Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Possibly better than tootsie rolls, illustrated screenplays are tasty little nuggets of cinematic flavor in a convenient pdf wrapper. Download and read your favorite movie in a quarter of the time it takes to watch it. And you can grab quotes and images.

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:13 am

Power Crisis Rocks Russia: Yeltsin Wins Vital Support Of Military
by James P. Gallagher and Howard Witt
Chicago Tribune
September 22, 1993

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


MOSCOW — President Boris Yeltsin apparently won the support of key military and security officials after his stunning announcement Tuesday night that he was dissolving Parliament and calling new elections for Dec. 11-12.

But parliamentary leaders, who bitterly oppose the reformist Russian president and his market economic policies, immediately launched a frantic counterattack. Declaring that Yeltsin had forfeited his office, they swore in Vice President Alexander Rutskoi as the new acting head of state.

Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin announced that his government-including the crucial ministers of interior, security and defense-would continue taking orders from Yeltsin.


Moscow and the rest of the country greeted the president's latest assault on the legislature with apparent calm.

By day's end, Rutskoi could claim to be president only of some 130 legislators who witnessed his hastily arranged oath-taking inside Russia's barricaded Parliament building-called the White House-and of a few thousand noisy pro-Communist demonstrators who gathered in the cold outside.

That could change on Wednesday.

Yeltsin's nationally televised address, in which he asserted that the legislature was "in a state of political decomposition" and "had ceased to be an organ of rule by the people," was delivered at a time when much of Russia was asleep.

The first test of whether parliamentary leaders can mobilize significant opposition to Yeltsin will come Wednesday, when regional officials begin to make known which of the two presidents they will recognize.

Late Tuesday, Parliament Speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov called on regional legislatures-many of them even more conservative than the fractious national parliament-to condemn Yeltsin and rally behind Rutskoi.

With Yeltsin seeming to be in firm control of the key levers of power in Moscow-at least for the moment-Parliament's best hope is that a number of key regions will turn their backs on him, raising the specter of civil unrest and perhaps giving him and his allies second thoughts.

It wouldn't be the first time that Yeltsin had backed away from what he termed a definitive confrontation with his legislative enemies. Twice in the last year, after declaring all-out war against Parliament, he eventually sought a compromise.

In five far eastern regions of Russia, where daylight arrives nine hours before it does in Moscow, officials declined Wednesday to immediately support Yeltsin. They said they would think about it.

Khasbulatov also appealed for a general strike of the nation's workers to drive Yeltsin from office.

But no more than 4,000 Yeltsin opponents, all of them communists and nationalists, gathered Tuesday night outside the famed White House where in August 1991 Yeltsin climbed atop a tank to rally national support for Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and against a coup attempt by old-line Communists.

Tuesday night's crowd was a familiar one. Many had participated in dozens of similar anti-Yeltsin protests in the last year.

The only difference was that this time they started erecting barricades to protect the White House against a military assault that never materialized. Old women and young toughs alternately ripped up cobblestones and gathered rubble from a nearby construction site to pile in front of the building's parking lot.

The rest of Moscow seemed oblivious.

There was nothing unusual going on outside the Kremlin or in Red Square-only at the Russian Central Bank, where 35 truckloads of Interior Ministry troops from the elite Dzerzhinsky division had been deployed.

The lightly armed soldiers said they had been stationed there for four days as part of an anti-mafia crime sweep and that they had been given no special orders relating to Yeltsin's announcement.

Inside Parliament, deputies wasted no time in convening an emergency all-night session.

"We are talking about the beginning of a civil war now," said a breathless Ilya Konstantinov, leader of the ultra-nationalist National Salvation Front.

Rutskoi, a hero of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan who split with Yeltsin last spring, immediately seized the chair on the dais reserved for the president, then took an oath of office and swore to uphold the Soviet-era constitution that Yeltsin wants to replace with a democratic, Western-type model.

Khasbulatov, dressed in a black shirt and black suit, called the session "the most dramatic minutes of my life."

Soon afterward, Rutskoi retreated to his office-protected by two machine-gun-wielding bodyguards-and began to form a rump Cabinet. Among his first appointments was Viktor Barannikov to the post of security minister-a job Barannikov held under Yeltsin until he was dumped last month for alleged corruption.

Khasbulatov called an emergency session Wednesday of the Congress of People's Deputies, Russia's supreme legislature. But he predicted that Yeltsin would attempt to keep Congress deputies from reaching Moscow by denying them seats on state-owned airlines and trains.

Under the constitution, only the Congress can impeach a Russian president, and a formal motion to oust Yeltsin undoubtedly would be the first item on the agenda if the Congress manages to convene.

Russia's constitutional court, which sided with Yeltsin's foes in earlier confrontations, ruled early Wednesday that the president could be impeached because he had violated the constitution. Specifically, the court said Yeltsin had violated a constitutional amendment passed by the Congress last December which specified that the president would forfeit his office the moment he tried to dissolve Parliament.

In his televised address, Yeltsin said the current cumbersome parliament would be replaced in the December elections by a two-chambered body that would more closely resemble Western legislatures.




Yeltsin said this action is necessary because the "fruitless, senseless and destructive" power struggle raging between him and the legislature since last autumn has caused "a decline in the authority of state power as a whole."

"I am sure all citizens of Russia are convinced it is impossible, in such conditions, not only to implement difficult reforms, but simply to maintain elementary order," he said.

"One must say bluntly-unless political confrontation in the power structures in Russia is brought to an end . . . the situation cannot be kept under control, and our state cannot be preserved, and peace in Russia cannot be preserved."


Citing last spring's national referendum, when a majority of voters supported him and his economic reforms, Yeltsin accused the lawmakers of flouting the will of the people in attempting constantly to undermine his policies and his powers.

Only after a new legislature is in place will there be a hope of coming to grips with the country's wrenching economic problems, including dangerously high inflation, Yeltsin said.

"All the efforts of the government to alleviate the economic situation run into a wall of blind misunderstanding" erected by Parliament, he added.

Yeltsin's decision to try one more time to get the upper hand over his enemies came at a time when the political momentum provided by the referendum victory was running out.

His prestige was undermined when he failed to follow through on two pivotal initiatives: the enactment of a new constitution and the creation of an alternative parliament made up of provincial leaders.

After his victory in the October confrontation, Yeltsin presented the country with a new draft constitution that gave the president near-dictatorial powers. Under the proposed constitution, the Supreme Soviet would be replaced with a smaller body, the State Duma, which would have virtually no control over the executive branch. The president would have the power to appoint without interference all ministers except the prime minister, who would have to be confirmed by the Duma. If the Duma rejected three of his candidates for prime minister, the president would be able to dissolve the Duma. The president would have control over the budget and appoint the director of the Central Bank and the justices of the Constitutional Court. Removing the president would require a two-thirds majority of the parliament as well as approval by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Laws would be passed by the Duma, but they could be vetoed by the president, and the veto could be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of the Duma, a near impossibility in a parliament expected to contain numerous factions.

The draft constitution was put to a vote simultaneously with elections to the new parliament on December 12, 1993, only a month after the publication of the text. In the referendum, 54.4 percent of eligible voters were said to have participated, with 58.4 percent voting for and 41.6 percent against the new constitution. [44] The constitution was thus supported by about 30 percent of the electorate. Technically this was enough: Yeltsin had established a rule whereby only 25 percent of eligible voters had to vote yes for the constitution to become law. [45] There were immediate suspicions, however, that the approval was fraudulent. Particular concern was focused on the appearance of nearly nine million unexplained ballots. [46] An independent analysis by Alexander Sobyanin of the pro-government Russia’s Choice Party showed that only 46.1 percent of the electorate had voted, not the 54.4 percent the government claimed, in which case the turnout was 3.9 percent short of the required minimum. The presidential team never explained the origin of the extra ballots and ignored all demands for an investigation. It is highly likely that the 1993 Constitution was never approved by the population. [47]

-- The Less You know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin, by David Satter


The mercurial Yeltsin, who often shifts direction abruptly, sent conflicting signals about his intentions in recent weeks. Last month, he promised to resolve once and for all the power struggle between the executive and the legislature.

But last Saturday, after regional officials reacted coolly to the idea of sweeping the legislature aside, he suggested that elections be held next year both for president and a new legislature.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:29 am

Rebellious Provinces Use Threats To Force Yeltsin, Foes To Negotiate
by James P. Gallagher and Howard Witt
Chicago Tribune
October 01, 1993

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


MOSCOW — Regional officials from across Russia threatened to choke off the federal government's economic lifeline Thursday, pushing President Boris Yeltsin and his enemies barricaded inside the parliament building to do something they had sworn to avoid-negotiate.

In a development reminiscent of the country's czarist past, when religious leaders helped resolve disputes among the nobility, the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is to oversee peace talks between the two feuding sides at Moscow's most revered monastery on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Yeltsin is dispatching eight top government officials to key Russian provinces in an effort to stamp out the brushfires of rebellion that could cost him his advantage in the Moscow showdown-and ignite a bitter schism between the center and the rest of the nation.

Representatives from 62 of Russia's 88 provinces met in Moscow Thursday and warned they would take "drastic economic and political measures," including withholding taxes, unless he ended the blockade of the blacked-out parliament building by Monday.

The regional leaders also laid plans for an emergency state council that would conduct presidential and legislative elections, draw up a new constitution for Russia and assume other powers now shared by the president and the obstructionist parliament.


Yeltsin aides immediately denounced the regional caucus, saying it had no legitimacy because most of those in attendance were leaders of local legislatures, who have close links to the Russian parliament. Regional governors, many appointed by Yeltsin, for the most part stayed away.

But by sending his high-powered emissaries, including Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, out to the hinterlands, Yeltsin signaled fear that he could lose the support of many governors as well.

In many provinces, governors and legislative heads have forged working alliances to deal with pressing local problems and win more control from Moscow over their own affairs. They also share a common disdain for the drawn-out power struggle in the capital, which has made it impossible to deal effectively with the country's economic collapse.

In addition, many governors agree with legislative leaders that Yeltsin's assault on parliament has put the country's fragile democracy at risk and could still spark widespread civil disruptions.

In another sign of regional disgust with events in Moscow, officials in the vast Siberian region threatened to interrupt crucial rail service between European Russia and the Far East unless took steps to reach accord with his parliamentary enemies.


Over the last year, as they schemed and fought to expand their power in Moscow, there has been very little that Yeltsin and Parliament Speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov have agreed on.

But the biggest exception has been their joint commitment to protect federal power from the persistent demands of regional officials for greater political and economic decentralization.

So it came as no surprise Thursday that the president and parliament chief moved toward the negotiating table after regional officials started talking about imposing their own solution on the crisis that would leave both Yeltsin and Khasbulatov with diminished stature.

Throughout the day, all sides tiptoed toward reconciliation.

First, Yeltsin offered to end the blockade of the parliament building, known as the White House, if its defenders handed over their weapons.

Vice President Alexander Rutskoi, whom parliament named acting head of state, answered that he was willing to collect the weapons in one place and let neutral parties monitor them.

But in return he demanded restoration of the heat, electricity, water and telephone lines to the parliament.
Later, representatives of the two sides reportedly reached a tentative agreement toward implementing these goals in the next 48 hours.

Yeltsin also met in the Kremlin with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, who cut short a trip to the United States to offer his services as a mediator.

A representative of the patriarch had already met with Khasbulatov and Rutskoi inside the parliament building Wednesday night.

Finally, it was announced that negotiators from both camps would meet with Alexy on Friday at the 15th Century Danilovsky Monastery in southwest Moscow, which serves as one of the patriarch's residences.

Yeltsin has given the more than 100 legislators holed up in the White House with their armed supporters until Monday to vacate the building.

Monday is also the deadline regional officials gave Yeltsin to end the blockade of the building, surrounded by hundreds of police and crack Interior Ministry troops equipped with armored personnel carriers and water cannons.


The decision to try for a compromise solution to the crisis came after days of insistence by all parties that they would never negotiate a settlement.

A compromise proposal put forward by many prominent Russians in recent days calls for simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections. Parliament would be permitted to remain in existence until the voting, but its powers would be limited.

In a separate development in Washington, the United States agreed Thursday to formally defer $1.1 billion in Russian debt payments. The deferral represents America's share of $17 billion in debt payments that the U.S. and other Western countries agreed last April to delay.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:37 am

Revolt in Moscow: How Yeltsin Turned the Tide, Hour by Hour
by Serge Schmemann
The New York Times
October 11, 1993

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


As Russia's fate hung in the balance one week ago, President Boris N. Yeltsin's Government seemed almost paralyzed.

While bands of Communist and nationalist gunmen broke through to the Parliament building, the headquarters of President Yeltsin's foes, and battled for the state television center, the large force of special police around the building disintegrated, presidential aides were in disarray, the President dallied at his dacha and soldiers from elite units were out picking potatoes.

When the state television flickered off shortly after 7:30 P.M., exultant opposition leaders at the Parliament building, known as the White House, seemed convinced that the Government was buckling. The Speaker of the Parliament, Ruslan I. Khasbulatov, was talking about the mercy he would show to Mr. Yeltsin's lieutenants.

Momentum Shifts at TV Center

Then the tide changed. A small force of Government troops managed to fight off the attack on the Ostankino state television center. Losing their momentum, the anti-Yeltsin crowds retreated to the darkened Parliament building, while Mr. Yeltsin and his generals began preparing for the counterattack. After the first tank shell burst inside the building on the morning of Oct. 4, it was only a question of time.

But even before the shooting died down and the fires in the building were extinguished, the questions were raging. Why was the Government so ill prepared for a confrontation that had been building for two weeks? What happened at the television center? Why the delays in the Kremlin and at the Defense Ministry?

The Showdown Begins

Sept. 21 After months of political struggle and deadlock between the President and the Legislature, Mr. Yeltsin issues Decree No. 1400, suspending the Congress of People's Deputies and ordering elections for a new Parliament for Dec. 11-12. The army pledges "strict neutrality."

At midnight, the Parliament deposes Mr. Yeltsin and declares Vice President Aleksandr V. Rutskoi acting president. Their supporters set up barricades around the Parliament building. The Constitutional Court rules Mr. Yeltsin's decree unconstitutional.

Sept. 22 The Congress convenes without a quorum and names its own ministers of interior, defense and security. The Government's Ministers of Interior, Defense and Security pledge support for Mr. Yeltsin. Telephone lines at the Parliament building are cut.

Sept. 23 Mr. Yeltsin sets presidential elections for June 12, 1994. Gunmen attack the headquarters of the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the organization of former Soviet republics. A policeman and a bystander are killed. Gunmen also mount an unsuccessful attack on headquarters of military intelligence.

Sept. 24 The Congress votes for simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections by March 1994, and this idea begins to gain support among centrist and regional leaders. At 10 P.M., electricity and hot water to the Parliament building are cut off.

Sept. 27 Mr. Yeltsin rejects simultaneous elections.

Sept. 28 The Interior Ministry seals off the building with concertina wire, trucks and thousands of troops, ordering defenders to surrender their arms.

Sept. 29 Police officers using nightsticks battle with several hundred protesters trying to breach the cordon. The Government sets a deadline of Oct. 4 for those inside the building to surrender their weapons and leave.

Sept. 30 The Russian Orthodox Church offers to mediate. Riot police officers and protesters clash again.

Oct. 1 An agreement to surrender arms, signed in the early morning by leaders of the Government and the Parliament, is rejected by opposition leaders in the building. The Interior Ministry says there are about 600 fighting men in the Parliament building, with 1,600 assault rifles, more than 2,000 pistols, 18 machine guns, 12 grenade launchers and perhaps a ground-to-air missile. (The existence of such an arsenal is never confirmed.)

Oct. 2 The first serious street violence breaks out. Several hundred demonstrators close off the Garden Ring Road by the Foreign Ministry, building barricades and pelting police with rocks and firebombs. Mr. Rutskoi issues an appeal to people to take to the streets: "Everyone rise up for the struggle against the dictatorship!"


The Battle Begins

Oct. 3 at 2 P.M. On a sunny autumn day, several thousand anti-Yeltsin protesters gather in October Square for a demonstration. Speakers denounce the Government and its economic reforms.

2:30 P.M. Acting on calls by Viktor I. Anpilov, head of the militantly Communist Working Moscow movement, demonstrators begin marching on the Parliament building, three miles away. They smash easily through several thin lines of police officers, ripping away their batons and shields.

The officers try to regroup at several points on the route, firing of tear gas and rubber bullets, but the crowd moves on, beating fallen officers, smashing trucks and buses and firing bursts from automatic weapons.

3:35 P.M. The crowd, rapidly swelling, breaks through the cordon at the building, using a commandeered truck as a battering ram. Government forces fall back. There is wild exultation at the Parliament building. Parliamentary deputies and their defenders are convinced that they have seized the initiative and that it is only a matter of time before Mr. Yeltsin is out.

The Kremlin is silent. Mr. Yeltsin is at his dacha. His chief of staff, Sergei A. Filatov, is still negotiating with Parliament leaders at the Danilov Monastery about a surrender of arms. A reporter inside the Kremlin, Sergei Parkhomenko, reports that the offices of the President are almost empty, "as on an ordinary weekend."

