Columbia International Affairs Online: Course Packs and Syllabi

Human Rights and International Law

Japan's foreign policy towards human rights: Uncertain changes
Sergei V. Chugrov
from Human Rights and Comparative Foreign Policy: Foundations of Peace, David P. Forsythe, ed.
United Nations University


Two political myths concerning human rights in Russia are widely aired in the West. According to one of them, Russia historically followed the lead of the West towards liberalism, and only the 1917 Bolshevik revolution resulted in mass repressions and the negation of all human rights in the Soviet Union. The other myth stipulates that Russia has never developed the conditions for human rights and is hardly able to develop them now. Both arguments appear to be wrong. For centuries, Russia was torn by two cultural traditions. One of them, the Westernizing one, considers rights of the individual to be its cornerstone. The other, Slavophile, one accepts authoritarian government and severe restrictions on human rights, while seeing the source of the country's further development in its own particular traditions. The Westernizing tradition embraces universal rights, while the Slavophile tradition emphasizes cultural relativism and national particularism.

The first tendency pushes Russia towards the West, while the second one results in Russia pursuing a policy of self-isolation. The Westernizing tradition has always been weaker than the Slavophile one. This does not mean, however, that the seeds of liberal freedoms were eradicated from the national political culture; they were always there and remain so today. Rather, they are emerging from their suppression.

I. Historical introduction

For about three centuries, up to 1480, the Muscovite principality was under the domination of Tatars. Some students of the Russian mentality see in this experience the sources of Russia's traditional adherence to non-freedom and its antipathy to human rights issues — as well as of Moscow's intrinsically aggressive attitude towards neighbouring principalities and countries. Russian authoritarianism was perhaps personified by Ivan the Terrible. Later, Peter the Great, while visiting one of the British battleships, wanted to watch a traditional corporal punishment in the fleet (whipping with a seven-tailed jack-o'-seven) and could not understand why the captain opposed his wish, there being no sailors who deserved to be punished. In Russia this circumstance might not have been viewed as an obstacle. 1 (On the other hand, Petrine Russia may serve as an eloquent example of the controversial Westernization of the country).

Russia turned out to be one of the countries most hostile to the French Revolution. The traditional Russian ideal society was a religious community that had no need to defend human rights because Love and Good took the place of rights. In this model, ideals and not law were supposed to be a guideline. In reality, there was a mixture of legal and religious rules, resulting in an unstructured complex network of relations between individuals and the state. This sort of collectivism paralysed much individual responsibility. In the real life, ethical norms are often in conflict with the law. In the extreme form, under Love, slavery is a happiness. Russia's strong peasant community (mir) emerged as a complex phenomenon with many elements of a parochial isolated community based on the idea of sacrificing individual rights for the sake of collectivist values. This imperative has turned out to be disastrous for Russia, leading to bloodshed and martyrs. 2 Even many Russian intellectuals of the nineteenth century demonstrated their rejection of law and put ethical norms in place of law. Thus the Russian legal tradition is weak.

Nevertheless, it is easy to see a counter-tendency. Catherine the Great, inspired by her contacts with French Enlightenment figures, initiated elections to a Legislative Commission in 1767 to consider the problems of rights. After 1861, Tsar Alexander II initiated a discussion about reforming the state's legal system in order to give rights to the representatives of new estates. It was Russia's initiative that led to the first world conference in The Hague on international law in 1899 to discuss humanitarian issues. Peter Stolypin, Russia's then controversial prime minister, forcibly moved peasants to Siberia, but nonetheless paid special attention to the problem of formal human rights and moved the country closer to European standards.

The fear of excessive liberties facilitated the acceptance of a totalitarian style of government after 1917. The very first steps of the Soviet leadership in 1917-1918 provide us with evidence of the new elite's low opinion of human beings and lack of respect for law. In the 1920s and 1930s, so-called "revolutionary expediency" was the clear excuse for unbridled violations of human rights. Therefore, the new Soviet Russia became isolated from the outer world. The division of the world into "bourgeois democracies" and "people's democracies" explains many conflicts with the outer world, including the 1956 invasion of Hungary and the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. As a counter-example, after Stalin's death, the Khrushchev "thaw" opened a period of exchanges with the West, thus undermining Soviet isolation. Some see every crack in isolation as at least a long-term and indirect step forward in the promotion of human rights. (The opposite is certainly true: any promotion of human rights is a heavy blow to self-isolation).

The improvement in East-West relations in the early 1970s, known as detente, stemmed from the military parity achieved by the Soviet Union with the United States. But detente was quickly followed by a Western foreign policy line emphasizing human rights issues, which forced them to the front of Russian domestic policies. The human rights issue was important, though not always the key issue, in East-West relations. Soviet dissidents contributed to the launching of the Helsinki process. The signing of the Helsinki Agreement on 1 August 1975 was an event of special, albeit ambiguous, importance. On the one hand, Helsinki diplomacy served as a source of the "new thinking." On the other hand, provisions on human rights in the Agreement were a source of constant irritation to the Brezhnev leadership.

It has been said that: "It is only continuing and unremitting pressure by the U.S. and the West on human rights that led to improvements in individual situations and the possibility of long-term systemic change." 3 I find this argument one-dimensional and therefore not totally convincing. Of course, pressure from the United States and other Western states was a powerful driving force. However, all we know about the Gorbachev period testifies that it was a bilateral process because Gorbachev saw more clearly than any of his predecessors the links between domestic and foreign policy and appreciated that, as long as the Soviet Union persecuted dissidents, Soviet relations with the West would be based on mistrust. 4

Implementation of at least some human rights was a cornerstone of Gorbachev's new thinking. 5 Yet even after the attempted coup against this new thinking by hard-line communists, he still saw a preferred role for his communist party. 6 In May 1991, the notorious decree of 17 February 1967 on repealing the Soviet citizenship of ÈmigrÈs to Israel was abolished. 7 In foreign policy Gorbachev rejected the existence of any one correct model of socialism in the spring of 1987.

In summary, Russia has faced great difficulty in coming to terms with human rights in its own culture, hence the lack of coherence in Russia's foreign policy on rights — and its vacillations between East and West. The Russian intellectual tradition is plagued by a paradox: the longing for Russia's modernization, which includes human rights, is matched in intensity only by the fear of it. 8 The central thesis of this chapter is that the complicated national attitude to human rights explains many of the zigzags of Russian foreign policy.

II. Domestic factors

After the honeymoon of Gorbachev's perestroika and the first year of the Yeltsin—Gaidar liberal reforms, especially with the exacerbation of economic hardships, the wave of enthusiasm concerning liberal values began to fade in the new Russia. A drift towards relative isolation from the West became more visible. As for domestic sources of the shift, two major factors — cultural and institutional — were at work. Many Western experts consider the strengthening of national institutions devoted to the development of human rights to be the best prevention against grave violations. 9 Russia's case shows that the political culture is of major importance. Russian society remains a distinctive hybrid system: it endorses widely recognized liberal rights, while at the same time it is constantly looking back to its traditions of authoritarian rule. 10

Political culture

The start of reform resulted in a substitution of civil-political for socio-economic rights. Under communism, the general population, lacking political freedoms, nevertheless benefited from social welfare. This welfare system, although sometimes a disaster, with hours in line at a doctor's office, by and large guaranteed minimal standards of socio-economic rights. 11 The reform era brought in political freedoms but has also almost demolished the old system of social guarantees. This replacement of socio-economic by civil-political rights was immensely painful for the general population, especially in the provinces. From the standpoint of an average Russian, freedom of speech led to pornography and the propaganda of violence, and freedom of conscience threatened to turn into the importation of pathological sects. Thus those who lost out during the reform period view liberal values mostly as involving moral decay, excessive luxury, and, above all, the "Mafiaization of Russia." These deviations, being generally attributed to Western values, result in lingering doubts concerning civil-political rights. Devoid of socio-economic rights, the general population is not in a position to benefit from the new political freedoms. One can also see the widespread rejection of universal human rights norms, which are considered by many to be uniquely Western ones. One can also understand the strong pressure upon the Kremlin to assume generally anti-Western policies, and thus save Russia from degeneration under the Western-dominated international system. Even some politicians of the new generation stress the vital necessity for Russia not to align only with the West but to search out its own path.

