The Heritage Foundation

Backgrounder #966 on Asia

November 19, 1993

November 19, 1993 | Backgrounder on Asia

Russia and Her Neighbors: Creating a U.S. Policy Toward Eurasia

(Archived document, may contain errors)

966 November 19,1993 RUSSIAANDHERNEIGHBORS CREATINGAUS.POLICYTOWARDEURASIA INTRODUCTION Boris Yeltsin's decision to caU new parliamentary elections and the ensuing armed re volt by hard-line communists and ultra-nationalists demonstrates the fkagile state of Rus sian democracy. The rampaging crowds and burning Russian Parliament building reveal how political, social , and ethnic conflicts are endangering democratic and free market re forms in the former Soviet Union. Even though Yeltsin won an important victory over his hard-line opponents, these confrontations threaten to destabilize not only Russia, but many other c ountries in the region. Today, over one hundred conflicts are raging through out the former Soviet Union, from Moldova in the west to Tajikistan in the east from Es tonia in the north to the Armenian enclave of Karabakh in the south.

These conflicts are a direct concern to the United States. They could, in fact, threaten any number of American security interests in Eurasia. These interests are to 0 Prevent a nuclear attack on the U.S. or its allies, either intentionally or unintentionally with the weapons f rom the arsenal of the former Soviet Union Keep weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists or rogue political factions Curtail the proliferation of such weapons not only throughout the region but outside it as well; and Prevent the emergen c e of a Russian hard-line military threat to EurOpe,Turkey, and the Middle East With interests as important as these, the U.S. must develop a policy for the entire re gion of the former Soviet Union and not for Russia alone. In short, the U.S. needs a Eur a sian policy-one that recognizes the singular importance of Russia, but which nonethe less does not lose sight of the larger regional context governing such issues as democrati zation, market reforms and arms proliferation in the successor states of the fo rmer So viet Union.

In order to help control the many conflicts in the former Soviet Union and to help stabi lize the region, the U.S. should X Exclude the possibility of US. troop involvement in U.N. peacemaking operations in Eurasia. American troops shou ld not be sent to pla a U.N. peacemaking role in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS U.N. and U.S. peacekeep ing commitments are already mired in crises in Somalia, Haiti, and elsewhere P-ping-or+eacemaking .operatioas in .Eurasia would be even mo r e diffi- x x x x x alt..than in Somalia or Haiti. The.conflicts are bloodier, lhe.politics and geopoli tics much more complex, and the region more inaccessible Prepare plans for capturing or destroying nuclear weapons that may fall into hos tile hands in t he former Soviet Union. The U.S. intelligence community and spe cial forces have to be ready to act if a rogue political player or a temrist group attempts nuclear blackmail or an unauthorized launch against targets in Eurasia or North America. These plan s should be prepared in cooperation with the Yeltsin government and other friendly regimes in the region Start negotiations toward a multilateral security framework in Eastern Europe and Eurasia that will enhance the security of Russia and Ukraine. Such a f ramework may facilitate their future integration into NATO Clarify to the Russian leadership that the US. will not endorse a unilateral applica tion of a Russian "Monroe Doctrine or violations of the sovereignty of other CIS countries. To restore peace in the CIS, Russia should act in multilateral organiza tions, such as the U.N. and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Eu rope (CSCE with full respect for human rights, international law, and the sov ereignty of its neighbors Encourage democratic a n d market reforms in the Newly Independent States (NIS of the former U.S.S.R. Technical assistance programs aimed at creating a profes sional class of market specialists should be expanded. Democracy training and institution-building should be further impl emented throughout the former Soviet Union, and not merely in Russia Facilitate the resolution of disputes between Russia and Ukraine, if requested.

Impartial U.S. mediation could help to avoid disputes between Moscow and Kiev. Washington might also help t o settle disagreements over territory, the divi sion of naval fleets, and the ownership of nuclear weapons and other armed forces 1 The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is a Moscowcentered union of the former Soviet republics, with the exception o f the Baltic states. Newly Independent States IS) is a term used to identify the former Soviet republics that chose not to join the CIS. But with all the NIS members except for Moldova having joined the CIS, and with Moldova poised to join, the two tern ar e often used interchangeably.

The CSCE includes all of the European states, the U.S. and Canada. It evolved from the 1975 Helsinki process, which united all European countries, U.S and Canada in an agreement on inviolability of borders and protection of hu man rights 2 2 x x x x x x Support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova and urge a withdrawal of Russian military forces from the Pridnestrovye region The U.S. should encour age President Yeltsin to begin dismantling the anti-reform commun i st bridge head in Pridnestrovye, a self-styled republic carved out of Moldovan territory that provided shock troops for the anti-Yeltsin revolt Link aid to Russia to progress on Russian troop withdrawals from the Baltics. The Russians oompleied withdrawal of theirdkwy QK~ from Lithuania on Au gust 30,19

93. However,&e pullout of Russian troops from Latvia and Estonia was stopped in June despite a CSCE agreement signed by Russia in 199

1. To en sure prompt withdrawal of the Russian troops from Latvia and Estonia, the Clin ton Administration should continue supporting congressional legislation requir ing the reduction of aid to Russia if the President fails to report on significant progr e ss of the troop pullout In addition, the U.S. should offer its good offices to the Russians and the Baltic states to expedite the withdrawal. To assure Mos cow of U.S. impartiality, Washington should also monitor the plight of Russian speakers in these co u ntries, who claim discrimination Support the role of the CSCE in settling the conflict between Azerbaijanis and Armenians over the enclave of Karabakh The CSCE has proven to be the most effective framework for settling the Karabakh conflict, as it keeps I ran, which is not a CSCE member, out of the negotiations between local and regional players.

In a final settlement, the status of Karabakh could be resolved either by creating an autonomous Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan, a confederation between Karaba kh and Armenia, or by transferring Karabakh to Armenia. Whatever the final outcome, the U.S. must balance its long-term interest in good relations with Turkey with recognizing the historical aspirations of the Armenian people.

