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93/10/23 Speech at Academy for National Economy, Moscow

                              Speech by 
               Secretary of State Warren Christopher
              Academy for the National Economy, Moscow
                          October 23, 1993

            "A New Generation of Russian Democrats"

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Aganbegyan, Deputy Prime 
Minister Gaidar.  It is a great pleasure and a distinct honor to be at 
the Academy for the National Economy today. For 5 years, this institute 
has fed the Russian hunger for reform and economic renewal.  It is 
shaping a generation of leaders who will contribute richly to the future 
of this great country.

The openness to new ideas, the search for a better life -- these are the 
impulses that inspired Yegor Gaidar to apply his exceptional talents in 
economics in the service of your nation.  They are the impulses that 
brought you here to learn and to forge careers in a growing private 
sector.  And they are impulses that will serve you well in this 
challenging new era.

Academies and institutes such as yours are symbols of a new attitude in 
Russia.  You who are here today do not fear openness; you welcome it.  
You do not shun the clash of ideas; you relish it.  And you do not 
shrink from the uncertainty that reform brings; instead, you celebrate 
its promise.

I grew up in the 1930s during what we call in America the Great 
Depression, in a small farming town on the North Dakota prairie along 
the northern border of the United States.  Our house was at the western 
edge of town, and it faced the fury of the northwest wind.  As a result, 
we endured icy blizzards in the winter and prairie fires and tumbleweeds 
in the fall.  Crop failures and dust storms combined to impoverish many 
farm families.  It was the kind of adversity that the Russian people 
know so well.

Today, as Russia faces its future, you, too, are enduring some very 
difficult times.  Your character is being tested.  But you are showing 
that with courage, such adversity can be conquered.

On October 3-4, the world witnessed what we all hope was the last gasp 
of the old order in Russia.  The political crisis was a struggle of the 
sort well known to students of Russian history -- a battle between 
reform and reaction.  As the crisis unfolded, we in America knew what we 
had to do:  we stood firmly behind reform.

Let me be clear about our decision to support your President during this 
crisis.  The United States does not easily support the suspension of 
parliaments.  But these are extraordinary times.  The steps taken by 
President Yeltsin were in response to exceptional circumstances.  The 
parliament and the constitution were vestiges of the Soviet communist 
past, blocking movement to democratic reform.  By calling elections, 
President Yeltsin was once again taking matters to the Russian people to 
secure their participation in the transformation of Russia.

Time and again in recent years, the Russian people have demonstrated 
their commitment to freedom.  In August 1991, President Yeltsin stood on 
top of that tank -- and faced down the forces of reaction.  In April of 
this year, the people of Russia cast a resounding vote in favor of 
reform.  And just 3 weeks ago, the defenders of the old order were 
defeated in their violent, desperate attempt to reverse the progress 
that you have made.

I know that some of you may be tired of politics.  But I will ask of you 
what Bill Clinton asked of young Americans when he ran for President 
last year:  Do not let your healthy skepticism harden into cynicism -- 
and do not let the promise of change wilt into apathy.  As you work to 
improve your own life, do not stifle your willingness to work for the 
common good.

The possibilities for you are immense.  Like no previous generation in 
history, you are aware of the cultural and political changes in the 
world around you.  From REM to CNN, from rap music to Rolling Stone 
magazine, you know the outside world better than your parents or 
grandparents -- or, indeed, better than I did when I was growing up.  
You know that people your age can make a difference.

You are the new generation of democrats in Russia.  You are at the 
vanguard of a revolution of rising expectations:  for a decent standard 
of living; for a humane society; for an environment that is clean and 
workplaces that are safe; for a greater voice in shaping your future.  
That is why you are starting your own businesses, your own political 
organizations, your own magazines.  More than any recent generation of 
Russians, you have control over your own destiny.  And the choices you 
make -- in December, in June, and in the coming years -- will change 
Russia and the world.

As you make these choices, please know this:  the American people are 
with you.  When our President spoke to your President on the telephone 
September 21, he said, "History is on your side."  That was Bill Clinton 
speaking to Boris Yeltsin.  But in a very real sense, he was speaking to 
each of you.  History is on your side -- the side of democracy -- and so 
are we.