A major cleavage appears to have emerged between the notions of "liberal rights" and "order." In the nostalgic public view, the former have become a synonym for disorder. As a result, many people appear to believe that the government should control people speaking out against it and foster appropriate social attitudes and values. Paradoxically, most advocates of civil responsibility — a group one would expect to be particularly likely to support human rights — express concern at the excess of political freedom and free speech, as well as a belief that the government should take more of a role in guiding society. 12

What are the transmission belts of these anti-Western attitudes to decision-making in foreign policy? Some interest groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) try to pressure the Russian government into pursuing more anti-Western policies, making use of negative and sometimes distorted perceptions of the human rights issue by the general public. A part of the Russian establishment, discouraged by military cuts, stands to gain from the exacerbation of international tensions. Vested interests of the military and the law enforcement organizations make some of them hostile to respecting human rights. As for foreign policy decision-making, a 1993 survey of 113 representatives of the Russian foreign policy elite showed that 52 per cent adhered to Western-type democratic principles while 45 per cent considered themselves to be advocates of Russia's distinctive way of development. 13

Conflicting views persist regarding human rights versus centuries-old political traditions. The part of society that has been accustomed to perceiving itself within a system of ideological categories feels the need for a unifying, central idea. If the concept of human rights does not succeed in establishing firm roots, especially in a situation of instability and impatience, the concept of national particularism will triumph. A lack of respect for human rights leads to nostalgic protest, xenophobia, and anti-Western diplomacy.


>From an institutional point of view, by and large Russia has already brought its legal system into line with international standards. Some articles of the 1993 Russian Constitution concerning human rights (i.e. Articles 15(4), 16, 18, and 42) declare the priority of international law over national legislation and the right of any citizen to address the European Court of Human Rights (once the European Convention on Human Rights had been ratified by the State Duma). 14 By a presidential decree 15 the Commission on Human Rights was formed. The Russian parliament adopted a federal law for an Ombudsman. However, the leftist majority in the State Duma did its best to replace the prominent human rights activist Sergei Kovalyov because of his stance on Chechnya. 16 The confrontation between the executive and legislative branches of power remains one of the main domestic factors hampering a clear line on human rights.

Major domestic problems

The impact of traditions and conflicting institutions makes the human rights situation in Russia an object of criticism from international organizations, Western governments, and NGOs. The issue of capital punishment is a salient focus. In new penal legislation, adopted in the Soviet Union under Gorbachev on 15 December 1988, capital punishment remained an exceptional measure until its abolition as a sanction for high treason and other most grave crimes. 17 Since then, the problem has been monitored by world public opinion, international organizations, and even committees of the US Congress. 18 After the demise of the Soviet Union, responding to world public opinion, Russia declared its intention to abolish capital sentences. A year-long moratorium was to be implemented, but the State Duma has not confirmed this. Yeltsin declared a moratorium by decree, and starting from the beginning of 1997 death sentences have not been carried out. 19 Society is split on the problem, as elsewhere, and prospects for the adoption by the leftist Duma of legislation urging that the current moratorium on the death penalty be made permanent are vague. 20

The struggle connected with the law on freedom of conscience and religious organizations is a pointed example of the power of domestic traditions and of the weakness of pressure from foreign human rights groups. According to its opponents, the 1997 law curbs the activities of all but four religions — the Russian Orthodox Church, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam — which are regarded as "traditional" to Russia. This contradicts the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. The "newer religious groups" and denominations (among them are Catholics, Baptists, Adventists, etc.) deplore the serious infringement of their rights — being forbidden to open bank accounts, convene religious meetings in public, or hold property for 15 years. The President was under direct pressure from the US Senate, which voted in July 1997 (by 94 to 4) to cut American aid to Russia by US$195 million if the bill became law. Thus, US legislators backed human rights militants and religious groups to urge Yeltsin to veto the bill. Pope John Paul II also conveyed his deep concern over the bill, which he believed discriminates against Catholics in Russia.

On the other side, the Orthodox Church threw its weight behind the bill, openly saying that it needed the law to protect Russia from the depredations of Western missionaries and to prevent the further spiritual and moral destabilization of the country. 21 The law has also mobilized a strong anti-Western consensus in the Federal Assembly, where both houses passed it with overwhelming majorities.

President Yeltsin at first vetoed the bill in the summer of 1997, but eventually, in October, signed it after the Duma introduced some amendments. Signing the bill was not only a symptom of a lack of respect for the rights of religious minorities but also a new barrier between Russia and the West. 22 In fact, it was a manifestation of the crucial impact of domestic factors in human rights issues.

Among other serious domestic problems are high-profile murders involving journalists, financial tycoons, and other prominent figures. In November 1998, the country was shocked by the assassination of a prominent liberal Duma deputy and human rights activist, Galina Starovoitova.

Human rights organizations around the world challenged the legal judgment against the St. Petersburg environmentalist Alexander Nikitin as being politically motivated. This former naval officer was detained in St. Petersburg in February 1996 on suspicion of revealing state secrets to a Norwegian environmental foundation, Bellona. Nikitin and Bellona have demonstrated that all of the information they published was from open sources. However, he was kept in jail for a long time.

Another source of concern for the West is the lack of independence of the judiciary, which prevents it from acting as an effective counterweight to the other branches of government. Judges in Russia traditionally remain subject to some influence from the executive, the military, and the security forces, especially in high-profile or political cases. 23

Thus, as we can clearly see, the emergence of modern institutions such as ombudsmen and human rights commissions is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for Russia's real adherence to human rights norms. Unfortunately, Russian institutions reflect an underlying conflicted political culture, and therefore their record is far from being in full conformity with international rights standards. Constitutional declarations do not change behaviour overnight. 24

III. Multilateral policy

International Bill of Rights

From the very beginning of the Cold War, the Soviet Union demonstrated a very controversial approach towards human rights issues. It abstained on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, stressing that some of its articles "ignored the sovereign rights of some democratic governments." 25 Then Soviet diplomats worked hard to shape the two basic Covenants to the USSR's own views. Moscow formally adhered to both of the Covenants; 26 but, like the later US policy, it did not accept the Optional Protocol to the Civil-Political Covenant, which permitted individual complaints about violations, and it argued that only national authorities, not international agencies, were competent to pass judgement on the implementation of the standards. Russia's voting for pacts dealing with liberal values was quite formal and legalistic, since virtually all international rights documents of the period stemmed from compromise between East and West. This resulted in general language whose essence depended on subsequent interpretation. 27

After the ending of the Cold War, according to the official view, the initial contribution of the Russian Federation catalysed UN activities on a number of human rights issues. Russia made the protection of human rights, including the rights of national minorities, a priority of its foreign policy, especially in the territory of the former Soviet Union. 28 The new Russia professes to emphasize especially civil and political rights both at home and abroad. 29

Policy patterns

One can outline three different periods in Russian foreign policy and human rights since 1991. From late 1991 to mid-1993 Russia appeared simply to defer to the West in regard to human rights issues. Russian delegations in UN institutions followed the lead of the West and voted with the US delegation on the bulk of major issues. Russia was one of the most energetic actors in creating new human rights infrastructures. For example, it worked extensively on the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which was adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights in June 1993. Also, being interested in more focused international support for Russian-speaking minorities in the former Soviet republics, Russia insisted on transforming the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe into the more efficient Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

In mid-1993, important shifts in Russia's foreign policy occurred. Moscow's proposed sale of cryogenic rockets to India may be regarded as a watershed in its relations with the West. Washington not only rejected Russia's requests to share military and space technology markets, but exerted obvious pressure in order to cancel Russia's deal with Delhi. Even ardent supporters of the Russian alliance with the West were shocked and raised their voices in favour of Russia's pursuing its distinct national interests. After nationalists emerged victorious at the December 1993 general elections, they pressed the government to back Belgrade in the violent struggles in the former Yugoslavia. Russian foreign policy seemed torn between pleasing the West and protecting the Serbs. Later on, Moscow gave diplomatic support to the Bosnian Serbs against the Croats, the Muslims, and the West, openly challenging the United States. The period of euphoria over cooperation with the West was over. Officially sticking to its line towards independent decision-making devoid of double standards, 30 Moscow has become more cautious about adopting new human rights documents — in part because they make it more difficult to implement previous obligations. 31

