Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Security, Family Dirt and the Unsecretive Service

Not so long ago President Bill Clinton and President Boris Yeltsin bid farewell to several officials who are responsible for their safety. But the reasons for these steps were diametrically opposed. The former head of the Russian president's bodyguard, General Alexander Korzhakov, was dismissed for what was called excessive, importunate loyalty. The secret service agents at the White House, on the contrary, fell out of favor because of a lack of sufficient loyalty.

In an interview on the television news program "Itogi," the Russian president's wife spoke of how difficult it was to say goodbye to Korzhakov, who had become, in her words, almost a member of the Yeltsin family. But the wife of the American president got rid of their guards, who had also tried in a certain way to become members of their family.

According to the monthly Esquire, the U.S. First Family has been complaining about the importunity of the secret service for some time and accuses its agents of leaks of such incidents as the hurling of a table lamp by the president's wife, Hillary. The Clintons decided to dismiss several secret service agents and remove them from their living quarters, which are located on the second floor of the White House.

But how can the fully understandable desire for privacy on the part of the Clintons be reconciled with their security needs? In any case, Washington officials, including FBI members, have expressed their deep concern that the president's privacy threatens his safety.

Those who are responsible for the American president's safety consider that it is better to be a witness of the first lady's anger while hurling a lamp than allow a terrorist to hurl a bomb.

Izvestia, August 2.

Nemtsov's Agenda

Argumenty i Fakty interviews Nizhny Novgorod governor Boris Nemtsov.

Right after President Boris Yeltsin's inauguration, he will send a list of government members to the State Duma. Who, in your view, should be included or might be replaced?

It would be good for Russia and for Yeltsin if competent people who took part in the presidential race entered the cabinet. I have in mind the team of [Yabloko leader] Grigory Yavlinsky. And not because he came in fourth place, but because such qualified people are now needed very much. First, it would be useful to have Mikhail Zadornov in financial matters. Second, Tatyana Yarygina could contribute to reform of the pension system, laws on family support, children and employment. Finally, the inclusion of Yavlinsky himself could help settle questions of financial stabilization and the development of industry.

But there is an impression that Yavlinsky himself doesn't know what he wants.

That isn't quite true. I think that he wants to work and not be constantly in the opposition.

The gubernatorial elections will have great significance for Russia. Much will depend on the central authorities, and the principle of competence and professionalism should guide Moscow in its decision to back one or another candidate.

It is necessary to strengthen the part of the government that deals with agriculture. In the final analysis, the results of the presidential elections showed that it was a fight between the city and the countryside, and not between the north and south. Rural inhabitants voted against reform and urban residents for it. That's all there is to it. And the proper conclusions should be drawn. Despite the fact that trillions of rubles have been spent on the village, the farmers have not seen this support. It is ineffective. Where are the fuel and fertilizers disappearing to? Why do the regional consumers' unions still control and raise prices in a monopolistic way? Why is the system of stocking grains completely destroyed? Why don't old women sell milk and meat anywhere? All these questions must be addressed by the government.

Argumenty i Fakty, July, No. 31.

Room for Diversity

Foreigners, national minorities and people of different faith have lived in Moscow from time immemorial. Each nationality settled in its own quarter. There are Georgian streets, Armenian lanes, Lefortovo -- the former German sloboda, or settlement, exempted from state obligations. ... [Some peoples] became Russified very quickly. At the start of World War I, many from Moscow's lumpen proletariat wanted to carry out a pogrom against the Germans. They went about the German shops and had them spit on the portrait of Kaiser Wilhelm. And all our Karl Ivanoviches and Hans Petroviches did so willingly. The Germans responded with a set phrase: "Although I have a German last name, I am Russian and Orthodox." This did not help: There was a German pogrom nonetheless.

Moscow has always been a purely Russian city. A 1989 census puts the number of ethnic Russians at 90 percent. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, everything changed. The West, the East and the South poured into the Russian capital. ...

Enormous Russian Moscow is reacting poorly, awkwardly and aggressively to the intensive immigration of "aliens," especially those who look or speak differently. To the Russian Muscovite, the ethnic minorities have bitten off the tastiest morsel of the city, especially in trade. When they converse in their native tongue, many see this as an offense or a threat. What are they discussing? Are they laughing at us? Preparing to steal from us? Kill us?

President Boris Yeltsin said that Russia needs a new national idea. As if a national idea could be worked out like a pre-election tactic. It is ripening on its own, at the same time as the ideas of "verification of the passport regime" and "purges of Moscow." What will come of such an idea? From the "Third Rome to the Fourth Reich?" It's not too late to stop it.

There is no need to check documents of every dark-skinned person at every turn. There is no reason to call on the Cossacks to remove the Azerbaijanis from the Danilovsky market. No one is ever going to take the place of Russians as the main people of Russia and Moscow.

On the contrary. By living next to other peoples and trying to understand them, we will understand ourselves far better.

Obshchaya Gazeta, August 1-7.

There is no need to include Kitai Gorod here, which is in no way a "Chinatown" [as its name suggests], but refers to a certain ancient part of Moscow enclosed by walls.True, there were never many such people. Some people, such as Chinese and Arab merchants, practically did not enter into Russian life. Others, on the other hand,

There were thousands of Europeans and Americans who have changed the appearance of the city. There are many refugees from Africa and Asia -- Ethiopians, Somalis, Afghans and Kurds. The Vietnamese are not as numerous as many think, but are engaged in serious trading operations. And there are our unfortunate former fellow-citizens from the Caucasus and Central Asia.