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  • Author: Jon B. Wolfsthal
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Russia's nuclear weapons complex is spread across 10 remote, closed and formerly secret “nuclear cities,” which employ almost 1 million scientists, engineers and technicians. Moscow's economic collapse has left these former “jewels” in the Russian nuclear crown struggling to survive, and workers with access to nuclear materials and expertise routinely go for months without getting paid. The U.S. Department of Energy, as part of the Clinton Administration's cooperative threat reduction efforts, has launched the Nuclear Cities Initiative (NCI) to reduce the proliferation risks created by the poor economic conditions in these closed cities. By promoting the development of private industry in these cities, NCI seeks to prevent a brain drain of Russian nuclear experts to would-be nuclear-weapon states.
  • Topic: Arms Control and Proliferation, International Cooperation, Nuclear Weapons
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Asia
  • Author: John Chown
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Currency boards have been suggested for Russia, and adopted elsewhere in eastern Europe. Brazil's fixed rate has had to be abandoned, but Argentina is considering replacing its currency board with dollarization, and suggesting this solution for the rest of Latin America. Fixed exchange-rate regimes (and the crawling peg in Russia) have collapsed in Southeast Asia but Hong Kong, which had a formal currency board, has (so far) survived.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, North America
  • Author: Betsy Gidwitz
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: In recent months, since shortly after the collapse of the Russian ruble in August 1998, an upsurge of antisemitism in Russia has generated a startling increase in emigration of Russian Jewry. Among Jews in Israel and many diaspora countries, concern has grown about the fate of those Jews remaining in Russia, the largest of the post-Soviet states.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Gerald M. Steinberg
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Abstract: Prime Minister Ehud Barak will not get a period of grace or a post-election honeymoon. Immediately upon taking office, he faces a number of pressing issues. Many of these are domestic - including religious-secular relations and economic concerns.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Middle East, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Abstract: The economic crisis of 1998 has victimised a number of important areas of institutional development and increased social distress among much of the population. A responsible fiscal and monetary response to the crisis, bolstered by a strengthened current account, has helped to stabilise inflation and the exchange rate, although the low level of reserves, the demands of foreign debt service, and threats to the independence of the Central Bank speak for the continued fragility of the achieved level of stability. A restructuring of foreign debt is critical for consolidating trends in the fiscal sphere. While the quick onset of a recovery in GDP in the wake of the weaker rouble is encouraging, delays in structural reforms and low administered input prices raise concern about the quality and sustainability of this growth. The restructuring and regulation of the commercial banking sector continues to pose major challenges to the Central Bank and the Russian government. Throughout a decade of transition, problems in demonetisation and fiscal federalist relations, the particular focus of this Survey, have been important underlying structural obstacles to economic reform. Although some institutional reforms have provided a foundation for a market economy, delays in addressing these and other fundamental problems have impeded efficiency and increased the comparative vulnerability of the Russian economy to external shocks. The future stability and growth of the Russian economy will require the continuation of responsible macroeconomic policies, but depends first and foremost on progress in structural reform, including tax reform, effective institutions of bankruptcy, competition, more decisive and comprehensive measures to combat the process of demonetisation, defend the rule of law, and realise fundamental reform in fiscal federalist relations.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: Russia's military operations in the North Caucasus have, so far, received broad domestic support and enhanced the popularity of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. This stands in contrast to the 1994-96 conflict. The difference can be explained by the successful characterisation of the enemy as terrorists combined with the low level of conscript casualties. Moscow politicians have united broadly behind the military strategy, with opposition limited to extreme reformist groups. Two key consequences emerge from this situation. Firstly, Putin's political future is tied to the continued success of the campaign. Secondly, the nationalist fervour sparked by the conflict has reduced international investor confidence and led to domestic calls for increased defence spending.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Trade and Finance, Nationalism, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: The present incursion of Islamic rebels into Dagestan is not the prelude to a re-run of the Chechen war across the Russian periphery. However, it highlights Moscow's failure to adequately monitor developments in the North Caucasus region and the lack of military preparedness for dealing with internal rebellions. Despite the potential for increased violence, weak central government control is likely to prevail across the region, but only because for the majority of the local population, the alternatives appear even less palatable.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Russia, North Caucasus
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In the past nine months, the United States and the United Kingdom have pursued a low-intensity military campaign against Iraq. Such actions have been made easier by a lack of political scrutiny. However, the US administration in particular now faces mounting criticism from France, China and Russia, who favour a relaxation of policy, and domestic US interest groups favouring a more activist stance. Despite these pressures, US President Bill Clinton is unlikely to change policy significantly in his remaining 18 months of office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iraq, United Kingdom, Middle East, France
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: On July 28, the IMF's Board of Directors announced their approval of a 4.5 billion dollar loan to Russia. Rather than representing a breakthrough deal, the agreement is merely the latest chapter in the cycle of non–compliance and renegotiation that has characterised the Fund's relationship with Moscow. With presidential and parliamentary polls scheduled during the next twelve months, electoral pressures will almost certainly prevent the latest macroeconomic programme being implemented. Moreover, unless the root cause of Russia's economic problems—its dire GDP growth rate—is rectified, a further round of comprehensive renegotiations will be required.
  • Topic: Debt, Economics, Government, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Moscow
  • Author: Steve H. Hanke
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Cato Institute
  • Abstract: The devaluation of the Russian ruble this year was predictable, especially considering Russia's poor monetary history. State-manipulated money has been a Russian hallmark since the time of Peter the Great and shows that the country's money problems are endemic and do not depend on who controls the central bank. Czarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet governments have used the central bank printing press to finance deficit spending, resulting in high inflation, confiscation of savings, capital controls, or a combination of the three.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union