Prevent escalation of the Ch ristian-Muslim war in the Caucasus by maintaining a dialogue and fostering cooperation between all sides, especially with Russia and Turkey. The U.S. should cooperate with its long-term ally, Turkey, and with Rus sia as well, to prevent their entanglement in a major military confrontation in the Caucasus over Karabakh.

Support a CSCE role in settling ethnic disputes in Georgia and inside the Russian Federation. Georgia is plagued by separatist movements in Abkhazia and South em Ossetia. Russia is experienc ing similar problems in the Chechen and Ingush republics. While international support will be needed to restore Georgian sover eignty, Russia is capable of coping on her own with separatists inside the Rus sian Federation. However, U.S. troops should not be committed to any peacekeeping operation in Georgia or in Russia.

Propose an international peace conference on Tajikistan, w'ithout committing U.S troops to U.N. peacekeeping operations there. The U.S. is interested in preventing the destabilization of C entral Asia. Washington also is opposed to the spread of Islamic fundamentalism. Therefore, the U.S. should support the Russian initia tive to assemble an international peace conference within the next three to six months to end the civil war inTajikistan 3 Provide economic aid and technical assistance to the private sector and to genuine reformers, not to government structures, in Russia Leading reformers in MOSCOW have complained that Western assistance has been squandered, embezzled, or misused by burea u crats to undermine Yeltsins reforms. Emerging private sector enterprises and entrepreneurs, not government-owned structures, should be iden tified as the key recipients of aid. Such an aid strategy will maximize the effec tiveness of Western assistance an d will contribute to the success of economic.re form. Russias market arid democratic refom are important guarantees of a more benign policy toward her neighbors Propose the negotiation of a free trade treaty with Russia. Trade, not aid, is the key to solvi n g Russias economic problems. A prosperous Russia will be less likely to revert to its imperialist past growth can genuine independence and prosperity of Ukraine be reached. The cur rent internal, foreign policy, and economic crises in Ukraine are a result of too little reform and a plummeting standard of living. These crises undermine the Ukrainian commitment to independence, encourage pro-Russian forces in Kiev and make Ukraine appear easy prey for imperialist forces in Russia Press for economic and polit i cal reform in Ukraine. Only through economic THE RETURN OF HISTORY THE POST-COLONIAL CRISIS IN EURASIA After the U.S.S.R. crumbled in December 1991, multiple conflicts erupted between the peoples of the former Soviet empire. Centuries-old animosities flar e d up in the immense political vacuum that emerged after the failed August 199 1 coup. The Communist Party, with its local cells in each village, factory, and office, lost its power. The Soviet military unable to put an end to ethnic conflicts, started a p a inful transformation into the separate armies of Russia and other republics. Control over weapons and ammunition became ex tremely weak, and generals, officers, and soldiers began selling arms to the highest bid der. The Moscow-based central economic plan ning agency, GOSPLAN, ceased to exist.

Republics and regions started to erect prohibitive tariff and customs barriers, keeping local products at home.

By 1991, strong pro-independence movements were springing up in all the republics with the exception of Central Asia. Independence was regarded as a panacea for all eco- nomic and social ills. High hopes were linked to ending Moscows control, while the im portance of economic ties to other republics was largely ignored. By the second half of ,199 1, the for mer imperial control mechanisms had disintegrated.

Diverse as they are, all the conflicts in the former Soviet Union can be categorized as fights over land and resources, struggles for independence, or clan ~arfare Conflicts of this kind are not unusual in world history. After the decline of the British Empire, bloody 3 Emil Payin, Types of Ethnic Conflicts in Post-Soviet Societies, manuscript, August 1993* p.

2. Payin, President Yeltsins advisor on ethnic conflict, spoke at the Heritage Foundation on Aug ust 23,1993 4 0 d I Eo L c U 3 I I 9 e 2 6 E w Q I v L L 0 LL i Q c L a, w 3 0 v i v 3 W td .I e 5 wars were fought in the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian subcontinent in the aftermath of the European withdrawal. After the Europeans left their colonie s , inter-ethnic wars broke out as ethnic and religious groups, previously pacified by their former European masters, struggled for dominance. The most famous of these was the 1948 war that led to the partitioning of India into Islamic Pakistan and largely H indu India. Many of these postcolonial conflicts exist to this day. The threat of war between India and Pakistan is ever present, while many ofAfrica's wars can be attributed to unsettled business left over hm.the*days.when state-boundaries were set by th e Europeans nial crisis in Eurasia. All along the periphery of the Russian Federation are wars fueled by ethnic hatreds and fears. As the post-colonial conflicts in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East simmer on so, too, will the many ethnic wars in Eur a sia. Hereditary ene mies such as the Armenians and Azeri Turks may take decades to settle their scores. The traditionally dominant Georgians will not accept Abkhaz or Ossetian attempts to break away or join Russia. The Uzbeks, who see themselves as the ma s ters of Central Asia may not acquiesce to the independence of their smaller neighbors such as Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. And Moscow, which dominated Eurasia for over three hundred years may wish to exercise its influence in its own backyard, invoking it s own Monroe Doc trine as justification for armed interventions in Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia, and Tajikistan.

Russia, and Russian minorities living in the former Soviet Union, play a key role in the regional conflicts in Eurasia. All of the post-Soviet states have territorial claims against each other. There are 25.4 million Russians and over 18 million non-Russians living out side their home states! Ethnic disarray is one of the main components of the powder keg of over 100 conflicts that post-Soviet E urasia has become.

In addition many conflicts are over the control of vital natural resources. Among them: water in Central Asia, oil in Azerbaijan, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Chechnia natural gas in the far northern republic of Komi, diamonds in the ea stern Siberian region of Yakut-Sakha, and access to ports not only in the Black and Baltic seas, but in the Pa cific ocean zations6 The wars in the Caucasus are between not only Christian Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijanis, but between Orthodox Christian G e orgians and Muslim-supported Abkhaz. The region is experiencing the return of the centuries-old struggle for spheres of influence between Muslim Turkey and Orthodox Russia, as well as between modem Sunni, and pro-WestemTurkey and Shi'ite, fundamentalist I r an. Iran is an historic ally of C The collapse of the Russian-dominated Soviet Union has unleashed a similar post-colo The conflicts occurring in Eurasia today represent in many ways clashes between civili 4 5 6 Paul Goble Ethnic Conflicts in the Former S oviet Union and Redefinition of American National Interests manuscript August 1993, p. 3.