When those demagogues at your White House waved the hammer and sickle in 
the name of democracy, you saw the hypocrisy.  When you heard the 
defenders of the old system calling for "renewal," you knew that they 
meant a renewal of stagnation and a betrayal of Russia's youth.  And you 
had the nerve to chase away both the gaunt specter of the Soviet past 
and the new extremists who want to win with bullets what they cannot win 
with ballots.

But now you face a different challenge:  national reconciliation.  
Having been "scorched by the deadly breath of fratricide," as President 
Yeltsin said, you are returning now to the heroic task of building an 
inclusive, self-confident democracy.

We are truly proud to stand with you and to call Russia our friend and 
partner.  That spirit of friendship animates every student exchange 
program that links you with your counterparts in America.  That same 
commitment inspired the great Rostropovich to proceed with a concert of 
our National Symphony Orchestra in Red Square last month, even as the 
political crisis reached its climax.  And that same spirit brought to 
Russia a young American just out of law school named Terry Duncan.  
Trying to help a wounded American photographer during the violence of 
October 3, he lost his life, and the new generation of democrats in 
Russia and America lost a true friend.

But what America and Russia share is not merely friendship.  What our 
two nations are building together is a strategic partnership.  This is a 
phrase that President Clinton and I have repeatedly used in our dialogue 
with Congress and the American people.  Let me tell why we use this 
phrase "strategic partnership" -- and what we mean by it.

With the sweeping changes of the last several years, Russia remains a 
very great power.  This is guaranteed by your proud civilization, your 
rich culture, your great resources, your scientific achievements, and 
your resilient character.  But with the end of the Cold War, we have an 
opportunity to be not only great powers but partners in the joint 
pursuit of a safer, freer, more prosperous world.

For decades, our two nations eyed each other with suspicion, living in 
fear of mutually assured destruction.  Now we can pursue mutually 
reinforcing interests.  Today, we are cooperating on the global and 
regional issues that once divided us.  Where there was once contention, 
there is now common cause.

This agenda for cooperation is firmly in our shared interest.  And that 
is why I have confidence that we will work together.

It is in our shared interest to prevent the proliferation of nuclear 
weapons within the former Soviet Union.  Proliferation would increase 
both the risks and the costs of conflict among the new independent 
states.  That is why we welcomed the 1992 commitment of Ukraine, 
Belarus, and Kazakhstan to sign and ratify the START I Treaty and to 
accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as non-nuclear weapons 
states.  We welcome the fact that Belarus has fulfilled these 
commitments.  And we are encouraged that Kazakhstan and Ukraine have 
reiterated their determination to do the same.  I will be visiting these 
three states over the next few days, and I will be working to ensure 
that those obligations, taken at Lisbon, are fulfilled.

It is also in our shared interest to help curb the spread of weapons of 
mass destruction outside the former Soviet Union as well.  Non-
proliferation is our arms control agenda for the 1990s.  Many of the 
world's potential proliferators are Russia's neighbors, not ours.  We 
share a common threat -- and that is why we must work together.  Acting 
alone, we are unlikely to stem the growing tide of proliferation.  But 
working together, we stand a much better chance of succeeding in this 
absolutely vital effort.

Let me give you some examples.  Last month, President Clinton proposed 
an international ban on the production of plutonium and uranium for 
nuclear weapons purposes.  Last week, President Yeltsin expressed his 
readiness to work together toward that end.  Russia's views are also 
similar to ours with respect to completing a Comprehensive Test Ban 
Treaty -- and urging others not to test -- a very high priority for both 
of us.  And we are launching cooperative efforts in the exploration of 

It is also in our shared interest to promote peace in the Middle East 
and in other volatile regions around the globe.  Last month in 
Washington, my colleague Foreign Minister Kozyrev and I had the 
privilege of witnessing, on the lawn of our White House, the handshake 
between Yitzakh Rabin and Yassir Arafat.  But Russia and America did not 
merely witness that historic moment; our cooperation helped to make it 
possible.  Our work together as co-sponsors of the Middle East peace 
process is a wise investment in our common security.  And it is a 
testament to our uncommon ability to turn mistrust into trust and 
confrontation into collaboration.

