ,

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