Since 1995—96, notwithstanding formal condemnation of authoritarian regimes, Russia's practical policies towards them have become more pragmatic and flexible. Moscow demonstrates the legacy of its conflicted political culture and its mixed record of cooperation with the United Nations and its mechanisms. On the one hand, Russia usually sides with other Western countries on general issues, such as the role of the United Nations in the promotion of democratization, respect for the principles of national sovereignty, etc. 32 For instance, after the United Nations proclaimed 1998 to be the year of Human Rights, Russia was one of the first countries to form a national committee for the celebration of the anniversary of the declaration. 33 Russia has consistently abided by the UN Security Council's resolutions concerning arms embargoes on its traditional allies Iraq, Libya, and the former Yugoslavia at different stages of UN-sanctioned operations. On the other hand, since 1995, Russia has preferred to express an independent opinion in matters concerning specific issues. For example, having voted at the Security Council for prolonging the UN field mission in Eastern Slavonia, Russia also emphasized the necessity to protect the rights of Serbian displaced persons. Concerning applications filed by the Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina in the Registry of the International Court of Justice in 1993, instituting proceedings against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia "for violating the Genocide Convention," the Russian judge took the side of Yugoslavia. Judge Tarassov's dissenting opinion was joined by ad hoc Judge Kreca, who was appointed by, and represented the interests of, Belgrade. 34

Moscow continued to criticize what it considered the West's excessive blaming of Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs for following the policy of ethnic cleansing. In early 1994, when the United Nations called for the use of force against the Serbs, Russian top analysts even advised that the State Duma would abstain from ratifying the START-2 treaty in the event the bombing went ahead. 35 Moscow's efforts to keep a high profile in foreign policy notwithstanding, in post-Dayton Bosnia Russia has been routinely ignored by the United States and NATO. As a result, Russia has secured only the right to complain, not to decide. 36 Russia does its best to make UN resolutions less confrontational. 37 At the 1997 session of the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), Russia joined the consensus regarding the former Yugoslavia. But it made a special statement on the motives of voting, pointing to the necessity of restoring Yugoslav membership in the United Nations, the OSCE, and other international organizations. On these issues Russia constantly resists the anti-Serb line of the Western countries.

In its relations with Iraq, Moscow traditionally tries to appease the West. After the General Assembly and UNHRC adopted resolutions expressing strong condemnation of the massive violations of human rights of the gravest nature in Iraq, 38 the Russian Foreign Ministry tried to get the United Nations to lift the oil embargo against Baghdad. When the UN Security Council relaxed the embargo in 1996 so that Iraq could purchase food and medicine, it turned out that there had already been multiple contracts to provide these supplies, but none with Russian companies. The consequences were also painful for Russian oil companies, which, during the full embargo, had taken Iraq's place in certain markets, thanks to the similarity in the chemical composition of Russian and Iraqi oil. Russia was forced to leave these markets when Iraq was allowed to sell some oil once again. The UN Security Council having decided to extend the oil-for-goods deal in September 1997, Russia abstained, putting forward a specious excuse. 39

Russia's support for Libya is limited and conditional. For example, on 10 July 1997, at the Security Council's review meeting on Libyan sanctions, Russia insisted on sending a representative of the Secretary-General to Libya to compile a report on the humanitarian implications of the sanctions regime for the general population of Libya.

Collective human rights such as the problem of self-determination of peoples had been the focal point of Moscow's foreign policy during the Cold War, especially the rights of the Palestinian people and the Middle East peace process. Russia generally tends to vote in favour of support for the rights of the Palestinians. However, since normalization of relations with Israel, Russia has become far more sensitive about the wording of related resolutions. 40 When the General Assembly approved a resolution on the rights of Palestinians in December 1995, by 145 to 2, Russia was among the 9 countries that abstained (only the United States and Israel voted against it). 41 At the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Commission in 1997, Russia supported a resolution condemning human rights violations in southern Lebanon and in the Bekaa valley region (the United States voted against it and one delegation abstained). Russia also voted for a General Assembly resolution submitted by the European Union (EU) on Israeli settlements in occupied Arab territory (the United States voted against and two delegations abstained). These were not the only examples of the cleavage with the United States on human rights violations in the Middle East. For the first time, at the 1997 UNHRC session, Russia was not among the co-authors of the so-called positive resolution on the Middle East peace process, because the US delegation, its major sponsor, refused to mention in the text the role of multilateral mechanisms and the importance of sticking to the achieved Palestine—Israeli agreements.

When a UN body takes up human rights abuses in Cuba, Russia quite often sides with the United States on procedural matters, such as, for instance, extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cuba at the Human Rights Commission or the Economic and Social Council session 42 Russia also aligns with the United States on some generalized matters, such as bringing the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba into conformity with international law and international human rights instruments. 43 Russia was among the states that abstained, however, when the 1997 UNHRC session, by a vote of 19 to 10, with 22 abstentions, adopted the more detailed and critical US-sponsored resolution on the situation of human rights in Cuba.

Russia's voting record concerning human rights in China is rather contradictory. For example, at the 51st session of the UNHRC held in Geneva in 1995, the Russian delegation first voted procedurally for taking up the matter, but then voted against the Western-sponsored resolution condemning human rights violations in China. 44 At the 1997 UNHRC session, Russia abstained in procedural voting on whether or not to adopt any resolution concerning human rights violations in China. This position was obviously dictated by a new rapprochement between Russia and China and reflects Russia's pragmatic stance. The situation will tend to reproduce itself until real changes take place in China.

More generally, Russia's voting record at the 53rd session of the UNHRC in Geneva, 10—18 April 1997, may serve as a clear example of Russia's attempts to shape an independent policy on international human rights issues. Russia's official position was based on a presumption that the human rights issues should bring nations closer together rather than dividing them. In Russia's view, a constructive dialogue between nations should draw on human rights as a universal principle and transform them into a cornerstone of security and stability.

On Russia's initiative, the UNHRC for the first time labelled the repealing of citizenship as a violation of basic human rights (the co-authors of the resolution were Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua, Colombia, Portugal, and Belarus). Russia's initiative condemning the barbaric practices of taking hostages turned into a consensus resolution that won support of multiple co-sponsors. Russia backed resolutions on human rights abuses in Iraq, Iran, the Sudan, Burundi, Zaire, Nigeria, Rwanda, Equatorial Guinea, and Myanmar. Russian diplomats stress that Russia's stance is far from blacklisting these countries but is a sort of invitation to a positive dialogue with international organizations.

One of the characteristic traits of Russia's foreign policy is consistent support for the idea of the inseparability of democracy, development, and human rights. Therefore, Russia was one of the most active co-authors of the resolution on the right to development.

There was an intense struggle regarding an Italian draft resolution on the abolition of capital punishment. The United States and a group of Asian countries bitterly criticized the resolution, emphasizing the right of sovereign countries to establish measures of responsibility. The resolution was adopted by 27 (including Russia and the EU) to 11 (including the United States, Japan, and China), with 14 abstentions (including Great Britain, Cuba, and India). 45

Since the 1993 Vienna Declaration, ongoing political dialogue with the Council of Europe (CoE) has been a priority for Moscow. Judging by official statements, Russia's foreign policy entrepreneurs needed membership in the Council in order to protect the rights of Russians in the "near abroad." 46 Actually, an even more important rationale was to have a say in European affairs. Russia's joining the CoE has been one of the most controversial decisions in the history of the organization. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the mis-named Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, challenged the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) deputies in his mocking manner: "If you want to invite Russia, you should know that you invite Russia as a state and not citizen Kovalyov who dislikes something. He is as sick as thousands of Europeans who suffer from different diseases." 47 In its Opinion no. 193 on the Russian request for membership in the Council of Europe, adopted in January 1996, note was taken of the Russian Federation's intention to settle international as well as internal disputes by peaceful means, as well as of the commitment strictly to respect the provisions of international humanitarian law, including in cases of armed conflict on its territory. 48

Russia has become more cooperative with Amnesty International in matters of application of the Convention against Torture, illegal imprisonment and psychiatric confinement for political reasons, death sentences, introduction of a civilian alternative to military service, restrictions on religious activities, and the situation in Chechnya. 49

The International Red Cross took part in efforts to protect and assist people in order to soften the consequences of the conflict in Chechnya. In spite of the special status accorded it concerning the implementation of international humanitarian law by the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocols of 1977, six Red Cross workers were killed in late 1996. After the incident, the remaining members of the Red Cross had to quit Chechnya since neither the Russian troops nor the Chechen authorities would provide them with guarantees respecting provisions of international humanitarian law.

Regional developments

Human rights groups have compiled a number of accounts of serious abuses during the Chechen conflict. Human Rights Watch reported that the Russian military "failed adequately to investigate, let alone prosecute, the most glaring combat-related violations of humanitarian law." Separatist forces also violated international humanitarian law by taking and executing hostages and using prisoners as human shields. The Glasnost Fund established an international intergovernmental tribunal on crimes against humanity and war crimes in Chechnya, which plans to conduct investigations and forward its findings to the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. 50

Moscow's use of force in Chechnya, which showed no concern either about human lives or about the reaction of public opinion inside or outside Russia, became a test for Western human rights policies. The reaction of the Western countries and international organizations surprised the Russian leadership, being far more tolerant than Moscow had expected. The West and international organizations condemned Russia for excessive violence and human rights violations. However, no country and no organization mentioned any sanctions or proposed exerting pressure on Russia, considering the Chechen conflict to be Russia's internal affair or not an issue at all. 51 This was interpreted in Moscow as a carte blanche for such kinds of military operations not only in Chechnya but in the vast space of the former Soviet Union.