Ibid, p.

4. Control of ports and access to the sea is one of the sources of conflicts in Abkhazia, Crimea, and the Baltic states.

In the case of Eurasia. these fault lines run north to south, from the Baltics to the Black Sea, and from the west to the east along the old Christian-Muslim frontier. In Europe, peoples east of the line are mostly Christian Orthodox. In Asia, the border i s between Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam, and between Slavs and Turks. See Samuel P. Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations Foreign Affairs Summer 1993, p. 22 6 Russia and Armenia against Turkey. Russia currently is involved in a shooting war in Tajikistan a gainst many of the same Islamic mujahideen who wreaked havoc on the So viet Army in Afghanistan only five years ago THE REGION OF EURASIA: ISSUES AND CONFLICTS Two large-scale regional wars-between Armenia and Azerbaijan and inTajikistan threaten to desta b ih the.Caucasus and Centrd Asia, and to involve Russia, Turkey Iran, Afghanistan, hd possibly even Pakistan. Smaller wars have been fought in Moldova, in the Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and between the Os setians and the Ingush in th e Northern Caucasus. The flow of refugees into Russia drains the Russian treasury and provides political ammunition for the opponents of Boris Yeltsin, who accuse him of failing to protect Russians abroad areas hold great importance for U.S. interests as w e ll. These include UKRAINE. Ukrainian relations with Russia go to the root of the CISS existence, and are central to the fate and character of the Russian state itself? Many in Russia are still re sentful and dismayed about the loss of Little Russia, as Uk r aine was known, react ing to Ukrainian independence with horror and territorial claims In January and Feb ruary of 1992, the now defunct Russian Parliament passed resolutions calling for the re-examination and annulment of the 1954 transfer of the Crimea f rom the Russian Federation to Ukraine. In June 1992, Russian Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev raised the possibility of pressing territorial claims against Ukraine9 In February 1993 presidential advisor Sergei Stankevich protested against close Polish-Ukra i nian rela tions and described Ukraine as a Russian sphere of influence.1 On June 17,1993, President Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk con cluded a deal dividing the Black Sea Fleet and the naval base in Sevastopol. The Rus sian Parliament ad o pted a resolution the next month granting Sevastopol the status of a Russian city. This resolution was subsequently condemned by both Yeltsin and Kravchuk, as well as by the United Nations Security Council. On September 3, Presi dent Yeltsin announced tha t Ukraine had agreed to sell its share of the Black Sea Fleet to Russia, lease the Sevastopol naval base, and return all strategic nuclear warheads to Russia in exchange for cancellation of the $2 billion Ukrainian debt. This agreement called the Massandra Protocol, was widely denounced in Kiev. President Kravchuk explained that Russia had presented Ukraine with an ultimatum: either repay the debt or oil and gas supplies would be cut off. As a result of political strife, Ukrainian Prime Minister Leonid Kuch m a and Defense Minister Konstantin Morozov resigned Russias fate will be the principal determinant of the regions evolution. But other 7 8 9 10 Ibid Zbigniew Bnezinski has argued that coexistence with an independent Ukraine is the litmus test of the Russia n future, The Washington Post, March 1, 1992.

Roman Solchanyk, Ukraine: A Year of Transition, RFE-RL Research Repon.Vol.2, No. 1.1 January 1993, p. 61.

Ibid., quoting interview in Le Monde 7 and Moldova I AreasofTension 1 300 Miles r under pressure, leaving Kravchuk alone to face a hostile parliament protesting an al leged sellout of Ukrainian national interests.

Dominated by the former communist political machine, Ukraine so far has made only very modest achievements in the area of economic reforms. Ukra inian sover eignty, however, remains a crucial Western interest as Ukraine could serve as a geo political balance should Russia develop a more anti-Western foreign policy AOLDOVA. Populated by Romanian-speaking Moldovans, Russians, and Ukrainians Moldova w as tom apart by the war fought during 1991-1992 in the Trans-Dniester Pridnestrovye region, on the left bank of the Dniester River. The battle raged between Russian separatists, supported by the Russian Fourteenth Army stationed in the area and Moldovan f o rces. Only a third of the Moldovan Russians support the Soviet-style Russian-speaking republic General Alexander Lebed, Commander of the Four teenth Army, has called repeatedly for restoration of the Soviet Union. Lebed appar ently enjoys the support of Y e ltsin and Defense Minister Pave1 Grachev, even though he is known to be hostile to democratic reforms. Lebed, like Grachev, is a paratrooper with Afghan experience, and a popular figure in the Army, whose support Yeltsin badly needs 11 Another ethnic mino r ity in Moldova, the Christian Turkish-speaking Gagauz, also gained support of the Russian Federation. They claim independence from Moldova and expressed willingness to join the Russian Federation 8 In a drive to overthrow Russian reformers, the so-called D niester Republic, as the Russian speaking enclave is called, already has played a crucial and grim role as a hard-line stronghold. Hundreds of fighters from this region converged on Moscow in support of the uprising in October If not disbanded, the enclav e could play the role of a reactionary bridgehead to Eastern Europe and Ukraine The current trilateral peacekeeping force of 1,500 in Pridnestrovye is administered by ,Russia, Mol&ova, md Pridnestrovye at a .cost .of about $40 million a year. Moldova has r e quested Ut the U.N.and the CSCE.play a role in resolving the conflict, as Rus sia refuses to commit to a timetable to withdraw her forces THE BALTIC STATES. The U.S. has supported independence for the Baltic states for fifty years. For the Balts, withdraw al of the Russian forces is a nerve-wracking affair.

Russia withdrew all its forces from Lithuania, as promised, on August 31,19

93. How ever, the pullout of Russian troops from Latvia and Estonia was stopped in June, de spite a CSCE agreement signed by R ussia in 199 l. The presence of the Russian di tary in Latvia and Estonia is linked by President Yeltsin, Foreign Minister Kozyrev and Defense Minister Grachev to the situation of the Russian-speaking immigrants in the Baltic states. Russian officials all ege that the Russian-speakers do not enjoy the same rights as the native Balts.

