Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the chance to discuss with you and your colleagues
on the Committee developments in Russia and U.S. policy toward that country.
You have chosen a good time for this hearing. Russia is much on our minds these
days, and rightly so. Not for the first time, and probably not for the last,
the Russian people are undergoing what many of them call "a time of
The trouble that has received the most attention of late is the fighting in the
North Caucasus. Before that crisis erupted, our attention was focused on a
spate of allegations and revelations about large-scale financial malfeasance,
including charges of moneylaundering through American banks.
These two issues are both, in the first instance, challenges to the leaders and
people of Russia. But they are also a challenge to us and to our principal
foreign partners. That is because it is in our interests that Russia be fully
integrated into the community of democracies of which we are a part. That can
happen only if Russia manages its affairs -- including its struggle against
terrorism, ethnic conflict, political extremism, crime and corruption -- in a
way that meets international standards and that enables us and others to help.
In that regard, let me make several points about the current conflict in the
North Caucasus. Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia -- these are all republics on
the territory of the Russian Federation. We recognize Russia's international
boundaries and itsobligation to protect all of its citizens against separatism
and attacks on lawful authorities. We also acknowledge that the current
outbreak of violence began when insurgents, based in Chechnya, launched an
offensive in Dagestan. Russia has also been rocked by lethal bombings of
apartment buildings deep in the Russian heartland, including in Moscow itself.
The Russians are still investigating these tragic events, and we hope that the
culprits are brought to justice.
In our dealings with the Russian government of late -- particularly Secretary
Albright's various communications with Foreign Minister Ivanov, as recently as
this past weekend -- we have stressed all these points.
But we have raised a number of concerns as well: first, that a spread of
violence in the region will be contrary to everyone's interests except those
who rely on violence as a means to their political ends, including separatism;
second, that Russia's last war in Chechnya -- in 1994-1996 -- demonstrated that
there cannot be a purely military solution to the problem there, and that there
must be a vigorous and conscientious effort to engage regional leaders in a
political dialogue; third, that all parties should avoid indiscriminate or
disproportionate use of force that would harm innocent civilians; fourth, that
Russia's significant progress toward developing civil society, inclusive
democracy and rule of law will be in jeopardy if it permits a backlash against
citizens because of their ethnicity or religion; and fifth, that in defending
its own territory, Russia should take special care to respect the independence
and security concerns of neighboring states, especially Georgia and Azerbaijan.
We will continue to press these points publicly and privately, bilaterally and
I would be happy to pursue these points further with you this morning. But
before doing so, let me suggest an overall context for our discussion: First
and foremost, our policy must advance the national-security interest of the
United States - both in the shortterm and the long-term. The test we must apply
-- day in and day out, year in and year out, from one Administration to the
next -- is whether the American people are safer as a result of our policy.
This Administration's Russia policy meets that test.I'll start with the most
basic respect in which that is true: our physical safety and our military
security. When the Administration came into office, there were roughly 10,000
intercontinental nuclear weapons in four states of the former Soviet Union;
most were aimed at the United States. Today, there are about half as many --
some 5,000; they're only in Russia; none are targeted at us; and we're
discussing significant further reductions in overall numbers and further steps
to diminish the nuclear threat in all its aspects.
That task will be tougher in the weeks and months ahead as a result of the
Senate's rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. But we will press
ahead. The President has declared that the U.S. will continue to refrain from
nuclear testing. We've called on Russia, along with China, France, Britain and
other countries, to do the same. This Administration remains committed to the
ratification of this treaty. CTBT is critical to protecting the American people
from the dangers of nuclear war. Even as we continue to build a consensus of
support for the treaty here at home, we will be working to strengthen the one
that already exists abroad.
There are other vital issues on our agenda with Russia -- issues literally of
war and peace that Secretary Albright has discussed with you in the past: peace
in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in the Gulf.
And then there is the issue of Russia's nature as a state and role in the
world, which will have a lot to do with what sort of 21st century awaits us.
For a decade now, Russia has been undergoing an extraordinary transformation.