After the Budapest summit of the OSCE held in November 1994, Moscow clearly saw that it would not be possible to keep the West from an expansion of NATO eastwards. In exchange for dropping attempts to prevent it, Moscow welcomed the idea of dividing zones of responsibility in Europe along the borders between the Central European states and the former Soviet Union, with the exception of the Baltics, which were supposed to belong to the Western zone. This drift toward a more "Great Power" stance and the ferocity of the military operation in Chechnya were interconnected symptoms of the old imperial habit. The West chose the lesser of the evils as a way forward, as noted above, but to the detriment of the human rights issue. 52

After NATO's official decision to expand eastward, the West was stunned by the broad consensus in Russia against it. If we ignore security considerations, we can see the psychological explanation for this nationwide anti-NATO consensus. Russian liberal intellectuals had an acute feeling of having been betrayed by the West. It was a sort of psychological trauma for advocates of rapprochement with the West, who were shocked by the lack of Western respect for Russia's sensitivities. In any case, the Russian leadership concluded that Western states are rarely guided by ethical norms in foreign policy. Thus Russian national interests were increasingly emphasized in foreign policy during NATO's post-enlargement period.

International financial institutions

International financial institutions (IFIs) are in the limelight of political discussions in Russia. Two major questions arise: Would the West significantly increase its credits to Russia if Moscow more carefully observed human rights? If the IFIs increased their aid to Russia, would Moscow be more active in human rights observance?

The main international financial organizations appear to be preoccupied more with economic reform — i.e. Russia's budgetary indicators such as inflation rates, currency reserves, etc. — than with the observance of human rights. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank consistently support the Russian government's tight fiscal and monetary policy to bring down inflation in spite of the fact that many workers are not paid for months. The head of the IMF's Second European Department, Yusuke Horiguchi, has repeatedly emphasized the necessity for the Russian government to exert pressure upon huge corporate debtors to cope with the problem of arrears. The head of the IMF, Michel Camdessue, while visiting Russia, stressed that the "situation when pensioners do not receive their pensions is really shocking." 53 Also, the World Bank earmarked up to US$2 billion for urgent social problems, such as helping the government pay wage and pension arrears. 54

But, in general, the IFIs have not let human rights issues affect loans to Russia. The major constraints for Western assistance to Russia lie not so much in the sphere of human rights but in the economic sphere. If relations were blocked by poor human rights observance in Russia, the West would have no incentive to give the large amounts of assistance and credits that it is currently giving. Given the fact that the West is already giving substantial loans, there is no effective leverage on Russia's human rights policy. Moreover, in Russia, with the exception of a very narrow circle, the effect of Western assistance is generally viewed as destructive for Russia's economy, stimulating corruption and criminality, as well as ruining defence, the social system, science, culture, etc. 55 The mass media are sometimes extremely outspoken in their criticism of Western assistance. For example, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta (Independent Newspaper), which is usually viewed as a pro-reform daily, blames the IFIs for distortion of the economy, immense losses, etc. as well as political manipulations.

The fact that the interests of the IMF and the World Bank are alien to Russia's interests derives not only from the poor results from reforming the national economy in conformity with their standards. Missions of these organizations are represented in all countries of the former Soviet Union. It is not by mere chance that centrifugal trends keep growing every year to the detriment of the countries' economic and political interests, first of all at the expense of Russia's interests. 56

The linking of IFI activity and human rights would only increase criticism in these circles. 57 It is the Open Society Institute (George Soros Foundation) that is clearly linking its grants to human rights, supporting scholars and journalists involved in research or the reporting of human rights issues. It is noteworthy that Russian humanitarian or human rights centres are totally financed by foreign financial and charitable organizations. 58

IV. Bilateral

Russia's major human rights concerns in foreign policy are focused on the former Soviet Union zone. In spite of the existence of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), there is still no viable mechanism for solving these problems on a multilateral basis. The breakup of the Soviet Union left about 25 million ethnic Russians and Russian speakers beyond the new Russian borders. The years since then have shown that Moscow remains deeply embroiled in the affairs of all the former Soviet republics. Indeed, most of those in the Russian state today view the former republics as neither part of their state nor wholly foreign. Western scholars tend to exaggerate Russia's imperial ambitions. As Bruce Porter and Carol Saivetz put it:

The CIS is, moreover, only one of several tools Russia has employed to exert its influence in the former Soviet sphere. Its efforts to retain a measure of hegemony have included economic pressures, such as manipulation of Russian oil and natural gas deliveries; diplomatic support of Russians living in the Near Abroad; fiscal inducements, such as debt relief and currency management; and outright military blackmail, such as threats to keep troops stationed in the Baltic states or the refusal in late 1993 to assist the government of Georgia against twin uprising unless it agreed to enter the CIS. 59

The source of Russia's diplomatic activities in the "near abroad" is that Moscow in many respects appears to be extremely sensitive towards developments in the former republics. 60 Acknowledging Russia's legitimate interests in the region, Western foreign policy decision makers hesitate to recognize what in any other context would be called a protection racket: encouraging separatist movements under the guise of defending embattled Russian minorities, and then intervening as a peacemaker when the conflicts between the separatists and the successor regimes get out of hand. 61 A draft national security White Paper in 1996 listed among the most serious problems for Russia in the "near abroad" kin ethnic contradictions, deterioration of the economy, and loss of consumer markets, as well as violations of the human rights and freedoms of the Russian-speaking population. 62 Violations of minorities' rights within the "near abroad" would endanger Russia's key interests. Therefore the highest priority for Russian foreign policy is the relationship with a number of ex-Soviet republics, above all Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. 63


The rights of the Russian minority in Ukraine have been a target for Moscow's diplomatic activities since 1992, especially in the Crimea. Ethnic Russians there have made enormous efforts to try to get the peninsula to become a part of the Russian Federation, with Sevastopol as a stronghold of this movement. However, with the signing of the "big treaty" with Kiev, Moscow has failed to achieve its main goal. The Crimea remains a part of the independent Ukrainian state, and the problem of the Russian minority remains unsolved.

The Crimea became part of Russia in 1783 after the Russian victory over the Turkish Ottoman armies. Over the next century and a half numerous people, mainly Russians, settled in the Crimea. In 1954, it was transferred to Ukraine by the then Soviet leader, Nikita Khruschev, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Russia's merger with Ukraine as a propaganda symbol of the friendship of the two republics.

The forced deportation of the Crimean Tatars under Stalin fundamentally changed the ethnic balance of the Crimea. Ethnic Russians were brought in to fill their place. The Tatars were allowed to return to the Crimea only at the beginning of the 1970s. Up to 100,000 Tatars subsequently sought to move to the Crimea, only to be prevented from resettling by bureaucratic resistance, police harassment, and brutality.

According to the 1989 census, the ethnic composition of Crimea is as follows: Russians 67 per cent, Ukrainians 25.6 per cent (almost half of whom are Russian speakers), Crimean Tatars 1.6 per cent, other nationalities 6 per cent. Despite substantial regional and some ethnic diversity in the Crimean political situation, the peninsula was very stable till 1992. In May 1992 the Russian parliament passed a resolution declaring the 1954 transfer of the Crimea illegal. In July 1993 the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation issued a declaration asserting control over Sevastopol as a Russian town. Ukraine appealed to the UN Security Council, which confirmed that these decisions were illegal because they contradicted Ukrainian—Russian treaties and the aims and principles of the United Nations.

At the same time, the passage of a law on language led to a drive for separatism in the Crimea. The Crimean Republic demanded its reunification with Russia under the guise of separate membership of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The turmoil in the Crimea demonstrated the anger of the peninsula's population towards the economic situation and Kiev's policies.

The internal situation has also been complicated by the return of the Crimean Tatars creating additional social problems. Many Crimean Tatars see the only solution to their socio-economic and cultural problems in the creation of a single ethnic Tatar state. Thus, Russia's foreign policy faces a series of challenges vis-à-vis Ukraine. The major challenge is that the open backing of the Russian diaspora might push Ukraine further in the direction of the West and NATO. This scenario is considered to be a nightmare by the Russian foreign policy elite.