A democratic, productive Russia -- a Russia fully engaged in preserving 
global peace and fully integrated into the global economy -- that kind 
of Russia will be a strong partner in international diplomacy and trade.  
That is the course you have wisely chosen for Russia.  And that is why 
we support your epic struggle to make reform work.

You are embarking on an unprecedented journey.  There is no map, no 
blueprint for what you are doing.  As you chart this new course in 
Russian history, let me share some basic, simple convictions drawn from 
our experience:  Democracy works.  Free markets work.  And moreover, 
they work together.  They reinforce each other.  And together they will 
strengthen your nation's security and your prosperity.

Your movement to greater freedom is not meant to empower any single 
party; it will empower all of the Russian people.  By the same token, 
the object of American support is not one group of leaders.  Instead, it 
is a revolutionary process, the process of reform.  By "reform," I mean 
the transformation of the political system from dictatorship to 
democracy; the conversion of a command economy into a market economy; 
and the development of a system that meets the genuine needs of people.  
This reform also means the success of a foreign policy that fully 
respects the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of all 
states -- even as it protects Russia's legitimate interests.

In 7 weeks, you will give fresh meaning to the idea of reform when you 
vote in your elections.  You have already begun preparing for this most 
fundamental civic responsibility by practicing the forms and expressions 
of self-government:  articulating, organizing, and dissenting.

Let me stress that dissent and open debate are not just noisy, sometimes 
bothersome consequences of democracy; rather, they are vital elements of 
a democratic and civil society.  These freedoms are a refutation of -- 
and an antidote to -- totalitarianism and dictatorship.

We recognize that governments have a responsibility to preserve civil 
order which is, among other things, a precondition for civil rights.  
But even in times of intense political struggle, the imperative of civil 
order must be reconciled with free expression.  Even when battling the 
forces of reaction, true democrats have nothing to fear from a free 
press.  As President Yeltsin said on Thursday, "We can be sure democracy 
will survive as long as there is a free press."  Foreign Minister 
Kozyrev repeatedly stressed during our talks yesterday his personal 
commitment to a free press as Russia proceeds with your elections in 

Russia is being reborn as a democracy, as a nation brave enough to break 
with the past and wise enough to plan for the future.  America 
celebrates this rebirth with you.  We know that you, the Russian people, 
will be making the critical decisions.  But we stand ready to help you 
achieve the free and fair election you have earned.

The United States has offered assistance around the world to many 
countries to support democratic election processes.  We are prepared to 
provide, if asked, immediate technical assistance for the upcoming 
parliamentary elections that you will have in December.  Our efforts 
would focus on the nuts and bolts of free elections, from voter 
education to poll-watching.  As in all countries where we support the 
election process, any assistance we would mobilize here would be 
politically neutral, non-partisan, and available to all participating 
parties and groups.

In the longer term, U.S. efforts are focused on helping Russia 
strengthen its democratic institutions and the rule of law.  Through 
judicial reform activities with the American Bar Association, through 
people-to-people exchanges, through training programs in public 
administration, through efforts to develop political parties, we want to 
help you lay a solid foundation for democratic government.

Russia, like America, is a vast and multi-ethnic nation.  Americans draw 
strength from our diversity, because we are united by a creed of 
freedom, individual rights, and equal opportunity.  Those same ideals 
can now be a durable thread that weaves together the sprawling social 
fabric of Russia.

While democratic reform is necessary for the empowerment of the Russian 
people, it is not sufficient.  Economic reform is just as vital -- and 
its success lies just as much in your generation's hands, the hands of 
students like you at institutions like these.

The transition from a command economy to a market economy can be, as you 
know so well, extremely painful.  It can cause insecurity.  It can 
disrupt communities.  And it is often accompanied by corruption and 

But the majority of the Russian people understand that this transition 
is essential.  They demonstrated that in April.  For Russia to play her 
full role in the world, for Russia to build a 21st century economy, for 
Russia to sustain and develop its immense resources, there is no other 

One of Russia's most challenging economic priorities is to control 
inflation.  Economic history teaches us that hyper-inflation corrodes 
living standards -- and can crack democracies.  President Yeltsin and 
the Finance Ministry are making serious efforts to address this problem 
and to lift the standard of living of each and every Russian.  The move 
to sound fiscal and monetary policies is absolutely essential.