Baltic officials are worried by the statements of Russian spokesmen that the troops will not be withdrawn because the Russian state has spent its resources in the Baltics for h undreds of years.2 Military maneuvers, in which Russian troops practiced the capture of government buildings, airports, and communications centers as recently as last June, do not help to allay Baltic fears.13 Baltic officials believe that the move ments o f Russian troops, ships, and planes without permission or prior notification is a violation of their sovereignty TRANSCAUCASUS. For centuries this area was a chaotic frontier between Europe and Asia, and between Islam and Christianity. Populated by dozens of peoples and ethnic groups, such as Georgians, Chechens, Armenians, Abkhaz, and Adjarians, the Trans Caucasus has been a hotbed of ethnic warfare. Cumntly, three large-scale wars are raging in the area: 1) between the Armenians and Azerbaijani Turks, 2) between the Georgians and the Abkhaz, and 3) a civil war in Georgia. The result of these wars has been close to a million refugees. The Abkhaz, Ossetians, and the Karabakh Armenians are fighting for their independence. Western Georgians support former Pre s ident Zviad Gamsakhurdia against the current President Eduard Shevardnadze Karabakh. Populated by Armenians, Karabakh was put under Azerbaijans jurisdic tion in 1921, after Josef Stalin negotiated a treaty in the Transcaucasus between Com munist Russia an d Turkey. The strife between Christian Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijanis escalated in 1988, and full-scale war broke out in 19

92. Today Karabakh is a self-proclaimed Armenian republic fighting for independence from Azerbaijan which is populated by Shiite Muslim Turks. The battles are fought by independent 12 Vyacheslav Kostikov, press secretary to President Yeltsin, quoted in RFE-RL Daily Report, August 24,1993, p. 3 13 Steven Woehrel, Russians in the Baltic States, CRS Report for Congress, August 3,1993, p. 9 9 Karabakh forces, rather than by the Armenian army. Thus far, Azerbaijani political and military leadership hasken poor. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, has seen three changes of regime and had six defense ministers, losing one-fifth of its territo ry since the collapse of the U.S.S.R.

Russia has intermittently supported the Armenians, despite reports of large-scale weapons supplies to Azerbaijan. Moscow has suggested that it should become a guar antor of .peacekthe region, but.'fhe idea of Pug Eluss icu has been resisted by such ather CSCE .coUatries as Georgia, Poland, Turkey, and Ukraine. l4.Azerbaijan joined the CIS in October after democratically elected President Abulfaz Elchibey had been overthrown by the former KGB General and Politburo member Geydar Aliev, who will likely press for a greater Russian role.

International diplomatic initiatives on Karabakh have been unsuccessful because of the intransigence on both sides. Mediation attempts on the part of Iran and Russia have failed. Thus far, th e CSCE has sent a fact-finding mission to the area. A proposal by the CSCE "Minsk Group which includes eleven countries, calls for the creation of an observer force that would be 300 to 2,000 strong, and would cost $40 million to 200 million. This proposa l has not yet been approved. On July 29,1993, the U.N. Se curity Council unanimously condemned Armenian territorial gains of up to one-fifth of Azeri territory, and demanded an immediate cease-fire and troop withdrawal As hundreds of thousands of Azeri ref ugees fled toward Iran, troop buildups were reported on Iran's northern border. Russia has threatened to attack the Turkish army if it attacks Armenia, and Turkish and Russian troops exchanged fire on the Turkish-Ar menian border in the summer of 19

93. The increasing struggle for control of Azerbaijan's oil reserves, the growing destabilization of the Transcaucasus, and the ac tive involvement of Iran are definitely not in Western or American interests.

The Freedom Support Act which provides $2.5 billion of U.S. assistance to the Newly Independent States, prohibits sending aid to Azerbaijan. Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN), Nancy Kassebaum (R-KS and Mitch McConnell (R-ICY) have ex pressed concern that this ban on Azerbaijan sets a bad precedent whereby the U .S. is choosing sides in an intractable conflict with deep historic roots. House Resolution 86, introduced by Representative David Bonior (D-MI unilaterally condemns Azerbaijan and recognizes Karabakh's independence. In this respect, Congressman Bonior go e s further than even the government of Armenia, which does not recognize Karabakh Georgia and Abkhazia. Georgia is in the midst of a bloody civil war between support ers of current President Eduard Shevardnadze and ousted President Zviad Gamsakhur dia. Pol itical violence has become chronic since the conflict began in 199

1. Eduard Shevardnadze's authority is challenged by warlords and militias, despite his victory in the October 1992 parliamentary elections. Shevardnadze has suffered severe setbacks in rec ent weeks, culminating in the fall of the provincial capital Sukhumi to the rebel 13 14 "Ethnic Violence inTranscaucasia Hearing before the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 103 Congress, March 8.1993, p. 8.Testimony of Ambassador John J. Maresca, U.S. Department of State 15 Freedom Support Act, Sec. 5 (c), P.L. 102-51 1. forces on September 27, 19

93. Gamsakhurdias successes prompted Shevardnadze to ask for Russian help and to join the CIS. As a result, on October 28, Russia sent a 2,000-strong paratroop brigade to contiol the strategic Poti-Kutaisi-Tbilisi railroad which is the vital transportatio n link between Russia and the Transcaucasus A trilat eral observer force in Abkhazia, the autonomous republic inside Georgia, is sponsored by Russia, Georgia and the Abkhaz rebels. The current cost of the some 500 Russian Georgian, and Abkhazian soldiers i s around 30 million a year.

The bitter yea&long.war in the Georgian autonomous republic of Abkhazia has claimed over 15,OOO lives. The cease-fire agreed to in August 1993 and guaranteed by Russia was breached by the Abkhaz separatists and their supporters. Some 120,000 Georgian and Abkhaz refugees have beem forced from their to wander in the snowy Caucasus Mountains. Before the mass exodus of these refugees, the population of Abkhazia was only 17.3 percent ethnic Abkhaz, while over 40 percent of the popula tion was Georgian.