President Alexander Lukashenko, showing little tolerance for dissent and having adopted a dictatorial style of government, has turned Moscow's relationship with the republic into a legal puzzle. Russian human rights groups accuse Lukashenko of total disregard for the democratically elected parliament, which was disbanded in 1996, and of strongly repressing any opposition to his regime. In January 1997, the Council of Europe excluded Belarus from candidature for membership. Russia insists on the restoration of the Belorussian membership.

The major concern for Russian diplomacy has become Lukashenko's repressing the press. 64 In June 1997, he made the authorities withdraw accreditation for Pavel Sheremet, the Minsk bureau chief of Russian Public Television (ORT), accusing him of insulting and tendentious reporting. Within a week, the journalist and his TV crew were arrested and charged with illegally crossing the Belorussian—Lithuanian border while filming a report on Belarus's poorly guarded frontiers. Yeltsin bitterly criticized the president of Belarus, threatening to revise the Statute on the Union between the two countries. This may be the strongest and most sincere of Russia's condemnations of human rights violations in a neighbouring state. 65

Russia's painful foreign policy dilemma is whether to strengthen cooperation with Belarus or to break with Lukashenko, who has amassed a notorious human rights record. On the one hand, Belarus is the first real candidate for integration. On the other hand, implementation of the document on the forming of the union with Belarus, signed in April 1997, could mean Russia's losing status in the Council of Europe and losing face in the world community — because the observance of human rights in the newly emerging Centaurs cannot be guaranteed. 65 Again we see a pointed example of the Russian difficulty in meshing attitudes towards human rights with other policy goals.


In 1997, ethnic Kazakhs accounted for only 51 per cent of Kazakhstan's population, and only about a third in its northern regions. The Russian population is estimated at about 6.2 million. Yet many Russians say they feel uncomfortable, notably because of an increase in broadcasting in Kazakh and because their children have to study the Kazakh language at school. Hard-line nationalists in Moscow are trying to blackmail the Kazakh authorities with the threat of encouraging the secession of its northern and eastern regions in order to prevent Muslim, Western, or Chinese expansionism in the region. 67 Diplomats are doing their best to prevent further aggravation of the situation.

The Baltics

Russia's most active diplomatic intervention for human rights reasons occurs in the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, and, to a lesser extent, Lithuania), after their winning independence in 1991. 68 The core of the problem is that the plight of the Russian-speaking minorities and Russia's concerns with the shift of the Baltic states away from its sphere of influence towards the West are closely intertwined. It is clear that Russia points to violations of human rights in the Baltics while keeping silent on much worse situations in the Central Asian newly independent countries, such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, whose governments demonstrate political loyalty to Moscow. Russia is certainly sincerely preoccupied with the human rights situation in the Baltics. At the same time, it makes use of the human rights issues in purely political terms to try to prevent the Baltic states aligning with the West.

Many ethnic Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, and Jews have failed to get citizenship in the Baltic states. Unfortunately, there is little love for them among the indigenous citizens, who remember the "Soviet liberation" in 1944 as the start of mass repressions and irritating Russification. 69 The situation in Estonia is, perhaps, the most extreme example of the status of Russian speakers in the region.

Since 1991, Estonia has certainly made considerable progress towards the fulfilment of its obligations and commitments in regard to the rights of Russians living in its territory. In particular, Estonia has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights. However, some problematic areas concerning Estonia's obligations under the European Convention remain. Estonia entered into two commitments before accession to the Council of Europe: to base its policy regarding the protection of historic minorities on principles laid down in the Council's recommendation and an additional protocol on the rights of national minorities to the ECHR, and to treat the "non-historic" Russian-speaking minority fairly. There are no huge problems concerning "historic" Russians (those who settled before the Soviet invasion in the Second World War). As for the treatment of the "non-historic" Russian-speaking minority, who settled during Soviet rule, not all problems are being dealt with in a satisfactory manner. Over 400,000 of Estonia's population are Russians. 70 According to the official Russian point of view, they are subject to special hardships, owing to restrictions imposed on them that are more severe than those on members of majority groups. As we shall see, in reality this large group is devoid of principal rights.

According to the new Law on Citizenship adopted by the Estonian parliament in January 1995, a person who wishes to obtain Estonian citizenship cannot apply until he or she has passed two extremely difficult tests: a general language test and a test on the Estonian constitution and citizenship law. 71 The Estonian authorities are thus in practice pursuing a policy of discrimination with respect to the ethnic Russians and the Russian language, which is the second language spoken after Estonian. 72

Moscow has repeatedly issued diplomatic statements on minority rights since late 1991. On 1 October 1991, the Russian State Council declared that the Russian leadership was responsible for all Russians living in the former Soviet republics. In February 1992, then Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev made it clear in a speech at a UN conference on human rights that Russia regarded this issue as a very high priority in its foreign policy. However, Russia has rather limited resources to influence the human rights situation in Estonia and Latvia. The use of force is ruled out, so Russia has only diplomatic and economic instruments at its disposal as a last resort to prevent discrimination against Russians there. According to then Foreign Minister Primakov, Moscow could slap economic sanctions on states accused of mistreating their Russian minorities. Russia has already linked agreement on an accord defining the border between the two countries to an improvement in the plight of Estonia's Russian-speaking population. Moscow's offer of security guarantees to the Baltic states, made in early November 1997, was unanimously declined by all three countries. Moscow is likely to develop less abrasive relations with the Baltic states at all levels. However, desperate to keep NATO out of the region, Moscow is likely steadily to increase political pressure on the Baltic states in order to defend ethnic Russians and to pursue its political interests there.


Russia became a party to international refugee treaties when in 1993 it ratified the 1951 Geneva Convention and the 1967 Protocol to it. Moscow takes an active part in discussions and in drafting resolutions on refugees and displaced persons. For example, Russia put forward a proposal to the UN General Assembly for a conference to identify regional solutions as supported by the international community, which was held in Geneva on 30—31 May 1996. 73 However, because of various pressures and overcomplicated formalities (often taking about three months to establish refugee status) inside the Federation, Russia finds it hard to protect the rights of refugees and displaced persons efficiently. According to a report by the Human Rights Commission advising the President of the Russian Federation, the number of asylum seekers in Russia from non-CIS countries comes to around 500,000, of whom some 46,000 have been registered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The Federal Migration Service had given refugee status to only 70 of them by January 1997. In the fall of 1997, the Office of the High Commissioner asked the Moscow authorities to facilitate formalities for about 15,000 refugees. This came after the office of the UN Centre for Refugees in Moscow had been attacked and occupied by indignant Africans. 74

The position of CIS refugees and internal forced migrants is even more complicated, in spite of the fact that in September 1993 Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan concluded an agreement on assistance to refugees and forced migrants. The main obstacle seriously undermining the safeguards that legislation affords to refugees is the propiska (residence permit) system. In July 1997, Russia's Constitutional Court ruled that regional governments cannot charge for the right to live on their territory. However, the propiska system, which the USSR introduced in 1932, is still widely used in the CIS countries. It was formally abolished in Russia by Yeltsin in June 1993 and replaced by a system of "notifying" the authorities of the place of residence. The authorities concerned say they are merely protecting the rights of the local community from influxes of new arrivals who allegedly threaten economic stability (particularly wage levels), cause an increase in crime, place too much strain on the infrastructure, etc. According to the Civic Assistance Committee, a Moscow-based human rights group, 30 provincial governments around Russia (including Krasnodar and Stavropol provinces, Voronezh and Leningrad regions, and the city of St. Petersburg) continue to restrict freedom of residence. The tenacity with which many regions stick to the propiska system suggests that Russia is not ready for the right to freedom of movement that is enshrined in Article 75 of the Constitution. 75

If they are prevented from registering, new arrivals, who are mostly refugees, are often unable to get access to public schools for their children. It should be recalled that the International Bill of Rights provides that everyone has a right to education, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights also reiterates that primary education shall be compulsory, even for children of illegal immigrants. 76 Under Article 12 of the 1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, everyone lawfully within the territory of a state has the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence, and that right can be restricted only in the cases specified in that article. 77 The Constitutional Court was under the pressure of regional international law as well since Russia joined the Council of Europe and was strictly obliged to stick to its treaty norms.

About 9 million people have moved within the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) since 1989, most of them involuntarily. This plight has had various causes: violations of minority rights; economic, social, and ecological problems; armed conflicts; virulent nationalism; insecurity, etc. The number of people displaced by armed conflicts alone in the CIS is over 3.5 million. Major conflicts are concentrated in the southern regions. One of Russia's most important foreign policy goals is to play a leading role in mediating such conflicts in order to avoid further unwanted migration.