4 P.M. Mr. Yeltsin declares a state of emergency in Moscow. All public meetings and demonstrations are banned.

4:20 P.M. The Government's special police forces around the Parliament building begin to crumble and flee before the fury of the demonstrators, many dropping their shields and sticks in panic. Armored personnel carriers withdraw, but some are seized by the crowd. Automatic fire clatters; people are wounded and killed.


(The collapse of the security cordon, which included 5,000 police officers and units of the special Dzerzhinsky Regiment of the Interior Ministry, later becomes one of the mysteries of the day. Interior Minister Viktor F. Yerin says the troops were withdrawn just before the storming because there was no perceived need for them.)

4:35 P.M. Mr. Khasbulatov appears on the balcony of the Parliament building, but his words are lost in the din. Mr. Rutskoi comes out, and, bellowing into a microphone from behind shields held by bodyguards, urges the crowd to form regiments and seize the Mayor's offices and the television center, six miles north. Addressing Government forces ringing the building, he shouts, "You have only seconds to change sides and defect to the people!"

From the building, the crowd lurches toward the Mayor's office, a high-rise across the street where Government troops have been billeted. Automatic fire clatters repeatedly, and lines of police officers and workers are soon seen marching out under rebel guard.


An unidentified officer, quoted in Izvestia, says orders changed constantly in the last days: arm, disarm, send men here, send them there. The officer, who was on duty at the building, recalled: "When that drunk, drugged mob moved at the Mayor's office, suddenly there was an order: 'Don't shoot. Retreat from the object.' I understood that the leadership was simply waiting to see who'll win."

5 P.M. The Defense Ministry orders several elite units to Moscow. But they are shorthanded because 21,000 soldiers have been sent to help with the potato harvest, in part to convince skeptics that the Government was not planning to storm the building.

(Defense Minister Pavel S. Grachev subsequently says that the troops were to reach Moscow between 8 and 9 P.M., and that the timetable was met.)

Bands of cheering rebels, waving red Soviet flags and the czarist flags used by nationalists, are roaring toward the television station in commandeered buses, armored personnel carriers and trucks. Some carry arms. Thousands follow on foot. Interior Ministry units race them to the station and arrive just before the rebels.

5:45 P.M. The first groups of fighters from the Parliament building reach the Ostankino television station.

6 P.M. The rump Congress of People's Deputies convenes, and is told by Mr. Khasbulatov, "We need to take the Kremlin today, too."


6:10 P.M. A television broadcast shows Mr. Yeltsin arriving in the Kremlin by helicopter and walking slowly to his office. (Reports are circulated in subsequent days that he returned earlier, or that he never left.)

6:40 P.M. A reporter for Moscow News talks to Mr. Rutskoi in the Parliament building. "We will defend the Constitution to the last bullet," he says.

7 P.M. Hundreds of rebels and scores of onlookers and reporters are massed at the television complex, along with the most militant leaders from the Parliament building, including Albert M. Makashov, a former general; Mr. Anpilov of Working Moscow; Illya Konstantinov, head of the neo-fascist National Salvation Front, and Viktor P. Barannikov, former Minister of Security. Mr. Konstantinov declares television to be the "key to success."

Mayor Yuri M. Luzhkov of Moscow makes a televised appeal: "In these anxious hours, we turn to you, Muscovites. Take a civic stand against the illegal activity of the provocateurs."

7:20 P.M. At the television station, Mr. Makashov warns defenders of one building at the broadcasting center that they have three minutes to surrender. When they refuse, a grenade is fired at the doors and a trucks rams through. A firefight breaks out, killing or wounding many. (The final toll will be 62 dead, about 400 wounded.)

7:38 P.M. One by one, the four television programs broadcast from the site go off the air.
(In subsequent days, a debate will erupt over why the television was not better defended, and who pulled the plug. By most accounts, Vyacheslav Bragin, director of state television, ordered the transmissions to be broken to prevent rebels from making any broadcasts.)

An announcer on the Moscow channel is concluding a report on the day's events, saying: "This has been a heavy day. It's hard to talk, because the conflict between Russians has reached its limits -- " The telecast breaks.

8 P.M. Broadcasts resume from another television center in Moscow. (Television officials later say they had the option of an even more secure center outside Moscow, which was built under Leonid I. Brezhnev to withstand any attack.) Tass reports that its Moscow headquarters are under attack, but its reports are not stopped.

Fighting continues at the Ostankino television site, and the first floor of one building is reported in rebel hands.

At the Parliament building, euphoria continues to reign. Mr. Khasbulatov tells deputies that Ostankino has been taken. But electricity is cut off, and deputies have no direct information. Only when a deputy turns on a portable radio, one of three inside the building, does the reality become known.

9 P.M. Yegor T. Gaidar, a former Prime Minister recently returned to the Government as a First Deputy Prime Minister, goes on the radio and appeals to all Muscovites who support Yeltsin to gather outside the Moscow City Council building on Tverskaya Street, near the Kremlin.


(In subsequent days, the broadcast will be widely discussed. There will be speculation that the army was wavering, and that Mr. Gaidar believed a pro-Yeltsin demonstration was crucial to convincing the military that there was not an anti-Yeltsin rout.)

(Deputy Premier Anatoly B. Chubais later tells Interfax that Mr. Gaidar made the appeal after the Ministry of Communications advised the Government that all communications centers had been seized by the opposition.)

Yeltsin supporters soon begin converging on the City Council and start to build barricades.

Television commentators note that Mr. Yeltsin has not personally appeared on radio or television. (In the aftermath, aides will say that the President had a speech prepared, but decided not to make it until Oct. 4.)

9:30 P.M. Prime Minister Viktor S. Chernomyrdin meets with his ministers, and a task force to suppress the uprising is formed under Gen. Konstantin I. Kobets, Chief Inspector of the Russian Armed Forces.

Mr. Parkhomenko, the reporter inside the Kremlin, reports that the arrival of two of Mr. Yeltsin's closest advisers, Mikhail N. Poltoranin and Gennadi E. Burbulis, restores order to the President's staff.

9:50 P.M. Mr. Gaidar's appeal is repeated over television, and other officials also make televised appeals for calm and support.

10 P.M. Dozens of dead and wounded are being brought to the Sklifosovsky Institute in Moscow, and the hospital issues pleas for blood. Almost all the casualties are from the television site.

10:30 P.M. Interior Ministry troops gain control there, and many rebels return to the Parliament building.

10:40 P.M. About 30 armored personnel carriers and 40 trucks carrying soldiers of the 27th Brigade are reported on the Leninsky Prospekt moving toward the center. A convoy is also spotted moving toward the capital from Vladimir to the east.

10:51 P.M. Tass issues a bulletin, saying, "Tass freed by Interior special force, resumes work."

11 P.M. A meeting of senior commanders begins at the Ministry of Defense. According to some reports, Mr. Yeltsin attends; other reports indicate that the generals are split over the use of troops. General Grachev tells an Izvestia correspondent that storming the Parliament building posed no military difficulty, but that from the beginning he had been demanding political neutrality from his commanders.

11:45 P.M. Mr. Gaidar announces at a rally at the City Council that the Government is gaining the upper hand.

Midnight The Defense Ministry Collegium decides to storm the Parliament building, but not until daybreak to minimize casualties.


(The Izvestia correspondent later reports that at this moment the ministry lacked not only a plan for storming the building but also a map of the streets around the building.)

Inside, splits among the factions become apparent.

The Revolt Is Crushed

Oct. 4 at 2 A.M. The plan for storming the Parliament building is completed. The attack is set for 7 A.M. Thousands of Yeltsin supporters stay at the City Council. At the Parliament building, armed men stand guard outside, while most defenders and deputies heed the curfew ordered by Mr. Rutskoi and stay inside.

4:10 A.M. Mr. Rutskoi emerges and inspects the forces around the building from his Mercedes sedan.

5 A.M. In the Kremlin, Mr. Yeltsin signs a decree directing the Ministers of Interior, Security and Defense to create a joint task force for carrying out the state of emergency.

6:45 A.M. Army armored personnel carriers begin taking up positions around the Parliament building. One vehicle, moving toward the square in front of the building, fires extended bursts to scatter defenders.

7 A.M. The Government issues a final appeal to those inside the Parliament building to surrender: "This is your last chance, and the only possibility to save Russia and her citizens."

Shooting breaks out.
(General Grachev subsequently declares that no order was given to open fire, that it began only when armored personnel carriers commanded by the the building's defenders opened fire.)

8 A.M. The building echoes with gunfire. Reporters caught inside find Mr. Rutskoi agitated, shouting into his field telephone for bombers or for foreign diplomats to monitor his surrender.

Mr. Khasbulatov seems utterly distracted. Veronika Kutsyllo, a reporter for Kommersant, finds the Parliament Speaker calmly smoking his pipe during the attack. "I know Yeltsin a long time," Mr. Khasbulatov says, shrugging his shoulders, "but I never expected this of him."

9 A.M. Mr. Yeltsin makes a televised address to the nation, vowing, "The armed fascist putsch in Moscow will be crushed."

10 A.M. After another order to surrender goes unheeded, T-72 and T-80 tanks open fire from the Novoarbatsky Bridge, spanning the Moskva River in front of the Parliament building. Shells burst in Mr. Khasbulatov's office and in the building's command center on the 16th floor, setting fires.

11 A.M. Defenders in the building ask for a cease-fire to let women and children out. Armored personnel carriers form a corridor outside an entrance to the building, but no sooner than the people begin to leave, someone from inside resumes shooting.

11:30 A.M. Special troops from the Alpha Group, formerly a K.G.B. anti-terrorist group now under direct control of President Yeltsin, report that they control four floors. More than 20 rounds of tank fire have hit the building. Fires rage in the upper floors.

12:14 P.M. A cease-fire is called, and continues to 1 P.M.
(General Grachev later mentions three separate cease-fires, one for a half hour, one for an hour and one for two hours.)

2:30 P.M. Three men carrying white flags come out of the Parliament building. General Grachev arrives on the bridge leading to it and opens negotiations on surrender. At the same time, unarmed officers of the anti-terrorist Alpha Group meet with deputies inside and persuade them to leave.

3 P.M. The shooting at the Parliament building gives way to a battle of snipers. Isolated gunmen fire at troops and civilians from the top of buildings near the Parliament building. Several people are killed. (The shooting continues late into the night.)


3:35 P.M. Mr. Yeltsin imposes a curfew of 11 P.M. to 5 A.M. in Moscow.

4:50 P.M. People start leaving the Parliament building, some with their hands over their heads, and enter buses under guard.

6 P.M. The ministers of defense, interior and security appointed by the defiant lawmakers surrender.

6:05 P.M. Mr. Rutskoi and Mr. Khasbulatov march out and board buses that take them to Lefortovo Prison.

Some sniping and isolated clashes continue into the night, and die-hards remain in the building's basement. The top of the building is engulfed in flames. But the battle is over.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:58 am

Yeltsin Under Siege — The October 1993 Constitutional Crisis
by Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training
October, 2014

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image

For Russians, it was yet another dramatic confrontation which played out in the streets of Moscow, one which marked the growing frustration many people had with their elected President. The constitutional crisis of 1993 was a political stand-off between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and the Russian Parliament that was resolved by military force. The relations between the President and the Parliament had been deteriorating for some time.

The constitutional crisis reached a tipping point on September 21, 1993, when Yeltsin aimed to dissolve the country’s legislature (the Congress of People’s Deputies and its Supreme Soviet), although the president did not have the constitutional authority to do so. Yeltsin used the results of the referendum of April 1993 to justify his actions.

In response, the Parliament declared that the President’s decision was null and void, impeached Yeltsin and proclaimed Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoy to be acting President. The situation deteriorated further on October 3, when demonstrators removed police cordons around the Parliament and took over the Mayor’s offices and tried to storm the Ostankino television center.

The army, which had initially declared its neutrality, under Yeltsin’s orders stormed the Supreme Soviet building in the early morning hours of October 4, and arrested the leaders of the resistance. The ten-day conflict became the deadliest single event of street fighting in Moscow’s history since the Revolutions of 1917. According to government estimates, 187 people were killed and 437 wounded, while estimates from non-governmental sources put the death toll at as high as 2,000.

Wayne Merry, who was assigned to Embassy Moscow during the crisis, discusses the nature and role of this crucial moment for post-Soviet Russia. He recounts his frustrations with the condescending tone of the Clinton Administration toward Russia, the shooting of an American Marine, the surprising lack of attention Washington paid to the crisis, and criticizes leadership in Washington for not understanding the lack of popular support for Yeltsin and reform. He was interviewed by Charles Stuart Kennedy starting in February 2010. Read also about the August 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, the fire at Embassy Moscow and when it was microwaved.

“Yeltsin was always a great fighter, but not a patient political in-fighter”

Image

MERRY: I was in Moscow, and my job was to inform Washington through reporting and talking to visitors from Washington, whether they be official visitors or journalists or anything else.…

My problem as head of Political/Internal was to communicate that Yeltsin was only part of a broader political dynamic in Russia, which was, curiously enough, still a democratic political dynamic. The legislature may have been a holdover from Soviet times, but it was an elected legislature, just as Yeltsin himself had been democratically elected.

This political dynamic reflected pluralism and the many conflicting interests within Russian society, often not committed to Yeltsin either as a leader or to his policies.

The new Clinton Administration engaged in unthinking, uncritical support for “Boris”—not even Yeltsin, it just became “good old Boris.” Washington wanted Russia to be democratic but for its leader to rule by decree. This was not, I thought, a very sophisticated or nuanced approach to dealing with a Russia that was going to have very serious internal political difficulties.
One thing I found curious and off-putting about the Clinton approach was this use of first names, to refer to the president of Russia by his first name.

In Russian terms you could refer to him as Boris Nikolayevich, which is perfectly respectable. You could refer to him as President Yeltsin or just as Yeltsin. But to refer to him just as “Boris,” and to do that quite openly and publicly, had a distinctly condescending quality. Clinton tended to condescend to Russia in ways Bush had not. The public speeches Clinton made in Moscow made me wince.

He also conveyed that people in Washington didn’t understand that Yeltsin was not Russia. The United States needed to maintain relationships with a broader spectrum of Russian political figures than just those associated with Yeltsin. I became increasingly concerned about this. Keep in mind that the new U.S. administration had many other things to deal with, so they tended to be reactive to events in Russia.…

At the start of the year, Yeltsin was in a depressive funk. Yeltsin as a personality was definitely manic-depressive and had occasional depressive periods, but he tended to come out of them with bouts of manic energy. This happened in the late winter when his opponents in the Supreme Soviet attempted to impeach him. This was an interesting concept. There isn’t even a word in Russian for “impeachment.” They used the English word and concept, impeachment, because such a thing had no precedent in Russian history. The notion that a chief of state could be removed from office through legal means obviously is not very Russian.

This standoff between president and parliament progressed into March and could very easily have become violent – indeed, I expected it would – but did not for two reasons. First, the opposition retreated in real fear from an open and direct confrontation with Yeltsin, which they knew they would lose. A vote to impeach the president failed; though it is impossible to say what would have happened had it passed.

Second, Yeltsin came up with an alternative. On television he proposed a national referendum on four questions. This referendum in April was about the direction of national policy and the authority of the president, and was pushed by the government under the slogan “Da, Da, Nyet, Da,” meaning they wanted people to vote “Yes, yes, no, yes” on the four questions. The idea behind the four-part referendum was to create public pressure and momentum for a constitutional convention, to rewrite the Russian Federation constitution from the relic of the Soviet period which was still the legal framework of the country.

This was, I thought, a brilliant stroke by Yeltsin. It avoided what might otherwise have been a very destructive confrontation; whether an effort at impeachment by the Supreme Soviet or direct rule by Yeltsin himself. It had the advantage of going back to the people, of transcending the existing constitutional structure through direct democracy in a national referendum. Initially, the scheme worked pretty well. The opposition was flustered and could not unite on a tactical response.

The government won the vote with sufficient majorities to achieve credibility for a constitutional drafting convention, which began in the early summer. Then, characteristically with Yeltsin after a fight, the momentum slowed and his leadership lost dynamism. Whenever Yeltsin was in an overt confrontation, whether in late 1992 or earlier in ’91, or later in ’93, or in this particular confrontation in February and March of 1993, when Yeltsin was in a battle, he was in his element. But in the follow-through — the detailed political effort required for a constitutional convention to create a new basic law and get it put into place — his attention wandered and the whole thing lost momentum in the summer. Yeltsin was always a great fighter, but not a patient and detailed political in-fighter.

“People didn’t know if their money was going to be worth anything”

Image

This concerned me because I had said to Washington, in my cable of November of the previous year that the underlying Russian political crisis would have to be resolved, either with the reformulation of constitutional structures by peaceful means or by violent confrontation. The dilemma could not go on for an extended period.

The dissipation of focus in the middle of ’93 was worrisome. It was compounded, at the end of the summer, by a terribly ill-advised currency reform, when the Russian government withdrew a massive amount of currency from circulation. This created public panic during the height of the summer vacation season, when people didn’t know if their money was going to be worth anything, if they could pay their holiday bills.

