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Last year's election in Krasnoyarsk Krai launched the career of not just one but two potential contenders for the 2008 Russian presidential race, former Norilsk Nickel head Aleksandr Khloponin and State Duma Deputy/economist Sergei Glazev. Khloponin actually won the race for the governor's office, but Glazev's third-place finish -- with more than 20 percent of the vote -- focused new attention on him as a potential alternative presidential candidate to Communist Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov. According to a political consultant familiar with the campaign, in meetings with voters in Krasnoyarsk, Glazev at times simply read from one of his economic texts. But the consensus among campaign specialists is that Glazev at least has Zyuganov beat in the charisma sweepstakes.
Glazev, 42, looks like an older, more tired, version of the
American movie actor Matthew Broderick, although the latter is
actually two months older than Sergei Yurievich. (Compare
http://www.the-movie-times.com/thrsdir/actors/actorProfiles.mv?mbrode rick). Like President Vladimir Putin, Glazev likes to ski. And while he cannot throw his judo opponents across a mat as can Vladimir Vladimirovich, he could chitchat with U.S. President George W. Bush in fluent English. And as a trained economist, he could talk shop with International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and World Trade Organization officials -- although they would probably not agree on anything fundamental.
Glazev was born in Zaparozhe, Ukraine, in 1962. Had he been born just a few decades earlier, he likely would have remained in academia. But circumstances propelled him -- and other young economists -- into politics. In 1983, he finished his studies in "economic cybernetics" at the prestigious Lomonsov Institute at Moscow State University. Just three years later, at the age of 25, he defended his kandidat's degree on the theme of "economic changes in the technical development of the Soviet Union in cross-country comparisons." In 1990, at the age of 29, he defended his doctoral dissertation on the "regularity of long-term technical-economic development and its use in the administration of the people's economy." In 1990, he was the youngest person to earn a doctorate in economic science in the Soviet Union, according to "Profil" on 12 May 2003.
In the late 1980s, Glazev was in Moscow at just the right time to hook up with two other young economists who would soon play a leading role in national politics -- Yegor Gaidar and Anatolii Chubais. Starting in 1987, Glazev participated in the famous economics study group led by Chubais and Gaidar. According to "Profil," other participants in the historic seminars did not notice at the time that Glazev had any kind of penchant for "dirigiste" methods of managing the economy. In fact, some British economists who worked with Glazev and the future Russian director for the IMF, Konstantin Kagalovskii, at the Center for the Study of Communist Economics, were "flabbergasted" when later in the 1990s, Glazev started to express his more leftist orientation toward economic policy.
In the fall of 1991, when new Russian leader Boris Yeltsin called on him to form a government, Gaidar tapped fellow seminar participant Petr Aven to head the Committee for International Economic Relations. Aven turned to Glazev to be his deputy. When the committee became a ministry, Glazev became first deputy minister. At the end of 1992, Gaidar was forced to resign, and Aven also followed suit. But Glazev remained, becoming minister for international economic relations. He soon butted heads with the more influential Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Shumeiko, and after a humiliating episode in which his plane was ordered by his higher-ups in Moscow to turn around in mid-air while on its way to debt negotiation in Africa, Glazev tendered his resignation after less than nine months as minister. On that occasion, Yeltsin did not accept Glazev's resignation, but a month later, in September 1993, Glazev again tendered his resignation, this time to protest Yeltsin's decree dissolving the Supreme Soviet, and his resignation was accepted. According to his official biography on glazev.ru, Glazev "was not a supporter of [then] parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov, but as he [Glazev] says, 'Democracy is first of all a process of negotiations and respect for the law.'"
For a short time, Glazev returned to academia, but then a fellow veteran of the Gaidar government, Nikolai Fedorov, invited him to participate in the 1993 State Duma elections on the party list for the Democratic Party of Russia (DPR), according to "Profil." In the first Duma, Glazev became chairman of the Committee for Economic Policy. If earlier, during his stint in the cabinet, "the monetarist policies of Gaidar did not directly affect Glazev's work," according to "Kto est kto," during the debate over the 1994 budget, Glazev's found his voice. By the fall of 1994, Glazev had become the "informal leader of the Duma antigovernment movement" and potential shadow prime minister. Glazev initiated a vote of no confidence in the government, which failed. On the eve of the vote, articles appeared accusing Glazev of being a lobbyist for industry, one of which was signed by presidential administration head Sergei Filatov. A few months later, Glazev returned the favor, publishing an article in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" blasting Chubais's plan for privatization.
In December 1995, Glazev ran again for the State Duma, but the party with which he aligned himself, the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) led by former General Aleksandr Lebed, did not surpass the 5 percent barrier to enter the parliament. After the 1996 presidential election, Glazev followed Lebed to the Security Council, but four months later when Lebed resigned, Glazev also left, finding new work in the apparatus of the Federation Council, where he remained until the next Duma elections
The appearance of Glazev's name on the Communist Party list in the 1999 Duma elections was "very unexpected," according to "Kto est kto." Some of his former colleagues still hadn't forgotten that before the union he had been a member of the DPR. An unidentified deputy from the first Duma told "Profil" that "Glazev then and Glazev now -- these are two different people -- then he was an economist and now he is a politician." But the alliance with the Communist Party finally gave Glazev a national platform to present his economic views. He became the party's chief "talking head" on economic policy matters. According to Columbia University professor of economics Richard Ericson, "the Communists had been arguing for massive state support for the flower of Soviet industry, and Glazev produced much more respectable economic arguments for it than the Communists could muster on their own." Glazev has long been in favor "of massive monetization, of granting huge credits to the machine-building industry and the other stars of Soviet industry, so that they can finance production, and produce products that they can then sell." According to "Nezavisimaya gazeta -- Figury i litsa" on 27 April 2000, in his published works, Glazev remains supportive of a market economy but he considers it expedient to create general government control over the economy during an unhealthy transitional period. He never says anywhere that this should always be the case, according to the newspaper.