For example, about 30,000 Ossets (100,000 according to the Ossetian authorities) have moved from South Ossetia (Georgia) to North Ossetia (Russian Federation). However, under Russian pressure, regional politicians agreed in 1996 on the need to address the refugee problem.

Russia is playing a key role in the Georgian dispute with its Abkhazia region, whose leaders keep insisting on equal status with Georgia within a federation or confederation. Abkhaz sources claim that as many as 320,000, the majority of the 525,000-strong population registered in the 1989 census, now live in Abkhazia. Over 100,000 people, including ethnic Russians, have left Abkhazia and gone to Russia. For Russia, the case of Abkhazia is not so much the problem of Russian refugees as a litmus test for its foreign policy in regard to human rights violations. Georgia hopes that Russia will bring its influence to bear for Georgia's unity. Russia is trying to expedite the return to their homes of ethnic Georgians who fled from the region during hostilities. Moscow cannot openly support the Abkhaz move to secede from Georgia for fear of the precedent this could set for the many other multi-ethnic republics of the former Soviet Union. 78 However, it engaged in active diplomacy on the question. Under Russian pressure, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on 21 July 1992 approving a Russian peacekeeping mission in Abkhazia. According to media reports, Russian representative Yuli Vorontsov said that otherwise Russia would oppose US involvement in Haiti. 79 During the G7/G8 meeting in Denver in 1997, Yeltsin called for an enhanced UN role in the settlement of conflicts, including the Abkhazian war. 80

In the Tajik war, some 700,000 people were displaced, and the country has actually lost its Russian-speaking population. 81 In June 1997, Tajikistan and its Islamic opposition signed a peace accord, with Russia's active diplomatic mediation.

Some 100,000 people were displaced by the conflict in the Trans-Dniester area. The Russian speakers left Moldova because of a threat of "Romanization" of the mostly Russian population of the region, notably the introduction of the Moldovan (Romanian) language as the official language in this Russian-speaking area. The situation in the Trans-Dniester region is basically frozen. It is still uncertain whether a political compromise can be reached because the separatists aim at preserving the de facto independence of Trans-Dniester, whereas Moldova is resolutely against recognizing the region as enjoying statehood. Russia favours a special status for Trans-Dniester within Moldova, but not full independence for the region. 82

In both its legislation and its practice, Russia sometimes fails to apply a number of basic human rights recognized by international law. One of them is the prohibition on forced return based on Article 33(1) of the Refugee Convention. 83 There is also a general prohibition deriving from Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibiting the expulsion of anyone who is in serious danger of being subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Similarly the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984) prohibits the return, expulsion, or extradition of any person to a third state when there is serious reason to believe that he or she risks being subjected to torture there. For example, there have been cases of the dangerous extradition of human rights activists to Uzbekistan; the Russian authorities have also turned a blind eye to the activities of the Uzbek secret services in Russian cities which target refugees from that state.

It is clear that United Nations assistance programmes for the hundreds of thousands of persons displaced as a result of ethnic conflicts in the "near abroad" are far from adequate. In August 1994 Yeltsin signed a decree on the major directions of state policy of the Russian Federation regarding compatriots living abroad. This proclaims that stopping new flights of refugees is one of the highest priorities of Moscow's foreign policy towards the "near abroad." Russian attempts to promote the idea of dual citizenship and also Russian as a second state language in the former Soviet republics cause many accusations about Moscow's imperial ambitions to re-establish control over the post-Soviet space and represent a constant headache for the Kremlin. 84

V. Conclusions

After the Cold War, Russia made a breakthrough in expanding its formal acceptance of the international law of human rights. The long-term potential of this breakthrough cannot be overestimated. Nevertheless, Russia's attitude towards specific human rights issues remains controversial. The authoritarian tradition remains strong, frequently overshadowing liberal trends in its foreign policy. Therefore, Russian foreign policy on human rights is marked by uncertainty, competition over values, and lack of predictability.

Another major factor in Russia's ambivalent behaviour in international relations is that it has not yet formulated its foreign policy doctrine and the place of human rights in it. Formally, Russian authorities are generally supportive of international law and human rights policies. In practice, foreign policy institutions are highly selective about endorsement and action (for example, in the former Yugoslavia).

Russia is being pressured by the West to take rights seriously in Iraq or Serbia. The open linkage of financial assistance to Russia with observance of human rights is an instrument with limited efficiency. In some rare cases it may work, but more often it appears to be counter-productive. However, the very existence of Western models and assistance may help support the development of a political culture more conducive to Russia's more consistent implementation of human rights standards. Human rights education is especially needed in Russia, a country without a strong tradition of respect for liberal and legal values.

One cannot say that Russia's foreign policy is generally opposed to human rights. In fact, Russian political entrepreneurs clearly understand that a drastic change of political course and a rupture with the West would result in Russia's isolation. Therefore, Moscow does support some human rights issues and is cautiously trying to find a niche for them in the new system of international relations.

During the early 1990s in the sphere of foreign politics, the Soviet Union/Russia demonstrated unlimited readiness to cooperate with the West. Moreover, this often involved real sacrifice. The most spectacular example was the Soviet consent to German unification with no political conditions and with a hasty withdrawal of Soviet troops from Eastern Europe. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Kozyrev made serious unilateral concessions to the United States and the West. In return he counted strongly on Western support on issues of importance to Moscow. Russia's cooperativeness cannot be explained simply by Western pressure and its victory in the Cold War. Much can be explained by the euphoria of that time and Russia's alleged joining the system of Western political and social values — including human rights. In a sense, Moscow offered sacrifices as a token of a common future. However, Russia would also like to make money, pursue a high-profile policy, and be recognized as more than a loser in the Cold War or a poor cousin of the United States. The West has lacked imagination in dealing with Russia, and the window of opportunity has almost closed.

An analysis of the key international factors — security issues and failures in international assistance to Russia — shows that they are not the main sources of the anti-Western shift in Russian foreign policy. The West could recognize Russian sensitivity to its loss of superpower status and understand that Russia's second-class treatment threatens Western interests and human rights in Russia. Unfortunately, Russia is losing its initial incentive concerning human rights issues in foreign policy.

One cannot change political culture overnight. Continuation of the conflicted political culture has yet to resolve itself in favour of strong and clear support for liberal rights in Russia — at home or abroad.


Note 1: V. Fyodorov, "K istorii telesnykh nakazanii v Rossii" [On the History of Corporal Punishment in Russia], in Problemy rossiiskogo zakonodatelstva [The Problems of Russian Law, Collection] (Vladivostok: Far East University Press, 1997), 133-138.  Back.

Note 2: Boris Paramonov, "On Love and Sin," Russian Questions, Radio Liberty, 15 July 1997.  Back.

Note 3: Mikhail Tsipkin, "Soviet Human Rights under Gorbachev," The Backgrounder, The Heritage Foundation, 10 February 1987, pp. 1-2.  Back.

Note 4: Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996).  Back.

Note 5: Nadine Marie, Le Droit retrouve? Essai sur les droits de l'homme en URSS (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1989), 175, 185; B. Gross, P. Juliver, E. Lukasheva, and V. Kartashkin, eds., Prava cheloveka nakanune 21 veka [Human Rights on the Eve of the 21st Century] (Moscow: Progress, Kultura, 1994), 151.  Back.

Note 6: Amnesty International Report, 1990 (London: Amnesty International Publications, 1991), 244.  Back.

Note 7: Vedomosti Syezda Narodnykh Deputatov i Verkhovnogo Sovieta SSSR [Documents of the Congress of People's Deputies and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR], no. 24 (1994), 688.  Back.

Note 8: Elena Chernyaeva, "The Search for the 'Russian Idea'," Transitions 4/1 (June 1997), 45.  Back.

Note 9: HCHR News, 1/2 (December 1995), 4.  Back.

Note 10: Sergei Chugrov, "Russian Political Culture: Prospects for Democracy," in Mark Salter, ed., After the Revolutions: Democracy in East Central Europe (Uppsala: Life and Peace Institute, 1966), 35-36.  Back.

Note 11: Interview with Professor Nadine Marie, Paris, May 1997.  Back.

Note 12: For details see A. N. Talalaev, "Sootnosheniye mezhdunarodnogo prava i vnutrigosudarstvennogo prava i konstitutsii Rossiiskoi Federatsii" [Balance between International Law and Domestic Law and the Constitution of the Russian Federation], Moskovskii zhurnal mezhdunarodnogo prava [Moscow Journal of International Law], no. 4 (1994), 3-4.  Back.