It was done in a way that conveyed to the Russian people that the officials who made policy were indifferent to the impact of their actions on everyday life for the people, that this was still a top-down, authoritarian state. This action stood in terrible contrast with the national referenda in the spring, which had said, “The people rule here.” In the late summer, the utterly heavy-handed and unnecessary currency reform showed people how little they really mattered.…

By the middle of 1993, Russians were beginning to feel they were over the worst that they were over the hump that things were beginning to improve, and people were beginning to see what you might call a light at the end of the tunnel. Then came these macroeconomic stabilization measures that just knocked the support out from under the basic livelihood of much of the urban, blue-collar labor force. In my view, this was unnecessary and certainly politically very foolish. Yeltsin was already looking toward another national referendum on a new constitution and to elections for a new legislature.

To manufacture a major deterioration in working class living standards in preparation for such elections showed the arrogance and political blindness of many of the so-called Westernizers and economic reformers.

I dwell on this because many people think the confrontation between Yeltsin and his parliamentary opposition in late September and early October was about personalities and came out of nowhere. Washington saw the confrontation as a morality play, of good guys versus bad guys. This is false.

The confrontation had a long and deep context. Yeltsin was always a controversial figure, even during his greatest days in 1991, but this confrontation involved a chain of events including the expiration of his emergency powers at the end of November ’92; his capitulation on large elements of policy to the Supreme Soviet in December of ’92; the replacement of much of his government; his decision, in February of ’93, to challenge the legislature again; the failed effort at impeachment that followed; the spring confrontation that resulted in the four-part national referendum; the constitutional drafting process and its loss of momentum; the currency reform, and the fiscal tightening measures.

These all created an environment in which the underlying dilemma of Russia’s constitutional structure came to a head in the second half of September of 1993.

“Violence could have been avoided, but the basic political confrontation could not”

Image

The world remembers the images on CNN of the violent confrontation in Moscow in early October, but that was the culmination, if you will, of something that had been in process for over a year, and had been more or less unavoidable for months. I think violence could have been avoided, but the basic political confrontation could not.

There was a lot of history — including personal history among the participants, of course — so that at the end of September, Yeltsin’s own vice president, Alexander Rutskoy, was on the other side of the barricade.

The parliamentary speaker, Ruslan Khasbulatov, was on the other side of the barricade. The head of the constitutional court, Zorkin, was on the other side of the barricade. People who had been working very diligently in the summer on constitutional revision, like Oleg Rumyantsev, ended up on the other side of the barricade. These had all been Yeltsin’s allies earlier.

The step which provoked the ultimate confrontation was Yeltsin’s. He became frustrated, impatient, fed-up with what he saw as the lack of progress on constitutional reform. After a series of political maneuvers, Yeltsin decided to prorogue the legislature. He lacked the legal authority to do so, but did it anyway. He went on television and dismissed the legislature with a call for new elections, plus the writing of a new constitution and a referendum on it, which in theory was what they were working toward anyway. But he decided, on September 21, to short-circuit a process he saw not going where he wanted or as quickly as he wanted.

To Yeltsin’s surprise, I am sure, the opposition, if I can use that broad term, decided to take a leaf from Boris Yeltsin’s own book from August 1991 by rallying their forces to the same place he had rallied his forces then, which was the Russian White House, the seat of the Russian Parliament. The Supreme Soviet voted to declare Yeltsin a traitor and Rutskoy as acting president.

Rutskoy, Khasbulatov and others, under the banner of constitutional legitimacy and legality, summoned everyone who was in opposition to what Yeltsin was trying to do. This included a very wide spectrum of people who ranged from the most ultra-nationalist, anti-Semitic, vicious people you could imagine to many of the most, I would say, liberal, progressive, pro-Western, democratizing individuals in the country.…

The ability of the opposition to rally large numbers of people to the Russian White House, with its important symbolism from August 1991, very much caught Yeltsin by surprise. The crowds around the White House in 1993 were not the youth of 1991, but they were more or less on the same scale.

He held off using riot police or troops, hoping his opponents would lose heart or lose face or at least seek a compromise with him. None of those things happened. The anti-Yeltsin forces remained steadfast and even grew in numbers and determination. They saw this moment as their opportunity either to reject the Western-oriented policy of the government or to establish genuine constitutional legitimacy, depending on their point of view. Compromise was not in the air. There was plenty of political rhetoric, none of it very productive, which extended from September 21 into early October….

“We were much less activist this time”

We were much less activist this time and certainly not seen as friends within the White House. Indeed, there came a point when even our normal contacts became difficult to maintain due to the general hostility we faced. The embassy was in a very insecure location because it faced directly toward the Russian White House with only the low compound wall for protection.

In contrast to August 1991, there were a lot of people in the crowd with guns of various kinds.…Our access to knowledgeable contacts during this Russian crisis was a fraction of what we had had in 1991, on both sides. The Kremlin was not saying very much, in part because they really did not know how things might develop. We had people covering the crowd outside the White House and talking with contacts inside, but this got to be dicey.

Talking to Americans was not popular in the White House, as it was clear the United States supported Yeltsin. The mood of the crowd sometimes was pretty ugly and potentially threatening toward embassy staff. At one point, I pulled some people back for their own safety. I often had little to report other than rumors, but that reflected the fact there was little real news from either side. The adversaries were talking past each other and both were trying to wait the other out. The Moscow public was sitting on the sidelines, just hoping for a peaceful outcome.

At the end of ten days, we were into the first weekend in October, and things at least appeared to be moving toward a resolution. Russian Patriarch [of the Orthodox Church] Alexy had been on a trip to the United States when the crisis occurred and had cut it short to return to Moscow. He then started mediating high-level political talks at the Danilov Monastery.

This mediation process was really the first ray of hope for a peaceful end of the crisis, as both sides were at least willing to take part given the prestige and stature of the patriarch. I had considerable respect for Alexy and knew that neither side would want to appear to rebuff his peacemaking efforts. So, it looked like things might yet sort out or at least remain calm during the mediation talks, but as there was little news emanating from the Danilov Monastery, there was little for the embassy or for me to do but wait….

The October 3 Riot

Image

We had gotten to the 3rd of October 1993, a very dramatic day in modern Russia. In fact, this was the one of the few events in the post-Soviet period in Russia that I think can legitimately qualify for that much-overused term, historic. This was the date when the country really faced a crunch point.…

This being a Sunday and a day when the confrontation was supposedly in abeyance because of the mediation effort, it looked to me to be a good day to go home and get some change of clothing and take care of a few personal things. It also happened to be my birthday. I thought, “I’ve been working 18 hours a day for the past 10 days; maybe I can take this Sunday off and go home.” Well, it didn’t work out that way.

My apartment was in a high-rise building which overlooked October Square, one of the main traffic interchanges in Moscow and also, at its center, site of the largest statue of Lenin in Moscow. Representatives of both sides were engaged in the mediation effort, while Yeltsin and other senior members of the government had decided to do what I did, which was to take this Sunday off, as they were mostly at their dachas.

With nobody in charge locally on either side, people on the street took events into their own hands. There was a demonstration scheduled for October Square in front of the Lenin statue to rally people opposed to Yeltsin. In principle, this should have been a normal peaceful manifestation of political opposition to the government, and it could have been.

The problem was two-fold: first, many of the people who showed up for this demonstration were in a very foul mood after 10 days of confrontation. Many of them had been camping out around the Russian White House for days, if not a week or more, and some were looking for a fight. Unfortunately, they got it because of the second factor. The Ministry of Interior behaved stupidly. Rather than let this demonstration take place and let people vent their anger, they decided to send in riot cops to break it up. What they sent were a bunch of young, inexperienced, semi-trained riot cops who really didn’t know what they were doing.

As it happened, my kitchen looked right down on the square and on the demonstration. I had a panoramic view of the collapse of peace. The riot police, instead of standing to the side to let the demonstration take place or keeping it where it wouldn’t interfere with traffic, closed in on it from all sides. They compressed the demonstrators, which was foolish beyond belief. They didn’t try to push them off in one direction. They actually pushed in from various directions.

A lot of the demonstrators were older people, and older Russians have fairly thin skins about being pushed by young people in the best of times. At some point, the compression caused a human explosion and the demonstrators surged out and just stormed right through the riot cops, who were mostly kids and didn’t know what they were doing. There was no effective leadership and the demonstrators trampled these symbols of government authority pretty much underfoot. Then it was, “Katie, bar the door.”

I had not the faintest notion that this relatively local event I had witnessed spelled the collapse of political peace in general. If I had, I would have returned to the embassy immediately, rather than just reporting what I had seen by phone. It did not occur to me that this event would spark others and lead to a loss of government control in much of the central part of the city, but that is just what happened.

The demonstration – now a full bore riot, in my view – started moving up the street, what’s called the Garden Ring, in groups to the area in front of Gorky Park, across a bridge over the Moscow River, and then on toward where they had come from, which was the Russian White House. On the way they engaged in increasing levels of violence, particularly when they got to the square in front of the Foreign Ministry.

By the time they got back to the Russian White House, and of course to the American Embassy, the police forces on the street had disintegrated, and, for the most part, simply fled for their own safety. There obviously was a lack of leadership and organization on the police side on this Sunday afternoon. Most of the senior people were at their dachas. Some of the Russian police who provided security at the entrances to our embassy actually had to take refuge inside to keep from getting beaten up by the crowds.

“Russian society is either strictly controlled or it’s anarchy”

Image

At this point much of central Moscow on this Sunday afternoon belonged to the opposition. It was really messy. It illustrated one of those things Russians are always telling you, that Russian society is either strictly controlled or it’s anarchy.

Russians, particularly elite Russians, often justify the authoritarian nature of Russian government on the argument that, without a strong hand, Russians will just descend into chaos.

In this instance, the analysis was valid. I saw it happen, though I do not assert this was uniquely Russian behavior. During the course of the afternoon any kind of organized government control disappeared. The demonstrators took over the part of the city centered on the Russian White House. They had most of the major streets in that district in their hands.

They decided to commandeer vehicles and go north to Ostankino, where the main television broadcast tower and production studios are located. There was a violent confrontation with police at Ostankino, but the government never lost control of the airwaves, which was very important. By that time, the government started to get its act together and sent forces to the television complex.

I reported to the embassy by phone what was happening – because my kitchen was a prime vantage point – and learned that things were much worse than I had thought. The embassy faced a real security problem, because the embassy complex, which included something like 155 residences of families with kids, was right in the middle of this urban battle zone.

The exterior perimeter wall had been deliberately built not very high so as not to be intimidating. It was only about eight feet high, or nine feet high at the most, and energetic, athletic demonstrators could get over that wall. If, as seemed almost certain, a large-scale battle between government forces and opposition forces was impending, the embassy would be right smack in the middle of it, much more so than in August 1991.

In 1991, nobody would target the Americans, whereas in 1993, most of the opposition forces regarded the United States as being deeply in bed with Yeltsin, as being Yeltsin’s principal foreign support.

The hostility towards the United States among some opposition figures was quite extreme. So there was a real chance the embassy could be in danger, or even physically overrun, which would not have been difficult.

Ambassador Pickering had previous experience with comparable situations—this was his seventh ambassadorship, and he had, in previous assignments, seen political violence on a large scale — and was in his element. He got everybody hunkered down. Everyone in the embassy not in essential duties was moved into the large underground gymnasium, which was the safest place in the compound. Nobody was allowed to be in their residences.…

We watched Russian television during the evening and into the night. The two defense attachés, who had a vehicle, knew where to look for the units with heavy weapons the government would bring into the city. They found them on the outskirts of Moscow camping down for the evening, bivouacking for the night. It was quite clear the government was not going to confront the opposition in a major way until daylight.…

The very worst moment of this period, for me, was when word came over our radio net that one of the Marines had been shot. We did not know how bad he was, but the fact one of our Marines was hurt sent a chill through me. I recall vividly the sick feeling I had at that moment. However, we had done our job, reporting that significant armed forces were on the outskirts of Moscow and would come in pretty much at first light.

Image

Once we had properly communicated to Ambassador Pickering and Washington, it seemed to me the rational thing to do was get some sleep. I tried to encourage all the members of the team to do the same. I couldn’t get them to go to bed because they were just glued to the television in these events.

For me, I decided it had been a long week and a half already and God knew what tomorrow would be like and the days after that. So, I went to one of the guest bedrooms and went to bed, went right to sleep. I suspect I may have been the only adult in the embassy who got a good sleep that night.

What woke me was the reverberation from the first 120-millimeter tank cannon round being fired into the upper floors of the Russian White House.…This was a long-barreled tank gun. In any case, the reverberation from a 120-millimeter tank gun, fired from almost two miles away, shook the windows of Spaso House [the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, at right]. That’s what woke me up. I found out what was going on, had enough sense to take a shower before I got dressed, knowing this was going to be a long day, and then we had little else to do than watch on television what the world was watching on CNN.

Remember, our job in Spaso was to be a reserve embassy, not to be out covering the events and reporting on them. Ambassador Pickering’s instructions about our role kept us in Spaso House, even though our inclinations were to be out on the streets. CNN’s cameras were on the other side of a major bridge on which the army’s tanks were deployed as they were firing at the Russian White House from the south.…

The world saw only a very limited part of what was going on. While the visual imagery of that day is of tanks firing into the upper floors of the Russian parliament building, the real fighting was out of sight of the cameras. There was a large-scale battle underway on the streets between government forces and opposition. This battle zone was fairly extensive, about two and a half miles wide and maybe a mile and a half deep.

The center of the battle was on the north side of the Russian White House, in an area partly between the Russian White House and the perimeter wall of the American Embassy compound. There’s a large park and a soccer field north of the White House and across the main street from our compound. That’s where the biggest battle was going on. The government forces used the soccer field as a staging area for an assault on the building.

U.S. Embassy in danger

Image

The tanks were firing from the south into the upper floors of the White House to suppress sniper and automatic weapons fire from windows on the north side. The tanks were maybe a quarter of a mile away on the other side, and were firing high-explosive rounds into the upper floors of the tower of the Russian White House to suppress that fire.

The tower of the Russian White House is wide east-west but is quite shallow north-south. It’s only maybe 80 or 100 feet deep. If they had used armor-piercing rounds, the shells would have gone all the way through the building and out the other side.

The tanks fired into the building as their part of the larger battle on the other side that the world did not see because CNN’s cameras couldn’t show it. That battle was taking place literally right in front of the American embassy.…

As the government forces closed in on the Russian White House, various opposition elements moved off in other directions. By establishing the alternate embassy at the Ambassador’s residence, we had made ourselves, if anything, potentially more vulnerable than the people in the embassy compound, because the Ambassador’s residence was a wide-open piece of property with no security at all. We had no Marines. The gate was open.

Soon, armed figures were moving around in the garden. It was hard to tell who was who, because when you see a guy dressed all in black with a ski mask and an automatic weapon you have no idea who the hell he is. The American flag was flying on the flagpole from the front of the building. I wished I’d had enough sense to take that down during the night but I hadn’t thought to do so, and it made us rather conspicuous. There were also snipers operating from balconies on high-rise buildings in the area.

At one point, we were gathered in refuge in a basement room when several guys in black ski masks started looking through the window into this basement room. We quickly shifted our refuge to the attic of this 1912-era building. I doubt more than a handful of people have ever been in the attic of the Ambassador’s residence in Moscow. But it seemed to be the safest place to go for a while.

Shredding Classified Materials as Marine Corporal Bell is Shot

By 1993 the opposition had plenty of weapons. There was no lack of small arms firepower on either side. At this point, we in the Ambassador’s residence were actually in greater physical peril than the people in the main embassy. This was a nasty irony. The lesson was that we should have established the alternate embassy at what’s called the “near dacha,” a little weekend place we have that’s inside the city of Moscow but far enough away that we wouldn’t have been at any risk.

Once the battle had moved away from the White House, the embassy had to evacuate us, as if they did not have more than enough to worry about. The Ambassador’s vehicle was an armored limousine, and our Regional Security Officer came to rescue us. This was a superb guy who had come to Moscow from an assignment in Beirut and knew difficult security situations very well. The vehicle had to make three trips to get us all out.

Image

Pickering (pictured) came over on the first run to get some things, but soon returned to the embassy. I forget exactly how many of us there were, but it took three trips to get us all out. After the first trip, the opposition forces in the area understood what was going on, that an evacuation was underway. For the second run, the one I was in with the Ambassador, there was a lot of automatic weapons fire at the gate. Initially, we couldn’t get out the gate to the street.

After communications by walkie-talkie with the embassy and then with the authorities, the Russian security forces nearby used automatic weapons to suppress hostile fire at the gate. We went out the gate pedal to the metal, across the plaza, and down the street, and finally into the embassy, which was surrounded by what looked like a battle zone. There were burning buildings and burning automobiles and burning debris, the detritus of an urban battle.

We all got safely out of the Ambassador’s residence, which I’m happy to say was not damaged. I then learned the embassy the previous evening had started something which we had never really thought about for Moscow: emergency destruction of classified material. Most vulnerable embassies are supposed to maintain a relatively small amount of classified materials, so an emergency destruction can be done within a certain specified period of time.

The embassy in Moscow, to put it mildly, had never been in compliance with those standards because during the Cold War the joke had always been that, if the American Embassy in Moscow had to destroy classified material, a U.S. thermonuclear warhead would do the job. We had years and years of back files. When they started the destruction process, it quickly became a shambles. The paper shredders jammed.…

Something much more serious was the injury to one of our Marines by gunfire. Corporal [McClain] Bell, a young Marine, was a very popular guy, much loved by embassy kids who regarded him as a collective big brother.