In fact, it is undergoing three transformations in one: from a dictatorship to
an open society; from a command economy to a free market; and from a
totalitarian empire and ideological rival toward becoming what many Russians
call -- and aspire to -- a "normal, modem state," integrated into the
international community of which we are a part. We've been helping keep that
Just as one example, the Freedom Support Act and other programs have helped
Russia make dramatic improvements in the development of an independent media,
protection of human rights and religious freedom. All of us are realistic about
the difficulties. Russia's transformation has encountered plenty of obstacles,
none greater and more challenging than the crucial need to create the laws and
institutions that are necessary to fighting crime and corruption in an open
society and market economy.
Still, the transformation continues, and so must our commitment to stay
While there are no easy answers and no quick answers to what ails the Russian
body politic today, there is one over-arching principle that is fundamental to
creating the forces for change that will drive the scourge of corruption out of
Russian society, and that is democracy.
If the Russian people and the leaders they choose can stay on the course of
constitutional rule and electoral democracy, not only will they be better off,
but so will we. That's the hard-headed essence of why we must continue to
support them in coping with the difficulties they face, notably including those
that are in the headlines today. Indeed, one way to look at today's troubles in
Russia is as part of the legacy of an evil past and a result of an incomplete
but ongoing transition to a better future.
The solution to those troubles is for them to keep moving forward, and for us
to support them as they do so.
Since the Cold War ended, the United States has, as Secretary Albright pointed
out in her speech last month at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
pursued two basic goals in our relations with Russia. The first is to increase
our security by reducing Cold War arsenals, stopping proliferation and
encouraging stability and integration in Europe. The second is to support
Russia's effort to transform its political, economic and social institutions.
Both of these goals are very much works in progress.
In the years since Russia helped bring the Soviet system to an end, our work
with that nation has helped secure some breakthroughs that are clearly in the
First, the Soviet Union dissolved in a largely peaceful fashion with its
nuclear weapons insecure hands, an outcome that was not fore- ordained. Imagine
the chaos the world would face if the Soviet Union, and its nuclear arsenal,
had come apart in the same way Yugoslavia has. First the Bush Administration
and then the Clinton Administration worked assiduously to ensure that such a
nightmare did not come to pass.
Second, Russia helped dismantle the apparatus of the Soviet system and has
rejected the forcible reformation of the Soviet Union or the creation of a new
totalitarian super-state. It has no practical option to turn back the clock.
Third, the people of Russia, and their leaders, have embraced democracy and
have held a series of free and fair elections at the national and local levels,
followed by a stable transition of offices and power, and more broadly, are
assembling the building blocks of a civil society based on public
participation. When I travel to Moscow, as I do with some frequency, I'm always
struck by the preoccupation of virtually everyone I meet with the upcoming
parliamentary and presidential elections. For the first time in their history,
Russian citizens are now voters; they can register their grievances and express
their aspirations through the ballot box or, for that matter, on a soap box.
Their grievances prominently include disgust with corruption; their aspirations
prominently include good governance, honest governance -- and peace on their
territory and on the borders. Fourth, Russia has made important strides toward
replacing central planning with the infrastructure and institutions of a market
Fifth, Russia is more inclined than ever before to working with the U.S. and
other nations of the international community on common challenges. Even when we
disagree with Russia, Russia's willingness to engage with the international
community has been essential to finding common solutions.
If Russia is going to stay on the course we would hope in its foreign policy,
it must also continue its internal transformation in a positive direction.
International support is an essential part of helping Russia take difficult
steps to restructure itself. The President, the Vice President, Secretary
Albright and the rest of us have always understood thatRussia has been tearing
down dysfunctional Soviet structures, but it has only begun to put in place the
mechanisms of a modern state.
This is an enormous and time-consuming task. Russia, after a millennium of
autocracy and more than 70 years of communism, had little or no historical
memory of civil society, of a market economy or the rule of law. The Soviet
system itself was in many ways institutionalized criminality. I first heard the
phrase "kleptocracy" used to describe the Soviet state. There are no "good old
days" of real law and order or legitimate private enterprise to which Russia
In short, crime and corruption are part of the grim legacy of the Soviet
Communist experience. The rampancy of that problem has impeded Russia's own
progress and impeded our ability to help Russia move forward. Moreover, as
Russia dismantled communism and sought to create a new market economy, the
weaknesses inherent in its new economic institutions created vulnerabilities to
corruption. That is why, in his 1995 visit to Moscow, President Clinton called
for "a market based on law, not lawlessness."
Yet, just as we cited these dangers, we were also engaged in finding solutions.
U.S. assistance, as well as that of multilateral bodies such as the
International Monetary Fund, have focused on building the broader structures
that will allow the democratic citizens of Russia -- who have the most to lose
from corruption -- to bring transparency and accountability to both government
and business dealings.
We have consistently emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in
our dealings with Russia, and in the dealings of the international financial
institutions working with Russia. When problems have arisen, we have insisted
on full and complete investigations and will continue to do so. In instances
where there have been concerns about Russian practices, the IMF has tightened
controls, performed audits and reduced leading levels.
The IMF has conditioned further tranches on effective safeguards that ensure
lending will not be misappropriated, provide for a satisfactory accounting of
relevant Central Bank activities and reinforce genuine broad-based
implementation of reforms that go beyond simple commitments. Both multilateral
and bilateral support for Russia will be shaped by this kind of realism. A
Russian interagency law enforcement team headed by Federal Security Service
Deputy Director Viktor Ivanov was in Washington last month to meet with
Justice, FBI, Treasury and State officials. By the way, while this visit was
primarily to deal with the Bank of New York case, the Russian team also met
with FBI Director Freeh and State Department counter- terrorism officials to
discuss the recent bombings in Russia that have cost more lives than we here in
this country lost in the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City.
I'd like to turn briefly to the programs in Russia on which we spend American
taxpayers' money. We do so primarily to safeguard American security. Let me
emphasize that three-quarters of Freedom Support Act assistance is spent on
programs that do not involve the Russian government, as part of our effort to
help build grassroots support for change. The U.S. government has worked to
build relationships with Russian law enforcement and judicial entities and
helping them increase their capabilities to operate in a professional and
ethical manner. We have also promoted the rule of law at the grassroots level
by working with non-governmental organizations, human rights advocates, and
independent media watchdogs, and by promoting ethical business practices.
For example, USAID's Rule of Law Project, which was developed in response to a
presidential initiative that arose out of the 1993 Vancouver Summit, works with
core Russian legal institutions on judicial training, legal education reform
and strengthening legal non- governmental organizations. The project has
assisted the legislative drafting and the training of hundreds of judges from
the commercial courts.
In addition, several US law enforcement agencies have representatives based in
Moscow who are working directly with their Russian counterparts on issues of
mutual concern. There are three FBI attaches in Moscow working on ongoing
criminalinvestigations and prosecutions. The U.S. Customs Service, DEA, U.S.
Secret Service, DOJ and INS also have representatives in Moscow.
Law enforcement agreements with Russia allow us to share information on cases
and cooperate on investigation, prosecution and prevention of crime. The
current Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement between the United States and Russia
allows each side to request information, interviews and other background
material to support investigations. In June 1999, the U.S. and Russia signed a
Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty which, when ratified and brought into force,
will replace the Agreement. The Treaty will expand and strengthen the scope of
cooperation, facilitating investigation and prosecution of transnational
criminals.In addition, in the recognition of the transnational dangers posed by
the increased crime in the NIS and Central Europe, the U.S. government
established the Anti-Crime Training and Technical Assistance Program. An
interagency effort administered by the State Department, this effort is
designed to help law enforcement officials develop new techniques and systems
to cope with crime while simultaneously strengthening the rule of law and
respect for individual rights. A major goal of this program is to develop
partnerships between American and New Independent States law enforcement
agencies that will enable them to combat organized crime and prevent organized
crime in the New Independent States from spreading in the U.S.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, Secretary Albright has asked me to use this
occasion to reiterate the case that she has made to you and your colleagues for
the resources we need in order to defend and advance American interests. The
current appropriation bill contains a 30 percent cut from the President's
Freedom Support Act budget for programs in Russia and the other New Independent
States. That is one of many reasons why the President has vetoed this bill. The
funding levels proposed by the Congress would force us to make unacceptable
trade-offs between our core economic and democracy programs and programs that
prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The President
believes such cuts would be dangerously short-sighted, because the purposes of
this assistance - from building an independent media to promoting small
businesses -are fundamentally in our interests.
The President and the Secretary see engagement with Russia as one of many
bipartisan goals that serve the long-term interests of the American people.
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