Note 13: For details see A. N. Talalaev, "Sootnosheniye mezhdunarodnogo prava i vnutrigosudarstvennogo prava i konstitutsii Rossiiskoi Federatsii" [Balance between International Law and Domestic Law and the Constitution of the Russian Federation], Moskovskii zhurnal mezhdunarodnogo prava [Moscow Journal of International Law], no. 4 (1994), 3-4.  Back.

Note 14: For details see A. N. Talalaev, "Sootnosheniye mezhdunarodnogo prava i vnutrigosudarstvennogo prava i konstitutsii Rossiiskoi Federatsii" [Balance between International Law and Domestic Law and the Constitution of the Russian Federation], Moskovskii zhurnal mezhdunarodnogo prava [Moscow Journal of International Law], no. 4 (1994), 3-4.  Back.

Note 15: Presidential Decree no. 1798, 1 November 1993.  Back.

Note 16: In 1990-1994, Sergei Kovalyov headed Russia's delegation to the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva; in 1990, he was elected chairman of the Human Rights Committee in the Supreme Soviet of Russia; in January 1994 he was elected Ombudsman and in March 1995 was replaced by the State Duma; in January 1996, Kovalyov resigned from the post of chairman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission in protest at Yeltsin's human rights record. Nikolai Troitsky, "Beznadyozhnoye delo zashchitnika Kovalyova" [Helpless Cause of Defender Kovalyov], Itogi, no. 12 (30 July 1996), 28-29.  Back.

Note 17: Marie, Le Droit retrouve?, op. cit., 193.  Back.

Note 18: UN Statement by the representative of the Russian Federation at the 51st Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. Agenda item 10: Question of the human rights of all persons subjected to any form of detention or imprisonment, in particular: torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Geneva, 17 February 1995); Report submitted to the Committee on Foreign Relations, US Senate, and Committee on Foreign Affairs, US House of Representatives, by the Department of State in accordance with sections 116(d) and 502(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. Translations into Russian are published in Prava cheloveka v Rossii — Mezhdunarodnye izmereniye. Sbornik dokumentov [Human Rights in Russia — International Dimension. Collection of Documents] (Moscow: Prava cheloveka, 1995), 309-344.  Back.

Note 19: Lev Razgon, "Prisons Mirror on Russia's Present Moral State," Moscow Times, 23 July 1997, p. 9; Segodnya, 22 July 1997, p. 5.  Back.

Note 20: S. Ya. Uletsky, "Primeneniye smertnoi kazni i ispolzovaniye sily pri krainei neobkhodimosti" [Death Penalties and the Use of Force in Contingency Situations], in Problemy rossiiskogo gosudarstvennogo stoitelstva i zakonodatelstva [Problems of Russian State-Building and Legislature] (Vladivostok: Far East University Press, 1994), 115.  Back.

Note 21: Maxim Shevchenko and Sergei Startsev, "Novyi zakon o svobode sovesti i veroispovedanii stanovitsya predmetom politicheskogo torga" [New Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations Becomes a Political Bargaining Chip], Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 19 July 1997, p. 1.  Back.

Note 22: Deacon Alexander Bulekov, "Tserkov v zakone" [Church in Law], Moskovskii Komsomolets, 3 July 1997, p. 2; Simon Saradzhyan, "Orthodox, Catholic Churches Collide," Moscow Tribune, 18 July 1997, p. 2.  Back.

Note 23: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996, Report Submitted to the Committee on Foreign Relations, US Senate, and the Committee on International Relations, US House of Representatives, by the Department of State, 105th Congress, 1st Session, Joint Committee Print, February 1997, pp. 1082-1103.  Back.

Note 24: Vladimir Kartashkin, "Chelovek — vysshaya tsennost" [Human Being as a Highest Priority], Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 9 July 1997, p. 1.  Back.

Note 25: Peter Meyer, "The International Bill: A Brief History," in Paul Williams, ed., The International Bill of Rights (Glen Ellen: Entwhistle Books, 1981), xxx-xxxi.  Back.

Note 26: Edward Lawson, ed., Encyclopedia of Human Rights (New York: Taylor & Francis, 1991), 1842-1843.  Back.

Note 27: S. V. Sirotkin, "Novoe rossiiskoye zakonodatelstvo i Evropeiskaya Konventsiya o zashchite prav cheloveka..." [New Russian Laws and the European Human Rights Convention], Moskovskii zhurnal mezhdunarodnogo prava [Moscow Journal of International Law], no. 4 (1994), 28-34.  Back.

Note 28: State Committee of the Russian Federation on Statistics, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Rossiya i OON: K 50-letiyu obrazovaniya OON [Russia and United Nations: 50 Years of the UN Founding. Facts and Figures] (Moscow, 1995), 30.  Back.

Note 29: Vedomosti Syezda Narodnykh Deputatov i Verkhovnogo Sovieta RSFSR [Collection of Documents of the Congresses of People's Deputies and the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR], no. 52 (1991), 1865.  Back.

Note 30: Vladimir Petrovsky, "Mezhdunarodnoye pravo i novaya OON" [International Law and the New UN], Report to the UN Commission on International Law, 12 July 1994, Moskovskii zhurnal mezhdunarodnogo prava [Moscow Journal of International Law], no. 4 (1994), 31.  Back.

Note 31: V. V. Gavrilov, "Voprosy sovershenstvovaniya normotvorcheskoi deyatelnosti OON v oblasti prav cheloveka" [Problems of Promotion of UN Legislative Activities Concerning Human Rights], in Problemy rossiiskogo zakonodatelstva, op. cit., 121.  Back.

Note 32: Strengthening the Role of the United Nations in Enhancing the Effectiveness of the Principle of Periodic and Genuine Elections and the Promotion of Democratization, General Assembly Resolution 50/185, 22 December 1995, meeting 99; Respect for the Principles of National Sovereignty and Non-interference in the Internal Affairs of States in their Electoral Processes, General Assembly Resolution 50/172, 22 December 1995, meeting 99.  Back.

Note 33: Alexei Kiva, "Ombudsmeny i derzhmordy. Pravozashchitnaya deyatelnost: mirovoi opyt i rossiiskii put" [Ombudsmen and Ruthless Cops. Human Rights: World Experience and the Russian Path], Vechernaia Moskva, 30 June 1997, p. 3.  Back.

Note 34: Report of the International Court of Justice, 1 August 1995-31 July 1996, General Assembly, Official Records, Fifty-first Session, Supplement No. 4 (A/51/4) (New York: United Nations, 1996), 16-23.  Back.

Note 35: Stan Markotich, "Former Communist States Respond to NATO Ultimatum," RFE/RL Research Report 3/8 (25 February 1994), 10.  Back.

Note 36: Michael Mihalka, "Cauldron of the Emerging Security Order," Transition, 12 January 1996, p. 42; Konstanty Gebert, "In Investigating Human Rights Abuses, Reporting Is Not Enough," Transition, 26 January 1996, pp. 40-44.  Back.

Note 37: Situation of Human Rights in the Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), General Assembly Resolution 50/193, 11 March 1995.  Back.

Note 38: Situation of Human Rights in Iraq, General Assembly Resolution 49/203, 23 December 1994; General Assembly Resolution 50/191, 6 March 1996; HRC Resolution 1991/74, 6 March 1991.  Back.

Note 39: Vladimir Abarinov, "Gazprom diplomacy," Moscow Times, 24 October 1997, p. 3.  Back.

Note 40: Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, General Assembly Resolution 50/29, 5 February 1996.  Back.

Note 41: The Right of the Palestinian People to Self-determination, General Assembly Resolution 50/140, 21 December 1995.  Back.

Note 42: Economic and Social Council Decision 1995/277, 25 July 1995.  Back.

Note 43: Situation of Human Rights in Cuba, General Assembly Resolution 50/198, 22 December 1995.  Back.

Note 44: "Zametki o 51-i sessii Komissii OON po pravam cheloveka" [Notes on the 51st Session of the UN Human Rights Commission], Pravozashchitnik [Human Rights Defender], no. 2 (April-June 1995), 7.  Back.

Note 45: "Osnovnye itogi 53 sessii Komissii OON po pravam cheloveka" [Major Results of the 53rd Session of the UN Human Rights Commission], Diplomaticheskii vestnik [Diplomatic Monitor], no. 8 (1997), 49-53.  Back.

Note 46: Dumskii vestnik [The State Duma Monitor], no. 1 (1996), 163.  Back.