He was in an observation post on top of the new office building, which was still unoccupied. He was shot through the neck, perhaps by one of the government forces who had no idea what they were shooting at. There was nothing on the compound to identify it as the American embassy. We didn’t have the flag out. Most of the troops brought in by the government didn’t know the city of Moscow.

This was just another building, and they saw a guy in a helmet and uniform on top of a building and somebody shot at him. He was nearly killed. Our embassy doctor took care of him, and we received, I’m happy to say, good cooperation from the Russian authorities in evacuating him to a Russian hospital and saving his life. Despite the hugely important political events taking place around us, I suspect that for many of the Americans involved, the shooting of Corporal Bell is the most painful memory of those days.

The embassy didn’t really do much in terms of reporting that day because Ambassador Pickering had given orders the previous day that everybody who was not in the embassy compound — and most embassy personnel lived somewhere else — were to stay at their residences. People were not to go out and observe what was going on. They were not to engage in reporting activity. People were to stay away from the battle zones.

A number of the staff disobeyed that order, feeling this was a major political crisis and we were there as reporters and that was what we should be doing. I myself felt uncomfortable with the limitations on our reporting activities. In retrospect, I understand why Ambassador Pickering did what he did. He was a man, who had seen this kind of violence before, several times in his career. He made the judgment that no reporting message is worth somebody getting killed. Ultimately, of course, it was his authority, it was his decision.…

As the hours passed, I maintained communications to Washington, which mostly meant telling people things they should already have known, answering obvious questions repeatedly. The one thing of value I contributed — other than that somebody had to be on duty that night — was my concern about Corporal Bell. After it was clear he was out of danger, I tried to get somebody in Washington at a senior level to call his widowed mother. This proved difficult because these events in Moscow were simultaneous with the so-called “Black Hawk Down” events in Mogadishu, when a number of U.S. Army Rangers were killed. Washington’s immediate focus was not on Russia, it was on Somalia.

The White House and the State Department and the Defense Department treated the crisis in Moscow as a second-tier issue that was overshadowed in American public interest by the fight in Mogadishu, the famous or infamous “Black Hawk Down” incident. The President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense were making phone calls to the families of the troops who were killed or wounded in Mogadishu. I tried for, I forget how long, for several hours, to get somebody to call the mother of our casualty. Finally, Strobe Talbott as Deputy Secretary of State did, which I much appreciated.

I was quite struck how the attention of senior figures in Washington was not on the crisis in Russia, which we naturally considered the most important event going on anywhere in the world, but on events which attracted more American domestic interest—and of course, American media attention—which was the fighting in Mogadishu. That place was nowhere near as important as Russia, but it involved American fatalities….

A Pyrrhic Victory — A Disaster for Reform in Russia

Image

In the immediate aftermath of these events, most of the leaders of the opposition were arrested and taken to Lefortovo Prison (at left). The Russian government began cleanup operations, including the rebuilding of the White House. The view in Washington was that Yeltsin had won and that’s good.

This was a view with which I strongly disagreed. I acknowledged that, once it came down to a real shootout between Yeltsin and the opposition, it was necessary that Yeltsin win. However, the Clinton Administration saw a victory by Boris Yeltsin as a victory for reform in Russia, that the economic shock therapy we had been advocating would now be carried out and everything would be wonderful.

I believed the confrontation had been a disaster for reform in Russia and for Yeltsin’s ability to maintain genuine political legitimacy. People in Russia had felt pride until then that there had been no political violence of the kind they saw in Tbilisi or in Tajikistan. Russia had not been like Romania, but now it was. Russians, regardless of which side they had been on or whether they were on a side at all, felt real shame and disappointment that their country had been reduced to kind of Third World status, with a shootout involving tanks and troops in the middle of the capital. I felt very strongly the episode represented a huge failure for Yeltsin’s leadership and was a huge setback for the development rule of law in Russia.

In contrast, Washington was almost ebullient that Yeltsin’s opponents were now in prison while people we liked were the winners; therefore, the policies we favored would be carried out. I can tell you, my view that this victory was Pyrrhic was not welcome in Washington, nor really even within parts of the embassy. People visiting Moscow who heard this view from me were not pleased. They also did not like to hear that Yeltsin’s image among his fellow countrymen, among Russians, had been irredeemably tarnished by his choice of overt confrontation.

There was no question the underlying problems of Russian constitutional government needed resolution, but it was Yeltsin’s choice in mid – September to violate the law, to use extraconstitutional means, which placed the burden of the crisis on him rather than on his opponents. Having chosen to abandon the slow process of political compromise, he bore the responsibility for what would come afterwards. That people in the opposition actually initiated the violence and the looting did not, in my view, obviate the fact that Yeltsin set the stage for it.

In addition, during the crisis, Yeltsin’s government had been pretty ineffectual in dealing with it. They just waited for the opposition to get tired and go home, to either give up or compromise. They were caught completely flatfooted on the Sunday and had no better response than battle tanks. That the confrontation could challenge the integrity of Yeltsin’s government was not, I think, well understood in the Kremlin. The ineffectualness of Yeltsin’s approach was demonstrated by the fact it took an initiative by the Patriarch to even begin a process of discussion which could have led to a peaceful resolution. Whether or not Patriarch Alexy could have succeeded in that we’ll never know, but he alone had the prestige and popular legitimacy even to try; Yeltsin did not.…

The Yeltsin Constitution and Growing Popular Frustration

Image

In the aftermath of the very dramatic events of early October, the Russian government scheduled national elections for mid-December to include a referendum on a new constitution, which would be written entirely by Yeltsin’s people rather than reflecting a wide spectrum of viewpoints and political forces.

What became known as the “Yeltsin Constitution” was an amalgam of Russian and Western models, but in its essence was patterned on the constitution of the Fifth French Republic written for de Gaulle. There would also be elections for the new parliament, both upper and lower chambers, to be created by the constitution.

The lower chamber, the State Duma, was patterned on the German Bundestag, with half the seats elected in districts and half from national party lists. The elections presumed that the constitutional referendum would both pass and attain the 50 percent participation needed to be valid.

So, Russians on one day were going to vote for two members of the upper chamber, two members of the lower chamber and the constitutional referendum. In some cases, there would be regional and local elections as well. This was going to be a very big election.

Washington assumed the election would be a great triumph for Yeltsin, reflecting his victory in early October, and would set the stage for a vast new wave of reforms favored by the United States.

My job during November and early December was to try to convince Washington that such expectations were wrong. It became obvious to me rather early, both from anecdotal evidence and from polling data, that the party led by Gaidar, called “Russia’s Choice” and essentially Yeltsin’s party, was not going to have an easy walk to victory in the election. In part this reflected the popular revulsion against what had taken place in early October, but, even more so, it was due to public unhappiness with government economic policy.

Simultaneous with the political confrontation, the finance minister, Boris Fyodorov, had instituted a very stringent program of macroeconomic stabilization, which had produced a severe tightening of the domestic Russian economy. While the outside world focused on the very visible political events, most Russians were more keenly aware of the sharp deterioration of their economic situation, and particularly that the macroeconomic stabilization program was leading to massive loss of livelihood for urban blue-collar workers.

This economic tightening was instituted just as Russians thought things were starting to improve a bit. Russian families had endured a series of economic traumas in the late Gorbachev era, during the breakup of the Soviet Union, and afterwards. By mid-1993, people had a sense the worst was over and now things would slowly get better. Indeed, they had been promised by the Yeltsin government that things were going to get better.

Then with the autumn of 1993 government policies threw many people back into economic crisis again. This was particularly true for urban blue-collar males. The level of frustration Russians felt with their government over economic policy was largely invisible to the outside world. In conversations with visitors from Washington, I was struck that they didn’t even make a connection with the political process. They assumed Russians would vote in favor of Yeltsin’s constitution and Yeltsin’s party, because Yeltsin had won the political confrontation on the streets of Moscow — had won it with firepower but had won it.

After his victory in the October confrontation, Yeltsin presented the country with a new draft constitution that gave the president near-dictatorial powers. Under the proposed constitution, the Supreme Soviet would be replaced with a smaller body, the State Duma, which would have virtually no control over the executive branch. The president would have the power to appoint without interference all ministers except the prime minister, who would have to be confirmed by the Duma. If the Duma rejected three of his candidates for prime minister, the president would be able to dissolve the Duma. The president would have control over the budget and appoint the director of the Central Bank and the justices of the Constitutional Court. Removing the president would require a two-thirds majority of the parliament as well as approval by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Laws would be passed by the Duma, but they could be vetoed by the president, and the veto could be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of the Duma, a near impossibility in a parliament expected to contain numerous factions.

The draft constitution was put to a vote simultaneously with elections to the new parliament on December 12, 1993, only a month after the publication of the text. In the referendum, 54.4 percent of eligible voters were said to have participated, with 58.4 percent voting for and 41.6 percent against the new constitution. [44] The constitution was thus supported by about 30 percent of the electorate. Technically this was enough: Yeltsin had established a rule whereby only 25 percent of eligible voters had to vote yes for the constitution to become law. [45] There were immediate suspicions, however, that the approval was fraudulent. Particular concern was focused on the appearance of nearly nine million unexplained ballots. [46] An independent analysis by Alexander Sobyanin of the pro-government Russia’s Choice Party showed that only 46.1 percent of the electorate had voted, not the 54.4 percent the government claimed, in which case the turnout was 3.9 percent short of the required minimum. The presidential team never explained the origin of the extra ballots and ignored all demands for an investigation. It is highly likely that the 1993 Constitution was never approved by the population. [47]

-- The Less You know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin, by David Satter


They completely missed the fact that what most Russians, not just in Moscow but across the length and breadth of this vast country, were concerned about were their livelihoods, and the fear they were going into yet another period of economic stringency. As the weeks went by, the more palpable was this sense of fear, real fear. This was something I had not seen in 1991 or 1992, but did in late 1993.

Image
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:40 am

Chapter 2: The Soviet Union and Russia: The Collapse of 1991 and the Initial Transition to Democracy in 1993 (Excerpt)
Transitions to Democracy: A Comparative Perspective
by Kathryn Stoner, with Michael McFaul [former US ambassador to Russia]
edited by Kathryn Stoner, Michael McFaul

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Although Bush did not develop a close relationship with Yeltsin, his successor as president of the United States, Bill Clinton did. Wilsonian ideals infused President Clinton’s thinking about Russia. In an address devoted to U.S.-Russia relations on the eve of his first trip abroad as president to meet Yeltsin in Vancouver in April 1993, Clinton argued:

Think of it – land wars in Europe cost hundreds of thousands of American lives in the twentieth century. The rise of a democratic Russia, satisfied within its own boundaries, bordered by other peaceful democracies, could ensure that our nation never needs to pay that kind of price again. I know and you know that, ultimately, the history of Russia will be written by Russians and the future of Russia must be charted by Russians. But I would argue that we must do what we can and we must act now. Not out of charity, but because it is a wise investment … While our efforts will entail new costs, we can reap even larger dividends for our safety and our prosperity if we act now. [93]


During his first meeting with Yeltsin as president at the Vancouver summit, Clinton not only pledged financial support for the Yeltsin government in Russia but openly endorsed the Russian president as America’s horse in the show-down between the president and parliament, saying to Yeltsin in front of the press, “Mr. President, our nation will not stand on the sidelines when it comes to democracy in Russia. We know where we stand…. We actively support reform and reformers and you in Russia.” [94] When the conflict with parliament escalated into violence in October 1993, Clinton yet again defended Yeltsin’s use of military force and demonized the parliament as antireformist communists. In his first public reaction to Yeltsin’s dissolution of parliament, Clinton affirmed, “I support him fully.” [95] Clinton officials said Yeltsin’s precarious hold on power was a reason for the U.S. Congress to support with even greater speed the administration’s $2.5 billion aid package for the region. U.S. officials subsequently praised the new constitution ratified by popular referendum in December 1993.

After his victory in the October confrontation, Yeltsin presented the country with a new draft constitution that gave the president near-dictatorial powers. Under the proposed constitution, the Supreme Soviet would be replaced with a smaller body, the State Duma, which would have virtually no control over the executive branch. The president would have the power to appoint without interference all ministers except the prime minister, who would have to be confirmed by the Duma. If the Duma rejected three of his candidates for prime minister, the president would be able to dissolve the Duma. The president would have control over the budget and appoint the director of the Central Bank and the justices of the Constitutional Court. Removing the president would require a two-thirds majority of the parliament as well as approval by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Laws would be passed by the Duma, but they could be vetoed by the president, and the veto could be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of the Duma, a near impossibility in a parliament expected to contain numerous factions.

The draft constitution was put to a vote simultaneously with elections to the new parliament on December 12, 1993, only a month after the publication of the text. In the referendum, 54.4 percent of eligible voters were said to have participated, with 58.4 percent voting for and 41.6 percent against the new constitution. [44] The constitution was thus supported by about 30 percent of the electorate. Technically this was enough: Yeltsin had established a rule whereby only 25 percent of eligible voters had to vote yes for the constitution to become law. [45] There were immediate suspicions, however, that the approval was fraudulent. Particular concern was focused on the appearance of nearly nine million unexplained ballots. [46] An independent analysis by Alexander Sobyanin of the pro-government Russia’s Choice Party showed that only 46.1 percent of the electorate had voted, not the 54.4 percent the government claimed, in which case the turnout was 3.9 percent short of the required minimum. The presidential team never explained the origin of the extra ballots and ignored all demands for an investigation. It is highly likely that the 1993 Constitution was never approved by the population. [47]

-- The Less You know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin, by David Satter


Democracy, Financial and Technical Assistance

The rhetorical devotion to democracy’s advance especially during the Clinton administration was not matched by actual deeds, however. Facilitating economic reform, not democratic transition, became the real focus of Clinton’s aid to Russia after the Soviet collapse. Beginning with a first meeting on February 6, 1993, a senior group in the new administration met for three months to devise an overall strategy toward Russia and the other newly independent states. [96]

At this early stage, officials at the Treasury Department (including Larry Summers and David Lipton) and on the National Security Council (NSC) staff had different priorities, and despite the lead of Clinton’s special ambassador at large to the former Soviet states Strobe Talbott in these talks, the State Department was relatively less important in this area, primarily because Talbott by all accounts (including his own) had little expertise in economic matters. During his tenure, he focused primarily on traditionally defined strategic issues in the U.S.-Russian relationship, which had been the subject of many of the books he had written earlier in his career. Many former Clinton officials reported that Talbott was not engaged in the technical issues of privatization, stabilization, or social policy reform. [97]

In retrospect, the former acting prime minister of Russia in 1992, Yegor Gaidar, believed that the absence of a major political figure behind the aid effort had negative consequences. “I don’t think that the leaders of the major Western powers were unaware of the magnitude of the choices they faced. The trouble, in my view, was that there was no leader capable of filling the sort of organizing and coordinating role that Harry Truman and George C. Marshall played in the post war restoration of Europe.” [98]

In the early years, Summers and Lipton provided the intellectual guiding principles for assistance to Russia in the Clinton administration. They prevailed in large part because they had a plan for reform, a theory behind it, and a clear idea of the tools needed to implement it. These two Treasury officials believed in the imperative of sequencing economic reform ahead of political reform. As Lipton recalls, “Our view was that America should make clear its support for reform in Russia. We thought that U.S. support for reform in Russia with Yeltsin, with the elites, with the public would be helpful to people who wanted to carry out reform.” [99] The thinking was that if Russia could not stabilize its economy, then democracy would have no chance.

After the failed putsch in August 1991 and the dissolution of the USSR in December of that year, there was a consensus within the Russian government that Yeltsin had a popular mandate to initiate radical economic reform. It is not surprising that Yeltsin’s supporters within the United States endorsed this idea as well. Finally, Russian economic reformers believed that they had a finite reserve of time before trust in Yeltsin and support for reform would wane. Driven by this perceived time constraint, Russia’s reformers wanted to transform the economy as fast as possible to make reforms irreversible before they were forced out of office. Their American counterparts, particularly in the Treasury Department, shared their view.

The budgets to support economic versus political reform reflected these priorities. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which focused almost exclusively on economic reform, played the central role in aiding Russia in the beginning of the 1990s and throughout the decade. [100] U.S. bilateral assistance – the package of aid handled directly by the U.S. government and not by the multilateral financial institutions – also reflected the “economics first” strategy. Of the $5.45 billion in direct U.S. assistance to Russia between 1992 and 1998, only $130 million or 2.3 percent was devoted to programs involved directly in democratic reform. [101] When U.S. government expenditures channeled through the Department of Commerce, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency are added to the equation, the primacy of economic reform becomes even more clear.

There were no officials working on democratization to serve as counterparts to the Clinton officials in the Treasury engaged in assisting with Russian economic reform. Instead, the job of promoting democracy was delegated to lower-level officials working primarily at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Clinton never made democracy a top issue in U.S.-Russian relations. The United States and Russia had established joint commissions on defense conversion, the environment, and trade at the 1993 Vancouver summit but did not create a similar working group for political reform.