The leaders of Abkhazia wish to join Russia. The Caucasus Muslim Confederation rogue Russian military elements, the Cossacks, and the Pridnestrovye government in Moldova support the Abkhaz separatists. This support, coming from so many different sides, is a result of the widespread hatred of Shevardnadze, who is viewed as one of the main culprits in the collapse of the U.S.S.R.

Other conflicts in the Caucasus. There is yet another conflict in Georgia between the Georgian government and Ossetian separatists. The battle between Georgia and Osse tian separatists has been stalemated since the cease-fire of spring 19

92. The residents of South Ossetia, which is part of Georgia, want to unite with their co-ethnics in the North Ossetian autono mous republic, which is part of the Russian Federation. The South Ossetians were supported by local Russian military commanders, who bear a grudge against the Georgians. Currently, the cease-fire is administered by a Russian Georgian-Ossetian peacekeeping force of about 500 troops. The estimated cost of the force is $15 million a year. Negotiations are under way to place this force under the authority of the CSCE.

In the Russian Federation, an indigenous Caucasus mountaineer people known as the Ingush claims a tract of land called Prigorodny Rayon. This territory was trans ferred from the Checheno-Ingush autonomous republic to North Ossetia in 19

44. The anti-Russian feelings among the Ingush people have been running very high, as Rus sia is seen as responsible for the dispute. Russian Deputy Premier Viktor Polyanichko and a Russian general were murdered in the area in late July 1993.

Neighboring Chechnia, located in the North Caucasus, is in turmoil as a result of clan, criminal, and social conflicts. Chechnia is rich in oil and gas, and it is fervently Moslem. It, too, is seeking full independence from Russia.

TAJIKISTAN. Tajikistan is a Persian-speaking Sunni Muslim former Soviet republic that is broken into feuding clans. When civil war in this mountai nous region broke out in June of 1992, Uzbekistan and former Soviet troops supported communist hard-liners against a coalition of.pdemocracy and Islamic forces. Russia had supported the communists, preferring them to others with unknown political affiliat i ons. Great atroc ities were committed by both sides. Close to half a million refugees have fled over the former Soviet border into Afghanistan.16 11 Today, Russia is advocating a diplomatic solution to this war. Russia, Afghanistan Uzbekistan, the Islamic guerrillas, and Pakistan are willing to participate in the peace talks. But Tajik hard-liners in the capital, Dushanbe, led by Parliament Chairman Im omali Rakhmonov, refuse to negotiate.

Russia has requested that a 2,000-strong joint CIS peacekeeping force be dis patched to the area at a cost of $200 million a year Moscow also has proposed that the U.N. cover

e cos

.The U.N. sent an envoy to the areain June 1993 to mediate the.conflict So far, the; U.N.'s-,efforts have been futile TWO SCENARIOS How the se various regional conflicts in Russia play out depend in large part on what happens inside Russia. The conflicts inside Russia can lead to two potential scenarios, ei ther of which not only would destabilize the entire region, but also endanger Western s e Scenario #1: The Empire Strikes Back. By far most ominous would be an attempt to re store the Russian empire. Even though Yeltsin has won a victory over Parliament, his communist and nationalist opponents have not been entirely destroyed. If these hard- l ine opponents ever were to overthrow Yeltsin, they would surely return Russia to her tradi tional imperial posture. Despite Yeltsin's recent success, there is still a danger that inter nal Russian discord may lead to the abandonment of free market and dem ocratic reforms resulting in the establishment of an imperialist, centralizing regime in Moscow. Under such circumstances, the political future, freedom, and even the lives of pro-Westem re formers may be in danger.

Notwithstanding the fact that many Russi ans want a continuation of reform many of them also are uncomfortable with the loss of empire. Two-thirds of the Russians ques tioned in a recent poll answered that Russia should be larger than the Russian Federation and equivalent to the former Soviet Un i on.16 Until recently, the leading political opposi tion figures-former Vice President Alexander Rutskoy and former Speaker of the Su preme Soviet Ruslan Khasbulatov, were calling for restoration of the former Soviet Uni~n Meanwhile, the Russian ultra-nati o nalists, including the ones in the former Par liament, were planning to raise the specter of a Bosnia-style ethnic uprising in non-Rus sian republics in order to annex Russian-populated territories As a result of such pressures, Russia has embarked upon t h e formulation of a new Monroe Doctrine" in Eurasia. Such a doctrine would allow Russia the freedom to estab lish a sphere of influence in the former Soviet empire, with Moscow alone defining what curity interests 16 Goble, op. cit p. 2 17 Rutskoy's battle cry was revival of the Soviet Union. He has predicted that "The U.S.S.R. will be resurrected and will again become a superpower which can guarantee peace on Earth Rutskoy wants to resurrect the U.S.S.R RFE-RL Daily Report, August 6,1993, p.

2. Even prior to that, he boasted to visiting U.S. congressmen that the U.S.S.R. would stand again 18 Ethnic nationalist organizations, such as the Union of Russian Communities, have been created in these areas, with former KGB, military, and police offic e rs playing prominent roles in them 12her vital interests are, and when, where, and how many soldiers are to be sent to protect these interests. Reflective of this view, Yeltsin has called upon the world community to recognize and pay for a U.N.-like missi o n for Russia in the former Soviet Union In an October 1993 U.N. General Assembly speech, Foreign Minister Kozyrev argued that Russia should play a dominant role in the former Soviet Union, and later called for the preservation of the Russian geopolitical a ssets it took hundreds of years for Russia to conquer while hesemoves by Yeltsin do not by themselvesconstitute an attempt to re-create the Russian empire, they and other developments could lay the groundwork for a restora tion by a post-Yeltsin regime. A f ter intensive pressure from Russia throughout the spring and summer of 1993, the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union were per suaded to join an economic and monetary union led by Moscow. On September 24 1993, they signed an agreement to th is effect in the Kremlin? Even the states that had formerly resisted joining the Commonwealth of Independent States, such as Georgia Moldova and Azerbaijan, were brought back into the fold in October 19

93. A variety of causes-including the desperate milit ary condition of Georgia and Azerbaijan, control of energy and monetary supplies by Russia, and common fears of an Islamic threat to un popular or unstable regimes in Central Asia-contributed to the consolidation of the Rus sian-led union Scenario #2: The Disintegration of Russia. While a new Russian empire is clearly not in the U.S. interest, neither is the disintegration of the Russian Federation. Yeltsins bold step on October 10,1993, to disband the local Soviets might finally uproot the commu nist bure aucracy. But it may also precipitate Russias disintegration and even lead to a civil war if any of the local military commanders throw their allegiance behind local hardliners.

There are many regions of Russia that are very unhappy with the central governm ent in Moscow. Mineral-richTatarstan and Yakut-Sakha in Eastern Siberia are seriously con sidering independence. Ethnically Russian regions (oblasts) are demanding that their sta tus be equal to that of sovereign republics such as Tatarstan, Bashkortan, o r Chechnia.

They want more control over their natural resources and to be permitted to collect their own taxes. The Sverdlovsk oblast in the Urds, the pro-communist Novosibirsk region and territories in the agricultural Russian hinterland, in Siberia and t he Far East have al ready proclaimed themselves sovereign republics 19 L WHY AMERICA SHOULD CARE: U.S. INTERESTS IN EURASIA While far away and seemingly removed from the issues of the day, the many conflicts in Eurasia have a direct bearing on the securit y of the United States 19 Izvestiya, October 8, 1993, p. 3 20 CIS States Agree to form Economic Union, Russia and Commonwealth Business Lmv Report, Vol. 4, No. 1 1, p. 34 Participating states were Russia. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzsta n , Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Georgia joined later. Mineral-rich Turkmenistan and Ukraine signed some of the agreements 13 .I The Security Interests U.S. security interests in Eurasia are to d Prevent a nuclear attack against the U.S. and its all i es d Prevent an unauthorized nuclear attack by a rogue political faction or terrorist group r/ Ensure peaceful resolution of conflicts in Eurasia d Prevent the re-emergence of military threats to Western Europe, Turkey, and d Curtail and contain the proli f eration of weapons and technologies of mass I the Middle East from a hard-line regime in Moscow destruction from the states of the former U.S.S.R Political Interests U.S. political interests in the area are to d Support only negotiated border changes betw e en states d Broaden the European security and cooperation framework to include the d Prevent the spread of Islamic fundamentalism d Maintain and nurture democracy in Russia and the NIS new states of the CIS, primarily democratic Russia and Ukraine Economi c Interests U.S. economic interests in Eurasia are to d Establish and expand a free market economy with the lowest trade barriers d Create a favorable climate for Western investment, including property rights d Eliminate the dependency and the need of CIS c ountries for continued d Ensure competitive access to and free trade in energy and mineral resources cooperative foreign policy, it does not represent a major threat to the U.S. But if the Yeltsin government collapses, and Russia reemerges as an empire, t h e Russian nuclear threat could become very grave. In this event, Russia also might threaten Europe, a step which would clearly be against vital U.S. national security interests.21 Rogue Nukes. The possibility of a civil war or collapse in Russia or other n uclear armed states in the former Soviet Union also exists. In such a scenario, terrorists or reb possible and favorable conditions for the repatriation of profits economic assistance As long as Russia is embarked on democratic and free market reforms, an d continues a 21 Ibid pp. 9- 10 14 els could take control of nuclear devices capable of reaching U.S. or allied territory.

Fears of such scenarios are not idle. The President of the autonomous republic of Chechnia, General Jokhar Dudayev, threatened in 199 1 to blow up Russian nuclear power stations, or to explode nuclear devices in Moscow In view of the collapse of post Soviet security structures, such warnings should be taken seriously To counter this problem, the Clinton Administration plaxis to become m ore involved in brokeGgpace wements inthe IS. According to Ambassador StrobeTalbott, who is Clintons Ambassador-at;Large for Russia and the NIS, the Administration would con sider any U.N. request for peacekeepin in this region under the same guidelines t h at it applies to other requests of this nature This means that Clinton could consider send ing US. troops into the fonner Soviet Union, possibly under non-US. command.23 The Administration is also considering the possibility of joint U.S.-Russian or a uni l ateral Russian peacekeeping under the U.N. banner. The agreement on joint exercises and train ing for peacekeeping of American and Russian heavy infantry divisions signed in Sep tember should be considered in this light. The overall projected U.N. involve m ent in the CIS, according to U.S. government estimates, may require up to 14,500 soldiers, and might cost over $1.3 billion. Since the U.S. is responsible for one-third of the U.N. bud get, the American contribution could be over $375 million. The conflic ts in which the U.N. could become involved include Tajikistan, Karabakh, Moldova, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia.

While the State Department is anxious to offer its good offices for arbitrating and po licing regional disputes, many experts advocate caution. T he U.S. should not rush in of fering its services, says RAND Corporation analyst Paul Hem. If we step in, the sides will take the most irredentist positions, expecting us to put pressure on the other party.

We should wait till the sides come to us and beg us to mediate.

Adding to the debate are suggestions for new security mangements for Eurasia. Re publican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana for example, argues for including the emerging Eastern European democraciesin NATO. Lugar and others suggest that NA TO should be open for Russia to join so long as it remains democratic and nonthreatening to its neighbors 52 CREATING A NEW U.S. POLICY TOWARD EURASIA The U.S. must adopt a comprehensive policy package aimed at assisting regional stabi lization and suppor t ing democratic reformers in all the former Soviet Union. Thus the Clinton Administration should 22 Questions for the Record by Senator Helms submitted to Ambassador-at-LargeTalbott. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 7,1993 23 Barton Gellman. W i der UN Police Role Suppod, The Washington Posr, August 5, 1993, p. 1 24 Barton Gellman, Brothers in Arms. Now GI Joe and Ivan toTrainTogether, The Wclshington Post, September 9,1993 p. Al 25 Richard G. Lugar, NATO: Out of Area or Out of Business, A Call f o r U.S. Leadership to Revive and Redefine the Alliance, Remarks delivered to the Open Forum of the US. State Department, August 2,1993. x x Exclude the possibility of U.S. troop involvement in U.N. peacemaking operations in Eurasia U.S. troops should not b e sent to play a peacemaking role in the CIS under the command of U.N. officers. The widespread opposition to placing American soldiers under foreign command, plus the unworkability of such mis sions, makes a high-profile U.S. military involvement in Euras ia unadvisable.