Wherever communism is being replaced by markets, privatization is an 
important key to economic reform.  It means slashing subsidies and 
credits to centralized enterprises.  It means developing the financial 
infrastructure to support more foreign investment.  And privatization 
depends upon, and in turn reinforces, democratic reform.

Indeed, the two work together:  the more people work in and own private 
enterprises, the more likely they are to participate in the democratic 
process and reinforce reform.

I'm glad to say that Russia's privatization effort is a continuing 
success story -- and America's assistance programs are designed to 
support it.  Today, the private sector here, I'm told, accounts for a 
once-inconceivable 25% of Russian GDP.  More than 4,000 medium and large 
businesses have been privatized at the rate of almost 600 a month.  
Fifty-seven percent of small shops and restaurants -- some 70,000 -- 
have been privatized.

In short, countless Russians are becoming their own bosses.  Rather than 
taking orders from bureaucrats, you are filling orders for your own 
businesses.  Your nation is moving from vested interests for the few to 
investment opportunities for the many.

Like the rise of democracy, the transition to an open economy involves a 
revolution of attitudes and skills.  You are learning how to be managers 
in a profit-driven world; how to be employees in a competitive economy; 
how to be consumers in an open market.  You are, in short, learning the 
ways and means of economic freedom.

This is a great challenge -- and an enormous opportunity -- for young 
people.  You can change the economic landscape of Russia -- while 
preserving the bedrock sense of community that is the enduring source of 
Russia's strength.

And the United States is ready to help.  Hundreds of American 
businesses, from Ben and Jerry's to Honeywell, from Pratt & Whitney to 
PepsiCo, are investing in the future of Russia.  Americans have 
initiated banking and legal reform efforts, small business training 
programs, agribusiness and energy sector projects, and high-technology 

Our commitment is a real one.  This year alone, the United States 
pledged $1.6 billion in bilateral assistance programs.  In Tokyo this 
July, we proposed a $3 billion privatization and restructuring program 
for Russia, which our G-7 partners have joined.  And just last month, 
the U.S. Congress approved the Clinton Administration's request for an 
additional $2.5 billion in technical and humanitarian assistance.

How the Russian people shape and carry out their reform is, of course, 
for you to decide.  America is willing to provide support to that 
effort.  And we want to ensure that this assistance -- whether private 
or public -- is coordinated with the pace of reform and delivered 
effectively to the people of Russia.

As you approach the December elections, I am struck by the immensity of 
the stakes.  Rarely in the history of democratic government will single 
votes, cast by young people in particular, carry such momentous weight.  
I have every confidence in the outcome.  Every time the Russian people 
have had a chance to choose, they have chosen reform over retrenchment, 
hope over fear, the future over the past.

I know most of you are probably tired of foreigners coming here and 
quoting to you the famous lines of the poet Fyodor Tyutchev.  But I 
cannot resist, because they allow me to make perhaps my most important 
point.  Tyutchev once wrote that:

     Russia is understood not by the mind,
     Nor by a common rule.
     She has a special stature of her own:
     In Russia one can only believe.

My friends:  Bill Clinton and I believe in Russia.  So do your many 
American friends.  We believe that the new Russia will not only survive, 
it will thrive.  And we believe the new generation of democrats here 
today will seize the opportunities and secure the gains made possible by 

Let me conclude with a personal observation about one of my heroes in 
public life -- one of my predecessors as Secretary of State -- Dean 
Acheson.  The telling title of Acheson's memoirs was Present at the 
Creation, a phrase that referred to his substantial role in shaping the 
Marshall Plan and the policies of containment at the beginning of the 
Cold War.

Forty-five years later, we are also present at the creation -- the 
creation of a new Russia.  Our mission is fundamentally positive:  not 
to contain communism, but to enlarge freedom; not to engage in strategic 
deterrence, but to advance a strategic alliance with reform in Russia 
and throughout the former Soviet Union.

President Clinton and the people of my country are proud to join with 
you in this endeavor for the next generation.  Our two great nations, in 
this age of Russian rebirth, have been liberated to share interests, 
ideals, and aspirations.  Now let us share our strength to build a 
future worthy of the youth of your country and mine.

Thank you very much.


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