Given the strong rhetoric from senior U.S. officials about the importance of Russian democracy, the relatively small amount of aid for democracy and rule of law assistance is curious. It may be that democracy promotion was deemed too politically sensitive and might imperil progress in the area of economic reform. Another argument is that democracy assistance did not need as much money because this kind of aid was cheaper to provide than economic assistance. As Brian Atwood explains, “Democracy programs don’t cost that much money. Even if it’s a case of running a successful election, you may spend 15-20 million dollars on the mechanical equipment and ballots: that’s not a lot of money.” [102]

USAID did joint with the National Endowment for Democracy to fund the operations of the International Republic Institute, the National Democratic Institute, and the Free Trade Union Institute (funded by the AFL-CIO) in Russia. USAID also supported democratic assistance programs run by ABA-CEELI, ARDO-Checchi, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Internews, the Eurasia Foundation, and a host of other nongovernmental organizations (NGOsd). [103] These groups focused on fostering the development of political parties, business associations, trade unions, and civic organizations, as well as promoting electoral reform, the rule of law, and an independent press. Their budgets were only shadows of the amounts spent on economic and technical assistance. NGOs, though, did help introduce Russian politicians to the effects of different types of voting systems. For instance, in 1992 NDI convened a series of working-group meetings on the relationship between electoral systems and parties, which included electoral experts on the American single-mandate system as well as the Portuguese, German, and Hungarian electoral regimes. [104] NDI also translated into Russian electoral laws from several countries. All of Russia’s key decision makers on the electoral law at the time and senior officials from Yeltsin’s presidential administration participated in these meetings. Facilitated by Western actors, the Western idea of proportional representation was brought to Russia and incorporated into law.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:00 am

The Less You know, the Better You Sleep: Russia’s Road to Terror and Dictatorship Under Yeltsin and Putin - EXCERPT
by David Satter

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


After his victory in the October confrontation, Yeltsin presented the country with a new draft constitution that gave the president near-dictatorial powers. Under the proposed constitution, the Supreme Soviet would be replaced with a smaller body, the State Duma, which would have virtually no control over the executive branch. The president would have the power to appoint without interference all ministers except the prime minister, who would have to be confirmed by the Duma. If the Duma rejected three of his candidates for prime minister, the president would be able to dissolve the Duma. The president would have control over the budget and appoint the director of the Central Bank and the justices of the Constitutional Court. Removing the president would require a two-thirds majority of the parliament as well as approval by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Laws would be passed by the Duma, but they could be vetoed by the president, and the veto could be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of the Duma, a near impossibility in a parliament expected to contain numerous factions.

The draft constitution was put to a vote simultaneously with elections to the new parliament on December 12, 1993, only a month after the publication of the text. In the referendum, 54.4 percent of eligible voters were said to have participated, with 58.4 percent voting for and 41.6 percent against the new constitution. [44] The constitution was thus supported by about 30 percent of the electorate. Technically this was enough: Yeltsin had established a rule whereby only 25 percent of eligible voters had to vote yes for the constitution to become law. [45] There were immediate suspicions, however, that the approval was fraudulent. Particular concern was focused on the appearance of nearly nine million unexplained ballots. [46] An independent analysis by Alexander Sobyanin of the pro-government Russia’s Choice Party showed that only 46.1 percent of the electorate had voted, not the 54.4 percent the government claimed, in which case the turnout was 3.9 percent short of the required minimum. The presidential team never explained the origin of the extra ballots and ignored all demands for an investigation. It is highly likely that the 1993 Constitution was never approved by the population. [47]

Yeltsin’s destruction of the Supreme Soviet and the creation of a superpresidency destroyed any possibility in Russia of a genuine separation of powers. The first serious consequence was the war in Chechnya. Yeltsin needed a war because since the events of October 1993, he could no longer blame the parliament for his failures. Oleg Lobov, the secretary of Yeltsin’s Security Council, told Sergei Yushenkov, the chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, that a war in Chechnya was coming. “On the telephone,” Yushenkov told the journalists Carlotta Gall and Thomas de Walla, “Lobov used the phrase that: ‘It is not only a question of the integrity of Russia. We need a small, victorious war to raise the President’s ratings.’” [48] A force of volunteers opposed to the separatist regime in Chechnya was assembled by the Russian security services to seize Grozny, the Chechen capital, and set up a puppet government that would request the introduction of Russian troops. But on November 26, 1994, the volunteers were routed by Chechen troops loyal to Djofar Dudayev, the Chechen leader. Yeltsin ordered the Chechens to lay down their arms by December 15. Despite the deadline, the Russian military began air strikes on December 2, and on the 11th, three columns of Russian army units moved into Chechnya.

Democrats, including Gaidar, who had supported Yeltsin’s suppression of the parliament, now found that giving unchecked power to Yeltsin came at a price. He had unilaterally committed the army to a war against Russian citizens on Russia’s own territory.

The destruction of the Supreme Soviet also assured Yeltsin an apparently undeserved second term in office. After the parliament was disbanded by force, the communists were apparently too intimidated to seriously contest an election. Yeltsin was believed to have won the 1996 presidential election, albeit with the help of massive violations of the campaign financing rules. But in February 2012, at a meeting with four members of the opposition, President Dmitri Medvedev said that this was not the case. When the four protested the falsification of the results of the previous December’s parliamentary elections, Medvedev indicated that falsification is not unusual: “There is hardly any doubt who won [the 1996 presidential election]. It was not Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin.” [49]

Victor Ilyukhin, a communist who in 1996 was the head of the Duma Security Committee, said in an interview with the site Gazeta.ru that Zyuganov did not protest the theft of the election because in light of the events in October 1993, he was afraid of triggering a civil war. “The Yeltsin entourage was ready to use force in the event of a victory by Zyuganov,” Ilyukhin said. “They did not hesitate to say to us, ‘We will not simply hand over power.’” There were fifty thousand armed guards in Moscow, many of them Afghan veterans who were on Yeltsin’s side, and “This force could have been used and that was more terrible than an open confrontation. When tanks move, they are visible but this could be used to attack from behind. At the same time, besides the Alpha unit, Yeltsin was creating more specialized military units.” [50] According to Ilyukhin, declaring the elections falsified would have meant calling people into the streets, and this could have caused the communist leaders to be arrested or killed. [51]

Anatoly Chubais, who was Yeltsin’s campaign manager at the time, said that “of course” there were violations in the campaign, but if the 1996 vote were to be dismissed as a fraud, “then we automatically have to deem both of President Putin’s terms illegitimate along with the presidency of Medvedev…. There would be nothing left of Russia’s post-Soviet history.” [52]

By July 1996, when Yeltsin began his second term as president, parliament’s role was so reduced that Yeltsin was able to rule effectively alone. Ironically, it was then that his health began to fail, making him unable to wield the power he had taken such pains to accumulate. He surrendered authority to his daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko, and Valentin Yumashev, the journalist who in the 1980s had helped his write his first volume of memoirs.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:07 pm

FIMACO - Russia's Missing Billions
Financial Crime and Corruption
3rd Edition
by Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.
© 2002-9 Copyright Lidija Rangelovska.

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Russia's Audit Chamber - with the help of the Swiss authorities and their host of dedicated investigators - may be about to solve a long standing mystery. An announcement by the Prosecutor's General Office is said to be imminent. The highest echelons of the Yeltsin entourage - perhaps even Yeltsin himself - may be implicated - or exonerated. A Russian team has been spending the better part of the last two months poring over documents and interviewing witnesses in Switzerland, France, Italy, and other European countries.

About $4.8 billion of IMF funds are alleged to have gone amiss during the implosion of the Russian financial markets in August 1998. They were supposed to prop up the banking system (especially SBS -Agro) and the ailing and sharply devalued ruble. Instead, they ended up in the bank accounts of obscure corporations - and, then, incredibly, vanished into thin air.

The person in charge of the funds in 1998 was none other than Mikhail Kasyanov, Russia's current Prime Minister - at the time, Deputy Minister of Finance for External Debt. His signature on all foreign exchange transactions - even those handled by the central bank - was mandatory. In July 2000, he was flatly accused by the Italian daily, La Reppublica, of authorizing the diversion of the disputed funds.
Following public charges made by US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin as early as March 1999, both Russian and American media delved deeply over the years into the affair. Communist Duma Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin jumped on the bandwagon citing an obscure "trustworthy foreign source" to substantiate his indictment of Kremlin cronies and oligarchs contained in an open letter to the Prosecutor General, Yuri Skuratov.

The money trail from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to Swiss and German subsidiaries of the Russian central Bank was comprehensively reconstructed. Still, the former Chairman of the central bank, Sergei Dubinin, called Ilyukhin's allegations and the ensuing Swiss investigations - "a black PR campaign ... a lie".

Others pointed to an outlandish coincidence: the ruble collapsed twice in Russia's post-Communist annals. Once, in 1994, when Dubinin was Minister of Finance and was forced to resign. The second time was in 1998, when Dubinin was governor of the central bank and was, again, ousted. Dubinin himself seems to be unable to make up his mind. In one interview he says that IMF funds were used to prop up the ruble - in others, that they went into "the national pot" (i.e., the Ministry of Finance, to cover a budgetary shortfall).

The Chairman of the Federation Council at the time, Yegor Stroev, appointed an investigative committee in 1999. Its report remains classified but Stroev confirmed that IMF funds were embezzled in the wake of the 1998 forced devaluation of the ruble.


This conclusion was weakly disowned by Eleonora Mitrofanova, an auditor within the Duma's Audit Chamber who said that they discovered nothing "strictly illegal" - though, incongruously, she accused the central bank of suppressing the Chamber's damning report. The Chairman of the Chamber of Accounts, Khachim Karmokov, quoted by PwC, said that "the audits performed by the Chamber revealed no serious procedural breaches in the bank's performance".

But Nikolai Gonchar, a Duma Deputy and member of its Budget Committee, came close to branding both as liars when he said that he read a copy of the Audit Chamber report and that it found that central bank funds were siphoned off to commercial accounts in foreign banks.

The Moscow Times cited a second Audit Chamber report which revealed that the central bank was simultaneously selling dollars for rubles and extending ruble loans to a few well-connected commercial banks, thus subsidizing their dollar purchases. The central bank went as far as printing rubles to fuel this lucrative arbitrage. The dollars came from IMF disbursements.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, based on its own sources and an article in the Russian weekly "Novaya Gazeta", claims that half the money was almost instantly diverted to shell companies in Sydney and London. The other half was mostly transferred to the Bank of New York and to Credit Suisse.

Why were additional IMF funds transferred to a chaotic Russia, despite warnings by many and a testimony by a Russian official that previous tranches were squandered? Moreover, why was the money sent to the Central Bank, then embroiled in a growing scandal over the manipulation of treasury bills, known as GKO's and other debt instruments, the OFZ's - and not to the Ministry of Finance, the beneficiary of all prior transfers? The central bank did act as MinFin's agent - but circumstances were unusual, to say the least.

There isn't enough to connect the IMF funds with the money laundering affair that engulfed the Bank of New York a year later to the day, in August 1999 - though several of the personalities straddled the divide between the bank and its clients. Swiss efforts to establish a firm linkage failed as did their attempt to implicate several banks in the Italian canton of Ticino. The Swiss - in collaboration with half a dozen national investigation bureaus, including the FBI - were more successful in Italy proper, where they were able to apprehend a few dozen suspects in an elaborate undercover operation.

FIMACO's name emerged rather early in the swirl of rumors and denials. At the IMF's behest, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was commissioned by Russia's central bank to investigate the relationship between the Russian central bank and its Channel Islands offshoot, Financial Management Company Limited, immediately when the accusations surfaced.

Skuratov unearthed $50 billion in transfers of the nation's hard currency reserves from the central bank to FIMACO, which was majority-owned by Eurobank, the central bank's Paris-based daughter company. According to PwC, Eurobank was 23 percent owned by "Russian companies and private individuals".

Dubinin and his successor, Gerashchenko, admit that FIMACO was used to conceal Russia's assets from its unrelenting creditors, notably the Geneva-based Mr. Nessim Gaon, whose companies sued Russia for $600 million. Gaon succeeded to freeze Russian accounts in Switzerland and Luxemburg in 1993.
PwC alerted the IMF to this pernicious practice, but to no avail.

Moreover, FIMACO paid exorbitant management fees to self-liquidating entities, used funds to fuel the speculative GKO market, disbursed non-reported profits from its activities, through "trust companies", to Russian subjects, such as schools, hospitals, and charities - and, in general, transformed itself into a mammoth slush fund and source of patronage. Russia admitted to lying to the IMF in 1996. It misstated its reserves by $1 billion.

Some of the money probably financed the fantastic salaries of Dubinin and his senior functionaries. He earned $240,000 in 1997 - when the average annual salary in Russia was less than $2000 and when Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the USA, earned barely half as much.

Former Minister of Finance, Boris Fedorov, asked the governor of the central bank and the prime minister in 1993 to disclose how were the country's foreign exchange reserves being invested. He was told to mind his own business. To Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty he said, six years later, that various central bank schemes were set up to "allow friends to earn handsome profits ... They allowed friends to make profits because when companies are created without any risk, and billions of dollars are transferred, somebody takes a (quite big) commission ... a minimum of tens of millions of dollars. The question is: Who received these commissions? Was this money repatriated to the country in the form of dividends?"

Dubinin's vehement denials of FIMACO's involvement in the GKO market are disingenuous. Close to half of all foreign investment in the money-spinning market for Russian domestic bonds were placed through FIMACO's nominal parent company, Eurobank and, possibly, through its subsidiary, co-owned with FIMACO, Eurofinance Bank.

Nor is Dubinin more credible when he denies that profits and commissions were accrued in FIMACO and then drained off. FIMACO's investment management agreement with Eurobank, signed in 1993, entitled it to 0.06 percent of the managed funds per quarter.

Even accepting the central banker's ludicrous insistence that the balance never exceeded $1.4 billion - FIMACO would have earned $3.5 million per annum from management fees alone - investment profits and brokerage fees notwithstanding. Even Eurobank's president at the time, Andrei Movchan, conceded that FIMACO earned $1.7 million in management fees.

The IMF insisted that the PwC reports exonerated all the participants. It is, therefore, surprising and alarming to find that the online copies of these documents, previously made available on the IMF's Web site, were "Removed September 30, 1999 at the request of PricewaterhouseCoopers" . The cover of the main report carried a disclaimer that it was based on procedures dictated by the central bank and "...consequently, we (PwC) make no representation regarding the sufficiency of the procedures described below ... The report is based solely on financial and other information provided by, and discussions with, the persons set out in the report. The accuracy and completeness of the information on which the report is based is the sole responsibility of those persons. ... PricewaterhouseCoopers have not carried out any verification work which may be construed to represent audit procedures ... We have not been provided access to Ost West Handelsbank (the recipient of a large part of the $4.8 IMF tranche)."

The scandal may have hastened the untimely departure of the IMF's Managing Director at the time, Michel Camdessus, though this was never officially acknowledged. The US Congress was reluctant to augment the Fund's resources in view of its controversial handling of the Asian and Russian crises and contagion.


This reluctance persisted well into the new millennium. A congressional delegation, headed by James Leach (R, Iowa), Chairman of the Banking and Financial Services Committee, visited Russia in April 2000, accompanied by the FBI, to investigate the persistent contentions about the misappropriation of IMF funds.  

Camdessus himself went out of his way to defend his record and reacted in an unprecedented manner to the allegations. In a letter to Le Mond, dated August 18, 1999 - and still posted on the IMF's Web site, three years later - he wrote, inadvertently admitting to serious mismanagement:

"I wish to express my indignation at the false statements, allegations, and insinuations contained in the articles and editorial commentary appearing in Le Monde on August 6, 8, and 9 on the content of the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) audit report relating to the operations of the Central Bank of Russia and its subsidiary, FIMACO.

Your readers will be shocked to learn that the report in question, requested and made public at the initiative of the IMF ... (concludes that) no misuse of funds has been proven, and the report does not criticize the IMF's behavior ... I would also point out that your representation of the IMF's knowledge and actions is misleading. We did know that part of the reserves of the Central Bank of Russia was held in foreign subsidiaries, which is not an illegal practice; however, we did not learn of FIMACO's activities until this year— because the audit reports for 1993 and 1994 were not provided to us by the Central Bank of Russia.

The IMF, when apprised of the possible range of FIMACO activities, informed the Russian authorities that it would not resume lending to Russia until a report on these activities was available for review by the IMF and corrective actions had been agreed as needed ... I would add that what the IMF objected to in FIMACO's operations extends well beyond the misrepresentation of Russia's international reserves in mid-1996 and includes several other instances where transactions through it had resulted in a misleading representation of the reserves and of monetary and exchange policies. These include loans to Russian commercial banks and investments in the GKO market."

No one accepted - or accepts - the IMF's convoluted post-facto "clarifications" at face value. Nor was Dubinin's tortured sophistry - IMF funds cease to be IMF funds when they are transferred from the Ministry of Finance to the central bank - countenanced.

Even the compromised office of the Russian Prosecutor-General urged Russian officials, as late as July 2000, to re-open the investigation regarding the diversion of the funds. The IMF dismissed this sudden burst of rectitude as the rehashing of old stories. But Western officials - interviews by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty - begged to differ.