However, small contingents of CSCE observers, including Americans, could be stationed in the conflict zones if all the major parties agree. America already is mired ii milit

crises from Somalia to Haiti, and objections are growing in Cong ress to the mounting costs and dangers of peacekeeping Prepare plans for capturing or destroying nuclear weapons that may fall into hoe tile hands in the former Soviet Union U.S. special forces and the intelligence ser vices have to be ready to act if a w a rlord, a terrorist group, or an extremist politi cal party attempts nuclear blackmail or an unauthorized launch of nuclear weap ons. Russian communists and fascists or Muslim fundamentalists may already have sufficient technical skills and military capabi l ities to use nuclear weapons So far, however, they do not control them. They could attempt to capture nuclear devices or power stations in order to gain a monetary or political advantage over their adversaries X Start negotiations toward a multilateral se c urity framework in Eastern Europe and Eurasia that will enhance the security of Russia and Ukraine. Kiev feels threatened by Russia. Moscows claims to the Black Sea Fleet, Sevastopol naval base, and the Crimean peninsula have exacerbated these fears of Ru s sia. Washington, to gether with its allies, can alleviate these fears by enhancing multilateral security cooperation between Ukraine and her neighbors. Whether through the CSCE or any other regional security framework, the U.S. should offer its good offic e s to reduce tensions between Moscow and Kiev x Clarify to the Russian leadership that the U.S. will not endorse the unilateral appli cation of B Russian Monroe Doctrine, or violation of the sovereignty of other NIS countries. On July 15, Senate Minority L e ader Robert Dole sent a letter to Secre tary of State Warren Christopher strongly objecting to the indefinite presence of Russian military bases in the CIS. Russia must support democracy at home and abroad, Dole wrote. If Russia attempts to reestablish th e Soviet Empire with a new common state ideology based on Russian traditions, as Ruslan Khasbulatov recently promi~ed the U.S. should deny her any further aid. The Clinton Administration agrees, as AmbassadorTalbott said, testifying in the Sen ate Foreign R elations Committee in September 1993 Russia should neither assert nor exercise any special role or prerogatives that would be inconsistent with the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of any other state. We have made our position on this q uestion clear in dialogue at all levels with Russia, as well as with the other Newly Independent States If Russia conducts a policy in violation of CSCE 26 Khasbulatov on CIS Reintegration. RFE-RLDaily Report. September 14,1993, p 2. Khasbulatov also clai m ed to be the highest ranking CIS official, as he is the head of its Interparliamentary Assembly 26 x X x principles, the UN Charter, an nternational law, we would re-evaluate our assistance program for Russia This is an adequate assessment. The Clinton Ad m inistration should be held to its promise. The re-emergence of imperialism in Moscow will be highly detrimen tal for the future of economic and political freedom in Russia and her neighbors Encourage democratic and market reforms in the NIS. Technical ass i stance pro grams aimed atzreating a professional class of market specialists should be ex panded. Demochcy Uaining and institution'building should be further im plemented. While the process of democratic and market institution-building is lengthy and pain f ul, millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Kazakhs and others have already started their own businesses and are eagerly learning market-oriented skills 4i The West should expand its invaluable assistance in educating the next genera tion of NIS managers, busin e ssmen, accountants, and lawyers, so that NIS integra tion into the global markets will be both speedy and smooth. Equally important is education of the Russian political class in the fundamentals of the democratic pro cess, lawmaking, and participatory po l itics. So far, Western technical assistance programs have only scratched the surface. Technical assistance and educational programs have not focused enough on long-term objectives. They have been too general and not concentrated enough on developing speci f ic technical and busi ness skills Facilitate the resolution of disputes between Russia and Ukraine, if requested. The U.S. would prefer that the two Slavic giants worked out their own disputes. How ever, the relations between Moscow and Kiev currently are not smooth, and may deteriorate further. If requested by one of the parties, impartial U.S. mediation might aid greatly in resolving disagreements between Moscow and Kiev on such matters as transfer of Black Sea Fleet to Russia, the dismantling of strateg i c nu clear missiles, and the dispute over the Crimea Support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova and urge a withdrawal of the Russian military forces from the Pridnestrovye region. The self-styled Pridnestrovye republic carved out of Mold o va violates Moldovan sovereignty and provides a haven for the worst Russian chauvinist and communist elements including former KGB and military oficers in opposition to Yeltsin. Paramilit ary units from Pridnestrovye took part in attacks in Moscow on Octo b er 3-4 1993.They also participated in the war against Eduard Shevardnadze in Abkhazia. The U.S. should urge President Yeltsin to begin dismantling the anti reform communist bridgehead in Pridnestrovye. Events in Moscow, as well as the war in Abkhazia, hav e demonstrated that such communist strongholds may provide armed units for future strife and establish a precedent for border changes through force and not through negotiations. Doing this is in the interest of Yeltsin and his reform program 27 Questions f o r the Record by Senator Helms, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, September 7,1993 17 Link aid to Russia to progress on Russian troop withdrawals from the Baltics. The pullout of Russian troops from Latvia and Estonia was stopped in June 1993,.de spite C S CE agreement to the contrary. They should be resumed. The Baltic gov ernments, while wishing to maintain good relations with Russia want a com plete troop withdrawal; the Russian government is stalling the pullout. Russian claims that the Baltics are of g e ostrategic importance should not be accepted or condoned by the U.S. At the same time, the U.S. should monitor charges of hummfigttsatmses against ethnic Russiansin the Baltics. Washington should try its best to appear an objective outsidemediator, avoidi n g the appearance of taking sides in ethnic disputes X x x Support the role of the CSCE in settling the conflict between Azerbaijanis and Armenians over the enclave of Karabakh The CSCE has proven to be the most ef fective framework for the Karabakh confli c t. The reason: it keeps Iran, a non CSCE member, out of the region. However, the involvement of U.S. or U.N peacekeeping troops should be avoided. The conflicts are too deep and would be unmanageable by outside forces such as the U.N. In a final settlemen t , control of heavy weapons should pass into the hands of the CSCE. The status of Karabakh should be resolved in one of three ways: 1) creating an Armenian autonomous enclave of Karabakh in Azerbaijan, 2) a confederation between Karabakh and Azerbaijan, or 3) transfer of Karabakh to Armenia. After an agreement on the final status of Karabakh, the return of the rest of captured Azerbaijani territory should begin Prevent escalation of the Christian-Muslim war in the Caucasus by maintaining a dialogue and fost e ring cooperation between all sides, especially with Russia and Turkey. The U.S. should cooperate with its long-tern ally Turkey, as well as Rus sia, to prevent their entanglement in a major military confrontation over Karabakh. Russia is a traditional all y of Armenia, while Turkey has close ties with the ethnically similar Azerbaijanis. Cooperative relations with both coun tries are important to the U.S. in the long term and can be fostered through the CSCE and other multilateral fora. Because of Armenian a dvances, Russia, Iran and Turkey have strengthened their military presence in the region, which may lead to their involvement in local hostilities. A reasonable compromise could be an henian-Azerbaijani accord on Karabakhs status that is endorsed by Russi a and Turkey and approved by the CSCE Support a CSCE role in settling ethnic disputes in Georgia and inside the Russian Federation. While international efforts to preserve Georgian territorial integrity are necessary, Russia alone is capable of dealing wit h separatist movements and ethnic conflicts inside her territory. American involvement in these sensitive mat ters could provoke a defensive reaction from Moscow and give the hard-liners political ammunition to use against Yeltsin. While supporting Georgia n sover eignty and territorial integrity, the US. has no significant national security inter ests at stake in Georgia. Traditional American cooperation with Georgian hsi dent Shevardnadze, while.desirable, cannot justify U.S. military involvement in this c onflict. However, Washington should not endorse forcible border changes in Georgia.