According to his own official biography, Glazev had decided by 1998 that "to solve the country's serious problems, it needs a serious party." And aligned with the Communists, he managed to return to the Duma. He even became chairman of the Duma's Economic Policy and Business Committee for a time, but he has yet to achieve the same level of power and influence that he had in the first Duma. It was only his unexpectedly strong performance in the Krasnoyarsk race that pushed him to the center of national attention once again.
Earlier this month, Glazev became co-chairman of the Russian Regions party. One Communist Party official, Ilya Ponamarev, denied that this move was proof of any kind of fraying of Communist Party unity. "Sergei Yurievich just likes to collect movements," Ponamarev commented, according to "Vremya novostei" on 2 June. The fact remains, though, that Glazev's neo-Keynesian views would find a better home in a social democratic rather than communist party. Glazev may be uncomfortable being in an umbrella movement led by the Communists, and he might find a truly independent umbrella movement in which the Communists are just one component a more comfortable fit. (Julie A. Corwin)
SCIENTISTS SET UP COMMITTEE TO PROTECT RUSSIA'S NONRENEWABLE RESOURCES. Duma Deputy Sergei Glasiev (Communist Party) announced on 10 June that a group of left-wing scientists have formed the Committee for the Protection of Russian Citizens' Rights to Mineral Resources, RIA-Novosti reported. The group aims to plead the case that Russian mining companies are usurping national resources that rightfully belong to the entire country, said Glasiev, who will chair the committee. Russia's mineral and other nonrenewable resources are worth some $50 trillion-150 trillion, Glasiev said, adding that the export of such commodities represents two-thirds of the country's exports. The new committee will seek to publish precise profit figures of the companies that currently benefit from those resources, and propose ways that those funds might be redistributed in high-tech industry. The group will back initiatives such as new export taxes, environmental taxes, and increased payments for the industrial use of water. Glasiev said the committee, of which he is chairman, includes Duma Deputy and Nobel Prize winner in physics Zhores Alferov (Communist Party) along with Dmitrii Lvov, who heads the economic department of the Russian Academy of Sciences. VY
BELARUSIAN GOVERNMENT SIGNS ACCORD WITH ORTHODOX CHURCH. Premier Henadz Navitski and Patriarchal Exarch Filaret, head of the Russian Orthodox Church in Belarus, signed a cooperation agreement in Minsk on 12 June, Belapan reported. Navitski said the accord does not restrict the government's cooperation with other religious denominations. Filaret called the agreement "a new milestone in relations between the state, the church, and society." He praised the religion law adopted last fall, which many other denominations and human rights groups criticized as discriminating in favor of the Orthodox Church (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 8 October 2002). Filaret argued that the accord does not place the Orthodox Church in a privileged position and rejected speculation that the church is seeking any favored status. JM
NEW DEPUTY TO JOIN UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT. The Central Election Commission has registered Oleksandr Yaroslavskyy as a Verkhovna Rada deputy, Interfax reported on 13 June. Yaroslavskyy, president of UkrSibbank, won a by-election in Chernihiv Oblast on 8 June with 27.1 percent of the vote. With Yaroslavskyy's swearing in, the Verkhovna Rada will reach its constitutionally prescribed membership figure of 450. JM
FORMER UKRAINIAN DEPUTY PREMIER RELEASED ON BAIL. The Pecherskyy District Court in Kyiv released Leonid Kozachenko, former deputy prime minister for agricultural reform, on bail on 12 June, Ukrainian agencies reported, quoting Kozachenko's lawyer. Kozachenko was arrested in March on charges of abuse of office, tax evasion, and bribery (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 April 2003). JM
SPAIN TO SEND 1,100 TROOPS TO POLISH ZONE IN IRAQ. Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski said in Brussels on 12 June that Spain will contribute 1,100 troops to a multinational division in the Polish-administered zone in Iraq, PAP reported. "Our division is based on three brigades: the Polish brigade, including soldiers from other countries; the Ukrainian brigade; and the Spanish brigade [that will] include 1,100 Spanish soldiers, as well as soldiers from Honduras, the Dominican Republic, and El Salvador," Szmajdzinski said. Poland is to deploy some 2,300 troops in Iraq, while Ukraine pledged 1,700. JM
...WHILE PRESIDENT VORONIN CALLS ON EU TO OPEN PERMANENT REPRESENTATION IN CHISINAU. President Vladimir Voronin on 12 June invited the EU to open a permanent representation in Chisinau, Infotag reported. He told Wiersma that such a step would foster cooperation between the two sides. Wiersma said the EU is ready to accept the proposal and pointed out that the EU-enlargement process will have a beneficial impact on Moldova. Wiersma said Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus might eventually gain a status that is "more significant than that of an EU neighbor." MS