Yuri Skuratov, the former Prosecutor-General, ousted for undue diligence, wrote in a book he published two years ago, that only c. $500 million of the $4.8 were ever used to stabilize the ruble.
Even George Bush Jr., when still a presidential candidate accused Russia's former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin of complicity in embezzling IMF funds. Chernomyrdin threatened to sue.

The rot may run even deeper. The Geneva daily "Le Temps", which has been following the affair relentlessly, accused, two years ago, Roman Abramovich, a Yeltsin-era oligarch and a member of the board of directors of Sibneft, of colluding with Runicom, Sibneft's trading arm, to misappropriate IMF funds. Swiss prosecutors raided Runicom's offices just one day after Russian Tax Police raided Sibneft's Moscow headquarters.

Absconding with IMF funds seemed to have been a pattern of behavior during Yeltsin's venal regime. The columnist Bradley Cook recounts how Aldrich Ames, the mole within the CIA, "was told by his Russian control officer during their last meeting, in November 1993, that the $130,000 in fresh $100 bills that he was being bribed with had come directly from IMF loans." Venyamin Sokolov, who headed the Audit Chamber prior to Sergei Stepashin, informed the US Senate of $2 billion that evaporated from the coffers of the central bank in 1995.


Even the IMF reluctantly admits:

"Capital transferred abroad from Russia may represent such legal activities as exports, or illegal sources. But it is impossible to determine whether specific capital flows from Russia -- legal or illegal -- come from a particular inflow, such as IMF loans or export earnings. To put the scale of IMF lending to Russia into perspective, Russia's exports of goods and services averaged about $80 billion a year in recent years, which is over 25 times the average annual disbursement from the IMF since 1992."

DISCLAIMER

Sam Vaknin served in various senior capacities in Mr. Gaon 's firms and advises governments in their negotiations with the IMF.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:30 am

How to rig an election: In the digital age, democracy is becoming a delusion
by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas
The Spectator.co.uk
31 March 2018, 9:00 AM

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Andrés Sepúlveda sleeps behind bombproof doors in a maximum-security prison in central Bogota, Colombia. When travelling to judicial hearings or to meet prosecutors, he is accompanied by a caravan of armed guards with serious firepower. As they move at high speed through the capital, the motorcade uses sophisticated equipment to jam mobile phones to lower the risk of a coordinated assassination attempt.

Sepúlveda is one of the world’s most notorious election-rigging specialists. Now that he has been caught and put in jail, he is helping atone for his crimes by explaining how he fixed elections — and the people he used to work with want him dead.

But Sepúlveda isn’t the only specialist in this field. The tools he was using are deployed around the world. They’re costly, sometimes scandalous, but often legal. The disruption of democracy has become a great global game, and it’s one that British companies are playing too.

The recent Cambridge Analytica scandal raised an obvious question: did its role in mining Facebook data help send Donald Trump to the White House? But there is another angle that is just as important: what did Alexander Nix, its (now suspended) chief executive, mean when he said that his company is ‘used to operating through different vehicles, in the shadows’? That question was buried under the deluge of headlines about Facebook. This is a shame because it appears that there is an even bigger scandal than data-mining waiting to be exposed.

We’re academics, not investigative journalists. But between the two of us, we have crisscrossed the globe from Thailand to Tunisia, from Belarus to Zimbabwe, learning the tricks of the election-rigging trade. We’ve interviewed more than 500 top figures, from prime ministers and presidents downwards.

We have seen first-hand how digital tools can help complete a dictator’s toolbox of tricks. And we’ve put everything we’ve learned into a forthcoming book, How to Rig an Election, which might sound like a joke. But for those living in these countries, it could not be more serious.

You might think that elections weaken autocrats. Think again. Elections can actually help despots shore up their grip on power. Holding flawed polls can enable embattled governments to secure access to valuable economic resources like foreign aid, while reinvigorating the ruling party and — in many cases — dividing the opposition. Consequently, a number of authoritarian regimes that appeared to be in their death throes have used the ballot box to re-establish their political dominance.

The facade of democracy is being turned into a tool of oppression because an increasing number of leaders have worked out how to rig an election — or hire someone to do it for them. In many parts of the world, election rigging is now not the exception but the norm. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry in which government contracts flow to those who deliver the ‘right’ result.
In Kenya, Cambridge Analytica is said to have been paid $6 million to support the campaign of President Uhuru Kenyatta. There are many more such contracts, and many more companies in pursuit of them, constantly coming up with innovative ways to subvert democracy, from spreading fake news about opponents to adopting new technologies. The digital age has, alas, multiplied the potential for dirty tricks.

Take Azerbaijan’s 2013 elections, when President Ilham Aliyev sought to boost his democratic credentials by launching an iPhone app that enabled citizens to keep up to speed with the vote tallies as ballot counting took place. Touting its commitment to transparency, the regime said that the new technology would allow anyone to watch the results in real time. But those who were keen to try out the new technology were surprised to find that the results were posted on the app the day before the polls opened. Technology was being used to fix the process, not make it more robust.

Sometimes, though, old-school tactics get the job done. In the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, voters in opposition areas were given pens filled with disappearing ink. When officials went to count the ballots, they just found a bunch of blanks. In the 1998 mayoral election in St Petersburg, the authorities sought to neutralise a rising opposition figure named Oleg Sergeyev. To do this, they found a pensioner and a tram driver who were also named Oleg Sergeyev and stuck them both on the ballot next to the ‘real’ Oleg. Because no photographs appeared on the ballot papers, voters didn’t know which of the three to pick, so the vote got divided three ways, and all the Olegs lost.

The digital frontier has opened up new possibilities that the political consultants of the 1980s could have only dreamed of. Elections can now be manipulated from anywhere in the world, so long as you can get online. Take Sepúlveda, who was somewhat of a pioneer in the business of election hacking. In 2005, he began breaking into the files of opponents’ campaigns, stealing their databases of voters and donors, and even defacing websites with digital graffiti. Within a few years, he was charging $20,000 a month to hack smartphones, or send mass texts or emails laced with perfectly timed misinformation. He promoted right-wing candidates and knocked down their left-wing rivals from Mexico to Venezuela (and most places in-between). As he put it from prison: ‘When I realised that people believe what the internet says more than reality, I discovered that I had the power to make people believe almost anything.’ This is a discovery that western firms — with bigger budgets — have also made.

Cambridge Analytica is now the best-known company using these tactics. It promises to ‘use data to change audience behaviour’. In the electoral context, it does this by getting data about voters through online sites such as Facebook and using it to encourage its clients’ supporters to vote and their opponents to stay at home. Its platform is bespoke: it targets messages specific to each individual according to a sophisticated profile of their likely attitudes and beliefs based on their internet activity. Breaking rules to access personal data — as Cambridge Analytica is alleged to have done by Facebook — may lead to prosecutions. But the method itself is not illegal.

Such strategies aren’t magical: they can’t turn lifelong Democrats into Republicans overnight, nor could they turn a dedicated Remainer into a fervent Brexiteer after a few pitch-perfect Facebook ads. ‘Big data’ is scarce and the number of people online much lower in parts of Africa and Asia. But even then, companies like Cambridge Analytica can have a negative effect by advocating and implementing irresponsible campaigns in more traditional ways, such as spreading misinformation about opponents. Another British firm, Bell Pottinger, recently went out of business after it was revealed that some of those working for the company had advised allies of the former South African president Jacob Zuma to manipulate racial tensions in order to shore up their own support base.

When big data is available, its effect can be significant. For people who don’t typically tune into politics, and those who have not yet made up their minds, being suddenly bombarded with carefully tailored messages aimed at playing to their deepest desires and fears can be a powerful push into political action.

The greatest challenge to 21st–century democracy is that uninformed voters are being replaced by misinformed ones. Alexander Nix put it well, during that Channel 4 sting operation, when he said of propaganda that: ‘Things don’t necessarily need to be true, as long as they’re believed.’ Uninformed voters often stay home. Misinformed voters turn out
— and they often want to blow up the system or see a political rival permanently excluded from power. This can lead to anti-establishment politics, as in the UK and US; and in less politically stable parts of the world, to political violence and the discrediting of democracy itself.

Through using these strategies, autocrats have learned a simple but sad truth: it is easier to stay in power by rigging elections than by not holding them at all. So often we hear it said that the number of democracies in the world is rising — and we imagine that must mean world government is improving. Perhaps we want to believe it, and a willingness to be fooled — or, at least, a reluctance to ask too many questions — is part of the problem. But it is now time to wake up. Many of those who rig elections are outfoxing both their own people and western observers. Sometimes that is because autocrats (or their advisers) are smart, flexible and stealthy. But let’s not forget that Cambridge Analytica was used by the supposed leader of the free world, Donald Trump, and even by the UK Ministry of Defence.

As a result, a lot of powerful people might not want to look too deeply into all of this. Even in the West, few governments consistently live up to their rhetorical commitment to promote democracy in reality. The imperative of striking arms or oil deals and staying in power is simply more compelling than dealing with the messy and murky reality of widespread election rigging

This has to change — and pro-democracy governments must do more to turn the tide. Firms such as Cambridge Analytica need to be subject to tighter regulation and scrutiny, not just for what they do at home but also for what they do abroad. We must make foreign aid dependent on genuine democratic progress, not a box-ticking exercise. And we must end our own practices of regularly flouting rules like campaign spending limits.
.

Me, a gangster? Berezovsky is quick to take the moral high ground. "The Western press portrays Russia unfairly," he says. "Russian business is not synonymous with the Mafia."; But isn't the government powerless to bring any of the thousands of mobsters to justice? Oh, yes, says Berezovsky, but don't blame him. "In the government," he says, "there are many people who are criminals themselves."

Berezovsky should know. He stands close to political power. He organized Russia's most powerful bankers in support of President Yeltsin's presidential campaign earlier this year. "It is no secret that Russian businessmen played the decisive role in President Yeltsin's victory," says Berezovsky. "It was a battle for our blood interests."

Berezovsky and friends did whatever was necessary to prevent the Communists from gaining a victory. The Yeltsin campaign is facing allegations of massive financing violations. Legally, each party's campaign was limited to $3 million. The Yeltsin campaign is estimated to have spent at least $140 million.

As in the U.S., most people in Russia who give big money to political campaigns hope for favors. The difference is that in Russia the payoff is often very direct. After Yeltsin's reelection Berezovsky was appointed deputy secretary of the National Security Council, the body responsible for coordinating military and law enforcement policy.

-- Godfather of the Kremlin? The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism and Boris Berezovsky and the looting of Russia, by Paul Klebnikov


Around the world, democracy is being hijacked. And unless the western democracies start to care, election quality will continue to decline. This threatens to undermine the very idea of democracy, turning these elections into an empty ritual that the government always wins. The Cambridge Analytica revelations are the tip of the iceberg. This isn’t about one company or a handful of elections, it is about a concerted attack on democracy by a powerful alliance of authoritarian leaders and multinational companies. It has gone unnoticed and unanswered for too long. A parliamentary inquiry into what such companies are doing around the world would reveal, fairly quickly, how much has gone wrong. And why, for those who care about democracy, it is time to fight back.

Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas on election rigging. Their book How to Rig an Election (Yale, £18.99) is published on 24 April.
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:51 am

Elvis Scene in Moscow! Russian Fans Teary-Eyed for the King, but Haven't Met Him Lately
by Lee Hockstader
Washington Post
August 17, 1993

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


MOSCOW, AUG. 16 -- They toasted The King with cold vodka and Happy Cola tonight and sang "Love Me Tender" and "Shotgun Boogie" -- in an accent more Moscow than Memphis. Today, on the 16th anniversary of his death, Elvis was still dead. But the founders of Moscow's all-Russian Elvis Presley fan club were feeling no pain.

"In memory of Elvis," they murmured, and everyone raised a glass.

The scene was the dining room of Nadezhda Sevnitskaya's Moscow apartment, a modest affair with immodest decor. On every wall, on every shelf, in every drawer and cranny, the King and his paraphernalia smiled and mugged and crooned for what must be one of the world's most appreciative audiences.

"Elvis was a singer beyond compare," Sevnitskaya said simply, as the tape deck played. ("Wise men say, only fools rush in . . . ")

Take it from an authority. Sevnitskaya, an editor at Moscow's Museum of Musical History, was hooked from the moment she heard "Love Me Tender" as a kid in the '50s. Since then, she's amassed so many Elvis records, posters, slides, buttons and artifacts of every description that her apartment seems more shrine than dwelling.

She has written five lectures about Presley, delivered as a series starting each Jan. 8, The King's birthday. The shortest runs 2 1/2 hours; the longest lasts four. And like the other members of her group, she seems to know The King's lyrics by heart -- even untranslatable snippets like "good rockin' tonight."

Her No. 2 in the fan club, graphic artist Victor Plotnov, was hooked by "Blue Suede Shoes." "I was 13 or 14, and I almost dropped dead {the first time I heard it.} The purity and the energy of it impressed me. It was like electricity."

Tonight, they reminisced for a visitor about the old days when Elvis could be heard in Communist Russia only by way of copies of smuggled tapes and technological hocus-pocus. For a ruble a song, bootleggers would copy the King's croonings onto a flimsy sheet of X-ray film (known as "records on bones") that could actually be played on a phonograph. Its lifespan was limited, but Elvis's popularity wasn't.

At parties, on shortwave radio and in private, they listened in thrall. Yet none imagined that his devotion was shared. They finally found each other -- "through Elvis," said Plotnov -- through Sevnitskaya and her lectures on Presley at Moscow's Museum of Musical History.

Now, with Vladimir Vorobtsov, an equipment importer, Alexei Prokhorov, a private detective and Grigory Kuzmin, a young sound engineer at the Museum of Musical History (whose personal collection of Elvis records exceeds 300), Sevnitskaya and Plotnov have formed an executive committee for a club they hope will grow but remain exclusive.

Not for this group the indignities of America's Elvis impersonators or the light-hearted mocking of Lewis Grizzard, the American humorist who titled one of his books "Elvis Is Dead & I Don't Feel So Good Myself."

For these Russians, Elvis is serious stuff -- much more serious than most Americans realize, they say. It's like the French and Jerry Lewis: Americans, they say with a little scorn, are too trivial-minded, too caught up in myth making and celebrity worshiping and Hollywood and glitz to appreciate real talent for its own sake.

By making Elvis into a cult idol, they say, America has degraded his true significance as an incomparable vocal artist and unsurpassed performer.

"For some, Elvis can be about his great success and glamor and fame," Plotnov said disdainfully. "We are among those, less numerous, who are interested in his great talent. . . . Our understanding of Elvis is very different from Americans'. We go deeper.

"America is about today and tomorrow. Nobody in America is about the past. Elvis is the exception," he adds. "More Elvis admirers emerged after his death than in his lifetime."

When it comes to The King's reputation, the Russian group insists it is loath to embellish. Asked if she believed a Russia newspaper report that had Boris Yeltsin unwinding to the tune of "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" after the failed hard-line putsch in 1991, Sevnitskaya said, "Not quite."

However, they all said it is a fact that Yeltsin dropped in on a troupe of American Elvis impersonators who were touring in Moscow last year.


Image
[Boris Yeltsin] Don't you be steppin' on these blue suede shoes, Comrade!, by Tara Carreon


Inside Parliament, deputies wasted no time in convening an emergency all-night session.

"We are talking about the beginning of a civil war now," said a breathless Ilya Konstantinov, leader of the ultra-nationalist National Salvation Front.

Rutskoi, a hero of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan who split with Yeltsin last spring, immediately seized the chair on the dais reserved for the president, then took an oath of office and swore to uphold the Soviet-era constitution that Yeltsin wants to replace with a democratic, Western-type model....

Russia's constitutional court, which sided with Yeltsin's foes in earlier confrontations, ruled early Wednesday that the president could be impeached because he had violated the constitution. Specifically, the court said Yeltsin had violated a constitutional amendment passed by the Congress last December which specified that the president would forfeit his office the moment he tried to dissolve Parliament.

In his televised address, Yeltsin said the current cumbersome parliament would be replaced in the December elections by a two-chambered body that would more closely resemble Western legislatures.


-- Power Crisis Rocks Russia: Yeltsin Wins Vital Support Of Military, by James P. Gallagher and Howard Witt


As Presley fanatics, the Russians are in the major leagues. But they acknowledge a little abashedly that they are woefully deficient when it comes to the acid test of true Elvis-mania. Have they visited Graceland?

"No, no," said Plotnov, shaking his head with eyes downcast and lips pursed in apologetic sincerity. "We know. You've touched a weak spot." Such a trip would cost thousands of dollars from Moscow -- well beyond the reach of any of the club's members.

As for the pressing Elvis question of our day -- whether the handsome young Elvis or the fleshy older version should have graced a 29-cent American postal stamp, the Russian fans are unequivocal: The Mature King, hands down.

"He wasn't fat," said Sevnitskaya, testily. "He was sick." She produced from a drawer a photographic slide showing the young Elvis's mug side-by-side with a stone-chiseled Greek god.

Elvis, said Plotnov, could only have been born -- or invented -- in America. "But he belongs to the world."
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

Re: Spinning Boris, directed by Roger Spottiswoode

Postby admin » Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:45 am

Elvis impersonator
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/27/18

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Image
Members of The Association of Professional Elvis Presley Tribute Artists setting the world record for the most Elvis impersonators in one location, in 2005

An Elvis impersonator is someone who impersonates or copies the look and sound of musician Elvis Presley. Professional Elvis impersonators, commonly known as Elvis tribute artists (ETAs), work all over the world as entertainers, and such tribute acts remain in great demand due to the unique iconic status of Elvis. There are even a number of radio stations[1][2] that exclusively feature Elvis impersonator material.