Y Y x x Propose an international peace conference on Tajikistan, without committing U.S troops to U.N. peacekeeping operations there. The U.S. has an interest in prevent in g the destabilization of Central Asia. Moreover, Washington should oppose the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in the region. This is why the U.S. should sup port the Russian diplomatic initiative to reach a negotiated settlement in Tajikistan. Russia, Af g hanistan, Uzbekistan, and representatives of the Tajik op position should take part in an international peace conference on Tajikistan. How eGer, the U.S. sbould neither end in its own troops nor ask for U.N. troops to be sent into the for purposes of pea c ekeeping. There is now, in fact, no peace to keep. It must be created by careful negotiations between all parties in the re gion. Russia, however, should persuade the Dushanbe government that if it does not negotiate, Russian troops will be pulled out. A l ong-term commitment of Russian troops to an open-ended bloody conflict in faraway Central Asia might weaken the Yeltsin administration, cause an unsupportable level of casualties and become a sequel to the Afghan fiasco for the Russian military Provide ec o nomic aid and technical assistance to the private sector, not to govern ment structures, in Russia. Leading reformers in Moscow have complained that Western assistance has been squandered, embezzled, or even utilized to under mine the Yeltsin regime. They have asked that U.S. and other Western assistance instead be provided as loans to private Russian banks. Guided by their own eco nomic interests, Russian private banks could loan money to Russian entrepre neurs, not to the inefficient, state-owned, indust r ial enterprises. Moreover, pri vate enterprises should be allowed to receive Western loans in a competitive bid ding process. Western donors, such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and the G-7 governments, should also make a greater effort t o prevent fraud and abuse. There should be more frequent audits by Western donors and their representatives and improved accounting procedures. Such an aid strategy will maximize the effectiveness of Western assistance and will contribute to the success of economic reform Propose the negotiation of a free trade treaty with Russia. Trade, not aid, is the key to solving Russia's economic problems. With its abundant mineral resources and highly skilled work force, Russia could increase its trade volume with th e U.S. from a current $6 billion to $15 billion in three years. A free trade treaty could also double the size of Russian exports. The U.S. could gain nearly lo0,OOO new export jobs for every one percent of growth in the Russian gross na tional product Pre s s for economic and political reform in Ukraine. Only through economic growth can genuine independence and prosperity be reached in Ukraine. The for eign policy crisis between Ukraine and Russia is exacerbated by the economic crisis in Ukraine. The cause o f this crisis is too little economic reform. Ukrainian President Kravchuk, a foxmer secretary for ideological affairs of the Ukrainian Communist Party, has difficulty adopting reforms as wholeheartedly as Boris Ye1tsin.-He has failed to retain economic ref o rmersinhis cabinet,.and in Septem ber, fired moderate Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma. Many more Ukrainian spe cialists should be educated, both at home and in the West, in the ways of democ racy and the market. Ukrainians need to learn how to build politica l parties, orga 29 nize a democratic legislature, and represent constituent interests in that legisla ture. Ukrahian specialists and student should be invited to Western schools and firms for studies and internships in Western economic, managerial, and pol i tical techniques CONCLUSION The national htekst ofthe U.S.-requhs the stabilization of Eurasia. Chaos in Russia and the CIS could endanier control over the massive nuclear arsenals left over from the Cold War, sweep away pro-reform governments, and lead t o the establishment of nation alist, anti-Western regimes.

The West in fact, is facing its greatest challenge since the beginning of the Cold War To deal with the Eurasian crises, the U.S. and its allies must devise a policy that differen tiates between re gions and crises according to Western security and geopolitical interests New frameworks and associations, such as a U.S.-Russia free trade pact, must be cre ated, and existing ones, such as the CSCE, should be expanded to include emerging Eura sian democ r acies, among them Russia and Ukraine If successful, this approach could lead to a gradual reduction in violence and to the creation of a more prosperous and peaceful Eurasia. Such an achievement would surely be a great triumph for liberty and the free mar kets. But if the West fails, decades of tyranny and a renewed arms race may ensue over the wide expanses of Eurasia.

Ariel Cohen Salvatori Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies 20

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