Note 47: "Vystupleniye V. V. Zhirinovskogo" [V. V. Zhirinovsky's Speech], Pravo Sovieta Evropy i Rossiya [Legislation of the Council of Europe and Russia, Collection of Documents and Materials] (Krasnodar: Sovetskaya Kuban, 1996), 76.  Back.

Note 48: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Resolution no. 1086 (1996) on developments of the Russian Federation in relation to the situation in Chechnya, in Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly 1996 Ordinary Session (Second Part), Texts Adopted by the Assembly, 1996 Ordinary Session (Second Part), 22-26 April 1996 (Strasbourg, 1996), 1-3.  Back.

Note 49: "Human Rights Defenders Said to Be under Pressure in Regions," OMRI Daily Digest 1/9, part II, 11 April 1997.  Back.

Note 50: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1996, op. cit., 1091.  Back.

Note 51: Yearbook of the United Nations 1995, vol. 49 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1996), 819—820.  Back.

Note 52: Sergei Chugrov, "NATO Expansion and the Chechen Link," The Parliamentary Brief (London, March/April 1995), 3-5. Vadim Ilyin, "Prodolzhayutsya poiski vinovnikov voiny" [In Search of Instigators of the War], Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 24 June 1997, p. 3.  Back.

Note 53: Elena Stepanova, "Missionery vozvrashchayutsya v Moskvu" [Missions Return to Moscow], Segodnya, 22 July 1977, p. 6; Johnathan Lynn, "IMF Likely to Find Stabler Economy," Moscow Times, 23 July 1977, p. 11.  Back.

Note 54: OMRI Daily Digest, 12 April 1997, part I.  Back.

Note 55: Alexei Arbatov, "Vneshnepoliticheskii konsensus v Rossii" [Foreign Policy Consensus in Russia], Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 14 March 1997, p. 5.  Back.

Note 56: Vladimir Sanko, "Rezultat konsultatsii zapadnykh ekspertov" [The Results of Consultations of Western Experts], Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 24 June 1997, p. 4.  Back.

Note 57: Sergei Chugrov, "Domestic Sources of Russian Foreign Policy towards Japan in the 1990s," Harvard Journal of World Affairs 4/1 (1995), 67-68.  Back.

Note 58: Zoya Svetlova, "V poiskakh grazhdanskogo obshchestva" [In Search of Civil Society], Russkaya mysl [La pensee russe] (Paris), no. 4171, 1-7 May 1997, p. 8.  Back.

Note 59: Bruce D. Porter and Carol R. Saivetz, "The Once and Future Empire: Russia and the 'Near Abroad'," Washington Quarterly 17/3 (1994), 75—76.<  Back.

Note 60: Nikolai Kosolapov, "International Conflicts in Post-Soviet Space: Problems of Definition and Typology," Report at the Academic Council of IMEMO, March 1996, preprint, p. 20.  Back.

Note 61: Charles King, "Eurasian Letter: Moldova with a Russian Face," Foreign Policy, no. 97 (Winter 1994—95), 107.  Back.

Note 62: "National Security Policy of the Russian Federation (1996-2000)," draft project, Russian Scientific Foundation, Federation of Peace and Accord, Moscow, April 1996, pp. 29, 37.  Back.

Note 63: Alexei Arbatov, "Russian Foreign Policy Thinking in Transition," in Vladimir Baranovsky, ed., Russia and Europe: The Emerging Security Agenda (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 144.  Back.

Note 64: "Lukashenko Calls for Law and Order," Moscow Tribune, 15 July 1997, p. 6.  Back.

Note 65: Maxim Yusin, "Lukashenko predpochyol obshchatsya s Yeltsinym cherez svoyu press-sluzhbu" [Lukashenko Has Preferred to Communicate with Yeltsin with the Help of His Press Service], Izvestia, 1 August 1977, p. 2; Olga Ulevich, "Ya obyasnyuss Yeltsinym..." [I Will Settle It with Yeltsin...], Komslomolskaya Pravda, 2 August 1997, pp. 1-2; "Lukashenko Locks up 14 More Journalists," Moscow Times, 1 August 1997, pp. 1-2.  Back.

Note 66: Leonid Velekhov, "Plata za souz" [Payment for the Union], Itogi, no. 17 (29 April 1997), 30-31.

Note 67: Arbatov, "Russian Foreign Policy Thinking in Transition," op. cit., 152.  Back.

Note 68: M. V. Puchkova, "O probleme prav malochislennykh narodov i natsionalnykh grupp" [The Problem of Rights of Small Peoples and National Groups], Prava cheloveka: Vremya trudnykh resheniy [Human Rights: Time of Difficult Decisions] (Moscow: Institut gosudarstva i prava, 1991), 137.  Back.

Note 69: Alexander A. Sergounin, "In Search for a New Strategy in the Baltic\Nordic Area," in Baranovsky, Russia and Europe, op. cit., 341; Sebastian Smith, "Estonia Grapples with Soviet Monuments," Moscow Times, 6 June 1997, p. 7.  Back.

Note 70: A. A. Trynkov, "Rossiya — Estoniya: novoye nachalo?" [Russia — Estonia: The New Start?], in Novaya Evraziya: otnosheniya Rossii so stranami blizhnego zarubezhya [New Eurasia: Russia's Relations with the Near Abroad Countries] (Moscow: Russian Institute of Strategic Analysis, 1995, no. 3), 141.  Back.

Note 71: PACE, Report on the Honoring of Obligations and Commitments by Estonia (Rapporteur: Mr. Rudolf Bindig, Germany, Socialist Group), 20 December 1996, Doc. 7715, pp. 1-26.  Back.

Note 72: PACE, Motion for a Resolution on Human Rights and the Situation of the Russian National Minority in Estonia, Presented by Mr. Glotov and Others, 2 October 1996, Doc. 7671, pp. 1-2; Reply from the Committee of Ministers to Written Question No. 368, by Mr. van der Maelen on the Rights of the Russian Minority in Estonia, 29 October 1996, Doc. 7689, pp. 1-2.  Back.

Note 73: PACE, Report on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Displaced Persons in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), 15 May 1997, Doc. 7829, p. 11.  Back.

Note 74: Denis Kudryashov, "Dyadya Tom predpochitaet khizhinu v Moskve" [Uncle Tom Prefers a Hut in Moscow], Moskva: Argumenty i fakty [Moscow: Arguments and Facts], no. 44 (October 1997), 1.  Back.

Note 75: PACE, Report on Refugees, op. cit., 16; Alla Alova, "Propiska — veshch dorogaya i nezakonnaya" [Residence Permits Are Expensive and Illegal], Obshchaya gazeta, no. 28 (17-23 July 1997), 3; Bronwyn McLaren, "Court Deals a Blow to Hated 'Propiskas'," "Let Citizens Move Freely about Russia," Moscow Times, 10 July 1997, pp. 1-2, 8.  Back.

Note 76: Nirmala Chandrahasan, "The Effects of Refugee Law on Families," in Kathleen E. Mahoney and Paul Mahoney, eds., Human Rights in the Twenty-First Century: A Global Challenge (Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1993), 653.  Back.

Note 77: Article 12 reads: "1. Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence. 2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own. 3. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre publique), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with other rights recognized in the present Convention." Similarly, Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights provides that everyone lawfully within the territory of a state has the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence. PACE, Report on Refugees, op. cit., 12-13.  Back.

Note 78: "Russia: Georgian Dilemma," Oxford Analytica Daily Brief, 25 October 1993.  Back.

Note 79: M. M. Zelinsky and V. G. Mityaev, "Gruzino—abkhazskii konflikt i rol Rossii v ego uregulirovanii" [Georgia—Abkhazia Conflict and Russia's Role in Its Settlement], in Novaya Evraziya, op. cit., 35.  Back.

Note 80: Elizaveta Kharket, "Gosduma prinyala zayavleniye po KMS" [The State Duma Has Adopted a Statement on the Peace-Keeping Forces], Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 24 June 1997, p. 3.  Back.

Note 81: V. G. Mityaev and R. A. Shilova, "Polozheniye russkoazychnogo naseleniya v gosudarstvakh Srednei Azii" [The Russian-Speaking Population in Middle Asia], in Novaya Evraziya, op. cit., 77.  Back.

Note 82: Vladimir Baranovsky, "Russia: Conflicts and Its Security Environment," SIPRI Yearbook 1997, 117—118; for the text of the Agreement see Diplomaticheskiy Vestnik, no. 21-22 (November 1994), 47—51.  Back.

Note 83: "No Contracting State shall expel or return ('refouler') a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion."  Back.

Note 84: Mityaev and Shilova, "Polozheniye russkoazychnogo naseleniya v gosudarstvakh Srednei Azii," op. cit.  Back.