Many impersonators sing Presley's songs. "While some of the impersonators perform a whole range of Presley music, the raw 1950s Elvis and the later 1970s Elvis are the favorites."[3]

Origins

Contrary to popular belief, Elvis impersonators have existed since the mid-1950s, just after Elvis began his career. The first Elvis impersonator was a young man named Carl 'Cheesie' Nelson from Texarkana, Arkansas, who in 1954 built up a local following on WLAC radio with his renditions of "That's All Right, Mama" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Nelson even performed alongside Presley when they first met, also in 1954. The friendship between Nelson and Presley is documented in the book "Elvis in Texas".[4]

The second known impersonator was a 16-year-old boy named Jim Smith. In 1956, shortly after Elvis began to rise in popularity, Smith began jumping on stage and imitating Presley. Smith's physical resemblance to Elvis and his mannerisms happened to catch the attention of DJ Norm Pringle of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, who had been playing "That's All Right, Mama" and "Heartbreak Hotel" on the radio. Smith was featured several times on Pringle's regular TV show, though it should be noted that Smith only pretended to sing and play along with the music since he actually could neither sing nor play the guitar at that time.[5]

Many other Elvis impersonators appeared while Elvis was still alive, evolving mainly out of small town talent competitions which took their influences from major music artists of that time. Dave Ehlert from Waukegan, IL began performing as Elvis in 1967 a full 10 years before Elvis died. Some of his contemporaries included Rick Saucedo of Chicago and Johnny Harra, a Kansas City native who moved his show to Texas in 1977. Ehlert performed throughout the Chicago Metro Area until Elvis died, then traveled the country with his act. He was on hand for the 1 year anniversary of Elvis' death at the Prince William County Fair in Manassas, VA on August 16, 1978. He has continuously performed his Elvis Tribute for almost 50 years including performances in Las Vegas and headlining an Elvis Tribute Show in Branson, MO for almost 20 years beginning in 1993. Only after Elvis' untimely death on August 16, 1977 that impersonating Elvis started to become popular in the mainstream. The large growth in Elvis impersonators seems tightly linked with his ever-growing iconic status.

Image

American protest singer Phil Ochs appeared in concert in March 1970 at Carnegie Hall wearing a 1950s Elvis-style gold lamé suit, made for him by Presley's costumer Nudie Cohn. His performance may be considered the first significant Elvis impersonation.[6] Jeremy Spencer of British blues-rock band Fleetwood Mac became known for his high-energy Elvis tribute performances during his tenure with the band. Spencer would perform as Elvis (often in a gold lamé suit) as the main part of a mini-set in which he also did other impersonations of figures such as Buddy Holly and slide guitarist Elmore James.

Image

In the mid-1970s, Andy Kaufman made an Elvis impersonation part of his act. He is considered to be one of the first notable Elvis impersonators and even Elvis himself supposedly said that Kaufman was his favorite impersonator.[7] In his act, Kaufman would precede with several failed impersonations before unexpectedly launching into a skilled impersonation of Elvis Presley.[8] As Kaufman gained fame, the impersonation was used less and less.

According to a popular myth, Elvis himself entered an Elvis lookalike contest at a local restaurant shortly before his death, and came in third place. This fabricated myth was featured as a news item in the Weekly World News, and has been misunderstood to be factual by people who do not realize that the Weekly World News is well known to publish outlandish and often unbelievable articles.[9] This joke may have its origins in Charlie Chaplin, who once did enter a lookalike contest and is often reported to have also placed third, although Chaplin's actual ranking in the contest is not known.[10]

Types of Elvis impersonators

There are many different types of Elvis impersonators or Elvis Tribute Artist. Most fall under the following categories:

Image
An impersonator performing as Elvis

• Look-alikes who concentrate more on visual elements of Elvis fashion and style using accessories such as wigs and fake sideburns (if necessary), costumes and jewelry.
• Sound-alikes who concentrate on changing their voice to sing or talk like Elvis. Notable examples of this type include country artist Ronnie McDowell and rock 'n' roll artist Ral Donner. Kurt Russell did this type of Elvis impersonation in his 1994 film, Forrest Gump, even though he was uncredited for his voice role of Elvis.
• Combination who use a combination of both the visual and auralmethods listed above. Country singer Billy "Crash" Craddock was an example of this in the 1970s and actor Kurt Russell was an example of this type in his 1979 film, Elvis and in his 2001 film, 3000 Miles to Graceland.
• Pastiche who look like, sound like, and write songs in the style of Elvis. David Daniel, called the Great Pretender, performs dozens of originals in the style of Elvis.

There are different levels of impersonation, which depends largely on who is doing the impersonation and for what purpose. They mainly fall under three main levels of impersonation, which are:

• Professional (Elvis Tribute Artist/ETA) Full-time and part-time, serious Elvis impersonators who are in the business of performing for a living. Reenactments of a typical 70s Elvis concert is a preferred choice of most ETAs; however, some ETAs may portray various phases of Elvis' career in a single show. For example, an ETA may open his show with a 50s set dressed in appropriate attire (such as a gold lame jacket), reenactments of musical scenes from Elvis' movies, and/or reenactments of segments from the '68 Comeback Special; and after an intermission closes his show with a full-blown 70s concert dressed in an appropriate jumpsuit. Some ETAs perform with a live band in the style of the TCB Band, complete with a brass ensemble and background singers, while others rely solely on karaoke for their performances. However, some ETAs may utilize both a live band and karaoke (either one or the other, in most cases depending on the type and size of the venue). Some ETAs record CDs to sell at their shows, which of course contain many of the Elvis standards, but could also include some of their own songs as well as songs of other artists.
• Amateur Enthusiasts who impersonate Elvis in contests, for a hobby, or at social gatherings (such as parties, reunions, etc.). Most of this type of impersonator aspire to become professional ETAs.
Fun / Comedy Usually done as part of a parody.

Image
[Boris Yeltsin] Don't you be steppin' on these blue suede shoes, Comrade!, by Tara Carreon


Inside Parliament, deputies wasted no time in convening an emergency all-night session.

"We are talking about the beginning of a civil war now," said a breathless Ilya Konstantinov, leader of the ultra-nationalist National Salvation Front.

Rutskoi, a hero of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan who split with Yeltsin last spring, immediately seized the chair on the dais reserved for the president, then took an oath of office and swore to uphold the Soviet-era constitution that Yeltsin wants to replace with a democratic, Western-type model....

Russia's constitutional court, which sided with Yeltsin's foes in earlier confrontations, ruled early Wednesday that the president could be impeached because he had violated the constitution. Specifically, the court said Yeltsin had violated a constitutional amendment passed by the Congress last December which specified that the president would forfeit his office the moment he tried to dissolve Parliament.

In his televised address, Yeltsin said the current cumbersome parliament would be replaced in the December elections by a two-chambered body that would more closely resemble Western legislatures.


-- Power Crisis Rocks Russia: Yeltsin Wins Vital Support Of Military, by James P. Gallagher and Howard Witt


"There are heavily-bearded Elvii, four-year-old Elvii, and Elvis duos; Italian Elvii, Greek Elvii, Fat Elvii, a Lady Elvis, even a Black Elvis. Impersonator impresario Ed Franklin boasts, 'We've had every type of Elvis there is in the world.'"[11] Professional Elvis impersonation can be called a special branch of the entertainment industry. "Michael Chapa, an Elvis impersonator who works in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, helped entertain more than 2500 of his relatives at what is believed to be the country's largest Hispanic family reunion ..."[12]

There are also some Elvis impersonators who specialize in experimenting with gender, sexuality, race, taste and decency. According to social historian Eric Lott, "the widespread embarrassment and innuendo surrounding Elvis impersonation points more directly to the homoerotic implications built into such acts."[13] There are even some performers who satirize other Elvis impersonators.[14]

According to Gael Sweeney, Elvis impersonation offers a spectacle of the grotesque, the display of the fetishized Elvis body by impersonators who use a combination of Christian and New Age imagery and language to describe their devotion to The King. 'True' impersonators believe that they are 'chosen' by The King to continue His work and judge themselves and each other by their 'Authenticity' and ability to 'Channel' Elvis' true essence. True impersonators don't 'do Elvis' for monetary gain, but as missionaries to spread the message of The King. Especially interesting are those who do not perform, per se, that is, they don't do an Elvis act, they just 'live Elvis,' dressing as The King and spreading His Word by their example."[15]

However, the Elvis industry includes "professional Elvis impersonator registries." The international guide I am Elvis, for instance, contains "photos, repertoire, and personal testimonies that serve to materialize the phenomenon of Elvis impersonation and further institutionalize it, including female Elvii, child Elvii, Black Elvii, El Vez the Mexican Elvis, and scores of British, German, Greek and Indian Elvii."[16] According to George Plasketes, there are "legions of impersonators. Airlines have offered discount fares for look-alikes on Elvis holidays... His omnipresence hauntingly hovers..."[17]

Image

In August 1996, Elvis Herselvis, a transsexual Elvis impersonator, who had been invited to take part in the Second International Elvis Presley Conference held at the University of Mississippi in order "to test the limits of race, class, sexuality and property...," was banned from this event by the conservative sponsors of Elvis Presley Enterprises.[18]

Contests, festivals and events

There are many Elvis contests for amateurs, festivals and other events held across the world celebrating Elvis and his many impersonators. Events tend to attract large numbers of amateur Elvis impersonators and Elvis fans.

Image
A Chihuahua impersonating Elvis in San Francisco's Pet Pride Day, 2002.

CKX, INC, which now owns Elvis Presley's estate, has full control including the grave of Elvis Presley and his family members along with his home Graceland in early 2008. This has seen some impact on what Elvis impersonators and contests have on the media and marketing industry. They began using the contest along with their Elvis brand, licensing anyone wanting to charge a fee to hold an Elvis contest.

The small western New South Wales town of Parkes in Australia has been hosting an Elvis Festival since 1993, which includes a special "Elvis Express" train from Sydney to Parkes.[19]

Blackpool in the UK, features a busy Elvis Wedding Chapel[20] based at the Norbreck Castle Hotel, Queens promenade, where couples can have their wedding vows renewed by Martin Fox.[21]

Image

The largest gathering of Elvis impersonators occurred on 12 July 2014 when 895 impersonators gathered in the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina.[22]

In the media

Literature


A number of books are available on the topic of Elvis tribute artists. One of the first books to document the phenomenon was, I Am Elvis: A Guide to Elvis Impersonators released by American Graphic Systems in 1991. More recent titles include photo essays, Living the Life by Patty Carroll and The King and I: A little Gallery of Elvis Impersonators by Kent Baker and Karen Pritkin.

Novelist William McCranor Henderson wrote about his attempts to learn the Elvis trade in, I, Elvis: Confessions of a Counterfeit King.

A more scholarly examination of Elvis impersonation is, Impersonating Elvis by Leslie Rubinowski released in 1997. On "the thriving phenomenon of Elvis impersonators", see also Gilbert B. Rodman, Elvis After Elvis: The Posthumous Career of a Living Legend (1996). In the Summer 1997 issue of The Oxford American magazine author Tom Graves wrote an acclaimed article, Natural Born Elvis, about the first Elvis impersonator, Bill Haney, the only tribute artist Elvis himself ever went to see perform. The article has been published in the anthology The Oxford American Book of Great Music Writing and the anthology Louise Brooks, Frank Zappa, & Other Charmers & Dreamers by Tom Graves.

There are also three "how to" guides, Be Elvis! by Rick Marino, a well-known tribute artist, released in 2000 by Sourcebooks and the more recent, The Elvis Impersonation Kit by Laura Lee, released in 2006 by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers. Also recently[when?] released "Just Pretending" by Kurt Burrows is full of tips on how to talk, sing and dress like Elvis. It contains interviews with many famous Elvis impersonators, and also gives you five free Sunfly Karaoke backing tracks, allowing you to download your favorite Elvis tracks to perform to.

There are also several university studies, for instance, Eric Lott's critical essay, "All the King's Men: Elvis Impersonators and White Working-Class Masculinity," published in Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel, eds., Race and the Subject of Masculinities (Duke University Press, 1997). The author, professor of American Studies at the University of Virginia, has also written a long piece on Elvis impersonators and the EPIIA (Elvis Presley Impersonators International Association) to be published in his next book. For this paper, he interviewed many impersonators and draws parallels with minstrelsy. "It is indeed one place minstrelsy ends up; where 19th-century white guys imitated what they thought of as slave culture and Elvis took from R & B performers, the impersonators copy the copy, if you will—it's minstrelsy once-removed."[23] In her paper, "Women Who 'Do Elvis'", Case Western Reserve University researcher Francesca Brittan deals with female Elvis Presley impersonators and finds them to be "campy, cheeky, and often disturbingly convincing."[24] According to Marjorie Garber's academic study, Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety (1992), Elvis impersonation is so insistently connected with femininity that it is "almost as if the word 'impersonator', in contemporary popular culture, can be modified either by 'female' or by 'Elvis.'"[25]

In the 2011 novel Donations to Clarity by Noah Baird, one of the main characters — the town's sheriff — is an Elvis impersonator.[26]

Films

3000 Miles to Graceland is a 2001 thriller film, starring Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner, Courteney Cox Arquette, David Arquette, Bokeem Woodbine, Christian Slater, and Kevin Pollak. It is a story of theft and betrayal, revolving around a plot to rob the Riviera Casino during a convention of Elvis impersonators in Las Vegas. The films also featured many real Elvis Tribute Artist from Las Vegas as background players, dancers and extras.

Bubba Ho-tep is the title of a novella by Joe R. Lansdale which originally appeared in the anthology The King Is Dead: Tales of Elvis Post-Mortem (edited by Paul M. Sammon, Delta 1994) and was adapted as a 2002 horror-black comedy film starring Bruce Campbell as Elvis Presley—who escaped the pressures of his fame long ago by impersonating an Elvis impersonator and is now a resident in a nursing home. The film version also stars Ossie Davis as Jack, a black man who claims to be John F. Kennedy. He says he was patched up after the assassination in Dallas, dyed black, and abandoned by Lyndon B. Johnson. The film was directed by Don Coscarelli.

Honeymoon in Vegas is a 1992 comedic movie which was directed by Andrew Bergman. Jack Singer, played by Nicolas Cage, encounters a group of "Flying Elvises" (skydiving Elvis impersonators) while trying to reunite with his fiancee. Pop singer Bruno Mars, only six years old at the time, has a small role as a young Elvis impersonator. It also featured Clearance Giddens, a black Elvis.

Almost Elvis[27] is a 75-minute 2001 documentary film that follows a variety of professional Elvis impersonators such as they prepare for a large annual contest in Memphis, Tennessee.

Elvis Extravaganza is a 60-minute 2009 Elvis impersonator documentary featuring amateur Elvis impersonators and their quest for the title of the "World's Finest Elvis Impersonator."

Television

The plot of the Father Ted episode "Competition Time" revolves around the three main characters Father Ted Crilly, Father Dougal McGuire and Father Jack Hackett entering the "All Priests Stars in Their Eyes Lookalike Competition". Due to confusion about who is going as Elvis all three do it, appearing in sequence as Elvis at different stages of his career, winning the competition.

Jeff Yagher played an Elvis impersonator (as well as Elvis himself) in an episode of The Twilight Zone called "The Once and Future King". The man who played Elvis' boss at the Crown Electric company was Red West, a real life schoolmate and best friend of Elvis.

In the Sledge Hammer! episode "All Shook Up", Hammer (David Rasche) investigates a string of Elvis impersonator murders by participating in a contest as one.

In the Digimon Adventure anime, one of the main villains, Etemon has the character of an Elvis impersonator.

• In an episode of Married... with Children, the character Peggy Bundy claims to have seen Elvis at a mall, prompting a large number of Elvis impersonators to come to her home so she can share her "experience."

In an episode of How I Met Your Mother Marshall and Lily are serenaded by a Korean Elvis.

In "Meltdown," an episode of the British TV series Red Dwarf, Clayton Mark portrays a 'wax droid' version of Elvis who, under the command of Arnold Rimmer along with other 'wax world' historical figures, is engaged in battle with the evil historical figures.

• In an episode of the American sitcom The Golden Girls, the characters of Blanche and Rose are considering hiring an Elvis impersonator for their "Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love Fan Club," yet Rose mixes up the Elvis list with the guest list for the wedding of the character of Sophia. As a result, Sophia's wedding reception is filled with Elvis impersonators (one played by a young Quentin Tarantino)[28] instead of members of her own family, and Rose exclaims, "Either I got the Elvis list mixed with the guest list for the wedding or everyone in Sophia's family appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show!"

In "Wedding Card," an episode of the Canadian sitcom Corner Gas, Oscar and Emma Leroy admit to having no photos of their wedding because "it was an Elvis wedding". Their fellow townspeople understand this sentiment, but in the final scene they are shown burning those selfsame photographs, which display both Oscar and Emma dressed as Elvis.

The Disney Channel sitcoms Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody both featured main characters dressing up and acting like Elvis. The Martin twins dressed-up as twin-Elvises in an episode of The Suite Life where they were appearing on a gameshow called "Risk It All!", and Miley's brother Jackson, in Hannah Montana, impersonated Elvis twice: The first time was to fool a gossip reporter, as a coverup, after Miley accidentally blabbed the Hannah-secret to her; and the second time was when Miley and Lily impersonated Dolly Parton and Miley's "Mamaw" Ruthie, respectively, after it came out that Ruthie and Dolly (portrayed by Parton herself) had a fight over Elvis Presley.

In an episode of Due South, Season one, episode 10, "The Gift of the Wheelman", It's Christmas time and the police station is filled with Santas, elves and Elvises.

A season one episode of Full House had the character Uncle Jesse (John Stamos) play Elvis in a concert.

Talent shows focused on imitating already famous singers will often have Elvis impersonators. i.e., the Chilean version of the European show My name is... featured at least three of them.

An advertisement for State Farm Insurance featured four Elvis impersonators, each of which performed the company's "magic jingle" in succession, causing representatives from the company to appear out of thin air. The final Elvis impersonator made a splash by parachuting in on top of a car.

Plays

One of the most popular modern plays dealing with Elvis impersonation is Lee Hall's Cooking with Elvis (1999). The comedy centers on the family life of Dad, an Elvis impersonator who was paralyzed in a car crash and is forced to spend the rest of his life in a wheel chair. Climaxes of the play are surreal fantasy scenes in which Dad's hallucinatory Elvis dreams are bursting into popular Presley songs as a reminiscence of his one-time persona of Elvis impersonator.

Playwright Charlotte Jones' award-winning play "Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis" [29] opened 15 April 1999 at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton. The play features a Chinese Elvis impersonator called Timothy Wong, who transforms the lives of the characters in the play.

Another popular theater event has been the "Elvis Story" over the last five years. Different Elvis artists have been in the main role with very detailed outfits, wigs and props. This has prompted other impersonators, like Mark Lee Pringle of Ohio, to include these details in their shows. Mark portrays the 1950s rock-a-billy era complete with exact replicas of all of Elvis' performance guitars and stage clothes from 1954 to 1958, as well as old 1950s RCA microphones and even a full-size Nipper dog statue on-stage (Mark is the only impersonator that uses RCA's Nipper).

Influences in academia

In paleontology, researchers D.H. Erwin and M.L. Droser in a 1993 paper derived from the Elvis impersonators the term Elvis taxon (plural Elvis taxa), which denotes a taxon that has been misidentified as having re-emerged in the fossil record after a period of presumed extinction, but is not actually a descendant of the original taxon, instead having developed a similar morphology through convergent evolution.[30]

Other

• The Elvis Extravaganza Show band is considered to be the top Elvis Tribute band worldwide. They have performed over 1500 songs and have toured with every major musician that Elvis Presley used in his bands over his entire career.
• Elvii is a registered trade name that belongs to the Elvis Extravaganza Fan Club. It is not a plural for the form Elvi in Elvis impersonators (this, however, is not grammatically correct, as the name "Elvis" derives from Old English. Even if it somehow were a third-declension Latin noun, the plural form would be Elvēs). This term was popularized by a Saturday Night Live sketch where Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi respectively impersonated the younger and older versions of Elvis. The term Elvira (plural, Elviras) has been used to refer to female Elvis impersonators.
• Billionaire Robert Sillerman, owner of the TV show American Idol, bought an 85% stake in Elvis Presley Enterprises in 2005. Among other things, this gives him control of Elvis Presley's name and likeness in the US; this however does not include Britain (where the Elvis image is in the public domain), Europe and most other countries in the world.[31]
• The UK radio presenter Steve Wright includes a comedy feature on his show entitled "Ask Elvis". An Elvis impersonator (Mitch Benn) provides answers to listeners' questions—particularly those of a scientific or technical nature.[32]
• An Elvis impersonator won the summer 2007 reality show The Next Best Thing on ABC. A second impersonator finished in the top five. Many other Elvis Impersonators who were on the show were also known as Elvis Entertainers.
• Jack Womack's Dryco quartet, Elvissey (1993) depicts a future world wracked by climate change, where Elvis Presley has become the central messianic figure in an alternative religion, and where Elvis impersonation has become a sacred rite of spiritual possession. Therefore, the central protagonists are tasked with retrieving an alternate history Elvis, who turns out to suffer from psychosis, has murdered his mother Gladys Presley and who is also a Valentinean gnostic, who reacts adversely to his perceived messiah role.
• The video game Fallout: New Vegas features a faction of Elvis impersonators, 'The Kings', that live in an abandoned school of Elvis impersonation. They and their leader, The King, dress as Elvis in various forms, such as the 'Jailhouse Rocker' and 'Memphis Kid,' and reference Elvis songs often in their speech. They don't know Elvis' name, since all the material they could find referred to him as 'The King'.
• The video game Grand Theft Auto 2 features groups of Elvis impersonators who walk the streets of the city. If the player can kill them simultaneously in a short amount of time (usual method would be to run them all down in a row with a car), the player is given a large cash bonus and the words "ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING" appear onscreen and is announced by the in-game narrator. It should also be noted that the members of the Rednecks gang (who appear in the Residential Area of the city) are devout Elvis fans and their in-game sprite is based on Elvis (slicked quiff, sideburns, sunglasses).
• The video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features pedestrians dressed as Elvis in Las Venturas, a city based on Las Vegas.
• Dread Zeppelin is a tribute/parody band that performs the songs of Led Zeppelin in a reggae style with an Elvis impersonator, (Tortelvis), as lead singer.
• In 1990 the band Living Colour released the song Elvis Is Dead, whose lyrics criticised Elvis impersonation.
• Professional Wrestler Wayne Farris better known by his ring name The Honky Tonk Man is known for portraying an Elvis Impersonator Gimmick.

New Zealand Elvises

Steve Fitter


Image

Steve Fitter is an Elvis impersonator from Waikato. On the 15th of May, 2011, he entered the Elvis Down Under competition in Upper Hutt. The three songs he sang were, "If I Can Dream", "Kentucky Rain" and "Polk Salad Annie". He was the winner of the competition. In the following month, he was off to compete at the Wntersun Festival in New South Wales.[33] In February 2013, he was set to appear at the annual fourth tribute to Elvis Presley event, held at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa, Auckland. Elvis impersonators set to appear besides Fitter were, Brendon Chase, Melissa Perkins and Kerryn Winn. Dean Vegas and Paul Fenech from Australia were also booked for the event.[34]

Des Perenara aka Elvis Desley

Image

Des Perenara, a Maori Elvis comes from Auckland but is now based in Cardigan, Wales. He has taken part in the Porthcawl Elvis Festival.[35] His day job is at BGT Labratorites in Ffostrasol, which makes antidote products including snake anti-venom. He once sang some songs on Karaoke at a 30th birthday party which his mother in law loved. It was her motivation that helped him become an Elvis tribute artist. He appeared in episode 3 of the BBC Two Wales documentary, Cardigan Bay Coastal Lives.[36][37]

Andy Stankovich

Image

Andy Stankovich is a well known Elvis impersonator from Auckland, New Zealand. He has been performing as Elvis since around 2000. Besides performing throughout New Zealand, he has performed in Australia, Hawaii, Fiji and the United States.[38]

Elvis from the Pacific Islands

Samoan Elvises


There have been at least three prominent Elvis impersonators of Samoan descent.

Mr. Fatu

Image

During the 1970s, a star attraction at the Aloha Lounge in Florida's Hawaiian Inn was Mr. Fatu. At the time, he was referred to as the greatest Elvis impressionist around.[39][40] Following a break, he was back December 1976.[41]The following year in August 1977, he was appearing at the Colonial Inn, fronting a nine-piece band called Coastal Connection.[42] Among the LP albums he recorded were his 1976 album, Mr. Fatu Sings Elvis, which was recorded live at The Hawaiian Inn,[43] and Manatua Mai A'u (Remember Me), released on the Tam-Bay label.[44] His single "Love's Not Made Of Time" bw "God Will Rule" was produced by John Centinaro,[45] who would work with another Elvis impersonator Johnny Charro.[46][47] Another single of his, released on the Fire Mountain label in 1980, "Just One Look" bw "Darling" is a sought after collectors item.[48]

Sam Leilani

During the early 1990s, Sam Leilani from Reseda, L.A. made the news briefly. He was a former dancer with a Polynesian troupe. Leilani, who had referred to himself as a "rock 'n' roll-singing Polynesian guy", had formed a rockabilly band in the early 90s and had performed in Hawaii. He would be in the traditional Elvis dress from the waist up, but from below the waist was in Bermuda shorts and bare feet.[49]

Alphonso Keil

Image

Alphonso Keil was an Elvis impersonator and professional musician.[50] He was born in Samoa in 1944, came to New Zealand as a boy. He was from the same family that made up the Keil Isles.[51] During the 1960s, he played drums with Sonny Day and The Sundowners.[52] Also during the 1960s, he played rhythm guitar with The Zodiacs and then The Kavaliers, a group fronted by his brother Freddie.[53] Keil was influenced by Elvis impersonator Andy Stankovich who he saw live. In the late 90s he started up a group called Alphonso Keil and the Kavaliers. He performed regularly at the Elvis in the Park concerts at Cranwell Park in Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand, New Zealand. He died at age 64 in July 2008, after battling cancer.[54]

Johnny Angel

Image

Another Elvis of Samoan descent is Johnny Angel. He is a published author and has appeared on New Zealand television in ads, Like Minds, Like Mine.[55][56] Like Alphonso Keil before him,[57] Angel regularly performs at the Parkes Elvis Festival, an event that now attracts 20,000. He was there in 2016 for the event,[58] and in there in 2018.[59]

Others

Other Samoan Elvis's include Elvis of Samoa,[60] and Nifae Fepuleai.

Asian Elvis

Malaysia


Image

Malaysia has Tony Warren who is known as "the Tom Jones of Malaysia". He also has an Elvis tribute act. He has been performing since the late 1960s and in the 1980s was performing at the Copper Grill in The Weld on Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, and in later years at the Royal Selangor Club in Dataran Merdeka.[61][62]

See also

• Madonna wannabe
• Michael Jackson impersonator
• Impersonator
• Look-alike
• Tribute band
• Dorian Baxter
• Eilert Pilarm
• El Vez
• Elvis Herselvis
• Kjell Elvis
• The Flying Elvises
• Cooking with Elvis
• The Honky Tonk Man
• Graceland Wedding Chapel

References

1. "LadyLuck Music Tribute Artist Radio Station". LadyLuck Music. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
2. "Elvii.com Radio Station". Kitty Coyne. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
3. Eric Lott, "All the King's Men: Elvis Impersonators and White Working-Class Masculinity." In Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel, eds., Race and the Subject of Masculinities (Duke University Press, 1997), p.198.
4. Oberst, Stanley; Torrance, Lori (2001-11-19). Elvis In Texas: The Undiscovered King 1954-1958. Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 1461732824. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
5. Victoria Daily Times, December 9, 1957
6. Wolf, Buck (2001-08-16). "The Sad End of the First Elvis Impersonator". ABC News. Retrieved 2017-07-13.
7. Waking Andy Kaufman, The Village Voice
8. Steven Connor, The Cambridge Companion to Postmodernism (Cambridge University Press, 2004), p.108.
9. Weekly World News, July 11, 2005
10. "The Pedant's Return: Why the Things You Think Are Wrong Are Right" By Andrea Barham
11. Eric Lott, p.194.
12. Kristine L. Blair and Libby Allison, Cultural Attractions/Cultural Distractions: Critical Literacy in Contemporary Contexts(2000), p.88.
13. Eric Lott, "All the King's Men: Elvis Impersonators and White Working-Class Masculinity," in Harry Stecopoulos and Michael Uebel, eds., Race and the Subject of Masculinities (Duke University Press, 1997), p.202.
14. See Lois Tyson, Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide (1999), p.332.
15. See Gael Sweeney, "The King of White Trash Culture: Elvis Presley and the Aesthetics of Excess." In Annalee Newitz and Matt Wray, eds., White Trash: Race and Class in America (1996), p.262.
16. Sweeney, "The King of White Trash Culture," p.262.
17. George Plasketes, Images of Elvis Presley in American Culture, 1977–1997: The Mystery Terrain (1997), p.3.
18. For more details, see David S. Wall, "Policing Elvis: Legal Action and the Shaping of Post-Mortem Celebrity Culture as Contested Space." Archived 2007-06-16 at the Wayback Machine.
19. "Festival History". Parkes Elvis Festival. 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-31.
20. "Elvis Weddings". Elvis Weddings. 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
21. "Elvis Impersonator". Martin Fox. 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
22. "Guinness book of records - Largest gathering of Elvis impersonators". http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com.
23. Gadfly Online: David McNair and Jayson Whitehead, "Love and Theft."
24. Francesca Brittan, "Women Who 'Do Elvis': Authenticity, Masculinity and Masquerade", published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2. (August 2006), pp.167–190.
25. Marjorie Garber, Vested Interests: Cross-dressing and Cultural Anxiety (1992), p.372. See also Matt Hills, Fan Cultures (2002), p.164.
26. "Donations to Clarity". Second Wind Publishing LLC. 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-11-01. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
27. "Almost Elvis". John Paget (PAGET FILMS). Retrieved 2014-02-09.
28. "Watch: Quentin Tarantino makes a GOLDEN GIRLS cameo… as Elvis". Miramax. 2012-10-16. Archived from the original on 2013-10-12.
29. Samuel French page for the play Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis
30. Erwin, D.H. and Droser, M.L., 1993. Elvis taxa. Palaios, v.8, pp.623–624.
31. "Robert Sillerman comments about likeness rights". NME.com. 2006. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
32. "Steve Wright — Ask Elvis". BBC. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-02-20. Retrieved 2007-05-30.
33. NewsHub, Tuesday 17 May 2011 Kiwi Elvis impersonator to take on the Aussies
34. Manukau Courier, 18-01-2013 Elvis to shake up gardens
35. BBC Des Perenara – AKA Elvis Desley
36. Wales Online, 3 Nov 2015 This man makes snake anti-venom by day and is Ceredigion’s only Maori Elvis tribute artist by night By Rachael Misstear
37. BBC Two Caredigan Bay Coastal Lives, Episode 3
38. Western Leader, July 16, 2015 Andy Stankovich is Elvis for six New Zealand shows - Courtney Martin
39. Theorizing Self in Samoa: Emotions, Genders, and Sexualities By Jeannette Marie Mageo Page 40
40. The Ledger Tuesday Nov 18, 1975 To Dining and Entertainment, Hawaiian Inn: Exciting Resort in St. Pete Beach
41. The evening Independent Dec 1, 1976 8-B Entertainment
42. The Evening Independent August 19, 1977 5-B Mr. Fatu And The Coastal Connection At Colonial Inn
43. Discogs Mr. Fatu* – Mr. Fatu Sings Elvis
44. Discogs Fatu* – Manatua Mai A'u (Remember Me)
45. Discogs Fatu* – Love's Not Made Of Time
46. Johnny Charro Website Page 14/LA GACETA/Friday, June 9, 2006 . . ., Silhouettes by Paul Guzzo ArchivedAugust 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
47. The Ledger Friday, September 2, 1977 1B Nightly Tribute To The King, Entertainer Inspired By Elvis Deeply Affected By His Death By Susan Barbosa
48. 45cat Record Details, Catalogue: 3829 / M15-3829
49. Los Angeles Times, August 16, 1993 Elvis Lives! In Many Shapes and Colors : King's Spirit Infuses Multicultural 'Elvi' - Trin Yarborough
50. Western Leader, 11 November 2003 Page 1 Elvis devotee ready to perform - Stephen Forbes
51. Western Leader 23-07-2008 Samoan Elvis sings his last, Alphonso Keil dies
52. Rate Your Music Sonny Day and The Sundowners, Members
53. Sergent.com.au Freddie Keil and the Kavaliers
54. Western Leader 23/07/2008 Samoan Elvis sings his last, Alphonso Keil dies
55. Like Minds, Issue 46, December 2011 Talking with an Angel, Page 1 - 4, By Ruth Jackson
56. Spark Foundation Johnny-Angel wheels for an Angel
57. Western Leader 23-07-2008 Samoan Elvis sings his last, Alphonso Keil dies
58. Parkes CHampion Post, 8 Apr 2016 20,000 for one day Elvis Festival in New Zealand by Gail Bartley
59. '"Eastern Courier, March 4 2018 - Thousands 'all shook up' at Auckland's Elvis in the Gardens - TARANNUM SHAIKH
60. ATEED Pasifika programme Sunday 13 March, Sunday programme, > Samoa, 2.10pm Elvis of Samoa
61. The Star, Saturday, 7 Jul 2007 - Warren makes time for grandson by Stuart Michael
62. The Star, Saturday, 23 Apr 2011 - LIFESTYLE, Tony Warren still rocking by Sonja Mustaffa

External links

• Elvis impersonators at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
• Elvis Is In The Browser Open database of worldwide Elvis' with forum and blog.
• Poll of how Elvis fans feel about Elvis impersonators
admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 28157
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:21 am

PreviousNext

Return to Illustrated Screenplays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest